My Writers Circle

Workshop => Review My Script => Topic started by: ChonkyDay on August 01, 2015, 01:20:17 AM

Title: Intent - 1124 words
Post by: ChonkyDay on August 01, 2015, 01:20:17 AM
I fixed the weird formatting from the last post I made. Hopefully it's easier to read now. Let me know what you guys think.

FADE IN:

INT - MALL - DAY
VANESSA, 22, drags her hands across the store window.
She stops when a big hourglass on display catches her eye.

INT - MALL - STORE - DAY
Vanessa pays THE CASHIER.

THE CASHIER
Have a nice day.

When Vanessa turns around to leave, she bumps into ELLA, 20,
whose scowl turns into smile the second she sees Vanessa.

ELLA
Hey, I didn't even see you there.

VANESSA
Yeah, I didn't either.

Ella laughs uncomfortably.

VANESSA
I mean, I didn't see you there. I knew I
was here obviously. Well, I didn't see
myself...

Ella crosses her arms. Vanessa grimaces.

VANESSA
So what are you doing here?

ELLA
I'm just on my break.

She points to her nametag. ROSA, mid-30's, watches the
conversation from outside the store.

ELLA
I figured I might as well stop by your
brother's favorite store to buy him a
birthday present or whatever.

Ella shows Vanessa a t-shirt then puts it on the counter.

VANESSA
Oh, cool. I just bought Dean's present
too.

THE CASHIER
(to Ella)
Seventeen ninety nine.

Ella puts her card on the counter next to the shirt,
avoiding eye contact with The Cashier.

ELLA
Plus it can double as, like, a
congrats-on-the-promotion gift too.

VANESSA
Dean told me you both were gunning
for the job.

Vanessa pats Ella's back.

ELLA
No, yeah. He totally deserves it.

VANESSA
Well, I'm sure there'll be another
promotion just around the corner for you.

THE CASHIER
(to Ella)
Do you want your receipt--

ELLA
No.

Ella rolls her eyes and motions for Vanessa to look
at The Cashier and share in her contempt.

VANESSA
Hey, I gotta go.

ELLA
Nice seeing you.

VANESSA
Nice to see you too. I'll tell Dean I saw you.

Ella glares intensely as Vanessa exits.

EXT. MALL - DAY
Vanessa gets into her car and puts the gift bag in
the back seat. She takes out her phone.

VANESSA (TEXT)
(to Dean)
See you in a few.

She drives out of the parking lot.

EXT. DEAN'S HOUSE - DAY
Vanessa knocks on the door. She waits, holding the
gift bag.

VANESSA
Dean!

She knocks again then looks through one of the
windows. In the reflection she sees a red car parked
on the side of the road.

VANESSA
Dean, open up. It's Vanessa.

She knocks on the door again, but when there's no
answer she opens the door.

VANESSA
Dean, are you here?

CLOSE ON the door closing.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Vanessa sets her gift bag and jacket on the couch
before checking her phone. It's 2:12 PM and she
has no new messages.

Pictures of Dean, his family, and his boyfriend cover
the walls. A pair of shoes and a jacket lie next to the
front door.

VANESSA (TEXT)
(to Dean)
Got here before you lol

She picks up a piece of paper from the table. It's a
restraining order request form against John Wilcox
signed by Dean.

Vanessa's phone beeps. The battery is a 5%.

VANESSA
Shit.

She opens the door, staring at her phone and exits.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY
Vanessa steps onto the carpet and drops her phone.
She looks back at the door and can see the living room.

Vanessa falters down the hallway and exits to the
living room.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Vanessa stares at the hallway through the front door.
She looks back down the hallway.

VANESSA
What the hell?

Vanessa runs through the front door with her eyes shut.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY
Vanessa runs from the door with her eyes shut and stops
just shy of the wall. She opens her eyes. She opens
another door and it leads to the living room too.

She laughs.

Vanessa turns around to face the bathroom. The door is
off its hinges. She exits to the living room.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Vanessa closes the front door and opens it again. It still
leads to the hallway. She closes the door.

VANESSA
What the fuck is this...

She exits to the kitchen.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY
Pictures of Dean and his boyfriend hang on the fridge.

Vanessa approaches the sliding glass door. A few chairs
sit on the patio but there's no one there.

She pulls on the door, but it doesn't budge. She jiggles
the lock up and down, making sure it isn't locked.

She pulls on the door again. It still won't budge. She
bangs on the glass.

Defeated, she falls to her knees.

Something falls off the counter. It's a notebook.

Vanessa picks it up and thumbs through it quickly. There's
only writing on the first two pages. She flips to the first page.

ON THE PAGE:

VC AD IB AD EC MG GC AD CF JB MG GL
AD EC BA AD EC MG JD CF

VANESSA
What?

She flips to the next page.

ON THE PAGE:

Submerge.

Vanessa closes the book and sets it on the counter.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Vanessa collapses onto the couch.

VANESSA
Happy birthday, Dean.

She lays her head back and nods off.

Rosa approaches, water dripping from her hair. She
smiles wide-eyed at Vanessa.

Vanessa opens her eyes and gasps. She jumps to her
feet.

VANESSA
Who are you?

ROSA
You must submerge.

Rosa nods.

ROSA
Or Dean will be killed.

She looks into the hallway then back to Vanessa.
Vanessa looks at the hallway too, but when she looks
back, Rosa's gone.

VANESSA
Hey! Where'd you go?!

Vanessa exits to the hallway.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY
Vanessa approaches the bathroom cautiously. She peaks
in quickly. There's no one there. She exits to the
bathroom.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - BATHROOM - DAY
Vanessa turns on the light. She reaches for the window,
but stops and balls her fist.

Water drips from the shower faucet.

Vanessa smells her armpits and frowns. She pulls her
shirt up to her belly, but then is reminded that the door
is gone.

She turns the water on anyway and lies in the tub as it
fills with water. Soon she's completely submerged and
holding her breath.

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE plays in the distance. Vanessa
comes up for a breath and notices the music. She looks
around for the source.

She turns the water off and grabs a towel, still looking
around. She quickly dries off as much as she can and exits.

INT. DEAN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Vanessa walks from the bathroom, searching for the
source of the music. It seems to be coming from the
front door. She slowly opens the door. The hallway is still
on the other side, but it looks cleaner.

She goes through the door.
Title: Re: Intent - 1124 words
Post by: Tony_A20 on August 30, 2015, 10:31:24 AM
To forum scriptwrters,

This is what a script looks like:
http://web.archive.org/web/20100525105437/http://www.foxscreenings.com/media/pdf/JamesCameronAVATAR.pdf
 (http://web.archive.org/web/20100525105437/http://www.foxscreenings.com/media/pdf/JamesCameronAVATAR.pdf)
This is how to display your script on MWC:
http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=49023.msg867941#msg867941 (http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=49023.msg867941#msg867941)

A little research would find both.

Tony
Title: Re: Intent - 1124 words
Post by: ChonkyDay on August 30, 2015, 12:57:37 PM
That's what I did origionally, but I couldn't read the text. Oh well.
Title: Re: Intent - 1124 words
Post by: TheOtherAdrian on August 30, 2015, 01:38:20 PM
Just for the record, I don't like entire texts put in code tags. It makes the letters dreadfully small.

I think it would help if you wrote just a few words about what it is we're reading here before jumping right into it. From what I read I'd guess it's the beginning of some kind of surreal horror movie? Or is it a TV show? Or something else entirely?

At the very beginning, is Vanessa buying the hourglass you mentioned? Or something else? You shouldn't make your director guess here.

You put in a lot of stage directions: "Ella crosses her arms", "She points to her name tag", "Vanessa pats Ella's back." Unless you're directing this, that stuff isn't your job.

As for the actual writing, I gotta admit I didn't get through the script. After a while, I just started glancing over it to get an idea about the plot. Most of the dialogue is pretty mundane, and the character's don't do anything exciting. In fact, nothing actually happens until Vanessa gets trapped in the house. I'd try shortening the opening. Or at least put in something interesting to hook the viewer.

When Vanessa is in the kitchen, why doesn't she try to break the glass? Banging the panes with your fist is a pretty weak attempt at getting out. I'd expect any protagonist I'm supposed to feel any sympathy for to take the heaviest object in the room and bash it against the glass.

Are you used to writing books/stories? This: Something falls off the counter. It's a notebook. seems more fit for a written piece. For a script, you don't need to build suspense or keep anything unclear for your reader. In fact, it will probably annoy your crew if you do that. You want to keep the viewer guessing, but not the people who have to bring it to life. So you can go with: A notebook falls off the counter.

After the notebook, how can Vanessa possibly sleep? I'd think she'd be high on adrenaline at this point.

She peaks in quickly.
That'd be "peeks"? Unless I've missed the big twist that she's a graph.

The scene in the bathroom confused me:
"Vanessa smells her armpits..." What? Why? She followed a ghost apparition thingy to the bathroom to save her boyfriend who is presumably trapped in some horror story or something, so why would she think it's important how her armpits smell of all things? Is she looking for Dean under her arms?
"She pulls her shirt up to her belly, but then is reminded that the door is gone."
I have no idea what you're trying to say. What reminds her that the door is gone? Only write what you can show on screen, and only those actions that are actually important for the plot. Anything else, the director and actress will work out.
"She turns the water on anyway..."
Despite what? The door missing?
"She turns the water off and grabs a towel, still looking around. She quickly dries off as much as she can and exits."
She's really not in a hurry to find her boyfriend, is she.

You might have a wonderful story in mind, but you need to work on how you present that story in script form. Good luck with your writing!
- Adrian
Title: Re: Intent - 1124 words
Post by: hillwalker3000 on August 30, 2015, 03:43:25 PM
The formatting is fine.

The script still needs a massive amount of work. So far I canít figure out why you wasted so much effort on irrelevant material that has no connection with the storyline. Ellaís bizarre behaviour serves no purpose, for example, since all she does is buy a sweater and glare at the other characters.

Unfortunately you tell us everything else that happened to Vanessa that day before the story even starts. She went shopping for a gift Ė fine. But we donít need to witness any of that. If she arrives at Deanís with a gift bag weíre intelligent enough to fill in the blanks.

Unfortunately almost half this excerpt is filled with humdrum activity that adds nothing to the plot.  Showing us Vanessa pay the cashier when she buys the hourglass, for instance, is pointless, as is the cashierís response. Itís hardly a gripping opening scene. Vanessaís conversation with Ella is just as boring, regardless of whether Rosa is watching or not, as is the cashierís next big scene. You expect us to sit tight and watch this?

Quote
ELLA
Nice seeing you.
VANESSA
Nice to see you too. I'll tell Dean I saw you.

I donít see any point in this opening scene at all even if youíre trying to slowly build up the story. Itís tedious stuff. Similarly, if youíre trying to introduce Ella as a sinister force (for what follows) you have to make it clearer.

The next scene with Vanessa turning up at the house Ė again itís hardly gripping. She sees a red car Ė ok, thatís presumably going to feature later. But we donít need a blow by blow account of how she gets inside the house or what she does with the gift bag.

The restraining order Ė since we donít know who these people are or what they look like itís a little uninvolving still. I guess this also has some relevance further down the line but since it doesnít feature in the rest of this extract itís a false clue at best.

Sadly, it doesnít take long for the script to run off the rails completely. Having a young, female character running from room to room with her eyes shut (really?) while spouting lines like ĎWhat the hell?í is a feeble rip-off of every horror movie ever made. To make things worse, we donít even know why sheís acting like this until she finds the door off its hinges, by which time Iíd lost interest because I couldnít keep up with which rooms sheíd been in and how many were left to explore. Itís a complete muddle. And the lack of any meaningful dialogue is a major problem. For a script, this is all hysterical choreography so far.

She continues her tour of the property before discovering a notebook with random letters written on the page. Again you fail to pursue this plot development. By now I realised this is not meant to be a script. Itís a plot outline with the occasional line of mundane dialogue included. But even for a plot outline the pacing is inconsistent. The switch from a frightened teenager dashing from room to room to her dozing off on the couch is laughable.

Quote
Rosa approaches, water dripping from her hair. She
smiles wide-eyed at Vanessa.
Vanessa opens her eyes and gasps. She jumps to her
feet.
VANESSA
Who are you?

Is this realistic behaviour given the situation? Hardly.
A mysterious woman appears in her brotherís home then vanishes, so Vanessa tries to break a window, smells her armpits then decides to take a bath. If you canít see how ludicrous this entire plot is so far then I canít begin to offer any meaningful advice.

Youíve sorted out the formatting. Next stage, reveal the main story by focusing on the important bits and removing the banal. Some interesting dialogue might also help. Good luck.

H3K
Title: Re: Intent - 1124 words
Post by: FrankieG702 on September 29, 2015, 07:01:11 PM
I like the premise. You have a cool idea for sure.