My Writers Circle

Workshop => Review My Script => Topic started by: Simon on April 30, 2007, 11:35:45 PM

Title: Scene needs to be extended (Warning some mild swearing)
Post by: Simon on April 30, 2007, 11:35:45 PM
In an acting studio, set up to perform a short scene: a couch centre stage.

Scott is an actor, enrolled in a prestigious and pretentious acting school, performing an exercise, playing Steve. Scott receives regular criticism because he fails to understand the pretentious side of acting.

Jill is an actress, enrolled in the same acting school, performing the same exercise, playing Jane.

Evan is a director/teacher at the acting school; he invented the exercise and wrote the scene, in which it’s preformed.

The exercise is to perform a short scene, attempting to “keep the dynamic” with the character Cindy played by a mop, leaning on the couch. Jill and Scott are meant to imagine.  The exercise intends on teaching them to “be more generous as actors”.

Scott, and the mop are on the couch, Scott stage left to mop. Scott and Jill are in character.

Scott: Cindy, despite last evening’s happenings, my love has only grown stronger. With your help I will be a stronger man.

(Cindy pause)

Scott: (laugh) Your sense of humour makes you very desirable, to me.

(Enter Jill)

Jill (to Steve): Bastard! You had earlier led me to believe that your love was mine. Did the events of the evening previous to this hold no bearing on your feelings?

(Cindy pause)

Scott (saying his line too early, to Cindy): Well, I have forgiven you, but…

Evan (from off stage): Cut. (Enters stage right) Scott, could you take out your script.

(Scott takes script out of back pocket)

Evan: Now what do you have there? Is it moving through your colon right now? Hmm? Is it?

Scott: Uh…

Evan: Then why are you turning it into shit! Look here, it’s written right in, Cindy’s line is 8 beats long. Was that eight beats Scott? No it was 5.

Jill: I counted four.

Evan: See Scott. (to Jill) Good work Jill, just a little (searching for words) more. (to Scott) Scott, you’re not taking anything Cindy is saying in.

Scott: Well, she’s kind of a mop.

Evan: You’re going to have to work with weaker actors sometimes. Pick it up from “that’s not fair”. (exits) 1, 2, 3, and begin.

(Cindy Pause)

Scott: (counting 8 beats before speaking) Well, I have forgiven you, but that night hurt me deep. I can’t excuse your actions. It’s simply on the strength of my love-

Jill: (to Scott, cutting him off) You love me though. Stop lying.

(Cindy Pause)

Jill: (to Cindy) You, you did this bitch!

Evan: Cut. (enters) Don’t worry, it wasn’t you Jill, you were great, maybe just a little… (searching for words) less. Scott, your performance lacks… (searching for words) fullness. You’re lacking a connection with Cindy, not just what she’s saying but also how she reacts to Jane.

Scott: She just sits there.

Evan: Imagination! Project what her emotions should be onto the mop.

Scott: But if a real actor lacked that emotion and you pretended they didn’t, wouldn’t that just look worse?

Evan: (pause) What you have to understand about your character is his essential struggle. (Sits on couch and grabs mop) You see you have this delicate gentle physical lust for Cindy-

Scott: The mop?

Evan: I am the director, you are the actor! Do not challenge my authority with your damn tone! (Pause) Anyway, you have this (begins holding the mop sensually) delicate gentle physical lust for Cindy, but you have a harsh and blunt emotional love for Jane here. His core internal battle is his confusion between love and lust. Because love is harsh, and lust is delicate, and sophisticated.

Scott: With a mop.

Jill: Fuck! The object doesn’t matter! It’s just so we learn to work with nothing, just like I have too with you!

Evan: Jill it’s okay, this exercise is about learning to help weaker actors. Here’s a perfect chance. We’ll just take baby steps. I’ll voice Cindy. Okay. We’ll start with Jane’s last line. (exits) 1, 2, 3, action.

Jill: You did this, you bitch.

Evan (offstage, in an overly feminine voice): I’m not to blame, at all. He feels what he feels.

Scott: Yeah, don’t bring this poor cherub in. Whatever she’s done hasn’t changed anything.

Jill: Bullshit, you loved me and then you left with that swivel headed girl. She’s a poor substitute for a human being. She just drags the filth with her wherever-

Scott: (laughs).

Jill: Fuck, we’re never going to get through this.

Scott: That wasn’t my fault.

Evan: Cut. (enters) Scott, that was not a place in which your character would really be laughing. (to Jill) Jill I’m looking for a more whole performance from you, you know, I need more totality. So anyway, we should take it just from the top.

Jill: Okay this is getting retarded. I’ve tried to stay professional, but this is the biggest crop of shit I’ve ever seen. The exercise is pointless, and this scene is hardly coherent.

Evan: You are clearly missing the point of the scene. You see, Steve has lust that more resembles the traditional view of love than his-

Jill: So I’ve heard. That’s not only a stupid idea, but there’s no way you can expect any actor show this.

Scott: Yeah.

Jill: Especially not a shitty actor.

Scott: I’m not a bad actor.

Jill: Sorry but, yeah, you’re not any good.

Scott: Yeah, well, you’re not any good at not being a bitch.

Evan: This is very unprofessional, let’s just push this little conflict aside and finish the exercise.

Jill: You’ll have to replace me with another mop. (Jill exits)

Evan: Okay the challenge of this exercise has just increased. Now remember this cushion on the floor here is going to represent Jane.

Scott: Yeah, that’s not happening. (exits)

Evan: I don’t need you, I can replace you. (places a cushion on couch and hides behind the couch)

Evan: (in very masculine voice) Cindy, despite last evening’s happenings, my love has only grown stronger. With your help I will be a stronger man. (In overly feminine) You seem strong enough for me. (Feminine laugh, then masculine laugh) Your sense of humour makes you very desirable to me.

(lights down)
Title: Re: Scene needs to be extended
Post by: Nadine L on June 23, 2007, 07:01:03 AM

First a fictions disclaimer from my fictions legal department: I'm soooo not an expert in this area...feel free to totally ignore me.

Overall, I thought this was a very funny short. I could see this used in the high school drama showcase thingy my kids are in, except for a couple of words the school board would not allow. Nice small cast, easy set. I love the idea of the ending.

To me, this line read awkward: Evan: See Scott. (to Jill) Good work Jill, just a little (searching for words) more. (to Scott) Scott, you’re not taking anything Cindy is saying in.

What if you moved "in" to before "anything"? (to Scott) Scott, you’re not taking in anything Cindy is saying.

Title: Re: Scene needs to be extended
Post by: PaulW on June 23, 2007, 08:01:03 AM
Not a bad scene, sorta amusing. How much were you thinking of extending it by?

Oh a couple of points.

1. If you're going to have profanity in the script, stick a warning as part of your header. Just (explicit language) or something. Kids, and people who don't like such things don't end up getting in by mistake then.

2. There's a pretty standard format for presenting Scripts, you'll probably find it easier to stick to that. You can get a template for word to help with it and there are loads of books.

Ok, as to extending it. One good workround is to introduce another character who just chips in with the odd comment. Just for the sake of the argument there is a cleaner there, throwing in comments to add another level to the scene. It's often easier to add a character than to force the dialogue beyond where it should stop. At the moment it's pretty sharp, I think there's a danger you'd dilute it if you just padded it to extend the scene. The confusion of two sets of conversations going on, working against each other can really help. Just an idea anyway, there are lots of ways to get where you want to be. Good luck with it! ;D

Title: Re: Scene needs to be extended (Warning some mild swearing)
Post by: Simon on June 23, 2007, 11:33:01 AM
thanks for your feedback, I'd already made changes to the script and preformed it. It went very well. I'll post the revised version.