Author Topic: final pages of "not by the book" #24  (Read 12884 times)

Offline 2par

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Re: not by the book follow continued #13
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2013, 02:29:10 AM »
You should cut out all the "Cut To" instructions, for one thing.

Also, you don't just say the Interviewer asks this or that.  This is the form:

                                                                   INTERVIEWER (VO)
                                        Blah, Blah, Blah, etc.

VO means Voiceover.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 02:32:45 AM by 2par »

Offline Ajaxe

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Re: not by the book follow continued #13
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2013, 03:23:02 AM »
 <b>Camera directions and any other directions are in the 
               director's territory.  Don't at any time, unless you are
               going to direct the movie stray away from simply telling
               what happens in the story.</b>

               <b>A spec is all about speculation.  You suggest, the big boys
               decide whether they'll keep what you write or change it to
               fit suit their needs. </b>


               <b>Where is the action taking place? </b>

                                     (VOICE OVER)
                         It's not all fresh air for Darren.
                         At the end of his shift he has to
                         return to the station to update his
                         paperwork. It gives him a chance to
                         catch up with colleagues and reflect
                         on the day's events.

                                                <b>YOU CAN DISPENSE WITH
               THE FILM. </b>

               INT. - PATROL ROOM – AFTERNOON

               <b>A montage is a series of shots.  It doesn't show.</b>


               <b>SHOT 1</b>

               <b>SHOT 2</b>

               <b>SHOT 3</b>

               <b>End Of MONTAGE then get back to the action.</b>


               <b>[SHOW, don't tell.  How do we know Trevor Cross has made a
               big effort with his appearance.  Show it.]</b> 

               Inspector Trevor Cross has obviously made a big effort with
               his appearance in readiness for the interview. His pips are
               clearly on display and his name badge sits proudly on his
               chest. His desk has neatly stacked paperwork on it. A
               photograph of an attractive blonde lady (his wife) takes
               centre stage and is intentionally facing towards the camera.

                                     INSPECTOR CROSS
                         Oh yes, my patrollers are an integral
                         part of neighbourhood policing. They
                         forge close links with the community
                         and act as a focal point.  The Police
                         can often be viewed with suspicion
                         but, my team are trying to break
                         those barriers down. They are the
                         eyes and ears of the division and
                         they play a crucial role in the
                         community regaining their
                         neighbourhoods.  Myself and the senior
                         leadership team are committed to
                         their future development.

               INTERVIEWER asks

               <b>[which question?  For Cross to respond to the question and
               for the audience to make sense of it then the interviewer
               must ask the question] </b>

               An obviously tricky question.

               Inspector Cross shuffles uncomfortably in his chair.

               <b>[Show Cross's discomfiture in action please.} </b>

                                     INSPECTOR CROSS (CONT'D)
                         Well yes, complaints have risen by
                         per cent over the past eight years.
                         However that's across the board.
                         There is absolutely no evidence to
                         point the finger at the Patrollers.

               <b>[Montage serves a very specific purpose.  Just google it up
               and learn from the experts.  And even then at this time many
               people think it belonged in the era of the 90s.  Outdated? 
               I don't know.] </b>

               INT. - LIVING ROOM – EVENING

               [Every action paragraph corresponds to one shot.  Action
               that will be filmed from one angle.  Each time you feel add
               a character into the picture and you feel that it would
               require filming from another angle then write another action

               The house looks untidy. There are children toys and unwashed
               plates strewn all over the room. 

               Julie is seen trying to get the children to behave. Darren
               is seen in the background playing on a games console.

                          Darren loves his job. He always
                         wanted to work for the Police. He
                         got to thirty and thought sod it, my


                                     JULIE (CONT'D)
                         life's going nowhere, so he applied
                         to join. Unfortunately, he didn't
                         get through the paper sift but, they
                         asked him to go for an interview for
                         the patrollers job, and he got it.

               Two young boys, fight on the floor. 

               Darren gets up from his chair and walks towards the children.
               He steps over them and enters another room, closing the door
               behind him.

                                     JULIE  (CONT'D)
                         He was so determined to make a go of
                         it, he even took a pay cut from his
                         last job. He was a shelf stacker at

Offline 2par

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Re: not by the book follow continued #13
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 02:32:53 PM »
Excellent, Ajaxe.

Offline wayne g

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Re: not by the book follow continued #13
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2013, 01:16:10 PM »
           Thanks for the advice and examples of formatting, it definitely reads better. Before formatting i studied many scripts from the bbc script writers room and used a combination of ideas for how i wanted the scenes to take shape. This is my first ever attempt at writing anything and hopefully the re-write will be formatted more accurately. Apart from the formatting, what did you think of the idea and story in general? Did you find it funny or not? etc. Honest feedback, even negative is gratefully accepted.



Offline Ajaxe

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Re: not by the book follow continued #13
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2013, 11:31:02 AM »
Wayne, a review of a script takes into account all the elements of the script, how well they work together and the general effect they produce on the reader. That's why when script readers write coverage for scripts they use a point system to rate the different elements of the story.

Whether a story is funny, riveting, etc., is entirely subjective. I always say a story is OK. Always, see but that in itself is by no means helpful because after saying OK there's always the but. . .

Set you up to knock you down?


From experience I know any story can be transformed from being just an average story you  have to force yourself to read through because you've been hired to do the re-write...

...into something someone can read and enjoy by only punching in TENSION.

Dramatic stories are about conflict. Confrontations. Conflict and more conflict. Your story lacks this basic condiment that spices up great stories. Even in the absence of conflict your set up should at least pique the reader's desire to read more. . .because you tacitly promise them interesting stuff ahead. 

Screenwriting is all about mastering the craft before worrying about the product you wish to create.

You just have to learn the process of creating then everything will come easy and if you don't have any great story ideas, consummate mastery of the craft will still get you work. Most screenwriters earn their living re-writing scripts so it's best to be prepared for that.

So Wayne, since you mention you're just starting out, my advice would be:

Concentrate on learning the craft. Let yourself go. Don't worry about the story - - whether it's good or not because unless you are submitting to a small script competition, chances are your work will be rejected consistently until you're able to convince an agent your work is good enough for him to present to producers.
At times, it's not that your story or script isn't good but it's because the market forces work against you. For example, an industry insider handed in his script and it got read before yours, you submitted your script at the wrong time when the production schedule has already been filled, etc.

That's why, to make it in the movie industry you have to be really good. The best way to gauge your writing is to actually compare you story to stories which have been approved and endorsed with $$$$ by audiences.

These are some of the top-grossing movies of all time. Try to analyze them to find out why they were able to draw such attention.

Why compare yourself against the people who wrote those stories? It's because, like it or not, for you to get a foot in you have to write as as or better than them.

That's what Hollywood wants. Commercially viable work. Unlike other writing genres a screenwriter must think like a copywriter. Money. It's not about art. It's not about fancy writing.

It's about the ability of the movie to draw people into the theater so- -

p.s To learn more about screenwriting from actual pros visit:

Offline wayne g

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Re: not by the book follow continued #19
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2013, 04:37:21 PM »


Darren is seen struggling with inputting something on the computer. Three Police officers are seen in conversation and are obviously aware of the camera. As Darren gives the computer a whack one of the Police officers spurred on by his colleagues walks towards the camera. He is keen to have his fifteen minutes of fame. He addresses the camera as his friends look on.
            PC HULME: to camera
      He’s been here years (pointing to Darren) 
      Not got a bloody clue what he’s doing.
(INTERVIEWER) asks what Darren’s like personally.

            PC HULME: to camera
      Dazzler? He’s not too bad. As long as he
      doesn’t write any crap on my crimes that is.

Police officer turns to look at his colleagues who are seen to urge him on.
            PC HULME: to camera
      The thing is, he means well but, at the end of
      the day he is still one of the chimps.

(INTERVIEWER) asks what chimps, means.

Police officer looks over to his mates again, who are now giggling. He prepares for the punch line.
            PC HULME: to camera
      Yeah, that’s right CHIMPS. Completely
      Hopeless In Most Police Situations. You see
      it’s an acronym. We love them in the Police
      force. PCPO’s are what they’re known as. ( he
      points to the Patrollers ) See there you go
      again, another acronym. ( he looks towards his
      colleagues ) Wasn’t he in Star Wars?

Police officer turns to mates who are cracking up.

Darren, aware that the officers are making fun of him and frustrated that he can’t get the computer to work exits the office. The three officers who are back in a huddle spot a window of opportunity. One of them goes to the door to check that Darren doesn’t return,  while the other two go over to the computer where he was working. The camera zooms in to see one of the officers accessing Darren’s email account. Inspector Cross’s address is entered in. The officer types – Boss, Please, please, please can I shag your wife?
All the best
         PC HULME: to camera
      School boy error.


            INSPECTOR CROSS: to camera
      Yes it’s a tough job. Darren is at the sharp
      end. A public facing role can be very
      challenging. You’re there to be shot at.

(INTERVIEWER) responds to last comment.

Inspector Cross glances at the camera nervously as he has to reply to a question about an incident he thought was in-house.
         INSPECTOR CROSS: to camera
      It was only an air rifle.

Stunned and awkward silence.

Inspector Cross’s computer beeps alerting him to an incoming email. He reads it, glances nervously at the camera wondering if the crew know the contents. He picks up the photograph of his wife, looks at it lovingly, glances at the camera again and places it face down on the desk. The camera stays on him for a few more embarrassing seconds.



Darren is seen again playing on a games console. Julie is seen entering the living room.

            JULIE: to camera
      I’ve just put the kids to bed. Darren’s
      shattered. ( Obviously covering for him ) He’s
      a great dad. He really loves playing with the
      boys, don’t you love?


      I said that when you’re not exhausted you
      really love playing with the boys.

            DARREN: Obviously annoyed at being distracted.
      Err, yes love, whatever.

Julie smiles at the camera trying in vain to hide her annoyance.

      Aww! Bless him, he’s exhausted. ( with obvious
      pride ) He’s got both their names tattooed on
      his calves. Show them Darren.

Camera pans to Darren who swings round on his chair.

      What now?

            JULIE: trying to remain calm.
      Show them the kid’s tattoos.

Darren calms down and lifts his left trouser leg. He turns his calf to the camera to reveal a love heart with the name Joshua in it. Darren attempts to return to his game.

            JULIE: glances to the camera looking a bit anxious.
      They know we’ve got two kids Darren, show them
      the other one.

            DARREN: clearly reluctant
      I’m just finishing off this level.

            JULIE: Who’s had enough.

Darren stares at her, obviously annoyed at her insistence. He lifts his right trouser leg to reveal the same love heart tattoo with the name Shaun in it. He looks over to Julie again, waiting for her to speak. As she starts to talk to the camera, he shakes his head and returns to his game.

            JULIE: to camera
      There was a bit of a mistake with the Shaun tattoo. His name’s Sean, SEAN. Not Shaun, SHAUN.

Awkward silence.

(INTERVIEWER) asks what Darren did.

      He went back to complain but, they told him to
      piss off and learn how to spell.

Camera pans to Darren who half turns to the camera, jumps up off the chair and announces he’s going to bed.



Camera pans on Darren who is sat up in bed reading a book called “A COPPERS TALES”. Julie enters the room and stares at the camera. She is obviously alarmed at the camera's presence in the bedroom. Darren looks over and she gives him a look. Julie climbs into bed and turns her back on him. He senses her anger and signals to the camera to go. He turns off the light. In the gloom the camera pans from the bed towards the bedroom window. On a cabinet in front of the window a red light can be seen. The camera zooms in to reveal the body cam Darren wears. The camera pans back to the bed. Darren can be seen snuggling up to Julie.

      I thought you were tired? ( pause ) And you can
      take that bloody body cam back to work an all.

Offline bobby801

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Re: not by the book follow continued #19
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2013, 09:35:29 AM »
Hi Darren - I like your script and can see things unfolding in my minds eye.

It does have a feel of the 'Office' about it , but more so the 'Operation Good Guys', which I think preceded the Office and in my opinion was superior, and didn't get the critical acclaim it deserved.
I do though agree with the other contributors re your directions. Even omitting camera directions (which aren't necessary, or welcomed in  spec scripts, you instructions conveying the actions are simply too long. Cut out all superflous words, including definite and indefinite articles where possible.  Look to convey things in a snappier manner, rather than prose-like text.

Hope that helps - I think you have a good crop of characters here, so keep at it.

Bobby 801

Offline ChrisHarrison

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Re: not by the book follow continued #19
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2013, 04:14:15 PM »
If the interviewer doesn't have their lines written in the script someone else will have to write them and that someone else will get a share of the fee for writing the script. You're giving money away by not writing those lines yourself.


Offline PhilRocks

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Re: not by the book follow continued #19
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2013, 05:18:46 PM »
Avoid  Weak, Progressive verbs in Action lines (is verbing):
Is walking,  is sitting, is talking
to be (am, is, are, was, were, be, been)
T0 have (have, has, had)
there is – are – was - were
-ing --  words ending in -ing
Remove the verb "to be" (and all its parts) and use an active verb. Make "Two MEN are outside" into "Two MEN stand outside." With the progressive verb form, turn "He is dialing the phone" into "He dials the phone." Overuse of the verb "to be" is a pet peeve of many, many Hollywood readers.
Avoid generalities:
it , very, nearly, almost, really, seem, appear, felt, feel, quite, few, thing, stuff, about, several, some, very
"it" and "there" where they are used impersonally or without meaning. Keep them only when "it" is used as a real live pronoun or "there" as an indication of direction or place. "It is raining" becomes "Rain falls" or more simply "Rain." "It's your turn!" becomes "Your turn!" "There are bottles everywhere" becomes "Bottles litter the room."
Avoid noise words:
that-  (Usually not necessary in most sentences)
just, begin, begins, beginning, began, suddenly, would, should, could, rather, got, get, anyway, because, "ly" adverbs, so, then, even, only, about , really
start, started, starts, starting
As, Then:
This happens as that happens.  This happens then that happens.
Replace as and then with a period.  Make sure that you have two complete sentences because these are two separate camera shots..
How Many Camera Shots in a movie?
Consider a two hour movie.  2 x 60 minutes x 60 seconds = 7,200 seconds
Watch a movie.  The camera shot changes about every 3 or 4 seconds.
7,200 / 3  =  2,400 shots  /  120 pages  =  20 shots per page.  WOW.
7,200 / 4  =  1,800 shots  /  120 pages  =  15 shots per page.

Avoid redundancy again:
down - up (as in sit down, stand up - is redundant)
Basic rules applying to script dialogue.
1.   Spell out all one and two digit numbers. Three or more digits are written numerically.
2.   Spell out indications of time. E.g., do not write 2:15, write two-fifteen.
3.   Spell out all personal titles except Mr., Mrs., and Ms.
4.    Never hyphenate a word from one line to the next unless the word is normally hyphenated anyway. An example of this would be something like son-in-law.
5.   Do not start a line of dialogue with Yes, No, Okay, Of course, Thank you, Hello, Well, Hey, I mean, Yeah.  This may seem clumsy at first, but it will grow on you, sometimes leading to the elision of entire first sentences.   "hello", "goodbye", "please", "thank you", and "you're welcome" unless used for irony, character, or emphasis for some reason. We all know their use is demanded by generally-accepted standards of courtesy, but courtesy is just not very cinematic.
6.   NEVER have a One Word dialogue line.  A character MUST have more to say than Yes.

Character Introductions:
Each significant character must be introduced with an action scene that defines to the audience the character’s ‘current’ nature.  Begin with a bang and explain it later.  The audience wants someone to love and someone to hate.  You have to make that happen.
In film, things don't "begin to", "start to", "continue to", "suddenly" happen,
they just HAPPEN….NOT- It begins to rain.   BUT- Rain turns the dust to mud.
Nor does something happen "then" something else happens. Things just HAPPEN, in the present tense, without an intermediary "then". 
Avoid words with no energy like "sits," walks," "stands," and others like them.  Use your thesaurus and find more energetic or interesting words.  There are 200 words that can be used in place of "walk," for example,  stride, amble, move, shuffle, strut, saunter, stroll, and so on.  No script should contain the words sit, walk, stand, or very.

Make every word count, make it life or death, push it past the edge, surprise yourself, dare to achieve greatness with each well-selected word, because that's what writing well is all about.
Combine adjectives, nouns, and adverbs into very well-crafted verbs, even if you have to make them up (see Create below).
Utilize the richness of the English language to create powerfully descriptive verbs and greatly enhance writing efficiency. Nouns, sounds, attitudes, etc. can all be combined into one verb--thereby enlivening and economizing your writing. "The BOY galumphs to the shed." With no descriptors on the boy or the building, we see the mud, his footwear, his way of moving, his attitude in doing it. Get all these things into the verb.
Pick out-of-the-ordinary verbs wherever possible. Especially for the most overused screenplay verb "look". :
Words in Action Lines
Don’t use realize, assume, feels, appears, or thinks in Action sentences.  These words put the Reader in the Character’s mind.  That’s a place the camera can’t see. 
Brush up on your punctuation.  No commas after and. 
Bad EX: He went to the house and, opened the door.