Author Topic: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)  (Read 11314 times)

Offline Aaron Thomas

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The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« on: December 24, 2013, 07:10:57 AM »
So I am writing this feature film to hopefully shoot late Jan/early Feb next year. I was going over the current draft today and there was a certain blandness I felt near the beginning. This script is not at all complete and, especially as it nears the end, there are some shortcuts etc. The main point that I am trying to fix is this 'boring' feel.

If anybody has any points to offer regarding this (or absolutely anything else that can be fixed) I would really welcome them.

Please note: As this is a crime film, there is a certain amount of profanity and violence.
Thanks for your time :)

hillwalker3000

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 09:47:39 AM »
It might make more sense if you posted the part you feel unhappy about. Most of us on here are wary of opening attachments.

H3K

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 09:58:09 PM »
Well it is really the whole general feel and flow of the script. This is evident even in the beginning but I didn't really want to post the whole script straight up. I will edit the post so you can see the first few scenes without opening the pdf. Just remember, the format is very different than on here.

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 09:58:59 PM »
Just remembered I can't edit a previous post.

For those of you who are a bit wary of opening the pdf file, I will post the first few pages right here:

FADE IN:

EXT. BRISBANE CITY - DAY

JEREMY has just finished busking in the area. He packs up his equipment - everything he owns fits into one case - and longingly watches the huge television above his favourite busking spot.

INT/EXT. ON TELEVISION - DAY

A news report about VINCE with clips of VINCEíS previous arrests etc, plays on tv about VINCEíS recent escape from prison.

EXT. BRISBANE CITY

JEREMY heads off to find another place to busk. He walks around the city, smoothly pick-pocketing pedestrians and stealing from open market stalls. He makes his way to a particularly busy area of the street, sets up a table and begins his busking routine. He begins by pulling out a deck of cards and playing
with them.

EXT. BRISBANE CITY - DAY

JEREMY is in the middle of a performance.

JEREMY
Ok, you sir. Whatís your name?

MAN
Paul.

JEREMY
Come over here for a second mate.

PAUL stands next to JEREMY.

Where are you from Paul?

MAN
Melbourne.

JEREMY
Oh nice to come from... shit to go back to.

The audience laughs. They are clearly enjoying themselves. Jeremy plays with a deck of cards.

Alright now what I want you to do, Paul, is pick a number between one and thirty.

PAUL
Ok.

JEREMY
Got one?

PAUL
Yup.

Jeremy gives the man two cards and guides him as he speaks.

JEREMY
Now just hold onto these cards for me. Just like that. Donít squeeze Ďem too hard, youíll go blind. Haha. Ok, now what was your number?

PAUL
Sixteen.

Jeremy shakes PAULís wrists as he holds onto the cards.

JEREMY
Ok. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, SIXTEEN!

The faces of the cards are now blurry. This, however, was just a distraction from what Jeremy was really doing - stealing the manís wristwatch!

JEREMY (CONTíD)
Check that out. Show everyone else your cards.

The crowd applauds as JEREMY pockets PAULíS watch. JEREMY takes his cards back and shakes PAULíS hand.

JEREMY (CONTíD)
Cheers for that.
(to crowd)
Big round of applause for Paul!

EXT. BRISBANE CITY - LATER
A final roar of applause is heard as JEREMY finishes his act.

JEREMY
Thatís the end, ladies and gentleman. Now this is the only job I have, so if you enjoyed the show please give generously.

JEREMY holds his hat out as the audience conservatively drops their money in.

EXT. BRISBANE CITY - AFTERNOON
JEREMY rings the doorbell of a shady house. It is answered by TIM, a lowlife black market dealer.

TIM
Yo, my man! How you doing?

TIM brings it in for a handshake/hug.

JEREMY
(unenthusiastically)
Alright mate.

TIM
Come inside bitch-tits! Let me make you some green tea!

INT. TIMíS HOUSE - AFTERNOON
TIM and JEREMY are sitting at a table. TIM sips on a cup of green tea.

TIM
You sure you donít want any of this shit? Makes you spiritual.

JEREMY
Iím sure.

TIM
Jesus drank this stuff man. And Gandhi.

JEREMY
Iím pretty sure green tea didnít exist when Jesus was alive.

TIM
Well, agree to disagree.

TIM holds his cup up in a Ďcheersí fashion and takes a sip. JEREMY stares with a deadpan look, stunned that anybody could be so stupid.

JEREMY
Anyway... I just came around to show you my pull. You know, fill my stomach for the week.

TIM
Yeah sure man. Just dump it all out right now.

JEREMY empties the contents of his bag onto the table and out pours his winnings of the day - PAULS watch, a necklace, a mobile phone and a few other goodies.

JEREMY
Itís better than last week, right? I mean thatís got to be at least, I donít know, a hundred and twenty bucks right there.

TIM pulls out fifty dollars from a pile of assorted notes.

TIM
More like fifty dog.

JEREMY
Fifty dollars?! Are you crazy?

TIM
A guyís got to turn a profit man. No oneís trading these days, bro. Iíll be lucky if I get ninety for this

JEREMY
Sixty then.

TIM adds another ten dollars to give to JEREMY.

TIM
Okay, Iíll give you sixty. But only because weíre mates.

JEREMY
Cheers man.

hillwalker3000

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 05:35:06 AM »
You include a lot of superfluous detail for what's meant to be a screenplay. Most of it can be discarded - allow the actor to be guided by the producer. Your job is to write dialogue - nothing else.

As for the 'card scam' - it didn't make sense, I'm afraid. The punter chose sixteen as his number and. . . what? The 'magician' says the word 'sixteen' out loud after shuffling some cards? There's no sense of how the trick resolved itself so we're left wondering how this smokescreen could possibly be successful.

H3K

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2013, 07:04:56 AM »
Would you mind going into detail on what sort of detail is 'superfluous'? I'm afraid I don't see what you're talking about as it's a bit generalized. You might want to read the scene again, he didn't shuffle the cards - it was an excuse for him to hold onto Paul's wrists as he steals his watch. I'm sorry but I don't see how that doesn't make sense. Maybe it was the way it was written, but what I'm looking for is how I can make it better - what I can change to make it better...

hillwalker3000

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2013, 09:57:42 AM »
If you're writing a screenplay your job is to concentrate on dialogue. The producer and cast will decide the rest (and likely as not ignore any hints you give them anyway on how to act out a particular scene or create a setting).
 
With this in mind the underlined parts are superfluous

JEREMY has just finished busking in the area. He packs up his equipment - everything he owns fits into one case - and longingly watches the huge television above his favourite busking spot.
JEREMY heads off to find another place to busk. He walks around the city, smoothly pick-pocketing pedestrians and stealing from open market stalls. He makes his way to a particularly busy area of the street, sets up a table and begins his busking routine. He begins by pulling pulls out a deck of cards and starts playing with them.
JEREMY is in the middle of a performance.
The audience laughs. They are clearly enjoying themselves. Jeremy plays with a deck of cards.

We already know he's playing with the cards
JEREMY holds his hat out as and the audience conservatively drops their money in.
TIM holds his cup up in a Ďcheersí fashion and takes a sip. JEREMY stares with a deadpan look, stunned that anybody could be so stupid.


I've no idea why Jeremy has to move from one place to another right at the start of the scene. You're unnecessarily complicating a simple set-up. If you want to establish he's a thief right from the beginning all you need is this:

JEREMY walks around the street pick-pocketing pedestrians and stealing from open market stalls then he sets up a table and pulls out a deck of cards.

Similarly this doesn't belong in a screenplay. It's like an extract from a short story:
A news report about VINCE with clips of VINCEíS previous arrests etc, plays on tv about VINCEíS recent escape from prison.
Maybe you could cut to the newscaster reading a report so the viewer realises that someone called VINCE has escaped prison - assuming it's relevant to the plot.

Unfortunately when we get to the dialogue it's a little artificial. And I don't understand how the trick worked or why the audience were so impressed. I realise it's a smokescreen to allow him to steal the watch - but what was the trick? The punter says 'sixteen'. . . and then what?

JEREMY (CONTíD)
Check that out. Show everyone else your cards.


Since the viewer doesn't get to see the cards we're not party to what happened.

And the 'street speak' with TIM who's presumably his fence  - I have to say it's rather lame.

H3K

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2013, 10:16:58 AM »
Ok, it's not just the dialogue - I have to tell what will be on screen. The producer and cast aren't the ones who will decide as much as the director (which I will be)

'With this in mind' those parts are not superfluous as I will be showing them on the screen. He heads off because that's what buskers do, pack up and find another spot after working the spot's alleged time for the day. It's not that complicated.

As for Jeremy holding out his hat 'as' the audience is right. He is holding the hat out at the same time - why bother changing it to 'and'? How does that make it better?

Please read the script properly - I understand it's hard as my writing isn't that great, but there is a part mentioned where the cards have become blurred after he has reached the number.

Remember, I made it obvious that I knew there were shortcuts (VINCE'S news report being one of them) and of course it is relevant to the plot.

Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the advice and have taken them into account. I will definitely be making some changes now, but perhaps you could be a bit more positive rather than telling me that a scene/character is 'lame'? If you're going to bash it, don't bother - if you're going to tell me how to fix it or make it less 'lame' then I'd love to hear it.

Offline bri h

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2013, 11:53:25 AM »
I'm confused too? Where was the 'trick,' in the card trick? Unless you produce a trick, then the crowd will know your MC will have had a different agenda and he'll be 'rumbled' straight away. To make this more believable, you have to have the card-shark do a trick. Just my opinion. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2013, 12:01:30 PM »
I'm re-reading again, and I can see how it is a bit confusing. I will be sure to change that - but does anybody have any advice on how I can make this screenplay read better? Maybe some general tips on what I can do to get my point across in an interesting manner that doesn't confuse? I'll be sure to change this script very soon and re-post, but until then, anything else that might help me?

Offline 2par

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2013, 12:33:57 PM »
So you're going to be the director. Okay. Then what you have here isn't so much as a script but somewhere halfway to an idea.
 
Try this Aaron: Write what is called a Step Script. This means a complete summary of the entire film, scene by scene. What do you want to happen in each and every scene. Do not put in any directions to actors or to the cameraman.

As the writer, you put on a writer's hat and only write the script.
As the Director, you put on the director's hat after the script is written.

Okay, after, or even during, the writing of the Step Script, you may want to include certain dialogue, or pieces of scenes. That's ok.

After the Step Script is done, then you can start writing the scenes.

Then, when the entire script is done -sans directions to writers and to the cameraman, you can then start thinking about submitting it to a director.

Why that's you.
So this is when you put on the Director's hat and you can write out the story board for each scene. Mind you...you still do not write in any directions to actors or camera.

Then, you have casting. And then you have the first reading. You still do not give directions.  Not yet. Be patient.

When you get on the soundstage or location, and you're ready to shoot, and everyone has seen the story boards and you have your crew there and the actors and everyone has seen the storyboards, then you talk to the actors. You discover from Them how they see the characters, etc. You discuss camerawork and Lighting and Sound with those involved.  In fact, you have lots of discussions with all before, during and after the script is written. You may want to have discussions with sleight of hand magicians about the different ways to portray the stealing, etc. You may want to invest some time with people who know about the drug world, etc.

Directing is the most important thing. The film becomes truly the Director's, but he has to realize that none of this project will come about without input from Everyone involved. But it is, in the end, his/her vision. Everyone understands that. You rehearse everyone, crew included. And THAT is when you give directions to actors and camera and crew. Until then, it's all tech.

After the film is done comes the hard part: Editing, and for that you need an Editor who totally understands your vision.
And by the way, who's your producer. You gotta figure him in too. 

But I think that's it for now.

Just get that script written. Put on the writer's hat and don't take it off until you hand the script to the director. 

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2013, 12:40:34 PM »
Thanks 2par - I think this is the best advice I've been given so far. I realise it can be frustrating on your side, so I appreciate the help. Just fyi, I'm the producer as well - this is an indie film and mostly just my own little project to do it for the experience.

Offline 2par

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2013, 01:07:15 PM »
haha...I sort of guessed who the producer was.
I've done several indie films and commercials, so I've have some practical experience as well as book larnin', and I know people in the business. But I truly don't know all the ins and outs. I doubt anyone does for years and years in the business, so take it easy. Don't sweat it too much but do allow a drop of perspiration to trickle down occasionally.


hillwalker3000

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2013, 01:09:10 PM »
'With this in mind' those parts are not superfluous as I will be showing them on the screen. He heads off because that's what buskers do, pack up and find another spot after working the spot's alleged time for the day. It's not that complicated.

Unless you're filming a documentary of course it's unnecessarily complicated. What does it matter to the viewer that he started in one place then moved on?

As for Jeremy holding out his hat 'as' the audience is right. He is holding the hat out at the same time - why bother changing it to 'and'? How does that make it better?

One action follows the other. He holds his hat out then the audience hand out cash - but you're right, that's a minor issue.

Please read the script properly - I understand it's hard as my writing isn't that great, but there is a part mentioned where the cards have become blurred after he has reached the number.

Pardon my ignorance but I did read it 'properly' and nowhere do you explain how the trick works. What exactly do you mean by the cards becoming blurred? It's a non-event as far as card tricks go from where I'm sitting.

Perhaps you could be a bit more positive rather than telling me that a scene/character is 'lame'? If you're going to bash it, don't bother - if you're going to tell me how to fix it or make it less 'lame' then I'd love to hear it.

True. Perhaps I could spend my time doing something else as well rather than doing your job for you.

Good luck.

H3K

Offline Aaron Thomas

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Re: The Alliance - An Indie Crime Film - 35 Pages (PDF)
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2013, 01:14:52 PM »
Look, I'm asking for help and advice - not for anyone to do my job for me. There's a difference between being helpful and being a jerk. As you can already see, I've taken these things into account and have learned, so no need to have a go at me.