Author Topic: Family Tradition  (Read 3439 times)

Offline w.yn.

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Family Tradition
« on: November 14, 2015, 02:31:02 AM »
Hello All!

This is the first little bit of the screenplay for a idea I've been playing with for about a year now. This bit focuses more on visuals than dialogue, so let me know what it does for you in that respect. There's a 'Rapid Flashback' sequence that I've been having some trouble with so any suggestions on that would be especially appreciated. Thanks!

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Black. A soft symphony begins. A gentle choir shortly after. The melodies pull together to MOZART’S LACRIMOSA, a death march, as we move down to the funeral.

INT. HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL-CHICAGO, ILLINOIS-APRIL, 1997-DAY


A Requiem Mass during the receiving of the body. The Cathedral is packed, many of those in attendance are part of local news stations. The departed is clearly someone of importance.

We move to the departed, open casket. An older man, between sixty or seventy it seems. Even in death his demeanor is powerful. As he passes the front of the sanctuary, we stay with a small group of people: A woman, forties, mournful but intense. A boy, thirteen, teary eyed. A young girl, eight, indifferent. The girl looks down at her clutched hand, a pearl necklace hanging from her fist. She looks back up, showing more anger than sorrow.

The man’s casket is set in the front of the sanctuary. The Priest prepares to begin the ceremony.


EXT. HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL-CHICAGO, ILLINOIS-APRIL, 1997-DAY


Black skies, ready to storm. The streets are beginning to line with people, the sidewalks and cathedral guarded by a legion of security. A man in a black rain coat sits at a bus stop across from the cathedral, reading a newspaper, his face covered. The headline reads ‘The Life of Norman Harper: Remembering Our Greatest Leader’, with a picture of the man we’d seen in the casket gracing the front. An older man comes to rest next to him. He chuckles.

OLD TIMER:
I don’t think the bus is coming for us today.

The MAN IN BLACK puts the newspaper down, but we move away before we could get a detailed look at his face. From a distance we see their silhouettes. The MAN IN BLACK is quite amused.

MAN IN BLACK:
(A very slight accent, nearly unnoticeable. It is European but the region is unclear)
Better start walking then.

The MAN IN BLACK leaves the OLD TIMER to rest.

INT. HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL-CHICAGO, ILLINOIS-APRIL, 1997-DAY


We are in the back of the sanctuary, almost hidden from the crowd. A man stares in awe at this grand affair, a look of disbelief in his eyes. He is in his thirties, hair is ratty but he is dressed well to blend in. Another man, security personnel, taps him on the shoulder.

SECURITY:
Sir?

The ratty haired man holds a finger up at the security officer, still daunted by the funeral’s proceedings.

RAPID FLASHBACKS:Broken. Unreliable. Angry cursing. Something violent. The man in the coffin, NORMAN, alive. A gunshot. NORMAN stands behind a younger version of the ratty haired man as he lowers the gun. NORMAN smiles, the ratty haired man is firm. The scene is dark, the situation is questionable

Back up front, the woman glances back in the area where the man is standing. He’s worked hard enough to remain hidden, but she knows he’s somewhere in there. She turns back to the front, comforting herself in her spot. A single tear drops from one eye. She seems content with this.

In the back, as the song ends, the man’s jaw has dropped.

RAPID FLASHBACKS: Children’s laughter. The two kids up front, about 3 years prior. They run and play. One constant image, a strange woman smiling behind the two smiling children.

SECURITY:
(Whispery, but slightly more assertive)
Mr. Joyner.

JOYNER acknowledges him with a turn.

The ceremonies begin.

 
SECURITY:
She would prefer it if you would wait in the car.

JOYNER pulls a cigarette from his back pocket and green tinted aviators from his jacket. He does not light the cigarette, but keeps it between his middle and ring fingers as comfort.

JOYNER:
Right. Wouldn’t want to put a damper on her day.

They exit together.

Tony_A20

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 11:32:42 AM »
This is all you’ve got:

            INT.           CATHEDRAL           DAY

            A funeral service is taking place.
            A man in his thirties, standing at the back, gazes at the casket at the front of the Sanctuary.
            An usher taps him on the shoulder.

                                        USHER
                                    (Whispering)
            Sir—, Mr. Joyner? She would prefer if you waited in the car.

                                       JOYNER
                                        (Nods)
            Right, wouldn’t want to put a damper on her day.

This 10 second bit is the introduction to the only possible worthwhile activity and dialogue. Stop giving direction. Make activity and dialogue reveal what is going on. Don’t use flashbacks. Keep the story line moving ahead. Introduce another major character (if Joyner is a major character - he should be). Establish quickly and briefly who "She" is. Expand from there. Get to the first dramatic action that establishes what type of story this is. Establish the premise.

JMO
Tony


Offline w.yn.

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 01:34:55 PM »
Tony:

Thanks so much for the feedback! I've had a tendency of writing too much description. It's something I certainly need to work on. Usually I try to work back through it and cut out the fat after I've rested on the scene for awhile. If you'd be willing to read it, I have more from this sequence that better establishes what the story is actually about. The two parts would've went over the word limit so I couldn't post them together. Again, writing too much is something I'm working on.

Let me know if you'd like to read it!

-Wayne

Offline Makavelli

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 04:15:39 PM »
Flashbacks can be used, just have to be careful how they are used.

I was confused, still am, because the MAN IN BLACK changed so many times, and you never described the OLD TIMER, where was he sitting I guess on the bench, but I am not sure.

If you want to use the Flashback device here is how it would look:

*** FLASHBACK ****

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY - CHICAGO 1990

I recently had a rough draft and toyed with using a Flashback in Black and White to distinguish it from the main plot.

Some people say don't use direction, I think you can to a point. Obviously don't go overboard but if you need to cut to a certain scene, then do it by all means. If you need a certain angle in a shot to tell the story (like the victim can see the shooter over them, etc.) then write that specific angle in the script, worse come to worse you may just have to delete it but I think if the story is good you won't get it thrown out simply for writing a specific shot.

Tony_A20

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 07:15:47 AM »
Hello w.yn,

If you have more, strip the non-essential elements and post it. If you have a scene over the 2000? word limit of the forum, rewrite.

What you have posted so far is the opening of your story—never, never, never break an opening with background or backstory elements of any sort, especially flashbacks. Flashbacks indicate the writer has forgotten to include important information or started the story too late.

The opening shot is very important to set the tone and ambience of a story. The first scene should introduce the protagonist, indicate the type of story, and set the period and location.  Most of this information is presented visually and does not need explanation, direction, or support through the use of effects.

The goal of the first scene is to lead the audience to the story premise and the first dramatic event that starts the thread of story activity. Never break the audience's attention with unimportant trivia.

When the usher speaks, Joyner needs only to shift his gaze, followed by a 2 second cut to "She", to introduce her character. No other action, dialogue, and especially not explanation or description is necessary. The shot follows Joyner out of the cathedral and the story transitions to his activity.

Think of what events/actions are needed to advance the story. Leave the visual elements to show these events and actions to the Director.

JMO
Tony

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 10:32:50 AM »
Tony . . . and others.

Please note - The word limit in the Script Board when posting for review/feedback is 1,000 word.  Not 2,000.

It's always a good idea to double check the guidelines for the various boards for such information.
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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 10:53:16 AM »
Wayne, I've now read this for the second time. Before I go on - I need to tell you I do not write scripts, only read and share my impressions.

First thing that stood out to me on each read was "The Man in Black."  I'm sorry, but thoughts of the movies of The Men in Black flashed in my head.

I didn't get any impression this was to be anything similar to those movies, but the question lingered as I read.

Other than that, the remaining were pretty much flash scenes, allowing only a moment for the viewer (reader) to take in what is going on. Plus the fact they are occurring with some of the same characters at different ages, I can't help wondering if a viewer might be rather confused right from the start.

It's totally possible I'm wrong on the time line.

   
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline PencilPop

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Re: Family Tradition
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2015, 02:32:38 PM »
Intriguing. I would like to see the rest.