Author Topic: Opening scene to new screenplay.  (Read 5193 times)

Offline BaileyNeve

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Opening scene to new screenplay.
« on: September 15, 2015, 08:28:54 PM »
Hi, guys! Was wondering if perhaps you guys could critique this for me. Not any context to be given as it's the first scene of the film. Any help is greatly appreciated! And sorry about the formatting. I know it's painful on the eyes, but I'm still learning.
Thanks!



FADE IN:

INT. LAVISH DINER. NIGHT
The 1910's. A forty year old man sits by himself at a small circular table covered with a red and gold tablecloth and an endless assortment of exquisite-looking food. He is CHRISTOPHE. He sits in a massively colorful and extravagantly large dining room. The room is decorated with a seemingly infinite amount of flowers. The ceiling is painted similar to the Sistine. A truly remarkable and elegant establishment.
There is no one else in the restaurant save a lone cook who stands fifty feet behind Christophe at the doors that lead into the kitchen. He is the owner of the restaurant; his name is ALPHONSE.
Christophe takes his knife and fork and cuts himself off a small piece of Eclair. He takes a bite, smiles, and pushes the dish aside. He grabs his glass, and takes a quick sip of wine. A pained look sweeps across his face. He raises his hand, as if to take an oath, and summons the Alphonse with two fingers.
Alphonse power-walks with his hands behind his back. He takes his place to Christophe's left.

ALPHONSE
(french accent)
Yes, Sir Christophe?

CHRISTOPHE
(english accent)
Well, I must say, I'm very impressed. The Polet Aigu Tarragon is exceptional. The Cordon Bleu is sublime. The mussels will, I'm sure, be the topic of damn near every conversation regarding shellfish, but you must rid yourself and your restaurant of that God-awful wine.

ALPHONSE
What's wrong with the wine, Sir?

CHRISTOPHE
To put is bluntly, it tastes quite like ass.

ALPHONSE
I see...

Christophe detects the disappointment in his voice.
 
CHRISTOPHE
Well don't lose any sleep over it. I know first hand that you have far more delicious wine than this atrocity.

ALPHONSE
It's just, that particular wine was my late mothers favorite.


CHRISTOPHE
Do you want to sacrifice your reputation as well as your restaurants for a bit of nostalgia?

ALPHONSE
I suppose you're right.

CHRISTOPHE
(somewhat condescending)
I suppose I am. Alphonse, you know how difficult I can be. But the honest truth is that this wine was the only thing that detracted from my wonderful experience here. And I mean that. Get rid of this wine.

ALPHONSE
(sincere)
Yes, Sir. Thank you, sir. Please do come again. Please, do come again. There's always a spot for you here.


CHRISTOPHE
I will most definitely be back. Ciao.

ALPHONSE
Ciao.


Christophe dabs the corners of his mouth with a cloth, and begins to exit. The audience and Alphonse stay in the same position until we hear Christophe open the door and close it as he exits. As soon as the door shuts, Alphonse jumps out of his skin with excitement. He runs circles around a few tables and sprints through the kitchen doors letting out one final, incredibly loud, yelp.



Offline TheOtherAdrian

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2015, 05:17:26 AM »
Hi BaileyNeve!

I have no idea what kind of screenplay this is, but I enjoyed it. There's just a few places where I would tighten. I'll just write down what I notice and how I personally feel about it. I'm neither an expert nor do I mean to sound condescending or something, but maybe you'll find something that helps you. (End disclaimer.)

Is it important for the plot what colour the tablecloth is? If not, let the set designers figure it out. The first paragraph reads as if you're trying to describe the scene you're seeing in your mind, but that's not how television works. Unless you're shooting an independent movie with a team of like three people, don't try to control everything. You give the plot, you give the dialogue, you give a short and to-the-point description of what the scene should feel like, and then the rest of the team works out the details. You likely won't get exactly what you saw in your head, but if you're working with a capable director, you'll still get something that conveys what your work is about.

Second thing is, you don't need to hold back information like you would in a novel. If something happens very suddenly, you can convey that in the script, but everything else should be available as early and clearly as possible. For example: "A forty year old man sits by himself [...] He is CHRISTOPHE." You make the reader wait a whole very long sentence to find out who it is you're describing. I suggest being direct: "CHRISTOPHE, forty years old, sits by himself..."
Always remember that your script is all that an enormous team of people have as guideline to produce your film. The less complicated your script is (the technical part, not the plot ;-) ), the easier you make their jobs.

Nitpicks: "...summons the Alphonse..." should be "summons Alphonse", unless Alphonse is a job title I've never heard of. In which case it should not be capitalized. And personally, I wouldn't capitalize "god-awful". I know that the Lord is generally capitalized, but it looks weird inside an adjective. And is, of course, of no relevance for your screenplay, so I'll just get on with it.

"What's wrong with the wine, Sir?" "Sir" should be lowercase here.

"Christophe detects the disappointment in his voice." Can you show this on screen? Does it provide information that isn't already conveyed by the "don't lose sleep over it" line?

"I know first hand that you have far more delicious wine than this atrocity." Just a suggestion: How about using "respectable wine(s)" rather than "delicious"? Seems to fit Christophe's character and the comedic style of this scene.

"The audience and Alphonse stay in the same position..." Unless you're directing this, this isn't your job. The director will figure something out.

As you can see, I had to resort to nitpicking to up my word count ;-) I'd be interested to read more of this, since we don't get much activity in this part of the forum.

Good luck with your piece!
- Adrian

PS: For some reason, I can't get the picture of Stephen Fry in the role of Christophe out of my head.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 05:25:35 AM by TheOtherAdrian »

Offline MiggsEye

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2015, 08:16:57 AM »
A lot of people are just blatant jerks on here.

Hmmm. You aren't going to get much interest from people with an attitude like that.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 08:18:31 AM by MiggsEye »
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” — Dr. Seuss

Offline FrankieG702

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2015, 06:50:40 PM »
Well done. I would definitely keep reading.

Offline heidi52

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 05:32:07 AM »
Finally someone is nice about giving feedback. A lot of people are just blatant jerks on here. Thanks for your time and feedback! Have a lovely day!


Perhaps if you became a member of the community and offered some feedback to other people instead of only focusing on your own pieces, your attitude might change.

We are not your parents, we are not obligated to tell you you're awesome when you aren't. Welcome to the real world.

 


Offline Chizzy

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 11:34:18 PM »
Your action lines are too specific in places and there are typos scattered through the piece that I'm sure you'll pick up on a second pass, but I enjoyed the dialog very much. The line about the wine tasting like ass is positioned perfectly and is a real attention grabber. I did wonder why a guy called Christophe would have an English accent.

Interesting opening.
This is not an exit.

Tony_A20

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2015, 08:32:58 PM »
I appreciate that you tried to present this scene in script format. Have a look at this method:
http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=49023.msg867941#msg867941

The one thing that jumped out at me was the word "atrocity". This word is misused in this sentence. You should use "atrocious". For example "I know you have something far more delicious than this atrocious wine."

JMO
Tony

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2015, 09:26:55 PM »
Or, you might like this help for formatting:
http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=39962.0

It's easy to find if you mislay the link. It right on top of this board when you first open it.  8)
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Offline Makavelli

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 10:37:00 PM »
Luxury Dining Room - 1910s. CHRISTOPHE, male, 40's, sits by himself at a small table.

Behind Christophe at the doors that lead into the kitchen is the owner of the restaurant his name is ALPHONSE.

Christophe takes his knife and fork. He cuts himself off a small piece of Eclair. He takes a bite, smiles, pushes the dish aside. He grabs his glass, takes a quick sip of wine. A pained look sweeps across his face. He raises his hand, as if to take an oath. He summons the Alphonse with two fingers.

Alphonse power-walks with his hands behind his back. He takes his place to Christophe's left.

---- If you wrote it like this, you see how compact and tight it looks and reads. I try and avoid using AND in the action description as much as possible. Just use like 3 words to describe the place, and write the bare minimum of what you see, someone else will take care of the tablecloths and etc unless it is part of the story. For example: Christophe has a gold skull ring --- and this ring has something to do with the plot or it will come up later. But if it isn't important don't write it.

When I first started writing scripts I was horrible I would describe the food on the table, the brand of clothing, the facial hair style etc loool

This is sounding like a very interesting story

Offline BaileyNeve

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 08:26:57 PM »
Thanks, Makavelli!
I really appreciate your feedback, and I will definitely trim this down. Thanks for the tips and advice.

Offline w.yn.

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2015, 01:26:54 AM »
I definitely enjoy this scene. Christophe grabs my attention just from the opening actions. I do think you should cut out a bit of your descriptions (i.e. "small circular table covered with a red and gold tablecloth"), though some of it I believe find useful for readers to get the full picture (i.e.  "A truly remarkable and elegant establishment."). I'd be happy to read more whenever you're finished.

Offline matteo_catilo

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Re: Opening scene to new screenplay.
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2015, 04:06:35 PM »
I really enjoyed the witty dialogue ;D I do think, however, it is a bit weak to open a film- I think an opening should be a tad more impactful, even if it is just a collection of establishing shots depicting the world we are in. I do think this scene would be better placed later on in the film. Overall good dialogue, just try to place the scene in a later stage of the film.