Author Topic: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]  (Read 3325 times)

Offline Robert.OSullivan

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I've recently started work on this Western drama set in the late 1880's. It's a story of revenge and has a bit of dark comedy mixed in. I hope you enjoy the 930 word opening;

 EXT. SANDY ROAD, WEST TEXAS - DAY

    SHOT ON HORSE'S HOOVES

    There are 2 horses, so 8 hooves.

    The hooves trot along a sandy road.

    As they do; the text; "WEST TEXAS, 1887"

    SHOT RISES

    We look at two men from behind.

    Both men wear cowboy hats, brown jackets and blue jeans,
    with long dark boots on as well.

    MAN #1 addresses the man on the left side of the screen, a
    much stockier build and blonde hair under the cowboy hat, as
    shown by it coming out, it goes down to his shoulders.

    MAN #2 addresses the man on the right, he speaks with a
    slight lisp and is of much skinnier build compared to Man
    #1. He has brown hair, which slightly shows under the hat.

    A man, dead, lies on the end of Man #1's horse.

    Another man, dead, lies on the end of Man #2's horse.

                            MAN #1
                    I hear for 10,000 dollars ya can
            buy anything. Hell, ya could even
            buy being fucking president.

                            MAN #2
                    Buy to be president? Sounds a 'lil
            bit false for me.

                            MAN #1
                    Everything sounds false to you.

                            MAN #2
                (LAUGHS)
                    Yeah, yeah. My wife says that too.

                            MAN #1
                    How's she doing by the way?

                            MAN #2
                    Better than the last, anyway.

                            MAN #1
                    So no dentist fuckers are getting
            in the way now?

                            MAN #2
                    Nuh-uh. How's Josie?

                            MAN #1
                    I don't fucking know. She said;
            "Brett, I'm tired of living with
            you, you keep going out, looking
            for folk, I'll leave you if you do
            one more time."

                            MAN #2
                    So what did you do?

                            BRETT
                    Well, I said; "Fuck you" and headed
            out with you to find these to guys,
            worth 10k each. She'll come running
            back to me within a week.

                            MAN #2
                    Why so confident?

                            BRETT
                    She just wants money, all she cares
            for.

                            MAN #2
                    Oh yeah?

    The man comes to a stop at the sound of a gunshot.

    SHOT MEN (FROM FRONT)

    This shot reveals Brett has a messy beard and Man #2 is
    clean shaved, with a cut on his cheek from shaving.

                            MAN #2
                    Where'd that come from?

                            BRETT
                    Shush.

    The men grow silent, they hear a horse approach, not just
    one, but maybe 3 or 4.

    Brett lowers his hand to his revolver on his left side.

    SHOT ON BUSHES

    A group of 4 men, lead by the notorious leader of the
    Marpolis Crime Family, TOM, emerge from the bushes, he is
    accompanied by DODD, RAY, and LOU.

    Tom and Ray have their revolvers raised.

                            TOM
                    Well, what do we have here?

                            BRETT
                    We're U.S Marshals.

                            TOM
                    Is that so?

                            RAY
                    Yeah, is that so?

                            BRETT
                    Indeed it is.

    BRETT TIGHTENS HIS GRIP ON HIS GRIP

    TOM COCKS HIS GUN.

                            TOM
                    Don't make any rash decisions, now.

                            BRETT
                    Well, since y'all got two guns at
            us...

                            TOM
                    Say, what are yere names?

                            BRETT
                    My name is Brett Sullivan, this,
            beside me-

                            TOM
                    - He can introduce himself.

                            MAN #2
                    My name is Lee Daniels.

                            TOM
                    You a marshal too?

                            LEE
                    Indeed.

                            TOM
                    What poor souls ya got back there?

                            BRETT
                    They ain't worth mentionin'.

                            TOM
                    But I wanna know.

                            BRETT
                    I got their papers.

                            TOM
                    I don't need no papers. Just their
            names.

                            BRETT
                    Rick and Jody.

                            TOM
                    Huh, that's an awful coincidence.

                            BRETT
                    Why's that?

                            TOM
                    Because my brother Rick and cousin
            Jody went missing while out on a
            mission the other day.

                            BRETT
                    Huh, that is an awful coincidence.

                            TOM
                    Say, on second thoughts, I would
            like to see them papers.

                            BRETT
                    Sure.

    CLOSE UP ON BRETTS RIGHT HAND

    His grip of his gun loosens.

    He lowers his hand into his pocket and pulls out 2 pieces of
    paper.

    SHOT ON LEE

    Lee watches what Brett's doing, somewhat surprised.

    SHOT ON TOM

    Tom goes to get off his horse, when;

    WE HEAR A GUN COCKING.

    SHOT ON BRETT

    He has his gun out and ready, a six shooter revolver.

                            TOM (O.S.)
                    Don't make any rash decisions now.

    SHOT ON TOM

    Tom has his gun aimed at Brett, he's back sitting on the
    horse.

                            TOM
                    I just wanna see them papers.

    SHOT ON BRETT AND LEE

    Brett has his gun aimed.

    Lee takes out his.

                            BRETT
                    Tom, why don't we all just walk
            away, you continue your path, we
            continue ours.

                            TOM (O.S.)
                        (SHOUTING)
                    I ain't leaving without my brother
            and my god damn cousin!

                            BRETT
                    You're gonna have to.

    TWO MORE COCKS ARE HEARD; ALL 4 HAVE GUNS READY

    Brett shuts his eyes.

    BANG!

    Brett shoots.

    Then; 4 gunshots are heard.

    Brett gets hit in the shoulder once, twice in the chest, and
    his horse gets hit once.

    He falls off his horse. Barely breathing.

    Before Lee has time to react.

    He gets shot in the shoulder, but he's already on his way
    down.

    POV - LEE

    We can see Brett trying to crawl away on the ground.

    Footsteps are heard, and 4 feet enter the shot.

    Another gunshot is heard, Brett's head has been shot now.
    Killing him.

    SHOT ON LEE

    He shuts his eyes and plays dead.

    SHOT ON MARPOLIS FAMILY

    They all stand around the bodies.

    They look at Lee, suspicious.

                            LOU
                    Where should we bury them?

                            BRETT
                    Leave 'em out here, let the snakes
            get 'em.

    Brett hauls one of the dead over his shoulder, Ray hauls the
    other over his.

    They walk away, leaving the dead Brett and still-alive Lee
    on the ground.

                                                   FADE TO BLACK.

Offline heidi52

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 08:12:27 AM »
When writing a script you have to keep to the script not become the director as well. Specifying camera shots, and what the characters look like and so forth is what the director does. You (screenwriter) provide the dialog.

In prose writing we often hear the advice to read 8 or 9 books to every one you try to write. I'm sure the same holds true for script writing as well. Read as many scripts as you can. It's probably helpful to read scripts from movies you are familiar with. That way you can see the difference between what the writer writes and what the director directs.

Also it might help to write about things you know something about. "Leave them for the snakes" made me burst out laughing. Not your intention I'm sure.

Keep writing, but read, read, read.



« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 08:14:11 AM by heidi52 »

Artemis Quark

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2016, 08:54:57 AM »
I second Heidi's advice, Robert. And start by reading some of the scripts here, adding your comments. Give and take is the way we do it on MWC. It will prompt more critiques of your work. Acknowledgement of feedback is also a good way to garner support.

AQ

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2016, 11:16:39 AM »
Robert, I'm sorry to be negative, but your dialog reads like something you would hear in a bar frequently mainly by males in Today's World, not the world of 1887.

Yes, I know that men of many life styles back then had favorite words not used in the company of women and children, But the F bomb wasn't one of them.

I happen to enjoy good Western books and movies - I suggest you read and/or watch some from that era to get the flavor of what life was like.

Plus:
Boots are not described as Long unless the wearer has abnormally long feet. But I assume you are referring to the Height of the boot. So if they are not the usual boot worn at that time by cowboy types, they would best be described a knee high or something along that line.

Also, all Six Guns did and still cylinders that held six bullets. So saying a six gun revolver is saying the same thing twice.

Louis L'Amour wrote many books about that era and some of them were made into movies. Please, do your research to get it right.

   
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Offline Robert.OSullivan

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2016, 11:40:58 AM »
Well, given the reception of this, I'll do some rewrites and come back with an improved opening.
Thank you for the feedback.

Artemis Quark

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2016, 12:03:01 PM »
Well, given the reception of this, I'll do some rewrites and come back with an improved opening.
Thank you for the feedback.

You're welcome, Robert. Keep at it.

hillwalker3000

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2016, 01:44:21 PM »
I'd have to agree that the dialogue sounded too contemporary in places. The expression "10k" did it for me. Back in the era of the Wild West the metric system of measurement was a distant dream.

H3K

Offline Robert.OSullivan

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2016, 02:31:35 PM »
Another huge thank you to everyone who took the time to read my opening and reply with such great constructive feedback, I'm currently reading "Riders of the purple sage" and trying to use that as a basis for the dialog, along with reading a few Western screenplays. Once again, thank you.

Offline McWawa

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [18's for violence and bad language]
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2016, 02:53:36 PM »
]The use of profanity in westerns (TV. and film genre) has been well discussed in the USA media since the first episode in the television series “Deadwood”. Some suggestion has been made that the director uses the language to denote social class difference.
http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/n_10191/
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2004-05-02-deadwood-cursing_x.htm


The “F-word” is known to have  been used in english language since the 15th century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuck

The value of your $10,000 can be calculated using an inflation media, though I am not sure how accurate is the example  which I have given from this algorithm dependent website :
http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi

“What cost $10000 in 1880 would cost $241647.98 in 2014.
Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2014 and 1880,
they would cost you $10000 and $405.84 respectively. “

Your cowboys blue jeans attire is true to the era , became popular in 1873.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denim#Etymology_and_origin

Though are they “blue jeans” or  “blue denim” :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeans#Evolution_of_the_garment.

Now I'm wondering about what type of hats were worn by cowboys, men who herded cows, before the image as portrayed by Buffalo Bill's travelling show or that of the early movies of  20th century Hollywood.

Success with your writing.
Research is  invaluable.
"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?",
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