Author Topic: Opening Scene to Western Drama [Updated]  (Read 2574 times)

Offline Robert.OSullivan

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Opening Scene to Western Drama [Updated]
« on: January 10, 2016, 10:30:16 AM »
I've updated the opening, I kept some of the same stuff, but changed some of the idiotic dialogue. Hope you enjoy, feel free to post your opinion in the reply section below.

TITLE: No Guns at the Table

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, causing dust to fly into our faces.

    As they do; the text; "WEST TEXAS, 1902"

    SHOT RISES

    We look at two men from behind.

    Both men wear cowboy hats (that like of Buffalo Bill), brown
    jackets and blue jeans, with knee-high 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 5,000 dollars ya can buy
            anything. Heck, ya know what you
            could buy with 5,000?

                            MAN #2
                    What?

                            MAN #1
                    Anything... Me - I'd buy a new
            stable, full of new horses.

                            MAN #2
                    Buy a stable full of horses? 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 dentists are getting in the
            way now?

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

                            MAN #1
                    I do not know. She said; "Brett,
            I'm tired of living with you, you
            keep going out, looking for and
            shooting 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 5k each. She'll come running
            back to me within a week.

                            MAN #2
                    You said the f curse?

                            BRETT
                    I am not very proud of it, but yes,
            I did.

                            MAN #2
                    Huh... How did sh-

    Man #2 is cut off by a gunshot.

    The two come to a stop at the sound of the gunshot.

    SHOT OF 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
                (SHUSHES)
                    Quiet.

    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, emerges from the bushes, he is
    accompanied by DODD, RAY, and LOU.

    Dodd and Lou are also well-known dangerous men, but Ray is
    not, which you get immediately, even just by him and his
    horse moving slower and more awkward than the rest.

    Tom and Ray have their revolvers raised.

                            TOM
                    Well, well, what do we have here?

                            BRETT
                    We're just U.S Marshals.

                            TOM
                    Is that so?

                            RAY
                    Yeah, is that so?

                            BRETT
                    Indeed it is so.

    BRETT TIGHTENS HIS GRIP ON HIS GRIP

    TOM COCKS HIS GUN.

                            TOM
                    Don't make any rash decisions, now.

                            RAY
                    Yeah, no rash decisions.

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

                            TOM
                    Say, what are ye're 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 I am.

                            TOM
                    What poor souls ya got back there?

                            BRETT
                    They ain't worth mentionin'.

                            TOM
                    But I wanna know.

                            BRETT
                    Well, I got their papers.

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

                            BRETT
                (QUIETLY)
                    Rick and Jody.

                            TOM
                    What was that?

                            BRETT
                    I said... 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 thought, I would
            like to see them papers.

                            BRETT
                    Sure. thing.

    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.

                            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, although in an awkward looking position.

                            TOM
                    I just wanna see them papers.

                            RAY (O.S.)
                    Yeah, just them papers, now.

    SHOT ON BRETT AND LEE

    Brett has his gun aimed.

    Lee takes out his, but never cocks it.

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

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

                            BRETT
                    Well then you're not leaving.

                            TOM (O.S.)
                    No, sorry... But it's the other
            way, Brett.

    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, once in the chest, and
    his horse gets hit once. One bullet (likely from Ray) has
    missed it's target.

    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.

    Each of them wear boots with bells of-sorts on the back.

    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 to bleed.

                            RAY
                    Yeah, leave 'em.

    Brett hauls one of the dead over his shoulder, Ray hauls the
    other over his, although he almost falls.

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

                                                   FADE TO BLACK.

Offline McWawa

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [Updated]
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 07:47:43 AM »
I have logged on here today, not to critique the text of your writing yet to advise, in a friendly and informative manner, that you might consider to purchase, or borrow, one or more the excellent publications authored by experienced script writers who know of the requirements and format of a film script, and who can inform you of what makes a good script which gets read from that which gets dumped, even if it might contain a good story, from the first page viewing without ever being read.
 My experience through out the years here that advise is not, at least presently, available to the best level on this Forum.  :)

Sucess.
"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?",
Axel Oxenstierna

Offline TheOtherAdrian

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Re: Opening Scene to Western Drama [Updated]
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2016, 06:12:36 AM »
Hi Robert (may one call you Robert?),

I like this opening. It reads like a shooting script. Is that intentional? For a spec script, you'd cut all of the transitions and direction.

Concerning McWawa's comment, I don't see how you'd format the script any better given the limitations of the forum software. I don't know what you usually use to write your scripts, but from the world of free software I really like afterwriting. It doesn't look like it, but one can use it offline too. You write your script in any text editor using the fountain markup, then afterwriting converts it into a readable script.

MAN #1 addresses...
Since they both have names, use those from the beginning. You're making the script harder to read than it has to be.

MAN #1 addresses the man on the left side of the screen
Duh. Who else would he be talking to. I'd shorten these paragraphs a little, sticking to a concise description of the men and nothing more.
Important question: They say they're US Marshals. Are they? Is there anything on their clothes to indicate that?

Regarding the opening, have you experimented with overlaying the dialogue over the first shot? I think it lends itself to that Lee (o.s.) talking about the money, them both sounding casual, then the reveal that they're each carrying a corpse. I'm not saying it's better than your version, just that it might be worth experimenting.

Brent and Lee seem to lose their accents over the course of the first scene. For some reason, they even stop using contractions altogether.

Well, I said; "Fuck you" and headed out with you to find these to guys, worth 5k each.
The last part is a bit heavy-handed. Think about it this way: They both know exactly how much the dead guys are worth, so would they repeat it in conversation? Sounds like it's just for the benefit of the viewer. I'd trust that the viewer knows this is the Old West and can figure out that the money they're so excited about is a bounty, and just drop the last part.

I am not very proud of it, but yes, I did.
That's what I'm talking about regarding the accent :-)

SHOT OF MEN (FROM FRONT)

    This shot reveals...

Wait, this is the first shot from the front ever? Does that mean the entire first conversation would be filmed at one and the same angle from behind? I might be wrong, but I can't picture that working at all. Shooting people from behind for an establishing shot is fine, especially in a Western, but for an entire conversation? That'll just look weird.

A group of 4 men, lead by the notorious leader of the...
How do you show his notoriousness on screen? I'd omit that. Same with the other "well-known dangerous men". The part about Lou being more cautious than the others you can show on screen, so I'd keep that and delete the rest. We don't need to know they're well-known dangerous men, the dialogue will soon tell us.

BRETT TIGHTENS HIS GRIP ON HIS GRIP
I don't think that's supposed to be in all caps.

CLOSE UP ON BRETTS RIGHT HAND

    His grip of his gun loosens.

A minute ago his revolver was on his left side ;-)

Brett shuts his eyes.

    BANG!

    Brett shoots.

Maybe he'd still be alive if he left his eyes open to aim.

I hope there's something in there that you can use. I think it's a gripping opening, so keep at it! Oh, and one last thing:
One bullet (likely from Ray) has missed it's target.
It's "its target", no apostrophe.

Good luck!
- Adrian