Would someone like to review a script (fourth draft in last post)?

rutxer
rutxer Website User Posts: 176
edited January 2019 in Practical Filmmaking

Disclaimer: I'm a telecom engineer working as a manager in a software company, so this is strictly amateur and for fun.

Some of you might have checked out "Just waiting for Friday", the last 'movie/short' we did for our Peer Awards event (you can find it in "work gallery" subforum).

This time around (not knowing for sure if I'll be working on the movie or not) I went ahead and wrote three different treatments (I use the term loosely here...) before I fully dive into the script writing. The idea is that we'd have some options, and by involving people in the choice, getting them more committed (change management 101).

Anyway, would anyone around here like to read them and give feedback?  It's 2 pages each (including character description and the story itself in prose).

The final product will be a 15ish minute "film".

Just let me know :)

«1

Comments

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador
  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    @CleverTagline thanks!

    They're PDFs I have in gDrive. What would be the best way to share them with you? (Including public links in this very thread).

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    I'm in as well. 

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    @CleverTagline and @DafterThings thanks beforehand! So the topic is certainly software engineering, and the challenge is how to build a story that can be comedic around stereotypes and cliches around the industry.

    Before I paste the links, English is my 3rd language... so my apologies for stomping all over it :D

    • Outbreak - inspired by Brooklyn 99, the characters mostly.
    • Synch City - Film Noir detective story (so much fan to be had designing the lighting for it)
    • Breakpoint Bad - you might be able to guess what's inspired from... :)

     

    And as a sample, here is the script for Just waiting for Friday, and my primary goal would be to do better than this. Keep on improving kind of keeps me motivated in this after work activities.

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador

    Just read through them. Before I make any comments, what kind of feedback are you seeking? Story? Character? Everything?

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    Everything. Maybe focus on:

     - Which is more "developable" into a 15page script

    - How complicated are the characters to play by total amateurs

     - And if you have the time and patience, which are the biggest holes in the stories.

    In general, as much feedback as your time allows. I'm already very grateful of your time :)

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    @rutxer Quick feedback.

    Outbreak : I didn't get into it at all. Maybe there were too many characters but the story wasn't very gripping and, frankly, I didn't care what happened to them.
    Synch City : Much better. Something I can recognise and visualise.  I like crime noire and it would make a nice visual but I couldn't help thinking of an Agatha Christie scene where the detective has everybody in the room to find out who made the mistake.
    Breakpoint Bad : I think I would enjoy this story even without the link. The contrast between the old dog ,whose desperation conflicts with his morals, and the quicker, faster hack who sees the world as a playground is a classic and would work well with this theme.

    I'll have another read through over the weekend.

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador

    Outbreak: I kinda got the same feeling as @DafterThings. Couldn't quite follow the story at first read, and once I figured out some confusing points, it still didn't grab me.

    Synch City: Easier to grasp, but still a little confusing. (see below)

    Breakpoint Bad feels like the most cohesive of the three, and not just because it includes dialog. This has the most clear conflict-to-resolution structure for me.

    Outbreak feels the most jumbled, with the conflict being less clear, and therefore the resolution less satisfying. Maybe this could be worked out by taking a step back and looking at the basic three act structure of the story: what's your main conflict in Act 1, how does that escalate (and why should we care) in Act 2, and how does it get resolved in Act 3. If that outline isn't clear, then the more detailed treatment isn't going to be clear either.

    Synch City and Outbreak also have points in the story breakdown where you refer to the roles of the characters instead of their names. Example from Synch City: "All hell breaks loose when a customer support person needs to deal with the angry customer." If I read this correctly, the customer support guy is Tim from the character list, but he's never called Tim in the treatment, so it's unclear if all references to "customer support" are talking about the same person. Outbreak is worse in this regard. Richard is referred to by name late in the story outline, but only referred to earlier as the sales manager, so it took me a while to tie the two references together and realize they were about the same person.

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

     Wow! @CleverTagline and @DafterThings you guys are amazing. I'm very grateful for the feedback and the time you did put already into this. Especially as (like happens in this forum) you give constructive advice in a respectful manner that just makes me want to go and try to improve!

    So, Outbreak is the first one I wrote of these three. I actually started by writing dialogue first and tried to squeeze in as many of the characters I could from Brooklyn 99; in retrospective both were mistakes that didn't help. I'll work on it further if the people involved in the making are into the idea. Otherwise I'll leave it for a while.

    Very good feedback on Synch City also! I named now all characters, including "the detective" and used the names in the story. I loved @DafterThings idea of the Agatha Christie round up scene so much that I added it as resolution. To make it work better I added another character, so the story in prose got longer. I think it's better now, so let's see what you guys think. Here's the 2nd version of Synch City then.

    I'll leave Breakpoint Bad as it is for now (totally open for feedback and suggestions), but Jim&John leave some room for adding some interesting bits. Funnily enough it was the last one I wrote, quickest and based on an idea that came just as I was falling asleep the day before... I'm a square minded engineer, so all this creative stuff feels alien to me!!

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    "based on an idea that came just as I was falling asleep the day before... I'm a square minded engineer, so all this creative stuff feels alien to me!!"

    Like many of us this is a hobby for me so it's very interesting to see the approach others take.
    My background is client technical support so we might have a similar 'logical' mindset. I have spent years asking what doesn't work, why doesn't it work, what options do we have to make it work. This is pretty useful when looking at a story. I also brain-dump my ideas into unedited text which was suggested in a few story-writing books. I then visualise the story (in the shower, as I fall asleep etc) and make refinements. The last cycle, before making things more concrete, is to remove anything which doesn't add to the story, world or character.  There is a quote "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." 
    Considering I have to animate then this is ideal for me 

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    From Blaise Pascal as postscript  of a letter to a friend: "Please forgive the long letter; I didn't have time to write a short one"

    Of course, the contemporary Swedish philosopher (ehem) disagrees:

    End of the off-topic! Let's get back to feedback and improvements!

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    Going through it again, the Agatha Christie ending doesn't fit that we'll with the detective character; he's no Poirot.

    Also, on the Breakpoint Bad one I got feedback from the guys at work. A bit too dark and the firing/losing job thing is too touchy in the work environment, especially since the event where this would be shown is a feel-good thing.

    So... I'm re-writing it with the same old-young dynamics, with the old joining the young and getting over eager but it would all revolve around coffee. 

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast
    edited January 2019

    @rutxer
    Maybe it does need to be Poirot then? Maybe the round-up scene has flashbacks and it ends up they were all accountable.

    TBH : I have gone off in my own little idea world where I would present how we're all part of the bigger picture ("Moments of Truth" and all that). I'm probably commenting more on my role than your own.

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    I know I am abusing now, but here we go. I dropped Outbreak, and need to rethink Synch City. I prefer the dark detective than Poirot style, so I need to find a resolution since that's kind of missing now.

    In the mean time, I totally re-did the last one, formerly Breakpoint Bad, into something else: a story about coffee. I tried to keep the elements that worked, but should be more humorous and less gloomy to fit our Peer Awards event.

    So here comes Dealing With It.

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    Dealing with it is a lot more crisp and light. I much prefer this version.

    The 'out of place' coffee set-up in the supplies closet works well as a visual gag (at least in my imagination) and the setting is a lot more tight.

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador
    edited January 2019

    Agreed. As I was approaching the end, it all felt complete, but in a way it almost felt too complete, too easy.

    And then I read the very last line.

    And I laughed.

    Winner!

    EDIT: I know you gave the "English is my 3rd language" caveat earlier, and I've been overlooking basic stuff in the script, but feel I should make one correction. You describe Arthur as "sleep depraved." The phrase you want is "sleep deprived." "Deprived" means it's lacking or insufficient. "Depraved" means it's evil or immoral. ;)

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    @DafterThings and @CleverTagline woohoo! Thanks guys! If I got a smile from you reading it I feel I succeeded (a bit at least!).

    Definitely deprived!!  I don't think there's anyone depraved in this story. And I'm planning/hoping to get the script proofread by someone from our documentation team (professional technical writers). I am especially bad with prepositions... So any corrections are most definitely welcome.

    The next step is to turn this story into an actual script. You'll be hearing from me guys.

     

     

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    The next phase will be the script writing, but another story made it into the contest :) The guy that originally wanted to do the film noir, came up with a story and yesterday we somehow shaped it into a treatment. It's a different take on Synch City.

    Here you can find the treatment and I quickly made this mock of the "investigation cork board", as the prose description felt too confusing.

     

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador

    I like it! This is a very strong contender against Breakpoint Bad.  If I have any criticism, it's that the read feels a little long. Some of that length is the description of the investigation board. I'm not sure that level of detail is necessary at the treatment stage. A simpler description would convey the picture to the reader sufficiently enough to get that story point across. For example, "On the board of a meeting room there are several pictures, connected by red thread" would probably suffice.

    Another thing adding to the length is the dialog. While part of me likes it (and I commented above about how I liked the dialog in one of the earlier treatments, so I feel that I'm partly to blame), I dug into some reference on treatment writing, and according to one source, anyway, dialog is discouraged at the treatment stage. The point of the treatment is to convey the overall story flow, while not getting into details about exactly what each character says in every scene. So for a scene like the poker game, for example, those three paragraphs could probably be condensed to one, conveying the basic idea that Jonathan (your treatment actually says "James" at one point of this scene's description) isn't paying attention at first, but then he listens to what they're saying about what's going on at work. Something they say sparks a fire in him, and he straightens up and strides away. By condensing every scene in a similar fashion, you could probably knock off an entire page, making the treatment faster to read while still keeping the spirit of the story strong so that the reader is engaged.

     

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    I really like this one as well.
    The story is 'familiar' but concise and set in a new context. The main characters are recognisable and have understandable motives. It would be a shame if the Barista had to go but... 

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    @CleverTagline " sorry about the long treatment, I didn't have time to write a shorter one" :D excuses aside, I received the idea yesterday morning and had just a couple of hours to storyfy it. All your points taken for the future though!!

    So today we had the meeting with most of potential cast&crew (7 people) and it took quite long time to choose between "Dealing with it" and this last "Synch city". Looks like we'll do "Dealing with it" now for the summer event and the other one for the winter.

    Funnily enough, Finland as a country had something to say. For the film Noir it'd be good to work only with controlled lights, which in practice means dark outside. The days will get longer very soon, and in autumn/winter darkness comes very early! I talked about it in the continuity video :)

    And someone suggested to add something to Dealing with it that would be a tease or Segway to Synch City. Let's see if I can! 

    And now, script writing time!!!

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    All right guys, here comes the first draft for Dealing With It!

    The idea now is that Synch City (the latter) would be a noir spin-off of this one. So, in Dealing with it we justify why Sam (Jonathan) is "the detective", and why he is sad and depressed. We also introduce James (the bad manager). Then Tim=Jeff and Arthur is possibly one of the 4 poker players :)

    I know I'm asking a lot more than just reading the treatments, but if you guys (@CleverTagline and @DafterThings) would have the time and patience I'd definitely appreciate it.

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    @rutxer

    I really like it. I can even hear the characters from Breaking Bad. It might need some good acting to pull off the nuances but it flows as a story.

    The Barista at the end doesn't sit quite right. Maybe when he hides he has a blanket or sheet pulled over his head. At the end he's still there in the closet/coffee room saying "Hello? Can I come out yet? Hello?"

    The only thing I am not 100% sure about is why is Mandy packing if production has improved. Maybe she isn't leaving when she speaks to Arthur. 
    Maybe  in the after credits she has another short conversation with William where she says "No, no more. I've done everything you have asked of me but I won't do any more". William or the bigger boss says "We thought you'd say that so we have found somebody who will. Goodbye Mandy" . Mandy looks up to see  James, box in his arms. JAMES (grinning)
    "So, this is my new office! I like it already! 

    Finally, why is this one now called Dealing with it? 

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    @DafterThings thank you!! That was quick and good feedback!

    Excellent point with the barista! The room could be quite in the dark, only lit by the decorative lights now. I like it better than interrupting the moment between Sam and Mandy :D

    Oh, and getting fired is a topic we are avoiding on purpose on this short. The idea is that Mandy is going on a study leave that was planned all along. Which now that I mention it, it isn't even hinted anywhere before. Ok, her and Arthur know, so the hint should appear earlier. I'll see how can I work it out.

     And I thought it'd be best if she is packing when talking to Arthur, because he hints she shouldn't, and that's his way of actually trying to help Sam. The money is just to cover the sores.

    About the title: when I had the initial idea of  "Breakpoint Bad", part of the action in Sam's startup was actually debugging and fighting with actual source code. Now that the story is purely about trafficking and coffee, the software engineering aspect goes away, so I felt that the word Breakpoint was out of place.

    And "Dealing with it" is what they do: she deals with the cost cuts, they deal coffee, she thinks they deal drugs. Or that was the idea :)

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    All right, here comes the second draft, based on the feedback [email protected] and one trusted person from the project.

    I did send it out for another round of review also to our project group and potential actors, so let's see if with that mixed with your comments, the third revision gets better :)

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador

    "All right, here comes the second draft"

    ...

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    Sorry!! Forgot the LINK :)

     

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,197 Ambassador

    "depraved" hasn't yet been fixed to "deprived." ;) There are a few other minor word-usage issues, though I'm happy to ignore those if you prefer.

    Shortly into page 2 I'm confused.  "James turns to the mysterious figure," but James isn't even on the character list, nor is he mentioned previously in the scene. Guessing it should be another name there? William?

    Page 4: Mandy has a line before it's mentioned that she's entered the room.

    Bottom of 11, top of 12: Arthur's question about Mandy leaving, and her response, feel like they could be cut. They don't really add anything to that moment. Better to go from Mandy's "And to give you a raise" directly to Arthur replying, "I'm not the one that needs the raise."

    Shortly after that, when Sam comes in, Arthur says, "I tried kid," which feels like he's apologizing, but I don't know what for. Maybe he's sorry for not keeping everything a secret like he promised, but in the end it actually worked out for the best, so why is he apologizing, especially when he declined the raise so that Sam could get it?

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176
    edited January 2019

     Gaaaah! Deprived deprived deprived! And I'd be happy to get detailed feedback on wording and grammar. It's up to you if you want to spend the time :)

    Page 2: yes, it's William. Will fix.

    Page 4: missed that! Thanks.

    Page 11-12: I was trying to give emphasis to the Sam-Mandy 'thing', but I guess I overdid the exposition. I'll definitely review it.

    With the previous lines that felt superfluous, I was trying to convey that Arthur is questioning Mandy's departure, for Sam's sake. Since she leaves anyway, so he failed and apologies. That was the idea, but obviously didn't come through. I need to revise/redo.

    Will post the next revision later today (hopefully), depending on my sleep deprivation  :D

  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    Ok, here comes the third draft with the link :D I tried to implement the suggestions in it.

    @CleverTagline other than those comments earlier (and possibly new ones to come), how about story, flow, plot holes and such?

Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!