View Full Version : 7 pgs of my script

07-21-2003, 02:40 PM

07-21-2003, 03:17 PM
It's kind of messy. I guess I get that you're cutting to some explanation, like Josh and the pregant woman, but it seems unmotivated. Why is it necessary to cut to Mr. Snyder's fiance after they mention that she's pregnant? All she does is walk up a flight of stairs.

And why is this guy taking attendence for 9 people in his class? And why are there only 9 people in his class? Is this a public or private school? And if it's a private school, why is the student body so inexplicably diverse?

The other problems are in the visuals. You explain a lot of character traits that won't show up on screen. How do we know that the fat kid is 20 years old? How do we know that Tom is a ladies man? How do we know that Stacy has a drug problem?

Other than that, it's not too bad. It's a little longer than it needs to be to get through attendence for a 9 person class. I like the VO's for each character, so long as that motif comes up elsewhere in the story.

07-21-2003, 03:18 PM
Ok, to start this seen is boring. I find this a real dull way to introduce your characters. A teacher doing attendance for almost 7 pages doesn't grab my attention.

Also, why are the characters so stereotypical? The handsome jock, the anarchist, the nerd, etc. Breath a little life into the characters, life isn't black and white.

I'd lose all the voiceovers as well. It seems like a lazy way to get across the emotions of each character. For example, it is clear Travis is covering for someone when he speaks. The voiceover is not necessary. Are you planning on keeping 6 or so voiceovers for an entire movie? I don't think that would work. I would lose them.

I'm assuming this is a screenplay that will follow all these characters over a day or so at school? So far, in these 7 pages, you haven't got my attention. The only character that interests me at all is Travis, but only slightly, because I'm interested in the lie. The rest of the characters seem dull.

07-21-2003, 04:10 PM
Lots of beginner mistakes here--too much passive voice. The misused aprostrophe. (I've never read anything good that consistently misuses aprostrophes. Draw a lesson from that if you want). The slow, dull characer introductions are another beginner mistake.

The biggest problem is this:

Who's story are you telling?

Mike's? Doug's? Mr. Snyder's? Right now, it seems like Mr. Snyder's, but I don't really know. None of these people have done anything.

Seven pages into a screenplay, I should, at least, have a very solid sense of who the lead character is and the tone of the story. I should see the main character DOING something. But I don't even know who the main character is.

Character is revealed through ACTION, not description. Showing me a girl in a cheerleader outfit doesn't tell me a thing about who she is. Showing me that girl trying to seduce her boyfriend might. (Or showing her trying to resist his advances.) Of course, either of those scenes could be cliches if done poorly--but that's usually a signal that you don't know your characters well enough. Because if you really do know them, you'll be able to come up with a more interesting way to have her react to whatever situation you put her in.

I second everything Beeble writes.

07-21-2003, 04:12 PM
All the V.O. are little hints of what's to come and who they are. The V.O. don't return after the attendance.

I also thought that the attendance maybe to long, but to me character is the best part of a movie. "The Royal Tenenbaums" had about twelve minutes of explaining each character before the actual story began. And the reason I put the fiancee in there was to show every main character in the movie before pg 11.

"Also, why are the characters so stereotypical?"

Stereotypical is just another word for majority or fact. Most if not all classrooms have these types of people. It's very sterotypical (maybe to much).

It's a public school (I don't think that really matters though). I actually had a english class with only eleven students.


07-21-2003, 04:31 PM
As for the next five pages. If Bryan is going to be the focus of your script, I like these pages. But you need to focus on Bryan more. It continues to drag, but the last few pages are what I like.

You need to get to the point of your screenplay. You have too much filler, get rid of it. I still don't have a clue what I'm supposed to be reading.

The speech by Bryan does seem very childish in its explanation, but with some work could really grab the attention of the audience. The points of his speech do fit his character, but I think it needs some rewording.

I agree that classes do have students that are a part of certain groups, but you have chosen such extremes of each one I don't think it works.

One problem more problem:
MR. SNYDERís not paying any attention.

Heís thinking about his deceased father.

He never smoked in his life. He gets a cell phone and a month later he diagnosed with cancer.

How would the audience know he is speaking about his father?

07-21-2003, 04:40 PM
I'll take a look at these pages in a minute, but I want to address a couple of comments.

First of all, you're wrong. Stereotypes may have a grain of truth in them, but if you actually get to know these people you'll quickly learn that there is a lot of difference between "typical" jocks--there's really no such thing.

The stereotype is simply your refusal to use your imagination and skills of observation to dig a little deeper. (Get to know a few cheerleaders. Consider it research. You'll be surprised.) These subcultures that look monolithic from the outside are NOT, and you can't write them accurately unless you make an effort to penetrate the surface.

And, look, I don't care what Wed Anderson did (although I didn't care much for Tannenbaums, myself) but this is just dull. His opening, at least, was very witty. It's almost always a mistake (and it's a very common newbie mistake) to spend a lot of time "setting up" stuff. Start your story on page one. Also note that Anderson was telling us UNUSUAL things about these people at the beginning of the script. He wasn't pointing out stereotypical characteristics.

I've got to run. I'll comment on your new pages later.

07-21-2003, 05:05 PM
Another typical newbie response is to explain away and all criticism. What you're essentially saying is that you're not going to change anything no matter what any of us say. Maybe you don't think you're doing that, but it's there in your response to the criticism, even going so far as to justify the proliferation of uninteresting, unoriginal stereotypes in your script.

You did this in your other post as well.

To be fair, you didn't really ask for criticism, so I'm wondering why you posted this at all?

07-21-2003, 05:24 PM
Not true.

You feel that i can't disagree or justify something you see as being wrong.

I appreciate all comments.

07-21-2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by MysteryMadison
Not true.

You feel that i can't disagree or justify something you see as being wrong.

Sure, but you've explained away every single comment you've been given, and some of it is CLEARLY legitimate problems with your script.

But you've treated it all the same, with an "I did that on purpose" or "you just don't understand it" response. You also did this in your other post about the old man in the room.

Even if you disagree, DON'T BOTHER JUSTIFYING ANYTHING, unless someone asks you to clarify a specific point. Just sit back and take in the responses. Show your gratitude (which, to your credit, you've done). You're apt to get a lot more helpful criticism in the future if people think they're being listened to.

07-21-2003, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by MysteryMadison
Not true.

You feel that i can't disagree or justify something you see as being wrong.

I appreciate all comments.

If you want to disagree, hey, fine. You're entitled to.

But understand that you're wrong. Beeble, NobodySpecial, and myself are people with experience in the entertainment industry. We're people who know what a script is supposed to look like and read like.

Does this mean our s*** doesn't stink? Absolutely not.

But we do know a heck of a lot more than you do. Even though this may be hard for you to accept, your script would be greatly improved by simply accepting every one of our suggestions. I don't expect you to do this, of course--and the truth is that for you to make these changes intelligently you would have to feel them and understand them. (You can't make good chances to somebody else's order.)

But when you argue with people who clearly know a lot more than you do, it makes you look unapreciative (at best).

07-21-2003, 06:21 PM
Reading these next couple of pages, I see all the same problems. To repeat:

What story are you telling? Who's your main character? What is this movie about?

Why should I care about any of these people?

You really need to find a way to express the answers to these questions IN the script.

07-21-2003, 08:09 PM
Let's just walk through the opening together.



ESTABLISHING SHOT: A very small high school, with a little over three hundred students.
How do I know there are a little over 300 students there? And are they all standing in the establishing shot? I also don't know what state or city I'm in. Are we in the middle are Harlem or the middle of rural Iowa? That's important information.

The hallways are crowded and noisy with students running and walking to their next class.

Don't use cute things like "enter..." unless you're introducing your protagonist... and even then you might not want to do that.

There line above that is also awkward and (I believe) grammatically incorrect. Just wanted to point that out for when you revise this.

One by one studentís enter the classroom. The studentís ages run from seventeen, eighteen, and one twenty year old.
How do I know how old any of these kids are? How do I tell the difference between an eighteen and seventeen year old? Furthermore, I'm now assuming the age differences are important, so I hope they come up later.

The teacher MR. SNYDER, a man in his early thirties sits behind his desk and waits for the studentís to enter the classroom. He waits for the bell to ring. He looks up at the clock on the wall, it reads 8:57. MR. SNYDER looks down at his expensive watch, and it reads 8:54. He fixes his watch.
The only important point here is the expensive watch. All the action can be cut. I also don't know anything about Mr. Synder. What does he look like? Over weight, bald, sweaty, breathing heavily through his mouth... or tall, dark, handsome, and charming?

The classroom is very small. The class contains: eleven small desks with small chairs attached to them, MR. SNYDERís old warped desk, a half full shelf of books, and a poster on the wall that reads: ďREAD ALL THAT YOU CAN READ. IN LIFE.Ē The poster shows an earthworm reading a book and behind the worm is an American flag.
Is any of this important to the story?

Itís English class.

The ninth and final student enters the classroom.

The clock reads nine.

A very loud and very annoying BELL goes off.

So how is everyone doing today?

The class erupts with responses.

VOICE #1 (O.C.)
Crap. Feeling like crap.
I'm going to stop right here. OC means the person can't be seen by the audience and presumably the characters in the scene. For example, if someone sneaks up behind someone else it would be an OC dialogue, or if you're in a dark forest and there's an ominous voice taunting your hero. OC doesn't work here.

VOICE #4 (O.C.)
How are you doing today MR. SNYDER?

Thanks for asking. Actually Iím doing very well today.

VOICE #4 (O.C.)
So youíre not sick anymore?

No. Iím fine.

VOICE #4 (O.C.)
Good. Because I was a little worried yesterday when...

Letís take attendances, okay?

Heavy handed, and mildly unbelievable, especially since we don't have a face to associate with the person asking the question (ie, is it the class clown or the teacher's pet asking...).

In general I'd advise revealing this information in another way.

Is MATT here?


Matt is twenty years old. Heís the quiet kid of the class. He has acne all over his face. Itís hard to look at him, without feeling ill or sorry for him.

You don't capitalize names in dialogue. It goes in the action. The description is much, much better than your other character intros, but I'd maybe like a little bit more. I feel like there's still some info that could help me visualize the kind of kid we're dealing with. And the "he's the quiet kid" line can go. You can show that, so you don't need to tell us.
Matt bites his nails.

Mike is the jock of the class. Heís an all around huge guy. Heís wearing his usual outfit: A pair of tight jeans and his school jacket, which has all sorts of pins and patches of sport achievements attached to it.

His class ring shines.

Lunch at eleven. Talk to Tracy after class. Practice at four. Donít forget to tell coach about next week. Straighten up and fly right.
Huh?! Why did you go into this guy's head all of a sudden? At this point I'm assuming Mike is our protagonist.

And why is this class so small? How come there's only one "jock" in the class? Is this going to end up like The Breakfast Club?

Victor is the hippie of the class. Heís wearing a pair of torn up sandals, a tie dyed shirt, a marijuana and peace necklace, heís got dirty dread locks. Heís a hippie.
I'd like to point out that if this was handed to me in a professional setting I would have stopped reading right here. All you have to say is:
"VICTOR'S a in look and spirit" and I'd have all the information I need. I know what jocks look like, and hippies, and every other type of stereotype you can come up with, so you don't need to tell me these things for your 1 dimensional characters.

No voice over for Victor. Heís not thinking about anything. You do not need to tell me this.

Jane looks up at the clock on the wall: It reads 9:03.
This would not take three minutes to get through. Three minutes of screen time means three pages of screenplay. Furthermore, I can guarentee you that if you were to spend three minutes taking roll of four students the audience would gauge out their own eyes, or if they were smart they'd gauge out yours.

I'm going to stop.

My biggest suggestion to you right now, beyond the comments on passive voice you've already gotten is: get to the point. Thunder through your scenes, because this is taking forever. I realize I was telling you to add more details to certain parts, but you need to give key information as quickly as possible and get on to the next bit.


Snyder takes roll --

MATT, a lanky acne scarred kid staring quietly down at his empty desk --

MIKE, a clean cut, well built, mass of charisma wrapped in a football jacket, trumphantly scoffing at --

TRAVIS, a four-eyed geek who's never kissed a girl --

VICTOR, thinks he's a hippie in spirit, and looks the part --


If you've got a large ensemble cast like this you can just blast through them all. The script for Predator has a nice scene that introduces all the characters to the reader. You should take a look at that.

And take Ron and Beeble's advice. They gave some great tips; you'd be wise to internalize their comments.

07-21-2003, 08:35 PM
Ronald: "But understand that you're wrong. Beeble, NobodySpecial, and myself are people with experience in the entertainment industry. We're people who know what a script is supposed to look like and read like."

You Keep avoiding my question. May i see your experience, have I or anyone ever heard of your experience. WHAT???

And how the hell can you say i'm wrong and your right? How can you say you know more then me?

Let me remind your simple mind that you don't FN know me.

Your ego is pretty big and i advice you to fix that.

"Don't justify anything" ?????????
Are you FN serious? So I'm just supposed to sit back and agree with everything you say??? Yes sir.

So your one of those guys or girls who run away when someone says $hit to you. You don't believe in sticking up for yourself???????


predator sucked.

07-21-2003, 09:07 PM
Normally, I'd just sit back and let you get banned, but for some crazy reason I'm going to take a few moment out of my life to try and talk some sense into you.

1) Ron and Beeble know a lot about filmmaking. A LOT! You don't have to take my word for it. Just search the board for their posts and read what they have to say. It's 100% obvious they know the process inside and out. They have a lot of credibility here, and they've earned every single bit of it (in spite of my best attempts to thwart them!).

2) There are right ways of doing things, and wrong ways. If you spell "cat" K-H-A-U-T-I-T-C-Z, you are wrong. That is not how you spell "cat". You can rationalize it till Tuesday, it doesn't change the matter of fact.

In your script, you did a lot of things wrong. I'm not talking about subjective things, I'm talking about things that you learn in any first year screenwriting course. It's basic stuff, and you're doing it wrong.

3) We are talking time out of our lives to try and help you, so agree or not, don't get fucking upity with us, or you'll find less and less people bothering to post in your threads.

4) Don't take things so personally. As far as I saw no one insulted yo momma, so don't act like they did.

5) "Predator sucks"? Maybe you think it does, but I never told you to watch the film or love the film or anything like that. I told you to read one scene in the screenplay that introduces the characters. Learn through other people's examples.

In conclusion: chill out... again.