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Can someone review the first 60 pages of my Screenplay?

First impressions are everything (I guess).

Hello, those who are reading. I need a favor of you all. I need to know how good or bad my screenplay is. I really do think it's good but, I would like to have another's opinion.

To give context: It's called "The Forgotten Battle". It's about the Aleutian Islands Campaign during World War 2 and the stories that surround it.

I would be much obliged if any feedback is given. Thank you. :)


EDIT: Second "Full" draft if anyone wants to read: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2gtHMO2K_7PM1RYVG44allvajg/view?usp=sharing

Blase Henry
 
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I have several scripts, TV pilots and a specs I'm always looking for feedback on. I guess my Black Mirror spec is similar in length 59 pgs. I also haven't gotten much feedback on it yet. If you like PM me a link of yours and I'll do the same.
 
I have several scripts, TV pilots and a specs I'm always looking for feedback on. I guess my Black Mirror spec is similar in length 59 pgs. I also haven't gotten much feedback on it yet. If you like PM me a link of yours and I'll do the same.

Can you not access the link?
 
Why do you have two shot, medium shot and long shot in your script? That is not how you formulate a screenplay.
 
Yes that is for the creativity of the director and cinematographer. The initial script shouldn't guide what the camera does. If you as a writer want to assist with the shot list in pre-production then you can.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Yes that is for the creativity of the director and cinematographer. The initial script shouldn't guide what the camera does. If you as a writer want to assist with the shot list in pre-production then you can.

Maybe it's not a spec script and for his own production.
 
Yes that is for the creativity of the director and cinematographer. The initial script shouldn't guide what the camera does. If you as a writer want to assist with the shot list in pre-production then you can.

I'm fixing that right now.
 
Hi, Blase29

The good news: You've got a good eye for imagery, which is important in film, and the story itself is a good one that deserves to be told; you've got your foot in the door to telling it by having the first draft of a script under your belt. The bad news: you commit most every newbie mistake in "the book" here, ranging from heavy dialogue exposition to attempting to direct to telling rather than showing, etc. The better news: it can all be fixed by reading a lot (50 or 60 at least) of top-shelf professional scripts from successful films in this genre. You'll see the difference between them and your script and it won't take long to figure out what you need to do to fix it.

I do wish you the best of luck with this. I'd buy a ticket in a second to see a movie based on these stories.

Cheers!
 
Hi, Blase29

The good news: You've got a good eye for imagery, which is important in film, and the story itself is a good one that deserves to be told; you've got your foot in the door to telling it by having the first draft of a script under your belt. The bad news: you commit most every newbie mistake in "the book" here, ranging from heavy dialogue exposition to attempting to direct to telling rather than showing, etc. The better news: it can all be fixed by reading a lot (50 or 60 at least) of top-shelf professional scripts from successful films in this genre. You'll see the difference between them and your script and it won't take long to figure out what you need to do to fix it.

I do wish you the best of luck with this. I'd buy a ticket in a second to see a movie based on these stories.

Cheers!

I fixed the direct part just now. To be honest, the reason I had it in there was so that the readers don't get confused on what's happening.

The heavy dialogue. Sure. Ok. My writings have been praised for its dialogue, so heavy dialogue doesn't worry me that much. Sure, it's a concern, but not that much. Some of the heavy dialogue you saw, obviously, where characters telling their stories. So, when it comes to heavy dialogue, it's apples and oranges to me. I guess I am like Christopher Nolan, in that aspect.

And, I just recently noticed the "tell don't show" parts of my script, which pissed me off. So, I am now fixing that.

Overall, I'm glad you like the story itself.
 
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It doesn't matter if his script is for his own personal project or he is practicing. He must adhere to the integrity of the screenplay format.
 
It doesn't matter if his script is for his own personal project or he is practicing. He must adhere to the integrity of the screenplay format.

And which format is that? There's no official United Nations Screenplay Commission that sets formatting laws for the world. In general, he does follow formatting "rules" quite nicely. Sluglines, dialogue blocks, action descriptions, scene transitions, etc. are all within industry standards. His style of camera directing is perfect for a shooting-script if he intends to direct the film himself. True, it's not the generally accepted way (that's all "formatting rules" consist of) to format a spec script: camera directions take up valuable space and detract from the read at a time when, more than anything, you're trying to "sell" the script and want the reader to be immersed in the story. But that's an easy fix and he's admitted it and is working to correct it.
 
I fixed the direct part just now. To be honest, the reason I had it in there was so that the readers don't get confused on what's happening.

The heavy dialogue. Sure. Ok. My writings have been praised for its dialogue, so heavy dialogue doesn't worry me that much. Sure, it's a concern, but not that much. Some of the heavy dialogue you saw, obviously, where characters telling their stories. So, when it comes to heavy dialogue, it's apples and oranges to me. I guess I am like Christopher Nolan, in that aspect.

And, I just recently noticed the "tell don't show" parts of my script, which pissed me off. So, I am now fixing that.

Overall, I'm glad you like the story itself.

Hey, Blase29

Actually, it's not "heavy dialogue" I'm concerned with. It's heavy dialogue exposition. By that I mean you're sneaking background/back-story information into the dialogue when that's NOT how people in real life would talk to one another. When I say it's "expository dialogue," I mean its sole purpose is to explain things TO THE READER/VIEWER, not to advance the plot or character arc of the speaker, etc. A little bit of that is ok and necessary, but your use of it is top-heavy and very noticeable. People's eyes will gloss over and they'll tune it out. There's ways to get that info to the reader/viewer, but it has to be done using dialogue (or other means) that people would actually use. If they wouldn't say it, you can't use it. Hope that makes sense. (I doubt Christopher Nolan would approve of the overuse of expository dialogue.)

In any case, you're on the right track and it sounds like you've got things figured out on how to proceed. Best of luck!
 
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Hey, Blase29

Actually, it's not "heavy dialogue" I'm concerned with. It's heavy dialogue exposition. By that I mean you're sneaking background/back-story information into the dialogue when that's NOT how people in real life would talk to one another. When I say it's "expository dialogue," I mean its sole purpose is to explain things TO THE READER/VIEWER, not to advance the plot or character arc of the speaker, etc. A little bit of that is ok and necessary, but your use of it is top-heavy and very noticeable. People's eyes will gloss over and they'll tune it out. There's ways to get that info to the reader/viewer, but it has to be done using dialogue (or other means) that people would actually use. If they wouldn't say it, you can't use it. Hope that makes sense. (I doubt Christopher Nolan would approve of the overuse of expository dialogue.)

In any case, you're on the right track and it sounds like you've got things figured out on how to proceed. Best of luck!

That makes sense. I've always used realism and authenticity in my use of dialogue because I wanted to capture that feel. And if you have to explain that to me, then I've screwed up somewhere. And I also guess, I just like telling/adding stories of/to the characters. Maybe it's a habit of mine. ( I don't know. I heard Nolan frequently uses heavy dialogue exposition in his movies, but i hear what you're saying.)

Thanks for the luck!
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
It has potential. The first time you posted this I didn't read past page
five. I'm glad you made some format changes to make it an easier read.
I disagree with Quality that you "must adhere to the integrity" of his
version of the screenplay format. Your format is fine. I didn't like all the
camera direction and I still don't like the "CUT TO:", but that is still proper
format.

As you rewrite and polish I hope you clean it up even more. You say you
don't want the readers to get confused on what's happening. Simple, straight
forward writing is the best way.

One suggestion I have it to drop the present progressive. That's “start running”,
“is turning”, “now walking”. I prefer to not use it at all. You use it sometimes
and then don't use it other times. “Winfrey jumps off his bunk.” is much more
active than “Winfrey is jumping off his bunk.” “All of them start to run...”
doesn't give you the same visual as “All of them run...” What does “start to
run” look like?

Also you use a lot of “then” to situate actions. I think it's unnecessary. This
happens, “then” this happens, “then” this happens. It not confusing to a
reader if you leave out that adverb. Take a few of your action paragraphs
and drop it – see how it reads to you.

An example of confusing overwriting:
Winfrey comes out of the door, but is shot at. He decides to go back inside after almost being shot at.

He wasn't almost shot at – you tell us he IS shot at. Why does he need to
decide to go back inside? I read “decide” as making a choice. How long does
he stand there in front of the station considering what to do? You've got an
action scene here – ramp up your action writing.

An example of heavy dialogue exposition:
What plan is there? Ten men are defending a weather station from a larger Japanese force! What plan do you have sir, that can make us survive here!?!

As a reader I already know they are in a weather station – they know it too.
I already know there is a large Japanese force – they know it too. Would
Wimpy really explain all that to the guys who know all that? This is the prime
opportunity to show his character through dialogue.

And this is all in the first ten pages.

I got to page 25. I see the research in this and your passion comes through.
 
It has potential. The first time you posted this I didn't read past page
five. I'm glad you made some format changes to make it an easier read.
I disagree with Quality that you "must adhere to the integrity" of his
version of the screenplay format. Your format is fine. I didn't like all the
camera direction and I still don't like the "CUT TO:", but that is still proper
format.

As you rewrite and polish I hope you clean it up even more. You say you
don't want the readers to get confused on what's happening. Simple, straight
forward writing is the best way.

One suggestion I have it to drop the present progressive. That's “start running”,
“is turning”, “now walking”. I prefer to not use it at all. You use it sometimes
and then don't use it other times. “Winfrey jumps off his bunk.” is much more
active than “Winfrey is jumping off his bunk.” “All of them start to run...”
doesn't give you the same visual as “All of them run...” What does “start to
run” look like?

Also you use a lot of “then” to situate actions. I think it's unnecessary. This
happens, “then” this happens, “then” this happens. It not confusing to a
reader if you leave out that adverb. Take a few of your action paragraphs
and drop it – see how it reads to you.

An example of confusing overwriting:


He wasn't almost shot at – you tell us he IS shot at. Why does he need to
decide to go back inside? I read “decide” as making a choice. How long does
he stand there in front of the station considering what to do? You've got an
action scene here – ramp up your action writing.

An example of heavy dialogue exposition:


As a reader I already know they are in a weather station – they know it too.
I already know there is a large Japanese force – they know it too. Would
Wimpy really explain all that to the guys who know all that? This is the prime
opportunity to show his character through dialogue.

And this is all in the first ten pages.

I got to page 25. I see the research in this and your passion comes through.

Thanks for the feedback. I am almost finished with the entire script being done. Just a few more scenes to write. After that, time for more editing. This is either going to be my masterpiece/official kick in the door or my biggest blunder.
 
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