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critique Could someone read and review first 3 pages my script?

These are the first 3 pages of my script, I'd be glad if anyone can give it a read, as English isn't my first language. Be brutally honest about where the mistakes are. Mainly about how dialogues are written.
Thanks a lot in Advance,
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
A few thoughts:

The shattered glass grabbed my attention immediately, which is definitely good.

Write in the present tense: "a man stands" not "a man is standing."

Is there a reason why you don't give the characters' names until the 5th scene? If this isn't a big reveal, then name them as soon as they appear.

Is "Mrs. David" his wife? She deserves her own name.

Keep your descriptions tight. "And suddenly she sees four people coming toward her house" can be reduced to "Four people walk toward the house."

Hope that's helpful.
 
I looked this over. I want to make sure you understand the only reason I can comment on it without a signed release is because you assumed all liability when you posted it.

I didn’t pull any punches.
Referring to the scene numbers:

1) First, this is an ESTABLISHING SHOT and should be so indicated.
Who is “we”? It’s just me and I’m reading a script. Describe the scene and leave the reader out of it. Start with “A brown-grey coloured…”
“Surrounded” and “all around” are redundant in the same sentence.

2) Don’t use SAME TIME. The script could (will!) get changed; a scene might get cut or added. If it’s MORNING, say so. But once you jump to INT. you do not have to be at all specific. DAY or NIGHT is all you need, unless there is a special reason to need more.
Where’s the description of the slugline? What’s the House Lobby look like? Trashy? Elegant? Decorated with a flower in a vase? Plain and humdrum? This right here—not describing every slugline—is the most common mistake. EVERY SLUGLINE GETS A DESCRIPTION.
It’s all just words without description.

3) This is not a CONTINUOUS scene. CONTINUOUS is picking up right where you left off the last time you were in the same scene. CONTINUOUS is used to split a single scene without interrupting the action within the scene.
You have to CAPITALIZE character introductions. And you have to describe characters at their introductions, but don’t be too specific, e.g., A MAN (40) slovenly and unkempt, stands with shaving cream…

At this point it’s too confusing. I don’t know which character is which, and I don’t know anything at all about the characters.

As far as Dialogue, it’s all the same. Different people, ah, speak in different ways. Does, you know—I mean, everybody you know, do they, um, speak in the same manner? Some people spit thier words at you like a machine gun, and different people have different sized vocabularies.
Dialogue is a writer’s tool for breathing individuality into his characters. Give each one a different voice.

Hope that helps.
 
A few thoughts:

The shattered glass grabbed my attention immediately, which is definitely good.

Write in the present tense: "a man stands" not "a man is standing."

Is there a reason why you don't give the characters' names until the 5th scene? If this isn't a big reveal, then name them as soon as they appear.

Is "Mrs. David" his wife? She deserves her own name.

Keep your descriptions tight. "And suddenly she sees four people coming toward her house" can be reduced to "Four people walk toward the house."

Hope that's helpful.
Hello,
Thanks a lot for your valuable inputs, the reason I didn't give the names, is because I created a scenario so that I can introduce the names. But that wasn't necessary and yes Mrs David gets a name later in the script which I will update as per your guidelines.
 
I looked this over. I want to make sure you understand the only reason I can comment on it without a signed release is because you assumed all liability when you posted it.

I didn’t pull any punches.
Referring to the scene numbers:

1) First, this is an ESTABLISHING SHOT and should be so indicated.
Who is “we”? It’s just me and I’m reading a script. Describe the scene and leave the reader out of it. Start with “A brown-grey coloured…”
“Surrounded” and “all around” are redundant in the same sentence.

2) Don’t use SAME TIME. The script could (will!) get changed; a scene might get cut or added. If it’s MORNING, say so. But once you jump to INT. you do not have to be at all specific. DAY or NIGHT is all you need, unless there is a special reason to need more.
Where’s the description of the slugline? What’s the House Lobby look like? Trashy? Elegant? Decorated with a flower in a vase? Plain and humdrum? This right here—not describing every slugline—is the most common mistake. EVERY SLUGLINE GETS A DESCRIPTION.
It’s all just words without description.

3) This is not a CONTINUOUS scene. CONTINUOUS is picking up right where you left off the last time you were in the same scene. CONTINUOUS is used to split a single scene without interrupting the action within the scene.
You have to CAPITALIZE character introductions. And you have to describe characters at their introductions, but don’t be too specific, e.g., A MAN (40) slovenly and unkempt, stands with shaving cream…

At this point it’s too confusing. I don’t know which character is which, and I don’t know anything at all about the characters.

As far as Dialogue, it’s all the same. Different people, ah, speak in different ways. Does, you know—I mean, everybody you know, do they, um, speak in the same manner? Some people spit thier words at you like a machine gun, and different people have different sized vocabularies.
Dialogue is a writer’s tool for breathing individuality into his characters. Give each one a different voice.

Hope that helps.
Hi,
A big thanks for your honest review of my script. As a newbie, I learned a lot of things, and how to use certain things. Will definitively work on these.
Thanks a lot
 
I see you're in India... I'm in the United States so my comments are based on how the industry sees scripts here in the states.

1) Your Master Scene Location Heading -- EXT. COUNTRYSIDE -MORNING In the states, we'd do it like this: EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING

Also... Unless you have a really good reason for saying it's morning? It's best to just call it DAY or like this: EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

Reason being is this is the very BEGINNING of your script. I'm assuming it's a spec script... I think a professional reader would give seeing the word, MORNING a mild red flag RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE since it's at the very beginning of your script and very likely be even more harsh on the script as they continue reading.

Also... Using "We see" is okay but it's weak. You don't need to use it. Make your visual STRONGER by simply describing what WE SEE without telling us WE SEE.

Also... If you intend to eventually shop this in the U.S.? I'd stay away from using words like "meters." If you're keeping it in your country? No problem.

I'm also not understanding why you're using COUNTRYSIDE as your Master Scene Location. Based on what you've written here? Seems like it should be the house:

EXT. BROWN-GRAY TWO-STORY HOUSE - DAY

I wrote THAT based on YOUR description. To me? That's a little bland. If it were me? I'd figure out what kind of HOUSE design it actually is and use that as part of your heading. Also notice the spelling. In America, we usually use the word GRAY to spell the color. Likewise, we spell colour without the "u." Again, if you're keeping this script outside the U.S.? None of that is going to matter but these are some things to keep in mind should you decide to market it here.

I also think you might have overwritten a bit... Everything you have in the beginning could just as easily be written like this:

EXT. RUSTIC TWO-STORY HOUSE - DAY

A picture-perfect residence with a manicured lawn and requisite garden.

You could of course, substitute RUSTIC for whatever design you want the house to be. I just threw that in.

Do you really NEED to know about the stores and interstate behind the house? Does that additional description/information SERVE to tell us something? If so? You could add some additional description underneath all that to let us know this place happens to be standing next to an interstate.

In my opinion, it would be difficult to include the house, the interstate, and commercial properties like stores all in ONE shot the way you've depicted it here. If those descriptions ARE actually necessary to the story for some reason? Then just show us all that in the scene but with separate description.

You do NOT need: INT. HOUSE LOBBY - SAME TIME -- just say:

INT. RUSTIC TWO-STORY HOUSE

A neat and clean foyer.

Glass SHATTERS.

MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
Shit! I'm gonna die!

*NOTE: Again, in the U.S. we don't call it a lobby. We call it a foyer.

But again, be a bit more descriptive with the house by using its design so we get a complete visual in our mind's eye.

Instead of: A loud noise of glass shattering.

Just keep it simple and do not overwrite: Glass SHATTERS.

That's all you need.

Now that you're inside the house? Try using secondary scene location headings instead of yet another master scene location heading.

Notice I used O.S. instead of V.O. V.O. stands for VOICEOVER. This is someone who's NARRATING either what's happening in the scene or telling us something we need to know about this story. From the way you've written it? It seems like we're inside the foyer of the house and hear glass shatter and then a man say, "Shit, I'm gonna die!"

Now we're in the washroom of the house and you're using WE SEE again. I can only speak for here in the states but if you keep using WE SEE? It's going to knock a reader out of the story. You don't need to say that... In a screenplay? It's IMPLIED that what you write in description is what we're supposed to see so there's no need to keep saying it.

Also... You're using CONTINUOUS in your heading. Probably because your screenwriting software is set to do that by default as is your use of scene numbers. You don't need either in a spec script.

Again... Overwriting. Keep it simple. More like:

A LADY runs into the

WASHROOM

where a MAN (40s) stands wearing shaving cream with broken
glass all around him.

LADY
What have you done now?

Now I'll get into your dialogue... Both the Man's and Lady's dialogue is ON-THE-NOSE. Is that how they talk where you're from? Here in the states, they probably wouldn't say exactly what's on their minds.

Why have the Man say ANYTHING at all? Why not just let us HEAR the glass shatter and WONDER what happened? Why not let the lady run into the washroom and say something like, "Now what?" or "Oh my God, what've you done now?" That way we're already WONDERING what's going on with this guy. It'll help us want to see more to find out what's going on with him.

Not going to get into the additional pages because you're basically doing the same thing over again there... Like @mlesemann said... Consider introducing your characters when we are actually seeing them in the script. Give us some good description of them along with just a hint of their personality. I don't see why they need to be introduced so late.
 
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I see you're in India... I'm in the United States so my comments are based on how the industry sees scripts here in the states.

1) Your Master Scene Location Heading -- EXT. COUNTRYSIDE -MORNING In the states, we'd do it like this: EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING

Also... Unless you have a really good reason for saying it's morning? It's best to just call it DAY or like this: EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

Reason being is this is the very BEGINNING of your script. I'm assuming it's a spec script... I think a professional reader would give seeing the word, MORNING a mild red flag RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE since it's at the very beginning of your script and very likely be even more harsh on the script as they continue reading.

Also... Using "We see" is okay but it's weak. You don't need to use it. Make your visual STRONGER by simply describing what WE SEE without telling us WE SEE.

Also... If you intend to eventually shop this in the U.S.? I'd stay away from using words like "meters." If you're keeping it in your country? No problem.

I'm also not understanding why you're using COUNTRYSIDE as your Master Scene Location. Based on what you've written here? Seems like it should be the house:

EXT. BROWN-GRAY TWO-STORY HOUSE - DAY

I wrote THAT based on YOUR description. To me? That's a little bland. If it were me? I'd figure out what kind of HOUSE design it actually is and use that as part of your heading. Also notice the spelling. In America, we usually use the word GRAY to spell the color. Likewise, we spell colour without the "u." Again, if you're keeping this script outside the U.S.? None of that is going to matter but these are some things to keep in mind should you decide to market it here.

I also think you might have overwritten a bit... Everything you have in the beginning could just as easily be written like this:

EXT. RUSTIC TWO-STORY HOUSE - DAY

A picture-perfect residence with a manicured lawn and requisite garden.

You could of course, substitute RUSTIC for whatever design you want the house to be. I just threw that in.

Do you really NEED to know about the stores and interstate behind the house? Does that additional description/information SERVE to tell us something? If so? You could add some additional description underneath all that to let us know this place happens to be standing next to an interstate.

In my opinion, it would be difficult to include the house, the interstate, and commercial properties like stores all in ONE shot the way you've depicted it here. If those descriptions ARE actually necessary to the story for some reason? Then just show us all that in the scene but with separate description.

You do NOT need: INT. HOUSE LOBBY - SAME TIME -- just say:

INT. RUSTIC TWO-STORY HOUSE

A neat and clean foyer.

Glass SHATTERS.

MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
Shit! I'm gonna die!

*NOTE: Again, in the U.S. we don't call it a lobby. We call it a foyer.

But again, be a bit more descriptive with the house by using its design so we get a complete visual in our mind's eye.

Instead of: A loud noise of glass shattering.

Just keep it simple and do not overwrite: Glass SHATTERS.

That's all you need.

Now that you're inside the house? Try using secondary scene location headings instead of yet another master scene location heading.

Notice I used O.S. instead of V.O. V.O. stands for VOICEOVER. This is someone who's NARRATING either what's happening in the scene or telling us something we need to know about this story. From the way you've written it? It seems like we're inside the foyer of the house and hear glass shatter and then a man say, "Shit, I'm gonna die!"

Now we're in the washroom of the house and you're using WE SEE again. I can only speak for here in the states but if you keep using WE SEE? It's going to knock a reader out of the story. You don't need to say that... In a screenplay? It's IMPLIED that what you write in description is what we're supposed to see so there's no need to keep saying it.

Also... You're using CONTINUOUS in your heading. Probably because your screenwriting software is set to do that by default as is your use of scene numbers. You don't need either in a spec script.

Again... Overwriting. Keep it simple. More like:

A LADY runs into the WASHROOM where a MAN (40s) stands wearing shaving
cream with broken glass all around him.

LADY
What have you done now?

Now I'll get into your dialogue... Both the Man's and Lady's dialogue is ON-THE-NOSE. Is that how they talk where you're from? Here in the states, they probably wouldn't say exactly what's on their minds.

Why have the Man say ANYTHING at all? Why not just let us HEAR the glass shatter and WONDER what happened? Why not let the lady run into the washroom and say something like, "Now what?" or "Oh my God, what've you done now?" That way we're already WONDERING what's going on with this guy. It'll help us want to see more to find out what's going on with him.

Not going to get into the additional pages because you're basically doing the same thing over again there... Like @mlesemann said... Consider introducing your characters when we are actually seeing them in the script. Give us some good description of them along with just a hint of their personality. I don't see why they need to be introduced so late.
Hello,
Heaps of thanks for your time and inputs, and yes I'm not from States but yes, I am trying to get this script into States and also participating in different scriptwriting competitions. And all the inputs you have given regarding the words and dialogues and scene-setting and how to keep it short and on point are very valuable. I'll be working on it.
Thanks a lot
 
I'm not from States but yes, I am trying to get this script into States and also participating in different scriptwriting competitions.
Besides the formatting notes given by the others, I would echo @Unknown Screenwriter 's remark about writing (spelling) in the dialect of your target market. As you acknowledge that English isn't your first language, this will take a bit of effort, but it's important as there are "geographical" variants that distract a little from the dialogue. To pick a few examples, describing the space around the house in "meters" puts it "anywhere but America" ... but not Europe either, as we use "metres" for describing while "meters" are things you can hold in your hand or nail to the wall. :cool:

I can hear the Indian dialect coming through too, e.g. in scenes 6 and 7: the broken glasses, the shattered glasses. This should be broken glass, shattered glass - singular, no matter how many pieces. You need to be careful with this, as if you include such phrases in the spoken dialogue, it will give your character a particular voice, which may or may not match their character.

One last correction (although it might be for the cutting-room floor if you follow the others' advice ;)):
"receives the landline which resides on the nearby table"
Make that "answers the landline" or "picks up the (telephone) handset from the nearby table"

Despite the lack of polish, it's an intriguing start ... :thumbsup:
 
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