critique Critique on a short film script.

I all,
I'm working on a 15 page short drama film. It reads more as a play with dialogue between mostly two people. I'd love feedback on it. Also it hasn't been fully proofread just an FYI.

Thanks,
Jason
 

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Normally, I wouldn't read a short script... Why? In my experience here on IndieTalk, short scripts are written the way the writer knows how to write. They just get it all on the page any way they can. They may follow some kind of formatting but that's only because it's obviously built-in to the software they're using.

Since you prefaced the fact that there were already problems... I simply read it for its content. I like it overall. I think with some rewriting, it could even be BRILLIANT. Needs some work but the GIST is there in my humble opinion. The only thing that bothers me is that it's a downer. Don't get me wrong... I'm actually INTO downers. LOL. But it's taken me a lifetime of professional screenwriting to really get and understand that most people are NOT into downers... Let alone the commercial market.

I'm not here to stroke you... Not here to tell you what to do with this. Just give you my honest opinion.

Consider a way to bring the down back UP so that at least we can feel better about the ending and what happened to get us there.

As for all the other problems? Lots of typos and mispellings. Formatting problems too but all that can be fixed in a day. I think your story WORKS.

Good luck with it!
 
Normally, I wouldn't read a short script... Why? In my experience here on IndieTalk, short scripts are written the way the writer knows how to write. They just get it all on the page any way they can. They may follow some kind of formatting but that's only because it's obviously built-in to the software they're using.

Since you prefaced the fact that there were already problems... I simply read it for its content. I like it overall. I think with some rewriting, it could even be BRILLIANT. Needs some work but the GIST is there in my humble opinion. The only thing that bothers me is that it's a downer. Don't get me wrong... I'm actually INTO downers. LOL. But it's taken me a lifetime of professional screenwriting to really get and understand that most people are NOT into downers... Let alone the commercial market.

I'm not here to stroke you... Not here to tell you what to do with this. Just give you my honest opinion.

Consider a way to bring the down back UP so that at least we can feel better about the ending and what happened to get us there.

As for all the other problems? Lots of typos and mispellings. Formatting problems too but all that can be fixed in a day. I think your story WORKS.

Good luck with it!
Hello Unknown Screenwriter,
Sorry for the delayed response,

I appreciate your kind words and helpful approaches on improving my script. I was told by user mlesemann, that I should send some of my better work to screenwriting contests. I'm wondering, for one, do you think this work is worthy of getting into screenwriting contests? If so, what contests would you recommend?

Thanks,
Jason
 
The top screenwriting contests are one way to get NOTICED and when you get noticed, this can often parlay itself into representation by either an agent or manager. A lot of agents and managers want to meet with top screenwriting competition finalists.

Here's the bad news however...

Most of these finalists NEVER sell a script or get produced. Sad but true. Why? Because in the end? Making movies is a BUSINESS and most of what Hollywood wants are high concept screenplays. If you're not writing high concept specs, your chances of actually breaking into the business go way down unless you go the DO IT YOURSELF route i.e., write your spec the way you want to write it and then finance and make it yourself. If you go this route? You can OBVIOUSLY do it any way you want.

Will you be successful? Who knows. We can only HOPE that you will.

I probably know at least a couple handfuls of writers who have become finalists of major screenwriting competitions... None of them except ONE (of everyone I know personally) ever sold that screenplay and the one that did, had written a high concept spec that got noticed. Unfortunately, nobody liked his rewrite (because the competition finalist version simply wasn't ready to be made into a movie) and after he got paid for the rewrite, he was promptly fired.

Now he's back to working the same job he had that he quit when he sold the script... He's decided the business is way too temperamental for his liking and so he's gone back to doing what he did before he started writing screenplays. I should also mention that this same individual wrote several other specs while he had very good representation that never sold either... In the end? Clearly, it was his CONCEPT that Hollywood LIKED and NOT his writing but they kind of had to give him the opportunity to write the rewrite.

Now? The spec he wrote YEARS ago has now been rewritten a couple of times. I have no idea what it now looks like but if I know professional screenwriters? I'm sure it's changed quite a bit because of the WGA system i.e., you have to change the script right around 35% in order to get a "Screenplay by" credit. In Hollywood? You're really only as good as your last credit unless you have some REALLY good friends who can help pave the way for you.

But back to competitions...

You can obviously write whatever you want to write but know up front that unless you have a really good high concept spec -- even if you become a finalist -- it's gonna be a hard spec to sell. You'll get a lot of general meetings from having become a finalist but in the end when your prospective representation sees that they can't sell your spec that turned you into a finalist? They'll be asking the same old question everyone eventually hears...

"What else ya got?"

If you have more, small, character driven screenplays? They may be too difficult for your prospective represetation to sell. It is getting a little easier with Internet streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime but it hasn't changed too drastically YET. It might. Time will tell.

Hollywood studios however, are all about the concept -- percentage-wise. High concept is KING whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

I only mention all this because Hollywood is LITTERED with screenwriting competition finalists who STILL refuse to understand what Hollywood wants YET they want to become professional Hollywood screenwriters. The majority of these finalists continue to write specs that Hollywood is never going to be interested in.

Your mileage may vary... Anyone can get lucky. I'm talking strictly percentages and numbers here.

Having said all that?

These are the best screenwriting competitions that I know of...

1) Academy Nicholl Fellowships
2) Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition
3) Page International Screenwriting Awards
4) Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest
5) Tracking Board Launch Pad Screenwriting Competition
6) Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest
7) Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition

We're talking feature length screenplays here... There may be some short script competitions available from a few of these sites... I have no idea. Most short script competitions that I know of will never get you any representation.

Again... I'm talking percentages and numbers. Anyone's mileage can and may vary when combined with a little LUCK.

Good luck!
 
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Thanks for all of your great input,
To by honest, I am working on a feature film currently. I have the full 90 page first draft of a script. I'd love to share it(I would like to proofread it a bit more, prior to you seeing) if your interested.

Here's the log line...
...A mentally ill orthodox Jewish man goes on a journey of self discovery in a world of prophets, prostitution, love, and death.

Thanks,

Jason
 
Thanks for all of your great input,
To by honest, I am working on a feature film currently. I have the full 90 page first draft of a script. I'd love to share it(I would like to proofread it a bit more, prior to you seeing) if your interested.

Here's the log line...
...A mentally ill orthodox Jewish man goes on a journey of self discovery in a world of prophets, prostitution, love, and death.

Thanks,

Jason
man, that doesn't sound interesting or sellable, to be honest
 
Well I appreciate your honesty, and I understand you don't have time or interest to ready my script. It's cool. On the matter of being sellable, that's not at the top of my list. I want to create a movie that will be appreciated by whomever. Large group or a really small niche.

Thanks again,
Jason
 
Then you don't need a logline, a logline is to market the screenplay.
I apologize. I'm kinda new to the logistics of marketing and whatnot. I used my "logline" as a way of perhaps showing a preview of the film concept to someone on here who'd be willing to read it and give me feedback.

Thanks
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
It's not really needed for that. A synopsis would work. A logline is a very specific thing, they are very hard to write perfectly, and if you mess them up you can give someone the wrong impression of your film. If this is not a spec screenplay hold off on it, and write. If someone wants to know what it is about, you can write a little synopsis without conforming to the industry standard of a logline, and I am sure it will be better for you.
 
It's not really needed for that. A synopsis would work. A logline is a very specific thing, they are very hard to write perfectly, and if you mess them up you can give someone the wrong impression of your film. If this is not a spec screenplay hold off on it, and write. If someone wants to know what it is about, you can write a little synopsis without conforming to the industry standard of a logline, and I am sure it will be better for you.
Thank you. I'll post a synopsis soon.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Pretend someone is asking what your film is about. Now talk back to them and put it onto paper. Now look at those words and edit it down into a synopsis that is grammatically correct, concise, and to the point. Then post that here.
 
How long does it have to be? What are the details?

Thanks
A synopsis can be as short or as long as you want it to be... It's like writing a short story about your spec's story.

Often, when you've pitched a producer or a room full of execs, you'll leave what is called a ONE SHEET. One sheets typically combine the marketing logline along with a general synopsis of the story.

One sheets are then looked at later on after all the pitches for the entity making decisions to see which specs might actually be worth reading.

I'd say the shorter, the better if you want someone here on the forum to read your spec. Yours doesn't have to be a One Sheet... I only mention this because IF you are indeed writing a spec and hope to eventually market it instead of making it yourself? Nice to know what they expect out there.

Here's more information about ONE SHEETS:

Reader question: What should be on a one sheet?

Creating the Perfect One-Sheet

What's a One-Pager (and Why Do Producers Want It?)

How to Write an Effective One-Page Pitch

The ONLY correct thing about a ONE SHEET is that it should consist of only ONE PAGE. If you read these four articles above, you'll get the get the gist of what they are. I would personally rather read a ONE SHEET over a synopsis. Why? You'll know if the script is marketable or not.

Unfortunately, that's the PAINFUL TRUTH about becoming a professional screenwriter. If you want to write specs to SELL to the MARKET? 99.9% of the time, they MUST BE MARKETABLE. As I've said in other posts, STREAMING channels and sites are slowly leveling the playing field... i.e., what used to be strictly Indie fare that Hollywood is rarely even interested in these days can sometimes get a shot with streaming but we're not there yet.
 
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indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
nailed it the office GIF
 
A synopsis can be as short or as long as you want it to be... It's like writing a short story about your spec's story.

Often, when you've pitched a producer or a room full of execs, you'll leave what is called a ONE SHEET. One sheets typically combine the marketing logline along with a general synopsis of the story.

One sheets are then looked at later on after all the pitches for the entity making decisions to see which specs might actually be worth reading.

I'd say the shorter, the better if you want someone here on the forum to read your spec. Yours doesn't have to be a One Sheet... I only mention this because IF you are indeed writing a spec and hope to eventually market it instead of making it yourself? Nice to know what they expect out there.

Here's more information about ONE SHEETS:

Reader question: What should be on a one sheet?

Creating the Perfect One-Sheet

What's a One-Pager (and Why Do Producers Want It?)

How to Write an Effective One-Page Pitch

The ONLY correct thing about a ONE SHEET is that it should consist of only ONE PAGE. If you read these four articles above, you'll get the get the gist of what they are. I would personally rather read a ONE SHEET over a synopsis. Why? You'll know if the script is marketable or not.

Unfortunately, that's the PAINFUL TRUTH about becoming a professional screenwriter. If you want to write specs to SELL to the MARKET? 99.9% of the time, they MUST BE MARKETABLE. As I've said in other posts, STREAMING channels and sites are slowly leveling the playing field... i.e., what used to be strictly Indie fare that Hollywood is rarely even interested in these days can sometimes get a shot with streaming but we're not there yet.
Thank you. I'll look over these links and write up a synopsis for you to see. I appreciate the assistance.
 
Thank you. I'll look over these links and write up a synopsis for you to see. I appreciate the assistance.
A synopsis can be as short or as long as you want it to be... It's like writing a short story about your spec's story.

Often, when you've pitched a producer or a room full of execs, you'll leave what is called a ONE SHEET. One sheets typically combine the marketing logline along with a general synopsis of the story.

One sheets are then looked at later on after all the pitches for the entity making decisions to see which specs might actually be worth reading.

I'd say the shorter, the better if you want someone here on the forum to read your spec. Yours doesn't have to be a One Sheet... I only mention this because IF you are indeed writing a spec and hope to eventually market it instead of making it yourself? Nice to know what they expect out there.

Here's more information about ONE SHEETS:

Reader question: What should be on a one sheet?

Creating the Perfect One-Sheet

What's a One-Pager (and Why Do Producers Want It?)

How to Write an Effective One-Page Pitch

The ONLY correct thing about a ONE SHEET is that it should consist of only ONE PAGE. If you read these four articles above, you'll get the get the gist of what they are. I would personally rather read a ONE SHEET over a synopsis. Why? You'll know if the script is marketable or not.

Unfortunately, that's the PAINFUL TRUTH about becoming a professional screenwriter. If you want to write specs to SELL to the MARKET? 99.9% of the time, they MUST BE MARKETABLE. As I've said in other posts, STREAMING channels and sites are slowly leveling the playing field... i.e., what used to be strictly Indie fare that Hollywood is rarely even interested in these days can sometimes get a shot with streaming but we're not there yet.
Hello again Unknown Screenwriter,
Sorry for the delay on the summary, i've been busy taking an online course.
Attached is a summary based on the "one pager" link format you sent me. This document allows you have a better understanding of my feature script and hopefully attracts you to the idea.

Thanks,
Jason
 
Hello again Unknown Screenwriter,
Sorry for the delay on the summary, i've been busy taking an online course.
Attached is a summary based on the "one pager" link format you sent me. This document allows you have a better understanding of my feature script and hopefully attracts you to the idea.

Thanks,
Jason
 
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