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critique Dan's Shadow - a screenplay for review and feedback

Title: Dan's Shadow
Logline: Dan is a Man hunted by his shadow Diana tries to help him with "shadow work" but the more she tries the worse it gets till the bitter end.
Genre: Drama-Horror
Format: Short Film
Pages: 7
Feedback: yes every kind of feedback is welcomed. grammar - plot - dialogues - character - story - scene - etc...
Trade: willing to trade feedback with others for same length screenplays

Dan's Shadow - screenplay

Ronen Blumberg
 
Read it very fast... Thought the dialogue was a bit clunky and ON-THE-NOSE but maybe that totally flies in Israel. I wouldn't know. I also thought the description was way overwritten but again... Since this is a short, that really doesn't matter if you're just going to make this yourself. The formatting was off a bit based on U.S. standards but again... It's a short so who cares? As for the story? It kind of drags on a bit to me even though it's a short and then at the end? You have Tom the nurse kill Dan for reasons unknown. Tom does call him a pervert so I guess from that exchange we can assume he was?

So basically... I would tighten up the dialogue a bit more and make it FLOW.

Good luck!
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
I don't understand what the term "shadow" means in this context. I assume that my lack of understanding of that is why I don't understand why Dan tried to kill himself? And I don't understand why Tom subsequently killed him? Is that supposed to be because Dan tried to kill himself?

And I agree with @Unknown Screenwriter on his points as well.
 
I personally took SHADOW to mean the evil side of Dan... Based on the very end. I got the IDEA that Dan had very likely been into some nasty, evil shit and was afraid to face what he'd done in the past. So much so that he decided he'd be better off to simply kill himself. I also thought Diana had NO CLUE as to what Dan might have done so of course, she misunderstood and was simply trying to turn him around so he didn't want to kill himself anymore.

But of course... I COULD BE ABSOLUTELY WRONG. LOL.
 
I had the exact SAME thought and then, after I read the rest of it? I thought that MAYBE I was, in my own mind... Understanding it too literally. After I read the rest of it? I went back to that part and for some reason, opined that Dan was talking about being nasty and evil... He was tired of being that way NOW. Maybe even FEELING REMORSE now.

But again? I could be completely wrong.
 
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hi all :) thank you so much for the feedback!
about the "shadow" or "shadow work" it's a term taken from Karl Yung psychology and it's basically letting the subconscious surface the conscious meaning - all the stuff that we suppressed during our life by society or parental conditioning such as - sexual desires or expression of talents or certain behaviors that are suppressed are allowed to surface the conscious and then be fulfilled in a new way and as a result - the person becomes fulfilled and free - not divided between the conscious and subconscious.

as for the script - dan is so afraid ashamed and disgusted by his shadow he wants to kill himself.
and at the end, Tom kills dan cause he is evil and prejudice against Dan and sees him as "a pervert" and a "sinner" and he doesn't want dan to make peace with his shadow...

that at least is what I was thinking about when I was writing the script.

ronen.
 
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
it's a term taken from Karl Yung psychology and it's basically letting the subconscious surface the conscious meaning - all the stuff that we suppressed during our life by society or parental conditioning such as - sexual desires or expression of talents or certain behaviors that are suppressed are allowed to surface the conscious and then be fulfilled in a new way and as a result - the person becomes fulfilled and free - not divided between the conscious and subconscious.
Thanks for the clarification!

In my opinion, most viewers won't recognize where that term comes from or what it means. I suggest shortening Diana's dialogue - which I think is too long and too on the nose - and give just a bit more of a hint of what his darkness is and/or how it's manifested itself in his behavior. Don't need a lot - just a little bit. But again, just my opinion.
 
Slightly late to this party, but here goes anyway. Like the others have said above, Tom and his actions in the final scene seem to have no connection to the rest of the story. Even on a second reading (with "author's notes" to help ;)) it's really hard to make the link between the real/physically autonomous character of Tom and the abstract, psychological construct of a shadow personality.

Perhaps it's because I was primed by the logline, but the idea of Dan struggling with his "dark side" and seeking help felt perfectly "normal" to me ... but I didn't get the sense of "the more she tries the worse it gets" - there's no indication of how long this therapy has been going on, or to what extent Dan has made a real effort to work with Diana. Scene one - Dan's in a rage, kicking over the furniture. Scene two, Dan's in a foul mood. Scene three, Dan's thrown himself out a window. :weird:

All-in-all, this reads like the final few minutes of a longer work where we've already had time to get to know the three characters.
 
Seeing as you asked for "all kinds of feedback" - one tip for more concise writing: eliminate duplicate/unnecessary words, e.g. :
a table with six tarot cards opened from a tarot card deck.
Suddenly he kicks the table over to the floor and starts weeping in silence.

I would slightly disagree wth @Unknown Screenwriter on this point:
Since this is a short, that really doesn't matter if you're just going to make this yourself.
Unless you have absolutely no ambitions to ever write for anyone else, ever, it's good to practice this kind of "literary hygiene" whenever you can. :yes:
 
True... If the OP wrote this as practice to eventually kick it up a notch and write specs to sell to the market? Then yes... The overwriting should be eliminated. Same goes for the formatting although not a complete deal breaker... There are readers out there who would probably read no more than 10 pages of a spec written like this.
 
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indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I didn't read the script (sorry) but what if the opening scene was at a psychiatrist's office or AA/NA meeting and the Dr./counselor was explaining shadow work, and this is where your character buys into it. This way, it explains it to the audience in a believable way.
 
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