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Feedback for first screenplay?

Hello, my name is Isaiah and I am new to IndieTalk! Since I was a kid. This is probably due to the fact that my grandmother never had a parental lock on my TV. I started writing when I was sixteen and continued 'til I was eighteen. Life then got in the way. Now, I am getting back into writing and am almost done with my first script! It's nearly done and I am very excited!

I would love feedback for this title, "Josh."

"Josh" is the story of Josh Brooks, who deals with the transition into adulthood. As he tries to go back to the old ways, keep old friends that maybe he should just realize are only there for a flash.

Also, some scenes involve music. Please tell me if the music fits with the scene and if no, what songs do you think will fit with it. :)

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I didn't know screenwriters still write scripts with Act one, Act two, Act three, etc. You as the writer should know what song would fit the scene. If it's an action sequence where the character goes on his computer and plays music then that's general. If it's for the mood of the scene then that is composed in post.
Is this a screenplay for a film, or a teleplay, for TV?

I've only read the first 7 pages, as it's not really my cup of tea. Drama doesn't really do it for me. It's all too slow. But that's not a slight at your writing, just your chosen genre. Overall, your writing is pretty good. Just a few notes:

Quality is correct, you shouldn't be breaking your scripts down into acts. It may be a TV thing, I'm not sure. It's certainly more of a stage play thing.

The title page shouldn't have a different font on it. It should all be in 12pt Courier. Perhaps some people like it, but technically speaking, the very first word a potential reader sees is incorrectly formatted... Best to avoid turning readers away so immediately.

You also use "we see" a lot. That shouldn't be there. Instead of 'We see Bob open the door', you should write 'Bob opens the door'. There is no "we" and your reader knows that they are 'seeing' it. This sort of thing only serves to clutter a screenplay and make it less readable.

Thinking about it, could a lot of the first few pages be condensed into a montages? It would possibly make for an easier read, with less slug lines bogging it down.

Oh, and yes - remove the music cues; that's not up to you!

Hope some of that helps.
I also made it about 8 pages. Clearly you know how to write and it's evident that you put a lot of work into this - congratulations on finishing your first screenplay!

That said, there is quite a bit of tedium in those first 8 pages. I don't know what he story is about and I'm not compelled to keep going. You're doing a fair job at introducing your characters but in a painstaking way - show a very ordinary routine, a flash of conversation, and then you've moved on to another character.

These introductions also include a ton of direction, which should be left to the director. Your introducing of Arthur, for example, starts with his age - fair enough, if it serves the story - but then describes him as the top realtor in Baltimore. Is that feature important to the story? If so, is it relayed in dialog later in the script? If it is, it doesn't need to be on that page. And if it's not relevant to the story it also doesn't need to be there.
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freykit, nice to see you're back to writing. Did you create a Treatment and Beat Sheet (scene-list) before actually writing the screenplay? Never write a screenplay without a Beat Sheet. And never write a Beat Sheet without the inflexion points. Anyway, here are a few comments and observations.

1. I've read the 1st 3 pages and still don't know what the story's about. There's no hook to keep me reading. Always hook the reader in the 1st paragraph of page 1 and the last paragraph of page 1 so readers can be motivated to keep going.


3. Only write what viewers can see. Don't say, for example, "he's making the transition from boy to man, wishing it would happen a little faster." How does the viewer know he's wishing this?

4. Don't specify music or songs.

5. No need for act 1, act 2, and so forth.

As for the story itself, if you could provide a 2 or 3 page treatment I'd be able to advise.


IndieTalk's Resident Guru
freykit, nice to see you're back to writing. Did you create a Treatment and Beat Sheet (scene-list) before actually writing the screenplay? Never write a screenplay without a Beat Sheet. And never write a Beat Sheet without the inflexion points.

Each writer has (and should have) their own method. I don't write a
treatment before writing a screenplay. I always write a screenplay
without a Beat Sheet. I don't even know what "inflexion points" are.
It seems way too restrictive to say "never" write the way you,
personally write.

Otherwise I agree with your advice, amos.

freykit, I, too, couldn't get past page 10. It's a very slow start and
you write so much that cannot be seen. I am not a fan of "we" in a
screenplay - it pulls me from the story. You might want to think about
trying a draft without it. I didn't get to where you use music so I can't
tell you if the music fits with the scene but I agree with the others;
music is essential to the finished movie but has no place in a screenplay.

This type of story is challenging. You need something to draw in the reader
but I understand that you want to do a slow set up. Your dialogue feels
real enough which is a plus.
Thank you everyone for your feedback! Now, how would I go about making the opening a bit faster?

Consider your inspirations, and look closely at the first ten minutes. The best films will use a good hook that introduces characters, builds the ground work, and hints at the story all in one action that makes the viewer want to keep watching. In Jaws, it's the first shark attack. In The Matrix, it's Trinity beating the crap out of a bunch of police officers. In The Truman Show, a movie about an ordinary guy learning the truth about his existence, it's something much more simple: a random studio light falls from the sky 3 minutes into the movie with no explanation.

The hook in the first ten minutes is the very first hint that something extraordinary is going to happen.

Good luck!