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critique First page of first screenplay

Hi,
I am new to script writing, started with a story in mind. Just want to see how its going in terms of technical aspects and narration. It's just one page / starting scene to be precise. By the way I am using Celtx for this.
 

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If this is a spec, you need to remove all the CUT TO: That's directing, and they hate that from writers!

The only time to have more than 4 lines without white space is in dialogue. So this (which is just a couple words over 4 lines in the script) must be cut down:
ARJUN sits on a rock next to the entrance, with his right
hand hanging over the folded knee. He raises his hand as
if answering to Ranjith. His index finger struck in the
mouth of a half-broken beer bottle, that reflects the
siren lights.

Your scene descriptions are beautiful, but they need to be separated from the action into two seperate blocks, as well as kept below four lines. So cut them up:
A police patrolling van with siren and flashing lights
halts at the DHABA. The name board of the dhaba gleam
atop, within the fluorescent serial set. Inspector RANJITH
gets down and stride to the entrance of the dhaba. Another
cop follows. A 40W lamp dangle above them.

Becomes:
DESCRIPTION--> A police patrolling van with siren and flashing lights
halts at the DHABA. The name board of the dhaba gleam
atop, within the fluorescent serial set.

ACTION-->Inspector RANJITH gets down and stride to the entrance of the dhaba. Another
cop follows. A 40W lamp dangle above them.

Also, the Inspector needs an age, i.e., RANJITH (35).

Lastly, who is "we"? It's just me, and I'm reading a script. Again, you're directing. Below is a page from a format guide a VIP Producer gave me when I was starting out that addresses the issue.

Otherwise, keep it up!
 

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This is an improvement. You're not directing the actors quite as much, and your action lines aren't as overly dense and detailed. You do need a short descriptive phrase when introducing each of your main characters, however, and unless you're sure the context makes it immediately clear that you're moving into a flashback, the "Three months earlier" should go on the screen, not in the slugline:

SUPER: "Three Months Earlier."

Kudos for improvement.

Cheers!
 
Oh, and I notice you stopped overusing character parentheticals to give acting directions, which is a bad habit to fall into.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Another cop follows. Above them hangs a 40-watt light bulb.

This was funny to me. I have no idea if the cop was thin or fat, old or young.
But I know the exact wattage of the light bulb. lol.

I don't think you need that note about the bulb.. the guy in charge of lighitng is going to want a say in where all the lights go
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I have a different take on things like that:

As a reader don't I need a description of the character unless it matters
to the story. Perhaps the director is going to want a say in what the cop
looks like.

On set knowing the wattage of the bulb will guide the DP and gaffer to
lighting the hallway. Even as a reader knowing the bulb is only 40 watts
puts a picture in my mind of how dark the hallway is.

krishnasarma, hasn't been here in four months, but now has more confusing
notes to consider. To me, it's endlessly fascinating what different readers
point out in spec scripts.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I have a different take on things like that:

As a reader don't I need a description of the character unless it matters
to the story. Perhaps the director is going to want a say in what the cop
looks like.

On set knowing the wattage of the bulb will guide the DP and gaffer to
lighting the hallway. Even as a reader knowing the bulb is only 40 watts
puts a picture in my mind of how dark the hallway is.

krishnasarma, hasn't been here in four months, but now has more confusing
notes to consider. To me, it's endlessly fascinating what different readers
point out in spec scripts.

yeah that is very strange to me, for reference I would say a 22 watt light bulb these days produces 2200 lumens , i don't even think thats dark at all.

Maybe like 30 years ago? when we used incandescent.. otherwise when i read a light bulb consuming 40 watts then i think the lumens would be around 4000 and the equivalent of an old style incandescent at 300 watts. its super bright actually. and the actors faces are gonna be ugly as hell with the shadows its casting from directly above their faces.

Assuming this is a modern day film, if the camera can see 40W written on the bulb then its gonna be producing 4000 lumens

22-watt-led-bulb-500x500.jpg
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Which shows both the pro and con of noting a 40w bulb in a screenplay.

Pro - it tells the guy in charge of lighting how much light is in the hall.
Con - two different readers see the scene differently in their minds eye.
 
I have a different take on things like that:

As a reader don't I need a description of the character unless it matters
to the story. Perhaps the director is going to want a say in what the cop
looks like.

I have a different take on things like that:

As a reader don't I need a description of the character unless it matters
to the story. Perhaps the director is going to want a say in what the cop
looks like.
Brief descriptions of major characters when first introducing them in a script are a generally accepted screenwriting standard because the descriptions ideally should foreshadow and enhance their personality and character later in the story. They may not be necessary to every reader, but they may be necessary to some important readers who are trying to judge if the writer is professional enough to know what the standards are. I'd forego them at my peril in a spec script.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Brief descriptions of major characters when first introducing them in a script are a generally accepted screenwriting standard because the descriptions ideally should foreshadow and enhance their personality and character later in the story. They may not be necessary to every reader, but they may be necessary to some important readers who are trying to judge if the writer is professional enough to know what the standards are. I'd forego them at my peril in a spec script.

It's not a major character -- it just struck me as funny.
Cop could be a 380lb man or a 90lb woman who knows, who cares? but that light bulb though! it consumes 40 watts of electricity.

for whatever reason it amused me to see the juxtaposition of those two sentences next to each other in the script.
 
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Sorry, I couldn't turn up for a while. I had a surgery and few other personal issues too.
First of all, thanks for your valued inputs. This was my first script and I am noting all these for betterment. However, I found writing a story and script is slightly different in certain aspects.
 
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