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critique High-Octane Thrill-Ride, but grounded in reality. Feedback welcome.

Hello,
There's so much I want to say, but I don't want to overwhelm everyone with large blocks of text. If there is interest, I will happily provide more information. I am open-minded and welcome constructive criticism.

Frederick L. Raleigh is a young and naive college graduate who still lives with his parents and works for the family business but doesn't drive his own car. One day, Fred's uncle in another state passes away and his next-of-kin are throwing out or selling all of his old possessions since the uncle never made a will. Among these possessions are old project cars, many of which are not in running condition or are not particularly valuable, so the uncle's immediate family wants them all hauled off. Fred makes a deal with his aunt to buy one of the cars (an old Ford Thunderbird) over the phone, so he scrapes together the money he needs and makes travel arrangements. To his dismay, Fred discovers that his aunt forgot about their deal and the car he wanted to buy had been hauled to a scrapyard mere hours before he arrived to purchase it. Even though Fred tracks down the junkyard that has the car, he is unable to persuade the man in charge to sell him the car since it has already been "entered into the system" and thus, wasn't worth the aggravation. The vehicle will certainly be crushed in less than 48 hours.

Emotionally compromised, Fred steals the car under the cover of darkness and retreats to his home state. One thing leads to another, and Fred finds himself living a double life where he hides the fact that he stole the car from his friends and immediate family while he is constantly on the run from the police who are closing in on him. So, Fred is forced to move out and ends up working various odd jobs in small towns where nobody knows (or cares) that he may have stolen his daily driver. Fred basically lives out of a suitcase and sleeps in the back seat of his car, since he can't afford an apartment. Eventually, Fred accidentally sees something he wasn't supposed to, and he winds up forming an uneasy alliance with an unsavory group of organized criminals who heavily compensate Fred (and let him live) in exchange for his driving services. All the while, parts on the Thunderbird keep wearing out and Fred pours nearly all his money into keeping it running until he can figure out a plan to get himself out of the massive hole that he dug for himself.

I can keep going, but I want to hold back and give people a chance to ask questions and to critique what the first two episodes of my series are essentially.
The series will heavily revolve around the Thunderbird and will hopefully appeal to car guys.
Thanks for reading.
-Rick Leuce
 
Hello everyone,

I know I made a similar post earlier (that nobody replied to) so I am starting a new one that perhaps does a better job of providing background information and giving a more accurate idea of what I am shooting for.

I’m sort of new here, but I have a concept for a series (kind of like a TV series) that I would like to start making soon. It will be realistic fiction, so all the events and exchanges that occur will be plausible, albeit highly improbable, in a real-world situation. While my series is fictional, I don’t want everything that happens in it to be completely fake. It occurred to me that this series may even have some “educational” value in it. For example, I want my character to demonstrate his skills and knowledge by fixing cars, driving a manual transmission, signaling with Morse Code, using a first aid kit, communicating with Sign Language, and operating all types of equipment properly. I’ll do my best to depict everything as accurately as possible while providing an interesting/exciting story. I’ll even challenge some of the clichés we’ve all come to know and groan at by putting a realistic twist on them (like shooting a propane tank and nothing happening). I love movies to death, but I’m tired of fake unrealistic crap that seems to get perpetuated; this series is for people who don’t mind watching something without CGI or any big actors but who may enjoy seeing a movie where real people interact within a real environment and everything that happens is actually possible and could be recreated.

I do not currently have a script, but large chunks of the story are planned out. Obviously, some things are subject to change and I want to allow myself some wiggle room, but here is some background information of the series that I want to make:

The protagonist: Frederick L. Raleigh III, is not a particularly outgoing person and still lives with his parents after graduating from college. He is an Eagle Scout and a straight-A student, but he has no real work experience and very few friends.

The setting: Present-day North Georgia. Fred’s home, commute, and everything in-between will be North of Atlanta. Out in the country where there are farms, back-roads, and small towns where the folks know you on a first-name basis.

Rising action (pilot episode): Fred has been shopping around for his first car but hasn’t found the right one yet. One day, Fred’s uncle in North Carolina passes away but he never took the time to make a will. Since the uncle owned several cars and his immediate family wants them gone, Fred reaches out to his aunt and arranges to buy his late uncle’s Thunderbird. To his dismay, Fred discovers that the aunt forgot about their arrangement and decided to sell the Thunderbird for scrap metal mere hours before Fred arrived. Fred then tracks down the junkyard that the Thunderbird was sold to and tries to purchase the vehicle from the owner with cash in hand, but the owner refuses. Emotionally compromised, Fred decides he is going to sneak into the junkyard under the cover of darkness and try to steal the car. With a tool kit in hand, Fred brings the Thunderbird to life and makes a quick escape. Unfortunately, a police car happens to be patrolling nearby and a chase ensues. Fred and the rickety Thunderbird barely outpace the police car and he narrowly escapes by driving across a railroad crossing moments before a train approaches.

The main conflict (over several episodes): Fred must now conceal the fact he stole his uncle’s Thunderbird from his family and friends. It’s only a matter of time before Fred’s immediate family discovers the secret and Fred is out on his own and on the run from law enforcement, who are closing in on him. Fred must now live out of a suitcase and work various odd-jobs in small towns where nobody knows (or cares) that he may have stolen his daily driver. Eventually, Fred accidentally "sees something he wasn't supposed to" and winds up forming an uneasy alliance with an unsavory group of organized criminals who heavily compensate Fred (and let him live) in exchange for his driving services. All the while, parts on the Thunderbird keep wearing out and Fred pours nearly all of his money into keeping it running until he can figure out a plan to get himself out of the massive hole he dug for himself.

Recurring themes/issues: Fred is trying to gradually take on more responsibility and is just starting to embrace the idea of becoming more independent and self-reliant. The caveat here, of course, is that Fred has largely been sheltered from the harsh realities of life, so he often makes hasty decisions without fully understanding the potential consequences they could have.

Automobiles and car-culture play an important part of this story. There will be action, but it won’t be Fast and Furious nonsense (I say this series is a "high-octane thrill ride" because the car literally requires premium fuel). Fred must also learn new skills and make new friends in order to keep his car running.

Fred cannot just drive anywhere he wants whenever he wants in his uncle’s Thunderbird. There are some parts of town that Fred cannot safely take his Thunderbird during the day, so he parks it somewhere discreet then must find alternative means of transportation until it is safe to drive the Thunderbird again.

Fred cannot afford to live in a house or apartment (without a roommate) so Fred is forced to sleep in the back seat of the car except when he occasionally decides to spend a night in a cheap hotel. He even tries living in a warehouse unit.

Fred is deeply embarrassed about this mistake and does not want to face his family again until he can correct it. However, Fred must first break away from the organized crime group without getting caught (by the cops or the criminals).

Fred wants the Thunderbird but can't have it. I'll need to go more in depth on this one (particularly in later seasons) but Fred just can't bring himself to let the car go (even though he knows he should) because he keeps thinking there is a way he can keep it. There is a big twist I am trying not to spoil (basically the entire second season) on what Fred goes through in order to keep driving his uncle's Thunderbird.

I have omitted some details on purpose to keep this post from going on too much longer and to leave some elements of the story to the imagination. Feel free to make suggestions and ask questions.

-Rick Leuce
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I'm going to merge them for you. Hoping you get replies this time, usually critiques are popular threads. ;)
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I didn't respond initially but I get how frustrating it is to post
something and get nothing.

I don't really understand what you need. Sounds like you have a
concept you really like. Do you want people to brainstorm other
ideas? I know others love to make story suggestions so I hope
they jump in.

I don't have any questions. The only suggestion I have it to write
the script. A lot of what you're planning could be difficult to pull off.
Your challenge is to make it all work. An exciting part of writing.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
Looks interesting. As Director Rik said, time to start writing.

Figure out how long you want each episode to be. Outline the first season, so you know exactly what you'll include in each episode. Then start writing the first episode.

Good luck!
 
My only problem with this concept is that Fred steals a car that was about to be crushed. To me? It's just not believable that he couldn't pay the owner of the scrap yard SOMETHING and get out of trouble. I have two friends that own wrecking yards and while they may have called the police about the theft? Once the police understand that the car was simply going to be crushed? They won't be too worried about finding it. Knowing that makes it even more difficult for me to believe that Fred now has to live out of a suitcase.

I mean Fred could lie... Fred could paint the car... Fred could do all kinds of things in order to drive the car. His crime to me? Just isn't compelling enough for him to now live the way he lives. To me, you're describing someone who might have escaped from prison or someone who might be UA (AWOL) from the military. Or someone who maybe robbed a bank and the police certainly know who he is. In other words? The crime -- at least to me -- doesn't seem to support his action after having stolen it.

Had Fred stolen the car from a celebrity or if it had actually been worth some money? Then maybe his behavior of hiding out would be more believable.

Just my two cents.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I dont understand the emotional connection to the thunderbird. maybe there is more backstory to it?
He stole the car in the heat of the moment.. okay... but he is a straight-A eagle scout with a college degree.

Just ditch the car and live your life.
Instead he is willing to give up everything, become homeless, take years off his life from all the stress - All for a car that HE CANT EVEN DRIVE PLACES??? because he will be spotted and arrested? lol. I'm sorry but this makes little sense to me on the surface. Next morning just park the car somewhere and ditch it. problem solved.

And you say you want your story to be realistic and challenge cliches.. and then immediately the very first second your main character commits a crime there is a cop RIGHT THERE? Only to escape by jumping over train tracks - This is a total cliche and so unlikely. You can say its possible but for a good story you need things to be probable. You cant rely on 1 in a million chances if you're specifically targeting the demographic that hates shit like that. You're going to become exactly the kind of film you say you hate.
 
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My only problem with this concept is that Fred steals a car that was about to be crushed. To me? It's just not believable that he couldn't pay the owner of the scrap yard SOMETHING and get out of trouble. I have two friends that own wrecking yards and while they may have called the police about the theft? Once the police understand that the car was simply going to be crushed? They won't be too worried about finding it. Knowing that makes it even more difficult for me to believe that Fred now has to live out of a suitcase.

I mean Fred could lie... Fred could paint the car... Fred could do all kinds of things in order to drive the car. His crime to me? Just isn't compelling enough for him to now live the way he lives. To me, you're describing someone who might have escaped from prison or someone who might be UA (AWOL) from the military. Or someone who maybe robbed a bank and the police certainly know who he is. In other words? The crime -- at least to me -- doesn't seem to support his action after having stolen it.

Had Fred stolen the car from a celebrity or if it had actually been worth some money? Then maybe his behavior of hiding out would be more believable.

Just my two cents.

I want to say thank you so much for reading my synopsis and giving me thorough feedback. I will reply today after work to go into some of the things in more detail. Perhaps one issue this story has is that the original concept was that Fred steals the car from the Cash4Clunker program; which would never sell a car or parts after it entered the system. I decided against this Cash4Clunker concept because (A) its happening so many years after it happened, that I’m too old now to be believable as a highschool student and (B) it could be construed as political and unnecessary. I did see a Youtube video of a guy who showed a car just like mine in his yard and he said that he wished he could save it, but it was “already in the system” so I made an assumption and simply tweaked my original concept to be a junkyard but no connection to Cash4Clunkers.
 
I dont understand the emotional connection to the thunderbird. maybe there is more backstory to it?
He stole the car in the heat of the moment.. okay... but he is a straight-A eagle scout with a college degree.

Just ditch the car and live your life.
Instead he is willing to give up everything, become homeless, take years off his life from all the stress - All for a car that HE CANT EVEN DRIVE PLACES??? because he will be spotted and arrested? lol. I'm sorry but this makes little sense to me on the surface. Next morning just park the car somewhere and ditch it. problem solved.

And you say you want your story to be realistic and challenge cliches.. and then immediately the very first second your main character commits a crime there is a cop RIGHT THERE? Only to escape by jumping over train tracks - This is a total cliche and so unlikely. You can say its possible but for a good story you need things to be probable. You cant rely on 1 in a million chances if you're specifically targeting the demographic that hates shit like that. You're going to become exactly the kind of film you say you hate.
Thank you so much for your response, I will reply after work and go into detail on this. I will say that I did have a more realistic concept in mind, but it was boring and had almost no emotional connection; i may share some of it later. I ultimately decided that a little embellishment and drama would be acceptable if i dont get carried away. For example, the train tracks scene will not be like the stereotypical kind where a car is approaching the tracks perpendicular and missing it by a fraction of a second, he is parallel to it and passes several crossings until he is far enough ahead. He beats the train by several seconds, which would have been enough for the cop to cross too, but Fred immediately stops on the other side. With only a few seconds to think, the cop doesnt have enough time to think about how he can safely cross the tracks before the train. The point of this was to challenge the stereotypical “beat the train” scene like in most movies (like Fast and Furios, Next, Pixars Cars). And it was a way to end a chase without a car getting wrecked. Im not smashing anything in the pilot episode but I want an exciting chase. Future episodes will involve car damage, but I cant afford that now. Ill talk more about this later.
Thanks for your interest and feedback. Im thrilled you noticed this post and were constructively critical of it.
 
My only problem with this concept is that Fred steals a car that was about to be crushed. To me? It's just not believable that he couldn't pay the owner of the scrap yard SOMETHING and get out of trouble. I have two friends that own wrecking yards and while they may have called the police about the theft? Once the police understand that the car was simply going to be crushed? They won't be too worried about finding it. Knowing that makes it even more difficult for me to believe that Fred now has to live out of a suitcase.

I mean Fred could lie... Fred could paint the car... Fred could do all kinds of things in order to drive the car. His crime to me? Just isn't compelling enough for him to now live the way he lives. To me, you're describing someone who might have escaped from prison or someone who might be UA (AWOL) from the military. Or someone who maybe robbed a bank and the police certainly know who he is. In other words? The crime -- at least to me -- doesn't seem to support his action after having stolen it.

Had Fred stolen the car from a celebrity or if it had actually been worth some money? Then maybe his behavior of hiding out would be more believable.

Just my two cents.
Thankyou for your feedback, ill reply later. I just used my whole lunchbreak replying to three people kind enough to read my thing. And I want to thank you all and to hear me out when I address some of these issues. Some of them could be tweaked a little and others could be explained better with more context.
Thank you all so much. I will respond later and think about this for the rest of the day.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Thank you so much for your response, I will reply after work and go into detail on this. I will say that I did have a more realistic concept in mind, but it was boring and had almost no emotional connection; i may share some of it later. I ultimately decided that a little embellishment and drama would be acceptable if i dont get carried away. For example, the train tracks scene will not be like the stereotypical kind where a car is approaching the tracks perpendicular and missing it by a fraction of a second, he is parallel to it and passes several crossings until he is far enough ahead. He beats the train by several seconds, which would have been enough for the cop to cross too, but Fred immediately stops on the other side. With only a few seconds to think, the cop doesnt have enough time to think about how he can safely cross the tracks before the train. The point of this was to challenge the stereotypical “beat the train” scene like in most movies (like Fast and Furios, Next, Pixars Cars). And it was a way to end a chase without a car getting wrecked. Im not smashing anything in the pilot episode but I want an exciting chase. Future episodes will involve car damage, but I cant afford that now. Ill talk more about this later.
Thanks for your interest and feedback. Im thrilled you noticed this post and were constructively critical of it.

Well it sounds like you need to do some soul searching and figure out what the style and theme of this piece is really going to be.
You tried to market it to me as grounded in reality and now you're coming at me with this "all my realistic ideas were too boring, reality is too boring" stuff and it's the exact opposite of what you were saying when you tried to hook me in. If you can't make a high speed car chase exciting without making the audience roll their eyes then why do you think you should be making movies.

I will say I've seen tons of high speed police chases on tv. I have never seen a single one.. not a single one of them end with a car going over train tracks and the police not being able to follow. You should come to terms with the fact that youre not making a story thats grounded in reality. youre writing the kind of stuff that ONLY happens in movies. It's okay to have over the top action. People go and see movies like The Meg and have a great time.
 
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Well it sounds like you need to do some soul searching and figure out what the style and theme of this piece is really going to be.
You tried to market it to me as grounded in reality and now you're coming at me with this "all my realistic ideas were too boring, reality is too boring" stuff and it's the exact opposite of what you were saying when you tried to hook me in. If you can't make a high speed car chase exciting without making the audience roll their eyes then why do you think you should be making movies.

I will say I've seen tons of high speed police chases on tv. I have never seen a single one.. not a single one of them end with a car going over train tracks and the police not being able to follow. You should come to terms with the fact that youre not making a story thats grounded in reality. youre writing the kind of stuff that ONLY happens in movies. It's okay to have over the top action. People go and see movies like The Meg and have a great time.
Thank you for your reply, ill go in mor depth later, but this series is inspired by things like Smokey and the Bandit, Bullitt, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Dukes of Hazard. Fast and Furious largely anoys me, so not going there. But I am filming to appeal to the people I know (my car forum guys, friends, family) so I have an audience, I have access to a variety of cars, including 2 ex-cop car Crown Victorias, and I have seen behind the scenes footage of Bullitt and Diamonds are Forever (seen it, but not trying to resemble it). A lot of soul searching has happened and I appreciate the constructive criticism. I cant wait to review this synopsis and address some of it. But Im not throwing reality out the window. There will be practical effects, no CGI. Im not a professional, so I need to get artsy with (A) how a chase starts, (B) why its happening (C) what happens during (D) how does it end (preferrably with no vehicle damage to any cars). These chases will all serve a purpose. They are not like George Lucas’s Revenge of the Sith where the script reads “they fight” for 20 minutes. These further the story along and the character is at a new normal after each one. Some of my story is being modified after watching Rocketjump filmschool on character development and story. Gtg, will gladly address more later.
 
My only problem with this concept is that Fred steals a car that was about to be crushed. To me? It's just not believable that he couldn't pay the owner of the scrap yard SOMETHING and get out of trouble. I have two friends that own wrecking yards and while they may have called the police about the theft? Once the police understand that the car was simply going to be crushed? They won't be too worried about finding it. Knowing that makes it even more difficult for me to believe that Fred now has to live out of a suitcase.

I mean Fred could lie... Fred could paint the car... Fred could do all kinds of things in order to drive the car. His crime to me? Just isn't compelling enough for him to now live the way he lives. To me, you're describing someone who might have escaped from prison or someone who might be UA (AWOL) from the military. Or someone who maybe robbed a bank and the police certainly know who he is. In other words? The crime -- at least to me -- doesn't seem to support his action after having stolen it.

Had Fred stolen the car from a celebrity or if it had actually been worth some money? Then maybe his behavior of hiding out would be more believable.

Just my two cents.
Hello,
Now that I have a bit more time, I can answer in complete sentences. I was just surprised that after not getting any feedback for so long, all of a sudden I had 3-4 people say something and I got really excited.
For starters, the car he steals is not valuable but he thinks it is. Fred has already made a deal with his aunt weeks in advance and already anticipated on getting this car. Since it was his uncle’s there is some sentimental value to it, but the weeks of telling himself the car is good-as-his and the sudden discovery that the car is gone only after he shows up is enough to make him mad. When he actually goes to the yard, he tracks down the car and tries to offer them the money he had in his pocket that would have gone to his aunt. The person in charge at the time doesnt really want to go through the aggravation of bringing the car “out of their system and thinks he is doing Fred a favor by declining his offer and insisting he buy a newer and nicer car. Chalk this up to laziness on the junkyard owners part.
After Fred steals the car and escapes, he drives back to his home state. He still lives with his parents. So when he returns with the car, he relies on the fact that his parents were expecting him to buy the car (they have no idea he stole it) and figures the cops wont look for him 2-states over. This works for a few weeks until the aunt tries to call Fred to apologize for not selling him the car like they agreed. The aunt cant get ahold of Fred, but gets ahold of Fred’s mom, which is when she realizes Fred stole the car. The family confronts Fred and insists that he turn the car in. Fred refuses, since he’s grown attached to the car and already sunk all his money into it. So the family kick him out of the house because they are (A) mad at him and (B) dont want to be held responsible for protecting him from the law if he gets caught. While Fred does not have the money or resources to repaint the car, it does blend in with traffic because it is white and he puts bumper stickers on it (and periodically changes them). Again, no Georgia cops know to look for this car. Things spice up a bit when he is driving too fast late at night and he gets involved in another chase. Fred makes his way from the highway down dangerous curvy roads and the police give up the chase because its too dangerous to keep up with him. The next day, Fred is smuggly watching the news on a television in a fast food restauraunt when the police talk about a car chase last night. A robbery (that Fred had nothing to do with) happened at the same time in about the same area he was spotted in. The police assume Fred was one of the robbers and are searching for that car. The police also make the connection that it matches the description of the car stolen from North Carolina. This is when Fred goes into hiding.
Hope this makes sense and clears up a bit of the confusion.
Thanks for the feedback and I welcome more.
 
Well it sounds like you need to do some soul searching and figure out what the style and theme of this piece is really going to be.
You tried to market it to me as grounded in reality and now you're coming at me with this "all my realistic ideas were too boring, reality is too boring" stuff and it's the exact opposite of what you were saying when you tried to hook me in. If you can't make a high speed car chase exciting without making the audience roll their eyes then why do you think you should be making movies.

I will say I've seen tons of high speed police chases on tv. I have never seen a single one.. not a single one of them end with a car going over train tracks and the police not being able to follow. You should come to terms with the fact that youre not making a story thats grounded in reality. youre writing the kind of stuff that ONLY happens in movies. It's okay to have over the top action. People go and see movies like The Meg and have a great time.
Hello,
Here is my response with more time and more clear thought (I typed the other response on my phone on my way to and from a bathroom at work).
While I know some people like seeing over-the-top movies like the Meg, or any superhero movie, I don't want to throw science and physiscs out the window (I will admit that Fred throws common sense out the window a few times to get the ball rolling). Cars take real damage and I will simulate real car mechanical issues. I will concede there will be some over-the-top action and some convenient timing. Now, I read somewhere on story-writing that coincidences that get heroes into trouble are ok but not so much if it gets the hero out of trouble (like a deus ex machina). The first police chase is significant because Fred was at a turning point. He could pull over and get into a lot of trouble (most likely jail time) but Fred impulsively decides to keep the car and tries to outrun the cop (which is extremely risky because if anything goes wrong, Fred could wind up dead, paralyzed, or get prison time for theft AND outrunning a cop). This is clearly the illogical choice, but it was the protagonist's choice. The protagonist will eventually regret this choice, but the domino effect throwing the plot into motion will have already taken effect, and the protagonist will have to be extremely smart and crafty to get himself out of this hole he dug for himself. This character is meant to start out naïve with a sense of invulnerability and machismo, but he soon realizes all the problems he has caused for himself and those closest to him.
This series is definitely meant to appeal to car people. This car is practically a character (not like in a sci-fi artificial intelligence way) but in like a Wilson from Cast Away sort of way. I figured that if people love the Trans Am from "Smokey and the Bandit" (which is just a car that the protagonist uses for one illegal beer run, with no real emotional or sentimental value) and people love the mustang from "Bullitt" (which is just a detective's daily driver that ends up getting kinda wrecked) and people love Eleanor from either "Gone in 60 Seconds" (which is just a car that gets stolen and the protagonist has no intention of keeping it) then why shouldn't a car that has some sentimental value and that the protagonist cares about and that has some cool-factor not get a little bit of that love too. I don't think real car guys like Fast and Furious movies anymore because they have gotten so bonkers and have so little to do with car culture that space aliens and superheroes might as well show up in them. A lot of people are willing to lend a certain amount of benefit-of-the-doubt if it is justified in the story. If you see a real car do something that is totally plausible (albeit, I may need to practice and rehearse a dozen times because its so difficult to get right) then I think a lot of car guys may be pleased anyways.
I'm talking for quite a while, but I want there to be nutritional value to this. If you watch this series, you WILL learn something. The basics of cars (particularly this one) some situations requiring first-aid will be depicted as though someone watching might actually think of that time they saw it on television and possibly save someone's life (I've heard stories of people who saved a life because they saw CPR on television). I want to demonstrate how to drive a stick, down-shifting when the brakes fail, popping the clutch to start the car with no starter, turning on the climate controls when the car is about to overheat (to trick the electric fan into coming on) and even have a few times where sign language and Morse Code get used. It will be an entertaining series that almost doubles as an educational video but in a way that doesn't feel like an educational video.
Thank you for your interest and for leaving constructive criticism.
-Rick Leuce
 
Hello,
Now that I have a bit more time, I can answer in complete sentences. I was just surprised that after not getting any feedback for so long, all of a sudden I had 3-4 people say something and I got really excited.
For starters, the car he steals is not valuable but he thinks it is. Fred has already made a deal with his aunt weeks in advance and already anticipated on getting this car. Since it was his uncle’s there is some sentimental value to it, but the weeks of telling himself the car is good-as-his and the sudden discovery that the car is gone only after he shows up is enough to make him mad. When he actually goes to the yard, he tracks down the car and tries to offer them the money he had in his pocket that would have gone to his aunt. The person in charge at the time doesnt really want to go through the aggravation of bringing the car “out of their system and thinks he is doing Fred a favor by declining his offer and insisting he buy a newer and nicer car. Chalk this up to laziness on the junkyard owners part.
After Fred steals the car and escapes, he drives back to his home state. He still lives with his parents. So when he returns with the car, he relies on the fact that his parents were expecting him to buy the car (they have no idea he stole it) and figures the cops wont look for him 2-states over. This works for a few weeks until the aunt tries to call Fred to apologize for not selling him the car like they agreed. The aunt cant get ahold of Fred, but gets ahold of Fred’s mom, which is when she realizes Fred stole the car. The family confronts Fred and insists that he turn the car in. Fred refuses, since he’s grown attached to the car and already sunk all his money into it. So the family kick him out of the house because they are (A) mad at him and (B) dont want to be held responsible for protecting him from the law if he gets caught. While Fred does not have the money or resources to repaint the car, it does blend in with traffic because it is white and he puts bumper stickers on it (and periodically changes them). Again, no Georgia cops know to look for this car. Things spice up a bit when he is driving too fast late at night and he gets involved in another chase. Fred makes his way from the highway down dangerous curvy roads and the police give up the chase because its too dangerous to keep up with him. The next day, Fred is smuggly watching the news on a television in a fast food restauraunt when the police talk about a car chase last night. A robbery (that Fred had nothing to do with) happened at the same time in about the same area he was spotted in. The police assume Fred was one of the robbers and are searching for that car. The police also make the connection that it matches the description of the car stolen from North Carolina. This is when Fred goes into hiding.
Hope this makes sense and clears up a bit of the confusion.
Thanks for the feedback and I welcome more.

Even if only Fred considers the car valuable still doesn't feel believable to ME that he would be running from the law and living out of a suitcase. As I said before, I have two friends that own wrecking yards and I've been to all kinds of wrecking yards over the last 40 years and I'm here to tell you... Everything is FOR SALE. System or not. In fact? I know the system you're talking about and all the wrecking yards in question would have to do is enter the sale into the system. The owner of the wrecking yard being too lazy? That would be just lazy writing in my humble opinion.

As a car enthusiast myself... A complete DIY mechanic and frequent wrecking yard shopper? Combined with being a professional screenwriter? This just isn't believable to me. You could EASILY come up with a much more believable beginning to this concept.

You said: For starters, the car he steals is not valuable but he thinks it is.

I'm not sure what that has to do with what I'm saying... Are you telling us that your Protagonist is more or less ignorant even though he himself is a car enthusiast? If so? That even sounds less believable to me.

You said: The aunt cant get ahold of Fred, but gets ahold of Fred’s mom, which is when she realizes Fred stole the car.

Okay... I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here since you've put all this up for feedback. But the aunt is older, correct? So why would Fred's mother AUTOMATICALLY jump to the conclusion that he stole the car? I don't know of anyone who would think like that right off the bat. Again, not believable to ME. Others mileage may vary. As Fred's mother, my immediate thought (especially IF I THINK I KNOW MY OWN SON) would be that the aunt is senile, had dementia, or just can't remember because of her age. I wouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion that Fred stole the vehicle. I think there would be much more BELIEVABLE ways for Fred's parents to find out he ended up stealing the car. Not only more believable but certainly more compelling than jumping to a conclusion. Consider coming up with one.

You said: While Fred does not have the money or resources to repaint the car, it does blend in with traffic because it is white and he puts bumper stickers on it (and periodically changes them).

We're now back to the police looking for the car... While I understand that technically, the car would have been entered into THAT system... Most police do not go out and search for stolen cars. Most of the time, police stumble upon stolen cars by accident i.e., pulling someone over for a traffic violation. As for money to paint the car? If it were ME and I wanted to drive the car -- or if I HAD to drive the car? I'd easily invest in 5 cans of spray paint and PAINT the CAR. And yes, I have done it before with only 5 spray cans. LOL. Again... Not to pick on you and your story... Not at all. Just telling you what I find believable and not believable.

You said: Again, no Georgia cops know to look for this car. Things spice up a bit when he is driving too fast late at night and he gets involved in another chase. Fred makes his way from the highway down dangerous curvy roads and the police give up the chase because its too dangerous to keep up with him. The next day, Fred is smuggly watching the news on a television in a fast food restauraunt when the police talk about a car chase last night. A robbery (that Fred had nothing to do with) happened at the same time in about the same area he was spotted in. The police assume Fred was one of the robbers and are searching for that car. The police also make the connection that it matches the description of the car stolen from North Carolina. This is when Fred goes into hiding.

Okay... I don't frequent fast food businesses that often but in the ones that I have? I've never seen a television in them. I have seen them in diners occasionally but not often. Be careful to not create unbelievable setups like this just so you can EASILY segue into the next scene or set of scenes. If the police saw the car and now KNOW without a doubt that the car is the stolen car from North Carolina? Fine. But here's the deal. Fred now goes into hiding over a car? Makes NO sense to me. If I thought the same way Fred is now thinking? I'd push that car off a mountain or sink it in a river or something. Any number of ways Fred could rid himself of that car.

In other words... It simply isn't believable to ME personally, that a person would RISK hiding out, living out of a suitcase because of a car he could simply get rid of -- no matter how much he loves the car. Hell, he could even part the car out... LOL. Although that wouldn't play well in a series or film.

Now I have a question... What is this supposed to be? Something you plan on making yourself? I read in an earlier post from you something about the word, "series," but I'm not sure what this is supposed to be.

Back in the 70s when I was a kid? 17? I had a friend who lived about 300 miles away from me who decided to steal a car, drive it to my place for a visit. Remember, this is the 70s and not present day with all kinds of computers, communication, and networks. Anyway, because I lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California? There were plenty of places for him to ease the car off a cliff... Which he did. Why? Because he didn't want to get caught.

Your scenario? Either isn't believable as you've explained it OR your Protagonist just isn't very smart. Consider revising the beginning as to how he gets the car. I don't even see why the car has to be stolen in the first place if you're going to end up having the police think the car was part of the robbery. Just use that and let Fred get the car legitimately but in a way we've not seen before so it's at least interesting. The only problem I see with having the police think the car and eventually Fred was part of the robbery is now Fred has to figure out a way to prove himself innocent. Unfortunately? We've seen THAT a million times so unless you can come up with a way we've NOT seen it played out before? Could end up being a bit cliché.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
car was supposed to go to his cousin but he stole it from family. Weird heated shit happens with family all the time. His cousin doesn’t deserve the car. They don’t want to call the police on him but they hire a private investigator instesd. Little do they know the PI is unstable with an axe to grind, and the audience has seen what work he made of his last case...
 
Even if only Fred considers the car valuable still doesn't feel believable to ME that he would be running from the law and living out of a suitcase. As I said before, I have two friends that own wrecking yards and I've been to all kinds of wrecking yards over the last 40 years and I'm here to tell you... Everything is FOR SALE. System or not. In fact? I know the system you're talking about and all the wrecking yards in question would have to do is enter the sale into the system. The owner of the wrecking yard being too lazy? That would be just lazy writing in my humble opinion.

As a car enthusiast myself... A complete DIY mechanic and frequent wrecking yard shopper? Combined with being a professional screenwriter? This just isn't believable to me. You could EASILY come up with a much more believable beginning to this concept.

You said: For starters, the car he steals is not valuable but he thinks it is.

I'm not sure what that has to do with what I'm saying... Are you telling us that your Protagonist is more or less ignorant even though he himself is a car enthusiast? If so? That even sounds less believable to me.

You said: The aunt cant get ahold of Fred, but gets ahold of Fred’s mom, which is when she realizes Fred stole the car.

Okay... I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here since you've put all this up for feedback. But the aunt is older, correct? So why would Fred's mother AUTOMATICALLY jump to the conclusion that he stole the car? I don't know of anyone who would think like that right off the bat. Again, not believable to ME. Others mileage may vary. As Fred's mother, my immediate thought (especially IF I THINK I KNOW MY OWN SON) would be that the aunt is senile, had dementia, or just can't remember because of her age. I wouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion that Fred stole the vehicle. I think there would be much more BELIEVABLE ways for Fred's parents to find out he ended up stealing the car. Not only more believable but certainly more compelling than jumping to a conclusion. Consider coming up with one.

You said: While Fred does not have the money or resources to repaint the car, it does blend in with traffic because it is white and he puts bumper stickers on it (and periodically changes them).

We're now back to the police looking for the car... While I understand that technically, the car would have been entered into THAT system... Most police do not go out and search for stolen cars. Most of the time, police stumble upon stolen cars by accident i.e., pulling someone over for a traffic violation. As for money to paint the car? If it were ME and I wanted to drive the car -- or if I HAD to drive the car? I'd easily invest in 5 cans of spray paint and PAINT the CAR. And yes, I have done it before with only 5 spray cans. LOL. Again... Not to pick on you and your story... Not at all. Just telling you what I find believable and not believable.

You said: Again, no Georgia cops know to look for this car. Things spice up a bit when he is driving too fast late at night and he gets involved in another chase. Fred makes his way from the highway down dangerous curvy roads and the police give up the chase because its too dangerous to keep up with him. The next day, Fred is smuggly watching the news on a television in a fast food restauraunt when the police talk about a car chase last night. A robbery (that Fred had nothing to do with) happened at the same time in about the same area he was spotted in. The police assume Fred was one of the robbers and are searching for that car. The police also make the connection that it matches the description of the car stolen from North Carolina. This is when Fred goes into hiding.

Okay... I don't frequent fast food businesses that often but in the ones that I have? I've never seen a television in them. I have seen them in diners occasionally but not often. Be careful to not create unbelievable setups like this just so you can EASILY segue into the next scene or set of scenes. If the police saw the car and now KNOW without a doubt that the car is the stolen car from North Carolina? Fine. But here's the deal. Fred now goes into hiding over a car? Makes NO sense to me. If I thought the same way Fred is now thinking? I'd push that car off a mountain or sink it in a river or something. Any number of ways Fred could rid himself of that car.

In other words... It simply isn't believable to ME personally, that a person would RISK hiding out, living out of a suitcase because of a car he could simply get rid of -- no matter how much he loves the car. Hell, he could even part the car out... LOL. Although that wouldn't play well in a series or film.

Now I have a question... What is this supposed to be? Something you plan on making yourself? I read in an earlier post from you something about the word, "series," but I'm not sure what this is supposed to be.

Back in the 70s when I was a kid? 17? I had a friend who lived about 300 miles away from me who decided to steal a car, drive it to my place for a visit. Remember, this is the 70s and not present day with all kinds of computers, communication, and networks. Anyway, because I lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California? There were plenty of places for him to ease the car off a cliff... Which he did. Why? Because he didn't want to get caught.

Your scenario? Either isn't believable as you've explained it OR your Protagonist just isn't very smart. Consider revising the beginning as to how he gets the car. I don't even see why the car has to be stolen in the first place if you're going to end up having the police think the car was part of the robbery. Just use that and let Fred get the car legitimately but in a way we've not seen before so it's at least interesting. The only problem I see with having the police think the car and eventually Fred was part of the robbery is now Fred has to figure out a way to prove himself innocent. Unfortunately? We've seen THAT a million times so unless you can come up with a way we've NOT seen it played out before? Could end up being a bit cliché.
Wow, thanks for the reply.
Ok, the junkyard not being able to sell a car system is going to be something I'm going to need to address. I did not actually know how it worked; I was somewhat still running off of the Cash4Clunkers rules which were that no cars or car parts were ever supposed to leave the system, but that had the government involved and tax dollars. So I'll come up with a slightly different way the ball gets rolling. Basically I want Fred to go from law-abiding citizen to criminal for a set period of time. He eventually has to redeem himself.

Up until this point, he doesn't have his own car. I mentioned that the car is not as valuable as he thought it was because someone pointed out to me that it seems silly to risk it all for a car that's not worth much more than $3,000. Fred is a naïve novice at this point, but I guess I don't need to overdo it.

Fred thinks he gets away with the crime (because it was more-or-less a victimless crime committed in another state). He essentially stole what the junkyard would consider roughly $500.00 in scrap metal. Fred left North Carolina in a hurry and was kind of rude to his aunt (which he regrets since it was an honest mistake they forgot he was coming since the arrangement was made a weeks ago and they just wanted it gone. When the aunt calls and gets ahold of Fred's mom, she doesn't KNOW right away that he stole it, but she gets suspicious. Fred's mom would ask questions and Fred would not answer consistently; his story falls apart and the truth comes out since Fred is not a great liar and he doesn't think more than 1 or 2 steps ahead. This was the original plan, I'll need to think how I want to proceed if the car is not stolen from a junkyard. Perhaps a local buyer ends up with the car (non-relative) and Fred tries to buy it from him but he refuses. Then Fred steals the car from an individual rather than a junkyard.
Unfortunately, a lot of my story really hinged on that Cash4Clunker program. Because after Fred turns himself and the car in, the police impound it and it becomes government property with no owner. The Cash4Clunker program was a short-term thing that only lasted a few months. The idea was that the police don't know what to do with it, so it stays in the police impound lot indefinitely. I figured the junkyard story would work too, since a junkyard would not go through a lot of trouble to haul a junk car 2 states over that they figured was lost anyways. Maybe the junkyard would want to be reimbursed for the theft in the form of cash, but they wouldn't come for the car itself.

ok, spoiler here. The car is white and he wants to keep it that way. He nicknames the car "Columbia" after the NASA Space Shuttle of the same name. The car is entirely white with black trim pieces. He does discretely place an American flag sticker on the driver's side door in the jamb (you can't see it when it is closed) and a U.S.A. sticker on the passenger door in the jamb so that when both doors are open you see an American flag on the left "wing" and U.S.A. on the right "wing" just like the Columbia Space Shuttle. Recoloring the car is not an option. The car is white with lots of black trim.

Ok, the news in a restaurant idea... literally came to me when I was eating my food in a local restaurant that had the news playing. I imagined my character feeling all smug seeing footage on television of the police being interviewed about a police chase the night before and he feels good about himself because all these cops were shocked at how hard it was to catch him and why they gave up. That feeling quickly disappears when they start taking greater interest in him and his car when they make the connection. Fred then leaves the restaurant suspiciously quickly and gets into his car. As he leaves the restaurant, a bunch of people watch as he leaves quickly and suspect he may be the guy the police are talking about (Fred now knows he can't go back to this part of town with the car again). This is supposed to be the point when Fred goes from being carefree to desperate and has to hide. He does try to ditch the car a couple times. One time he does it in the bad part of town, figuring someone else would break into it and get their fingerprints all over it (after he wiped his down). Just as he's leaving, he remembers that he might have left something valuable in the trunk of the car and hurriedly tries to get to he car and find it. He can't find it, then all of a sudden, a group of sketchy people are walking towards him. Fred says "screw it" after getting his fingerprints all over the car again and still not finding the thing he was looking for, so he drives off. He tries to ditch it again, by putting a car cover over it and leaving it in the corner of a parking lot of a business that doesn't get many customers. It stays there for a while until Fred reverses his decision again and needs the car again; but I'll explain that scene later.

Yes, this would be something I am making myself. I own three White thunderbirds that look the same. Same exterior color, same trim, same transmission and suspension. Interior colors are different, so I'm trying to get them to match. I went with black because of the Space Shuttle theme but also because I can easily color-match the other colored interior parts with black spray paint (only one of my Thunderbird has black interior from the factory). Ford blue and Ford Titanium interiors are harder to color-match exactly. The black interior will also make it easier for me to hide the rollcage I plan on installing in one of them. I figure tinted windows with black interior and a black rollcage would be harder for the audience to see than if the interior were any lighter color (even if the rollcage were painted to match). Heck, for the stunt-car, I might not even put in an interior (except for what is bare-bones essential) and just spray paint the inside of the car without padding or plastic trim. No interior shots will be done within the stunt car except maybe through the front windshield on the dashboard.

The reason for the simultaneous robbery that fateful night is significant for another reason. I figured Fred would be working a late-night job, like at a hotel. One night, some sketchy people are talking about stuff that is pretty sensitive and he kind of walks in on some of it. He doesn't hear much, but it's enough to make the guys conscious of Fred's presence and they watch him closely to see what he may do next. At this point, Fred calls the police. but just as the 911 operator picks up, one of the guys comes up to the front desk to ask a question, but he waits patiently for Fred to finish his call. Fred tries to speak in code to the operator to imply to send the police to his address (he pretends to order a shipment of something to that address). He hangs up and answers the sketchy guy's question, which ends up being something benign like wanting some towels or whatever. As soon as the guy rounds the corner, Fred darts for the nearby parking lot that his car is parked in under a cover. He wants to leave the hotel before the police arrive and to take his car with him. The sketchy guys notice him running and they chase him down. He partially uncovers the car just as the sketchy guys catch up and pin him to the ground. They figure Fred did something, like pulled a silent alarm or whatnot and they fear Fred will tell the cops all about what he heard them say. Seconds before they decide to kill Fred right there, they recognize the car under the cover. They ask if Fred was the one who outran the cops on the news. When Fred confirms, they greet him warmly because they said if it weren't for the fact he distracted the cops, they probably wouldn't have been able to complete their heist. They offer Fred a high-paying job as one of their drivers, figuring he could use the cash. Fred agrees, because he is strapped for cash, is desperate to be a part of a group that accepts him, is excited that he will get paid doing something he loves/is good at, and he is scared that if he says no, they may shoot him right there since he would be no good to them. He tells the group that he pulled a silent alarm and that they should leave immediately. So Fred helps the guys and himself escape into the night (down a backroad that helps them avoid cops). At this point, Fred leaves a normal job and opts for the dangerous one. Continuing his downward spiral that he must dig himself out of later.

Metaphorically, the car is supposed to be a sort of curse that Fred brings upon himself. He can never own it but it might as well be his vehicle. The car is simultaneously the thing that gets him into and out of trouble. The car is Fred's partner-in-crime that is always by his side until he turns himself (and the car) in much later.

Again, thank you for the feedback. I'll think about how I want things to get started, but I feel that now I have provided a little bit more context for the direction I want things to go. I will say that everything I am describing right now is what I am considering to be the first season. Season: 2 goes a completely different direction because it's about Fred trying to redeem himself for the terrible things he helped this corrupt group do. While he never kills anyone, he holds himself responsible for the lives that this group destroys while he was employed by them.
 
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car was supposed to go to his cousin but he stole it from family. Weird heated shit happens with family all the time. His cousin doesn’t deserve the car. They don’t want to call the police on him but they hire a private investigator instesd. Little do they know the PI is unstable with an axe to grind, and the audience has seen what work he made of his last case...
I will think about this. I agree the way my series starts seems a little wobbly. Its more about the bad decisions catching up with him and getting worse than it is a direct conflict between Fred and law enforcement. In season: 2, the relationship between Fred and law enforcement becomes much more significant.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I will think about this. I agree the way my series starts seems a little wobbly. Its more about the bad decisions catching up with him and getting worse than it is a direct conflict between Fred and law enforcement. In season: 2, the relationship between Fred and law enforcement becomes much more significant.
Yeah this allows for escalation by bringing police force in later.
 
I'm familiar with the Cash for Clunkers program... I also read about it here:

Car Allowance Rebate System Cash For Clunkers on Wikipedia

and here:

Cash For Clunkers on Investopedia

But the fact remains... The government didn't take these cars over. Wrecking yards all over the country contracted with the government to take these cars off the hands of their owners. After taking possession? They did what they wanted with the vehicles... Scrapped them. Crushed them. Sold them for parts... Whatever.

So now? I'm even a bit more confused... The program started in 2009. Those cars had to be less than 25 years old and while a 1984 Thunderbird is an okay car? It sure isn't a collector's item or in my opinion... Any kind of car someone would get too attached to. Older versions of Thunderbird? Absolutely. I get WHY YOU'RE USING IT... You have three of them.

At this point? It might be wise to get all the unbelievable stuff out of it and start honing in on your concept with a very broad outline. To be honest? At this point? I'm still confused by a lot of what you have here. Not saying it couldn't work but that's why I say you might be wise to begin honing down a real outline. I'd also create a concise logline as well so you can KEEP referring to IT if you get off track. A good logline... What I call a COMPASS LOGLINE (not a pitching logline), will help keep you on track.

Good luck!
 
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