• Wondering which camera, gear, computer, or software to buy? Ask in our Gear Guide.

story ROSHAMBO - An idea for a limited 5 episode series

Greetings everyone

I have had this idea for a multi episode series for a few weeks now and think its time to share it with like minded folks in hopes I can interest a few of you to contribute to it collaboratively.

The plan is to present it first as a multi-episode motion comic series on YouTube, very much like THE WATCHMEN MOTION COMIC series however not as long and not involving super hero characters. My story is more of a drama, crime, thriller type of thing. The hope is that enough interest will be garnered by the project that it can be put to film through Kick Starter or some other means of financing (again as a limited series of episodes).

THE WATCHMEN motion comic is available on YouTube as a 12 part series but I want to limit my story to around 5. The premise of the story is based on the game ROCK PAPER SCISSORS and the story is heavily character and plot driven. Just as in the game, the same rules will apply where ROCK conquers SCISSORS, SCISSORS conquers PAPER and PAPER conquers ROCK in a complex circle of exploitation and betrayal. The three characters try in desperation to face their own individual plights and try to achieve their own goals at the expense of the other characters. In the end, as the following quote by Shakespeare reveals, it won't go as each had planned ...

Though those that are betray'd do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor stands in worse case of woe
  • The first episode chronicles SCISSORS, a war vet and long haul truck driver who has been imprisoned 5 years for involuntary manslaughter for killing his wife and her lover. He is released but finding it hard to adjust to his new life.
  • The second episode chronicles the PAPER character, a trucking company owner in the face of an economic downturn who turns to using his business as a front for human smuggling and prostitution with the help of one of his drivers who pitches the whole idea to him
  • The third episode chronicles the ROCK character, a poor Mexican woman trying to escape her difficult situation at home in Mexico and looks to human smugglers to get her north into Texas and a new life
  • The fourth episode details their intertwined relationships leading to conflict as the three characters look to solve there problems by using one another
  • The fifth and final episode culminates into the story's tragic conclusion where the acts of betrayal turns on each character, leading to the demise of all three characters as the story comes full circle to satisfy the story's theme of Rock, Paper Scissor
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
You know I should have said it's a game of chance, not luck. Chance is more accurate. But this is a very interesting article that may help you.
 
You know I should have said it's a game of chance, not luck. Chance is more accurate. But this is a very interesting article that may help you.
Yes, but are we not simply talking about semantics :) The gem you gave me was that there was an element of chance (which you're right is a better word) that was not in control of the characters..it was the invisible force that played the game out and it just so happened, SCISSORS is spared ...

When I read your post, I was like OF COURSE, How did I not see that!!
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Glad I could help! I just wanted to clarify because some people believe luck to be an outside force and chance to be "random" luck so either can still work but they can be distinguishable. ;)
 
Nice article, thank you...By the way, I know of three movies that deal with RPS

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4420040/

the last one is closer to what I have I think but it is in french and never knew about its existence until i starting my research. I should see how they did the game :)
 
Last edited:
There's a few spelling mistakes. I understand you're eager to get feedback but read your script back to yourself several dozen times before putting it out there.

Similarly, your descriptions could do with being snappier, there's a lot of over-describing. "Vanessa's eyes remain closed as she sleeps" should just be "Vannessa sleeps"' the rest of the words don't add anything. Same with "Vanessa slowly exhales smokes from her lips", I'm not sure where else we would expect it to be blown from.

Also, you should avoid writing things in the descriptions that the audience can't see. "Clive, a truck driver that works with scissors" and "Scissors, still thinking of his wife". If you need this information to be known to the audience, you will need to include some visual clue or dialogue to indicate it, otherwise how are they to know.

Not sure if you are planning to direct this yourself but you shouldn't put camera directions in a spec script either, things like "camera follows him", "camera slowly zooms out" and "CUT TO:" need to come out of this screenplay unless you are making it yourself.

From the previous posts it sounds like you've got a good story but I think the writing aspect needs some refining. This looks very much like a first draft. Keep plugging on with it though. Screenwriting mostly involves rewriting, keep going over it until it can't be improved any more.
 
There's a few spelling mistakes. I understand you're eager to get feedback but read your script back to yourself several dozen times before putting it out there.
Oops, so sloppy, I best be careful with that!
Similarly, your descriptions could do with being snappier, there's a lot of over-describing. "Vanessa's eyes remain closed as she sleeps" should just be "Vannessa sleeps"' the rest of the words don't add anything. Same with "Vanessa slowly exhales smokes from her lips", I'm not sure where else we would expect it to be blown from.
Noted .. I will fix that
Also, you should avoid writing things in the descriptions that the audience can't see. "Clive, a truck driver that works with scissors" and "Scissors, still thinking of his wife". If you need this information to be known to the audience, you will need to include some visual clue or dialogue to indicate it, otherwise how are they to know.
I thought that when you first introduce your characters, you have some liberty with description of them. I will remove those as well
Not sure if you are planning to direct this yourself but you shouldn't put camera directions in a spec script either, things like "camera follows him", "camera slowly zooms out" and "CUT TO:" need to come out of this screenplay unless you are making it yourself.

From the previous posts it sounds like you've got a good story but I think the writing aspect needs some refining. This looks very much like a first draft. Keep plugging on with it though. Screenwriting mostly involves rewriting, keep going over it until it can't be improved any more.
I don't mind to remove most of those CUTS but with respect to the MATCH CUT, I needed to somehow describe (through SCISSORS eyes) that he is thinking of his wife, even while he is engaging in sex with another woman...So that's why i have zoom in and zoom out of their respective eyes. I suppose your point is that this is not part of story so perhaps I should remove that too.

Thanks a lot for your comments, this really helps
 
I liked it!! Nice, loved how Scissor and Paper are linked together literally in the first 2 minutes.
Thanks StoneJack, I also thought of adding more of the theme of GAME and CHANCE into the script...For example, the invisible force prevents PAPER from killing SCISSORS almost as divine intervention...As if, SCISSORS has been CHOSEN and his fate is sealed to be the winner in the end ...I also made reference to him as the Luckiest man alive when he says it sarcastically in the bar scene...Just some foreshadowing
 
I needed to somehow describe (through SCISSORS eyes) that he is thinking of his wife, even while he is engaging in sex with another woman...So that's why i have zoom in and zoom out of their respective eyes. I suppose your point is that this is not part of story so perhaps I should remove that too.
I'm not saying you should remove it. If it's a good visual shot that moves the story along, use it. Just don't use directing terminology to express it. Instead think how you can best describe it so the audience can visualise it the same way you see it in your mind.
 
I'm not saying you should remove it. If it's a good visual shot that moves the story along, use it. Just don't use directing terminology to express it. Instead think how you can best describe it so the audience can visualise it the same way you see it in your mind.
You're right. I will keep the MATCH CUT to reinforce the connection between these two scenes, however I will remove directing terminology and use common language instead to describe how the scenes are connected...
 
I have revised the SCISSORS backstory with the great advice given here. Once my artist completes the storyboard, I will provide a link. I am looking for any voice over, sound effects and music talent to collaborate with me on this project. If interested, let me know! Attached is the revised script
 

Attachments

  • ROSHAMBO.pdf
    10.6 KB · Views: 119
It's definitely better than the first draft, probably needs a few more rewrites yet though.

There's still a little too much over-description going on for me. It's a problem I also have when writing as I'm trying to explain exactly how I picture the scene but it makes the writing clunky. What I do is go back through each sentence and ask myself, how much of that can I delete and still convey what's happening? Take it out and I guarantee it reads much better. Try reading some other screenplays in your genre where you have already seen the movie, compare how they describe the scene against what you actually end up seeing on the screen. The thing with vanessa's cigarette for example, there's several lines directing when she inhales and exhales etc. You need to allow the actor some licence of how to play it if it's not necessary for the story.

The only other suggestion I have is to look at your dialogue, some of it is good but other parts feel too formal, not quite how people would talk in real life (or in a movie). Again, another thing I try to do is picture a particular famous actor playing each role, usually someone who has played a similar type character in something else. I then imagine how they would respond to the previous line or situation. What terms would they use, what slang, how refined is their vocabulary, how common/posh are they? The scene with Clive and Scissors talking in the bar feels a bit unnatural, the way Clive gives him a lengthy lecture over Vanessa just doesn't ring true. Doesn't seem like a realistic conversation you'd hear between a pimp and a gruff truck driver.
 
Last edited:
Clive is a co worker of Scissors and his friend...He knows him several years and knows Scissors loves his wife but the nature of his job being away a week at a time or more, he gives in to infidelity ... It has put a strain on his relationship with his wife

Clive does this pimp stuff "on the side" for his fellow truck drivers. He is street smart and knows both girls and drivers prefer an environment where he acts as a broker as he vets both sides ... rather than truckers seek out lot lizards or put themselves in danger by getting mugged or worse...

Clive will be used later in the story to introduce PAPER into the world of human smuggling for the business he knows best -- prostitution for truck drivers. CLIVE, SCISSORS and PAPER are close in the story to add emotional impact to the betrayal that occurs later by SCISSORS

I actually think the dialog between them is correct but your point on too much direction is well taken. But I wanted my artist to have some of that direction...I can remove it later for the spec ...
 
Last edited:
Clive is a co worker of Scissors and his friend...He knows him several years and knows Scissors loves his wife but the nature of his job being away a week at a time or more, he gives in to infidelity ... It has put a strain on his relationship with his wife
Ok, that makes a bit more sense. I'd still look at perhaps toning it down a bit though. Like I said, just seems there's something not quite natural about it, not cheesy exactly, but a bit too formal in terms of the way they talk.

Sorry, I don't mean to come across as being overly critical but you've got a good story premise and I'd like to see you make the script do it justice. For what its worth I think the actual scene choices and story progression is really good. I'm just trying to give you my honest opinion of where I think it could be improved. Feel free to ignore it.
 
I don't mind the criticism one bit, you are helping me a lot...I guess what I am trying to convey in that dialog and in the story in general is the CHARACTER of Scissors. It's just a BACKSTORY. I still have two more back stories to do for the other characters so this helps me learn

CLIVE has other self interests in seeing his friend not self destructing. In a coming scene, he intends to recruit SCISSORS as the MUSCLE and PAPER as the FINANCIER (and eventual BOSS) to the smuggling/prostitution ring (as yet, neither one has any idea of CLIVE's intentions to unite the 3) and the last thing CLIVE wants is for SCISSORS to get attached to the PRODUCT (so to speak)

But SCISSORS can't help himself. He is vulnerable and easily manipulated by women and also flawed -- impulsive -- violent. Also, he doesn't always treat his friends well but does love his wife who has power over him (which we will see in the ROCK dynamic later)

As for CLIVE's plan,things go badly, however and SCISSORS is sent to prison for 5-7 years and PAPER has no interest to go rogue...A couple of years pass and PAPER faces an economic downturn that threatens his legit business. CLIVE, who has been unsuccessful in trying to convince PAPER of joining his scam, tries again but this time PAPER is more receptive to his ideas

For a time, it goes well but the lack of muscle in the early years of this venture causes problems...It is around this time SCISSORS is soon to be released.

The other part of the back story is the ROCK character which I will show the growing strain between her and her estranged husband, leading her to wanting an escape but still trapped as she very much loves her husband. She feels she has to distance herself from his hold and sees the answer as leaving for the US as an illegal migrant

I am not sure there's enough for 3 episodes for the backstory (for the purposes character development) as it seems like I can probably do the above narratives in about 1.5 to 2 episodes...

The rest of the story is where it will get interesting as all three characters clash with the PRS theme, in which time my goal is that the audience has become invested in the characters for the rest of the story to gain traction
 
No, it all sounds really good. Keep us posted on your progress. I've attached a little suggestion on thr Clive/Scissors scene, just an idea.
 

Attachments

  • celtx_print7091586523682348671pdf.PDF
    3 KB · Views: 123
Oh my god, this is beutiful .... I will use this ... GOLD!!! Thank you so much ...

By the way, do you edit screenplay drafts? How much does something like that typically cost for, say, a 90-120 page draft?
 
Last edited:
No, it all sounds really good. Keep us posted on your progress. I've attached a little suggestion on thr Clive/Scissors scene, just an idea.
Thats'a great suggestion. This way, no more useless characters are introduced.
This now leads to Clive's character development. As of now, Clive is basically the engine behind the story development. His (bad) intentions drive everyone towards the catastrophe. You will need to describe Clive's intentions and background for viewers to understand the story fuller.
 
Thats'a great suggestion. This way, no more useless characters are introduced.
This now leads to Clive's character development. As of now, Clive is basically the engine behind the story development. His (bad) intentions drive everyone towards the catastrophe. You will need to describe Clive's intentions and background for viewers to understand the story fuller.

I have injected a scene right after PAPER gets off the phone with SCISSORS after his truck has stalled...CLIVE is in PAPERS office closing the receiver asking what's wrong ... PAPER tells him more delays and how the timing is bad and he is already losing money as it is .. .CLIVE offers to help out with this latest delivery problem and then says to PAPER....You should reconsider my smuggling idea ... you won't have to worry about stuff like this ... we can make this work ... PAPER refuses setting up a future scene where the bankruptcy becomes almost inevitable and then finally he gives in to CLIVE's proposals...
 
Top