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View Full Version : Don't suppose I could get some feedback on a draft?


Andrew Weldon
12-29-2004, 04:38 PM
I wrote a short CG screenplay as part of a screenwriting class in college early this summer. Since then I've gotten married, moved to another state, and started a job, so it's been the last thing on my mind for a while. I finally got a chance to go make a couple small touch-ups last night, though, and I'd love to get any feedback from people here (Lunatique, I think I spoke briefly with you about this back then, but I never had a chance to get it prepared before the crazy wave o' stuff happened).

It's in Sophocles format; I've been trying the trial of that recently and decided to convert it (I only had the printed copy before; we used Final Cut Pro in the class). I've tried using Word but just have a hell of a time getting the formatting set up correctly. Bah.

Anyway. I'm looking for feedback on pretty much everything in the draft. I want to eventually create this film, so I'm willing to revise/re-do everything if it's for the greater good of the production. I'm very happy with the pacing of the dialogue and some of the mid-line cuts between scenes, so I'm especially interested in hearing any complaints there. The formatting is also something that bothers me; I'm still learning it and even with the screenwriting software there's a few things I think I may have done wrong.

You can snag it here (http://www.kungfusquirrel.net/misc/xa7-1.scp) if you want to take a look.

Thanks!

BigJay
12-29-2004, 06:55 PM
what is this sophocles software? is there a txt format or doc format?

post something in a more common format for us to look at as I really don't want to install another piece of shareware just to read it. If you have a final draft version post that and I'll convert it to text for others to look at. I use it extensively.

Andrew Weldon
12-29-2004, 07:13 PM
Curses. Yeah, that probably wasn't the smartest thing to just give that format. :)

Here (http://www.kungfusquirrel.net/misc/xa7-1.txt) is a .txt version. Might not be perfect on the formatting, but most of it seemed to be retained correctly. Sorry! :)

SamChen
12-29-2004, 11:09 PM
Nice effort Andrew. FYI, this looks like an exciting scene from a longer movie. Now let me ask you, is your hope to just make this as an excercise, or a proof of concept? In that case, I think it could work well.

If your goal is to submit to a festival, then I think you need to flesh it out more... this could be the act 2 of a short story. Just give it a context and also more of a setup prior to this vignette would do. FYI, festivals usually look for films that are story driven as opposed to a proof of concept, or an action sequence. Lastly, by adding context, it could give you a chance to riff on the dialogue where we get more of a glimpse into the personalities and the hearts of these space pilots. Your audiences will likely connect more with it.

g'luck! :thumbsup:

BigJay
12-30-2004, 02:19 AM
pretty cool story. The fighter action and pacing is good.

Shot 1.

Helios should mention if it is launching fighters still

When the fighters are just hanging around it would kill any sense of anticipation. That is there is no sense of urgency. maybe have the flight leader asking the helios where it's damn fighters are.

From the enemy shot or even in 1st shot i would have the fleet captain or the pilots say something that puts this in some kind of context. Maybe the enemy admiral says "they actually turned to fight. release the fighters to finish off these stragglers of a dead race" you know let us in on the story and to also inject some more emotion into your story.

Looking over the story again I realized that there is no emotion in it except for one moment when the pilot laughs, there should be some more emotions going on in key spots.

How do the 2 fighers get above the enemy fighters? If they are just flying around then the enemy would react to them going up. Maybe have them duck behind an enemy(or good) ship change couse (think babylon 5 or battlestar galactica when they do a 180 type manuever) and shoot out over the top instead of where the enemy would of been expected to come out.

the rest of the action works up until the end where there are a few tiny issues


The COMMANDER sits in the command chair as the rest of the command
crew is in a panic. An officer in the background hands out assault
rifles from a nearby locker.

COMMANDER 1
We've been flanked by boarding craft! Return to
base!


maybe have him reach over and hit the radio button so we know he is talking to the fighters.


also you might want some more emotionally charged dialogue like, "Delta, return to the Batian and clear the drop ships off of us before they get inside." something in that vein





Add a few more wings so delta is from bastion, gamma is from helios etc. thay way when delta breaks off he can leave the others to fight? not sure about this one...

drop the enemys give pursuit unless you show them getting destroyed before they get to hanger.

I could be confused by how you describe this part of your script since the enemy pursuing may be fighting the rest of the wing in middle of fleet. have some dialogue of keirn telling the rest of the wing to hold them off or something.


Also the drop ships need enough time to actually take over teh bastian so maybe have the fighters shoot of a few drop ships or the fight in the middle take some time.

KEIRN
(via radio)
Jesus! They've got the hangar!


should probably be an interior shot to get his reaction.



rest of scenes are cool

The rifle doesn't seem like something that is carried in a figher. maybe have him pick up a rifle off a dead enemy? a minor quibble but, can ad some drama with him jumping down going for a gun while looking at the shadows and smokey drop ships in hanger.



ambush and fight is cool



SLOW MOTION

KEIRN brings his rifle to bear and fires, hitting the SOLDIER in the
leg. Blood sprays from the wound, but the SOLDIER still hits KEIRN
square in the chest.


Since Keirn is a pilot i would think a shot would kill him. maybe have teh shot hit the gun breaking it in two, taking it out of the fight...?... again this scene is not that clear so I am not sure exactly what is going on.




ANGLE ON DEAD SOLDIER

KEIRN steps forward. Only his boots are visible. He kneels and
removes the soldier's helmet. Behind the mask is a dead girl, no
older than fifteen. The helmet drops to the deck with a resonating
CLANG.


again some kind of reaction, dialogue or something otherwise the shot does not advance the story unless you show that all the soldiers are kids or young girls or something.


The explosion come out of no where. may be have keirn tell the rest of the fleet to fall back and when the enemy move in thinking they have the bastian as a prize he takes off with the self destruct slaved to a control in his fighter. he can then then make some 1 liner blow the bastian, saving the day and heads for home.


hope this doesn't bother you too much I just wanted to shine a light on sections that I thought you might want. Don't get me wrong the story is pretty good it just needs a few tweaks to polish it up.


post any updates when you write them, i'm interested to see where you go with this

dilipale
12-30-2004, 10:33 AM
Hey Andrew,

I'd agree with some of the other posts. Its a good scene, and like every good scene should, it has a beginning, middle, and end. Not sure it is really a story though, as it does feel like a part of something larger. SamChen is right when he says it has no context, it just a battle, and why should you care, as a viewer, about one side or the other!

One last point. If this is a personal project your intending to do, the camera direction is fine. If you were writing this to submit to a company, camera direction is a big no-no.

Non-the-less, it was well written. Keep on typing.

Andrew Weldon
01-01-2005, 12:01 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, guys. :) I'll try to get as much as I can here in order of posting...

Sam: Well, it technically started as an exercise for the previously mentioned screenwriting class. We were encouraged to write a larger series of shorter screenplays to better experiment with varying styles. I do want to expand it, but hopefully not too much. Definitely want to start small, especially if I do foray into the realm of actually producing the thing. :)

I do have a lot of lore floating around in my head that I've come up with since writing this, and it might be fun to try and twist some of that in. I only worry about it sounding too preachy or political or something - the sort of underlying tone which isn't even used at all in this draft, something I hope to implement in a future revision, is that these two sides/factions are in a situation where they've been fighting so long they no longer know why. The ending is sort of Keirn coming to realize this - sort of a "what are we fighting for" hopeless moment when he realizes he's just killed a young girl in the name of who knows what. I think the big thing scaring me away from elaborating on that was how easily it could be construed into a social or political statement, which is not my goal. Maybe it'd be a good idea to re-build the nature of the conflict from the ground up and see what other options become available? *shrug* That might open a lot more options to build it into something more substantial without trapping myself into something too crummy. :)

Jay: Some good technical feedback here, though I think we both have some pretty different ideas of where this is headed. The Helios is a cruiser, and thus has no fighter contingent. ;) Keirn also isn't shot; the soldier/girl jumps from above and basically tackles him as he shoots.

Those nitpicks aside, the general impression I get from reading your critique is that I've under-described many of the events taking place. The emotion in particular is something that is present in my head but I don't note it in the dialogue very well. That's something I'll try to bring out a bit more in the next revisions.

dilipale: Glad you liked it! Thanks for the note on the camera direction thing; this is definitely a personal project, but I'll keep that in mind in the future just in case. :)

I've got a few options to explore now. I'll see if I can come up with something worthwhile. :)

pollywoggles
01-01-2005, 01:03 AM
Hey,

Great action! I liked the plot.

In reference to your last post, I think you described your action sequence vividly. Well, except for the main character. He didn't have any description when introduced-- which I think played against the scene. I never felt I had an impression of who the character was. I think that points to the larger issue: strong plot, but missing character development. There was beautiful action -- but I never became involved with the characters. As a result, I really didn't care what happened to them.

BigJay
01-01-2005, 01:56 AM
Andrew: Exactly....

You obviously have lots going on in your head that never made it to the page. I like that idea and if you can get that feeling across then it will become much stronger. Yes not enough discription is there for me to get an impression of what is going on character wise or plot wise, that is basically what I was getting at. Let us in on what is going on in the characters and plot and it will be golden.

I got confused by the girl "Hitting" keirn as in tackle not shot. That's what I get from jumping around your script.

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