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View Full Version : Critique a short script I'm developing? [BLACK humor]


Bonedaddy
01-25-2005, 06:09 AM
Hey y'all,

I've written a couple scripts I've wanted to make, but most of them have been beyond the reach of what I'm reasonably able to do. I'm trying to start a bit smaller with a project that, while live action, could benefit from some of my special/visual effects knowledge.

The flick's basically about a teenage goth boy who drives an ice cream truck and hates it -- one day, he accidentally gives some kids some past-expiration ice cream, and... well... read what I've got here (http://complexdream.com/scripts/icecream.pdf). I should warn you, its humor is about as black as it gets. It's pretty short so far, but I'm looking at bringing it out to about 20 pages or so.

Comments and criticism welcome.

dobermunk
01-25-2005, 08:44 AM
Hey, this is a great launch. I immediately start to fever along....

Feedback:
if this is the goth's private hell, make it hellish. The kids shouldn't come and ask politely, they should be vapid monsters, obnoxious and commandeering. They should treat him like dirt, which will only increase his guilt once they start to drop like flies - he's been phantasizing about slaughtering these brats every day for years!

Keep it up! This will be fun...

BiowaX
01-27-2005, 10:48 AM
Cool story you got there so far indeed.

When it comes to the children, i dont think they will treat the ice cream driver like dirt, i dont think that would reflect reality to well, i mean, kids love ice, and the ice dealer, i.e the driver will, if anything, be treated like a semigod. But to create the needed effect of making the kids annoying can simply be done by using cameratecniques, without making them acting like spoiled little spawns of satan.

But good story, hope we will be able to read the rest :)

- Bio

Bonedaddy
01-27-2005, 09:00 PM
Thanks for the critiques. I've been recently snowed under at work here... and I'm gone for the weekend (camping for my birthday), but hopefully I can write a bit by the end of the weekend and post it up.

StylusMonkey
01-29-2005, 06:43 AM
Haha, thats actually pretty damn funny I got quite a chuckle out of that - can I ask permission to storyboard that? I'm creating some mockups for my company site and I can't find anything edge enough.

I'll give you total script credits when it goes up too.

Let me know.

- m

Bonedaddy
02-02-2005, 04:50 PM
I wrote a bit more and updated it. Once again, link is here (http://complexdream.com/scripts/icecream/sample.pdf).

I feel like it's slowing down a bit in the middle, but for now I'm going to write more than is needed, and trim it up once I'm done. Also rewrote a bit of the scene with the kids.

Hopefully will be getting around to the point of it soon. It may end up going a little beyond 20 pages (maybe up to 30) in its current incarnation....

dobermunk
02-02-2005, 05:41 PM
Two main points of feedback...

one:
this guy gets launched into this extremeness before we have a chance to get to know him in normality. He's an open book. Not that much has to happen before the extremes, but more exposure to the person I think is necessary. We have to empathize with him through a full feature, maybe not like him, but we have to fever with him and be shocked or surprised by the decisions he's going to make. Can't really do that if we have no introduction to him - and thus the potential to relate to him - before the chase begins.
Maybe he's got a co-driver just has horrid as the kids. But this guy knows our hero and - through their tensions with ach other - give us tips to his person. The co-driver might be the type who's always eatin' the wares, but not doing any of the work, despite being an abusive lard - making him among the first victims. THe leader of the children's death crusade, so to speak. Just an idea, but we need some time at the beginning, and an introduction.

two:
You seem in an awful hurry! Slow down. Like this segment:

GREG
Good afternoon, office-
KRACOWSKI
Don’t give me lip, Nesmith. Care to
guess why I came over here?
GREG
To chat?
KRACOWSKI
Smart, real smart. This is a noparking
zone. You should’ve parked
your clown car somewhere else.

A policemen comes up to this guy who we are supposed to fever with and who just happens to have numerous child corpses in his truck and this gets resolved in onwe line!? You know the policeman is only after him because of the parking, but don't let us know it that quickly. We're in the mindset that our hero is in deep shit, let us enjoy it! And the policeman is probably after some ice too. Pilfering bastard! So then there's another point of tension: "geez, if I don't give this cop an ice he'll pester me and discover the kids, but if I give him the ice, that's paramount to murder."
So our hero is faced with two two bad choices - and we think "what's he going to do?" Then he does something clever which becomes the unexpected third option. Know what I mean? You're rushing through it and ruining the fun....

Another thing: our alienated youth isn't all that alienated if he finds a very ameniable young lady so soon in the story. I think it would be more fn (just like the above example) if she thought he was a prick (or at least love-hate) and played with the idea of turning him in, enjoying to see him squirm in front of the policeman...

That said, I stick by my guns: great premise!

Bonedaddy
02-02-2005, 07:54 PM
this guy gets launched into this extremeness before we have a chance to get to know him in normality. He's an open book. Not that much has to happen before the extremes, but more exposure to the person I think is necessary. We have to empathize with him through a full feature, maybe not like him, but we have to fever with him and be shocked or surprised by the decisions he's going to make. Can't really do that if we have no introduction to him - and thus the potential to relate to him - before the chase begins.


This I agree with. I've tried to give you as much shorthand as I can, and I want to go back and perhaps hammer it home a bit harder, but what I want to get across in the first half is that both he and Eve (and to a far greater extent Dmitri) are very cynical, sarcastic, largely misanthropic people, who wish the death of their customers, co-workers, and probably parents. Evolution from that point is really the direction I'm going with this. Greg's relationship with Eve will tie into this.

With a short script, it's hard to get across the characterization without slowing the pacing down too much. I feel like I have a really fast paced beginning, and sort of slow down too much right now in the middle. I may try and characterize him a bit more in the beginning and bring the pacing to a more even keel throughout.





A policemen comes up to this guy who we are supposed to fever with and who just happens to have numerous child corpses in his truck and this gets resolved in onwe line!? You know the policeman is only after him because of the parking, but don't let us know it that quickly. We're in the mindset that our hero is in deep shit, let us enjoy it! And the policeman is probably after some ice too. Pilfering bastard! So then there's another point of tension: "geez, if I don't give this cop an ice he'll pester me and discover the kids, but if I give him the ice, that's paramount to murder."
So our hero is faced with two two bad choices - and we think "what's he going to do?" Then he does something clever which becomes the unexpected third option. Know what I mean? You're rushing through it and ruining the fun....


I see what you're saying here. I wanted to establish that Kracowski and Greg have a bit of history, although I brush over it too quickly. Essentially, I want to cross out any chance of them going to the authorities, since the police hate him in general just for who he is. Also ratchet up the tension, since the police basically have him under surveillance. I'd toyed with the idea of doing a quick flashback to show how he first got into trouble with Kracowski, but I didn't think it fit in with the tone of the film.



Another thing: our alienated youth isn't all that alienated if he finds a very ameniable young lady so soon in the story. I think it would be more fn (just like the above example) if she thought he was a prick (or at least love-hate) and played with the idea of turning him in, enjoying to see him squirm in front of the policeman...

That might be fun to play with. I haven't hammered down Eve's character yet, but the larger point of the thing is going to be his relationship with her, and where that goes. I don't want to paint her as that snarky and unscrupulous. She's supposed to be a bit less shut off than the rest of the cast. I'm still finding her voice, so we'll see how it evolves.


Thanks for the comments!

Bonedaddy
02-03-2005, 04:41 PM
Updated it again, taking comments into account. I think Kracowski's intro plays much better now.

Once again, available here (http://complexdream.com/scripts/icecream/sample.pdf).

dobermunk
02-03-2005, 05:16 PM
That works a lot better. Makes Eve involved - she commits herself actively at that point to help out with the cop.

bobtilton
02-09-2005, 02:02 PM
I personally think that your script needs to plunge headfirst into dark. Here are a few terrible ideas:

- The kids aren't quite dead - before they expire they bolt up and in an hysteria, begin tearing his truck apart. halucinagenic ice cream? ergotism? The little girl with the pennies would especially be fun at this point. A nice set of stages until death could be interesting.

- Do Greg and Eve need to be so likeable? Obnoxious socially inept Goth kids are funnier than well-adjusted, normal ones. Dmitri is a good start. Maybe some neurosis would make for a funny ice cream man. I think it's possible to keep an audience behind a protagonist while making him bizarre.

- Does the cop have to be a dumb jerk? What if he's actually a really capable policeman, only the sequence of events is in favor of Greg and Eve? The tension might become more believable.

- More screaming groups of children.

- Less typical, conversational dialogue. We can watch prime time television for that.

Well, that's some bad advice. Keep writing - you have some brilliant ideas and observations.

Vagab0nd
02-10-2005, 02:18 AM
I am only half assed reading it as I study for an anthro exam in the morning, 3 chapters on the origin of man, "christ on a stick" I had a few weeks to prep, lol
anyhow, your use of non traditional cus words is great, I would suggens ta fast panic /flash scene with a whole gaggle of the little rugrats filling the roadway limp and dead hands folded on their chests in the traditional funeral manner icecream sandwitch melnting in their grubby little fingers, lol. Ice man standing there in the middle of it sweating in fear, have the whole world warp a bit as the camera moves in ( kind of that fish eye effect ) till it gets with into his eye reflectign the horror then
blink
back to reality


my 2 cents you can tell me to piss off
i like it anyhow

TheFreak
03-24-2005, 08:39 AM
I Love it, i am by no means a script writer or anything like that. But i do like my black humor and i think it is a great concept.

It all reads pretty well for me but i have one suggestion. I like the humor of the ex not wanting to go into the truck of doom but ending there anyway, but i also think we are missing out on a lot of humor in getting the bodies from the ice cream van to the truck. It's not like you can just carry a bag of bodies across a crowded carpark. Perhaps there could be some human puppetry in an effort to make them look alive.....i know this has been done in "Weekend at Bernies" but it was funny then and i think it might be funny now...although i don't know how well that will work with kiddies :P

Anyway, i am prolly just talking nonsense with all that, it's your story so do with it what you will. I will be back to read on when you get more done.

Great work so far!!

Bonedaddy
06-30-2005, 10:07 AM
I got a little bit more time, and rewrote rather a lot of the script. Finally it has an ending that doesn't completely make me want to rip my own eyes out. Gets a little mushy, but that's sort of maybe the point. Would love to hear comments.

Check it out, as always, here (http://complexdream.com/scripts/icecream.pdf).

JMcWilliams
07-01-2005, 06:00 AM
I got a little bit more time, and rewrote rather a lot of the script. Finally it has an ending that doesn't completely make me want to rip my own eyes out. Gets a little mushy, but that's sort of maybe the point. Would love to hear comments.

Check it out, as always, here (http://complexdream.com/scripts/icecream.pdf).

Haha, Thats certainly dark :D
Are you a red dwarf fan by any chance? (the smeg line tipped me off)

Bonedaddy
07-01-2005, 06:08 AM
Are you a red dwarf fan by any chance? (the smeg line tipped me off)

Isn't everyone? :)

Saikin
07-04-2005, 11:53 AM
very dark, but funny as hell! I'm not into the whole black humour thing but this one was good.

webhead
07-16-2005, 01:18 AM
- Do Greg and Eve need to be so likeable? Obnoxious socially inept Goth kids are funnier than well-adjusted, normal ones. Dmitri is a good start. Maybe some neurosis would make for a funny ice cream man. I think it's possible to keep an audience behind a protagonist while making him bizarre.


Likeable? Normal? You're kidding, right?
I'm afraid to ask what you and your friends like to do for fun on a quiet Saturday night. Yikes!
Sorry, I really have to be honest here. There wasn't one single likeable character in the whole script. Why should I like Greg or Eve? What reason was I given to feel empathy or any kind of sympathy whatsoever for these two losers. The same with the rest of the characters; Not one thing likeable about any of them.
Every single character in this story is anti-social -- no, sociopathic! The kids act more like mindless zombies than brats. Yes, I know it's a dark comedy, and I like some dark comedies when they can take a subject that usually isn't funny and manage to squeeze the humor out of it by adding an odd or unusual twist. However, tossing dead kids onto a police car windshield over and over again, just isn't funny or clever to me. I'm still trying to figure out why some people find that hysterical.
Also, I can't understand how a Goth Kid who has fantasies about strangers getting deadly diseases and who has almost no remorse about killing several kids, seems too have a conscience when it comes to using profanity, and instead, tries to come up with nerd-like made-up word substitutes. It seems out of character for this low-life, from what little we know about him -- or even want to know about him, for that matter.
Except for the fact that he didn't swear like a trooper, as did everyone else, Greg's character was virtually the same as every other character. Mean and violent. No real character development at all. Nothing that made him stand out as the"hero" in this story. Also, I didn't find it believable how easy Greg got off in the end, nor did I like his total disregard for Dmitri and the Edna at the conclusion when they were trying to help him out of his mess. And, why should they have bothered helping him, anyway? What do they get out of it? They obviously weren't that close to Greg. Edna had just met him. The police just ignored Greg and Eve? They aren't looking for the ice cream truck? Dmitri and Edna will, I suppose, just take the fall for Greg since he's such a peach of a guy, right?
There has to be a logical explanation for a character's reactions -- a motivation or some desperate need.
There was no underlying reason, no logical explanation or any real motivation for why anyone did what they did -- just a bunch of psychos using lots of gratuitous violence.
Sorry, man but that's how I see it, anyway.

Bonedaddy
07-16-2005, 08:25 AM
Dude, that's fine, I'm glad you didn't hold back. At the same time, I can't please em all.

I'm not necessarily aiming to make likeable characters. American Beauty, by many accounts, did not have likeable characters. Sin City and Transmetropolitan did not have likeable characters. But they had somewhat identifiable characters. A lot of people, myself included, have such misanthropic tendencies on a regular basis. I'm not saying I should, or that I shouldn't, just that it is.

The script, for me, was the characters trying to break out of this shell of sarcasm, hatred, and negative emotions, into something vaguely positive (hey, they're not mother theresa -- baby steps). I feel like a lot of this indifferent, seen-it-all, distanced attitude towards life, the universe, and everything is brought about by peer pressure. This is about trying to step out of that.

I'm not saying that you should like Greg, necessarily, but realize that he's trying. He is growing out of this teenage angst mold, and trying to open himself up without getting hurt, in a way.

The ending's plotting is admittedly shaky. I have struggled with this and I'm not sure of a way to end it on a stronger note. I may rewrite it a bit, shorten the beginning, and lengthen the end. I will concede those points.

Sorry you didn't like it, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to get at here, now that I've explained myself a bit.

webhead
07-16-2005, 02:30 PM
I'm not necessarily aiming to make likeable characters. American Beauty, by many accounts, did not have likeable characters. Sin City and Transmetropolitan did not have likeable characters. But they had somewhat identifiable characters. A lot of people, myself included, have such misanthropic tendencies on a regular basis. I'm not saying I should, or that I shouldn't, just that it is.

The script, for me, was the characters trying to break out of this shell of sarcasm, hatred, and negative emotions, into something vaguely positive (hey, they're not mother theresa -- baby steps). I feel like a lot of this indifferent, seen-it-all, distanced attitude towards life, the universe, and everything is brought about by peer pressure. This is about trying to step out of that.

I'm not saying that you should like Greg, necessarily, but realize that he's trying. He is growing out of this teenage angst mold, and trying to open himself up without getting hurt, in a way.


Glad you didn't take my critique too personal, I just really had strong, immediate negative feelings about these characters and couldn't hold it back.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with you about American Beauty, (Didn't see the other ones, so I can't comment on them.) Lester was a very likeable guy. He had lots of faults it's true, but he wasn't out to hurt anybody. He proved that; by not sleeping with the young girl he had all those fantasies about, and by finally trying to connect with his daughter.
Yeah, he was going through a traumatic time in his life, feeling a bit rebelious, wanting to break out and start over and live a little. You could relate to that. Also, his good sense of humor and sense of irony made him likeable.
You saw a definate change for the better in Lester in the end; Saw him rise above all the crap that everyone else around him was wallowing in.
Greg was just a mean, unthankful, disloyal, selfish jerk.
What "vaguely positive" thing was Greg trying to develop here? I saw no change in him, no remorse.
You talk about him trying to get away from the "distanced attitude of life" No one has a more distanced attitude towards life than someone who kills for pleasure. That is as distanced as you can get. Where was the peer pressure? He was a loner, driving around dressed as he wished, delivering lethal ice creams to zombie children.
You say he was trying to "break out of the shell of hatred and negative emotions." Greg personified hatred and negative emotions. He did and said evil things for kicks.
Greg reminded me of everything that's wrong with the world today. We need less people like Greg --not more.
It's like the difference between Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker for me as a kid.
I would root for Bugs Bunny when he tromped on the other guy, because usually, the other guy was asking for it. Bugs would be minding his own business living his life, and some jerk, usually bigger than him, would come along and make his life miserable. Bugs Bunny would use his wits and turn the tables on the guy and triumph.
Now, with Woody Woodpecker, usually, someone would be minding their own business, living their life, and he would come along and start making sport of them. He was the antagonist -- not the protaganist. It was hard to cheer for him because he was mean-spirited. Greg is mean-spirited. I saw no vulnerability in the guy, no redeeming quality whatsoever. He needs that --badly.

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