First short film. Feedback regarding the script. (4 pages long)

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  10 October 2012
First short film. Feedback regarding the script. (4 pages long)

Hi everyone,

I am not a good writer at all (in fact I never write stories, etc.), but I tried to write a script for the short film I want to make. I don't have any experience with story development, so I would like to hear your opinion on what I have got so far. This will be my first short film and I don't want to make a bad one, so feel free to crush my work . This is the first complete version of the story. (Although I'm not sure yet if it makes enough sense)

Viscious Cycle


The basic idea
The theme of the short is letting go of the person you used to be. It is about a person whose soul is broken. He used to be a happy person who believed in himself, but things changed and he forsook himself. The person you see in this short is just a shadow of who he used to be. He hates the person he has become, but he doesn’t think he’s strong enough to change. You watch his daily routine, being in a viscious cycle of depression of which he can’t find his way out of. At the end of the short he encounters his own darkness and has to choose wether or not he is going to take a stand and finally overcome his demon, or if he is being consumed by his own darkness.

The idea is to show the viscious cycle of depression through the daily routine of the protagonist. At the end of the movie the viscious cycle starts again as the next day. However, it is up to interpretation/imagination of the viewer wether or not the viscious cycle is about to begin again, or if the protagonist took control of his happiness and defeated the darkness. During the movie reflections of the character show up in mirrors or windows, and the darkness in them is a harbringer of what is to come at the ending of the movie: A fight against his own darkness.




Bathroom
Some still shots/slight pans of a big house. As the scenes move through the house, you can hear the slight sound of water drops dripping down getting louder and louder. The sink has been cleaned in a while. There are leftovers of toothpaste on it, shaved beard hairs haven’t been cleaned up and there are quite a few cans of hair wax, after shave, etc. It is worth mentioning, that there is a package of anti-depressants lying on the sink. The bottle has been always used up completely, only 3 pills remain. (Close-up of the pills in focus) The water dripping has stopped, the protagonist is done showering.

The camera shows a close-up of the steamy bath mirror. A hand touches the mirror and wipes away some of the condensed water. As the water is being brushed aside, the face of a sad looking man unravels. He is looking into his sad looking eyes for a moment, until he turns his head. His face looks disappointed, almost ashamed, as if he can’t even look himself into his own eyes. He walks away from the mirror with a reprehensible look on his face. The mirror slowly turns black as if it was made of water and ink was falling into it, with the middle of the mirror being the source of gravity, that is pulling the black ink towards it. The black ink slowly covers the entire mirror, except for some spots which shape the title of the short movie »Viscious Cycle«. Then the title also dissolves into black ink. The screen is pitch black.




Bedroom
The screen slowly turns brighter, as the man, wrapped in a towel, is walking away from the door (away from the camera), towards his king bed sized bed, which hasn’t been made yet. Some clothes have been prepared on the bed, ready to be picked up. The towel is being dropped on the floor and the man’s hand grabs for some underwear. As he starts to get dressed up, the camera shows some close-ups of the room. There are a lot of books on the bookshelf, including a lot of books about music theory and guitars. On the table are lots of food leftovers, much more than he would have been able to eat in one single day alone. It seems like neatness isn’t one of his strenghts.

As he is about to wrap it up getting dressed, he picks up his black necktie from the bed and puts it on in front of the mirror. Again, he is looking critically at the himself, however this time it is uncertain if he is judging himself or merely the shape of his necktie. As he once again walks away with a somewhat reprehensible look in his eyes, a mixture between black dust and smoke is falling off his shoulders, as if he has been carrying some dark spores on his shoulders. The dusty smoke dissolves into thin air, as he walks back towards the bed. He picks up his smartphone and see’s a notification, that he has a new message on whatsapp The message is from a woman named Kristin. It says »I haven’t heard from you in a long time. I really miss you.« He stares at his phone for a few seconds, thinking wether or not he should answer. He does not respond to it and just puts the phone in the pocket of his blue-black tinted jeans. Afterwards he sits down on the bed, picks up his white leather shoes and starts to tie his shoelaces. As he tries to tighten the shoelace of the second show, they appruptly rip apart. You are a strong ripping sound.

Bedroom Off Speaker
They say »When you’re stuck, you just gotta keep going.« Going? Going where? Other people, they walk their paths without doubt. But me? I don’t know where I am going. If life is a path, then I am merely walking on a fine wire, and it is frayed at both the ends.




On his way to work
The front door of the house is opening (far away shot). The walkway is filled with puddles of water from the pelting rain. The man grabs his jacket and picks up an umbrella, which he opens after getting out to the door. He starts walking hastily, because even though he is covered by his umbrella, he is still getting soaking wet from the rain thats falling down. He walks out of his property, around the corner. There is a puddle of water on the floor, which reflects the environment. As the man walks towards the puddle, everything around him seems to be covered in darkness behind him in the reflection of the puddle. While running through the street, he accidently steps in the puddle. Slow motion of the water shooting into the air. Then normal speed again. Splash sound from the water.

The man walks down the stairs to the underground station. As he arrives at the rail, he closes his umbrella and starts to look around. In the station are so many people of every age. They all seem so different, yet they all have one thing in common: They are all talking to someone. It seems he would be the only person that is alone. As he waits for the train, he grabs his phone out of his pocket and starts looking at his message from his friend once again. He is about to tab on the message input, to type a message, as he hears the subway approaching. He turns off his phone, puts it back in his pocket and gets in the subway. As the door closes, the scene jumps to the office.

Way to work Off Speaker
Distance, I cherish it. I am all alone. Enshrouded by a protective cloak, I will only let you see me from far away, for I am certain, should I let you in my life, you might get close to me and see the monster inside of me. Connection, I desire it. I know (slight laugh), I don’t make sense. To be honest, I often can’t understand myself, but when I see you with your friends and family, I wish you would see my pain. I wish you would take it away. But I realized, that there is no reason, why you would want to help someone like me, so I gave up a long time ago.




The Office
The sign of the company says xyz Studios. The door to an office opens. It’s a big room, with lots of clutter in it. Papers are lying on the floor, food from yesterday hasn’t been thrown away. He turns on his workstation, puts his phone and keys on his desk, and turns to his whiteboard. There are a lot of tasks written down, such as finish the “xyz concept art”, “finish the storyboards for xyz” and“meeting with the client at 3pm”, “He picks up a marker, he crosses out the task “xyz concept art” from his to-do list and sits down on his huge cluttered desk. There are two huge 30” displays, a huge graphic tablet as well as a big arsenal of drawing accessoires, such as copic markers and graphite pencils. The desk is cluttered with dozens of papers, food, sticky notes, and so on. The rest of the room doesn’t look much cleaner. It seems as if the man is incapable of bringing order to his work.

He begins drawing storyboards. (Close-ups of the drawing process) He starts a new storyboard and draws for a few seconds, then pauses. He sighs out loud, looks at his drawing, gazes to his phone. He seems to be distracted by the women’s message. He turns back to his paper and starts to draw again. He starts drawing again, but then the pencil’s lead breaks.

The Office Off Speaker
I am a mere shadow of the person I used to be, so I cling to the only thing, that still defines who I am. There is no hope. Nothing to hold onto – except for my job. Do you know the saying “Do what you love, love what you do.”? I always wanted to be an artist. I really used to love my job. That’s why I thought I would be ok, as long as I can follow my passion. I was so wrong. All my ambition, my passion and self-belief is gone. I feel completely empty now, because there is nothing in this world, that makes me happy anymore. I try to listen to what my heart wants, but all I can hear is silence.




The Attic
Close-up shot of the door knob of the front door from the inside. You hear the rustling of the keys, as they open the door. The doorknob slowly turns around, then the door opens. He walks inside, switches the light and closes the door slowly, almost gentle. He walks upstairs, then drops his keys on the shelf in front of the mirror. He looks at a framed picture with him and some friends on it. They are smiling. He picks the frame up and sheds a tear. In the reflection of the frame is the reflection of the staircase that leads up to the attic. Suddenly black smoke flys up through the attic staircase. He turns around in shock and looks at the attic. He pulls the stairs down, and looks into the dark space of the attic. He climbs up the stairs. It is very dark, only a little bit light is coming inside from the windows. He turns on the switch for the lightbulb (spark, sound. Reference to a spark in everyone). You see his eyes again. Then cut to a further distance. You see him standing in the attic. He walks through the room. Close-up of the floor. You see the wooden floor bend as he walks. Dust is being thrown through the room as he steps on it. He looks at old memories. His old guitar. Running shoes. Pictures of old friends. All his belongings from his past.

Then he stops and gazes at an old mirror that is being covered up by a linen of cloth. He pulls the cloth away. It’s full of dust. He uses his hand and and cleans it like he did on the bath mirror. He stares at himself, his face is desolte. Then his eyes become angry. The camera switches to a full shot. He takes a frustrated step back, then turns away from the mirror. He walks in a tiny circle and stares back at the mirror. He just stands still and looks at his own reflection. Camera goes to a half-shot. The camera pans around the mirror, in the mirror you can see the true reflection of the man. His dark side shows through the reflection of the mirror. His true self is revealed in the mirror. A dark, shady man. Made of black smoke/flames, that seems to enjoy his sorrow. Then suddenly his anger explodes. He reaches out with his hand and aims for the mirror with his fist. The mirror starts to crack into thousands of small particles at the point of impact. The black cloack that is placed around his reflection fades away from the epi-center of the impact. The camera moves in slow motion around the mirror. Dust and glass particles are flowing through the air, they reflect the light. As the darkness seems to become obliterated, it suddenly explodes out of the mirror, flying into the vast empty space of the attic. The man cowers in fear, falls down. The camera angle is showing from the perspective of the man (frog perspective, showing the superiority of the darkness that came from his heart). Then he takes a moment to think, and his scared eyes become determined. He stands up. He faces the darkness straight on. Then the darkness charges towards him. The black smoke covers the entire screen.

The Attic Off Speaker
I wasn’t always like this. I used to be a normal person, just like you. I had friends, hobbies, a girlfriend. I was very happy, which makes seeing who I have become even more painful. At the beginning, when I was suffering, I wasn’t alone. I had the support of my best friends, but I wanted to be strong on my own. Pride is what brought me down. The blame is on me, for shutting everyone I cared about out of my life. Now I am stuck in a hole, all on my own, and I can’t climb back up. Or is that just a lie I tell myself?

Or is it possible, that even for me there is still a spark of hope left? I tell myself, that I am a monster. I feel disgusting and unworthy of receiving comfort. I am so broken. Despite all of this darkness in my soul, my mind still revolves around the idea of finally getting out of this ever revolving loneliness. Trust me, I am not stupid. I know, that I hold the keys to the chains that are holding me back. So why can’t I just move forward?! I am so angry at myself. I just want to break free.




Ending Sequence
Black screen. Man walks away from the bathroom door (away from camera) again, just like on the beginning of the previous day. The viscious cycle begins again. Close-ups of the room again. Phone is lying on his bed. Close-up shot of the phone. The person he loves wrote him a message “Are you ok? Do you want to talk?” He does not reply again, but leaves the phone on his bed. Walks towards the mirror again and ties his necktie. (Some transition through a reflection into white - maybe with a lensflare from the mirror.)

Ending Sequence Off Speaker
This is my story. Unlike every other story, there is no ending to it. There’s no happy end. Thus, the question that always remains is: »Will I ever break free from this viscious cycle?« Well, I guess that’s something I don’t know the answer to. I just wish somebody would give me the answer./Maybe you know the answer.




Credits
The credits run on the white background. At the end of the credits the image fades to the phone and the character’s hand picks it up. He opens the dial screen for his friends number. The next actions of the character are open for interpretation.
 
  10 October 2012
Anyone...?
 
  10 October 2012
Hello,

Ok feel free to completely disregard this but here are my initial thoughts... I would say it is going to be really dull played out like this.... There is nothing interesting in the story that will engage the viewer until the second to last scene. it could be the most beautifully rendered animation ever and may still struggle for people to pay attention until the end.

I would suggest trying to take the general idea and incentives of this story, and find a slightly abstract/original/creative way to interpret them. the story and visuals could be worlds apart from "a man goes to work" but still hold that same context which carries the moral across.

The concept vehicle could be as crazy and big or as small and discreet as you want. it might be an idea to try and summarize and story you are given in one or 2 still concept paintings. see if you can capture it. I would summarise the story in one short paragraph, and then use that as the basis to find my vehicle.

You have the tools to create anything, at all!! use that to your advantage and give the viewer a journey!

for a point of reference years ago in Uni I had scripted tragic a love story of some sorts... I then used the relationship and history of two Brighton Piers in the sea as my vehicle for portraying this story. Now granted my story telling was pretty poor and I was under a tight deadline, but it certainly stood out as at least interesting I think. (probably remarkably confusing and odd too, but it is at least better than what I would have originally made)

If you think about it pretty much all great animations have basic underlining principles as yours, but combined with a unique vehicle which makes them memorable. for example the film "UP" is basically a guy gets so depressed after losing his wife that he leaves the country travelling looking for a secret animal, which he then finds. One of the films USP or vehicles for telling this story is his crazy balloon house (maybe not the best example but hopefully reinforces what I mean). Basically just try and find a unique selling point to use as your vehicle for the story and I am sure you will find the script becomes far more intense and interesting with half the work!

Perhaps this will be of some help, if not then don't worry!

All the best!
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Current WIP: Photoreal Honda NSX... HERE
 
  10 October 2012
Thank you! I was aware (from feedback on other sites) that the story is too dull at the moment. But the comparison to UP really was a great example what do to in order to make this interesting!
 
  10 October 2012
You are welcome. look forward to seeing the story progress.
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Current WIP: Photoreal Honda NSX... HERE
 
  10 October 2012
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