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Can I get some opinions or suggestions on my script in progress?


#1

I’ve been working on this script for a while, I’ve finished my written draft and am working on my typed where I’m beginning to change alot. can I get some opinions, comments or suggestions. My main question I guess is with dialogue, although some of it is voiceover(I know I’ve heard that it’s kindof a lazy way to do dialogue, but it just feels right so I’m going to go with it for now). This looks like it’s going to be the first script I’ll ever finish.



The setup is this. Curtis works as an actor on a show called Helen’s Mystic, that is kindof like an American Gothic/Twin peaks type show. He’s beginning to suspect some sort of conspiracy surrounding him based on previous events.

















EXT. PARKING GARAGE - LATER THAT NIGHT



CURTIS is walking towards his car in the lowly populated garage. He turns around, checking to see if he’s being watched. He sees no one, and continues to the car.



Little to his knowledge someone is watching him from a dark corner of the garage. The figure inside it lights up a cigarette, and starts the car after CURTIS has started his.



EXT. LA STREETS - CONTINUOUS



Driving along, CURTIS realizes he’s being followed. He speeds up and weaves in and out of traffic in order to lose it, but fails. He pulls his car over into a gas station parking lot, gets out, and walks around to his trunk. When other car pulls up behind him, he walks over to it holding a golf club.



CURTIS

(yelling)

Hey, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?

Get out! Get out!



The mysterious driver rolls his windows down and throws one of his hands out.



THE PATRIOT

Easy, easy. It’s alright, I’m not after you.

I just want to give you something.



CURTIS

What would that be?



The figure gets out, holding his hands up defensively, he’s an old man in his sixties. He starts to reach back inside his car.



CURTIS

Stay there.



THE PATRIOT

No funny business, I swear. You can just

put the 9 iron away.



THE PATRIOT pulls out a thick black binder, and throws it on his hood.



THE PATRIOT

I think you might want to look through that.

I’ve been watching you too. I’d like to

help you.



CURTIS picks the binder up and inspects it.



CURTIS

Who are you?



THE PATRIOT

For now, just call me the Patriot.



CURTIS

What is this?



THE PATRIOT

Something that I suggest you read through

tonight. If you’d like to talk about it,

meet me tomorrow, instructions are on the

inside.



THE PATRIOT gets back in his car, and starts it. As he slowly rolls by CURTIS, he lets his passenger window down.



THE PATRIOT

Don’t speak to anyone about it, and keep that

safe.



He drives off.


#2

INT. CURTIS’S APARTMENT - LATER THAT NIGHT



CURTIS is flipping through the pages of the binder, enthralled by what he’s reading.



CURTIS (V.O.)

Pages upon pages of articles, studies, and

conspiracy theories. On the supposed

secret experiments conducted by our government.

Philadelphia, Montauk, UFO’s, weather

manipulation, mind control, time travel;

the stuff of overactive minds, and Hollywood

blockbusters.



Several images of movies, and conspiracy ludicrous’s.



CURTIS (V.O.)

Papers, authorizing scientific testing on

prisoners of war, these appearing to be top

secret CIA documents. There were alternate

histories, family lineages from as far back as

the dark ages to present day. Charts displaying

the links between Hollywood, the news media,

political figures, religious heads, global industrialists,

and terrorist organizations.



Several images from around the world.



CURTIS (V.O.)

Articles written for conspiracy papers about

secret societies, and plans for a world government controlled

by the elite. This was known in conspiracy circles as the New

World Order, or NWO. One such essay concerned a covert project

named Revolution 9. The powerful, it seemed, held a penchant for

Beatles songs. Separately, all these things may have seemed

ludicrous, but together, contained in one folder,

they began to make a sort of twisted sense.



CURTIS comes to files about himself.



CURTIS (V.O.)

Then I came to my own part in this. Everything

thoroughly detailed, and documented. Who ever had

compiled it must have known more about me, than I did

about myself. With my past laid out before me, I

pondered all night over the meaning of it all.



He comes to the last page, a yellow paper with “6:30AM Marlin’s Café � written on it. Closes the notebook, falls back in his seat, and sighs.



INT. DINER - NEXT MORNING



CURTIS walks in and sits down at the bar. He looks around for the PATRIOT, but doesn’t see him. He waits.



INT. DINER - SEVERAL MINUTES LATER



Eyeing his surroundings, he finally finishes his meal, pays, and gets up to leave.



EXT. DINER PARKING LOT - CONTINUOUS



When CURTIS gets to his car he finds a note on the handle.



INSERT - NOTE



You were tailed. Drive around to the back.

I’ll be waiting.


#3

He meets the PATRIOT in the back of the café. The man gets into CURTIS’s car.



THE PATRIOT

Did you read through the files I gave you?



CURTIS

I did.



THE PATRIOT

You must have a lot of questions then?

(beat)

Well, shoot.



CURTIS

Who are you? Who are you really?



THE PATRIOT

My name is Charles Raines, I’m a reporter.

Been after the people you read bout for half

my life.



CURTIS

What do you want from me? I mean what does

any of it have to do with me? Why are there

files about me in there?



THE PATRIOT

Isn’t it obvious? You’re dealing with some

very dangerous people. Your show is a small

part of a it.



CURTIS

But how?



THE PATRIOT

It’s being used as a tool to condition society

for the future social state. I also have reason

to believe it’s being used as coded briefings

between lead organizers of the NWO. I’ve been

looking for someone involved with the show, who

was not aware of the conspiracy. I facts, dates

names, to help me expose it.



CURTIS

This is crazy. I don’t know you. How do I know

you’re not some stalker or mental patient? You

know, I googled some of the papers you gave me,

a lot of neo-nazi’s believe in that stuff.



THE PATRIOT

It’s true, I have some unsavory allies, but you’ve

got to believe that this is real. With these

people, these Zionists or whatever you call them,

what they do is demonize the mere suggestion that

they’re pulling something over us. They’ll label

you an Anti-Semite, or White Supremacist, or

Neo-Nazi, and automatically you’re discredited

for questioning them. You’ve seen it.



CURTIS

I don’t know. It just sounds too far fetched.



THE PATRIOT

Alright, but tell me this. Don’t you feel like

somebody is directing your life? Ever since

college you’ve been their errand boy in one way

or another. It’s all in those files, just think

about it for a minute. Curtis, I’ve given you

30 years worth of information in one night.

When I was first got involved in this I didn’t

believe it either. It took time for me, but

you’re much closer to this than I ever was.

You’ve had to have noticed how much shakier the

world gets every year.



CURTIS

I have,…but it’s just too much. You said they

were using my show? How?



THE PATRIOT

It’s really pretty easy, if you know what to look

for. You, you’re character represents the

government, or what the government would be

without boundaries. You’re kind and friendly,

though, despite taking the law into your own hands,

a true servant of the people. Think Dirty Harry’s

softer side. Helen’s Mystic was a self-governing

haven, before you came into it. It’s ties to the

otherworldly, is a metaphor for our ties to the

morals and values we live by. The supernatural

elements, ghosts, of coarse are to blame for evil,

in other words out ties to the old ways are evil.

such as ghosts.



CURTIS

I suppose you could look at it that way, but I

think you’re only seeing what you want to.



THE PATRIOT

Wake up, Curtis. All entertainment serves them,

you’re not excluded. America is the Mecca of

the entertainment industry around the world.

You think it’s a coincidence that we’re the

center of the world’s government? They’ve kept

everyone so busy with entertainment and wars of

ideas, that we’ve all been blind to what they’re

doing. Look, I need you’re help for this, will

you help me?



INT. MOTEL ROOM - PRESENT



CURTIS is where we left him, sleeping in bed next to SIMONE. The tv across from them is playing “The Smurfs.�



CURTIS (V.O.)

All entertainment serves them.

As a child, I remember watching Papa Smurf

with all his wisdom, guide a utopian society.

All of the Smurfs were equals, happily willing

to surrender their identities for the greater good

of the whole village. Maybe we do see only what

we want to, but maybe, just maybe all of the dots,

Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the two

attacks on the World Trade Center, the two Gulf

Wars, the patriot act, and almost everything that

came before, after, and in between, did add up.



sorry about the formatting, some of it screwed up for some reason.



I have a few other segments that take place before hand if anyone’s interested. I started this post, cause I think the last one died.



http://www.tarantino.info/forum/index.php?topic=5175.0


#4

The v.o’s are too long. The story seems like it could be intriguing, but all the v.o’s take away from what it could become. Patriot is definately a character to build upon. He seems like he could be strong. Curtis, the lead, is boring. Give his some panash. Some personality. V.O’s that you have can do it, but pick language carefully. And don’t have too many. Think Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. Excellent V.O’s. Short, sweet and character defining.



Your action descriptions tell too much of what the character is thinking. We can’t see what he thinks. Show action. Only what we can see. And keep it short.



You’ve got a lot to cover. But don’t give away too much in the beginning. Stray away from long conversations. If it can be said in fewer sentences and still get the point across, do so. No one is gonna sit around and read long dialog.



Overall. You’ve got a nice building block for something good. The montage of visuals and articles may be a bit much in the beginning. Tone it down somewhat. Maybe cut down the length. You do have something good here with Patriot.


#5

The segment on this thread, is around pg65-69, it’s kindof one of the scenes that is meant to lay out alot of stuff. I basically just posted a few scenes that I really liked, but didn’t give away too much about the story.



So do you think all of the VO’s are too long? I was going for a Scorcese/and Fight Club type of VO. By the montage, do you mean where he’s reading through the files? I do have a few more extensive montages that are going for a Bowling for Columbine type commentary of the times(takes place between 1993-2015). I do feel that I have a lot to do to develop Curtis’s character, one thing is that he’s very anal, hence the VO, I like the idea that he’s very articulate in his head, but to the outside world he’s a bystandard to everything, just floats along. I too like the Patriot alot, but unfortunately he isn’t a huge part of the story, he’s kindof like Deepthroat in X-files, he plants all the seeds when he’s around but has little to do with the overall story or it’s outcome. I’ve actually got several, I think interesting characters running through the story, like a cryptic cellmate who sings Johnny Cash, Radiohead, and Bob Dylan.



As far as my action describing what he’s feeling is it just stuff like this?

CURTIS is flipping through the pages of the binder, enthralled by what he’s reading{/tr}



Is noting specific actions like “eyeing this” or “takes a deep breath” included?



Or are you also talking about the dialogue flat out saying too much about the character?



Right now I’m on page 90 typed, I hope I can end it by 125, but might not be finished until 140 so I definately will have to shorten it down, if not alot, at least some.



Thanks for the advice. I may post more on this thread as it develops. I’ve already used this thread alot through this script, and my last attempt, this one feels like it’s full steam ahead to getting finished into something, so I’m sure I’ll keep frequenting it for advice.


#6

I pretty much echo what roulette has said. I’m also looking forward to reading more. Keep up the good work


#7

Thanks for your encouragement. Here is some more of what I have. This is with Patriot.

It may not make total sense (the disk is kind of a McGuffin, I put in to this second draft).



This is around pages 89 to 91. Here it is.



INT. MARLIN’S CAFÉ



CURTIS, disguised in ratty clothes and unkept hair, is sitting at the bar, eating.



He gets up and heads to the bathroom, goes inside a stall, stands on the toilet and slides a ceiling panel over. He reaches in and pulls out the disk.

CURTIS (V.O.)

Though part of my memory had been fried,

there were some things they couldn’t take

away from me. I held strong to the

location of the disk.



EXT. A BUSY PARKING LOT - LATER THAT DAY



CURTIS is in THE PATRIOT’S car.





THE PATRIOT

I don’t get it. It’s nothing, just

gibberish. I’m not even sure that it’s

even code. I don’t have a program to

crack it, if it is.



CURTIS

Are you sure? As soon as they found out

about it, their focus switched from you to

the disk.



THE PATRIOT pops the disk out of his notebook computer and hands it back to CURTIS.



THE PATRIOT

I don’t know what to tell you. Could be

some kind of keycard. I can’t use it, it

doesn’t prove anything.



He reaches for his glove box to pull out a thick bundle of papers, and hands it to CURTIS.



THE PATRIOT

I put some money in there for you, to get

you to Hovington. Now, I’m not going to

sugarcoat this, these people are…well to

say the least stuck in their ways. They’re

bigoted, and intolerant of anyone who doesn’t

share their slant on the world. The upshot

though, is they look after their own, so

you’ll be safe.



EXT. OUTSIDE HOVINGTON - DAYS LATER



A car pulls up to a lone gravel road surrounded by forest. CURTIS gets out, and begins to walk down it. He passes a wooden sign that says “Hovington� on it.



THE PATRIOT (V.O.)

Just, keep a low profile, laugh at their

jokes and smile. Let them believe that

you’re one of them, shouldn’t be hard for

you, being an actor.



As he walks down the road he sees several people staring at him unflinchingly. He goes to the first house he comes to, and knocks on the door.



REVEREND WADE

Hold on. Hold on just a second. I’m comin’

goddamn it.



REVEREND WADE, a short old man with a face covered in hair, opens the door.



REVEREND WADE

Eh, yeah?



CURTIS

Are you Reverend Wade?



REVEREND WADE

Guilty. What’s this about?



CURTIS

I’m Lester Coggs, sir. Raines sent me.



REVEREND WADE

(smiles)

Well, why didn’t you say so? Come in,

goddamn it. How is ole Raines? Well,

don’t just stand there, sit down, boy.

Make yourself comfortable.



REVEREND WADE runs back to the kitchen. Behind him is a large flag, a mixture of a swastika and the rebel flag.



REVEREND WADE

(to his wife)

Mama, that boy’s here. Fix up some coffee.

(to Curtis)

So what did he tell you about all of us, huh.

That we’re a bunch of crazy extremist kept

up in the swamps.



CURTIS

No, not really. He said you were good

people, just looked at things a little

differently than the rest of the country.



REVEREND WADE

True enough. You know, I been tryin’ to get

him out here for years, it’s one of the few

places where you can breathe the air the way

god meant it. But goddamn it, I think he’s just

too much of a liberal to really get mixed up with

our sort. The things he’s done for the cause

though, we’re happy to take you in.



CURTIS

I appreciate it sir. I’m happy to be here.



EXT. HOVINGTON ROAD - LATER



REVEREND WADE and CURTIS are side by side walking down the road towards church service.



REVEREND WADE

That’s the Eagle’s Stop, it’s our restaurant,

bar, community center, you name it. Sister

Anne runs it, good woman.



CURTIS

I didn’t realize you had businesses here?



REVEREND WADE

Not really a business per say, we all live

within the confines of a collective pot,

we might barter but US money’s no good here.



CURTIS

I see.



REVEREND WADE

Yeah, a few hell raisers aside, we’re

mostly peace-loving folk here. We keep

to ourselves. Instead of those idiot boxes,

we hold sermon every night. Are you a

religious man, Les?



CURTIS

Not as much as I should be?



REVEREND WADE

None of us are, but we try. You just gotta

hope god’s still up there listening, with

all the sinnin’ that’s goin’ on out there.

I set this place up in 82 to get away from

that. These days you just can’t trust the

world. The governments stickin’ it’s nose

in places it has no business stickin’ it.

Blowin’ it’s own people to shit. There’s

a storm brewin’ out there, and World War 3’s

not far around the bend.



CURTIS

Don’t you mean World War 4, sir?



REVEREND WADE

S’that



CURTIS

Well, I always felt that 3 was the Cold War.



REVEREND WADE

S’pose it was. I like you son, you’re gonna

fit fine here, we need some more sharp

shooters like yourself around. Now, lets go

inside, I’ll show you to the rest of the town.



They walk into the church.

---------------------------------------------------

Oh, and just in case this is taken wrong. I want to put a disclaimer on this, and make sure no one thinks I’m some kind of racist. Rev Wade is a character who is very ignorant and racist, and I don’t agree with his views. The Patriot, however is not racist, he just knows alot of racist people due to his paranoid beliefs of the NWO.


#8

You don’t have to explain. When you write a character, it is not a reflection on your own personal feelings towards things.



I am sure others in here will agree


#9

that’s how I feel too. But just in case I didn’t want the thread to turn ugly. sometimes they can.


#10

It needs more cowbell…


#11

[quote=“Bad Max”]
It needs more cowbell…
[/quote]

hahahahaha! 8)



Listen to mister Dickenson!


#12

Here’s a new scene I just wrote. What do you think?



EXT. HOVINGTON THE COUNTRY- YEARS LATER



CURTIS and RUEHL are kneeling against a wall of sand bags side by side, both aiming rifles directly at us. RUEHL lines the shot and fires.



RUEHL

So Les, how do you like it here?

Adjusting alright?



CURTIS

Uh yeah, everyone’s been great, I never

knew you could be so free.



CURTIS shoots, misses his target and curses.



RUEHL

What do you mean?



CURTIS

Well you know, the air and land is clean,

untouched. No one owns us or tells us what

to do.



RUEHL

Oh.



RUEHL fires.



RUEHL

You know, I don’t really believe you, Les.



CURTIS

Why? What don’t you…



RUEHL

You keep to yourself here, I’ve noticed.

Some of these hicks make my skin crawl, I

understand. That’s why I invited you here.



CURTIS

Their not that bad as a whole. Just…



RUEHL

Please. Wade, that fuckin’ cornbread fossil.

D’you see that white trash rebel flag he has

hangin’ in his house? Like that! Makes me

fucking sick. His kind will be dead and gone

though soon enough. Good thing too, they

make us look like a bunch of goddamned imbeciles.



RUEHL fires two rapid shots.



RUEHL

Ha. Got it. Die you Fascist fucks!

(to Curtis)

Did you see that? One in the head, one in

the heart. Now that’s pro shooting?



CURTIS

I can’t hit shit.



RUEHL

S’okay Les, you’ve only been practicing for

how long?



CURTIS

Six months. I mean I’m okay with a pistol

but rifles just kind of fuck me up.



RUEHL

First of all, fuck the pistol. Those are for

gangs. Point blank, just aim and click. No

skill involved. Rifles. To master a rifle is

an art. Now shoot. Let me see.



CURTIS fires, then curses again.



RUEHL

Easy, easy. It’s going to take some time, but

I’ll help you. First, you’ve got buck fever.



CURTIS

What?



RUEHL

Everything you do affects your aim. This

includes the most minimal movements like breathing

or your heart rate. First thing you have to do

is control those. Now, I want you to relax,

you’re too uptight. Try again.



CURTIS gets ready for another shot.



RUEHL

Relax…Breathe in and out, just like you

would without the rifle. I want you to think

of nothing, think only of what you must do.



CLOSE UP - CURTIS presses his finger on the trigger.



RUEHL

Focus on your mark. I want you to feel it,

I want you to smell it…And fire.



CURTIS fires and hits his target.



CURTIS

Wow.



RUEHL

Now you do that every time, even if you’re

hurried. Then, you’ll be one step closer

to deadly.


#13

Based off of that last few entries, how does Ruehl and Wade play to you guys? I’m currently on pg 98 but feel that the script has kindof gotten stuck in an uncomfortable place, the writing is going extremely slowly now. Just wanted to know if anyone had any input on this whole topic, writing, or characters.


#14

Okay, things got ugly and the script came to a complete standstill at page 100( yeah that’s right). Good news is, after a few months I’m ready to go back into that world and give it another crack. I gave it a different intro that I think works a little better (and my wife seems to think is alot better), and am just trying to retell the story. I’m on page 5 and haven’t yet used VO’s, don’t know if I will. I may have to, given the amount of detail I have put into the story. There are a few things that I may take a different angle on, based on my current mood and/or experience. So wish me luck.



Anyway, I haven’t heard any feedback for a while. So If anyone has any more opinions, or suggestions based on what I’ve posted on this thread and the other one

<LINK_TEXT text=“http://www.tarantino.info/forum/index.p … 175.0.html”>http://www.tarantino.info/forum/index.php/topic,5175.0.html</LINK_TEXT>



then I’d love to hear them. Thanks again.


#15

Are you on a roll? Are you pushing it too hard? Are your words sounding forced? From what I read the dialogue isn’t very natural. It’s good, just not flowing. Take a week off if it’s not coming easy and you’re stuck.



I took a year off when it became complicated… I’m not suggesting you take a year off. Just take a deep breath. You sound a bit frantic.


#16

Here’s a quote from another topic. It’s great to want feedback. And people are willing to give it, but…



"You can’t just tell us your basic plot and let us write your script. A script is something personal, if we write it for you, it won’t be yours."



It’s not your script if we keep giving you advice on each section you write. Feel confident in each page you write. Feel confident as a writer.


#17

[quote=“roulette67”]
Here’s a quote from another topic. It’s great to want feedback. And people are willing to give it, but…



“You can’t just tell us your basic plot and let us write your script. A script is something personal, if we write it for you, it won’t be yours.”[/quote]

Ahah I feel honored, cause I wrote this quote 8)



Then if I can help more, I know what it is to be stuck with a script, but I know too how you’ll feel even more proud if you write it by yourself and only ask for feedbacks only when you’re done with it.



And listen to Roulette67, you’ll always have good advices, and as it has been said, take a break, inspiration will come with the time, it’s good to think over and over and stay focused when you feel nothing will happen. You need distance, you need fresh air, then you’ll have again ideas !


#18

Well right now, I’m pretty much restarting without really looking at my old stuff. I have most of the basic plot points in my head right now, so a lot of the dialogue is probably gonna be different. Who knows, when(and if) I finish this one, I’ll probably go back to my original drafts and pick out some of the stuff that I think still resonates(if anything does).


#19

Don’t get discouraged. Relax and plug away. It’ll come.