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I want YOUR script!

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Putting my money where my mouth is, here's the first 13 of a haunted house script I'm working on. Not looking for feedback, just showing that I (hopefully) know what I'm talking about. Actually, I may have already posted some of this somewhere, I don't remember. Anyway, here you go, the set-up of my script House of Vile Spirits:
This was very strong.
 
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I think any feedback is helpful as long as the reader understands the story. Some people try to give feedback on parts of the story without knowing where it's going, etc, and end up giving suggestions that wouldn't work because the characters end up in a completely different situation, or the story goes in a different direction. There are some things I would like feedback on that I can't mention because it would ruin twists or things that are revealed later in the story. There's a specific scene in the beginning where we're introduced to a character, where every bit of dialogue is super important because of a reveal later in the story, and it's difficult to know if what I wrote does what I wanted it to do. If that makes sense. Haha.
I think if you’re getting notes about what happens in the beginning that is leading to reader confusion, it’s probably worth taking seriously, because the hope that the reader will “get it” later on relies on them finishing the script. Moreover remember that you’re very familiar with the story, whereas a new reader is not. Something you think may pay off later may be resting on your own sense of the story rather than what is on the page.
 
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Just remember the KISS Rule. The reader shouldn't be asking what's going on or why a character does or says something in particular before they've even made it through the first act. When a reader does get lost like that, usually it's the fault of the writer. That doesn't mean you can't write a convoluted story full of twists and turns, you just have to write it in a way that the reader knows exactly where they are and what's going on at any given moment.

In the Army, you have to dig your foxhole to accommodate the shortest man. The screenwriting equivalent is that you have to write to the dumbest reader. Clarity is key.
 
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I'm not talking about people being confused. Let me give an example: (And this is just some ridiculous crap off the top of my head) Let's say, you have a character that goes to Wal-Mart, gets in a fist fight with the manager, and knocks them out. Then, some reader says "You should have him pull a knife and stab the guy in the throat. It would be more exciting." But you can't do this, because that character has a scene later in the script, which the reader doesn't know, because they've only read those few pages. You get what I mean?
 
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I'm not talking about people being confused. Let me give an example: (And this is just some ridiculous crap off the top of my head) Let's say, you have a character that goes to Wal-Mart, gets in a fist fight with the manager, and knocks them out. Then, some reader says "You should have him pull a knife and stab the guy in the throat. It would be more exciting." But you can't do this, because that character has a scene later in the script, which the reader doesn't know, because they've only read those few pages. You get what I mean?
To take this out of the realm of the abstract, why not be specific about the parts of your script where you are getting these notes? It’s worth “spoiling” these twists to us in the forum if it better serves future readers.
 
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I'm not talking about people being confused. Let me give an example: (And this is just some ridiculous crap off the top of my head) Let's say, you have a character that goes to Wal-Mart, gets in a fist fight with the manager, and knocks them out. Then, some reader says "You should have him pull a knife and stab the guy in the throat. It would be more exciting." But you can't do this, because that character has a scene later in the script, which the reader doesn't know, because they've only read those few pages. You get what I mean?
When you get notes, once you've gotten enough, you realize that some are worthless, some come out of the blue with good ideas, and some are downright upsetting. Perhaps you disagree, or the thoughts go off in a direction that at first seems all wrong.

The ones that upset you are always to be studied. Why do they bother you? Do they uncover a truth? Do they identify a problem you've been aware of sub-consciously and have left un-addressed? What is it that ignites an emotional response? Figuring that out will almost always improve the material.

And you have to be willing to trust your talent enough to know that some notes must be ignored. But if most or all of the notes you get make you want to ignore them, you are trusting your talent too much. Film is collaborative. Notes can help even the best writers. I have this on my blog:

A SCREENWRITER'S HAIKU

Your script is flawless

Poignant... Funny... True... Perfect...

Here are our notes

---Unknown
 
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I'm not talking about people being confused. Let me give an example: (And this is just some ridiculous crap off the top of my head) Let's say, you have a character that goes to Wal-Mart, gets in a fist fight with the manager, and knocks them out. Then, some reader says "You should have him pull a knife and stab the guy in the throat. It would be more exciting." But you can't do this, because that character has a scene later in the script, which the reader doesn't know, because they've only read those few pages. You get what I mean?
Oh, okay, I get you. Yeah, in those cases, you just have to ignore their input, as Ambrose said. If they have comments about format, grammar, stuff like that, that's fine. I would want to know if my action/narratives were too prosaic, or if my dialogue was too on-the-nose. But if you've got some jabroni giving you story critiques before they've read the full script and seen how it all works out, they're just talking out of their ass.
 
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Putting my money where my mouth is, here's the first 13 of a haunted house script I'm working on. Not looking for feedback, just showing that I (hopefully) know what I'm talking about. Actually, I may have already posted some of this somewhere, I don't remember. Anyway, here you go, the set-up of my script House of Vile Spirits:
Just out of curiosity, how do you manage to turn you scene headings, your slugs, into bookmarks in the printed pdf? I can't find anything about accomplishing this in Final Draft. It irks me to no end.
 
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I have no idea. I rarely use Final Draft anymore (I have FD8, but it lags to a crawl with Windows 10) but I don't recall there being an option to carry over any bookmarks to PDF. In fact, as I think of it, I believe that would require a PDF editor, and isn't something that can be done with the word processor from which you're saving the document as/printing to PDF from. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me.
 
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I love my Final Draft, all the extra features: beat boards, cards and script notes etc, they are really helpful with fleshing out a story structure. But each his own.

This is what I mean (below). There has to be some option for tagging scenes - or the format style of scenes - and turn them into bookmarks automatically. I refuse to believe the Nolan bros. for example - 'cause I noticed these bookmarks in the script for Inception first - mark scenes individually in, say, Acrobat as bookmarks.

These bookmarks are really helpful with getting a quick overview, and for jumping from scene to scene. Guess I will have to keep diggin', though.

 
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My second draft to The Ito Gallery based on three stories by Junji Ito, which I prefer to read this one than the first draft, although I had fixed the errors that were in the first draft.
 
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I love my Final Draft, all the extra features: beat boards, cards and script notes etc, they are really helpful with fleshing out a story structure. But each his own.

This is what I mean (below). There has to be some option for tagging scenes - or the format style of scenes - and turn them into bookmarks automatically. I refuse to believe the Nolan bros. for example - 'cause I noticed these bookmarks in the script for Inception first - mark scenes individually in, say, Acrobat as bookmarks.

These bookmarks are really helpful with getting a quick overview, and for jumping from scene to scene. Guess I will have to keep diggin', though.


I use Movie Magic Screenwriter 6.0 and the bookmarks are included automatically when you export to PDF. The only option is whether to display the bookmarks upon opening of the document.

If you print to PDF rather than export, I don't think the bookmarks show up.

I don't know anything about Final Draft. Try looking at the export to pdf function.
 
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Ok, I've re-read this script and found nothing I want to change, so this is done as far as I'm concerned. I'm deleting all the other drafts I've posted. If there's anyone who is close with anyone involved with Nicholl, I'd love to know how they think this would do in the contest, or if it's worth submitting? I know mostly dramatic films win, but there are the occasional thrillers (Arlington Road, Armored) and comedies. This is an action/thriller. I've never been great at writing a logline for this script, so I'm using a slightly tweaked version of one someone else came up with based off one of my earlier attempts, but I promise, the story is much more than this (there's a B story that's equally as important as the A story, so basically, two stories in one). I just don't know how to put it into a logline.

A retired hitman must use force and cunning to use the very skills learned from his former gang, against them, when they want his blood.
 
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And while I'm at it, I might as well post my second script which I recently finished. Not quite as good as my first one, in my opinion, but it's a fun rom com / road movie, featuring Emma Stone and Fred Savage. Haha.

A barista ends up on a road trip with his first celebrity crush, after realizing that she may be his long lost childhood friend. But his hopes of winning her over are soon crushed when their video journal goes viral, as his crush becomes involved with a crush of her own.
 
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Just a heads up, if you read a script that has references to Recess episodes, scenes taken from Kim Possible and lines of dialouge borrowed from Batman:TAS it's prolly mine.
 
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Here's a sampler of one I'm working on at the moment:

Title: GRIMOIRE
Genre: Horror
Logline: A Manhattan beat cop, acting on clues left by his recently deceased father, is drawn into a world of secret societies and unnatural horrors as he attempts to return a mysterious tome to its rightful owner.

As usual, I only share first drafts so ignore any typos.
 
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Here's a sampler of one I'm working on at the moment:

Title: GRIMOIRE
Genre: Horror
Logline: A Manhattan beat cop, acting on clues left by his recently deceased father, is drawn into a world of secret societies and unnatural horrors as he attempts to return a mysterious tome to its rightful owner.

As usual, I only share first drafts so ignore any typos.
Very strong as always, compelling hook with energetic writing. Loved the phrase “pinballing through the human traffic.”

You looking for any type of feedback on this on just sharing for our enjoyment?
 
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Just sharing to be sharing. But while I may not be seeking feedback, I have no problem hearing it if someone has any. So what if it's just a first draft, I have thick skin and am fully aware that I'm not perfect, so critique away. :)
 
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