Script Note: When a script’s opening epigram goes bad…

B. O'Malley

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logo for Free Script Notes on your first 10 pagesGod’s Gift by Mark Jason Kemp

Read the pages here.

The epigram is too cluttered on page 1.

FADE IN:

TITLE:

(WHITE ON BLACK)

“Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return” W.H. Auden

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

TITLE:

(WHITE ON BLACK)

“BASED ON A TRUE STORY”.

DISSOLVE TO:

Just write it like this:

BLACK:

“Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.” W.H. Auden

FADE IN:

EXT. COUNTRY LANE – NIGHT

No need for Based On A True Story, etc. etc.

Up above, a redundant felt-tree dances feverishly beneath the mirror, perhaps reminiscing on days when it too was fresh.

If the tree is redundant, lose it.  If it has to be there, then:

A TREE-SHAPED AIR FRESHENER dangles below the mirror.

ROLL TITLE SEQUENCE AND SONG – STONEY “UNTIL YOU LEAVE”.

Pinning down the music in the script is a red flag.  What if they don’t like Stoney?  What if they’ve never heard of Stoney?

Or better still, what if they just want to hear their OWN music in their heads when reading this? 

If you say: “Upbeat, quirky pop plays on the stereo,” then the script reader imagines her own as she pieces together the picture you’re painting.

If you stymie her with a specific band, she may ignore it, or she may stop reading, like I did, and go look up the band Stoney.

This isn’t a major point, but it’s a big enough rock in the road to hurt your chances.

The series of shots paints the scene well.

He then opens the door and lets out the MUSIC, like bats from a cave.

I’m finally in.

Your the second c*nt…

You’re the second c*nt

With this next chunk of text, you’re knocking me out of the story.  Here I am, in and engaged, and then you smack me in the head with this:

12ft banner framed with wind-tossed balloons, it reads;

EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATER ”.

[*Note: Similar, subliminal time-line indicators shall be used throughout the film, rather than title-cards, although, short lapses in time will be indicated by a;“FADE TO BLACK”].

Simplify it like this:

12-foot banner with balloons reads:

“EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATER”

We’ll get it.  Especially when we start to see it’s how you demonstrate time passing in this particular script.

[*Note: The camera is housed inside].

No camera directions unless absolutely vital to our understanding something super important.

Reaching in he grabs the milk and then walks away leaving the door and the scene, wide open. 

Can he grab the milk without reaching in?

He grabs the milk and walks away, leaving it open.

You’ve got a voice and an interesting story and characters.  Your biggest problem now is really basic stuff, like punctuation, spelling, formatting, and knowing when to get the hell out of the way as a writer.

Pare down where you can, fix all the punctuation/spelling/usage errors, and then really go back and make your action/descriptive text more elegant, and less amateur.  (Stuff like camera directions, talking to the reader about how you’re going to show the passage of time, music, etc.)

You can paint.  Now can you keep it on the canvas?

 

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