Post by napolyphonic on Aug 5, 2011 15:21:50 GMT -5
Haven't been around for a long time, and I apologize for my lack of participation, but I've been working on this thing and some other projects, trying to stay away from too much influence of screenwriting rules and regulations.
This is my 4th script. It's not quite finished, maybe 2-3 more drafts before I try and market it.
I appreciate your time and effort, and I can't wait to hear from anyone who cares to read it.
Don't be afraid to rip it apart. I welcome all criticism.
"An eccentric physics professor invents a teleportation device and has to battle the CIA and a group of Somalian terrorists to keep the device and his family from falling into the wrong hands."
Did Bird make the phone call just then? I would think he would be on the line before the raid started. If so, cut the introductions. Maybe as simple as: "Update, please." ("Please" if he has that class, confidence, blah blah blah)
Honestly, why not cut that altogether, and have Bird just listen in? I don't know that the intercutting adds anything. You could still easily establish Bird's authority when Bryant asks "Permission to purge, sir?"
p5 - You've established the tone! Well done!
I do have some concerns about the generic actiony opening. I think it works now as is, when you undercut the seriousness with the ridiculousness, but it may be worth taking another look.
p6 - Maybe this is going a little far, but I kind of expected the slugline to be: "INT. POOR DUMB BASTARD'S ATTIC -- DAY"
I don't thinks this sentence works: "Some would consider him a fine specimen, raises an electric lantern." Who raises the lantern? (I know who, but grammatically it seems off...)
Not sure what "slightly uninhibited" means... Does that mean she speaks her mind? Or is it referring to her style/fashion? Her forwardness? Sexuality? Que?
p7 - You don't need to write it in the action line since Bob reads it out loud.
p9 - Maybe Maury should just continue talking: "Come by my office tomorrow? Around four? Great! I'll see you there!"
I feel like I've seen the "completely-ignore-response" guy before, is all. Not a big deal
p15 - I really like your character descriptions. And at page 15, I'm interested and hopeful.
It should be "Bob reads the nameplate on the door..." Otherwise I thought that he might be lookign at nameplate on a desk or something.
p18 - The basement seems like a significant location. I'd think you would want to use a full slugline here, but it'd not that big a deal.
p22 - You've done a really good job in setting up Bob's and Helen's relationship. And I laughed at the "Please...don't ask me to give you a..."handshake" ever again."
p27 - Again, really good job with the Bob/Helen relationship. Very nicely done. Also, I've tried to stop reading and go to sleep twice already. Third times the charm, so I'll resume reading later
p31 - bahaha boner jokes
p37 - I don't buy that she's dejected. That seems to be too strong a word. That word now puts her almost on the same level as Bob, so I think you should change that.
p38 - The dialogue for Agent Pitts should probably call him AGENT PITTS instead of just AGENT, since Pitts is referred to a few lines later.
p42 - I think you need to clarify Rickle's and Bob's relationship. Rickle following Bob outside doesn't seem like something Rickle would do. I think this goes back to the first scene where we see them. If you can bring out more that Rickle cares for Bob in that scene, despite his ridiculous 14 million grant proposal, then I'll buy this scene.
It's not the biggest problem, but I was a little confused about whether Rickle was an enemy, a friend, or just a professional in that earlier scene, so I think tweaking this will help a lot.
p42 - I think "Taipai" here is a typo, right?
p43 - You need to massage these moments starting with when Bob comes in. We need a moment where Bob looks at the vacuum and the light bulb goes off in his head. And we need Emma not seeing/hearing him enter and then being startled to be clear. Right now, both are muddled.
p46 - Almost vomits is hilarious! You should go with that for a beat and then start the smile.
p49 - We need Emma's reaction to why Bob was fired. Without this, you're already repeating information we figured out from the news articles.
I really do like how you've written Neil. I especially like the "You wanna see the research floor? I can show you all the people I'm in charge of."
p50 - Jeff leaving Bob alone is too convenient. You need to earn that somehow. Right now, it screams movie logic -- well not screams, maybe just "speaks at a normal volume."
p51 - Neil doesn't have another pen in his office? Why's he charging down the hall? He doesn't know Bob is in the suit room. Maybe when he gets the pen, he can show it off to Emma? Like it's a hella fancy pen?
p59 - bahaha "I'm not really big on buffalo."
Also, why did Neil decide to go check on the suits? Bob says no one will look until the morning?
p62 - I just noticed that I had no issues buying that the GPS would malfunction just then. When things become harder for the heroes, it's cool. When they become magically easier, not so much.
p75 - The tent deflating is a wonderful moment. Nice!
p107 - Their situation really doesn't seem desperate enough to warrant leaving an injured CIA agent... I mean, they were pretty casually walking to the helicopter earlier. Bob and Emma even had a conversation.
Also, make it clear that Bob RUNS AWAY from the helicopter.
p111 - Doesn't Emma have a gun? Why doesn't she shoot back?
p119 - Can you say "Bob looks at her, picks up the backpack..." I wasn't sure if he referred to Nick or Bob there.
Alright, well, I've put it off long enough, so I'm just going to ramble a bit instead and hope it comes out coherent. Overall, I like the script. I think it has a lot of potential and this draft was quite good. I just want to make that clear: you've done well so far
That said, there's a bit of magic missing here. Particularly with the ending. Specifically, there's a whole 'nother journey between the last battle and the epilogue. I have no idea what in the main story took Bob from a non-existent relationship with his wife and an obsession with his work to "everything is great".
I'm also not a fan of Bob sending the teleporter to the moon. And to the American landing site, of all places.
Also not sure why he was at the Nobel prize competition. I mean...Tesla did the real hard work right? But since he was there, I figured well, they're giving him full credit for teleportation. Then, the other guy won. And I had a real hard time believing that the other dude's thing was cooler. I mean, a more significant contribution to science.
That final action finale could also use a bit more work. I was losing steam throughout that whole sequence.
All in all, the end feels like a cheat, kind of like you weren't really sure what you wanted to explore, what theme you were getting at, or you just ran out of steam.
Now that you have a rambling, somewhat incoherent dump of some of my thoughts, let me get back to how I started this post. You've done well so far. Really well! I'm happy that I can be critical of these vague and nebulous things (as I am above) because that means you've ironed out a lot of the obvious, easy issues. You've put a lot of work into it, you're a good writer, and it shows.
What I hope you do with the next draft is turn it from an "pretty good, not bad" kind of a script into a "holy shit, this is great! let's make it right now" kind of a script.
So yeah, a couple more drafts and you should be golden.
Post by napolyphonic on Aug 21, 2011 22:35:03 GMT -5
LF, thanks again for these overall impressions. It's really what I appreciate the most. That bit about a missing part of the story is very helpful, I already have some ideas that could easily make that feel more solid.
Let me clarify some things just to see if we can iron this out a little bit together.
So, he's not at a Nobel prize ceremony, it's a "Fields Medal" type thing, just for physics. Also, I see you're confused about why he didn't win. Well, he didn't win because he didn't show them the device. He showed them something else, to ensure he didn't win, or maybe he didn't go at all. But I didn't put that in there because I feel it's unneeded. You can say, well he obviously decided not to show them this world-changing device, because otherwise he would've won. The idea here is that he's decided to go to Switzerland and try to fix things, rather than be this big winner and keep distance from his family. This is why he glances at the letter from Wolfgang on his way to the interview at the end. This is why he gets rid of the device, although perhaps not forever.
If he didn't show them something cool, why was he even at the ceremony? I mean... I would assume you're at least a "finalist" or something right? They don't invite everyone who submits right? It seemed that he wanted to win to validate his life/work. If he didn't care about that anymore, why even submit? It would be better to show the ceremony and you see Bob's not there, or he's watching on TV or in the audience or something.
Right now, you've built the scene up to create tension around "Will Bob win or not?" But that's not what you want that scene to accomplish. Yes, you want each scene to be engaging, but this one is distracting from what you're going for.
As for fixing things with his family, why are they going to Switzerland to do that? Can't they uh, fix things from home? Did they move? Why?
Post by napolyphonic on Aug 28, 2011 13:28:48 GMT -5
Sorry these specificities aren't clear. I'll elaborate a bit more.
He was at the ceremony because it's something basically like a conference for his field. MOST of the faculty from all the important universities are there. You weren't confused about why Rickle was there...he didn't submit, so why should he go? Just like every ceremony, people not directly nominated are invited as well. This is common in science and in other contexts.
The goal of the scene is to answer the question posed in the car in the scene before this. We never really see what he decides to do, and this answers the question. It also provides some nice tension and an unexpected ending. Bob smiles when he hears Maury win, showing he doesn't NEED the validation anymore. He's found happiness outside of his work and that's the completion of his arc.
Throughout the script, people keep referring to Switzerland. Helen wants to go back but Bob's reluctant. There's history there. They refer to the CERN, which is a flagship facility for the field of physics. That's why Switzerland is important. In the end, Bob ends up back with his mentor Wolfgang working at CERN, Helen goes back to art school, and Nick finds some hot ladies. Everyone's "arc" is completed.
All of these things are implied, and I don't think they need to be said. I feel that on the screen and with some imagination, this can be put together. I think there could be a few more lines added to give a bit more clarity, and I've already got most of that written.