DUNCAN - A first scene

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  1. #1

    Question DUNCAN - A first scene

    This would either be a short film on its own or possibly the first scene to a longer film. Please criticize it beyond recognition, I mean really tear it apart. I'm not sure if its any good so enlighten me on what sucks so I can get better. Rip me a new one on format, pacing, characterization, plot devices and especially dialogue.
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  2. #2
    You've got a lot of format trouble.

    You repeat the slug for the first scene for no reason.

    Your first character is described (way too much for a script) but not introduced.

    You make a very common newbie mistake, overusing parentheticals. These are to be used for short VERY NECESSARY explications of the dialog, like (Sarcastically) when that might not otherwise be obvious. Otherwise use action lines. You don't want a bunch of "wrylies" and you don't want them running on and on.

    Similarly with character names. You've got your LARGE SLAVIC MAN and worse LARGE MAN IN BLACK(and by the way, the names are only in full capst the FIRST time noted, then revert to ordinary case) and have to repeat it over and over, including in the character tags. You could just say "a large SLAVIC MAN" or just give the guy a name, "BOYKO, a large slavic-looking man"
    No need to have YOUNG WAITRESS unless there is some other waitress to distinquish her from. It's also common for people to call waitresses by name, especially young women.

    Apparently THIN MAN is also DUNCAN. I guess. If not, you've got even more problems. Just introduce him right off the bat. A thin man, DUNCAN, enters."
    When naming characters, think of the closing credits. Are THIN MAN and DUNCAN both going to be listed?
    Or course they won't know who BOYKO is if nobody uses his name, but that's not uncommon. And why not let somebody say it?

    Nitpicky, but significant, there's no such thing as EVENING, only DAY or NIGHT. It's an interior, pick one. Does it matter?

    Don't name songs that are playing. It screams "amateur". It's not the writer's job to arrange the soundtrack, or try to commit the producer to buying rights for some certain song. And it really doesn't make a shit anyway.

    Lose the CONTINUED's

    "He walks out of the deli, whistling as if it would make him look less conspicuous amidst the dead bodies and shattered
    glass."
    This is farfetched. Only put in the script what the viewers can see or hear. There is no reason for them to draw a conclusion from the whistling and it's silly to mention it.
    For that matter, he doesn't "realize" the people are hiding her, he "sees" it. It's good to get into the habit of not trying to tell us what's going on in a character's head.

    A gun won't refuse to fire just because it's soaking wet. Need to rethink that.
    See my books Hidden Content (and in heaven).

  3. #3
    I write mostly plays using my own formatting style, so lin's suggestions are probably a lot more valuable to you than mine, but here goes anyway.

    The dialog to me sounded fairly natural and was supplemented with movement where it might actually be more likely. Although I agree with lin that as a spec script the song has no place in there. If, however, you are planning to film this as a short film then you described the use pretty well as it might be included by a director in a shooting script (again, I am not a movie script writer, so take it for what it is worth).

    The final killing seems weak. A simple gunshot is not creative. We've been told he is a creative hit-man lets see something more creative to get him out of the jam. Perhaps he could grab the fish tank filter pump from the floor, rip the wires out and then touch them to the water that the other guy is standing in and electrocute him. Something like that.
    "PS: don't take technical advice about cold fusion from someone who can't spell fuzhun."

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