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Old 05-25-2020, 12:09 AM   #11
finalact4
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyfress View Post
Getting good at scene writing as we all know is so important. I am starting this thread for people to practice. Any scene. A stand alone or something from a script.

I'll start. I don't have any screenwriting software at the moment so I'm gonna write a quick scene in the browser.

INT. MARRIAGE COUNSELOR'S OFFICE

DR. RYAN MURPHY, 40s dressed in a nice suit with glasses. He has gray streaks on the sides of his jet black hair. He opens the door.

....DR. MURPHY
Please Come in.

TOM WINTERS, 40s, walks in followed by his wife RACHAEL, 40s. They are amidst a silent argument filled with all the facial expressions and mouth movements but no sound.

.....DR. MURPHY
Ah. Please. Have a seat.

Tom and Rachael sit down in the two chairs in front of the desk in the middle of their silent argument.

.....DR. MURPHY
Hello?

On cue both Tom and Rachael stop and look at Dr. Murphy with a huge smile.

.....DR. MURPHY
Good. Now why don't you tell me what's been going on.

.....TOM
Pretty much if she had a butler, ringing a bell to call for him would be too much work.

.....RACHAEL
Me? Our couch has an imprint of your ass because you never move it from there.

Tom leans in to the doctor.

.....TOM
She lets her arm pit hair grow real long and then saves the trimmings to make a scarf.

Dr. Murphy's face winces.

.....RACHAEL
He urinates by the tree in our backyard. Who does that?

....DR. MURPHY
(dumbfounded)
Not me.

.....TOM
Urine is mostly water! You know what she does? When she's on her period she pulls her tampons out and smells them!

.....DR. MURPHY
Pissing on a tree all of a sudden seems normal.

Rachael looks over at Tom and gives him the stink eye like she can't believe he gave that up. Rachael looks at Dr. Murphy.

.....RACHAEL
All this coming from a man who picks his nose then rolls it in his fingers until it's a nice formed ball and then he flicks onto the rug.

....DR. MURPHY
Now that's disgusting.

....TOM
You're talking to a woman that when she wipes her ass she has to look what is on the toilet paper.

Dr. Murphy's face sours.

.....RACHAEL
He farts into a container because he loves to breathe them in through his mouth.

Dr. Murphy dry heaves.

....TOM
She bites her toe nails and eats the clippings!

....RACHAEL
It's good for your teeth! He---

.....DR. MURPHY
SHUT-UP!!!!!!

Tom and Rachael turn into students in front of the principal. Silent and frozen.

.....DR. MURPHY
You two are the most disgusting, vile people I've ever come across! One thing is for sure. You two deserve each other like no other man and woman on this earth.

Tom and Rachael look at each other. There's a beat then they are lip locked. Passionately kissing. Tom sticks his tongue in her mouth for a long kiss then moves on to her neck.

.....RACHAEL
Did you just breathe in a fart?

.....TOM
(muffled)
Uh-huh.

Dr. Murphy holds his hand to his mouth and runs out of the room.

************************************************** **

I hope people jump in here and take part. We can add comments and remarks to the scene and people can give them another crack. The point is to get in there and practice your way working through a scene.
Comments:

I would say start the scene with... "Tell me what's going on."

The banter is good for a bit, but that's all it is, banter.

It's basically the same beat over and over again, so it gets repetitive really fast. What I'd say is consider developing it in a way where they actually are hurt by the other's betrayal of the sacred wedding bond, right?

Some things should never be repeated. Their comments and betrayal mean nothing if they do not inflict pain or cause some kind of emotional reaction. When people are hurt, they strike back attempting to "one-up" the other person.

This scene doesn't reveal the emotional impact of the word-slinging.

Each character's bad habits, regardless of how disgusting, have a motive behind them, that's what you want to reveal, because that's what makes it personal and that's what makes it interesting.

What could also be developed across the scene is sexual tension. It needs to be witnessed as it builds. A playful edge like in Mr. and Mrs Smith, so that when they start making out, we've felt the tension building through both the subtext of what they're saying and their own body language. A comment like, "it makes me so hot." The other person reacts, "you're so disgusting." Then, "it makes you hot, really?"

Banter is fun, but a scene must reveal something the characters are trying to hide from each other because revealing it makes them vulnerable. We want to see them vulnerable. We can identify with vulnerable.

And we also want the scene to advance in some way, whether it's positive or negative. This scene must have a function. It must deliver something that moves the story forward. Maybe at the end of the scene they turn to the therapist and say in unison... "who do you think is right?"

The scene needs to end up in a different place than we started. Someone needs to win and someone needs to lose. Someone reverses the power over the other. Or, power is increased, but something changes. If we end up in the same place we started, chances are the scene can/should be removed.

Also, it's difficult to tell who has the power in the scene and what each character wants. They need to have a motive for what they say. Someone needs to be trying to get something from the other person and that person doesn't want to give it to them, because they want something different for themselves. Whose POV is the scene from?

And what if the couple joined forces and turned on the therapist himself?

just some quick thoughts to consider.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:41 AM   #12
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Code:
INT. CASINO - NIGHT An empty casino. Jazzy music playing softly. Chips stacked high, cards thrown around. There's a chair that's been flipped upside down. Along one wall are pictures, showing high rollers smiling with different men wearing black suits and black ties. There's a faint rumbling, growing... We stop in front of a door, the rumbling grows louder as the door-- --SLAMS open, FOUR PEOPLE shoving their way inside. The noise is deafening, like an approaching landslide, filled with screaming metal. GIBSON and DONALD are dressed in security uniforms. SARAH and HENRIX are dressed in lab coats. Gibson slams the door shut behind him and the rumbling sounds fade. GIBSON (To Donald) Raise them on the scanner! We've got-- DONALD Don't you think I've tried that? The link's gone, it's ****ing-- GIBSON Calm down, just stop a second. Have you tried the emergen-- DONALD Of course I have! Look. He turns a dial on his radio and the sound of tearing metal floods through, with faint sounds in the background. SARAH Wait... They all gather close to the radio. SARAH (CONT'D) Is that... There's a thunderous explosion and the faint sounds are suddenly too loud and too clear. People screaming in terror. After a moment Donald shuts off the radio. Sarah sways, and Henrix steadies her. HENRIX Sit down. SARAH We can't stop, we have to-- HENRIX Your heartrate is out of control, you're on the verge of going into shock. Just sit down. He leads her to a poker table and helps her sit. SARAH Thank you, I... I don't... I couldn't... those people... HENRIX I know. Just calm down. Breath. He holds her hand and Sarah shuts her eyes, hyperventilating. Sounds around her fade as she tries to her stop hands from shaking. After a few moments she opens her eyes, studies the wall in front of her. She focuses on a small ripple, a tiny bulge in the wallpaper, that starts at the top and moves down. She stands up, moves towards it. GIBSON How much time do we have? DONALD How should I know? It's probably already too late. GIBSON Well-- Sarah studies the moving bulge in the wall paper. She pushes it with her finger, takes a pen and pokes it. The wallpaper tears open, vomits a stream of water. She steps back, looks up. More bulges are descending along the wall, the wallpaper cracking beneath the pressure of the water. SARAH Henrix... Henrix comes and stands beside her, sees the wall... HENRIX Jesus. God, oh God-– Close on Sarah's face. GIBSON What are our options? DONALD Same way we came in. SARAH Captain... GIBSON (O.S.) It's impossible. I saw it go damnit, we've got to-– SARAH (voice rising) Captain! GIBSON (O.S.) We're running around in circles, there's got to be-- SARAH & HENRIX CAPTAIN! Gibson turns around. GIBSON What?! He sees the wall. GIBSON (CONT'D) F***.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Just gonna leave us hanging, huh?

Never poke a bulge with your pen.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: Scene Practice

HENRIX
I know. Just calm down. Breathe.

Well done. A real cliffhanger. Sounds like an Irwin Allen Poseidon Adventure, (1972), kind of vibe in an undersea gambling resort.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Thanks for the feedback guys, it's much appreciated. It's currently a work in progress and you're right TigerFang it's a story taking place in an undersea city
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Thanks. As a style choice, I’m a fan of no caps for sound effects in a spec script, too. It’s less an intrusion on the read (for me).
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
Code:
INT. CASINO - NIGHT An empty casino. Jazzy music playing softly. Chips stacked high, cards thrown around. There's a chair that's been flipped upside down. Along one wall are pictures, showing high rollers smiling with different men wearing black suits and black ties. There's a faint rumbling, growing... We stop in front of a door, the rumbling grows louder as the door-- --SLAMS open, FOUR PEOPLE shoving their way inside. The noise is deafening, like an approaching landslide, filled with screaming metal. GIBSON and DONALD are dressed in security uniforms. SARAH and HENRIX are dressed in lab coats. Gibson slams the door shut behind him and the rumbling sounds fade. GIBSON (To Donald) Raise them on the scanner! We've got-- DONALD Don't you think I've tried that? The link's gone, it's ****ing-- GIBSON Calm down, just stop a second. Have you tried the emergen-- DONALD Of course I have! Look. He turns a dial on his radio and the sound of tearing metal floods through, with faint sounds in the background. SARAH Wait... They all gather close to the radio. SARAH (CONT'D) Is that... There's a thunderous explosion and the faint sounds are suddenly too loud and too clear. People screaming in terror. After a moment Donald shuts off the radio. Sarah sways, and Henrix steadies her. HENRIX Sit down. SARAH We can't stop, we have to-- HENRIX Your heartrate is out of control, you're on the verge of going into shock. Just sit down. He leads her to a poker table and helps her sit. SARAH Thank you, I... I don't... I couldn't... those people... HENRIX I know. Just calm down. Breath. He holds her hand and Sarah shuts her eyes, hyperventilating. Sounds around her fade as she tries to her stop hands from shaking. After a few moments she opens her eyes, studies the wall in front of her. She focuses on a small ripple, a tiny bulge in the wallpaper, that starts at the top and moves down. She stands up, moves towards it. GIBSON How much time do we have? DONALD How should I know? It's probably already too late. GIBSON Well-- Sarah studies the moving bulge in the wall paper. She pushes it with her finger, takes a pen and pokes it. The wallpaper tears open, vomits a stream of water. She steps back, looks up. More bulges are descending along the wall, the wallpaper cracking beneath the pressure of the water. SARAH Henrix... Henrix comes and stands beside her, sees the wall... HENRIX Jesus. God, oh God-– Close on Sarah's face. GIBSON What are our options? DONALD Same way we came in. SARAH Captain... GIBSON (O.S.) It's impossible. I saw it go damnit, we've got to-– SARAH (voice rising) Captain! GIBSON (O.S.) We're running around in circles, there's got to be-- SARAH & HENRIX CAPTAIN! Gibson turns around. GIBSON What?! He sees the wall. GIBSON (CONT'D) F***.
Did you add to this? I read it last week, I think, but it was a lot shorter, no? Because my first comment, at that time was going to be that it doesn't feel like a complete scene. Now it does.

I like it. There's good tension and building suspense and intrigue. I would say there is a bit of looping, where it begins to feel like the same beat. You might be able to tighten it up a bit and the result will be a tighter pace.

I think there could be more (subtle) clues as to the nature of the crisis with structural stress sounds that might give an indication of being squeezed under pressure.

This could be a great moment to reveal an underwater view screen. If you showed an aquarium with deep water fish and predators you could use that as a reveal where what we thought was an aquarium is REALLY the exterior of the setting-- sudden alarms sound and huge pressure doors close, sealing them inside. Another way to amp up the suspense immediately.

The reason I suggest this visual reveal, in addition to the water streaming in, is the knowledge immediately ratchets up the suspense and dread/fear for the characters.

Remember the opening of The Abyss? We're in the sub and something strange is coming up on them, they lose power and when it comes back on, we're too close to the seawall cliff and for a few seconds the dread and suspense skyrocket.

I don't know if these characters find a way out or not, but it would increase the suspense.

The only other thing that bumped me a little was the fact that you have SECURITY GUARDS and LAB COATS. I mention it only because it was a distraction during the read.

There could be a few dialogue lines where the character does complete their sentence, because the giving the audience a bit of a clue, will allow them to CATCH UP to what's going on.

There is a delicate balance when keeping the audience in an inferior position to the characters for this entire length of time. It can become irritating. But finding that balance can increase their satisfaction at figuring it out the split second before you reveal we're underwater.

The audience doesn't mind being in a superior position to your characters, but being cognizant of how long they will accept being in an inferior position can make a scene successful.

It's just a few thoughts. Well done.
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:43 PM   #18
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Default Re: Scene Practice

Hi Finalact, thanks for your notes, much appreciated.

Since it's the first scene in the movie, I want it to be a mystery that they're under water. The reveal takes place in the next scene (your idea was cool btw).

Also agree on the character descriptions, these are just first draft placeholders.

Quote:
Did you add to this? I read it last week, I think, but it was a lot shorter, no?
First time I post this, so it must be a different post. Thanks again for your comments.
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