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  • #16
    On that note, happy 4th!

    Morning, all. Stayed off this thread til now, because, well, "what dey done said" (the folks above). But at this point I think I can contribute.

    Depending on the angle of this story, it would be something I'd avoid like Hanta virus. But...

    Hansel and Gretal has a witch that cooks children (alive) and even tells them that beforehand. Now that is some sick s--t. Even worse considering that it's a story told to children. I've hated that tale since I first heard it.

    Now, the angle here is somewhat different. But there'd only be several things that'd make me even consider watching this flick...

    #1, no voice-over. Whether you write it well or not, no matter your intentions, or the actor who reads it, it'd strike me as an expositional justification for both the lead and the story itself. The audience won't stop to ponder the inner intent of the scripter. The story and characters should justify themselves, in and of themselves.

    #2, the information about the sniper's targets and their victims would only come as a result of natural dialogue between the law enforcement officials hunting him, in the same manner as Law and Order and Homocide: Life on the Street (or Dalgliesh or Touch of Frost). We learn about the events as the cops do, or by seeing the sniper's actions. The only dialogue I'd want to hear from the sniper would be external, not internal. Spoken to whoever he runs into. Lines that would would show HIM, not his own perception of himself.

    The reasons for these 2 points are simple: first, vigilante movies have been done do death/are a dime a dozen. Second, in all walks of life, there are "sacred cows". The more sacred the cow, the better your script had better be while working it in the abbatoir. You're tackling the biggest sacred-cow of all, and expositional v.o.'s and med. examiners giving us the vile details will seem (to many, IMO) to be an attempt to gild a leaden lilly.

    I'm not saying don't finish the sript. But there are gonna be some landmines with it, and you'll need to avoid them.

    Best of luck, kosk


    • #17
      Re: On that note, happy 4th!

      Thanks KSK2.

      Yeah, where my other scripts flowed onto the page quite easily - I'm having to sit and brood a lot more on this one.

      I'll start chopping the V.O. - there isn't a lot of it and it is more to provide the shooter's POV - there is a reason it is in there and it's somewhat critical for playing out the story. (I'll go into in greater depth later or you can e-mail me at [email protected] - I'm at work right now watching pea sized hail falling down)

      My agent said V.O. is tricky to pull off, but to give it a go.

      I keep watching Blade Runner over and over...



      • #18

        "this statement is the generation gap."

        I think not. Human nature never changes. Some prefer to dwell in the dark. Some prefer to dwell in the light. Some would never find the cereal event funny, no matter how it was presented.

        Maybe the dark is cool in your crowd at the moment. Maybe you'll grow out of it and maybe you won't.

        It has been said that there is a new generation every five years. So, you're about to become a "fogey" for the next crowd.



        • #19
          On the day...

          ...that a film written by Deepak Chopra (starring Shirley Maclaine and a cast of a thousand Ren-Faire hippies) outsells Blade, Spawn, The Shining and Sleepy Hollow, you'll have an irrefutable point.


          • #20

            A sniper that kills child killers and pedophiles? Now you're talking.


            • #21
              Re: On the day...



              • #22
                Re: On the day...

                Declaring (in your addition to this thread) that anyone who writes material that falls into your personal definition of "dark" needs to grow up, is merely stirring the pot. And frankly, films that deal with what you consider "dark" sell a lot of tickets. At least as much as "in the light" stories. If you don't like the genre, fine. But implying that anyone who does like them hasn't grown up yet doesn't help any script get written. And Edward Gorey focused on what multitudes of people consider dark: poisonings, murder, patricide, pedocide, premature burials, etc. But as I recall, you didn't have a problem with him. Gorey's focus on the "darkness" made him not only stand out from the "vanilla-hippies" of his day, but paid a lot of rent too.

                In entertainment, or even accurate mythology, makes great success of the "dark". As did faerie tales. The accurate records of the Welsh Faeris (The Twllydd Teg) clearly state that they committed cannibalism on intruders. And one of the most successful female writers of all time made her name about an arrogant devil gone mad trying to raise the dead, which in her day was considered (literally) nauseating in it's depth of "darkness". The "Dark" sells. It always will. Because all cultures love it in context. Sorry.


                • #23
                  Re: On the day...

                  Oh, Kosky, Posky, Mosky,

                  You misunderstood my post. I was responding to the generation remark not critizing anyone for writing anything they want. Although, I suspect there might be a few people on this board that talk about it a lot more than they do it. Before you have one of your hissy fits, I wasn't referring to you.

                  I believe in a previous conversation in response to a question from you about my personal likes and dislikes, I told you what I liked but also said that I could appreciate anything that rose above it's genre. In other words, I just happen to like quality work in all things. Pity, there's not that much. But I already admitted to being a snob.

                  I will accept anything that is intrinsic to the story and characters but the minute it becomes gratuitous, it's off my list.

                  Gotta get back to my chick flick, the one with Shirley and the airy fairy hippies. The hippies do unspeakable things to her because she wasn't of their generation.



                  • #24
                    Are you experienced?

                    Kosk gives good advice on VO, let me add...

                    We are trying to give the audience an experience.

                    So the method we communicate information to the audience is important. The more "first hand" the experience is, the more of the experience they feel.

                    A big problem with VO is that it isn't emotional at all - it's expositional (cerebral) by nature. It's cold - not just "second hand", but second hand removed from the situation. It's a comment, not an argument.

                    Dialogue can either be a "first hand" experience or expositional. If you have two people arguing - we're experiencing the argument "first hand". We're right there in the middle of it. That gives the audience an experience.

                    If we're doing expositional dialogue (those police reports), we're still "second hand". We don't get the experience. So we need to make sure there is something else in that scene that provides the "first hand" experience for the audience (the conflict in the scene).

                    I have a script that was made into an awful film called VICTIM OF DESIRE. I had two detectives listening to the ME give his report. Boring stuff. No conflict. No emotions. It's just exposition. We needed this information, but I had to find a way to add conflict to the scene. So I added the victim's wife. Now the scene takes place when the wife IDs the body. One of the detectives asks the ME for a preliminary report - and the ME starts rattling off gory details... in front of the wife! The other detective keeps trying to shut the ME up, but the first detective keeps asking questions (more gory details). It turns into a low-key battle between the two detectives: one wants to hear the information NOW, the other wants to shut the ME up until the wife has left the room. We FEEL for both the wife and thee second detective. We are emotionally involved in the scene... which is all exposition!

                    Every scene needs conflict - but exposition scenes REALLY need conflict to work.

                    But the best "first hand" information method is to put us right in the middle of a situation WHILE IT IS HAPPENING. Instead of having characters talk about something, have them DO something. There's more impact in a scene where a man actually catches his wife in bed with his best friend, than in a scene where he just finds evidence of it, or a scene where he hears about it (even if the person telling him is the best friend or the wife). One is a visceral experience, the other is removed - after the fact. Even if the wife and husband have a terrible shouting match... it's about an event that we weren't there to experience. It's still second hand. If we are there... if we SEE it... we react just like the protagonist. It has a strong effect on us. Because we are experiencing it first hand. We were there - it happened to us, too!

                    We're trying to give the audience an experience. The biggest emotional impact we can create. To do that we have to give them "first hand" experiences... not boring exposition.

                    - WC


                    • #25
                      Now THAT was funny...

                      ...and I am literally grinning without even a HINT of sardonic-anything.

                      And I completely agree with your taste RE gratuitous. Even when I write supernatural genre, I have to write what I enjoy. Which frankly is "creepy-stuff" rather than spurting arteries. If others wish to do that, great. More power to them. But I always think that an undetected changeling baby, pissed off at its new mortal parents and quoting curses from the Bronze Age, will always be more of a "chill" than an over-used butcher knife. I know you catch my over-winded drift...

                      And I could never fault you for being a snob. I wouldn't call you that myself, since I've been called different but similar things for years... >D

                      So while you happily go back to Shirley, I'll happily return to my Lugh Lamfada/Samildinach scene...

                      Kosky, Posky, and ... Mosky? Guess I need to buy a genuine fez...

                      Thanks for helping me laugh at myself (again), "Kosky"


                      • #26
                        My 2 pennies

                        I loved Se7en. I loved Fight Club. I love movies about the ugliness of society because they reflect society (at least as I see it).

                        I can't stand popcorn (non-comedy) movies like Forest Dump and The Green Mile. The utter absurdity of these types of movies annoys me.

                        That doesn't mean that I'm right and those that dsisagree with my movie tastes are wrong. I say write what you want to write and if people are offended and outraged, you're doing something right. Just remember, people were outraged at The Graduate, Fight Club, Casablanca, etc.

                        As for voice over, I generally agree with martell's post above. I dislike it because it is a way to "cheat" the audience by giving them information that the writer does not have the skill to write. That said, it can be effective when the story is too long to fit into "standard" screenplay length.


                        • #27
                          Re: Are you experienced?

                          Ah, Bill, what better way to agree with you other than...

                          An example of first-hand yielding good dialogue, from the hey days of Richard Pryor's career (on LP)...

                          Woman comes into her bedroom and catches her man with another woman, demanding an explanation...

                          Man: "Woman, who you gonna believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?"

                          I was in my teens when I heard that on the stereo. And I've never stopped chuckling over it since.

                          Stuff you never forget... the mark of a great writer.

                          Happy 4th, "Mosky" (still chortling)