War and Screenplays

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  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Set this script aside and write another one; you can always come back to it later.
    OMG!... I have used the same words. I have literally said, "You can come back to it later."

    Great minds think alike!

    Leave a comment:


  • omjs
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
    Here are my thoughts, which are not profound ... but I have read reiverx's screenplay twice, in its course of development.

    The comment about American forces was irrelevant. Just forget it.

    The comment about the script as a «benign accounting» was something that the reviewer tossed in because he did not know what else to say. I think he meant that the script did not draw him into the story and shake his world. The use of «benign» was an inappropriate word choice. The action in the trenches was not benign.

    I think the reader may have been saying that the script did not make him care about the characters and the plot. Now, I know that you did have a plot and some backstory that played into it. I know why the main character went off to war (and it is made clear in the script). You actually had a much more developed plot than I see in most scripts. The real issue is to what degree all of this will appeal to readers and viewers. Sometimes, no matter how well you do something, the subject matter is the problem.

    Here is some advice that I give to people, and I don't think that anyone has taken it yet.

    My Never Accepted Advice:

    Do not keep obsessing over something that you have written. If you have written one script, you can write another. Everything that you write is a form of growth. It really is. You get better because of what you have done. So move on, and take advantage of the growth that has occurred.
    For what it's worth, I interpreted the "benign accounting" phrase similarly, even without reading your script. It sounds like the reader felt you were just showing a series of events, like listing facts, rather than anchoring the story in an emotional way.

    Also, ComicBent, the somewhat sneaky way I tend to give this advice is "Set this script aside and write another one; you can always come back to it later." If you really do decide to keep rewriting, the distance will only help you. Though you may find that once you've gotten away from it and started to really improve, your energy is better spent elsewhere.

    Leave a comment:


  • reiverx
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Yup, it's time to take Comicbent's advice and move on to new pastures. I've had a nifty idea brewing in my head for a few months now but I can't pull it out of the concept stage.

    Drives me nuts.

    Leave a comment:


  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Thanks, ew.

    Of course, I do not mean that you should not do proper revisions and tweaks, especially after you get away from the script for a while and are able to come back to it with a fresh mind.

    I have a pal who has lots of talent and a very rich imagination. But the problem is that he keeps trying to fix a couple of screenplays based on what consultants say (and they have offered good advice). Sometimes you simply cannot overcome the deficiencies or disadvantages of the subject material. The good thing is that you learn from doing, even if the product of your efforts is not great. You are better the next time.

    Leave a comment:


  • ewtaylor
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by ComicBent View Post

    Do not keep obsessing over something that you have written. If you have written one script, you can write another. Everything that you write is a form of growth. It really is. You get better because of what you have done. So move on, and take advantage of the growth that has occurred.
    Excellent advice.

    Leave a comment:


  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Here are my thoughts, which are not profound ... but I have read reiverx's screenplay twice, in its course of development.

    The comment about American forces was irrelevant. Just forget it.

    The comment about the script as a «benign accounting» was something that the reviewer tossed in because he did not know what else to say. I think he meant that the script did not draw him into the story and shake his world. The use of «benign» was an inappropriate word choice. The action in the trenches was not benign.

    I think the reader may have been saying that the script did not make him care about the characters and the plot. Now, I know that you did have a plot and some backstory that played into it. I know why the main character went off to war (and it is made clear in the script). You actually had a much more developed plot than I see in most scripts. The real issue is to what degree all of this will appeal to readers and viewers. Sometimes, no matter how well you do something, the subject matter is the problem.

    Here is some advice that I give to people, and I don't think that anyone has taken it yet.

    My Never Accepted Advice:

    Do not keep obsessing over something that you have written. If you have written one script, you can write another. Everything that you write is a form of growth. It really is. You get better because of what you have done. So move on, and take advantage of the growth that has occurred.

    Leave a comment:


  • RogerOThornhill
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Do you feel there is enough "conflict" in your story? Conflict doesn't have to mean blood action battles. Do characters have their own personal conflicts and personal struggles?

    There are plenty of successful 'war' films without containing many military battles...

    Two from David Lean that did pretty well:
    Bridge on the River Kwai
    Doctor Zhivago

    A few others:

    Hart's War
    The African Queen
    Great Escape
    Mister Roberts
    Casablanca
    Sahara (Bogart)
    Bedford Incident
    Dirty Dozen


    My point is ... do you have a war pic or a drama set in wartime?

    (in addition to the storyline differences, there can be vast differences in production costs for pic with lots of battles versus more of a personal drama)

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeBanks
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Gallipoli, Breaker Morant, Chris Nolan's next movie is all about the Dunkirk evacuation.

    if it's a compelling story, just write it

    Leave a comment:


  • reiverx
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by StoryWriter View Post
    I had kind of the same question a few years back. I liked the movie "Timeline". (Maybe I was the only one?)

    A lot of critics attacked it for the same reason they always attack time travel movies -- that they don't hold up to a lot of scrutiny. Which they don't, but so what? It's kind of like complaining about Romantic Comedies because they have the same formula. Yeah, well, if they didn't they wouldn't be a romantic comedy.

    But the thing that bothered me the most about many of the critics (some pretty well known), is that they criticized this movie because the French not the English won the battle depicted in the movie.

    I mean WTF?!
    Yeah, my question isn't really about the contents of my screenplay. It's more about the American intervention reference coming from nowhere.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it because I'm not American.

    By the way, I'm glad the French won. You know, with me being a Scot. Auld Alliance and all that.

    My dad is English though.

    And I live in the States.

    I'm such a mongrel.

    Leave a comment:


  • StoryWriter
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by reiverx View Post
    So my question is this: If a war story doesn't involve the American forces, is it pretty much dead in the water?
    I had kind of the same question a few years back. I liked the movie "Timeline". (Maybe I was the only one?)

    A lot of critics attacked it for the same reason they always attack time travel movies -- that they don't hold up to a lot of scrutiny. Which they don't, but so what? It's kind of like complaining about Romantic Comedies because they have the same formula. Yeah, well, if they didn't they wouldn't be a romantic comedy.

    But the thing that bothered me the most about many of the critics (some pretty well known), is that they criticized this movie because the French not the English won the battle depicted in the movie.

    I mean WTF?!

    Leave a comment:


  • reiverx
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    There's no American intervention in the script. It's set during 1914-1915.

    Leave a comment:


  • reiverx
    started a topic War and Screenplays

    War and Screenplays

    I took the plunge and put a script up for evaluation on the Blacklist. It didn't do too well but you know, my first script and all that, so it's all good.

    One thing really got under my skin though, and that was the first line of the weaknesses section.

    "The main problem with this WWI address is that it comes across and a benign accounting of social/military events that span the years of conflict (1914-1918) - and even then - the story/plot action seems to stop long before America's intervention helped turn the tide against German forces."

    So my question is this: If a war story doesn't involve the American forces, is it pretty much dead in the water?
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