Scene Practice

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  • #16
    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).
    "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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    • #17
      Re: Scene Practice

      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.
      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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      • #18
        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.

        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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