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I am a high school .jr who is making a short film. planning on entering into multiple short films. any chance everyone can look over the script and tell me what I can change? the story, lines, plot development, character development, or anything that benefits the story.  thank you so much

 

 

Where to?-  Written by Sam Petty

 

INT. Graduation party - Noon

 

Brent is having his graduation party. All his friends and family are there. The camera moves through the house seeing everyone talking and having a good time. Stops on Brent and his parents talking in the kitchen. 

 

Dad

“Ok son, your mother and I have been watching how hard you have worked this semester..”

 

Mom

“And you didn't get in any trouble, so we thought you should deserve a reward”

 

Brent

“Oh come on you know you don't have to. You already threw me this grad party! I mean what else could I need?”

 

Dad

“ Well, you will be going off to college so..”

 

Brent

“Not until next year. I'm taking a year off remember??”

 

Dad

“ Yes I know”

 

Mom pulls a bag from behind her back all excited. A smile forms on both of there faces.

 

Mom

“And what better way to take a year off than..”

 

Brent opens the bag and sees a car key 

 

Brent

“A new car!?

Mom

“Well, not new. It's used but it will get you where you need to go”

 

Brent Gives a big bear hug to both of his parents


 

Brent

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. ( Gets interrupted by mom )

 

Mom

you`re welcome, honey. Why don't you go tell April? I am sure she would love to hear the news.

 

Brent

“Good idea” ( runs off to find her) YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!

 

Brent runs through the crowds of people and finally finds April talking to a girl. They make eyes contact and he runs up and hugs her

 

Brent

“ OMG babe I have amazing news!

 

April

“ So do I!”

 

Brent

“I just got a car!”

 

April

“I just got accepted into Brown! Wait you got a car that's awesome!

 

Brent

“You got into brown oh my god babe that's incredible ( gives her a hug ) that's your dream school!

 

April

I know! I'm so excited to start this fall! But I have so much to do.

 

Brent

“Wait. this fall? I thought that we were taking a year off together? 

 

April

I know I`m sorry. But it's my dream School! Its a once and a lifetime opportunity. You understand right?

 

Brent

What about our plan? Spending a year together.. 

 

April

“We can spend the summer together! And ill come home and visit all the time.”


 

Brent

Ya I guess

 

Brent is clearly sad. April feels horrible and has a great plan to make him happy. 


 

April

“ Brent, I have a great idea that will make it up to you. But I have to go plan it out. I'll call you tonight. 

 

April runs out the door

 

Brent 

“Um ok? Bye!

 

Fade to black

 

Int. Brents room- night

 

Brent is in his room listening to music in his bed with headphones on. His phone rings and he stops the music. 

 

Brent (on the phone)

“Hey this is brent”

 

April (on the phone)

“Brent! It's me April”

 

Brent (on the phone)

“ Where did you go earlier? You ruined the plan and ran out of the party.”

 

April (on the phone)

“I know I know I know I`m so so sorry about that. I had to get planning

 

Brent  (on the phone)

“Planning? Planning what?

 

April (on the phone)

“Our trip! You did want to spend the year together right? Doing a whole bunch of things? Why not do all those things this summer? Pack a year's worth of fun dates into one summer before I leave! I already have it all planned out!


 

Brent (on the phone)

“that sounds..actually like a really good idea! When are we leaving?


 

April (on the phone)

“You sound surprised. We leave tomorrow morning. It's ok I already called your mom and dad. Get a bag packed. And come pick me up tomorrow at 8. Don't be late! Pack extra socks, sunscreen, and a phone cord… ok bye ( hangs up phone )

 

Brent

“ Um. ( looks at clock ) I need to get packing…

 

Fade to black.  

Int. aerial shot of April's driveway. 8 am

 

Brents car is backed into her driveway and trunk open. April is saying a list of things they packed in a list

 

April

“ blankets?”

 

Brent

“Check”

 

April

“Tent?”

 

Brent

“Check”

 

April

“Camera?”

 

Brent

“Check”

 

The camera turns to the ground view of Brent loading the trunk and April walking towards him.

 

April 

“Packed your bag?

 

Brent

“ Yes! Everything is packed! Come on just get in the car already!”

 

April ( stepping into a car with a map )

I'm being prepared! We have a long way to go 


 

Brent

We do? You still haven't told me where we are going. 

 

April

Ya, its surprise trip. You drive. I'll tell you the way


 

Brent and April look at each other with a smile. 

 

Brent

Ok so where to?

 

The camera goes into an extreme wide shot of a car pulling out of the driveway and driving down the road. Music plays and the camera switches to a drone shot of car driving. Shots of brent and April are being shown of them laughing and talking and playing in the car.



 

Scenes go buy of brent and April stopping at places and having fun. Places include the beach, the snow, a picnic, star gazing, nature walking, eating at restaurants, getting snowcones, going to a concert, a campfire guitar session, and fireworks. 

 

Ext. fade to black

Int, right before dawn.

 

April is sleeping and the car is shaking a lot. You hear the car park. 

 

Brent.

 “Babe.. babe wake up”

 

April

“What? Aw, what time is it? where are we?

 

Brent

“Come on” 

 

April staggers out of the car to see 2 chairs set out for her and brent overlooking the sunrise. 

 

April 

“ wait what is this? I didn't plan this..”


 

Brent

“I know. I did.

 

They both sit down and look out into the distance

 

Brent

“I did this because. I'm sorry I overreacted about you leaving. To be honest I'm so happy for you I just don't know what I`m going to do while you are gone. I will miss you so much. I'm not even ready to go to college. I'm sure you`re going to have a great time.

 

April

“Wow, I had no idea I meant that much to you. Thank you. I'll call you every night. “

 

Brent grabs April's hand and lays his head on hers. 

 

Brent

“I love you. you goofball’

 

A short pause

 

April

“I love you more”

 

They look at each other for a moment

 

April

“ So? Where to next?

 

Fade to black




 

Credits roll with pictures of them at all the spots they went to

 

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Hi Sam

The dialogue is quite tightly written and its paced well. The idea around a girlfriend leaving a boyfriend behind  to go to collage has potential.

The current draft however lacks drama.

Most films create a challenge for the protagonist (Brent) to overcome, this could be a difficult decision he has to make or a problem he has to solve, or a sacrifice he has to make. Its important the protagonist is the person that drives the story through the choices they make.

Currently in the script, stuff just happens to Bret and he goes along with it, we have 5 mins of disappointment, but its not that dramatic.

Films where nice stuff just happens to the heroes, tend to be a bit dull. Ideally you want to challenge and make life difficult for your characters. This is too easy. What if the parents do not want him to take a year out? What if he goes on the road trip reluctantly? What if he was more angry about April going to Brown? What if he failed his exams and the year out is cover for the fact he couldn't get into collage? It could be more dramatic. Find away for Brent to make more decisions.

Often its a good idea to give your protagonist a personality flaw , that they have to overcome to resolve the films conflict. E.g he could be too possessive of April and realises he has to let her go at the end. 

Short films should be pacy and too the point - you don't really need the scene where he's given the car. It doesn't advance the story, unless they give him his sisters old pink VW and Bret acts like a brat (conflict), then it can break down later (more conflict).

Think about how many locations you use (you have to shoot these places). What are the most cinematic ways of shooting these scenes, e.g is the phone call needed

I would recommend you read "On Writing" by Stephen King, he really talks about the need to put your characters through the ringer and this podcast episode on writing is very good: https://johnaugust.com/2019/how-to-write-a-movie   It talks about story from the POV of addressing your characters wants. 

Screenwriting is hard well done for putting yourself out there and I hope this feedback helps. I do think your central theme/idea - has potential but it just needs to be developed further. Have fun with it, see if you can throw in some curve balls, make it surprising. 

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On 7/20/2019 at 9:54 AM, Phil Connolly said:

ok thank you so much. im working on what you said now to add some more meat to this story. ill send what i have when it is done

 

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i rewrote it a bit. any better? what can i change

 

Where to?-  Written by Sam Petty

 

INT. Graduation party - Noon

 

Brent is having his graduation party. All his friends and family are there. The camera moves through the house seeing everyone talking and having a good time. Stops on Brent and his parents talking in the kitchen. 

 

Dad

“Ok son, your mother and I have been watching how hard you have worked this semester..”

 

Mom

“And you didn't get in any trouble, so we thought you should deserve a reward”

 

Brent

“Oh come on you know you don't have to. You already threw me this grad party! I mean what else could I need?”

 

Dad

“ Well, you will be going off to college so..”

 

Brent

“Not until next year. I'm taking a year off remember??”

 

Dad

“ Yes I know”

 

Mom pulls a bag from behind her back all excited. A smile forms on both of there faces.

 

Mom

“And what better way to take a year off than..”

 

Brent opens the bag and sees a car key 

 

Brent

“A new car!?

 

Mom

“Well, not new. It's my old truck!”

 

Brent looks at his dad with disgust. 


 

Brent

“Are you kidding! That old clunker is not a gift its a punishment! I would rather keep riding my bike than be seen in this!. ( Gets interrupted by mom )

 

Mom

You should be grateful! Its better than nothing . Why don't you go tell April? I am sure she would love to hear the news.

 

Brent

“Good idea” ( he says sarcastically. He walks away to find her) 

 

Brent walks through the crowds of people and finally finds April talking to a girl. They make eyes contact and he runs up and hugs her

 

Brent

“Hey, babe I have some news!

 

April

“ So do I!”

 

Brent

“I just got a car!”

 

April

“I just got accepted into Brown! Wait you got a car that's awesome!

 

Brent

“it's not awesome it's my dads Cruddy truck. I don't want to be caught dead in that thing.

 

Brent

“Oh my god You got into brown oh my god babe that's incredible ( gives her a hug ) that's your dream school!

 

April

I know! I'm so excited to start this fall! But I have so much to do.

 

Brent

“Wait. this fall? I thought that we were taking a year off together? 

 

April

I know I`m sorry. But it's my dream School! Its a once and a lifetime opportunity. You understand right?


 

Brent

What about our plan? Spending a year together.. 

 

April

“We can spend the summer together! And ill come home and visit all the time.”


 

Brent

Ya I guess

 

Brent is clearly sad. April feels horrible and has a great plan to make him happy. 


 

April

“ Brent, I have a great idea that will make it up to you. But I have to go plan it out. I'll call you tonight. 

 

April runs out the door

 

Brent 

“Um ok? Bye!

 

Fade to black

 


 

Int. Brents room- night

 

Brent is in his room listening to music in his bed with headphones on. His phone rings and he stops the music. 

 

Brent (on the phone)

“Hey this is brent”

 

April (on the phone)

“Brent! It's me April”

 

Brent (on the phone)

“ Where did you go earlier? You ruined the plan and ran out of the party.”

 

April (on the phone)

“I know I know I know I`m so so sorry about that. I had to get planning

 

Brent  (on the phone)

“Planning? Planning what?

 

April (on the phone)

I can't tell you. Just be outside your house with a bag packed at 8


 

Brent (on the phone)

I don't really feel like hanging out with you right now.  

 

April (on the phone)

I feel horrible. Babe please I need to make you happy. I feel like such a jerk. And. and I need to spend time with you before I. Well leave

 

Brent

You know what? Fine ok whatever. I'll see you outside tomorrow

 

April 

Ok I love yo.. ( gets hung up on.)

 

Fade to black.  

 


Int. aerial shot of brents driveway. 8 am

 

Cut to a scene of April in her mom's car driving to brents house looking at a list. 

 

April

“ blankets?”

 

April

“Check”

 

April

“Tent?”

 

April

“Check”

 

April

“Camera?”

 

April

“Check”

 

The camera turns to the ground view of  OSS Brent looking at Aprils car pull in and her unloading everything. 

 

April 

“Packed your bag?

 

Brent

“ Yes. what is this all for.

 

April 

Did you want to spend the year together? Well, we can spend at least the summer together. We are driving all over and doing sorts of fun things before I go to school. You drive and I say where to go. 


 

Brent

You still haven't told me where we are going. 

 

April

Ya, its surprise trip. You drive. I'll tell you the way


 

April looks at brent with a smile

 

Brent

Ok so where to?

 

April

Help me load up( hands him a bag) 

 

Brent

“ok”

 

The camera goes into an extreme wide shot of a car pulling out of the driveway and driving down the road. Music plays and the camera switches to a drone shot of car driving. Shots of brent and April are being shown of them laughing and talking and playing in the car. At first, brent is not having fun and you can see that. But April makes him happy by showing him a good time. 



 

Scenes go buy of brent and April stopping at places and having fun. Places include the beach, the snow, a picnic, star gazing, nature walking, eating at restaurants, getting snowcones, going to a concert, a campfire guitar session, and fireworks. 

 

Ext. cut to them driving. Noon. a lot of car noise. 

 

Brent

“Where does this road even go?”

 

April

“ I'm not sure this map is.. Kind of confusing”

 

The car is making banging noise and brent has to pull over

 

Brent

“ damn it!’

 

Brent opens the hood and sees Smoak. He is getting mad and tries to mess around with it

 

Brent

“ great. The engine is overheated. That's Just great.”

 

April

“It's ok! We will call a tow its not a problem.”

 

Brent 

“ IT IS A PROBLEM! You drag me to the middle of nowhere! You ruined our plan. And now the stupid hunk of a junk car is smoking! This trip sucks. This summer sucks. And this whole situation sucks.

 

April

“ You think this is easy on me? You're getting mad at me for going to my dream school! I'm trying to make you happy and you're just being mad! I worked hard on this and you're just being pissed off! If you don't want to be on this trip than fine. We can leave.  

 

April walks off a bit and wiped tears

 

Brent

I didn't mean that. I'm sorry.  I'm just mad. The engine will be good to go in an hour or 2. Want to listen to some music while we wait?

 

April

“Ya whatever” ( in a mad tone walks past him)

 

 


Int, right before dawn.

 

April is sleeping and the car is shaking a lot. You hear the car park. 

 

Brent.

 “Babe.. babe wake up”

 

April

“What? Aw, what time is it? where are we?

 

Brent

“Come on” 

 

April staggers out of the car to see 2 chairs set out for her and brent overlooking the sunrise. 

 

April 

“ wait what is this? I didn't plan this..”


 

Brent

“I know. I did.

 

They both sit down and look out into the distance

 

Brent

“I did this because. I'm sorry I overreacted about you leaving. To be honest I'm so happy for you I just don't know what I`m going to do while you are gone. I just wanted you to be happy and if going to this school makes you happy than yo have my full support

 

April

“Wow, I had no idea I meant that much to you. Thank you. “

 

Brent grabs April's hand and lays his head on hers. 

 

Brent

“I love you. you goofball’

 

A short pause

 

April

“I love you more”

 

They look at each other for a moment

 

April

“ So? Where to next?

 

Fade to black

 

 




 

Credits roll with pictures of them at all the spots they went to

 

 

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Remove any expositional dialogue. For example. you don't need to explain the engine is overheating - we see the smoke. "Just Great!" would cover it. Show don''t say is one of the rules.

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Posted (edited)

Well Sam, you are asking a bunch of camera geeks/artists to comment on your screenwriting.  An unusual choice of critics!

That said, filmmaking is something we really learn by doing, and you are quite young.  Go make your best movie and screen it when you are finished.  And watch the audience.  You will learn more than anything we can say here. And you will certainly improve on the next film!

If I were to give advice to a novice filmmaker, it would be to make a short film (or 2 or 3) without any dialog, or even synch sound...

Edited by Bruce Greene

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