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Author Topic: 10PTT: 23 Minutes by Trevor Mayes  (Read 7048 times)
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« on: May 18, 2012, 07:45 AM »


Lo and behold and verily it came to pass that another spec first 10 pages got me fired up enough to 10PTT. I present for your angry drunken consideration:

23 MINUTES by Trevor Mayes
(pages used by author's permission)

I stumbled onto the script while browsing http://talentville.com/

Quote
Talentville is an online community specifically created to give a voice to screenwriters and playwrights everywhere who may lack insider connections but still share the dream of being produced. By bringing together writers from all over the world in a collaborative environment, by banding together as a whole to help each member be the best that they can be, we aim to create not just an online community but in fact a city of writers, where each member can work on their craft, gain valuable exposure and ultimately benefit from their own hard work.

It's maybe the second time I've gone to the site since joining a long time ago.  And frankly, the place looks to be the Google Plus of screenwriting forums.  Not much activity.  But the place is giving it the old college try, so good luck to them.  If I weren't so lazy and lousy at networking I'd be on there more often, for sure.

Trevor himself runs http://scriptwrecked.com/ where he deals in script notes, proofreading, and Stampy the Elephant.  Swing by sometime and browse through Scriptwrecked's plump categories of screenwriting goodness.

Reading this script, what got me excited was Trevor getting excited. It makes a HUGE difference when the author's enthusiasm bleeds through the page. A vibe like this can carry a reader through a story's uneven patches, because we feel the storyteller having a grand ol' time, and it's infectious.  Despite the judder from an occasional pothole, we want the author to JUST KEEP GOING!  This isn't the bullshit bravado faux excitement some authors manufacture. You know what I mean: those all-sizzle-no-bacon guys (down, accursed pointing finger!).  No.  Trevor's having a blast writing about STEVE DERRING.  Maybe you're grinning from ear to ear along with him, maybe you're not -- doesn't matter because Trevor's too busy enjoying himself to notice. That's a Very Good Thing.

First he throws down a delicious challenge: Slow-mo... an entire movie. You've got to be kidding, right? An insanely genius gimmick or endless torture for an audience? We don't know. I've seen nothing like it except for, I suppose, parts of THE MATRIX and similar balletic slow-mo action sequences. I know this: I WANT TO SEE SOMEBODY TRY. So thank you, Trevor, for taking the first step.
 
Usual reminder: the suggested edits aren't gospel. Aren't even 'right'. Just right for me, right now. Tomorrow I could change my mind and undo them or redo them or shout at you, "No, YOU'RE THE GRAMMAR NAZI!"

Strong verbs swiped green. Most changes labeled and noted.

NOTE: When I wrote this 10PTT I had not seen the promo sheet below.  Obviously the promo sheet firms up the story spine and answers some of my conjecture.


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« Last Edit: November 20, 2015, 06:25 AM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 07:50 AM »

1. We know Steve's plummeting (in glorious slow motion) but how do we know it's happening outside the 20-story Voldeck Oil office building, which ties this first scene to the killer Voldeck truck and the second Voldeck offices scene from page 10? Sure, we can let the director figure out how to present this visually, but why not go the extra mile on the page.  Slug descriptions may be plenty enough context for a reader, but its information an audience never sees directly.

2. "chiseled features" strikes me as textbook cliché. Let's forgo it and save a line of whitespace. Or we could slip the descriptor back a bit: "The eye becomes the chiseled, panic-stricken face of STEVE DERRING..."

3. I'm super-sensitive to Shane Blackisms, so I can't not tone down the author voice a little. To me, invoking Michael Bay's name sits right there with invoking Hitler during a debate.  Careful.  The tactic can backfire.  Here, the mention earns a cheeky grin, so no problem.  Plus, the edit wins white space.

4. Classic one-word-for-two switcheroo.  My first choice was 'scrutinizes' but at four syllables that's a mouthful/brainful and it negates the word saving.  If there's a verb for 'studies' that better conveys 'intently watching' then use it. That's the wonderful thing about writers, yeah? We have abundant suitable verbs tucked away in our recepticle of words container thingy. Cornucopia, if you will.

5. "The flies buzz into the air." -- "buzzing through the air" then soon after, "buzz into the air."  If you've read my other 10PTTs you'll know I jump all over word/phrase repetition unless it's for deliberate effect. That explains my itching to slice out the second instance here.  So: "The flies buzz away."  That's not the end of it. What I really itched for was a little extra buttoning, like: "The flies buzz off drunkenly" or "The stunned flies buzz away."  Something to suggest the flies also don't know what the hell just happened or how it was even possible.


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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 08:02 AM »

1. "Releases the ball -- a lob."  Sounds flat. I don't watch baseball (FLASH MOB WITH PITCHFORKS, GNNNAHHHHH!) so maybe "releases the ball" is appropriate description for a lob. In any case, there's gotta be a better single verb.  My first choice was "Pitches -- a lob" but we mentioned "pitcher's mound" in the prior sentence, and you know I'll gnaw off my arm rather than allow repetition on a page. But, on second thought, "pitches -- a lob" probably does the best job. Typically, my secondary motivation is clawing back white space, which we can do here.

2. More repetition: "sprints toward the batter" and "spins through the air toward home plate". "Toward" seems a very formal, clinical word, and I always question its appearance.  The second use does feel right: "The ball spins toward home plate."

3. Another bit sounding flat, allowing the narrative tension to sag: "The BAT CONNECTS with the ball." It's an emotionless way of saying "The BAT WALLOPS the ball" or the aural painting of "The BAT WHIPCRACKS against the ball."  I don't know if "whipcracks" is a real verb, but it sure feels (and sounds) right in this moment.  I'm guessing Trevor's intention here was to convey watching the slow motion of the baaat connecting with the baaall, but do we need reminding that we're watching slow-motion?  Maybe we do.  I know that while reading these pages I'm not mentally slowing down the visuals to faithfully reproduce the look of the finished film.  Hmm, does that make or break the case for constant on-the-page reminders?

"... back on the ground... " -- excised because losing it cost the sentence nothing.  Where he lands is no surprise to anyone.

THE TRANSITION -- "and life is just like baseball..."  Here's the first signpost telling us our storyteller knows what he's doing: the ebb and flow of FORTUNE.  As we ride the fist-pumping triumph of Steve's impossible and presumably game-winning catch, we're only seconds away from a gut-wrenching tragedy.  Great storytellers know to put one against the other: Triumph to tragedy to triumph... The contrast -- where it doesn't overstep the mark and turn melodramatic -- can be devastating or thrilling, and THAT's how you keep a reader turning pages, keep an audience rooted to their seats: your main character's fortune must ebb and flow, peak and bottom out, like a roulette ball bouncing from red to black to red to black, and dear god in heaven where is that ball gonna park itself!


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« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 08:57 AM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 08:07 AM »

1. "SCREECH" -- yup. Used again halfway down the page: "The TRUCK SCREECHES through the intersection."  Nothing wrong with the repetition, but that doesn't stop me wanting to color it slightly differently in those two places: A + B = C instead of A + A = C.

"On a collision course with the family car." In this moment we're seeing the approaching runaway truck -- presumably a Voldeck Oil company truck, but it doesn't say so on the page -- through Steve's young eyes.  So for me, stepping back into third-person narrator viewpoint detracts marginally from the tension. "Headed right at them" -- something short and alarming as Steve's high-speed brain calculates the horrifying, inevitable slow-motion trajectories.

An interesting stylistic question arises in this scene: how to visually convey the out-of-control speed of the truck when we're limited to slow-motion shots. Will that be a problem?  Probably not.  Consider the ultra-slow-motion credit sequence that opens Zombieland. Most of those shots capture a tiny slice of frantic, violent motion. In some, maybe not even a full second of realtime.  And those shots have a palpable sense of speed and action nonetheless. Zombieland's Phantom-camera shots are overcranked way more than the slow-mo Trevor invites in his film.  If Trevor's movie gets made the way he intends and it's a hit, you just know the next guy will follow Hollywood golden rule #27 ("more is more") and do the same film BUT WITH SLOWER SLOW-MO.

2. "METAL CRUNCHES, as the car tumbles down an embankment." A small personal style choice for commas: When punching out action sequences containing short sentences, often you can easily do away with commas to accelerate the read and keep the pace fast. That's my preference.  Only leave the essential commas that must remain for clarity.

Mwahaha. Yikes, the trophy's awful and darkly ironic purpose: literally adding insult to injury.  Folks, what we have here is a writer determined to pack his protag's baggage so full of guilt, jeez, that zipper's not closing easy.


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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 08:09 AM »

1. "stuck" -- not sure why, but "stuck" doesn't fit perfectly here. Maybe because you can attach hope to "stuck."  "Aunty May got her thumb stuck in the ice-cube maker again, LOL."  But Steve's mother isn't just stuck, is she?  No.  Steve's mother is DOOMED.  That's what Steve's witnessing, and he knows it.  "Trapped" implies an urgency "stuck" leaves out.

"Some gift."  A bitter, satisfying scene button and transition that Trevor immediately builds on with the glass-breaker keychain tool.  Holy shit, what a cool protag token, and it kills me not to know that token's narrative payoff later in the story.  I love the way Trevor handles this transition between boyhood Steve and teenage Steve: the window, the keychain tool.  The transition moves us forward narratively and emotionally. Expertly done.

2. "extracts" only seems right if Steve removes the stereo with great care.  Certainly we come to see Steve as a person of precision and grace.  Otherwise a less clinical word performs better in this sentence.


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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 08:12 AM »

1. "with a key in his hand, staring daggers..." = "key in hand, staring daggers..." right?  We don't save line space in doing so, but when there's nothing else to justify it there's always the rule of thumb: say it with fewer words if you can.  On the other hand, sometimes the character or situation requires that you be wordy.

2. Skip this if you hate listening to me debate stupid petty things that make no measurable difference overall. Sigh.  I do fight it, believe me.  I'm nothing if not consistently pedantic.  "Thrusts" is a great visual word, but I'm not fond of it here. Thrust invites the notion of acceleration. I'm imagining "the Behemoth" halting his pursuit every few steps to grab a pedestrian by their belt and collar and hurl them violently off to one side.  It's an amusing image, but wrong.  How about "shoulders people out of the way...", "shoves" or the more frenetic "slams".  Those imply disturbance as a consequence of the guy charging through the throng.

"There's something about being chased down a blind alley..."  More dark insight into Steve's twin demons of guilt and self-loathing.  No coincidence his name's STEVE DERRING. This guy's a risk taker, but for all the wrong reasons.  Passively challenging Fate to choose a path for him.  Live, die, win, lose.  Steve thinks he controls none of it.


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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 08:17 AM »

And we've come full circle: back to adult Steve Derring from the first scene. Another seamless transition, this time using motion continuity. Trevor's not just telling this story, he's telling it visually.

1. "the guy we got to know from the opening scene" -- I know what Trevor means, but that statement isn't accurate.  The only things we learn about Steve in that opening scene are a) he doesn't want to die, and b) Steve is supposed to have some sort of "gift." In later scenes we learn about younger Steve's fatalism and self-destructive streak, and that contrasts with older Steve's terror at the prospect of his death in the opening scene.  Clearly older Steve WANTS TO LIVE compared with younger Steve's indifference. And in later scenes we learn about "the gift."  To be accurate, that quoted line should read innocuously: "the guy from the opening scene".

In answer to your question: yes, I can. I can most definitely feel Trevor glaring daggers at me right now while he ponders my mental fitness to drive a keyboard.  I often stand beside myself and wonder the same thing. And another self stands beside that second self and wonders... and so on.  It's crowded in here.

So. We get another interesting story-world rule: preternatural reflexers ('PRs' -- my designation) age faster than regular folks.  Stands to reason.  Is the aging only accelerated when Steve's actively exercising his abilities, or is it a slow continuous thing?

Your brain should be throttling up as you consider that, forming new questions about this slightly left-of-center story world.  Is Steve the only one with "the gift"?  What would it look like to have two PRs battle each other?

I confess, I've not fully thought through the handling of slow-mo and Steve's place within it.  Trevor will need to be our authority.  But I think it works this way: Steve is in sync with the rest of the slow-mo visuals (that is, in sync with his story world clock) except for the moments when he displays his PR gift -- snatching the flies from the air, for example. At those moments he switches to something more akin to audience realtime. And then, with the PR action complete, it's back to regular slow-mo for him.  That way, the only time he looks unusual to those inside his story world is during those moments of PR activity.

If I've got that wrong then it means Steve is CONSTANTLY immersed in his PR hypertime, and we're watching the story play out through Steve's perception of his own world: the world is running at real time but Steve's perception renders it slow-mo.  I'm going to stop wondering and wait for Trevor to clear up how it's supposed to work on screen. Then I won't be chasing my tail.

You see what I mean, right, about this idea being either unworkably batshit crazy or a chance to do something really fascinating, moreso than the familiar slow-mo techniques used in THE MATRIX, WANTED and such?

Back to the page we go.

Beautiful day in the rugged outdoors. Not for Steve.  He's in full don't-give-a-shit mode.  No appreciation.  No safety rope.  No regard for himself or any of you assholes.  Just Steve daring the world to hurry up and pull the trigger.

Take a good look at Steve arrogantly scaling that rockface, 'cos next page Steve's world changes forever.


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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 08:19 AM »

One last stupid, reckless risk and the universe screams "Steve! Dude, seriously. ENOUGH!"

An invisible pulse ripples through spacetime.  The planets shift their orbits. And the universe delivers unto Steve: LAURA.  Cheesy hyperbole aside, this is quite the meet-cute.  "A scorching silhouette" -- she literally comes to him out of the sun.  "Any man would see this woman for the first time in slow motion" -- and any grumpy Shane-Black-weary script reader would smile at that slyly effective sentence.

"She had one big flaw... a boyfriend." BAM. And there we have it. Page 7, our antagonist, our love interest, and now the real conflict can begin.  Does your script put all the elements in play inside your first 10?


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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 08:27 AM »

1. Another interesting thing to ponder: in the next few pages we'll get a feel for how Trevor handles direct character dialogue.  I'll skip ahead and reiterate Trevor's script note:

Quote
"READER'S NOTE: Since EVERY SCENE in this movie is in slow motion, we'll never hold on actors' faces as conversations play out.  Only glimpses, if necessary, then the shot would quickly change to key objects or actions in the scene."

Now, back to page 8, where Trevor introduces boyfriend/antagonist Evan's band of merry men.  Seven of them.  Seven.  Don't even think about dwarfs or I will knock you the fuck into next Wednesday.  Oh wait.  Plus Evan equals eight.  So the allusion doesn't hold.  Let me help you the fuck back up.  No hard feeling, bro.

Remember, the audience wont know these supporting characters by name until informed through dialogue or visual exposition.  Trevor visually differentiates each character pretty well, so maybe it's not so important we (the audience) attach a name to them just yet, or even at all.  Trevor's brief character descriptions suggest these players will quickly become familiar to us through their looks and deeds alone.  But just noting the issue here: from their page 8 introduction through to page 10 none of these characters have dialogue or get spoken about, so we remain ingorant of their names.  I don't have the rest of the script so I can't tell you how far along this remains a potential problem.

So Steve has two powerful forces motivating him to join this motley crew. First is Laura. D'uh.  Second is the ripe promise of badass thrillfuckery oozing from this collective's every orifice.  Is this bunch alluring enough for badboy Steve?  Reread the group intro and tell me that's not a boiling cloud of GETTHEFUCKOUTOFMYWAY coming at you during your Saturday morning mall shopping.  Dude's piloting two rottweilers, for fucksake! Yes, this is an extreme sports family our Steve will slot into nicely, thank you.

Thinking on it, there's a third simmering motiviation leading Steve to join this gang.  He knows a little about them already.  He knows what they do: environmentalists.  So in his mind there's a strong possibility aligning with them will bring him sooner or later to the steps of Voldeck Oil.  His subconscious knows that's a path he needs to follow.


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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 08:40 AM »

1. "Their attraction to each other is palpable."  Trevor knows why that sentence gets the walk of shame.  It's one of those things we slip into our scripts just to keep moving forward when we can't be much bothered, all the while knowing tomorrow that sentence will bust the writer's ass wide open like yesterday's chili tacos, but to hell with it, today I'm taking easy street.  (At my urging, the previous sentence voluntarily agrees to join Miss Palpable's walk of shame.)

2. I mentioned this reader note a page or two back. I wondered why it's sitting here on page 9 when it's an important framing device we need to know about up front.  I figured it should appear much earlier.  Reviewing the pages, I see Trevor's a step ahead of me.  Prior to page 9 the only external dialogue is from Steve, and those are just a few brief V.O.'s.  Until now there was no need to explain the handling of external dialogue. So having the note here on page 9 is fine and dandy.  Oh, don't worry, Trevor. I'll get you and your little dog too!

The floating, detached dialogue could hinder audience engagement. This needs testing to find the right approach -- if there is one.  Watching a character's face as they speak is hugely important in traditional cinema. There are plenty of narrated films, yes, but I can't think of a film that does multiple intertwined voice overs like this will.  Oh snap: TREE OF LIFE.  Of course. That does some of what Trevor plans here, i.e. lots of voice-over and disjointed visuals.  But not the always-on slow motion.  Hands up who found TREE OF LIFE distant and unaffecting?  If you did, could one reason be the separation of dialogue from characters?

So, handling external dialogue will be a big challenge to get right.  Happily, challenges are wonderful fuel for creativity.

Back to the page.

We get this delightful moment between Steve and Laura when she fastens his safety line. A couple of things happen quickly.  First, the unexpected flirting and intimacy.  Steve gets the confirmation he hopes for: she's into him.  Has Steve been in love before?  Really in love?  Maybe no and that's part of why he's an asshole. Maybe yes, it didn't work out, and that's partly why he's an asshole.  One thing's certain: Laura's a compelling reason to stay alive.

Then there's the revelation of Laura's fast hands. She's so fast Steve didn't feel her attach the safety rope. Which means they have something unique in common. How much in common?  Could Laura have "the gift" too?  Could be she's just unusually fast for a normal or perhaps it's due to all her outdoor training.  Either way, that's a new, intriguing connection between them.

On this page and the next Trevor builds the foundation for conflict between Steve and Laura's boyfriend, Evan.  The group's Alpha Male is unsure if Steve will be a challenger, but he's taking no chances.


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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 08:52 AM »

1. When you're falling from a slackine hundred of feet from the ground you might leisurely "reach" for it as you tumble past... or you might holyFUCK-grab-GRAB-IT-GRAB-IT!!  Depends who you are and your state of mind. As written, Steve comes off as still not giving a fuck about himself.  Granted, he knows he's golden because the safety line's in place to do its job.  Nothing to worry about.  So the scene plays out fine with Steve being his usual arrogant, devil-may-care self, still doing his best to impress everyone.

But... if now Steve's in the early stages of losing his grand sense of infallibility because now Laura's on his mind and he's starting to wonder if maybe he should go easy on the death-defying antics on account of how dead people have lousy love lives... then if he feels himself falling he's going to panic -- probably the first time in his adult life -- and he's going to LUNGE FOR THE SLACKLINE, miss it, drop for a despairing heartbeat til the safety line catches him... and he's going to swing there feeling like an idiot for panicking when there was never any real danger, hoping she didn't see him lose his cool when he momentarily forgot about the safety line.  Forgot because of that brief, sudden, unexpected need to live at all costs. Not live for himself. Live for someone else.

Circling back to the first interpretation of the scene, how exactly does a fellow with preternatural reflexes miss grabbing for the slackline?  One explanation is he's too damn cocky and trusts his safety line won't fail.  Another explanation is he misses deliberately.  More grand-standing for Laura.  Another is precisely the one Steve gives voice to: "There aren't any tells that you're in trouble until it's too late" -- something about balancing on a rope thwarts even his preternatural instincts.  Is that like his kryptonite maybe?  His special power's weakness?  I don't want to overly frame "the gift" in superhero terms, because it's not by any stretch a super power.

In any case, Laura's actions appear to save his life.  No safety rope + missed grab = splat.  (Would he have acted differently if no safety rope?)  I say "appear" because there remains a slim possibility Steve orchestrated the fall to test and strenghen his relationship with Laura.  I don't think that's the intended reading, but I can't rule it out because I feel there's no plausible explanation offered for why Steve's preternatural reflexes are entirely ineffective on a balance rope.

The reading of this scene hinges on a couple of words. This nicely illustrates how crucial it is to choose the right words and remove ambiguity from the page. You might think you wrote a scene that matches the schematics in your head. The true test is for others to read the scene and offer conflicting interpretations where they arise.

"Reaches" supports a reading where Steve is unperturbed by the fall.  He's the same guy he was before he met Laura.  "Lunges" supports one where Steve has begun his arc from carefree to caring, from selfish to selfless.  Being his old self has begun to itch uncomfortably for reasons he doesn't understand yet.

"Smiles at Laura." -- "Smiles" adds nothing to our reading. It's too neutral in this context. Is Steve smiling bashfully?  Smugly?  Genuinely amused?  Any of these colorings would tip the scales to one of the two suggested scene readings.

Perhaps a full reading of the script yields clues about how to interpret this early scene.  But I would argue each scene should be unambigious except where ambiguity forms part of the narrative.  When filmed this scene will take on nuances in performance and action that will likely remove any ambiguity about what's going on between them.  The faces will tell the story -- even in slow motion.

Oh wow, have I ever prattled on.  Back to business.

2. Some minor trimming with the simple purpose of eliminating unnecessary parts to quicken the read.  Let the context do some of the lifting.

3. Plain edit to trim fat and squish a word group down to a single word.  Forgot to excise a comma. The edit should read: "Fischer and the guys laugh, hoot and holler from across the gorge."  I wonder if that fits on one line now.  Arguably there could be an additional comma after "hoot", but that would be British listing.  When in doubt leave the comma out -- if there's no ambiguity.

One more note.  In other 10PTTs I've argued the importance of anchoring your reader in time and space at the beginning of sentences.  It lets your brain construct a more concrete mental picture.  If your time/space references trail at the end, your brain may have to erase the picture it was building while parsing the front of the sentence and start a new one based on the new geospatial/temporal information.

So we could switch this sentence around and write: "Across the gorge Fischer and the guys laugh, hoot and holler."  There's no discernable difference between the two, but where you place your time/space references CAN have a subtle but important effect on the framing and sequence of shots that flow logically from the page.  Head back to the other 10PTTs for more discussion about this.  Pretty sure previously I've flogged the issue to death, to life, then back to death.

4. Drinking game: throw back a shot each time you see an edit like this and moan "Come on!" or "You shitting me?" or "Pitchpatch?  More like... mmm--Bitch Patch, amiright?  More like... sh--Shit Patch, yeah?  More like shhh... muthaf--back off, people, it's go time in barf town..."

We finish this page with Steve's initiation into Fischer's environmentalist group.  Last scene on the page draws a line back to the opening scene. Now we have an inkling about the story throughline: Steve's day is approaching when he gets to face off with those corporate bad boys.  Assuming it was a Voldeck oil truck that cleaned up his family (oh, that phrasing is just not right), there'll be hell to pay.

And what of the Fischer-Steve-Laura dynamic? Will it sour quickly?  Will it come full circle?  Will Fischer eventually concede dominion over Laura and return to participate in the group's final fight against Big Oil, or will he be the principle antagonist opposing Steve's arc?  Anything can happen from here.  Trevor did a bang-up job laying the foundation in his first 10 pages.  I know I've enjoyed a first 10 when part of me wants to read no further. Whoa, wait -- that reaction applies equally to the scripts I hate!  Rephrase: I know I've enjoyed a first 10 when part of me wants to read no further BECAUSE I dread the author letting me down.  I want to camp at the page 10 threshold and bask in the possibilities ahead and dream the author beats every one of my best story projections. If I read no further I'm pleasantly, perfectly, perpetually balanced on an fulcrum hovering between anticipation and satisfaction.

But that's a Happy Place you can only visit.  They kick you out at 11 AM.  So one day, probably soon, I'll email Trevor and ask for his full script. "Oh yeah," he'll say, and I'll listen to the crackle of stressed plastic when his fist curls tighter around his phone. "I remember you," he'll say. "The fuckin' ten-page-torture guy.  Yeah.  The guy.  You know, you never did tell me where you live.  Give me you address, friendo."

I'm in the Happy Place, Trev.  Thanks for booking me in.


My name's Bitch-- oh there we go.  So that's in my head now.  Fuck.  My name's Pitchpatch, okay?  It's Pitchpatch.  And this was a 10PTT for 24 SECONDS written by Trevor Mayes.  You've been a great audience, especially the search engines who always come back.


* 10ptt-23minutes-p10.png (114.27 KB, 615x898 - viewed 436 times.)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 09:03 AM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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Pitchpatch
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2012, 02:44 AM »

One thing I did not think much about until now is SOUND.

The movie's unspooling in slow-mo and so is all sound save for narration and music score.  What will it be like to experience 90+ minutes of sound with the brakes continuously applied?  How will that affect the action scenes?  Will it lull the audience into a trance state, a state of excessive relaxation?

Thinking back to THE MATRIX, no, the sights and sounds in those slow-mo sequences lost no excitement. But we're talking short bursts of slow-mo, not an end-to-end feature.

It's another fascinating creative challenge bundled into this intriguing movie concept.
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2012, 11:09 PM »

Finally I have some free time to delve into the succulent goodness that is this review! Pitchpatch -- if that is your real name (muahahahaha) -- you've done a fantabulous job of critiquing the first 10 pages.

Sometimes you were so on point that I had to quell the need to shout, "Get out of my heeeeeead!"

Thrilled to hear that my enthusiasm for the story bled through onto  the pages. I'm looking forward to adding my two bits, answering questions, and generally stopping to applaud your critique.
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 11:21 PM »

1. We know Steve's plummeting (in glorious slow motion) but how do we know it's happening outside the 20-story Voldeck Oil office building, which ties this first scene to the killer Voldeck truck and the second Voldeck offices scene from page 10? Sure, we can let the director figure out how to present this visually, but why not go the extra mile on the page.  Slug descriptions may be plenty enough context for a reader, but its information an audience never sees directly.

2. "chiseled features" strikes me as textbook cliché. Let's forgo it and save a line of whitespace. Or we could slip the descriptor back a bit: "The eye becomes the chiseled, panic-stricken face of STEVE DERRING..."

3. I'm super-sensitive to Shane Blackisms, so I can't not tone down the author voice a little. To me, invoking Michael Bay's name sits right there with invoking Hitler during a debate.  Careful.  The tactic can backfire.  Here, the mention earns a cheeky grin, so no problem.  Plus, the edit wins white space.

4. Classic one-word-for-two switcheroo.  My first choice was 'scrutinizes' but at four syllables that's a mouthful/brainful and it negates the word saving.  If there's a verb for 'studies' that better conveys 'intently watching' then use it. That's the wonderful thing about writers, yeah? We have abundant suitable verbs tucked away in our recepticle of words container thingy. Cornucopia, if you will.

5. "The flies buzz into the air." -- "buzzing through the air" then soon after, "buzz into the air."  If you've read my other 10PTTs you'll know I jump all over word/phrase repetition unless it's for deliberate effect. That explains my itching to slice out the second instance here.  So: "The flies buzz away."  That's not the end of it. What I really itched for was a little extra buttoning, like: "The flies buzz off drunkenly" or "The stunned flies buzz away."  Something to suggest the flies also don't know what the hell just happened or how it was even possible.

1. I don't quite understand the comment on this one. Could you please clarify?

2. Chiseled features on its own is something of a cliche, which is why I've put it in the context I have. I think it works as is.

3. Yup, you're right here. It's a risky play to invoke the Bay, and also the Shane Blackism. But I think it works. I also like explicitly stating that this is a first just to drive the point home as to what's truly being attempted with this script.

4. Agreed.

5. Buzz away work. Don't want to put too much undo emphasis on the flies otherwise the reader may start to ascribe a greater significance to their disposition.
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 11:35 PM »

1. "Releases the ball -- a lob."  Sounds flat. I don't watch baseball (FLASH MOB WITH PITCHFORKS, GNNNAHHHHH!) so maybe "releases the ball" is appropriate description for a lob. In any case, there's gotta be a better single verb.  My first choice was "Pitches -- a lob" but we mentioned "pitcher's mound" in the prior sentence, and you know I'll gnaw off my arm rather than allow repetition on a page. But, on second thought, "pitches -- a lob" probably does the best job. Typically, my secondary motivation is clawing back white space, which we can do here.

2. More repetition: "sprints toward the batter" and "spins through the air toward home plate". "Toward" seems a very formal, clinical word, and I always question its appearance.  The second use does feel right: "The ball spins toward home plate."

3. Another bit sounding flat, allowing the narrative tension to sag: "The BAT CONNECTS with the ball." It's an emotionless way of saying "The BAT WALLOPS the ball" or the aural painting of "The BAT WHIPCRACKS against the ball."  I don't know if "whipcracks" is a real verb, but it sure feels (and sounds) right in this moment.  I'm guessing Trevor's intention here was to convey watching the slow motion of the baaat connecting with the baaall, but do we need reminding that we're watching slow-motion?  Maybe we do.  I know that while reading these pages I'm not mentally slowing down the visuals to faithfully reproduce the look of the finished film.  Hmm, does that make or break the case for constant on-the-page reminders?

"... back on the ground... " -- excised because losing it cost the sentence nothing.  Where he lands is no surprise to anyone.


1. Releases was used, as opposed to pitch, to focus on that one component of the pitch -- to help keep the reader dialed in to the slow motion.

2. I have this debate a lot. If I use the word "to" instead of toward, the brain connects the dots, and the ball, etc. is already there. "Toward" is sometimes a necessary evil for clarity's sake. If I use "for" instead of "toward" in this instance, the reader may believe that there's some intent to do something to the batter.

I like the elision of "through the air" though.

3. I like "whipcracks" -- but not in this script. Any words like "whip" break you out of the slow motion vibe. I agree though, there's probably a better word than "connects" -- although "connects" is somewhat onomatopoeic with its hard K sound, and it does emphasize that moment as you astutely reckoned.

"back on the ground..." -- yeah, I labored back and forth over that one. I ended up using it for clarity's sake. Adding that clause makes sure the reader knows I'm not referring to the ball or the mitt.
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