Beyond Salvage
User Rating:
VN:RO [1.9.17_1161]
Overall
Concept
Story Structure
Character
Dialogue
Grammar
Budget (1-Low / 5-High)
Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Beyond Salvage

Matthew Burgoyne – a corporate lawyer with a long, shadowy intelligence past – has a problem: While meeting with Alexandra Deriabin – a beautiful exotic dancer at a D.C. strip club and the granddaughter of a Russian defector – for information on his latest case, he encounters a gang of Russian “maffiya.” They’re now dead, and Burgoyne’s problem is the choice he faces: kill the girl and continue to pursue a $6 Billion fortune, or risk capture and likely death attempting to exonerate her? Ultimately, he learns that people must always be ends, never means.

7 Comments

Leave A Reply
  1. Profile photo of barfield999
    February 14, 2016, 2:20 pm

    Action sequences are burdensome with too much detail such as clothing and street names.
    Details are to drive the plot forward. There is formatting problems as well. The dialogue is
    interesting but some of it runs a little long in some places.

    VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Report user
  2. Profile photo of kccarmea
    kccarmea says
    April 9, 2013, 9:17 am
    Overall
    Concept
    Story Structure
    Character
    Dialogue
    Grammar
    Budget (1-Low / 5-High)

    The beginning was strong, I was hooked when Burgoyne shot Kuang the fake driver.

    You often have characters speaking several times in a row without breaks. There should never be a time when a character speaks twice without something breaking it up.

    On p.42 Alex repeats “you are my only connection to the world” at least twice which is one too many.

    On P53 Burgoyne retells the story of what happened in Chicago. We don’t need to hear it again, but if you must then don’t repeat every single detail.

    I think it would be cooler if Alex took out the camera herself and discovered the people following them instead of Burgoyne.

    The second half of the screenplay has way too much talking. I like the rule that dialogue should not exceed 4-5 lines. Sometimes you go over 10. There needs to be more action.

    ronaldford3 is right, trim at least 10 pages out or more and tell us more about Burgoyne, I feel I know nothing about him. And write “the end” at the end.

    The ending can be more exciting. The exploding car was the only piece of action in the entire second half of the screenplay. Put more shooting and blowing up thoughout the movie. The beginning was great and bloody I loved it. I thought “wow, if it’s this good this early it must get better”. Do more of that and remember SHOW don’t TELL. I feel much, much of the dialogue could have been shown.

    Good Luck

    Kyle

    VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Report user
    • Profile photo of mscottesq
      mscottesq says
      April 10, 2013, 5:46 pm

      Hi Ryan,

      This is the second try at sending you a response. College IT systems (I’m an adjunct professor) suck. Thanks for your comments.

      I agree with you that a character should not speak several times without action or dialogue from another character to break it up. Where did you find that? I couldn’t find the instances you found.

      Same thing on 42. I only have Alex telling Burgoyne he’s her only contact in the world once on that page. It comes up again at the end when Burgoyne is not going to accompany everyone out of the building, but is going to remain and presumably killed by Cons Ops. (Although to some extent, Alex is obviously acting because she set up the escape in the elevator. What I was trying to get across was that she finally realizes that he’s in real peril. To that point, most of the conversation has gone over her head.)

      I agree with you on Burgoyne’s account of Chicago on 53. The whole “mercy killing” thing could go.

      I’m confused about the camera. Alex does take it out (at Burgoyne’s direction), and she finds the “pavement artists.” All Burgoyne knows is that something isn’t right, and he contacts the Quebec security team and tells Alex to take his picture. She also uses the camera – this time on her own initiative – to watch what’s going on while Burgoyne cleans out their hotel room.

      You make excellent points about the second half. There is too much dialogue, and – your main point – there is no action until the end. The problem is that this is a work of historical fiction. I’m sure you heard of the Marshall Plan in history class; I’m equally sure that (unless you studied history in grad school), you never heard of the Morgenthau Plan. A lot of the information there is difficult to “show;” on the other hand, maybe I should cut it and save it for a novel. Putting in action is easy. If you like brutal violence, you’d probably enjoy my second work, Killing Time, which also provides a lot of the back-story on Burgoyne.

      I think part of the problem is that I don’t really set up the dilemma Burgoyne faces: professional tradecraft says “kill the girl,” but his ethical principles won’t let him. Yeah, I address it later, and certainly I do at the end (probably with too much dialogue that is much too long). It all comes out indirectly in conversation between Burgoyne and Alex and in the (too lengthy) dialogue between them at the end.

      While, generally, you want to avoid dialogue that is too “on the nose,” perhaps this is an exception. Maybe, right after the encounter with the Russian thugs when Burgoyne tells Alex to get in the car, she should ask why. Then, in the car, she could ask him to drop her off someplace (like the Metro) so she can escape on her own. Burgoyne could explain very directly. “I should kill you. We always talk in Russian, so nobody knows anything. If I kill you now, they never will.” You get the idea. He should decide the moral issue during that ride. That would eliminate a lot, although not all, of the babbling later. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

      As for the character of Burgoyne and the distinction between Peterson and Caswell, read my comments to Ron. I actually use Peterson to break up conversation among the FBI folks. He’s intended to be the boss who just wants the case closed. But, apparently, it didn’t work.

      I’m really interested that nobody objects to the mention of the three Palestinians that Burgoyne uses to blackmail Mossad. I never explain – intentionally, because there have to be sequels – but those three were very real, they did disappear when Burgoyne says they did, and Israel would be very embarrassed if the story ever came out. The story is so sensitive, and presumably classified (although I haven’t checked), that I probably couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use it. But, I’m surprised that nobody has suggested that the sudden mention of these three guys (who are never explained) effectively motivates Mossad is too convenient.

      My objective was not to just write another action thriller. The story is supposed to make a philosophical point, although it may not be clear enough, at least not until the very end. Killing Time also has a philosophical point, but there is a lot more action.

      If you want to read Killing Time, just send me an email address. In Killing Time, Burgoyne is a breathtakingly cynical college drop out assigned by his employer to a government contract providing support services to Air America, the CIA airline, during the Secret War in Laos. The growth he experiences takes place during an on-going, brutal war. Except for his bureaucratic battles with the folks running the covert war, there are constant battles and war scenes, including a couple of unimaginably violent scenes at the end.

      I’ve been invited to enter a third contest, and I have to write a screenplay quickly. I have an idea for a story, but no profound point to make. So, I’ll take your advice and include lots of violence.

      Beyond Salvage is my first screenplay. At least I’m getting substantive comments on character, story, etc. rather than comments on formatting or obvious rookie mistakes (like describing things that the audience can neither see nor hear).

      Thanks again for the feedback. Also, I’m really interested in getting some clarification on some of your comments that I found confusing.

      Regards,
      mscottesq

      VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Report user
  3. April 2, 2013, 12:54 am
    Overall
    Concept
    Story Structure
    Character
    Dialogue
    Grammar
    Budget (1-Low / 5-High)

    Burgoyne and Alex relationship shows some potential.

    I believe these two need to be fleshed out and more should be revealed about Burgoyne in particular to get across to fully get the message as to how he’s so compassionate towards Alex.

    Peterson and Caswell are one dimensional and half their time on the screen is useless.

    Cut out most of their yapping, and the script will probably be about 10 pages shorter, giving you 120 pages, which is the normal industry limit for screenplays, especially for aspiring writers such as you and I.

    Anyhow, I’d focus a little more on Burgoyne and tapping into his true motivations and what not, making him a more well rounded character, especially sense the premise of the story itself is nothing new.

    Best of luck

    Ron

    VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Report user
    • Profile photo of mscottesq
      mscottesq says
      April 7, 2013, 1:08 pm

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks for the comments. First, how Beyond Salvage got classed in Sci Fi and Fantasy beats the hell out of me. It is a work of historical fiction.

      Dexter White was Dep Sec/Treas under Morgenthau. He was a Soviet spy. He did sell currency printing plates to the Soviets. He wrote the Morgenthau Plan, and it says exactly what I say it says. It took Marshall and Herbert Hoover (of all people) to convince Roosevelt/Truman that they were nuts. Dexter White did obstruct delivery of $200 Mn in gold appropriated for the Nationalist Chinese, although my suggestion of the gold as backing for the currency is fictional, it’s plausible. Dexter White did die suddenly. So, you know a little more U.S. history.

      I tried to develop the Burgoyne/Alex relationship in earlier drafts. That stuff got cut in previous edits to make the work shorter. I shortened it to the conversation among Peterson, Caswell, and Draper in the club. Burgoyne’s a true loner (in “diagnostic speak” he has schizoid personality disorder – he has no close relationships with anyone – “friendship” with a stripper is as deep as it gets for him), but he finds value in everyone, which is why he is a brilliant intelligence asset. And, while he has few ethical scruples, he is committed to the ones he does have, the primary one being people should always be ends not means. Apparently what I tried to do didn’t work. Based on your comment, I’ll highlight the problem he faces (professional tradecraft says “kill the girl,” but he chooses the alternative of redeeming her).

      Interesting comment on Peterson and Caswell. I will revisit the script (assuming it is worth doing at all) in light of your perception. Peterson is supposed to come across as “the boss,” the guy in charge who wants the case solved, but is willing to be fair. Caswell is supposed to be the guy who raises the tough questions that distinguish Burgoyne from a common serial killer and makes Peterson’s job (just get Burgoyne and get this case closed) more challenging.

      To some extent, I use these guys for Burgoyne back-story, although – as you correctly noted- that also is incomplete. I thought that having SIS and Mossad tell him he’s nuts (together with the Peterson, Caswell, Draper scene) made him unique enough. Guess it didn’t work.

      Again, earlier drafts provided much more back-story on Burgoyne, but that stuff got cut because it was too long. In fact – typically – I did this backwards. I have a second screenplay (Killing Time) that provides a lot of the Burgoyne back-story. He’s a brilliant college drop-out, breathtakingly cynical, who is assigned to a government contract project by his multinational conglomerate employer providing aviation support services to Air America (the old CIA airline) during the Secret War in Laos. Leading a group of Hmong mercenaries, he runs into the NVA army at the outset of the Easter Offensive in 1972. That encounter explains much of his contemporary personality. [If you want to read it, send me an email. I didn’t enter it because I didn’t have the money.]

      Thank you again for your constructive comments. They are very much appreciated.

      Regards,

      mscottesq

      VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Report user

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.