Crazy People
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Rating: 1.9/5 (4 votes cast)

Crazy People

Love, Lies, Deceit, Abuse, Sexism, and Homophobia affect seven associates who work at a JCPenney in the shoe department.

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  1. February 17, 2013, 11:14 am
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    I’m not impress with your setup you didn’t create an atmosphere that makes me what to know more about it. I agree with previous comments that you should work on the basic writing techniques then try again. Don’t give up because if you take advice and learn from it you will grow. Best wishes to you!

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  2. January 24, 2013, 2:02 am
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    This was great! Keep up the good work.

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  3. Profile photo of handsomefatman
    October 13, 2012, 9:16 pm
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    Before anything else we need to address formatting, and apologies in advance but this is going to be abrasive:

    While I’m not so close-minded as to immediately negatively judge anything not obviously made in Final Draft or some other scriptwriting word processor that produces scripts what at least look like the real deal, I’m nowhere near open-minded enough to accept a script where:

    1. Every last bit of text is centered on the page (a monstrously huge no-no);
    2. Character names are not used when the same character has consecutive lines (“Continued” is not a character); and
    3. I see “Page 1 out of 133” when I first open the PDF (that’s about 30 pages too long).

    If I was some bottom rung script reader for a major studio, I’d be looking for any excuse to not have to read any given script. Those 3 things above? That would have been an immediate “decline.” Grab Final Draft and make the thing look like a script, please.

    Format is crucial, as without it reading the script and observing any positive qualities becomes difficult. That all out of the way, let’s talk about the script.

    So I think the way the characters appear in your head and on the page are very different. Don’t take that as an insult: it happens to all of us.

    I imagine you’re going for “modern, intelligent, quick-witted” for many of these characters, but they’re coming across on the page as oddball and petty, bickering over nothing no sane human being in actual reality bickers over or talking about something that just doesn’t matter.

    It may be best to watch films with such characters, like Go or Crash, and learn from that.

    Dialogue needs work. Less is more. Dialogue needs to kinda-sorta sound like someone in real life would actually say it, while simultaneously avoiding the minutiae (even if someone in real life would actually say it). You don’t need a character to curse, like Derrick does at the start, if we see, in description, that he’s annoyed. In fact, an actor may well curse anyway — that’s their job. You can even write “Derrick curses” as the action and leave it to the director/actor.

    Snappy, revealing subtext without exposition; that’s good dialogue. An example out of Return of the Jedi: “The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” When Darth Vader says that, you get a picture of how brutal Palpatine is if Vader is saying, by comparison, he’s a saint. A few words paints a broad, horrifying, intense picture.

    An example: on page 2, when Lucia says her line about Sean’s comeback but that Lucia is offended at the same time, she could instead just say “Classy.” And Sean could either not reply or say “I try” or something along those lines.

    As for grammar, this is always a tough category for a critic to, well, criticize, because screenplays break so many grammatical rules for the sake of tone and voice. The occasional run-on sentence, many a sentence fragment, phrasing more in-line with casual conversational tone than “proper” English: that’s all part of screenwriting.

    That said, there’s too much missing punctuation, making sentences that would otherwise be okay to read unnecessarily difficult. Always read it aloud, taking into account punctuation — a comma is a small pause, a semi-colon a longer one, a period a longer one still, etc. If you’re missing commas but, while reading out loud, add pauses, you probably need commas. (Don’t overdo them, of course).

    Now, even with that addressed, there’s much wordy explanation where less is needed — and indeed, less would be more. I don’t need to know the specifics of a characters physique UNLESS that physique is critical to the screenplay — and even then, I might not need it. The same applies to location details, etc.

    As mentioned, grammar in screenplays is a tricky beast. I suggest reading good scripts — John August’s site has a bunch of his, and I also recommend the scripts for Thelma & Louise and Casablanca — and mimicking how they do it. Those scripts are also great for dialogue, plot, interactions, scene description — anything and everything you need, really.

    Best of luck with the contest and with future scripts.

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    • Profile photo of handsomefatman
      October 13, 2012, 10:23 pm

      An addendum, one I meant to include with my response but didn’t for some reason:

      I think the concept if a dysfunctional shoe department leading to schemes within schemes and bigotry leading to tragedy is interesting, but there’s a definite shift in tone along the way. That *can* work (see: Thelma and Louise), but needs to be handled carefully.

      One suggestion, which also avoids potentially needing to get the actual JC Penney’s buy-in, is the shoe store’s name. Maudlin Shoes or something.

      That’s all. Again, best of luck with the contest and with future scripts.

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    • Profile photo of TheElite09
      TheElite09 says
      October 14, 2012, 1:00 am

      No need to apologize and I’m sorry you read such a messy and lengthy script. Its good to know that I don’t have to describe the characters physical appearance as I thought I did. Thank you for your very detailed feedback and I’m glad you were very blunt with me. To me your comments and jjcj3113’s comments are positive as I now know what’s wrong with the script. Again thank you for your excellent feedback.

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      • Profile photo of handsomefatman
        October 14, 2012, 2:36 am

        Don’t apologize! We all go through the learning process, for everything we do. Everyone. I’m sure you’ll improve.

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    TheElite09 says
    September 30, 2012, 3:10 am

    Thank you so much. I’m a new writer as this is my first script and I’ve entered this script on three other contests, but it never made it to even the quarter finals. My only reason for entering this contest was to get feedback from people like you. Thank you for your complete honesty as I needed to know what was wrong and apparently it’s everything. Again thank you for your feedback and I’m sorry that you had to read such a terrible script.

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    • Profile photo of jjcj3113
      jjcj3113 says
      September 30, 2012, 12:26 pm

      I think you exhibit some raw talent and have a creative imagination. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

      I enjoyed reading the script, if I hadn’t I would not have completed it. I just think you need a little training to be able to finetune and polish your craft.

      Please don’t let comments dissaude you from writing. Never give up and keep trying to be a better writer. It will pay off in the future. Good Luck

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    jjcj3113 says
    September 30, 2012, 1:33 am
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    My first suggestion to the writer would be to get a screenwriting software like final draft or celtx(which is free and can be downloaded at http://www.celtx.com). The script obviously was not written with either of these programs and was a complete mess.

    My second suggestion, would be to learn some of the basics of screenwriting, (I.e. slug lines, how to introduce characters, buy a book on screenwriting or just read some of the other scripts on this site).

    I wish I could say something positive about this script, but it would be a real stretch to do so. I applaud the writer for coming up with a story and getting it down on paper, but this seems like a very first draft with a lot of work needing to be done to even get it in shape for a reader.

    Too much dialogue, not enough visuals, very little action, very unbelievable characters, the dialogue was on the nose and completely unrealistic. That time to read you dialogue out loud and see if it sounds like someone you know speaks.

    This script needs a complete rewrite from page one. The best advice a teacher of mine gave me when doing a rewrite is to start with a blank page. Now that you know your story rewrite it from memory and don’t cut and paste from your first draft. We are all better writers today than we were yesterday. So start fresh and see where that takes you.

    Writing is rewriting…. And rewriting…

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