My take on Stoker's classic.
HOW IT RATES
A missionary's faith is shaken by a series of harrowing encounters with a Sioux medicine man who seems to have supernatural powers.
Other Submissions by Gary Wright
Light-skinned slave girl makes a run for it, disguised as a racist, secessionist Southern gentleman.
Never use a thin-skinned friend as a character in your fiction.
Members Who Like This Submission Also Like...
When a battle-scarred knight loses his freedom, his birthright and his love to a devious prince, he escapes death... more
An Acadian man and Mi’kmaq woman live and love amidst colonial war between England and France.
A priest struggles against all odds to keep hope and love alive in the hell that is Auschwitz.
Reviews of THE RIGGS TRANSLATION 12
by Wil Borne on 07/19/2011First I'd like to say that this was a great story.It started off a bit slow for me by as I continue reading the action began to pick up in high gear.The pace was well balanced not too face and not too slow. I saw you used a lot of POVS,Some might say that it isn't neccessary and that you should leave it up to the director,but I don't have a problem with it.It really gives more... First I'd like to say that this was a great story.It started off a bit slow for me by as I continue reading the action began to pick up in high gear.The pace was well balanced not too face and not too slow. I saw you used a lot of POVS,Some might say that it isn't neccessary and that you should leave it up to the director,but I don't have a problem with it.It really gives more detail and description of action,if there is a shot that is important and you want to use POV,I say go ahead and use it. All characters were great and well written. It seemed that Sarah and Stephen switched places towards the end and what I mean by that is Sarah acted more nice and generous to the indians and less obessed about preaching christ to them like in the begining where Stephen was really upset about the whole death thing in the end.However, I was confused with Eagle Help and Tip of the horn. There were parts where Eagle Help is Tip of the horn son and he is his father.I don't really get it,I might have misread something while reading it.There were a few dialogues that sounded a little modern compared to the late 1860s.
All in all I really enjoyed reading your scripts. You had a few puncuation mistakes but hey I'm sure it's not that big of a deal.
by CrabbyLady on 07/07/2011I'm one of the few who constantly cheers whenever I hear about Indians winning battles, especially the Battle of Little Big Horn. I have always felt that Custer and the gang got what they deserved. The same with this work. You just can't help but root for the underdog. Of course, Indians are always more brutal in their killing methods (the scalping and so on) but their reasons... I'm one of the few who constantly cheers whenever I hear about Indians winning battles, especially the Battle of Little Big Horn. I have always felt that Custer and the gang got what they deserved.
The same with this work. You just can't help but root for the underdog. Of course, Indians are always more brutal in their killing methods (the scalping and so on) but their reasons are what I cheer on. You do bring out what they do (killing wise) and why, and I wouldn't change that. Indians did that for a specific reason, and it should not be deluded down or left out.
I did find Sarah a bit quick with her tongue, and even more so for the time period (1800's) that she was in. I'm not saying that women didn't have opinions during that time, but I'm surprised more people didn't just tell her to shut up (such as after she scolds Tip Of The Horn for leaving class). I'm assuming it's because she's never dealt with Indians before, and just assumes "they are like everyone else". Perhaps set up a little more where she "gets" that they don't bow to the White Man, much less a White Woman.
The catalyst that leads to the Indian uprising was very good, and you do a fine job detailing Franz and Sarah in the ice house. The war cries alone of the Indian are enough to put fear into anyone, but the fact that you're trapped and here they come? Nicely done.
Sarah's imprisonment (so to speak) with the Indians was also quite good, as well as the jealousy and anger from the other women when she seems to get preferential treatment. I had a hard time believing that Cut Nose wouldn't have tried again (after almost taking off her hand) so perhaps play that up a bit more (that he was in danger of death if he pulled anymore stunts). I did like Two Robin very much. I had no trouble with having an Indian woman stand up for what she believes, and speaks her mind. (The scene where Tip teases her is quite good).
I also had a hard time believing that Stephen wouldn't have had more to say about all the rumors about Sarah and the Indians. Yes, he's a Reverend and is taught to "forgive one another" but yet you have the scene where "Squaw" is written on the tent and he gets angry. Reverend or not, I would think the rumors would get to him. Did she or didn't she, or was she forced?
Sarah's interrogation was nicely done as well. I would think she would have held up her hand to refute that the Indians were complete savages, and yet, that may have backfired on her ("See, look what they did to you" type of thing). But the fact that they kept grilling her on "what" happened hit the mark. It reminds me of all the tabloid papers and magazines and stuff out today that only wants to report the salacious, rather than the truth of matters.
The fact that most of the prisoners were pardoned was a bit of a surprise, but I'm assuming that did happen often in those times. I wasn't surprised that Eagle Help changed with Tip, but your scene where he gets 're-hanged' had a huge impact. The fact that the rules for the Whites are different for everyone else hit a nerve, as it still goes on pretty much all over the world.
You have some wonderful moments throughout this work, such as when Stephen and Coursolle go for the ammunition ("Of course it's the other one!") with the Indians waiting to pick them off, and the fact that the soldiers don't really give a crap that innocent Indian women might be getting raped and abused.
As for the ending you were looking for, I would suggest end it on Tip saying "If these missionaries really want to save a lot of Indians...they should go teach the white men about Jesus". That is a GREAT line. Perhaps have Stephen and Sarah both take in what has just been said, and then blackout on Tip (who has been given a second chance and yet we're not quite sure what he'll do).
Whatever you decide, this is an interesting work, and I hope you keep going with it. Best of luck to you! read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 07/03/2011Eagle Help "If these missionaries really want to save a lot of Indians... they should go teach the white men about Jesus." Now there is a line for the ages. Right up there with "We should have started with the New Testament" and "It is only nonsense if your book is nonsense." Gary, I really enjoy reading your screenplays. I think I enjoyed this one most of all. This is...
"If these missionaries really want to save a lot of Indians... they should go teach the white men about Jesus."
Now there is a line for the ages. Right up there with "We should have started with the New Testament" and "It is only nonsense if your book is nonsense."
Gary, I really enjoy reading your screenplays. I think I enjoyed this one most of all. This is a unique take on the Western.
What would I tweak were this my story…?
Stephen and Sara: would be nice to believe these two really were in love. That doesn't come across so strong. You give Eagle Help and his wife a shared joke over her war face. You have no similar intimate detail/banter for Stephen and Sara. I'd like to have felt more keenly the "stakes" involved in the alleged infidelity/rape. He's a man she's behaving strangely. She knitting a lock of her hair! this should be a bigger source of conflict - perhaps something she has to keep secret, really make the braiding of the lock an all or nothing struggle. It also becomes your ticking clock from a about mid-point. Braid the lock and he will be saved… Really nice that she would then be Stephen as you showed him in the opening, forgiving, open minded about these savages, and he would have become her, judgemental dismissive etc.
Sara and other women (and the trial): related to above. The conflict here doesn't get as juicy - or a bitchy - as I was expecting. I thought this would go into really dark territory. She won't she she was read and so she must have gone willingly because there's no way the savage did nothing. And her attempts to save and defend her indian captors only further implicates her. This trial/kangaroo court could really have the reader bitting their fingernails, squirming, a judicial thriller, almost. Instead… I felt you let us off the hook a little.
Empathy: the sequence of the story after about mid-point is problematic because almost everyone behaves badly, leaving us with nobody to really get behind. Sara isn't as active during this sequence as she needs to be for a "hero" to carry the story. She's pretty helpless and constantly saved she seems to have no care for the fellow captives and seem a little ungrateful towards her benefactors. What I feel is missing here is a scene that gives her an epiphany about the indians as a people and culture. She never really sees them as human - just Eagle Help and his son… and never really turns on her own as being animals. This last realisation could be brought out more clearly during the rigged trial and the rape of the women. Here is the epitome of civilisation - the right to a fair trial - as brutal instrument of tyranny and torture, the last pretence that we are noble and they are savage flayed away…
My point being… in all the chaos in this section I think we need someone to root for, a shining light that is humanity at its best when things are at their worst. I don't know how you do it, sorry. But somebody needs to behave as we would like to be seen to behave.
Finally, out of left field. You have Sara and Stephen happy together and on their way to teach the whites about Jesus. I think you get bigger bang for your buck if its Sara on her way to teach the whites about Jesus but Stephen sticks to his mission. They fall out over her "love" for the Indians. If you track that story line back you get a tense final sequence that sees her sacrifice all to braid the locket for Eagle Help. Might not be historically accurate, but to takes the story into deeper darker places, making her renewal all the more gleaming.
Anyhow… as always really enjoyed. Best of luck with this.
by Johnmattb on 07/02/2011Eagle Hawk is quite vividly detailed, and I was impressed with what I'm sure represents a lot of research, particularly in regards to language. That kind of authenticity goes a long way to helping one get involved in the script. So well done with all that, to be sure. I think the opening could use some sort of prologue, or setpiece of some kind to establish the world and the... Eagle Hawk is quite vividly detailed, and I was impressed with what I'm sure represents a lot of research, particularly in regards to language. That kind of authenticity goes a long way to helping one get involved in the script. So well done with all that, to be sure.
I think the opening could use some sort of prologue, or setpiece of some kind to establish the world and the tone of the script early on. Dropping us in media res without a VO or anything, straight into Sarah's studying left me wondering what kind of script I was reading for longer than I would have liked. I could see this playing on film, a la your more dour historical pieces (Black Robe was something I was consistently reminded of throughout), but considering the medium of 'script', an attention getting opening would help grab the reader immediately, which is a boon when you're submitting one of these (if in fact you have any interest in that).
Eagle Hawk divides very distinctly into three acts, and I can say without hesitation that the middle was the most satisfying part for me. It saw an instant ratcheting up on tension and stakes, and I was acutely aware that I wasn't sure where the audiences rooting interests were meant to be. It existed in a nice gray area for a little while there, and I enjoyed not knowing where it was headed, or what we were to expect from the character relationships. Unfortunately for me, I didn't think the third act lived up to the potential created here, and most of the characters fell into the standard role I might have expected from the outset. I was really hoping the dramatic stakes would keep getting jacked up, specifically I wanted Tip of the Horn and Sarah to hook up, or have one of them try to kill the other, or something. That seemed to me the strongest relationship, and it stayed in a fairly general place of mutual respect. I also wasn't much engaged in the Sarah's marriage, so I was hoping for some of these relationships to get dangerous.
In fact, that would be my number one note, that aside from the scary second act, Eagle Hawk is a bit safe. This is maybe appropriate for a accurately designed period drama, so I might be guilty of just wanting something other than what the script was offering. Take it with a grain of salt. But the chaos in the middle was much more interesting to me than the deliberate set up of Act One and the protracted denouement of Act Three. The last third was especially dry for me - we know the government is going to fuck them, it's just a matter of how. Meanwhile, once Sarah's "safe", a lot of dramatic potential evaporates. I was eager to see how dark it was going to get. There's the specter of frontier rape hanging over those scenes and I was very curious to see how far you'd take it.
by bthielke on 06/28/2011It's always a privilege to read a Gary Wright screenplay. Gary, enjoyable story of emotional growth and understanding. I thought Sarah's emotional journey was very believable and tangible. I have a few random thoughts and suggestions: I wasn't fully convinced as to why Tip of the Horn would spare sarah's life. I didn't totally feel the connection between the two before... It's always a privilege to read a Gary Wright screenplay.
Gary, enjoyable story of emotional growth and understanding. I thought Sarah's emotional journey was very believable and tangible. I have a few random thoughts and suggestions:
I wasn't fully convinced as to why Tip of the Horn would spare sarah's life. I didn't totally feel the connection between the two before the raid on the town. I'd suspect, Tip had to put up with a lot of crap to be saving the white women like he did. I think maybe a little more should be invested into his relationship with Sarah before that fateful day.
I think I'd want a little more tension and conflict between stephen and sarah once she's returned to him. He can't relate to what she's been through and the emapathy she feels to the souix. There was one strained moment when he lost his temper a little, but I think i'd like to see more. Maybe Sarah insisting on going to see Eagle Help and Tip, maybe them fighting more about his lack of empathy for the souix in general and Eagle Help and Tip specifically.
Also speaking of empathy, I think I'd like you to really play up the deplorable conditions the souix camp lived under and how children were dying of starvation and how people were dying of the conditions and of disease. Something that would make her understand why Myricks comments about eating grass were so, so deplorable and how she came to understand why they had to raid the town, steal the supplies, and kill Myrick. Also maybe have her be a more impassioned defender of the soiuix at the trial, talking about the starving babies.
I'm curious to see how this read when it was in more of a flashback format, I assume her captivity was part of it. If you made her be an impassioned defender of Tip/Eagle Keep and even had her do something bold like try to break them out of captivity, then I could see that flashback structure working really well and being powerful. Or wait, how about this. If you had her maybe going to live with Tip and forsaking Stephen and the white man ways, then you could flashback to the trials and to her earlier captivity and you wouldn't know for sure if she was in the past or present. Okay, im totally talking out of my ass, i"m just throwing stuff out there to give you something to play with (yikes). I think if you wanted to alleviate the issue of people knowing that she survived, I guess you'd have to make the timeline of the flashbacks be hazy, almost mystical, like a peyote ceremony. But, I think this works well from a linear perspective too.
I understand why the previous incarnation of this did well at the Nicholls in years past. Great stuff Gary!!!
pg 1- maybe cut the second time she repeats the souix pronouns. A bit repetitive.
pg 3 first para- the stuff about loitering and getting drunk seems awkward, either drop it or show us some indians loitering and getting drunk.
pg 6-7 love this scene.
pg 8- I didn't quite get how he inferred that his brother was killed based upon what Eagle Help said. If he already knew his brother had been killed, i doubt he would have gone to school that day. Maybe expand on this scene a little more.
pg 12- my fave subject, the use of "ing" words like spilling and trailing. You know the whole drill about passive vs. active language. You may want to do one more pass to clean that stuff up next time you do a rewrite.
pg 16- odd little formatting thing, but your left margin changed starting on this page.
by the way, I think you're doing a really nice job of setting the conflict up.
pg 17. the first line on the page about scalps taken, bodies desecrated seems like shorthand. I think you need to flush this sentence out a little more to show what happens.
pg 19, martydom seems like an unlikely topic for small talk. Now if you could tie it into Sarah's little stunt with Eagle Help, that would make this otherwise interesting conversation more organic to the story.
pg 20- I might close this scene on a discouraged look from sarah.
pg 23- a little confused, he got his scalps right? Why did he come back for Stephen?
pg 32- My thought on this scene was if I was sarah, how damn frustrated I'd be and how I'd maybe balk at doing this, pitch a fit and leave the cabin. Maybe a tiny sequence where Stephen has to talk her into giving it another try?
pg 51- Boschean--Love it, I'm going to remember that!!
pg 87- I was thinking that it would be interesting to have a scene where sarah tries to contact tip of the horn while he's being held. he's been missing from the action for many pages now.
pg 106- don't need the names of these journalists papers, I'd think.
by mulligan1234 on 04/15/2011I have to say that a western isn't my type of movie but after reading the synopsis I thought it would be interesting. i like the concept of the movie. it was a very interesting idea which is why I wanted to read it. The cahecters were average. there wasn't a lot of charecter description for me to understand the charecters better. For me it didn't seem like a lot of charecter... I have to say that a western isn't my type of movie but after reading the synopsis I thought it would be interesting. i like the concept of the movie. it was a very interesting idea which is why I wanted to read it. The cahecters were average. there wasn't a lot of charecter description for me to understand the charecters better. For me it didn't seem like a lot of charecter growth in any of the charecters. The dialog was good. I would have liked to have read this in all subtitles maybe. That might have added more authunticity to the movie, in my oponion. The story was good. a medicine man having supernatural powers is interesting. i would have liked him to have used more of the powers. The structure was good. There was a beginning middle and end. Overall it was a good screenplay. The concept and story idea were very good. Good job. read
by jovan.jevtic on 04/11/2011First several remarks as I read: Page 6: You made a cut from arriving into the village where you didn't describe anything to people talikng. I think you need to introduce characters first. Have a dialogue on the arrival. Page 25: I didn't get it. Eagle eye's rifle misfired and he went blind on one eye and suddenly he's not after Stephen? Instead he helps in the translation... First several remarks as I read:
Page 6: You made a cut from arriving into the village where you didn't describe anything to people talikng. I think you need to introduce characters first. Have a dialogue on the arrival.
Page 25: I didn't get it. Eagle eye's rifle misfired and he went blind on one eye and suddenly he's not after Stephen?
Instead he helps in the translation of the Bible,because they saved his life?!
That is a big transformation for Eagle eye in such a short time. OK, he is the holy man, but the again if he was holy he wouldn't try to kill Stephen. This part I found not credible enough.
Page 45: You've go way too many charaters. It's getting difficult to follow all of them.
If they're not so important put, indian girl 1,2,3 or military man 1,2,3, clerk 1, 2,
Page 55: The slaughter last too long for my taste
Page 59: Okay we're past midpoint now and characters just pile up. Name only the important ones.
Now the overall comment:
First of all this was a nice try to create an Epic movie screenplay. But when you do so you need to show the impact of one man/woman in the changing of the nation and I didn't felt you did it.
The love story between Stephen and Sarah is too common and didn't inspire me. I just didn't care enough for them.
The Eagle eye's sacrifice was the only thing that stuck out in a positive way.
Most of the scenes were cliche and lots of the charaters were left unexplained and undeveloped.
There were cuts where you went into the next scene and introduced tons of new characters without their background.
For an epic movie you definetly need more pages and to make us care about the protagonists.
Also the anthagonist. You need to have a clear one. Here its the white people, or the Indians, depends on the perspective. Give us a good anthagonist in this. The story was not focused enough.
The format was good, no typos. An easy read.
The structure and dialogues are good. Maybe only a comment that the translating scene with LaCroix takes too long as the scene where they translate The Old Testament. As I said the slaughter scene runs for ten minutes which is a bit long. The last statement I have is that it will be hard to sell this since epic movies are not easily funded, cost a lot and are risky. read
by djslik on 04/11/2011This was an enjoyable read. I’m no fan of historical dramas as I have often found them drawn out. Your research of Native American culture is impeccable. Although I do not know much myself I’m going to assume everything is authentic. It does take time to build to the Indian’s attack on the agency and found but once we get there you can’t turn away. The culture clash is... This was an enjoyable read. I’m no fan of historical dramas as I have often found them drawn out. Your research of Native American culture is impeccable. Although I do not know much myself I’m going to assume everything is authentic.
It does take time to build to the Indian’s attack on the agency and found but once we get there you can’t turn away. The culture clash is the driving force of your screenplay and it explores the difference in belief. I think it would better serve you to build some more tension in the first act. Have Cut nose mill about seeking to infuriate the white man for their abuse of their power and hold over the necessities for survival. He is vicious and could both the enemy of his own people and the whites. Myrick’s belligerent behavior does incite the war that follows. It would be nice to see in bubble slightly and to build tension between the Indians and whites rather than let it all unfold over that single incident. Conflict begins at pg.38 and then is resolves at pg. 77. Then you have the drawn out cases for the last bit. My thinking is maybe dedicate more time to the conflict and build Sarah’s character and dedicate less time to the cases.
You have assembled a good cast of characters. Sarah is certainly condescending and it was interesting to to see her arc develop in to one of understanding. The events which unfold and help to understand that the Indians are victims of circumstance and only which to preserve their way of life and she is trying to do by help them speak English and understand the bible.
With regards to your productions notes. If you wanted to make Sarah more appealing to an actress I would add feistiness to her. Someone who stands up for herself and a way to do this is when she is abducted, and confronted by cut nose rather than have Two robin protect have Sarah stand for herself. Her belief in God is strong and she believes that He stand over her and protects her. At that moment have her clutch her braided cross and stand defiant then and let the scene play out with her getting struck by the tomahawk. Then maybe have Two robin and Tip come to her aid after.
I like your ending with the eagle soaring above. I thought it would be nice to encompass his keepsake in some way as well. Perhaps have it floating in the air somehow while the eagle soars above. I felt his dream and the keepsake are important aspects of your script. Don’t end on the dream to me it seems unfulfilled.
I hope you find these suggestions useful. I enjoyed your screenplay. You are a talented writer and well I’m sure you will find success. You actions lines are great and I couldn’t find much wrong with your screenplay. I wish the best of luck. Thanks for the read. read
by micmacmoviemaker on 04/09/2011Lots of good stuff here, Gary. I enjoyed the read and didn't really feel the whole 117 pages go by because I was quite into the story. Having read your production notes, I'm surprised to learn that this has been kicking around since 2006. Has it ever done the review circuit on TS before? Your research on the Dakota language and spirituality comes across as quite genuine,... Lots of good stuff here, Gary. I enjoyed the read and didn't really feel the whole 117 pages go by because I was quite into the story.
Having read your production notes, I'm surprised to learn that this has been kicking around since 2006. Has it ever done the review circuit on TS before? Your research on the Dakota language and spirituality comes across as quite genuine, coming from someone who knows next to nothing about it. I liked how you weaved the fictional characters into a real event.
I actually spoke last month at Iowa University Law School about the Bush administration's legal justification about its actions against the evil doers. They did so by basing much of it on "historical terrorists" and the hangings in your story were front and center in many of their documents, which were only recently released.
I like your idea of having Sarah take a more prominent role in the story. My suggestion about that is below, but unfortunately, would entail much rewriting. ;)
Below are the notes I took while reading. Please do contact me if you want to riff on some ideas. Later, Peter
Page 1: No quick descriptioon for Sarah?
Page 2: I like that we don't hear what the Indian said but we know full well what he said.
Page 14: I don't think there's the need to reiterate the relationship between Tip-of-the-horn and Eagle Help. Unless it's only to discuss the meaning of their names.
Page 15: Lodge? A sweat lodge? No. Not with the fire. I think you need more description.
Page 17: I would liked to have seen the Ojibwe fight, even if they were outnumbered 2-1.
Page 17: I don't think you need to have the dual names. They're unneeded.
Page 18: "I have only failed once." Good one.
Concerning Sarah and Stephen, if you want to remove him from the story and have Sarah take a more prominent role, have you considered making him her younger (age 16-17) brother? That way, it would be "acceptable" for her to be out on the prairies while at the same time the stakes would be increased because she would have to look after him and herself. She would feel guilt for having dragged him out there for her own "selfish" reasons - her bible project. And it could lead to a smaller arc for the young man trying to prove himself as a man, while at the same time mirroring the Indians not being the children that they were seen as by many white people. I think this could play into Sarah's maternalistic (albeit condescending) attitude toward a younger brother and the Dakota tribe.
Just a thought. I don't know what happens (or doesn't happen) to Stephen yet so that might not work.
Page 24: Sounds odd to hear Samuel say "gunpowder particles" just after reading it in an action line. Perhaps rephrase it.
Page 25: I think that POV slug is unnecessary. You can just describe him looking at it.
Page 25: Is a new slug needed for the Mission House - Main Room - Day? Maybe just a LATER would suffice.
Page 25: Wouldn't the Army have rounded up Eagle Help for attempted murder? The transition from the backfiring rifle to him working with Sarah and Stephen seems way too fast.
Page 30: "I'm married too..." Nice one. But I would have enjoyed a description of Sarah's reaction from that comment.
Page 32: Your knowledge of the language is impressive. I have no idea if it's genuine or not, but it certainly sounds legit. How much research did that take?
Page 35: "...and wired on coffee." Perhaps show a mound of empty cups in front of him to visualize it, coupled with his fast moving hands, etc.
Page 41: "That's not what he said..." Nice.
Page 42: Myrick yawns. Too much, I think. Unless he's feigning a yawn just to be an asshole. It is a tense situation which might e deflated because of that yawn.
Page 49: That's a great scene with the Dakota cutting the leather hinges through the door. I think that would play out nicely on screen.
Page 51: I think you should leave out the explanation of his nose injury. Not knowing is even better.
Page 51: Boschean? You sure do talk pretty.
Page 51/52: If the woman's head is blown off by a shotgun so close to Sarah, she would get some damage too. And again when the shot is deflected by Tip-of-the Horn. You should make it a precise rifle.
Page 52: Cut Nose is pretty brutal. I'd have liked to see him introduced earlier as a main baddie. [Having completed the screenplay, I think this note is doubly appropriate for the ending scene where he considers ratting out Eagle Help]
Page 54: Severed heads? I didn't know they did that. Cool.
Page 60: I love Riggs' passage. Very effective.
Page 60: If they have a fight here, I think you should set it up earlier (when Sarah is first saved from Cut Nose's gun) and not have him so willing to back down. Increase their animosity right from the start.
Page 62: "offers his own opinion" paranthetical is unneeded.
Paged 62: There's an extra space in one of Tip's dialogue. "big mistake" how coincidental. :)
Page 63: Sarah's sarcastic greeting to Eagle Help is out of place considering she just passed out from pain and loss of blood in the immediately preceding scene.
Page 64: "He asks her a question." I think you should have it on the page.
Page 56: I don't see the need for the montage.
Page 71: "Old Eagle Help almost got you back, there" Sounds odd. back, there -- back there
Page 76: I'd have Sarah stubbornly keep addressing Eagle Help, knowing that he understands her.
Page 77: "...and wait to testify..." unneeded.
Page 83: "I wish we'd thought of it sooner." I don't buy at all that they wouldn't have thought of that before. Weak explanation. They aren't stupid people. Maybe Stephen wanted Old and Sarah wanted New and he finally came around to her view. Or the other way around if you want to continue painting her as VERY stubborn.
Page 85: "stalking" away sounds like the wrong verb.
Page 85: Stephen "frowning pensively" while rubbing the edges of the "squaw" hole is too heavy-handed for me. I think one or the other would suffice.
Page 89: Love the return to Eagle Help's coffee addiction. Nice, subtle, character bit.
Page 90: Stephen's smile at what Tip-of-the Horn said seems out of character considering he recently said he couldn't even look at any Indians. Then again, they did save his wife's life. I think you could squeeze some more tension out of Stephen and Sarah's relationship by having Stephen continue the questioning, in private, about what exactly happened in Tip-of-the-Horn's teepee.
Page 81: Would he call it the Minnesota River? What is the Dakota name for it?
Page 94: How do we know what she's going off to do? Never mind. That was a fast making of a meal!
Page 96: I think the scene would be better buttoned up with "They are raping the Indian women."
Page 97: I just realized now that it seems odd that Stephen Riggs' character slug is first and last name while Sarah's is first only.
Page 101: Sarah's indifferent reaction to the initial news of the execution dates seems very odd.
Page 103: "What do you expect from a one-eyed Indian" Ha! Love it.
Page 107: Odd to finish the scene with an unfinished sentence leading to a different, unconnected scene.
Page 109/110: I don't get how Tip-of-the-Horn became unconscious. One moment he's talking with his father (pg. 109) and the next moment (pg. 110) he's unconscious. I think you need to better describe exactly what Eagle Help did to him. Even a quick shot of his eyes rolling to the back of his head at his father's words.
Page 111: I think you lost an opportunity for some tension - you should have Cut Nose speak up to the Army officer and say he has something to say. Then, when we think he's going to spill the beans, have him insult the Officer somehow instead.
I didn't really care for the last scene where it was. I'd end it with the "dream" sequence but somehow work the remaining stuff after that into a previous scene(s). It felt odd to have the beautiful flying sequence followed by bickering between Sarah, Stephen, and Tip-of-the-Horn.
My last note - I felt that the Structure was somehow off because it seemed to me like there was too much time spent at the Army camp for the impending trials. Almost 40 pages of material that, in my opinion, would be better used with the Indians, so that Sarah's arc could be better explored. I'd beef up Cut Nose's role and expose Sarah more to the Dakota culture in order to do so. I think Sarah could get also closer to Two-Robin.
Hope there's something of use in here!
Overall: Good read
by solardae on 04/05/2011i see your dilemma. to end on Wanmdí's dream would be...abrupt. considering the follow up scene does make more of an impact, but still feels...empty. and i think its because what you have as an ending -- in order for the missionaries to save the Indians they need to teach the white man about Jesus -- is quite the sudden revelation, and not so nearly as much supported through... i see your dilemma.
to end on Wanmdí's dream would be...abrupt. considering the follow up scene does make more of an impact, but still feels...empty.
and i think its because what you have as an ending -- in order for the missionaries to save the Indians they need to teach the white man about Jesus -- is quite the sudden revelation, and not so nearly as much supported through out the script (although it is somewhat alluded to by Sarah and Stephen when they discuss the implications of having used the NT versus the OT for their translations)
BUT...this is a very powerful revelation. Perhaps what is needed is a clearer picture given during the bible translation scenes, where we get a better view of Eagle Help piecing together this understanding, and not just being difficult with Sarah and her husband, but posing questions that make them question their own beliefs.
Then after the fighting starts, Sarah becomes the student, and Eagle Help the "missionary", teaching her the spiritual beliefs of the Dakota, where she realizes her own religion is of a dark contrast compared to theirs.
When she comes back to Stephen, she's a changed woman, no longer emphatic about teaching Jesus. This can lead to contention with her husband initially, but she and him can come to terms and see what damage they've actually done.
the ending would stay the same; the hanging (perhaps without them so eager to die), He-inkpa being saved, and Wanmdí dream sequence -- a sequence that matches to the screech of an eagle over the hangings, which startles everyone except those who know what it means.
and perhaps this is where Sarah catches a glimpse of the keepsake falling from Wanmdí's neck.
the next scene is in the evening, where He-inkpa - along with others from his tribe - is preparing to embark with their dead, and Sarah helps him load his father onto a horse or carriage, surprising many others. Yet she ignores them, and has final words with He-inkpa -- this is where he gives her the keepsake, telling her this is what Wanmdí wanted... a reminder to her of their now mutual revelation.
End the scene with her and Stephen watching them depart with their dead. a few words exchanged perhaps, but at this point both have learned a great deal about the negative impact they - and others like them - have imparted on the Indians.
which could easily be a reflection of how things are today.
of course, this would change a sizable portion of your script; especially with Sarah and her dealings with both Wanmdí and He-inkpa, as well as possibly curbing much of the bloodshed you have worked in.
But it would work; Wanmdí could be instructing his son his learning of the Bible, and through him along as directly "enlighten" Sarah to the differences of their spiritual ways.
however this might also alter Wanmdí character as well; considering his brashness at the beginning then his accident which changes him -- a sequence which i did find a little odd, as Sarah's presence seem to be the cause of his vision failing, not so much her beliefs.
In this instance, i would suggest altering the dialogue between Wanmdí and Sarah (pg11) to where Wanmdí discounts THEIR "God" (as you have it written, it sounds like God [in the sense of Jesus] is relevant to him, which it shouldn't be) -- then instead of having Sarah state her intentions to pray against him, flatly state that Jesus will stop him.
(her present line - "If you take that boy and teach him to murder, I will pray to God that you fail, miserably." - is odd, considering that He-inkpa isn't a boy, and has likely already killed before. Even if he hasn't the line still suggests that if they are successful at killing the Ojibwe, that God stops them...from killing the Ojibwe.)
by having her flatly state out, with firm contentions that Jesus will stop them, then have his vision fail gives him more juice to learn of Jesus.
Of course, then you wouldn't really need to have him lose the eye, but it would keep him more shamanistic and consistant then brashful.
other things i'd like to humbly suggest...
have He-inkpa say less. he seems too wordy at times, too english-y...
the instances i found where he is disrespectful towards his father a bit troubling, as when the other Indians discounted his vision in their hunt for the Ojibwe -- but thats just me preferring to "maintain" the infallible ambiance of Indian mysticms.
if you have any questions lemme know! read
- Writer: Gary Wright
- Uploaded by: Gary Wright
- Length: 117 pages
- Genre: drama, historical, western
- Page one rewrite of my first script. An earlier version was a Nicholl semifinalist, and was optioned by Original Pictures back in 2006.
- Bio: Produced playwright; unproduced screenwriter. My screenplays have advanced as far as semifinals in the Nicholl, Austin, and Zoetrope competitions (and others). Two options, one paid assignment, one spec assignment, no sales yet. Wish I'd started sooner. Wish I could write faster.
Members Who Like This Submission Also Like...
When a battle-scarred knight loses his freedom, his birthright and his love to a devious prince, he escapes death... more
An Acadian man and Mi’kmaq woman live and love amidst colonial war between England and France.
A priest struggles against all odds to keep hope and love alive in the hell that is Auschwitz.
Copyright © 2001-2013 Trigger Street Labs. All Rights Reserved.