James Greer has become extremely dillusional after the death of his daughter and his dreams and nightmares are... more
HOW IT RATES
Like shadows our history follows us - will cling to us - regardless of how far or how fast we run. For a time, Tom had forgotten his - the love of Grace shining on him from both sides. That time is up.
Reviews of Grace and Consistency 8
by email@example.com on 08/08/2011At the beginning I found the jumps from time period to time period a little chaotic and annoying. Once I got into the screenplay however the transitions became smoother. The script is well written. I found the dialogue a little stilted in places but overall not too bad. The scenes of Tom and Neil in prison together seemed a little improbable, at least to me. Here is this... At the beginning I found the jumps from time period to time period a little chaotic and annoying. Once I got into the screenplay however the transitions became smoother. The script is well written. I found the dialogue a little stilted in places but overall not too bad.
The scenes of Tom and Neil in prison together seemed a little improbable, at least to me. Here is this violent felon opening himself up to an absolute stranger, probably the only way he'll get his misery off his chest. I was waiting the whole time for Neil to start wailing on Tom and was surprised that it didn't happen.
I'd also like to point out that in the prison scenes Neil does inform Tom about the sticks. If Tom remembers Neil from this small encounter, why not the gist of their conversation? It's obvious Neil's brother died a horrendous death, I'd think details of that would stick in Tom's mind.
And where did Neil get the idea Tom is actually David? What proof did he have? I must've missed the part when he had a reason to come knocking on Tom's door. Plus at the end we never really find out if Tom IS David. That was a little disappointing. It's all conjecture.
Otherwise I thought the script was well written and it did hold my interest all the way through. A definite good effort. I'd like to read more from this writer. read
by jflynn31 on 07/31/2011I enjoyed this story but it definitely suffers from pacing problems. If you’re going to break up the linear time-line, you should probably include more signifiers than hair-length and hair-color. I had difficulty placing the characters in their specific times. I also had trouble with the characters at the dinner party. I had difficulty telling them apart. This story’s... I enjoyed this story but it definitely suffers from pacing problems. If you’re going to break up the linear time-line, you should probably include more signifiers than hair-length and hair-color. I had difficulty placing the characters in their specific times.
I also had trouble with the characters at the dinner party. I had difficulty telling them apart.
This story’s most notable strength is dialogue and that’s a good thing since many writer’s struggle with the task of making their characters speak in a realistic and authentic way. The dialogue’s so strong, in fact, that it makes the other necessary revisions seem like fine-tuning. I think that says a lot about your ability and about the strength of this specific story.
This story takes awhile to get going. In fact, the first eighty pages consist of slow-paced backstory, with the exception of the jail scene, which is exceedingly long and consists of pecking banter between Tom and Neill. It’s not until Neill starts talking about his brother’s plight that the actual story takes off. At the risk of sounding like an American— who needs car crashes and explosions to stay engaged in a movie— I had to force myself to stay focused in the beginning of this screenplay. That’s not a good sign.
One problem with your dialogue, is that, sometimes, it’s too realistic to serve the story. On page seventy three for example:
“Like a fucking psychologist?”
This type of repetition recurs in different forms throughout the screenplay. On one hand, people actually do talk this way. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t really work in a screenplay.
If it were my story, I’d change the stage direction to make it more visual. Sometimes the only break in dialogue involves cigarettes (drawing, lighting, rolling etc.). Film is a visual medium. If it were mine, I’d amp the visual value to augment the dialogue. I think the story suffers from long, unbroken stretches of dialogue— a lot of it small talk. Like at the dinner party, for example.
Similarly, I’d avoid most of the direction/indication (childish voice, petulantly, etc.). I’d also nix any stage-direction that can’t actually be filmed (He’s testing Tom, this is hard for him, Tom doesn’t rise to the bait, etc.).
And finally, I didn’t really like the ambiguous ending. I felt like I deserved to see what was in the file— it made Grace react even though she seems to have come to terms with the problems in Tom’s past.
I also felt like I deserved to know which body the authorities found.
Still, a very good story on a lot of levels. Good luck to you. read
by MiltonDaggett on 07/30/2011Grace and Consistency absorbed my attention from beginning to end and the unusual non-linear structure made it a refreshing challenge to read, waiting for all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place, making it an exciting journey all the way for me. It wouldn't have been nearly as compelling if you'd followed the point A to B run-of-the-mill route. The concept is a thought-provoking... Grace and Consistency absorbed my attention from beginning to end and the unusual non-linear structure made it a refreshing challenge to read, waiting for all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place, making it an exciting journey all the way for me. It wouldn't have been nearly as compelling if you'd followed the point A to B run-of-the-mill route.
The concept is a thought-provoking mystery worthy of classic Film Noir. I'm reminded of Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum (though he was a less darker character than Tom). But both stories share the timeless theme of a seemingly happy man whose dark past, though far behind, is only crouching in the shadows like a beast ready to spring.
You work up a lot of tension amongst the characters, most notably the dinner scenes with Chris, Grace, Tom and party. They are a great juxtaposition to some of the other quieter scenes, some very moving, of Grace and Tom when they are first meeting and in their domestic life.
The dialogue is natural and flows realistically, although, at times, there's a lot of exposition, much of it necessary to advance the plot, particularly with the character of Neal and the prison scenes, as these are the heart of the story. You could possibly show the "David" story in flashback, though, I honestly don't think it would work as well. As it is, it will give the actor playing Neal more to work with, and in the confined setting of a prison cell, generate more intensity and an atmosphere of claustrophobia.
Noticed some typos on page 4. There might have been more, but I regret I was so caught in the story, I probably didn't notice them.
PG. 4 - TYPO --"checking the level of some the stone..."
pg. 4 - "she is stood"
Overall, I think you have crafted a suspenseful, well thought out screenplay here. Kudos! I wish you the best of luck with it. read
by Rfordyce on 07/27/2011Normally I’m not a big fan of films with a non-linear structure, which dive backwards and forwards in time like a distracted grasshopper. All too often they’re an excuse for pretentious gimmicks and lazy storytelling. So when I found your lead character popping up in different time zones before the story had even begun, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least. I must say... Normally I’m not a big fan of films with a non-linear structure, which dive backwards and forwards in time like a distracted grasshopper. All too often they’re an excuse for pretentious gimmicks and lazy storytelling. So when I found your lead character popping up in different time zones before the story had even begun, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least.
I must say however that I found myself gripped by the story, and you had me hooked as I delved more deeply into Tom and Grace’s lives, revealing more and more layers of the backstory until it built to a dramatic finish. The multi-layered timeline helps the audience, I think, to perceive Tom as a whole person; not just as the ex-convict who’s trying to build a new life, but also in his previous guises. It forces us to consider Tom in all his forms and to realise that we are each the product of a million different previous selves before we arrive where we are. There now; I’ve gone all pretentious myself. Stop it.
Having said that, you rely very much on the unfolding of the story to bring out Tom’s character. In other respects he seems very passive for most of the time, reacting to other people and events rather than being an active protagonist. And there are long stretches of dialogue which, on the surface at least, are little more than banalities. I would have liked
a bit more colouring to bring him to life. Grace is delicately drawn as a girl who takes whatever life throws at her and manages to deal with it. Neil is initially seen as the archetypal foul-mouthed thug, but we gradually learn more of his background and come to a fuller understanding of his outlook on life.
Your dialogue is very true to life and you manage to convey expertly the tensions and aggression underneath the trivia which makes up a lot of the conversation. But you run a fine line sometimes between developing your characters through small talk (the dinner party, the bath scene, etc) and creating boredom in the viewer. Some trimming of the extensive chatter wouldn’t come amiss if you want to keep the momentum going. Your descriptive passages are very well written but I think they too need quite a bit of trimming. You don’t have to describe in detail every nuance of expression and movement, or try to take the director’s role. Cast competent actors and leave all that to them.
Structurally, this doesn’t fall into your typical 3-Act or 5-Act pattern. But it seems to work OK. Basically although there are a lot of time-jumps, each little segment of the story follows its own linear timeline.
One minor point. I think you could use a better title. The ‘Grace’ part is nicely ambiguous – but ‘Consistency’? I don’t know where that fits in.
This has striking similarities with the case of Jamie Bulger, and I’m sure it must have played some part, whether consciously or not, in your inspiration to write the script. Just be aware that if you ever did get anyone interested in producing it, that it is still a very newsworthy issue and that there are many people who would hold strong views about whether such a story should be brought to the big screen.
All in all I think you are to be commended for such an original, compelling script, which has a lot of potential. However I have a few major points which I think you need to address. There again, please feel free to completely ignore them if you so decide:
Firstly, the question of whether Tom is indeed David Thompson is left hanging unanswered. This is either wilfully playing with the audience’s expectations, or simply bad storytelling – or I’m stupid. You seem to gradually build up a powerful case to show that Tom did commit the crime, then you knock it down again. There’s nothing wrong with that per se; in fact if you pulled it off it would be an excellent piece of mystery / suspense. But to leave it unresolved seems simply perverse.
Neil recognises Tom in the prison. He plays a verbal sparring game with him for a lengthy period, then calls him by the name David. And presumably he would have recognised him anyway from his previous life and from the trial: if not immediately, then as soon as they begin to talk. And when Neil turns up on Tom’s doorstep, Tom doesn’t make any denials. He recognises Neil and simply caves in.
But then you bring up the question of the sticks. How did Tom know about them? This is supposed to be the clincher as far as Neil is concerned, and it seems to convince Grace that Tom is in fact guilty. But of course the answer is quite simple: Neil mentioned the sticks when he was re-telling the story to Tom in prison. It’s on page 78. Tom is just too traumatised to remember exactly where he heard it. Finally, Tom repeatedly denies that he did it – even at the point where denials no longer seem to serve any purpose.
So what exactly is your intention here? To leave the question unanswered? If so, what you’ve written might serve as an engrossing piece of art-house social commentary, but it sure as hell won’t please a mainstream cinema audience.
Secondly, the ending. It satisfies no-one. We find out, through a throwaway item on the radio news, that a body has been found. But whose? The last scene in the shack shows Tom escaping from his wrist bindings, so it could be either of them. But if Tom is alive, we’re only halfway through the story. We want to know what happens next. Does he get reconciled with Grace? Does he prove his innocence? If he’s dead, we want to know whether Neil gets away with it. Again, the only people who might be happy with the ending are the self-appointed avant-garde enthusiasts of indie film festivals.
Thirdly, your time-line doesn’t stack up. A couple of examples:
1. In the scenes in prison, Neil is described as 32 and Tom says he (Tom) is 25. Tom has spent 10 years in prison so he must have been about 15 when Robbie was murdered. But Neil says that he (Neil) was also ‘about 15’ (page 74) at the time. What happened to the 7-year gap between them?
2. Tom is 25 when he leaves prison. It’s at least 4 years before he sees Neil, after Neil’s release, and yet Tom is described as only 28 on page 1.
For your own convenience, you need to plot out the story in a linear fashion and fix all your references to ages and time-spans around that axis.
1 So the first scenes are little tableaux (no dialogue) which are not only in different time-periods but also include the lead character, Tom, twice. Then the title pops up. Unusual, but interesting.
4 Grace is on the phone to ‘Debs’ – who never features again. Who is she? Wouldn’t it be better having Grace talk to one of the characters we meet later?
6 Don’t get this. It’s daytime; she’s preparing food. He’s having his mysterious meeting at 10pm. What’s to stop them eating?
26 Chris tells a disgusting anal story. What’s the point of this?
66 Very effective description of Tom’s stand-off with Chris.
87 Neil knows who Tom is. He’s known all along. Great scene.
102 Slugline for NEIL missing.
Typos, punctuation and boring stuff:
1 barely wearing his uniform... ??
1 ...at a T-junction...
3 She is standing across the garden... Not ‘stood’.
11 ... five people sitting around a dinner table... Not ‘sat’.
Sorry, man, but it’s just sloppy English. I won’t repeat it for all the other times in the script!
5 ... after a hard day’s work....
8 ... poring over the papers...
12 Hear, hear! You could cook...
13 Oh. Whose baby?
44 ... just a stone’s throw from Skelder...
45 Stan looks up...
54 ... but it never happens in real life.
63 If the powers you’re asking for now, existed...
67 GRETA I beg your...
75 ... making the miaow shape with its mouth... (TWICE)
77 ... she’s bawling her fucking eyes out... (TWICE)
81 ... lets it drop by his side.
97 You’re kidding?
99 You’re not too old...
101 Neil’s calmness affects Grace...
106 He must have told me.
113 ... down Tom’s throat...
114 Hi, my name’s Ali...
That’s all I’ve got, Peter. Congratulations on a memorable read, and good luck with it! read
by tarboy on 07/26/2011I enjoy a well-written story. I will write my opinion you can use it or not. The fourth draft… WOW!!! At a glance I can see your script is riddled with mistakes. ONLY characters that are introduced and SOUNDS are Capped TOM (28, MOUSTACHE and GOATEE, scruffy MID-LENGTH HAIR, Do not use Parenthetical for Action lines. (stepping back) I always try to not use words such as... I enjoy a well-written story. I will write my opinion you can use it or not. The fourth draft… WOW!!! At a glance I can see your script is riddled with mistakes.
ONLY characters that are introduced and SOUNDS are Capped
TOM (28, MOUSTACHE and GOATEE, scruffy MID-LENGTH HAIR,
Do not use Parenthetical for Action lines.
I always try to not use words such as BEGIN, START, BACK, ANOTHER, ALSO, STILL, CONTINUES, ING. AGAIN I just think it helps the story flow better.
This makes me wonder what people think the point of reading four scripts before they post. If you have not seen it in other people’s script DO NOT use it in yours.
In the real world this was pushed to the trash can.
Okay. Let’s get to the story.
You wouldn’t need this info if you told the reader what city of state we are in?
dry stone walls, fields, and an occasional cottage, flash by. He is in a rush.
Why do you need to mention KITCHEN twice?
INT. TOM & GRACE’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT
GRACE (28, brunette, bonny, smartly dressed) fixes drinks in her spacious, modern kitchen.
INT. TOM & GRACE’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT
Spacious and modern
GRACE (28) brunette, bonny, smartly dressed, fixes drinks.
How important is Mrs Charlton “dressed in knitwear and a corduroy skirt” to the plot?
MRS CHARLTON (50, plump, casually dressed in knitwear and a corduroy skirt
MRS CHARLTON (50) plump, casually dressed, writes…
Once you learn to use the space in your script better the easier your story will flow.
I hope you explain why she is there at NIGHT, writing her name.
INT. A HIGH SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - NIGHT
NOTHING has happened to TOM between his introduction with the moustache and the full beard. What is the point?
I noticed (CONT’D) your script. It is not used for consecutive dialogue except when dialogue is split between pages. You can turn it off in your software under Document.
Way too much EXPOSITION.
You need a proofreader
He places some tools in a bucket before double checking the level of some (of) the stone he has just laid in cement.
He places tools in a bucket and then checks the level of a few stones.
You do not have to state the obvious. You could easily reduce the page count by 10 or more pages.
What is your target market?
What is Uni? Interesting.
What visually tells the reader Chris is going to work? Exposition
One of the front doors on the street opens and out walks Chris dressed for work.
Are these people stupid?
So - first things first - who knows what a window is?
Dr Richardson, a casually dressed man in his 50s,
I really have not a clue as to what this script is about. A lot of boring people talking.
I think a more linear arrangement would make the overall story more clear. Time jumps around a lot, especially in the first act.
What are the actions of the characters?
They walk - thinking of things to say.
Need more drama.
After seeing what the guy did in Norway
So you think racism should be allowed to be advertised and as a result, prosper.
Someone has pressed pause on him.
NO NO NO
They are silent but they are no longer challenging each other with stares. Like friends who have fallen out rather than strangers testing each other. After a long pause:
In the end it picked up, ut it took too long to get to the end. Thank you and Good luck. read
by solardae on 07/24/2011in my opinion, a story that could use a serious revamping in its design. --- to begin, your first act is lacking any sort of pull...your first page is a collection of scenes that have seemingly no significant relevance. The Prison Guards scene can be omitted and shortened, as with the dinner scenes which, imo, were excessively drawn out. and, imo, at the end of Act One,... in my opinion, a story that could use a serious revamping in its design.
to begin, your first act is lacking any sort of pull...your first page is a collection of scenes that have seemingly no significant relevance. The Prison Guards scene can be omitted and shortened, as with the dinner scenes which, imo, were excessively drawn out.
and, imo, at the end of Act One, there's no significant draw to continue reading. the second act continues this lack of pull...as it meanders between Greta, the dinner scene and the jail scenes (which seemed confusing at times), which then goes on into the third act, where we have the conflict and then the ending news report.
if i may be so bold, i would suggest a complete overhaul of your first act. reconsider the use of your opening scenes and how you introduce your characters. consider the relevance of the Guard's dialogue as well as the dinner scenes. follow this throughout the second and third acts as well.
of course, this is my opinion. if you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me.
by LukasDScripts on 07/21/2011Grace And Consistency GENERAL NOTES: I feel this story does not have a hook in the first act. The only moment that really stood out to me was the moment it is revealed that Tom is the anonymous man in jail. But why does that matter? Who he is on the outside is not clear, and it's not captivating. The goal in the first act is to grab your audience by the seat, to prove... Grace And Consistency
I feel this story does not have a hook in the first act. The only moment that really stood out to me was the moment it is revealed that Tom is the anonymous man in jail. But why does that matter? Who he is on the outside is not clear, and it's not captivating.
The goal in the first act is to grab your audience by the seat, to prove in at least the first 5 pages that they're in for a good story, then to keep your word and deliver the goods down the line. The first act is the only time in your story where you can be shamelessly expositional. This is where you need to give us everything we need to know in order to be rooting for your main character from here on out. In your first 15 pages I feel I'm being fed mostly useless information instead of necessary information.
Perhaps some of the issues here stem from starting your story with so many flashbacks. It is hard to establish a sense of reality and loaded stakes when flashbacks are used so early on. So, at the very beginning (chronologically) of your story, what do I need to know or sense – to begin with – in order to understand and follow the story for two hours? Show me only those things in the first act and I will thank you for it later.
Try to avoid confusing or wordy sentences. The idea is to maximize the reader's ability to visualize action and setting, so keep it simple.
“DAWN” is not an acceptable time of day for a slug-line. Either DAY or NIGHT. Establish exact time in your description.
It's distracting to have your character's description in ALL CAPS.
To say he is in a hurry after describing him “power” his car down the road is redundant.
You have six scenes on your first page. This is confusing to the reader. Very little is established before moving on to something else. Not capturing my attention.
“BIRDS SING unseen” should read: Birds SING (O.S.)
Almost half a page of Tom driving along a road... why is this so important as to be in your first act?
“...slams on the brakes. / CONTINUOUS – – / EXT. A TRACK – MORNING”
should read: ...SLAMS on the brakes. / EXT. TRAIL – CONTINUOUS
Your action lines are wordy, contain confusing descriptions. Try to boil them down to their simplest meaning.
“The inside of the car is a tip” makes no sense.
“...and starts to rummage through all that is in there” should read: ...[he] rummages through it.
“The track the slag heap is trying to block has been reclaimed by the forest.” What does this mean?
All of your dialogue has parenthetical notations on this page. Directors hate that. So do actors. So do readers. The golden rule: use parenthetical[s] sparingly, only when the meaning is lost without it.
You have 2 ½ pages of un-named prison guards talking to one another. How is this important in your first act? Your first act must be tight and describe only those things which you will be paying off in acts 2 and 3. Where's your main character? Why am I spending more time with prison guards than with him?
What is a “romantically lit room”? I picture seduction, but then the scene turns out to be a dinner party. Confusing.
You have five or so pages of virtually no staged action, just clipped one sentence conversations that repeat themselves and seem to go nowhere. These are the kinds of scenes that lose your audience. We're not invested enough in your characters to sit around and listen to them chat after dinner yet, you haven't established a conflict or the context to which each character experiences that conflict. Frankly, this should have been established by page 10. By page 17 we're almost to the end of your first act, so what have you set up so far?
The action-line “discount warehouses can be seen in the distance but there are a few cars around” is not only redundant (see action-line directly previous), but also confusing. read
by jasonstrickland on 07/18/2011I want to start off by saying that I think your writing was pretty tight and solid through most of the script. Your main characters were well developed and had an aura all their own. I really enjoy, for the most part, when a script or a movie leads me one way and then backtracks on me as it heads in a different direction. The majority of the time it is fun to be tricked in... I want to start off by saying that I think your writing was pretty tight and solid through most of the script. Your main characters were well developed and had an aura all their own.
I really enjoy, for the most part, when a script or a movie leads me one way and then backtracks on me as it heads in a different direction. The majority of the time it is fun to be tricked in that way. Even small details can do it. An example in your work is when Tom shaves his beard into a goatee. The natural assumption, when a piece jumps around in time, is that the hair grows out. Not this time. This particular bit wasn't really necessary to the story, but it was fun just the same.
Your ability to leak details at exactly the right time is spot on.
However, sometimes a trick can backfire on you. While your trick ending is clever (I fully admit it is clever, and well done), it is ultimately unsatisfying. Is that Tom or Neil burned up at the quarry. Is Tom Tom or is he really Dave. What made Grace gasp in the report - the fact that Tom was Dave or that he was innocent and she left him there?
Your audience will certainly see the cleverness of it, but many of them will also feel let down, I think. There is no resolution in the story. You masterfully lead people by the nose throughout the entire script - guessing and thinking as they go along. And then it just ends. This trick ending deflates the entire story in the sense that now it doesn't matter if Tom was or wasn't, because we can't feel the appropriate emotion. Surprise is a fantastic thing, and this is one of the best scripts I've read on Triggerstreet so far up until the ending, but surprise isn't really an emotion.
All in all, a very original script. This review was written in the spirit of constructive criticism. I happily look forward to reading anything you write. Thanks! read
- Writer: Peter Wilkinson
- Uploaded by: Peter James
- Length: 115 pages
- Genre: drama, mystery/suspense, romance
- Bio: Young English Producer/Writer. Originally from Newcastle although now based in London. Main experience within the industry has been as an actor but has, through this, moved to writing. Began by researching and experimenting with Elizabethan/Jacobean text adaptation for both film and stage. Moved into new writing for the theatre, training on the young writers programme at the Royal Court theatre. Now run indie film company Blind Crow Pictures.
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