In the tradition of 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', 'Out of the Badlands' is a... more
HOW IT RATES
In the tradition of 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', 'Out of the Badlands' is a rip-roaring action-adventure tale of revenge, redemption, and romance set in the Old West. Matthias Kinsborough is a bounty hunter with a dark past and fast hand on the trail of a notorious outlaw. Mayhem and destruction follow in his wake as he relentlessly pursues his quarry from the deserts of the Southwest to the snow-swept streets of Chicago.
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Reviews of Out of the Badlands (2nd Draft) 16
by alexbrewer on 01/20/2011Good storyline for the most part and I liked a lot of the major characters, particularly Tarver and Jefferson. The dialogue felt period-appropriate to me, and there were quite a few lines I liked, including Tarver's "killed more decent folk than the pox", "Then I want you to find another horse...", and "There’s the law, and then there’s justice.", and pretty much all of Jefferson's... Good storyline for the most part and I liked a lot of the major characters, particularly Tarver and Jefferson. The dialogue felt period-appropriate to me, and there were quite a few lines I liked, including Tarver's "killed more decent folk than the pox", "Then I want you to find another horse...", and "There’s the law, and then there’s justice.", and pretty much all of Jefferson's comic lines (especially the Ferris Wheel line).
While the dialogue often feels like one of this script's strengths, I'd also have to say it's my biggest issue here. There were many lines that felt unnatural to me:
6-7 -- "I just bring ‘em in...", "I’m just a bounty hunter...", "I make sure to only shoot..." (These are three consecutive lines from Matthias and all of them feel on-the-nose to me)
10 -- "When a man is truly driven..." (heavy-handed)
10 -- "He is a demon who will lay claim to your soul. Your pursuit of such a creature is a fool’s errand. (feels melodramatic and on-the-nose)
23 -- "We’ve been plannin’ this robbery for three weeks!...Maybe we used too much dynamite...It wasn’t the dynamite... (feels too expository here -- the audience needs some info here, but I think it could be conveyed better)
31 -- "Vengeance won’t give you peace. It’s a slow poison that will kill you sure as any bullet." (heavy-handed)
31 -- "We both got parts of us that’s broken..." (on-the-nose)
32 -- "Lizzie, you know you’re about the only thing that makes sense to me... (on-the-nose)
32 -- "A year ago, I was a different man, not a good man... (expository, and on-the-nose, and way too long)
33 -- "Lovin’ you is the only thing about me that’s worthwhile..." (on-the-nose)
37 -- "IT’S THE DEMON-FIRE! LORD, THE DEMON-FIRE IS COMIN’ TO GET ME!..."It’s him! He’s come back for his revenge!..." (this seems to be played for comedy, but still feels overly melodramatic to me)
76 -- "Dark though it may be... (heavy-handed and on-the-nose)
82 -- "I am wielder of the flaming sword and your soul is forfeit to its righteous blade." (melodramatic)
91 -- "We all got a darkness in us that’ll swallow us whole if we let it..." (heavy-handed)
The whole train sequence has very little to do with Matthias' goal of catching Jefferson, but the worst part is that I realized this well before the intended reveal from the Expressman. I wondered why you didn't simply collapse the characters and have Greer and Galloway on the train, but eventually that reason became clear when they got to the bridge. I think you need to give more purpose and relevance to the train sequence. One option is to simply have Greer and Galloway on the train (and likely cut the bridge explosion as a result). The other is to give the audience more of a reason to believe that Greer and Galloway are on the train, and hope they aren't too disappointed when they learn that very little story progress has been made. The longer you have Matthias chasing after Calderon, the more obvious it is that there aren't any bigger fish on that train -- so maybe he could be fighting a series of short fights with minor bandits as he works his way up to where he thinks the main bandits are. Another is if Greer blabbed to one of the girls at the brothel that they were planning a train robbery, perhaps as a drunken attempt to impress her, and mentioned they'd put together a gang to pull it off. Maybe you could have Deputy Rusk deliver this info to Tarver, so Matthias won't know it, but the audience will, and they'll have more of reason to believe that Matthias is on the right trail.
I might be alone on this, but the old church sequence felt like the real ending to me, and the Chicago sequence felt like one ending too many. I'd prefer if the Chicago sequence was much shorter -- like if we jump over to Chicago and get a peek at Jefferson's big robbery, but then Matthias suddenly appears, perhaps disguised as a Treasury/World Fair guard, and guns him down. The End. In any case, I think the Mayor's speech is much too long, and I didn't buy that Jefferson would shoot himself.
2 -- The lone rider relighting his cigarillo from his gun barrel didn't strike me as very believable.
3 -- I kind of like this little "the hero is really the villain" fakeout.
5 -- I'd cut one or two of the Small Boy's questions, as the more questions he asks, the more obvious it is that he's just there to pull out exposition.
13 -- I'm getting name-overload on this page. You introduce MURPHY DENTON, EMIL CALDERON, and SILAS TILNER. Two of these characters have minor roles (Silas I'd just as soon see cut entirely), yet all of them have first and last names as if they were major players in the story. Don't give us two names when one will do.
14 -- Personally, I'd cut all of that King Solomon stuff. It goes on way too long and feels totally unnecessary.
17 -- How slow is the train if the horse can rapidly catch up?
19 -- Why did Matthias go out the window and climb onto the roof? Did he see Calderon uncouple the cars? It seems he does this just so you can have him jump from one car's rooftop to another, but I can't buy that he'd climb out the window just because the aisle was a little crowded. And why did Calderon climb onto the roof of the baggage car?
24 -- His horse really followed the train the whole way? You have the horse appear out of nowhere several times and I feel like you need to make some joke about it so it doesn't feel ridiculous.
28 -- Seems a bit early for F-bombs -- feels like an anachronism. I know it's an old word, but I don't think it entered popular usage until later.
45 -- How come Tarver didn't recognize Matthias? Did his wanted poster not have a picture? Did his picture look nothing like him?
60 -- If the Native warriors saw the lawmen and the outlaws duking it out, wouldn't they just wait out that fight, and then strike the battle-worn victors? It seems like the smarter thing to do. But I think you're more interested in chaos than logic here, but I worry that it gets a little too chaotic in this section and goes a little too long and loses focus of your major characters and how the story is progressing.
TYPOS AND SUCH
4 -- he is enveloped completely in blackness and night sounds of the desert. (awkward phrasing)
6 -- He sets his on the floor and tousles his hair.
10 -- It’s makes no difference to me.
25 -- charges forward to come up next Galloway.
25 -- kneels at the water’s edge (no period)
40 -- The entrance opens into a dim room with adorned with ancient altars
64 -- Yeah, I’m just wonderin’ WHO'S gonna show up next.
Hope this has been helpful, and best of luck with any rewrites.
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 12/29/2010ALRIGHT!!! I'm excited to read this. I've always wanted to write a Western and I'm looking forward to some classic cowboys and outlaws here. I will start off by mentioning my thoughts on Westerns, though. Obviously, there have been quite a few of them, and finding originality must be difficult. I'd say you have to walk a fine line between paying ode to the classics and creating... ALRIGHT!!! I'm excited to read this. I've always wanted to write a Western and I'm looking forward to some classic cowboys and outlaws here. I will start off by mentioning my thoughts on Westerns, though. Obviously, there have been quite a few of them, and finding originality must be difficult. I'd say you have to walk a fine line between paying ode to the classics and creating your own, unique and original screenplay.
Also, I just saw True Grit, so I'll naturally be comparing this to the Coen brothers' latest work. Good luck with that.
Opening scene. Great. I'm digging it. Your descriptions and action lines are not excessive, but definitely evoke a vivid and exciting universe.
Dialogue with Tarver and the small boy. Decent. Could be better, I suppose. It's not bad, but this is an area for you to shine and grab the reader. What I would do here is rewrite the dialogue a bit and see if you come up with anything you like better. If not, no harm done.
7 - Not to nitpick, but I'm just seeing opportunities here to really shine. For example, page seven has Tarver and Mattias going outside to see who Matthias has just rounded up. Tarver lifts up the head and you have him saying "Come on in and I'll give you your money." There's no need to say this. We'll connect the dots and figure out that Matthias is getting paid, whether you show it or not. This could be a spot for Tarver to say something that really reveals his character, and reveals your skill as a dialogue writer. Don't have anything in particular for him to say, and of course you don't want to overdo it with corny cowboy one-liners, but small instances like this are areas where you can bring your script and characters alive.
Conversation with Wellman isn't great. A little too expositional, and a little too lengthy. We get it,
13 - Okay, Matthias just got knocked on the head. Not sure who these characters are but I see that we're introduced to three new characters on this page alone. Be careful you don't lose your reader in the midst of this masse of names.
Tarver and Silas conversation about King Solomon. I like the idea of this, and again, I'm seeing all of this vividly, but you're going to get a lot of objections to the length of this speech. Little tricks can be used for speeches like this. First of all, have the character doing something, interacting with his environment. This is more interesting to watch on the screen, as opposed to a character just standing there lecturing. Also, it helps to break up the dialogue on the page so you don;t have a daunting huge block of text. No one wants to read that. No one. Cut it down and break it up a bit. Also, is this Silas character important? Is this huge speech important enough to take up this much weight in your screenplay?
I'm confused. I thought Matthias was knocked out, and now he's on the train? He's your main character. Give him some screen time. Let's see him wake up, react to his current predicament and make the moves necessary to figure out what's going on and catch up to the train.
21 - Why is Matthias going after Galloway? How did he know/suspect that the train would be robbed? If Matthias is just going after the bounty, how is this more interesting than any other bounty hunt? Is there something personal that drives him? We need to learn these things soon.
24 - Where did his horse come from? Does it just follow him around? I'm finding the whistle hard to believe.
25 - Alright, not even a third of the way in and we have a ton of action. That's fine, and it keeps your reader hooked. However, motives and characters are still weak. Why is Matthias going through this brutal ordeal? Just for the money? Is there a personal grudge here? I'm waiting for something like this. Some reasons behind why the characters do what they do.
I'm not buying Elizabeth's dialogue. "Fucked by a mountain lion." Is that really how she speaks?
30 - Alright, good. We're getting some reasons behind Matthias' actions.
Dialogue between Mathias and Lizzie sounds unnatural. Sounds like the writer needed to explain some back story and inserted it here. Make it more natural. Read it out loud. Listen to how people really talk. Not every conversation we have is about our deepest fears and desires, and what motivates us and who we are etc etc. Sometimes we just talk about random stuff, and that reveals a lot about who we are.
Okay, the twist where Matthias is revealed as the brother is great. There should be some interesting dynamics and relationships at play here. However, Matthias was your protag up until now.
Not sure where you were going with Matthias at the halfway point. He kind of becomes a villain and leaves the audience grasping for someone to root for.
Jefferson switches from threatening to kill his brother to threatening anyone who harms him several times. I'm unclear as to the relationship that exists between these characters.
We went about 40 pages without hearing from Elizabeth. Okay, that's not terrible. Just wanted to point it out in case you had any interest in breaking up the A plot with a little side plot at all.
85 - Be careful bringing your story away from the Old West and into the "modernity" of Chicago. Your audience has become interested in a Western, in this story of outlaws and lawmen, and you don't want to jar them or lose their interest by ending in a completely different setting.
85 - Master of Ceremonies and Mayor's speeches are way too long. Trim. Let us see this place coming to life, and not just hear these people tell us about it.
Not sure how I feel about the final scene being in Chicago. Like I said before, you've drawn us into this world of saloons and dusty streets, so why move away from this and bring the story completely out of it's element?
Overall, pretty good. I'd touch up some things, but other than that, you've got a great story here.
Well done, and best of luck with it!!!
by fencik on 12/28/2010A former outlaw hunts down the murderous brother who betrayed him in “Out of the Badlands,” a gun-blazing, action-fueled thrill ride through the Wild West. Matthias is the grim hero hell-bent on bringing down his trigger-happy younger brother, Jefferson, who once upon a time put a bullet in his chest and booted him out of a moving train. Now Matthias rides the high plains... A former outlaw hunts down the murderous brother who betrayed him in “Out of the Badlands,” a gun-blazing, action-fueled thrill ride through the Wild West.
Matthias is the grim hero hell-bent on bringing down his trigger-happy younger brother, Jefferson, who once upon a time put a bullet in his chest and booted him out of a moving train. Now Matthias rides the high plains collecting bounties on bad men while scouring the earth for his elusive sibling. In the meantime, lovely Elizabeth patiently sits by the proverbial hearth awaiting his return.
Two warring brothers bring to mind movies like “Winchester ‘73” and “A History of Violence,” but Matthias’s unexplained (and unlikely) recovery from a gunshot wound, combined with cryptic undertaker Wellman spouting lines like: “He [Jefferson] is a demon who will lay claim to your soul (pg. 10),” hints at something more supernatural that unfortunately never materializes. Though very well written (especially the dialogue) “Out of the Badlands” is nothing more than your standard Western revenge fantasy.
Although the script features several cool characters (the fire and brimstone spewing Marshal Tilner is particularly intriguing) and a number of thrilling and imaginative action sequences, the story itself lacks originality. Bloody saloon shootouts, wild Indians on the warpath and great train robberies, it’s all been done before.
The script’s other big problem: plot and protagonist lack complexity. Once Matthias’s true identity is revealed (pg. 45) and his puzzling past is pieced together (pgs. 68-74) the story loses any sense of mystery and simply bounces from one action beat to the next until the inevitable showdown. And even though Matthias’s unwavering single-mindedness is certainly emblematic of traditional Western heroes, it’s also not very compelling. (If you haven’t already seen it checkout the Western revenge tale “Nevada Smith,” starring Steve McQueen.)
Modern action films like “Rambo” and “The Expendables” are stripped-down, over-simplified throwbacks that eschew complex ideas and moral ambiguity, but they work because the heroes in those films (as hokey as it sounds) fight for something greater than themselves. What does Matthias fight for besides revenge? And why should the reader care?
You’re a talented and imaginative writer and “Out of the Badlands” is a solid effort, but you need to figure out what the story is about beyond simple revenge.
Page 13 - How old is Silas Tilner?
What’s the point of the scene between Marshal Tarver and Silas Tilner?
Page 30 - Matthias: “He’s coolin’ his heels in a jail cell next county over.” How does he know what happened to Greer?
Page 43 - Never jump straight from slug line to dialogue. Always set the scene first.
Page 91 - Why exactly does Jefferson kill himself? read
by Mijuals on 12/17/2010Out of the Badlands was a very vivid, fast paced, old school western. It was predictable to me but I don't think it will be for everyone. It's very reminiscent of 3:10 to Yuma, with a less beefy storyline. Strengths of this screenplay was the imagery the writer was able to create, as well as the many twists and turns the story take. On the downside the screenplay liked great... Out of the Badlands was a very vivid, fast paced, old school western. It was predictable to me but I don't think it will be for everyone. It's very reminiscent of 3:10 to Yuma, with a less beefy storyline. Strengths of this screenplay was the imagery the writer was able to create, as well as the many twists and turns the story take. On the downside the screenplay liked great dialogue. The dialogue was very typical and many of the characters liked depth, were stereotypical and one dimensional. I would suggest adding a few scenes before the big twist. Lets see him score a few more bounties. read
by DaveVaughan on 12/16/2010It’s not all bad out in the badlands, but in this tale there are some definite chores that need tendin’ to, pard. Out of the Badlands: Review I went through your tale and made notes as to some of the more obvious thing that, in my humble opinion, require some attention. I will also tell you that I am a professional transportation consultant and you need to research your topic... It’s not all bad out in the badlands, but in this tale there are some definite chores that need tendin’ to, pard. Out of the Badlands: Review
I went through your tale and made notes as to some of the more obvious thing that, in my humble opinion, require some attention. I will also tell you that I am a professional transportation consultant and you need to research your topic of trains / railway – your writing display a knowledge based solely on what you’ve watched on television or in the movies – sorry, a hard F in that regard. But on the bright side, you did some work on the White City ;)
Lastly, you’ll see a notation PC which I use for Plot Contrivance .
Here we go:
Ages of characters?
s.p. Pg. 6 – ‘sets his on the floor...
Pg. 5 and 6 – you are telling us twice that McGavock murdered his brother
Pg. 8 – plucks down 2 more posters – Galloway / Greer - shouldn’t he be heading out to take these guys down – them being wanted and all? On page 17 they become important enough to saddle up a posse – does this ring true? PC
Pg. 10 – Wellman says to take friend around back- same as usual – if that’s the case, why didn’t Matthias do that in the first place – contrived just to provide more dialogue? PC
Pg. 12 – if these guys are wanted (Galloway / Greer) why isn’t our bounty hunter Matthias taking them down either inside the bar – or out in the back alley? Or if he wants to find the “Big Fish – why doesn’t he beat it out of them? PC
Pg. 14 – Solomon dialogue way to long – the audience will have a snooze-fest – try to cut it back to the bare bones in how it is relevant in your story – plus, we didn’t have any ‘feel’ for Tarver’s Christianity with his son – then the guy is going to hang Silas and ‘bleed him dry’?
Page 17 – trains don’t have rear windows - other than in the door – in which case you couldn’t see out from sitting in your seat – minor point, but be aware so you might want your LONE BANDIT to get up and lean (whatever) looking out the door’s window at tracks, guy on horse, etc. – trains have only 1 conductor – how many coaches – if there needs to more railway people – perhaps a baggage car guy or brakeman?
Pg 18 & 19– Matthias shows up on a horse – what the hell? + coach door window, not rear window – why would Calderon say that to passengers – and, why do you describe Matthias as a ‘FIGURE’ approaching from ‘next coach (as opposed to previous car) – we know he’s onboard... also, would the screaming passengers be pushing their way toward Matthias blazing away; or simply cowering beneath seats and on the aisle way? You have this simply as a device to delay Matthias PC – why not use the opportunity to display some character – maybe a passenger has been wounded and Matthias helps – something...
Calderon and the pin. To uncouple you need there to be slack between the coaches – and even if he was able to pull up on the coupler, the air brakes would stop everything – front and back portions of train – once there was a 4-8 inch separation – don’t know what to tell you – research? – Audiences are savvy today and you might lose them as this is purely a plot contrivance that has NO basis in reality (sorry)
Why would Calderon be climbing down the side of the baggage car exactly? – okay, the train stuff doesn’t work – I’ll leave it alone, especially the jumping which is real over the top...
Engineer and Fireman in the locomotive
Matthias’s horse just happens to be around after the train wreck – huh? PC
Sits backward on horse – cartoonish...
Then he can literally dodge bullets – more cartoony
What’s Wellman doing with the posse – he a full service kind of guy – follows them around – didn’t he have a stiff to deal with back in town, or is he there because Tarver needed someone to talk to? PC
Fucked by a mountain goat – no class in this wench, that’s for sure – angel with stormy sea eyes or not...
Pg. 29 – how many times is Ms. Stormy Seas going to tell us he was covered in shit?
Pg. 30 – Bathtub scene has been done many many times – come up with something fresh – watch Butch Cassidy and see how Goldman wrote the first meeting with Etta for an idea of originality perhaps –
How would Matthias know Greer is in jail? PC
Dialogue at end of pg. 32 is so “I’m okay – you’re okay – not an ounce of mystery or drama / conflict
Pg. 33 – dream / real / dream – huh?
Pg. 38 – dynamite – where’s that come from – he just carries it around with him just in case – or maybe his smart horse went for it?
Pg 40 – Ext. Ridge – you don’t need this scene.
Pg. 45 – nice twist, the brother thing
Pg 57 – Marshal escapes – how would that be possible? PC
Pg 61 – that horse is smart – he bails when he’s needed the most...
Pg 65 – more dyno – they forgot they had it or did Matthias’s horse fetch it?
Pg 68 – perhaps they are stewards and not conductors?
75 – there’s our horse – I was worried...
Pg 76 – and like magic, there’s our girl – with uncle, who we know always roams the west between cadaver duty... PC
Pg 77 – hey, come back uncle – ya forgettin’ ‘bout those there coffins on the buck board
Why do our couple go into a church – and how in tarnation would little brother know to be waiting there? PC
Pg 81 – Taver doesn’t shoot why, exactly? = because we need Jefferson to be able to go back into the church PC
Pg 82 – the old second gun trick from the dying girl PC
Pg 85 – an editor would cut these speeches down to a snippet, – they bog down / stop dead the story flow. (just words / filler on a page)
Pg. 86 – Sharpshooter scene.
Tell your story with visuals, in lieu of relying on dialogue...Try this. The Mayor falls, a bullet hole in his chest. (cut to) The Sharpshooter looks up to Jefferson at the edge of the roof and give’s a nod.
Pg 87 – rail cars are ‘spotted’ – not parked, also, they can’t pull away (as they have no engine) – they may roll away – and when they do, they are very silent, other than the odd one might have a squeaking truck (housing that supports the wheels at each end)
Pg 91 – Jefferson already tried to kills his brother – now he’s asking what drives a man to want to kill his only brother, huh?
He kills himself – what? Totally not believable. read
by vbrewer1 on 12/14/2010This was an easy ready. Potentially a good night at the movies. The action is well paced. It isn’t until about 1/3 in that I realized what was motivating the hero. Portions of this story are funny. I don’t often laugh at sp but I did crack a smile. The spats between Matthias and his brother were typical of two brothers. You must have a sibling that you butted heads with... This was an easy ready. Potentially a good night at the movies. The action is well paced. It isn’t until about 1/3 in that I realized what was motivating the hero. Portions of this story are funny. I don’t often laugh at sp but I did crack a smile. The spats between Matthias and his brother were typical of two brothers. You must have a sibling that you butted heads with. Many sp really make me want to put them down after a few pages. I usually start dozing, then read it after about 10 pages, get to the end, and have reread the first 10 pages. No caffeine needed. read
by roadrunner650 on 12/13/2010Title: Great title. I can already picture a Western in the southwest. Concept: A Western. Period piece. Revenge motif and a big heist. I like westerns, but I think this story has to be unique enough for an audience to want to watch this. What's the hook? The big reveal that the protag is the brother of the antag? Love triangle? It went from Spaghetti Western to High budget... Title: Great title. I can already picture a Western in the southwest.
Concept: A Western. Period piece. Revenge motif and a big heist. I like westerns, but I think
this story has to be unique enough for an audience to want to watch this.
What's the hook? The big reveal that the protag is the brother of the antag? Love triangle?
It went from Spaghetti Western to High budget with not one but two train crashes and tons of characters. Will be hard to produce.
Format: Good formatting. Easy to read. You know what you're doing. Your style and the quality of writing is good.
A good mix of visuals and action to accompany the dialog. I'd cut the transition shots (CUT TO:)
Too many characters. Starts to get confusing because I'm losing track of who these minor characters are and what
they have to do with the story. They seem to be a plot function mostly. You might want to cut down the numbers.
Matthias: Bounty Hunter. Seems so much like the Man with No Name it's too familiar.
He's almost invincible. He needs to be a little less superman. The guy is also inconsistent with his shooting.
In one scene, he's confident, almost cocky, he swiveling around his horse in full gallop nonetheless and shoots men dead, then the duel between him and his brother,
he dives out of the way before he shoots. Not really the kind of action I thought he would do. Then a timely misfire?
Jefferson: Younger brother with a grand plan. He's ok as an Antag. But I would have liked to see more of the Lizzie-Jeff relationship to get a better understanding of the betrayal.
Elizabeth: Love interest B-Story. The love triangle? I didn't really think much of their story. For some reason I couldn't connect with her and I couldn't find a reason why she would ever like Jefferson or Matthais in the first place?
Location: Great use of locations. The hidden hideout, the temple, graveyard and church. You make use of nice set pieces.
The story itself isn't really great.
Opening scene. I like the action but was confused by the Lone Rider's motive.
Why does he want Dirty Pete? He's not a bounty hunter.
Then Matthais basically does the same thing that the Lone Rider seems to be doing.
A Cigarillo smoking man. A nod to clint eastwood. But maybe you need to make the scene more unique. It feels cliche'
You do a good job of hiding exposition with the wanted signs and a brief synopsis of the outlaws
that are plastered on them.
I can't make heads or tails of the "Greek Fire" meaning I'm not sure how this made it's way to the US. It's cool to use, but a little far out there.
Poker games, Fights in Saloons, whore houses seem pretty typical in westerns. Robbing trains, very common. Maybe that's why Westerns are not really made anymore. There's really nothing new you can do that hasn't all ready been tried.
A gunfight at a graveyard. And the climactic duel (Anti-climactic?).
What's with Jeff shooting himself? It's not very satisfying.
These are good scenes. The writing is good but again it's nothing we haven't seen before.
You understand structure and hit the beats correctly. The execution is good.
Overall you are a good writer. The story is a bit plain. There is nothing really wrong, but there is nothing really great. I feel like I'm watching a really good coverband. The performance is flawless and I like it, but there isn't really
a unique take to the genre that turns it on it's head. You didn't really take the scenes and make it your own.
I think this all boils down to the hook of the story. What makes this story so different than any other western that we need to
I will but a bullet in your head, Jeff.
Good luck and keep up the good writing. read
by meames on 12/13/2010“Out of the Badlands”, an action-revenge western with strong biblical overtones, shows promise, but in my opinion has a few major liabilities that hinder it from reaching its full potential. The first recommendation I would make would be to seriously tone down the description. Consider this piece of prose (page 84): “With a mournful cry and the dying of its thunderous mechanical... “Out of the Badlands”, an action-revenge western with strong biblical overtones, shows promise, but in my opinion has a few major liabilities that hinder it from reaching its full potential.
The first recommendation I would make would be to seriously tone down the description. Consider this piece of prose (page 84):
“With a mournful cry and the dying of its thunderous mechanical cadence, a passenger train pulls into a bustling depot in the heart of Chicago.”
While this is great writing for a novel, this kind of description really doesn’t belong in a screenplay. Screenplays, first and foremost, are structure and rhythm. Long pages of unbroken description work against these goals. You can easily rewrite the above passage “A train pulls into the station.” Let the reader’s imagination fill in the rest.
I would next recommend developing a stronger sense of character. There are many characters in this story, and if blindfolded, I would have a difficult time identifying the speaker based on his or her lines alone (with the exception of Jefferson’s “Hell’s Bells, which doesn’t exactly qualify as character development). Most of the dialog is fairly interchangeable and pretty much deals exclusively with the plot or the themes (Revenge: good or bad idea? Or is this not revenge at all?) After finishing the script, I think one of the reasons I felt so detached from the story was that I really couldn’t relate to or even distinguish the characters.
My final suggestion would be to loosen up and have a little bit more fun with the story. This is the kind of movie where the hero never misses (unless shooting at Jefferson) and characters deliver long lines of flowery dialog in the midst of shootouts – which is to say, the movie doesn’t take place in the real world. This gives you license to get a little crazier with your action sequences. We’ve all seen gunfights and train robberies before. Why not try to dazzle us with something shocking or unbelievable?
Also, on a technical note – don’t italicize dialog and don’t break dialog into paragraphs.
Overall, I think you’re a strong writer who’s capable of great things. With some more work, this script could really turn into something special.
Good luck and happy writing! read
by jaxscreenwriter on 12/13/2010Great job, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your screenplay. I envisioned John Wayne or Clint Eastwood from beginning to end in this movie. I agree a lot with Jamie Harris who wrote a very thorough review of your film. Out of Badlands most definitely has potential so I would keep up the hard work. Start with the First 10 pages then the next 15. It was a bit frustrating trying... Great job, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your screenplay. I envisioned John Wayne or Clint Eastwood from beginning to end in this movie. I agree a lot with Jamie Harris who wrote a very thorough review of your film. Out of Badlands most definitely has potential so I would keep up the hard work.
Start with the First 10 pages then the next 15. It was a bit frustrating trying to understand whom to root for (who the good/bad guy was)and where the story was going and why. Instead of focusing on your film my mind was wandering a bit about these things. Focus on developing your main characters a bit more. I use the Joseph Campbell 'A Hero’s Journey' circle to guide my character development to make sure they hit that arc, Jaime references.
Some other tools to help you get there: Robert McKee book “Story”, Chapter 17, “Character” can help with the concept of developing your main characters from scene to scene.
Examples of just a few other things:
“Dirty Pete charges him and kicks the gun out of his hand.
It goes skittering across the bar top.”
I am not sure how he can “kick a gun out of hand" without loosing a foot. I am having a hard time visualizing this scene.
At page 4: knowing how valuable the first 10 pages is; I am not understanding the relevance of Dirty Pete and Lone rider. Why does there need to be any dialoged until Matthias. I’m not liking the repeated dialogue from Lone Rider and Matthias.
Watch your grammar, I struggle with this too because I’ve read my screenplay so many times. You don’t want to risk not being taken seriously.
EX: Page 5
Well son, now you’re talkin’ the big
time. *That’s a scoundrel goes by the name
Jefferson McGavock.* He is a truly wicked
How old is the small boy? What’s his name? What dad would encourage his young son to gun down or chase bad guys…..doesn’t feel right and I love True Grit, The Cowboys. Maybe make him older, or change to a young deputy or a young man.
Some of your dialogue is a bit meaty. I would try to trim some. The whole story about Solomon can be cut down. The dialogue doesn't have to be complete sentences. Drop the periods :-) Remember the interns of most of the film companies will only read the first 10 to 25 pages of your movie if you’re lucky. So make it count.
A tool to help with this is to read a few western scrips. Less dialogue and more showing is the goal. Match your ten pages with the scripts like Paint Your Wagon, 25-30,50,80,110
There needs to be more conflict and a more certain understanding of what Matthias' overall want is in the film.
On page 36. I struggle a bit with scene:
*Suddenly, a whiskey bottle stuffed with a flaming rag hurtles in through the window of Greer’s cell.*
Maybe through the jail window not necessarily the window of Greer's cell because there are bars.
I don't mean to sound like a broken record but:
what is driving Matthias? Also, I think I would avoid introducing characters too far into the story. Watch a few westerns and notice how the ending scenes reflect the beginning scenes. I think that Jefferson's and Matthias' rivalry needs to be apparent much earlier on in the screenplay in order to really drive home Jefferson's life ending in the end. read
by duncanjames on 12/08/2010Opening captured only the hackneyed images we’ve always seen in westerns. Horseback riding, gun slinging, spur clinking, poker playing, saloon drinking, gun fighting, and a wild west wanted poster of the tall dark stranger thrown in for good measure. This is why the genre is dead to the mainstream—it’s all been done to death. There’s nothing new you bring that surprises us... Opening captured only the hackneyed images we’ve always seen in westerns. Horseback riding, gun slinging, spur clinking, poker playing, saloon drinking, gun fighting, and a wild west wanted poster of the tall dark stranger thrown in for good measure. This is why the genre is dead to the mainstream—it’s all been done to death. There’s nothing new you bring that surprises us.
The writing is better than others, but not stellar, which it would have to be to capture attention as a western. You can tighten up the next draft by cutting the “suddenly” “rough-looking” “violent-looking” “in the blink of an eye” “after a moment” type expressions. In film everything happens suddenly, everyone looks the way the do, action erupts, and moments pass so there’s no need to draw attention to those aspects.
It turns out that Silas in Tarver’s jail didn’t factor into anything. You spent an exorbitant amount of time on Tarver’s Solomon speech and sent Silas packing never to return—nothing came of it so it can be cut. If the connection was Tarver’s last stand speech at the church, it didn’t serve that purpose.
As far as the rest of the story goes, it had some great moments and twists and was brisk and a fun read, but Elizabeth killing the marshal doesn’t set well with me, especially since she lives and sees her man come home.
The script is cast heavy in the way of named characters that get axed and factor in very little to the overall plot. Also, it’d take a ton of cash to make this script happen and you have that working against you.
Overall as a model of writing, though, you did a decent job. Tidy up the phrases mentioned above and trim a lot of the dialogue heavy blocks and you should wind up with a good writing sample to show off.
You’ve mastered the mechanics of screenwriting as far as formatting goes. There are a few story holes, some mentioned below, some not, but tidying up the other areas will help smooth those out.
Best of luck.
Pg 6 he sets his what on the floor? (post note: Tarver’s kid doesn’t serve a function in the story and his character can be cut. Look for other opportunities to trim the cast.)
Pg 8 You want we should pick ‘em up? ?
Pg 8 Why would the marshal let Galloway and Greer go about their business in town if they’re wanted? Is it because they know McGavock? If so, show us the poster first then have the marshal tell Rusk, much to Rusk’s protest, not to bother them.
Pg 9 weren’t they more commonly referred to as “undertakers” in those days?
Pg 13 Matthias went down awful easy
Pg 14-15 we don’t speak in paragraphs
Pg 30 how does Matthias know Greer is in jail?
Pg 58 Matthias has had great aim until now shooting at his brother. Too convenient. Give him a reason for missing or for not taking the shot. Make it more plausible.
Pg 70 over-wrote the rivalry moments in this flashback. A subtle word and sly look is all we need, as we know what happens.
Pg 74 nearly seven pages of flashback could (and should) be done in one page. We don’t need the passenger shootings or multiple rivalry moments. Reduce it to Matthias giving orders, Jefferson’s sly look and subtle word of hate, then in the mist of the robbery, Jefferson turns on Matthias, says something about stealing his woman then fires. Done. And with the long flashback ending on Matthias still underwater leaves us thinking he should be drowned. Cutting it to a page or under still gives him time to regain consciousness and get out of the water alive.
Pg 79-80 Matthias is still missing shots at Jefferson?
Pg 81 then Matthias misses Tarver marching straight towards him?
Pg 88 just to point out the inconsistency...Here Matthias is able to take out the sharpshooter up on the catwalk but earlier he can’t even hit his brother point blank. read
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