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This version of a group of monks visiting San Francisco and staying with Mildred Sheperd and her son Jason, who neglect to mention that Samantha, daughter and sister, is a violent schizophrenic who roams the streets, has LOTS of formatting errors (I was in too big a rush to post it) and I freely admit that. I had to remove a better amended version, due to the fact that both versions made the Top 10, that's a no no on this website, and...it had to be removed. Reviews and critiques on the STORY and CONCEPT are still welcome however, so please bring 'em on and I thank you!
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Reviews of The Humane Facade 147
by KaleidoscopePictures on 01/03/2012Here my issues: (1) p. 22 Very nice jokes: ------- The MONKS are scattered around the room. DONDEN is going through DVDs on a shelf. DONDEN How about this? DONDEN holds up a copy of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone”. LOK Too violent. ------- p. 23 ------- INT. - LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON DONDEN holds up “Star Wars”. DONDEN This? WANG Too fake. ------- (2) p. 23... Here my issues:
Very nice jokes:
The MONKS are scattered around the room. DONDEN is going
through DVDs on a shelf.
How about this?
DONDEN holds up a copy of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s
INT. - LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON
DONDEN holds up “Star Wars”.
INT. - TABLE - AFTERNOON
SHEN’s hand is seen picking up the photo. It is of a young
SAMANTHA leaning against a tree with a small smile on her
The scene ends here. I miss a description that shows us that he's wondering, in case he recognizes Samantha on the photo (does he?)
Very good joking here, The monks watch Mr. Bean in b.g.
I had to break out laughing... :-)
If you’d feel better somewhere else, I’ll
understand. I swear.
That is most gracious of you, but no.
(laughter is heard from the living room)
My brothers are very comfortable here.
And so am I.
Good idea with the sweatshirts... very funny.
Too heavy dialogs.
very much talking about nothing. These scenes should be reduced.
Especially where Jason talks with Master: this is really too long! The audience will get bored.
p.92-93, p. 103-105
Talk-talk-talk, without any important information. No ideas here.
Nice end with Samantha and the monks.
Scene sluglines are repeated too often. I wouldn't do that. It doesn't make sense. Better describe a SEQUENCE if you are talking of a series of shots.
The chinese dialogs should be kept short. Nobody likes to read heavy subtitles when watching a movie. Try to reduce.
Especially the dialogs on p.95 is really too heavy for subtitles.
Unfortunately a main problem is the way Samantha is talking: it might get on the audience's nerves. She talks confused pieces. The question is how long the
audience willingly will listen to that (?). As a producer, this issue seems very risky to me. I'm thinking about a solution, but anyway, you will need an actress
with a very very sympathic voice.
I don't really know Jason. Maybe some further characterization is needed. What's his job (beside being the guide for the monks)? His hobbies? Has he a girl-friend?
The other characters are fine.
It is a wonderful combination of tragedy and comedy, of sad and funny situations, it is rich of colorful ideas.... but in the first half only.
As usual, we ran out of ideas as we come to the middle of the script. Many screenplays have that problem. I think, here we need some more side stories. Maybe the monks help to repair something in Shepard's house, they have to go shopping to buy tools or similar things, then accidentally they forgot cash, they need a bank automat, some funny things happen, and so on and so on.... so we would have a subplot that also can be solved in the end.
KEEP ONE THING IN MIND:
You have MANY monks! (When I count the names I think there are seven? Right? I'm not sure.)
So you can separate the group for a short time, for doing little things. One group is doing this, the other is doing that. Right now we have always all of them together, except SHEN who creates a relation with Samantha.
I'm convinced you can improve. I will keep my eyes open for the next draft of this screenplay. I love to see it as a movie.
Greets + Good luck!!! read
by Aitch on 12/23/2011You've bitten off something very tough to dramatize. With spiritual healing, the drama disappears. Peace may just be the very antithesis of drama. The message of your script is very worthwhile but the content, as it is now, may be more suitable to the form of a short story or novella. But that's why we're here, to try to help each other find ways to make our stories more... You've bitten off something very tough to dramatize. With spiritual healing, the drama disappears. Peace may just be the very antithesis of drama. The message of your script is very worthwhile but the content, as it is now, may be more suitable to the form of a short story or novella. But that's why we're here, to try to help each other find ways to make our stories more suitable to the script form. Let's give Peace a chance (to be dramatic).
As your notes request, I will not be noting typos, formatting and such. Thanks for letting me know. On to story, concept, etc.
One of my favorite things about this screenplay was that the real growth happened without words. The cleaning of the tiles, the stringing of the beads, and of course the big event in the cave/tunnel between two human beings who speak different languages. That cave scene was to me without question the most powerful scene in this script.
What if you juxtaposed an attempt at healing through talking with healing through action? I mean, what if you tweaked the mother character and made her more into talking to Samantha? Maybe even being fooled from time to time into thinking she's making progress. Because she listens to words and ignores actions. Concept vs. Reality. Jason ruins Sam's tile cleaning experience by talking at her. Right when she's doing something productive, Jason starts talking. Well done. Maybe a few more beats of complicated words overwhelming quiet, simple action??
After he is accidentally stabbed by the frantic Sam, Shen runs off after her to help her. He catches her and keeps her from stabbing herself to death. Shen tells her in Chinese that he does not understand how she suffers but she does not understand how she suffers either. I like the fact that the words don't really matter to her. They are literally just sounds in the air. He tells her how he wasted his energy by holding onto the anger he felt when Ling killed himself. And here comes the dream.
If it were me, I would start with that cave/tunnel scene, keeping it right where it is, about the mid-point, and build in both directions, forward and backward. Does that make sense? Like maybe spreading out this wonderful brick metaphor throughout. Showing actual dream in vignettes throughout, instead of explaining that. As the story moves along, we see these little dream vignettes interjected from time to time. We actually see the mean, the anger, the whatever causing a brick to appear in his hand. An excellent metaphor as the first thought with a brick in hand is to throw it at the cause, the person, to return negativity with violence, to protect oneself. But if you made a bunch of DRAMATIC vignettes, with dialogue or whatever, little scenes, one brick at a time, at first it will be a dramatic question. What the hell is this? Then his explanation in the cave comes right where it is now in the script.
This scene is the core of the story. Again, I think you can grow a more dramatic tale forward and back. To do this, you're going to have to cut a lot of stuff. And I think you'll agree, there's a lot of fluff as it is.
As Jacob says, "The monks are here to spread peace, love, and harmony." Important, certainly, but dramatic? Could you give them a more specific task? And also. . . it seems to me you don't need all of them. Just the Master, who speaks English, and Shen, who does not. What very specific goal could they be pursuing? The other guys, well, I think they just get in the way. You could still have a cute scene here and there for comic relief. Tons of pages freed up there for the little dream vignettes.
Jason beating the homeless man repeatedly is just bizarro. If you really want to make changes you could get rid of the whole family besides Samantha. You know? Simplify. Just this lost soul with absolutely nobody in the world. But if you do keep the family, it seems the healing would have to be more tied to them coming together as a family.
p79 Jason accuses the Monks of not living in "the real world." What is the "real" world? We know what he's talking about, the crime, etc., but. . . here's where I think this script could have layers to it. Some sort of surreal thing. . . the workings of a larger Reality at play on the plane of this smaller reality that people mistake for "Real." The dream of some Tibetan guy healing a lost schizophrenic woman in SF. (Go 49ers!)
Though people on TS tend to poo-poo flashbacks, I would love to see more on Sam's childhood, to make us understand and like her more. Samantha's mother tells us she was something special but we haven't seen it. I would like to like her and might, if I saw her before the mental illness renedered her a drama queen on speed.
Well, anyway, those are my two cents. I love the message.
by oscarbomb on 12/22/2011Formatting aside....I really enjoyed this theme of inner struggles, dealing with loss, pain and forgiveness. The character work gives a real-life stamp on different figures. The Sam character's tone and mannerisms bring her to life vividly. Although this seems to be a themed based script on the surface...it's the detail and realness of the characters that make me want to... Formatting aside....I really enjoyed this theme of inner struggles, dealing with loss, pain and forgiveness. The character work gives a real-life stamp on different figures. The Sam character's tone and mannerisms bring her to life vividly. Although this seems to be a themed based script on the surface...it's the detail and realness of the characters that make me want to see this.
My main problem with the script is the overdone tone of the theme. I think you have enough here (good theme, original idea, great characters) not to have to try and push the theme soooo hard on the reader. EX. ---Yuen introducing the building of the mandala is fine...but taking two pages to do it with clips of young Sam and Shen turning into older versions of themselves feel overdone and cheesey. It wreaks of old 80s after school specials. I am of the school of too much of a good thing is bad. (especially in writing) We know the theme. Don't beat us over the head with it.
Same can be said with some of the dialogue. You have done well with establishing your characters....you don't need long monologues from mildrid on why Sam is causing her pain. Or long monologues from the master on forgivness. The theme can hit much harder if it is not shoved down our throats alot of times. Hope that makes sense. read
by Envy on 09/18/2011Well, this was an interesting read. Don't know what to make of it. The ending certainly did not provide closure. Let me start off by saying that I believe Samantha's doctors misdiagnosed her. She seemed to exhibit more symptoms than just paranoid schizophrenia. Autism? Mental retardation, maybe? There are also some discrepancies in the way she talks. One minute she's a repetetive... Well, this was an interesting read. Don't know what to make of it. The ending certainly did not provide closure.
Let me start off by saying that I believe Samantha's doctors misdiagnosed her. She seemed to exhibit more symptoms than just paranoid schizophrenia. Autism? Mental retardation, maybe?
There are also some discrepancies in the way she talks. One minute she's a repetetive nuisance the other she coherently cracks witty quips (oh, look it's master Yoda) which in my opinion makes the character inconsistent.
And like I said earlier the story doesn't provide closure. The ending doesn't take it anywhere.
You could have tried to a. have her make-up with her family or b. have her die for dramatic effect. Of course that's just me, it's up to you.
Don't know why you told us to read it at our own peril. As far as writing skills you have the goods. You should have seen my first draft. Now that was a horrid read. read
by johnnyrussell on 09/07/2011The story is the thing. The writer’s focus is apparently on telling a story and a very nice heartwarming story it is. Our central character is certainly faced with more than enough conflict to maintain a reader’s interest, and as we know conflict is drama. What’s displayed to the audience is a central character that is a danger to herself and others, whereby causing her to... The story is the thing. The writer’s focus is apparently on telling a story and a very nice heartwarming story it is. Our central character is certainly faced with more than enough conflict to maintain a reader’s interest, and as we know conflict is drama.
What’s displayed to the audience is a central character that is a danger to herself and others, whereby causing her to be kicked out of the family home. Homeless and on the street, through her struggles and help from the Monk Shen, she finds the will to form the first steps to overcome her misgivings. Right from the beginning, the character’s arc is an engaging major plot twist. On page 110 I especially liked the very heart lifting and funny dialog: “I didn’t get my wish so...I get to keep it”.
However, on the other side of the coin, in the process the writer has probably broken just about every screenplay formatting, grammatical, and dialog rule that the Screenwriter’s Bible has ever taught us.
Throughout the entire script the use of headings vary from slight to a huge over abundance of them. We simply need to remember that headings are tools for the camera crew. How else will they know where to show up for work? With that in mind it becomes easier for us as screenplay writers to know where and how to place them.
In the script in several places the writer uses the same heading three, to six times.
i.e. Pages 69 and 70 the camera is set up inside a tunnel. The heading reads:
INT. - PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL – AFTERNOON. If the cameras and the crew are inside the tunnel and haven’t relocated, it’s superfluous to keep writing, INT. - PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL – AFTERNOON.
We also need to understand that the heading “SUPER “stands for superimposition which is nicely done on page 6.
i.e. SUPER: “There is no grief which time does not lessen and soften” - Cicero
But on page 7 the writer has listed two “SUPER” headings followed by character/camera direction and quotations missing. (Are we looking at a FLASHBACK here?)
i.e. SUPER: As YUEN’s voice-over continues, a clip of SAMANTHA
during her breakdown fades into SAMANTHA, now early 40’s,
hurrying into a laundromat. She is wheeling a bicycle beside
her, a large knapsack is over one shoulder. She is very thin
and pale with short, spiky, very greasy hair. Her nose is
bloody, her left eye is almost swollen shut.
The Bible tells us that because Caps slow down a read they are used only in various ways including character first appearances. The entire script is littered with the continued use of caps on every character name.
The writer admits that the format needs work, but I would be remiss by not mentioning only once inaccuracies that point out numerous times like a sore thumb throughout the script:
1. On page 21 there is a reference “MASTER translates”. It sounds good but the dialog is not there, making this scene unfilmable.
2. On page 18 - the wrylies are not formatted correctly, they're all over the place.
3. On page 28 - grammatical errors. (The MONKS looks around.)
4. On page34 - CONTINUED: (2)?
5. On page 39 and 40 Mildred speaks twenty-four lines of dialog before coming up for air. There should be some action scenes in between. i.e. Mildred walks over and looks out the window, etc.
6. On page 71 there are headings with no scene description.
I enjoyed the story, the poor formatting made it a bit hard to read but all this is nothing that a line by line read followed by a rewrite can’t fix. I hope this helps. read
by stevegarcia on 09/01/2011Did you know that there are star systems that function with two stars orbiting one another? In such star systems, the orbits of the surrounding planets are hardly fixed like in our system. There are variations in distance and time that are a result of the two star solar system. Interestingly, I think your screenplay functions in a very similar manner. Here we have two characters... Did you know that there are star systems that function with two stars orbiting one another? In such star systems, the orbits of the surrounding planets are hardly fixed like in our system. There are variations in distance and time that are a result of the two star solar system. Interestingly, I think your screenplay functions in a very similar manner. Here we have two characters that interact with each other. Those characters are Shen and Samantha. All the other characters and relationships revolve around these central characters. Sometimes—due to gravitational force—some characters move in closer, and then, they’re quickly thrown further away. Furthermore, these characters emit a similar energy: call it radiation. That energy is the constant need to fix the broken world around them. So, when it comes to characters, I think this piece is absolute gold. The character psychology is so different and engaging, but, at the same time, as we can predict the movement of the planets through an application of the laws of gravity, we can sort of predict where this story is going. This predictability, however, isn’t something that I think is necessarily bad. For example, in a romance comedy, you know that the two main characters are going to end up dating (or possibly getting married), but it’s how they come to fall in love that matters.
So, if it’s not evident enough through my introduction, I really enjoyed your screenplay. Sometimes it’s difficult to bring a piece together with two roles: You get pulled in a lot of directions. There are a couple things that I’d like to mention, though. First, I want to talk about the background monk characters. I know that they are there as a sort of grounds for the established relationship, but I think they take away from the dramatic impact of your script. I know that one hundred and ten pages of drama seems like a lot, but when you see it on film, it goes by really quickly. Also, keep in mind that the entire piece isn’t a drama. Near the end, we’re given a moment of resolution. But, I’m not going to just outright tell you that comedy and drama don’t work well. I think that they do. Comedy, in this piece, just pulls away from the potential impact. A story that reminded me of this piece is The Soloist. The movie stars Jamie Foxx, who plays a mentally disable musical genius. He’s rediscovered on the streets by a journalist (Robert Downey Jr.) that is looking for a career saving story. So, again, there are two characters. The entire story revolves around them. In this film, however, all of the major interactions are reserved for these two characters, and there were times of light hearted humor in the film. But those moments were very sparse, and the best was saved for last. Such actions really accent the emotional rollercoaster. If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend that you do. I think you’d enjoy it. Also, it’d be a good piece to study for a re-write.
Here’s my little story logic tangent. Any moments that are spent away from the primary characters need to function in a way that contributes to their story. Think about it. If we have a certain amount of emotion and attention to contribute, which is definitely the case, then any emotion or attention not spent on the primary relationship takes away from possible impact. I say that because the more emotion and attention that you put into something means that you are more emotionally vested in an object. Thus, whatever may happen to that object seems to be that much more powerful. Hence, to me, the scenes in which the Master interacted with Samantha’s mother pulled away from potential impact. All he did in those scenes is function as a backtalk kind of puppet. He would restate what had just been said or what should be obvious to the viewer. Furthermore, it also feels like you were attempting to create a third relationship (the primary two being the triangular relationship between Samantha, her family, and Shen). And, as I said before, building such relationships takes away from potential impact. So, I think here it’s important to take a step back and ask, “Is this relationship really necessary?”
Next, there’s I think there’s one other problem with the Master character: His voice. The problem with picking such anachronistic type characters is that their dialogue is really difficult to make feel authentic. Have you ever seen the movie Little Buddha? Critics were hard on Reeves, but they were also hard on all the characters in general. I think that is due in large part to the lack of authenticity. Let’s ignore the fact that production—for some strange reason—thought that it was a good idea to pick Keanu for the lead. The problem is that the story and the character’s aren’t very believable. One reason is probably that the writing staff wasn’t very familiar with those types of voices. I think it takes years of exposure to really understand someone or something. I’d be a little offended if someone tried to write me in as a character after never really having spent quality time with them. So, to get to my point, I think that the Master character takes away from the authenticity of this story. Stick to simple (or flat) outside characters. They aren’t necessary, but, at times, they can be useful for plot devices (for example: the potential happy fest at the end of the screenplay).
To sum everything up, I think you did a spectacular job with your two characters. Also, I really enjoyed the structure of this piece. It flowed very well. I really hope that my review is of some help when you revisit this piece. With all that said, keep writing, and if you have any questions or just want to talk writing, please, feel free to ask.
Steve Garcia read
by Optimus50 on 09/01/2011I have to say that the dialogue of Samantha is likely the best I have ever read or even seen on the big screen. The opening image is fantastic and it hooked me immediately, don't change a thing. The setup was good, I liked the interaction of the Monks and the Shepards, but there is one minor flaw- Who is the hero? What is the flaw that needs to be fixed? You could develop... I have to say that the dialogue of Samantha is likely the best I have ever read or even seen on the big screen. The opening image is fantastic and it hooked me immediately, don't change a thing. The setup was good, I liked the interaction of the Monks and the Shepards, but there is one minor flaw- Who is the hero? What is the flaw that needs to be fixed? You could develop a second story line of the Jason and his interaction with the Monks or girlfreind etc...
Though this story is true to life, you might want to consider some bad guys, such as maybe a Police Officer looking to do good by Samamtha by trying to get her fully committed. As there is conflict but not enough we need a big push, I think the police interacting with the Monks, Jason and Samantha would really get emotions flowing.
1. Lose the continued’s they are no longer used in the profession.
2. NOTE: THE DIALOGUE IN THESE SCENES IS (CUT THIS PORTION)
3. Desricption needed for YUEN
4. Description need for MASTER
5. I would lose the super impose section and use a flashback.
6. PG 16. How did Samantha get next to the shed?
7. You do not Capitalize names after you introduce them
8. PAGE 66 Emotional directions in the action line, show don’t tell it use a flashback.
9. In long stretches of dialogue you need to have the characters do something.
10. Page 94 can be structured as follows:
EXT. Shepard Backyard – Evening
Shen exits the house, carrying the blankets.
Samantha has fallen asleep. Her head is against the back of
the lounge chair, tilted slightly.
Shen smiles down at Samantha. His smiles starts to fade.
Samantha is holding her knife in her left hand.
Shen stands for a moment, then carefully places a blanket on Samantha, being careful not to disturb her. He walks back to his chair and sits.
I really enjoyed this script, looking for a little more pow at the end, but it was a good story. I don't know if it would make it to the big screen, but definitely for a TV Movie, it would be fantastic a indie. You have talent, you need to develop the story line on this one a little more and it will be a "keeper" read
by cmeier on 08/24/2011I understand this is a first draft and you've all ready written a second, but while I can say you have some definite ability, in my view the version I read suffers in a few areas. This is a multi-character drama and the major characters mostly go through changes by its end, but none really have a solid goal they wish to achieve. Shen's problem is stated by Master, not demonstrated,... I understand this is a first draft and you've all ready written a second, but while I can say you have some definite ability, in my view the version I read suffers in a few areas. This is a multi-character drama and the major characters mostly go through changes by its end, but none really have a solid goal they wish to achieve. Shen's problem is stated by Master, not demonstrated, and he really doesn't solve his guilt; he simply is successful in helping Samantha (temporarily). Samantha is basically beyond help. Mildred is nice to everyone but is hardnosed towards Samantha but finally lets up on her. Jason is simply pissed off at Samantha and he is lectured by Master to lighten up.
The first scenes are best and introduce young versions of Samantha and Shen, and then we meet them when they're older and I thought you might be doing a yin-yang thing. This pairing idea is reflected in a number of the scenes (such as the scrubbing scene between Jason and Sam), but Jason and Shen seem to match up better. They both lost siblings to mental illness. Sam is essentially unchangeable, despite the happy note at the end. The issues of the script, such as form and scene construction, really interfere with the emotional impact of the scenes.
We know there will be a collision between Shen and Sam (and that's fine), but most of the plot hinges on two things: coincidence and quirks in Sam's illness. After several of such events, the sameness of the scenes lessens one's anticipation of what may happen next.
I do admit the characters show different aspects of themselves a bit, but they don't feel like rounded characters, which I would put down to lack of motivation. Sure, Mildred, Jason and Sam all have a great desire to avoid meeting, but that is why you have to manipulate events and Sam's illness to make those meetings occur. Rather than overcoming obstacles, your characters are the obstacles. This can work, but the contrivances, especially when Sam's hold on reality comes and goes, start to feel phony. These kinds of challenges can lead less seasoned writers to crib from their favorite movies, imagining those scenes in terms of other scenes they've seen, rather than let their scenes spring forth from the conflict between the characters.
When someone gives a speech or makes a confession, fine, their dialogue can run long, but your characters tend to ramble, again, I feel, from a lack of clear goals. Every character in every scene, even the walk-ons, should have a desire they wish to achieve by scene's end. At least some of these goals should conflict with each other, making dialgoue exchanges a sparring match, even if the characters aren't having an argument.
An example where you're successful is the scene with the little girl and her mother at the tile scrubbing. We don't know much about them, but we know all we need to know and they register with us (obviously).
Another example is when Sam crashes the monks' water gun party, Mildred explains to Sam the monks are her guests and Sam says she wants to be a guest, too. There are a lot of lines under Sam's heading there, and they might be good lines, but that guest line is a gem. In my opinion, it should stand alone. Actresses would kill to say that line. Notice the line speaks to Sam's need, but it illustrates a need of hers without her coming right out and saying it. That is showing, not telling.
And that means you have something there. Good luck. read
by vilflor on 08/24/2011I began reading this script knowing only the logline presented. For the first thirty or so pages I assumed the genre here was either Horror or Science Fiction. That's because we're initially presented with two scenes involving violence and death that happen half a world apart. I assumed they were linked. (They are, but only insofar as two of the people involved meet later... I began reading this script knowing only the logline presented. For the first thirty or so pages I assumed the genre here was either Horror or Science Fiction. That's because we're initially presented with two scenes involving violence and death that happen half a world apart. I assumed they were linked. (They are, but only insofar as two of the people involved meet later in the screenplay.) What's more, the title, Humane Facade, seems to suggest that we the audience are going to delve into some darkness underneath that facade.
The logline, as presented, suggests that Humane Facade is a rushed draft, so I don't know how many technical little screenwriting details I should point out. But I will make note of three.
The movie begins twice. "FADE IN" appears on page one, then again on page five.
The names Jason and Jacob are much too similiar for major characters in the same screenplay.
Throughout, dialogue parentheses are used to denote the character's actions. Really, you can get away with a little of that, but mostly dialogue parentheses are used to covey only the way dialogue is to be delivered.
What Humane Facade most has going for it is the central character, Samantha. She's interesting, unpredictable and often funny. I have to believe that most actresses in Hollywood would kill for such a role. (And have their award acceptance speeches already polished.)
Mostly Samantha's dialogue fits her quite well, although there are a few exceptions. Seeing a Monk for the first time she says, "Oh, goodie, it's Yoda." Thats funny. However, it seems out of character for someone who has trouble articulating why she dislikes bananas or refers to a string of beads as a "rope".
Samantha's problem -- and the movie's big problem -- is that the screenplay has so few genuine crisis moments. After a gripping page one opening, nothing much threatening happens again until page 46, when Jacob dies. Just as bad, the emotional crisis of the script happens on page 56, when Samantha cleans tiles opposite her brother. That's a great scene, incidentally, but everything that follows is anti-climactic. We know -- for the following 51 pages --that Samantha has begun her road to recovery.
I can't urge the screenwriter strongly enough to read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It's the best book I know of for plotting a film, any film. I've even sent copies to my friends who write novels, and they've all found it useful.
A couple more important points:
You need to forgo the idea of using subtitles. Sure, sure, they may be technically more accurate, but you're probably not going to convince any film producer to go forward on a script that's at least a third in Tibetian Chinese -- and subtitled. Particularly so since important information is so seldom conveyed by the subtitles.
And to be honest, I don't 'believe' the Monks here. I have zero experience of Tibetian Monks, but as presented they are too often children. Worse, they are too often used to get a laugh.
I strongly suggest rethinking Shen as a major player. Sorry, but as presented, Shen has no character arc. He learns nothing. He is the same character essentially at the end as at the beginning.
Jacob's death also troubled me. Why did he die? Does he need to die? Is there some secondary mystery here? These are all questions I thought about, when I should have had full concentration on Samantha, and what she was on to next.
Since Samantha has HIV, wouldn't that seriously concern the doctors and her (scratched) family in the opening pages.
And finally, the title, Humane Facade, never worked for me. It's a great title, but really doesn't clearly apply to any element in this script, which is about finding the humanity underneath that facade.
In summary: when Samantha finds a more gripping screenplay, her movie could be killer. read
by Gammon on 08/24/2011After 137 reviews, I doubt much can be added that hasn't been said. But since it was assigned, here goes. As for formatting or misspellings or bad grammar, I couldn't care less as long as they don't make the script unreadable. As a writer, you'll either correct them or you won't. CONCEPT: Two "damaged" people meet and repair each other's damage. Not a new concept. That... After 137 reviews, I doubt much can be added that hasn't been said. But since it was assigned, here goes.
As for formatting or misspellings or bad grammar, I couldn't care less as long as they don't make the script unreadable. As a writer, you'll either correct them or you won't.
CONCEPT: Two "damaged" people meet and repair each other's damage. Not a new concept. That the damaged people are a monk who speaks almost no English and a schizophrenic ups the stakes.
STORY: The story, without taking into consideration the telling, is a good one and a moving one. It has more a Movie of the Week feel than it does a movie, though perhaps an Indie would work. In the script, a lot happens. In the story, however, very little happens. One can see the end almost from the beginning. It's so telegraphed that Shen and Samantha are going to have some dramatic effect on one another. The only question is what exactly and to what extent. What I find irritating is that a reader is so far ahead of the writer in knowing what's going on that the story feels overblown, and at times even tedious because we've seen Samantha have the same behavior over and over and over again. We've seen Mildred's angst over her daughter again and again and again. We get it. It feels like the script is about 20 pages too long. Some of the passages are so long winded and the dialog so bloated that it's as interesting as watching grass grow.
Since this is an early draft, I have no way of knowing whether your writing has improved or not, but I do fault the writing for making this at times a rather unsatisfying read. Rather than drawing us in, the writing pushes us away. The use of "is" plus "ing" verbs puts a distance between the reader and the action. Active verbs to describe action pulls the reader in and makes the reader imagine the action. The is-ing construct describes something that the writer sees in his/her imagination. It makes it more like reading a short story or novel that a spec script that's supposed to make us see a movie in our imagination. It's also lazy writing. It's hard to construct every action line with only active verbs giving the visuals, but in the end it's worth the effort for the reader, but more that that, it's more important for telling the story.
This is already a very affecting story. I think with some judicious rethinking, this could be one heck of an emotional ride as the world of the monks collides with the reality/unreality of Samantha's world. read
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