A divine visitation compels a down-and-out factory worker to rid his white trash world of human vermin.
HOW IT RATES
The Iranian-American family, of an exile turned crime-boss unravels, when his estranged son, a recently discharged US marine, returns to LA’s Little Persia.
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Reviews of The Persian Sun 9
by Scribe1138 on 07/05/2011Your story was a depressing yet entertaining look at an Iranian-American family and their daily struggles. It reminded me of The Godfather, especially Rostam's role as head of the family and the choices he had to make to provide for his family. I don't know if you've seen Harsh Times with Christian Bale but his character's journey is similar to Essy's. Your story works... Your story was a depressing yet entertaining look at an Iranian-American family and their daily struggles. It reminded me of The Godfather, especially Rostam's role as head of the family and the choices he had to make to provide for his family. I don't know if you've seen Harsh Times with Christian Bale but his character's journey is similar to Essy's. Your story works as a slice of life story but I think it needs to fit inside a three-act structure for it to truly succeed. I highly recommend reading Blake Snyder's Save the Cat and Christopher Vogler's Writer's Journey.
Besides structure, the other issues I had with the script were format, and grammar and punctuation. These two are easy fixes. For format I recommend David Trottier's Screenwriting Bible and obviously proofreading will improve the grammar errors. Have friends, family, and other writers read your stuff. They will spot more errors then you will. Also reading out loud helps to find errors. I don't know if you've ever entered a screenwriting contest but every contest worth a damn will grade you on your format and your grammar. These are easy points that you should never give up. Also the more errors you have, format or grammar, the less professional you seem.
Okay, here are my notes as I read the script.
pg. 4 Mr Nader has touched down. Should read" Mr. Nader. Your punctuation was an issue throughout. You should do a punctation edit. Basically go through the script and only look at grammar and punctuation.
pg. 5 You do a good job of CAPITALIZING characters when you introduce them. But I would also include the numbers. EX: TWO PERSIAN GOONS. or TWO STRIPPERS etc. Also, HENCHMEN is more menacing than goons. Just a suggestion.
pg. 6 When you introduce Essy, you tell us that he is Rostam's elder son from the photograph. How do we know this? If the same actor isn't in the photograph then the audience will probably not catch on. Their relationship becomes apparent later on so I would just leave this out.
Remember, one of the major challenges of screenwriting is that if you can't see it or hear it doesn't exist. You can't just tell your reader information like you can in a book. The screenwriter is forced to come up with a way to get information across, either is dialogue, voice-over, flashback, or super-impose the info on the screen.
pg.7 Nader's persian accent is thick as hell.
INT. LAX AIRPORT LOBBY - NIGHT CONTINUOUS
Pick one. Night or continuous. It can't be both. This goes back to format.
HIGH OVERHEAD. I would avoid camera angles. That's the director's job.
Instead of IN ESSY'S EYES you could write a faint unease distorts Essy's face or words to that effect. I would keep capitalized words to a minimum. Only character intros, important items in the scene or SHOT HEADINGS, which I would only use to break up blocks of action lines.
Like I was saying above. Instead of using a shot STRONG HANDS and telling the director what to shoot you could just say. Essy, in a starbucks uniform, attacks coffee stains on the tiles like a marine on drill. This is also condenses your description. You should strive for two lines of less. Get the most out of these two lines. Also you seem to leave sentences hanging
in the middle of the page instead
of letting the computer tell you when to
tab down to the next line. It makes for a
hard read instead of a easy breezy read.
Remember studio readers are looking for any excuse to toss your script and go on to the next one in the stack.
pg. More format issues. The business card needs to be
INSERT - BUSINESS CARD
pg. 22 Nadar and Rostam wait inside the car. Is the window down? How do we know this? You have to change scene headings if we go inside the car.
pg. 25 Format the flashback properly. Also you might to SUPERIMPOSE the location and date since the audience doesn't know when or where we just flashbacked to. Write the script with a view audience in mind instead of a reader. That will probably help. Also you show Rostam learning torture techniques by enduring some and then have Rostam tell Tiny that he endured it. So the audience go to see it and then hear it again. Pick one. The audience doesn't' need the information twice. The scene is way too long. It runs from pg. 22 to 31. That's nine minutes on screen. An old rule of writing is enter late and get out early. So maybe start with Tiny already in the shed and Nadar and Ali Big already talking about music. Maybe you could transition from the Kitty Club scene to this scene. You could use the blood on the floor in each scene or even the music . Have some music play in the Kitty Club. Are the dancers practicing without music? Just a thought.
pg. 31 Back to grammar. Nadar sat shotgun. Screenplays are written in the present tense. Nadar sits shotgun or rides shotgun.
pg. 38 ROSTAM
This happens a couple of times in your script. It's back to thinking about your viewing audience instead of your reader. As a reader I knew what was going on but if Rostam doesn't say anything then he doesn't have any dialogue. You need to describe Rostam visually as he pauses to think or whatever.
Big T ask Essy to take the block of heroin and try to sell it. At this point I was still trying to figure out who the protagonist was. Is it Essy or it Rostam. Essy is a returning war veteran, who was injured fighting for his country and Rostam is a drug-dealing family man. Essy is more sympathetic from the start and I intended to identify with him more. So if he is your main character than you're off to a good start but if you want to go with Rostam then you have find a way to make him more sympathetic. You could show some of his backstory about being a cop up and being betrayed by his own country up front and that will make him more sympathetic. Read the books I suggested they will help. You need to pick one of these characters and tell the story through their eyes. One person must drive the action. You introduce your protagonist, you give him a problem, and he spends the rest of the script trying to deal with it. You kind of do that with Essy but he's not active enough. You establish he needs money and that he wants to make his own way and not get involved with his father. This also reminded me of The Godfather.
Pacino tells Diane Keaton at the beginning of the film. That's my family Kate. That' s not me. Then by the end of the movie he's the head of crime organization. That reminds me what does your Kate think about Rostam? Is she ignorant of his ways or does she just ignore it? She seemed almost too good for Essy. So how did you get involved with him and why is she so willing to deal with his family?
So, Essy doesn't want to be associated with his father and what he does. But he agrees to work at a strip club and he gets mad that Ali Big is getting his younger brother addicted to drugs. So whoring is okay and drugs aren't'. I think Essy could be a stronger character if didn't want anything to do with any of that type of stuff. But you would need to show this. Show Essy talking to his brother about not using drugs. If Essy truly looks down on his father then he would look down on Ali too. So they shouldn't be buddy-buddy at the beginning. Essy should give him the cold shoulder and not want anything to do with him. This will provide a base for their fight.
What if you introduce Kate's pregnancy much earlier and make that the driving force for Essy's desire for money. He needs money and tries everything he can think of besides asking Rostam and then when's desperate he decides to try to sell the heroin.
I saw the ending coming, but I wasn't disappointed, depressed maybe, but not disappointed. You handle the crime-family genre well but you really need to reshape the story into a three-act structure where one character drives the story. I think Essy is more accessible to your audience but Rostam is a wonderful character that leaps off of the page and movies have been made about despicable people. THERE WILL BE BLOOD is one of my favorite movies that guy sucks as a human being. read
by JSC on 06/07/2011At first I was not sure if I would be able to connect with the wealthy family in this screenplay but by the end I was deeply invested in their plight. The world the screenwriter created was gruesome but real and gave insight into several aspects of class struggle. The flash backs served their purpose well, visually delving into character history without becoming confusing... At first I was not sure if I would be able to connect with the wealthy family in this screenplay but by the end I was deeply invested in their plight. The world the screenwriter created was gruesome but real and gave insight into several aspects of class struggle. The flash backs served their purpose well, visually delving into character history without becoming confusing. The section of the story I would say needs the most improvement would be the first fifteen pages, I need a little more reason to like someone within that time. The only other major issue was the abundance of typos- easy to fix though. I really enjoyed the balance in the representation of people from different religious and ethnic back grounds, it was refreshing that no one group was made up entirely of bad apples. It would be nice to see a bit more strength in a couple of the female characters, though I appreciated his mistress' attitude. The concept was not particularly innovative but well suited for the genre and nicely structured. read
by larryecoleman on 06/02/2011"The Persian Sun" is a character driven crime/drama that has many workable ideas in it that can stand alone by themselves as another script. For example, the relationship between Big T, a marine amputee who's run out of options since returning home to find money to help support himself and his lowly mother, and Essy, the crime boss's son,(a good guy, who also happens to be... "The Persian Sun" is a character driven crime/drama that has many workable ideas in it that can stand alone by themselves as another script. For example, the relationship between Big T, a marine amputee who's run out of options since returning home to find money to help support himself and his lowly mother, and Essy, the crime boss's son,(a good guy, who also happens to be the one who saved his buddy's life on the battlefield) is emotionally moving. The fact that Essy will take a chance to move drugs for his friend when he's nothing like his often cold-hearted father, is a story in itself.
However, the script is only workable if it is properly edited. Poor editing makes it a hard read and I found myself having to look up things I shouldn't like: Golden Desert Eagle and Krav Magna Reversal. Why not throw the word, "gun" in there somewhere or use another word for a martial art move? Unless I'm a gun enthusiast or someone versed in self defense tactics, I'd get lost in the jargon. Also, why not say "light" a cigar in stead of "spark" a cigar. If I'm reading a script, I want it to flow as much as possible with everyday words I understand. If the point of the script is to prove that 'crime doesn't pay'--I get it. This, I think, is wonderfully done at the climax.
However, the script, in is current condition, has several problems. There are too many grammatical errors, too many one lined description used when setting scenes(setting the scene in a paragraph would work much better than one-lined descriptions)and too many back to back flashbacks starting on page 82-88. The flashbacks might work if they are spaced out a bit. In spite of this, the script has some very good scenes in it that I enjoyed. The Christmas Dinner scene is full of conflict and it kept me reading, and of course, the tear-jerking scene where the Sargent lets his emotions out, telling us how it feels to return home as 'half a man'. In my opinion you could throw everything else away and this relationship could carry a movie by itself. read
by Rfordyce on 06/02/2011‘Persian Sun’ is certainly not for the fainthearted. If you feel wobbly at the sight of blood you’d better stay away from this script. MSeyf, your style is very eyecatching and cinematically powerful. Your punchy description and natural dialogue pulled me into the story and kept me turning the pages. No verbose flowery language here; it’s all designed to wedge you into...
‘Persian Sun’ is certainly not for the fainthearted. If you feel wobbly at the sight of blood you’d better stay away from this script.
MSeyf, your style is very eyecatching and cinematically powerful. Your punchy description and natural dialogue pulled me into the story and kept me turning the pages. No verbose flowery language here; it’s all designed to wedge you into the front seat of the fleapit and keep you there till the credits roll.
Matthew Arnold’s ‘Sohrab and Rustum’ was part of our English syllabus, way back in the days when sitting exams seemed to be my main purpose in life. Most of my class was indifferent to Arnold’s epic narrative, but I liked my poetry to be on a grand scale – all those Tartar warriors and magnificent horses kicking up dust in an exotic location.
At the heart of the poem is the relationship between father and son. They long to have a deep and lasting bond for each other, but it eludes them. And the same theme is very much at the heart of your script. Amidst all the gore and brutality, there is a gaping hole in their souls because of their unresolved conflict.
There’s certainly scope within that concept to construct a great story for the big screen, and I’d love to be able to say you nailed it. Your writing style is so dramatic and easy to read that you can see it unfolding on the big screen. But when I searched for the story’s kernel within the shell, I couldn’t really find one.
What is the nature of the conflict between them? It seems curiously intangible, as if they’ve simply decided to go on an extended sulk with each other. The reasons are never spelled out, except in a very vague manner. Essy is presumably repelled by his father’s lifestyle of gangland drugs and violence, although he never really gives direct voice to these opinions. With Rostam it seems to be more of a cultural thing, objecting to his son’s involvement in ‘killing poor people’ on behalf of Americans. I think it probably boils down to the classic difference between first- and second-generation immigrants; the parents want to retain their own culture, and disapprove of the Western lifestyle, while the children are more open to change and amalgamation with the bigger society.
Whatever your intentions here, I think the stakes need to be laid out much more plainly. The bloodbath which comes at the end of the script needs to come out of a clearly defined situation. Give Rostam and Essy a very tangible and obvious reason for their enmity. Maybe Rostam has had Essy’s girlfriend killed. Maybe Essy has discovered that his father is cheating on Shahla. Or Essy finds out that the very same heroin delivery which was the cause of the injuries to Big T ended up in the hands of his father. I don’t know. It has to be something that provides a real reason for their conflict. At the moment there isn’t one – it’s all in their heads, a bit cerebral.
When you do that, it will also hopefully crystallise another issue with the story: who’s the hero and who’s the villain? At the moment it’s difficult to tell. Presumably we’re supposed to be rooting for Essy, but you’ve also invested a lot in Rostam’s backstory, which gives us a great insight into why he is what he is. Perhaps they’re both heroes, and that’s fine. But in that case, who’s the antagonist?
For a while I couldn’t understand why the ending left me a bit cold. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, it’s in-your-face violent action. And then I realised – there’s no resolution. It doesn’t finally bring to a climax the conflict between Essy and Rostam. It’s just random coincidence. Essy happens to be in a place where a gunfight happens to break out, and Rostam happens to be passing by. (I don’t buy into the phone call from Kate which alerts Rostam – I would have thought he’s the last person she would call, and there’s been no previous interaction between them.) There’s no grand showdown between father and son. Certainly there’s been a tragic outcome, but it’s like the tragedy of an unforeseen earthquake rather than a tragedy which the audience is beginning to expect. I hope I’m making sense here.
I think you’ve got a good story, but with some rethinking it could be a great one.
You say you’re a card-carrying dyslexic and if that’s the case I applaud you for what you’re doing here. The grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc is certainly an issue which could lose the attention of your reader. I started off noting everything but after about page 30 I stopped, because it was pulling me out of the story too much. I’m no expert on how to tackle this problem, but what I’d certainly suggest is that if you have a script you’re serious about I’d get it proofread by a competent person before you post it on TS or submit it to any competitions or potential buyers. I’d be more than happy to do that myself in exchange for a freewill – just one option you might consider.
A couple of other points:
I didn’t understand the significance of burning Viktor’s fingers and teeth. Is this a cultural thing, or just an underlining of the theme of violence?
In the Christmas scene, it’s surprising that Atfeil goes in like a charging bull, voicing his liberal opinions to Rostam.
Grammar, typos, etc:
1 A WAITER walks toward a FAMILY sitting at a table;
1 Our little man here’s not quite decided...
2 ...he rode into the mountains alone.
7 Nader’s Persian accent...
8 The goons relieve him of his bags.
8 ...a glamorous Persian woman...
9 ...Kate sits beside Essy...
12 I mean I knew you were due back. Didn’t realise...
12 You look okay to me though.
12 What you gonna do?
12 I mean you look in good shape.
14 Essy fixes up the coffees...
15 Sitting like a king...
15 ...former Persian hulk...
16 What the hell was that supposed to prove...
16 Amidst a scene of drunken chaos...
17 ...still stare at the ceiling...
20 ...Clark Gable moustache;
23 Assorted pliers...
25 Young Rostam’s open palm...
25 ...a pair of rusty pliers...
26 Something to practise?
26 The Savak seemed to believe so. I ’studied’ at their Evin...
26 And I haven’t forgotten...
27 ...taking away its power...
27 It’s all I’ve heard you play..
27 The girls I think they love this guy?
28 ...clamps the pliers... and wrenches it off...
29 To the Russians, Mexicans?
30 I’ll tell you what, Mr Montell. As it’s Christmas...
30 ...oh God bless you...
30 ...returns the pliers...
30 You ’remind’ them...
30 ...in between the bolt cutter shears.
65 Kaveh’s Dad prises the door open.
72 PIAZZA BALCONY
89 ...minimalist decor.
So that’s it from me. I hope you work on this story to bring out the best in it. Good luck! read
by yongary01 on 05/26/2011Hello. Thanks for sharing your work on Triggerstreet. First, I tried to do a wee bit of proofing for you page-by-page. here are the results: 3-“Leather’-don’t capitalize Perfect thanks=needs a period (full-stop) 5-Wardrobe=no cap 6- Medal of Honor=stretching credibility. Only four awards have been made to Iraq veterans and four to Afghanistan veterans. Among those eight, only... Hello. Thanks for sharing your work on Triggerstreet. First, I tried to do a wee bit of proofing for you page-by-page. here are the results:
Perfect thanks=needs a period (full-stop)
6- Medal of Honor=stretching credibility. Only four awards have been made to Iraq veterans and four to Afghanistan veterans. Among those eight, only one was to a living soldier. The rest were posthumous.
8-everyone is so beautiful and attractive!
“Shattered”=why is he shattered?
“happy days”=needs caps
“So did the army…” Army should be capitalized and he’s actually a Marine though I know a guy who served in both. Poor him.
10-“Inlikely…” unnecessary. They should be a little freaked out by his scars. Sometimes you have subs in “Farsi” and sometimes in “Persian.” Last time I checked, they were the same language. پارسی
13. …Firouz from school?Big=need space after big
Arabian Knights=Arabian Nights (it’s a book about 1,001 nights, not 1,001 guys in armour)
Stubbing his cigar on his tongue is a bit much
18-Kate=who is Kate? Introduce her.
20 Clark Gable, being a proper nous, is capitalized
-didn’t Ali Big mention they all knew one another in high school?
21-“golden gloves”=Golden Gloves
“I don’t know. I do alright.” Either he won it or he didn’t. Really wishy-washy
22-side tracked=one word
So listen when can you start?”=needs a comma after “listen”
22-Tool Shed=not capitalized
Also City=little c
Hooded man=Hooded Man or hooded man
Merc=Ford Mercury, not Mercedes
“pointlessly”=no meaning to it.
Sports Bag=are we speaking German? Not every noun is capitalized.
23-Give Tiny’s name when he is introduced.
24-How does Tiny talk and scream with a gag in his mouth?
You enjoy this as much as I do
don’t you sick son of a bitch?=run on sentence
26-’studied’ at they’re=their
And I havn’t=haven’t
27-dialogue between AB and Bader is pointless/tedious.
28-Make sure you have the rights to the music
29-mexicans=proper noun, capitalize it
30-christmas= proper noun
32- He barks down his cell phone in Farsi as he paces.=This is dialogue. What is he saying?
The store sells everything.=Like enriched uranium?
32- A the ridiculously large
is strapped to it’s roof. =Is this really a sentence?
33- The fireplace warms her bare legs. It doesn’t get cold in LA around Christmas time.
33- It’s okay leave her I’ll do
it. Not a sentence.
Ellipsis doesn’t equal dialogue. Something like “Rostam says nothing” would be better. How is an actor supposed to say “…”?
39: EXT. SOUTH CENTRAL LA SUBURB - DAY
Is South Central a suburb?
39- star bucks?=Starbucks
40- Yes Ma. Sorry ma.=needs consistency
40- nice pair of bitch
Titties-what a gentleman. Especially after his mama told him not to talk like that.
good price man? He should know whether it’s a good price or not.
43-’What’s the matter boi? Are you a
French bi-sexual? Or are you
bloodsucking death dealing angel of
doom? Because I only roll with the
latter and the former don’t belong
in my beloved corp.’ Besides being replete with grammar and spelling errors, this is nauseating.
45-That’s an order from a superior
officer. If America’s officers are like Big T, there is no future.
...? =How does an actor read this line?
After this, I realized if I continued to proof, then I wouldn't get this review out until we were both 110 years old. So I read the rest your scripts without proofing.
I'll be honest, I really, really wanted to like this script. The typos and anachronisms throughout kept it from being a fluid read. Please use some sort of spell checker. Then check it yourself and have your mate check it. It was terribly distracting. We want to see your story, loud and clear, not buried behind misspelled words and run-on sentences.
As for the story...it is slick. very slick. Glossy. But I didn't feel much sympathy for the hero, Essy. He goes to war, wins a medal nobody nowadays lives to tell about winning, is aimless, has sex with his girlfriend, acts all pissy about his dad. Visits an amputee. Whorehouse. I wasn't feeling it.
There seemed to be alot of homosexual subtext between Essy and T. The visit to the whorehouse was almost like gay-by-proxy.
In spite of its glossiness, the script seemed to be a regurgitation of cliches: the father-son conflict, disillusioned veteran (they are always Marines! Why can't we have a disillusioned airman? Fast cars. faster women. An over-his-league girlfriend. Ruthless gangsters. And they talk alot! Trim the scenes up some and you'll have something. A little fish-out-of-water stuff is in there, too.
You have a good title and enough cliches melded together with enough gloss that it can work. I love the Persian milieu. Those SAVAK guys weren't fun to mess with. Because of its Persian worldview and uninhibited gloss, I hope it can be refined and rewritten into the beautiful phoenix it was intended to be.
A brief word of advice: sometimes the books are wrong and you've gotta run with your gut. A quick thought since I saw the use of British English throughout (torch instead of flashlight). Make him a British Marine of Iranian origin visiting his cousins in LA. Hell, give him a VC. Nobody in LA would even know what it is. Cheers! read
by Jan456 on 05/26/2011GOOD, GOOD STORY. SPOILERS: Sorry, but I really, really liked Essy and I didn't see that coming at all. Which obviously means you tell the story extremely well. GOOD THINGS: You use words, terms and language that is very real. Persians saying Nigger about 50 times in this script will probably get edited, but personally I was OK with it because it was real and thats... GOOD, GOOD STORY. SPOILERS: Sorry, but I
really, really liked Essy and I didn't see
that coming at all. Which obviously means you
tell the story extremely well.
You use words, terms and language that is very
real. Persians saying Nigger about 50 times
in this script will probably get edited,
but personally I was OK with it because it
was real and thats how gangsters talk about
and to each other. Im just pretty sure it
wont all make the cut. Its too bad because
it did seem very real to me.
I really liked scenes with Essy and T. It was
so sad about T and that whole part of the
story really kept me reading.
The description and action was very easy to
read because you didnt have any huge blocks
of description or action, you kept it all
broken up to one liners really well.
The dialogue was great but I did notice, that
Kate, who isn't Persian right? Well she sounds
Persian too. I assume the writer is Persian
thats why the accent or ways english is spoken
is coming through that way. But the other
non-Persian characters sounded ok, I think.
It just sounded like Kate was Persian. No
Im not so sure that killing off my hero had
the effect on his father as I think you were
going for. I mean it is seems to be a universal
consensus that the worst thing to happen to
someone is that their son dies. And this guy
as far as Im concerned, really deserves the
worst thing in the world to happen to him.
But you made him out to be so.... heartless anyway it is hard to imagine that even his
son's death would make an impression on him.
Hopefully it did, otherwise there is really no point to this gangster story.
And even a gangster story has to have a point.
Oh, just one more thing. This is not my genre
and in general I wouldn't like this but you did
two very important things. You brought a lot
of originality to it and... you brought a lot
of heart and built the story up and kept me
reading even though I didnt want to.
Overall I really liked this. It brought
out a lot of emotions in me and thats what
you want. Good job and Good luck. read
by tidedragon on 05/25/2011Okay, life is hard. We get it. Sometimes we have to be nice to people we don’t like and then we need to maim people. But poor Rostam is no Tony Soprano and I could care less about his pain. SPOILER ALERT This script has a disconnect that I cannot exactly articulate. It wants to be a story about father and son relationships, but you never have them relate. It is about brotherly... Okay, life is hard. We get it. Sometimes we have to be nice to people we don’t like and then we need to maim people. But poor Rostam is no Tony Soprano and I could care less about his pain.
This script has a disconnect that I cannot exactly articulate. It wants to be a story about father and son relationships, but you never have them relate. It is about brotherly love and soldiery love, but not enough of either to matter. It’s about the poor adjustments veterans make upon returning home, but it’s never articulated. And in the middle it becomes a vulgar parody of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” with no resolution. Is this a story of lost opportunity, or a reap-what-you-sow flick, or something else. I suspect that you are not sure either.
The scenes in the movie are not bad, and some are very interesting, but it’s like you wrote each one separately and threw them in a bucket. The flow works by a narrow logic, but is jumbled. Early on, I could tell you were introducing too many characters and not enough distinct voices. Ali can speak for nearly every other character without missing a beat. (Baba, Nadar, Firouz)
Maybe Essy works at the restaurant and pulls the charming bit. If Rostom was charming even one more time, I might have bought it, but he never even goes back to the restaurant.
I want to make this a better story, but I think you have to start by scrapping a lot. I have a list of scenes and characters I think should go if you’re trying to make the movie where we feel the loss:
Stippers on page 49
Music critique page 26-28
Flashbacks (yes, flashbacks)
All potential son-in-law scenes
Big T mom, physical therapy, and ice cream
Selling Persian art (or severely cut it short)
Hairstyling scene (let daughter talk to mom-in-law)
Christmas tree (Persian Christians?)
Sleepover with heart of gold striper (don’t we hate him enough by now?)
Starbucks (unless they pay good money)
So what, now your script would be 50-70 pages. What to add, what to add...
Two more scenes between Kate and Essy to show that (A) they love each other and (B) something is wrong between them. Staring at the ceiling during her writhing pleasure does not do it.
A scene that shows how Rostam makes money. He seems like a hit man to another boss, but then everyone differs to him as the boss and a great man with great wisdom blah blah blah. Nobody happens to notice he’s a psychopath? Give us something to hold on to, something to pity, or who cares if he loses his son?
One scene between Rostam and Shahla midway to set up the final encounter. Two slaps is enough if you want a regal exit. We already saw her lose control.
Build the desperation for Essy. “She’s pregnant, I need money NOW” is pretty lame. Maybe Tiny ransoms her for blackmail money after discovering the heroin deal. Stakes are pretty tame throughout for such a horrific ending.
You have some light moments and I think you can keep that touch to let off the gas once in a while, but as it stands, it looks like a comedy crashed into Mystic River. No one survived.
You’re dialog is good, I give you that. Be careful about telling what happened. Just let them live their lives and the story will SLOWLY come out. The rushes of explanation hurt my head.
Inconsistent formatting does not help. Don't use three hyphens when you mean "...". The single line shot-to-shot action lines break the flow of your narrative way too much. Shoot for two or three lines of tight-woven prose rather than
with no punctuation as you
DROP to the next line.
Last thought -- if you want to make the flashback movie, then make it. A scene or two in the present, a scene in the past. That might work here, but again, it’s hard to love your murdering torturer who pimps out his daughter and finds wisdom in toothpicks. Maybe he loses someone else he loves and the protagonist son gets to live and hate his dad more. Good luck. read
by jayelveejr on 05/24/2011This was a very ambitious gangster screenplay. It's really a character-driven script about Rostam and normally the character has to be very strong if he is to carry the film. He is and he does. I can only imagine a good actor biting into this role and chewing up the scenery. It's really the best thing about your script ... in that you've written a juicy, superb gangster role... This was a very ambitious gangster screenplay. It's really a character-driven script about Rostam and normally the character has to be very strong if he is to carry the film. He is and he does. I can only imagine a good actor biting into this role and chewing up the scenery. It's really the best thing about your script ... in that you've written a juicy, superb gangster role for an actor to tackle. It's parts Pacino in Scarface, parts Armin Mueller-Stahl from Eastern Promises, parts Bob Hoskins from The Long Good Friday and it really reminded me of Niels Arestrup from the superb crime film Un prophčte (A Prophet). His is a commanding presence and you certainly deserve kudos for coming up with such a heavy, memorable character. The most vivid impression is at the end when he is covered in blood as he avenges Essy's death. That is a great visual shot and I could picture it being the poster for your film (yes, let's call this a film).
Now, to me, the story here takes a back seat to showing us the life of a gangster, missplaced from his native land, and surviving in the streets of L.A. as a crime boss. The fact that this is an Iranian family adds something to the material. Although one could argue that you're kind of treading on Godfather themes here.
As much as I admire Rostam's role, I think Essy is a tad underdeveloped and his role doesn't come across as well as his father's but that may be because Rostam is too good a character to have anyone else compete. We've seen the young man who comes home and is not part of the "family" used many times. Of course the most noticeable is Michael Corleone in The Godfather so this aspect felt a bit derivative of that film but I did like that Essy doesn't really give any speeches about not wanting to go into that life but rather that he is estranged from his father because of it. So it's shown more in actions than speech and I liked that. I suppose if I get real picky I would state that Pacino in Godfather was a vet and Essy here is an honorably discharged one which plays on the whole hero/criminal balance with both families but maybe I'm just way off here.
Since, to me, there really isn't a story here, what kept me going was Rostam.
For the sake of a constructive review, have to admit that there were a few elements that kind of bugged me. But they're minor.
One is that I felt Essy makes up with his father rather quickly and the scene doesn't have the emotional pay-off that it should. When he comes between Ali Big and him and they speak for the first time, it's kind of a throw away scene instead of having a big impact. Maybe just me.
Also what leads up to this fight is when Essy sees Ali Big doing drugs with his brother but he doesn't confront him about it until later. That felt off to me. I would think he would do it right after he sees them. He can even wait out in the hall and look him in the eye and maybe say something like "That's the last time I want to see you do drugs with my brother" or something like that. It doesn't feel real when he waits until the basketball court to confront him. Maybe he can catch them doing it again and that's when he blows up but I do feel you should have him confront him just as he sees it the first time. But that's minor.
I wasn't as impressed with some of the scenes with the females here and maybe I'm biased but I wanted to see more gangster stuff and less drama stuff but maybe that's me. I understand that this is a family saga so you have to cover it all but ... well, we've seen it before so I suppose I wanted less. Not sure.
The scene at the end when Shahla rips apart the art gallery when she learns of the murder would be a pretty good visual scene but it felt strange, almost too melodramatic or over the top. It's one of the few times where I felt you were hammering the points with too thick a hammer (pun intended). But again, maybe just me.
Also, I wasn't quite sure why Essy decides to take the heroin and finally sell it. I think it's because he was fired but that seemed off. Since earlier the invalid friend told him to sell it for him but he wouldn't so I wondered why does he do it now? It felt like it was more servicing the plot than what his character would do unless I missed something? That one is also minor but it does lead to his eventual demise and I thought why here and why now?
I do think that the script feels a bit too long, like maybe it should be cut down by ten or so pages but I suppose I feel that way about most scripts that hover near the 120 page count. And I'm not sure where to cut. I would try to, however, maybe cut down on some action lines as a few times I thought they were a tad overwritten.
One thing I would do is take another pass and fix up some of your formatting errors and typos. You even have a formatting space issue right on page one and this screenplay is too good to warrant a sloppy presentation.
As a character-driven script, it worked for me and you've created a very, very memorable gangster in Rostam. Even with some minor reservations, this gets an overall good rating from me.
Nice job and best of luck. read
by crossroads79 on 05/23/2011This story about an Iranian family is a very solid premise for a number of reasons. In light of the wars over there and the fallout on Arabs here in United States -- it's a good story to portray an Arab family with their traits, both brutal and honorable. Coupled with that good old American staple of the immigrant father who provides for his family by any means necessary... This story about an Iranian family is a very solid premise for a number of reasons. In light of the wars over there and the fallout on Arabs here in United States -- it's a good story to portray an Arab family with their traits, both brutal and honorable. Coupled with that good old American staple of the immigrant father who provides for his family by any means necessary proves this theme can transcend nationality and culture. I enjoy these stories, they've the potential to be epics or elaborate glimpses into the family dynamic -- from one generation to the next, differing values and sense of duty either ushering in a revelation for the characters to become better people or ending in tragedy.
As for this story, in one word -- overwritten.
As I read this, there were lines and lines of description that ran on and on, feeling forced. One example that's fresh in my mind is Shahla's collapse in the art gallery after Essy's death:
Numb with grief.
It was too much and took me right out of the story. And Rostam's bashing of Tiny. I get the rage he felt, especially from a man more or less composed for the whole story, but it just takes us out of the action -- and I'm no longer in shock, per say, but wondering how many fucking times does anyone need to hit someone in the head with a hammer.
An example I'd point out is the conversation between Big T and Essy. Lots of extraneous stuff can be cut. Perfect line would be when Big T asks to be taken to a brothel and remarks that he couldn't ask his mother to take him. That's fairly obvious to the reader. This script is dripping with excess bits of dialogue. Another conversation that can be cut entirely is on pg. 49 as the strippers ramble on about Essy. No need for that at all.
As writers we know it's part of our job to make the final draft as lean and efficient as possible, and with all that aside -- the overwriting proved to be a distraction for me.
There are a number of typos in there, so...
Structure wise, everything moved along as it should, but there are some things I feel need more focus which brings some character elements to mind as well. This story is about this family, but more specifically father/son. I get why Rostam holds a grudge against Essy for joining the Marines (straight out of Godfather -- sorry but that's inevitable). But what's not clear is why Essy is ill towards Rostam. There's no real connection between his refusal to go to his father for help, much less to say hello and moral outrage he might have in how Rostam makes his living -- which was my initial guess as to why they're estranged. But, in the end, Essy moves to sell the block of heroin and there goes that theory. So why is Essy angry at his father?
Leila/Sohrab -- I'm not sure what these two are doing in the story. Leila I'm guessing is there to make this more of a 'family' with those types of problems -- but it's not resolved. I like the dinner conversation though, that worked very well.
Same thing with Sohrab. You have -- and please forgive the reference -- a Fredo-type brother, but it's not resolved. Does Rostam confront his drug abuse or not?
A final thought about Essy and should you choose to address it, I'm not sure how much that might alter your ending, but his attempt to sell the dope. For one, his reasons are unclear since I'm not sure why his fight with Ali meant he had to quit the strip club and second, why wouldn't he go through someone he knows better to unload it? I understand he needs some reason to be where Tiny is ready to attack, but the motivation is a bit weak/unclear.
I hope some of this helps and good luck with future drafts. read
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