There once was a time when we used to take care of our own.
HOW IT RATES
Two families weathering life with a determination not even the Depression could kill.
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Reviews of WAITING OUT THE STORM 14
by craigpau on 01/08/2013I would take the date 2009 off the title page. Dates the script. P.17 - The dialogue at the bottom of the page seems disjointed. Make sure the characters are listening to one another. P.21 - Not sure why you jump to 1932. All the growing relationships you've just shown us will go away with a jump in time. I felt like I was just getting to know the people. P.22 - It's... I would take the date 2009 off the title page. Dates the script.
P.17 - The dialogue at the bottom of the page seems disjointed. Make sure the characters are listening to one another.
P.21 - Not sure why you jump to 1932. All the growing relationships you've just shown us will go away with a jump in time. I felt like I was just getting to know the people.
P.22 - It's vague what's going on here. Has the Dust Bowl taken over? If it has, you have to set this up better.
I'm on page 26 and nothing much has happened yet.
P.27 - The DREAM SEQUENCE comes out of nowhere? Seems forced.
Your dialogue is good and it's easy to tell your characters apart.
The Dust Bowl seems to just appear. I think you have to build this up more. Maybe show newspaper headlines, etc. I'm not sensing the hardships families had to endure. This was a very difficult period in American history. You should take advantage of it. You use OLD JAMES as the transition device. You should use him here as well.
P.32 - I thought James was working in the fields and not going to school?
P.33 - 'baser' should be 'basic'
P.33 - Unmotivated that Karl goes off on Rose. It should build to a point, then Karl goes off. Even though we see her bruise earlier, it just comes out of nowhere here. And alcohol is not involved.
P.35 - Interesting that Rose and Dorothy are lovers. Good. Maybe move this up 10 pages. You can do it because 122 pages is way too long for a script of this nature. 100 pages should be fine.
What happened to James and Catherine's relationship? It just disappeared.
I don't understand why James and Avery are suddenly antagonistic toward one another. Nothing that has happened before this led me to believe that this would happen.
Honestly, I don't like all the jump in years. Breaks the flow of your story.
And again. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Lila and Avery are angry at each other. You have to preface this by showing the frustration build, not just start the scene and have them argue for no reason.
P.51 is too late for the storm. Maybe this could be your beat at page 30? It's very dramatic.
P.52 - Stan or Stanley? Can't be both. And then Cathy calls James Jim. And when did Catherine become Cathy? You need to catch this stuff when proofreading. Not sure why everybody has a different name all of a sudden.
P.55 - Man, Karl is an ssshole. Maybe lighten him up a bit?
P.56 - Totally not logical that Karl would pick this time and this place to be paranoid about his wife's activities. I don't buy it.
P.59 - I highly doubt Lila would be interested in a rainmaker when her kids are missing and in danger. She says:
LILA I’m sorry, Charlie. Now’s not a good time.
Then she changes her mind? Not logical.
How did Avery find the kids so fast and easy?
Timing wise, Charlie is at the house with Lila. Charlie is still at the house with Lila during the entire time it took Avery to find the boys, dig them up and ride back to the house? Take a look at that.
P.65 - It was never established that Catherine and James have a real relationship so this scene falls flat. It could work if they had an earlier date and it lead to this 'serious' date.
I thought Cathy said earlier that her family was invited to come to California. And now Karl is holed up inside the house with his family. Seems like conflicting information. Are they staying or going?
Since you introduced with a woman earlier, you have to have a resolution to this. You can't just forget about it.
Now we are starting to follow the Bauer family, but I thought your story was about Avery, James and their family?
P. 80 and after - Your story is very unfocused now, jumping back and forth between the two families. There appears to be nothing at stake. I lost track of the goal.
P.85 - The boss gives in too easy.
P.88 - Why would Catherine and her family come home when California has been so good to them? Makes no sense.
P.91 - Why didn't Jim write back? And Jim doesn't know her family is back home?
Okay. The Rainmaker guy. He's introduced as the savior, then a bunch of time passes, then he's back. You have to streamline all this. You introduce the subplot of the rainmaker, it has to have a payoff - and not months later.
P.101 - Why does Catherine open her parents bedroom door?
P.103 - Your story is really laboring at this point, meaning it's already way too long. Karl is back to being mean Karl, which just isn't all that interesting.
You're a good writer. But you have to edit it better, make it shorter, pick an A story, and streamline it. Good luck.
by Savene on 01/04/2013There aren't very many stories of the Dust Bowl out there. I give you kudos for attempting to create a screenplay about this time in American history. The characters are, for the most part, well defined and real. The dialogue really shines with the characters talking appropriately for the time period and region. That being said it needs some work. There isn't a story here... There aren't very many stories of the Dust Bowl out there. I give you kudos for attempting to create a screenplay about this time in American history. The characters are, for the most part, well defined and real. The dialogue really shines with the characters talking appropriately for the time period and region. That being said it needs some work.
There isn't a story here. Yes it is the story of two children living and surviving the dust bowl. As interesting as that may be in a historical sense there isn't a story to draw people to the theater here. It's all over the place with Karl's abuse, James/Jim and Cathy's romance, and Avery's struggle to keep his farm. Pick one. Pick a core storyline and let the dust bowl be the stage for THAT story. Really make that story shine. The focus is all over the place and the back stories that should just strengthen the core instead distract. I would pick either Cathy or James and have one of them be the core character. Don't jump between them and tell us what happens to the other through dialogue.
Some scenes and actions just didn't make sense. There were way too many people in a small farm town general store at once in the beginning. In Hattie's death scene she spoke way older then her young 6-7 year old age. Why did Cathy and her family leave California? Cathy was making good money and the farms weren't doing well enough to come back. If Karl forced it out of pride that would be more interesting to the story. Karl's death was very rushed and what was the point of him being bit by the black widow if Rose was going to hit him with the rifle? I often felt that Stan was the dominate twin, not in the sence that he was the dominant personality but that it felt like you forgot he was part of a pair. He spoke more and was more in the story then his brother, so much that I can't recall the brothers name. Either get rid of the twin or make it matter that you have twins other then the occasional comment about the "boys". No director or producer will thank you for having two characters when really, you only needed one. Talking of Stan I don't understand him getting hurt in the storm. They were already delayed by walking Cathy home and would have been caught either way. After his injury was mysteriously gone and never mentioned again. It didn't impact anything so why make it happen? I think if you are going to make a point of time passing it should be more then a year. Each time the time came up it was almost a year later. Which is interesting to see how things progress but I think it should have been two or three years with bigger changes. Especially since it suddenly goes from every year until 1935 then jumps 4 years to the end of the dust bowl and everything's sorted. Then suddenly old James dropping ashes (I assume Cathy but that too needs some explanation even if it is a name engraved on the urn).
I really think you could develop a great story here. You are good with dialogue and creating a cohesive story. It just needs some work to make it a more enticing and sellable piece. read
by flafishergal on 01/04/2013Waiting Out the Storm I like the way you’ve created an interesting cast of characters in a really great setting. It gave me a real feel for the time period and the depressing conditions that people had to endure. It has that epic movie feel where we live with each group of characters and feel their pain following them on their journey and life trials. You have some wonderful...
Waiting Out the Storm
I like the way you’ve created an interesting cast of characters in a really great setting. It gave me a real feel for the time period and the depressing conditions that people had to endure. It has that epic movie feel where we live with each group of characters and feel their pain following them on their journey and life trials.
You have some wonderful emotional scenes and plenty of dramatic nail-biting action.
But I felt like there were too many characters to keep track of and no one person for me to follow. Who has a quest or a challenge that I can cheer for? What is the problem? I’m on page 30 and haven’t seen it yet. This is somewhat of a personal preference as I tend to like simpler movies rather than historical dramas.
I feel as though this script should be many pages shorter just by thinning out the dialogue. If you want to create a somber, serious mood then people should talk as little as possible. You should be creating more silent beats of understanding. The pace now is slow except for the danger scenes. Way too many times I felt like the characters were talking but no one was listening. My impression of this time period is that people chose their words more carefully as they were cognizant of their social and emotional impact on other people, not wanting to offend or be against Biblical principles. Not like today where we pretty much have no filter from brain to mouth.
Pg. 6-12 is one long scene. I’d try to condense it.
Also, the two vagrants sound like one person-- they don’t have individual voices.
I’m up to page 20 and I still don’t know who your protagonist is and really don’t know who is your antagonist.
Pg. 34 I must have missed it, but why did Karl come off so psycho?
Pg. 39 Nice scene with Cathy and Rose.
Pg. 46 This certainly can’t be the first time she’s heard of this dust based disease.
Pg. 71 Like this fight scene with crazy man and Avery.
Pg. 95 I’d like to see the rainmaker come sooner after he was first mentioned. I almost forgot about him and when I saw him first, I was really interested. read
by KJEvanchik on 04/08/2010David, Tisha, Starting off with screenplay formatting in review, here's a couple of things. One is always make sure your slug lines have a time reference to them: INT. BARN isn't technically correct format. If the scene depicted by the slug is immediately following a previous scene one can use the word CONTINUOUS to indicate a seamless transition. Otherwise your slugs... David, Tisha,
Starting off with screenplay formatting in review, here's a couple of things. One is always make sure your slug lines have a time reference to them:
isn't technically correct format. If the scene depicted by the slug is immediately following a previous scene one can use the word CONTINUOUS to indicate a seamless transition. Otherwise your slugs still need DAY or NIGHT quantifiers at all times. There are several instances where you need to fix this. Also, in regards to scene descriptors, remember that these can only be used to transition between two different parts of the same set, and not two locations.
For example, one can say:
INT. BAUER HOUSE - DAY
and then later in the scene use:
However, you technically couldn't then say:
By itself as this is a separate set unto itself (while the kitchen is merely another part of the set you're currently in).
So watch these as well.
Your narratives also from time to time border on "author intrusions" -- telling details in the action narrative rather than showing them. A few examples:
pp. 95 - The townsfolk find this latter remark amusing.
You are telling me this instead of showing it. Rewrite this in active voice which shows the townsfolk reaction : "The townsfolk chuckle in amusement".
The largest agricultural strike in American history is underway.
SHOW how this would be seen on a movie screen. Do not TELL us in action narrative.
On page 101, you have the dialog description:
STAN AND HARVEY
Use standard split dialog formatting for simultaneous dialog instead of what you have here:
So, as far as professional presentation, you have some cleanup work to do. Watch the slug lines and the author intrusions in narrative.
Oh, one other minor point: On page 11 the character of Eddie mentions sending people to Alcatraz and throwing away the key. This is a bit of an anachronism since at this point in your story we're in the year 1931 and Alcatraz did not open as a federal prison until 1934.
Onto your story: To be very honest, I did not start enjoying your script until about the last quarter of it, and then saw some of its strengths shine through. Which is a shame, quite frankly. If I were a professional reader, I would have honestly stopped reading at about page 16. Some of that was due to the formatting and narrative errors I mentioned above, but another part is I just had too much trouble keeping track of all the characters you were throwing at me. A rough rule of thumb is you should keep character intros to five or under in the first ten pages. You introduce over ten. I had trouble remembering who was who, and after a while trouble caring.
This script had several key strengths. I liked the romance between Cathy and James. I liked the horror and visuals of the dust storms. I liked the plight of the struggling farmer under these conditions, and the closing tie-in with patriotism and World War II.
My question is, isn't all that enough? Do we NEED all these other characters? It would seem you have so much story to tell with Cathy, James, and maybe Rose and Karl. Other characters just seem to bog us down. The story at this point follows no cohesive story arc and tends to be a smattering of random events. I think if you were to focus more intently on a few key characters rather than this cornucopia you have, you could tell the story of your remaining characters with far more intensity and make the script than much more compelling (Cathy's desire to win James' heart, Karl's desire to be a farmer, Rose's desire not to be beaten under by her husband, etc).
Rethink what is really needed, be willing to let go of baggage, and I think this script could be much better. read
by JamieG2010 on 04/03/2010An enjoyable, easy, engaging read. But below is my attempt to tear holes in it: - I thought some of the dialogue was unnatural. One of the vagrants says "those who don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it". Good line, but it doesn't roll off the lips of the character. I suggest you read the script out loud remembering who is saying what, and if something doesn't... An enjoyable, easy, engaging read. But below is my attempt to tear holes in it:
- I thought some of the dialogue was unnatural. One of the vagrants says "those who don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it". Good line, but it doesn't roll off the lips of the character. I suggest you read the script out loud remembering who is saying what, and if something doesn't sound quite right then get rid of it - no matter how much you like the line
- the dialogue is also too long. Speeches lasting 4/5 lines are very common, when they should be the absolute exception. In real life people aren't that patient and conversation is much more of a back and forth. As such, it is much more of an insight into the relationship between characters. Even when Karl and Avery are arguing they let each other speak at great length. Also, speeches this long slows down your script
- I thought some things weren't set up enough. Like Rose and Dorothy: where did that come from! It felt like it was a twist for the sake of it. We are not expecting a lesbian relationship in a small rural town in the 1930s, so if you want to include one you have to do a lot more to make it plausible. It doesn't work just to spring it on us
- the above is something you need to explain a lot more, but some things you could make more dramatic by disguising. For example, we know about Karl dominating and beating Rose pretty much from the get-go. Karl is a signposted bad guy. Wouldn't it be more dramatic if at first we thought they were a model couple, and then disturbing hints get dropped before a really dramatic scene where there is actual, unexpected violence (but with the foreshadowing we believe it when it comes)? Just a thought
- I think you need more conflict and tension in the early part of the script. Your set-up is a snapshot into a world, but is a bit dull when most of the conflict is really not very tense, like the arguments between brothers. You have Karl, but not much else. If you're going to give us every-day insight into a world, then make sure to build conflict into every (or virtually every) scene, because otherwise we'll turn off. By page 30 you have the embryonic romance but not much else to generate tension, and even that seems to be going pretty well
- there are lots of themes running through here. The main one seems to be James opening up to Cathy and other people. But there is also family violence, poverty, being an outsider etc. I think you need to decide what your key theme and arc is and emphasise it more. If it's James opening up, then what does having Karl and Rose as outsiders tell us about that? Wouldn't it be better to make James the outsider? Sub-plots are great - and you have lots here - but unless you tie them back into the main theme in a way the audience can understand, even unconsciously, then the unity of your script will suffer
- this reads like the emphasis is on the characters and the setting, and the actual external events were a lower priority and just vehicles to tell us what you wanted to tell us about these 2 things. As such, they seem a bit episodic - a wind storm, a trip to California, another wind storm etc. I suggest - again for the sake of the unity of your script - that you identify the big event that is going to drive this story, and then focus in on it. That'll make the script less disjointed
Good script, though. Well done. read
by N10city on 03/14/2010Wow. Those are some serious production notes. Honestly, you could probably get away with a more simple statement about the era with that amazing dialogue from James that you have there. I need to share one little piece of coincidence mixed with an embarrassing confession. When James asks Cathy if she remembers when they were lodged in the pipe during the dust storm, one of... Wow. Those are some serious production notes. Honestly, you could probably get away with a more simple statement about the era with that amazing dialogue from James that you have there. I need to share one little piece of coincidence mixed with an embarrassing confession. When James asks Cathy if she remembers when they were lodged in the pipe during the dust storm, one of them says it was like a piece of heaven in the middle of hell. Now here comes the confession (and I ask that you keep it between the three of of us). Right after reading WAITING OUT THE STORM I went back to my current reading and picked up NEW MOON. I kid you not-- Bella tells Edward that when they were in the den of thirsty vampires, that being with him was exactly like a piece of heaven in the middle of hell. I had to put the book and down and chuckle to myself. I am a grown man with children reading this, so I wondered what the odds were that Tish or David have read this book.
Anyway-- lets get on with it.
This is my second assignment with two authors attached to the work, in a row. I tend to be less diplomatic when reviewing a dual created piece, because the "two heads are better than one" concept. I assume that one writer is I assume that one writer is driving down towards a collision, the other writer, who rides passenger, is able to grab the wheel and veer away from impeding disaster. Now the production notes, as lengthy as they were, were promising. I have also watched this screenplay and noticed its incline in popularity over time. That usually means that the work is solid.
And was it! My hat's off to you Dave and Tish. Not only can Dave fill out a pair of jeans, but I suspect that most of the moving character moments came from him. Without going into specifics, the voice of the screenplay tended to bounce back and forth. At times the descriptions are lean, with the dialogue being superb. Other times, it seemed that the author reached for creative words when being descriptive. Which it that is the tone for the whole story, its fine. but when simple, concise language is being used, it is a huge stumbling block that disrupts the flow of the material. It reads out of place.
What we have here is an epic journey primarily focused on two Okie families-- Shaw and Bauer.
They exist through the tragedy of the dust bowl in the dirty thirties. You open the story with a sweet Notebook style narration to bring us back to a nostalgic youth of James Shaw and the trials he endures with economic crises, young romance, and family loss.
These are my notes and thoughts as I read:
pg-7 James at this point is 14 years old. His comments about the Indians Burying their suffering under moonshine seems a little misplaced. A statement like that would not come from such a young boy unless he heard his father say it. However, as the dialogue at this stage is getting a little expository and heavy handed from Avery, we know that those are in opposition to his sentiments. Prejudices are usually handed down from generation to generation, or personal experience that misplaces ideas of negative stereotype. Also-- you have a trailing line in Avery's dialogue.
Pg- 13 What happened with the dialogue with Rose? She speaks with absolute clarity, then drops the word "afore". Inconsistent.
Pg- 14 Is Dorothy and Ms. Anderson the same person? Revisit slug into.
Pg- 20 Lots of clunky and expository dialogue at this point/ Nothing of significance is happening at this point. So far we are just getting the setting and culture of the people. This is way to long to keep going like this.
Pg- 37 HOLD UP! Someone didn't veer away from this. The Dorothy and Rose angle? What a blindside. It seems it is put in there strictly for shock value. Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to something like this, but by dropping this scene-- nothing is taken away from the story. Unless you plan on making more of this relationship, it is pointless. Nice visual, though.
Pg-72 What's up with the nutty formatting with Karl's dialogue? I have noticed this with a few of the dialogue breaks in this. OCD... maybe?
All in all, a good story. Family trial and triumph. Mu suggestions would be to look at the dialogue. You set the bar high for yourself in your own story. Sometimes it's brilliant, with memorable lines-- other times it comes off clunky and shifts from thirties to 1800's.
My last comment on this would be to rethink your approach to entering this world. You are close to understanding, with the Old James voice over. Notice that your screenplay does not have a hook and is slow in the first thirty pages. By standard, a story should have a hook to keep the audience sitting and not wanting to get up. Give cause for Old James to be recounting the memories of his youth in the first TEN pages. go ahead and watch what was done in the NOTEBOOK to bring us back to yesteryear. Let's see what James is talking about in his vo narration, and understand his crises in the beginning of the story.
That's my two cents (worth about a penny) read
by timstep on 02/21/2010Although this is not my wheelhouse as far as movies I would want to watch, I think you did an effective job of telling the story you wanted to tell. My major beef is that the writing tends to lean on the verbose side. I think there are numerous opportunities to cut action from three to two lines, or trim dialog from ten words to five. Right now you're at about 120 pages, and... Although this is not my wheelhouse as far as movies I would want to watch, I think you did an effective job of telling the story you wanted to tell. My major beef is that the writing tends to lean on the verbose side. I think there are numerous opportunities to cut action from three to two lines, or trim dialog from ten words to five. Right now you're at about 120 pages, and with some serious editing you could easily be down to 110 or even 105.
Here's an example:
"CATHERINE BAUER, 13, squeezes past Ms. Anders. She’s tall and lean, with fair skin and a face covered with a light smattering of freckles. Her green-blue eyes are fiery and intelligent."
On the page, this is a four line description. I would suggest looking at ways to trim down passages like this.
"CATHERINE BAUER, 13, tall, lean, with fair skin and light freckles, squeezes past Ms. Anders."
I know it's not as descriptive, but here's the issues. One, you're limiting your actress choices if you specify "blue-green" eyes, unless you want a thirteen year-old wearing contacts. Two, fiery and intelligent are very specific. The characters actions and dialog should be fiery and intelligent - if you can't show it, you can't tell it.
On page one, you mention a specific song, "Life is a Bowl of Cherries." Trust me on this, having made the same mistake myself repeatedly, don't mention a specific song unless you absolutely must. When must you? Not sure. Seems like for very specific comedic or dramatic effect, you can get away with it, but if it is simply a song playing in the background, just say "a 1930s song plays in the background."
One thing to look out for is the number of -ly, -ing, etc. words. Everything should be in Present Perfect Tense. This is another thing I've been beaten over the head for in past scripts. Nobody "is walking," they "walk." That also leads me to trimming as many "is" and "the" from the script as possible. They take up space and are usually unnecessary.
With regard to the (CONTINUED) and CONTINUED: - don't need them. Not sure which program you're using, but almost all allow you to remove that feature.
I think that, from a story and character standpoint, you're on track. I would make a pass or two just focusing on trimming overly descriptive passages and overly long dialog and I think you'll make a solid step forward. read
by Piper07 on 02/13/2010The screenplay Waiting Out the Storm is a great story. I previously read this screenplay and really liked it before. I’m assuming that this is the revised version and I honestly think that it is really good. It has a very Little House on the Prairie, Ann of Green Gables feel to me and I loved that show. The concept is unique as far as I know. I’ve never seen anything like it... The screenplay Waiting Out the Storm is a great story. I previously read this screenplay and really liked it before. I’m assuming that this is the revised version and I honestly think that it is really good. It has a very Little House on the Prairie, Ann of Green Gables feel to me and I loved that show. The concept is unique as far as I know. I’ve never seen anything like it. The characters all seemed to all have depth. James grows the most throughout and becomes his own man. Rose Bauer seems to grow a lot as well especially when she finally stands up to her husband and kills him. The dialogue was well written and seemed to be unique especially for the time it is set in. My other observations are below in my page by page notes.
Pg. 1 – This is just a suggestion but you may not need to explain the school house in such depth. You have the super which tells what time period it is and most people assume that the school isn’t a regular one. You could also keep it the same it works either way.
NOTE: Usually in spec scripts you don’t need the continued at the tops and bottoms of the page but if that is how your software does it that’s fine.
Pg. 5 – In James’ dialogue he says, “You know what you both are like?” After the twins say “What?” he then starts by saying, “You both are like...” You could easily get away with him just saying, “Like two tiny little lice...” That way it doesn’t seem redundant.
Pg. 16 – I love what Avery says to Karl about foot in mouth disease, very good line.
Pg. 17 – Change “Karl’s” to “Karl” in “Karl’s cringes his weather-beaten face as Avery and his son walk away.”
Pg. 33 – Rose’s dialogue at the end of the page is broken up oddly.
NOTE: Some of your dialogue is a bit long. But for a drama and for the subject matter that’s to be expected. You may want to just go through and condense whatever you can and leave the rest.
Pg. 62 – I thought Hattie was at the hospital?
Pg. 62 – Who’s John? I thought Charlie was the one who was talking and was giving James his nickname? In the action line it says, “James instantly appears awkward by John’s nickname.
Pg. 70 – There is a formatting issue in Avery’s dialogue.
NOTE: Your screenplay is good the way it is but in my opinion it didn’t need to add the part where Cathy works while in California. That’s just my opinion it’s your story do with it as you wish.
Pg. 94 – The Super isn’t really necessary or should have been placed sooner because on page 87 in old James’ voice over he says it is 1934.
Pg. 96 – In the action line it says, “James hoists John up onto the stage...” Who is John? Isn’t he hoisting Charlie Jr. up?
NOTE: You switch between calling Jimmy James and Catherine Cathy a lot. You may want to commit to one name. It’s not confusing to me but it may get a little confusing. I don’t know how much it matters I just thought I’d mention it.
Overall I think this is a great piece of work. I don’t know how commercially viable it is but I could see something like this on the Hallmark Channel. I hope none of my notes were too harsh. Remember I’m only one person with one opinion and in the grand scheme of thing my opinion probably means little. Stay true to your story. Good luck. read
by Courtney Chambers on 02/12/2010Let me begin by apologizing. I'm new to the world of TS. I've only focused on my own SP and have now found this site so I'm still trying to hone my skills of reviewing other's work. Kind of like critiquing an open heart surgery when all that I can do is apply a band-aid! I'm not quite sure what you can do to improve this. I truly enjoyed the story. From start to finish. I... Let me begin by apologizing. I'm new to the world of TS. I've only focused on my own SP and have now found this site so I'm still trying to hone my skills of reviewing other's work. Kind of like critiquing an open heart surgery when all that I can do is apply a band-aid!
I'm not quite sure what you can do to improve this. I truly enjoyed the story. From start to finish. I wasn't quite sure what to expect in the beginning and I wanted the character's lives to improve, but it seemed as things couldn't get worse, they did. I really felt connected to the story and the hardships they endured.
I was really pulling for these folks!
You really did your homework on this one which made the story very strong and believable.
James' and Cathy's relationship was sincere and the dialog throughout was dead on.
I only found a few nit-picky things but overall this was a great read and I look forward to more.
Thanks for the opportunity to read.
Good luck and good writing!
And now...for the nit-picky stuff:
Page 9: "Lila goes around the table and introduces everyone" Then...her dialog introduces everyone. Seemed a bit redundant.
Possibly: Lila circles the table.
Then the dialog?
Page 22: The Shaw Porch description needs a period.
by filmwriter karyn on 02/12/2010Overall: In a word- excess. There’s too much of everything here; lengthy descriptions, unfilmables, directing, dialogue… making the script light on focus. There’s some good conflict, and many characters are fleshed out, but it’s not enough to make it work for me. Here are some things you might want to look at, no particular order: -Opening page…oh, boy. I’ve got a lot of... Overall:
In a word- excess. There’s too much of everything here; lengthy descriptions, unfilmables, directing, dialogue… making the script light on focus. There’s some good conflict, and many characters are fleshed out, but it’s not enough to make it work for me.
Here are some things you might want to look at, no particular order:
-Opening page…oh, boy. I’ve got a lot of things turning me off right from the get-go. Opening description, while lovely, doesn’t work for a screenplay. (How do we know the air is brittle?) It’s too long. Also, I’m not familiar with that specific song, and I assume a lot of your readers aren’t going to be either. Immediately took me out of the read. This should probably be “A 1930s song plays in the background.” Cut the (weary) from your opening dialogue- don’t use wrylies unless you absolutely must. Just my opinion, guys, but I hate voice-overs. I encourage you to cut it and see if you can still get this message across by showing, rather than telling. And the worst offender for me here is the directing. Is it imperative to the story that the music fade after the voice-over? This is the director’s call. Cut the (Continued) at the top & bottom of every page, we know there’s more coming.
-Unfortunately I like dream sequences even less than voice-overs. They’re a crutch for story-telling. Also, I get the feeling this scene went over my head. It was too abstract for me and I don’t know enough about the times to really understand what this is eluding to.
-Edit every single description. There are numerous problems occurring here. One example is when you describe Catherine bringing in two buckets of water for cleaning and cooking. We don’t need to know what they’re for, nor can we see what they’re for on screen. Another example is on page 46 when you describe the children as being lackadaisical due to the oppressive heat. Your audience can’t feel the heat or see it onscreen.
-Formatting issues with dialogue; it breaks into a new line halfway through in some places. An example is on the middle of page 47, Ms. Anders. And I think you mean Miss, not Ms. That seems too progressive for the times, but again, I’m no expert at this time in history. You also have lines of dialogue that are not formatted and run the width of the page.
-Is it Cathy or Catherine? You can only refer to her in the script one way. It’s fine to have it change in dialogue, like when her mother scolds her, but not when describing actions. Same goes for Stan/Stanley.
-I didn’t follow page 62 at all. Slug lines must be followed by a description. Who’s John? He appears again on page 96, weird.
-Your montage scene of the Bauer family driving is not formatted correctly. It needs to simply be a series of descriptions of what we see onscreen. I have no way of knowing that Karl works several odd jobs unless you show that.
-Unfilmables abound throughout. I don’t mind infusing a little emotion here and there, perhaps to give the reader a little prompting of what the actor would convey onscreen. But you go too far. An example is on page 108, “He’s wound tighter than a spring.”
-You can’t have two characters named Hattie. I mean, you can- but you have to distinguish them from one another, like “California Hattie”. It’s simpler if you just choose a different name though.
-Tighten up your story and the focus. Who is the main character or main storyline? We’ve got the James/Cathy love story, James/Avery father & son story, Karl/Rose love-hate story, etc… all with the dust bowl backdrop. I didn’t know where the focus was until two-thirds of the way through, which is not good. You need to spend more pages on your A story, and a lot less on you B, C, D (etc) storylines. I’m not saying you need to cut any of the storyline, I enjoyed them all. But you need to develop them differently, pace them more accordingly. I think the script would benefit from a formula like this: Spend 50%t of the script on the A story, 25% on B, 12% on C, etc.
-It was a slow start for me, the first 20 pages were almost tedious. You need a strong inciting incident to kick it off with a bang on page 10.
-The scene between Avery and James when they come upon the dead bull. Nicely done.
-Dialogue. I can see some other people having a different reaction to it than I had, but for the most part it was well written and sounded authentic to my ears. One standout to me was “No matter how ugly this land gets, it’s still so damn beautiful.”
-Passion. There’s serious passion in this project, and it shines on every page. Clearly a lot of research went into it and the devil’s in the details….great job with that.
-Rose. She rang so true to me. You guys should be very proud of that character.
-Conflict. There’s lots of it, which is great.
I hope my comments are helpful and good luck! read
- Writer: David Strickler, Tisha Garcia
- Uploaded by: tishanddavid
- Length: 120 pages
- Genre: drama, historical, romance
- “Do you trust me? Tell you what. You close your eyes and I’ll hold you and hold my breath, give you all my air. I won’t let you die, Cathy.”
A “black blizzard”, terrifying scourge of the 1930’s Kansas dust bowl, roars across the sky, and in its wake young people like Cathy Bauer and James Shaw strive to survive the moment, and struggle in the aftermath of a country ravaged.
Waiting Out the Storm, a screenplay by Tisha Garcia and David Strickler, brings that time in American history to vivid life, exploring the ways that families and individuals lived through a time that is fading into history, but still casts its echoes across the years into relevance for today.
First draft looking to revise welcome comments, ideas and suggestions. Currently thinking of tackling this into a TV pilot.
- Bio: David resides somewhere in PA and is working on a series of short stories he someday soon hopes to have published. He thanks you very much for any and all comments and suggestions on any work he posts here. Tisha has decided to split off to her own account, so she can post her solo stories (less confusion on the author), but she still may be contacted here.
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