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Old 12-30-2009, 02:05 PM
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Icon10 Excerpt from my show...


Ok, so I recently created a website for a tv show I made up. It is a mystery show about an LDS missionary who feels compelled to solve a big mystery (don't wanna give the mystery away as it is a surprise) while continuing to serve his mission and is continually asked by others for his help (mystery of the week). Think of it as sort of like Veronica Mars. Anyway, here is the opening scene of the first episode. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Episode 1: "The Day The Quad Stood Still"
Written by: Roy Mendez

INT- JOSEPH'S APARTMENT - MORNING

The camera fades in to reveal a nicely decorated apartment. The walls are white, with no stains. There is a dark blue carpet covering the floor of the living room, which has two tan couches. The camera reveals the rest of the apartment as Joseph's voiceover starts.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: Karma is a funny thing. The bad guys go off committing their evil deeds and the good guys, that's me, are left to sit back and watch it bite them in the behind. How do I know? Well, it's a long story.

The kitchen is revealed. It is a bit small, with a stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher as far as appliances go. The camera spins around slowly to reveal a few pots and pans, along with dish plates on the counter.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: I guess I should start with introducing myself. Joseph Ramirez. That's my name. I'm nineteen, a fan of tennis, and I love Chinese food. If that's not enough for you, I'm also a missionary for the Mormon church. I recently completed my first of two years serving. I'm stationed in Jackson, Mississippi. What a roller coaster ride of a year it was.

The dining area is shown next. There is a single table with only two chairs. In the center of the table is a fruit basket, containing apples, oranges, and bananas.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: It all started out when I left behind my friends and family in Bakersfield, CA to start my mission in Provo, UT off at the Missionary Training Center, or MTC for short. On my first day, I learned about a missionary who had gone missing. Then a few weeks later, another one disappeared. Our President of the MTC said that they left willingly. My roommate and companion at the MTC, Barry Wells, felt differently.

The camera slowly passes up the table and starts to show the hallway of the apartment. The walls are white, just like the living room, and there are a few pictures hung up, but the camera doesn't give a clear view of them. The camera slowly descends down the hallway.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: That's where things really started to get crazy. Barry was certain that the boys had been kidnapped, or worse. So we started an investigation. We didn't get very far. It seemed like there wasn't much to find. Still, Barry and I grew close during that time. Eventually, we were sent off here to Jackson. Barry and I were assigned new, experienced companions.

The camera turns right and enters one of the doors leading out of the hallway. The room entered is soon revealed to be the bathroom. It is small, with only a toilet, shower, and mirror. Nothing too fancy.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: Four months passed without incident. Then, one morning we were called to the church. Barry was gone. He had left nothing more than a note, saying he couldn't complete his mission and that he was sorry. I knew he didn't write the note. So I reopened the investigation with the help of my new companion, John Kretchmoore.

The camera backtracks out of the bathroom, and heads to the door opposite the bathroom. Inside, it is revealed to be a bedroom. It is small, with a bed covered by white sheets, a dresser, a laundry basket beside the bed, and a desk & chair. Everything is very tidy.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: After months of searching, I found out the truth. The person I had placed so much trust in, John, was the one behind it all. He'd kidnapped the two missionaries from the MTC as part of a revenge plan. Barry was getting too close to finding him, so John, who was actually named Adam Rivers, kidnapped him too.

The camera backs out of the room and starts to descend further down the hallway. There isn't much farther to go.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: It all came down to a standoff between Adam and I. When he realized I had found the truth, he planned to kill me. I was able to escape and surprisingly, I found Barry. He was tied up and disoriented. We got away, and Adam Rivers was placed into a mental institution for his psychopathic personality disorder.

The camera descends into the only door at the end of the hallway. The view is straight ahead from the door. The camera enters the room. From what can be seen, there is a similar layout. The bed with white sheets can be seen, a laundry basket beside it. The camera gets all the way back to the end of it's straight view and turns revealing a window. The camera stops and shows outside of the window. There are a few men outside, missionaries dressed in normal attire; jeans and t-shirt.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: To this day no one knows where the two missionaries who were kidnapped from the MTC are, or if they were even alive at the time I found Barry. Adam never told the police and Barry didn't know. We still don't even know why Adam kept Barry alive during all that time. Two months after the day Adam was arrested, a statue in the two boys' honor was placed at the recently opened Brigham Young University-Mississippi college campus directly across from the future MTC.

The camera turns away and completes its 360 degrees. A dresser comes into view, but beside the dresser is a desk, just like in the other room. This desk however, has someone sitting in the chair, back faced to the camera. All that can be seen is that the person is male, wearing jeans and a light blue polo. The man has light brown hair.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: It's been three months since the memorial service. So much has changed since then. Several of my fellow missionaries see me as some sort of hero. Since solving the missing missionaries case, I've had multiple people coming to me with different problems. Some were accused of graffiti in town, another was accused of stealing from the church. Although reluctant, I helped prove the innocence of these missionaries and found the real culprits. I had gotten a little good at solving mysteries.

The camera spins to reveal the person's face. It's our protagonist, Joseph Ramirez. He has light blue eyes, and his hair goes just past his eyebrows on his forehead. He is writing something on a piece of paper. Then, he drops the pen he was writing with on the paper and looks to his side, his expression unreadable.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: But today isn't about mystery solving. Today is my preparation day. The one day a week I have to myself. I'm planning to do some laundry, exercise, and catch up on sleep. Nice, normal day. I've grown to appreciate the simple days that some people might find boring. I've had enough adventure for a lifetime.

He spins the chair around and fixates his eyes on the laundry basket beside his bed. It is overflowing. Joseph stares at it, and sighs.

EXT - APARTMENT COMPLEX - MORNING

Cut to a few minutes later. Joseph is walking down the stairs of his apartment. His face shifts, as if he's realized something.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: Where is Charlie? I haven't seen him since I woke up.

He has reached the bottom of the stops and starts to walk down a wide hallway. There isn't much to see. There are a few flowerbeds that he passes, but nothing else other than the doors of the other apartments.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: I know that Charlie is new, but where would he go on his first preparation day, without telling me?

Joseph stops as he realizes that he's at his destination. He enters a small room, which doesn't appear to be an apartment room.

INT- LAUNDRY ROOM - MORNING

Inside, three other men can be seen standing beside the washing machines and dryers, ten of each, which line up along the walls.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: The laundry room, this room was added to the apartment complex a few months back, made especially for us missionaries.

HANK: [offscreen] Hello Elder Ramirez.

Joseph turns and sees a man whom he clearly recognizes sitting at a desk. Joseph starts to walk towards the desk.

JOSEPH: Hey Hank.

Joseph reaches the desk and Hank hands him a pen. The camera shows a close up of the paper on the desk. "Sign In Sheet" is written in bold at the top of the paper. Joseph's hand slides down the page until he finds the last name, and writes his own underneath it. Hank smiles at him, and Joseph, laundry basket in hand, walks towards the counter for folding clothes. Just as he reaches it, he bumps into another missionary. He is a little bit shorter than Joseph, with blonde hair and green eyes. He has his name tag on, which reads "Elder B.Daniels." He is carrying a laundry basket, which seems to have two sets of clothes stuffed into it.

JOSEPH: I'm sorry.

ELDER DANIELS: It's ok. Don't worry about it.

The missionary smiles and walks away. Joseph watches him leave. Cut to later. Joseph is standing in front of a dryer, waiting for it to finish. There is only one other missionary besides himself left in the room. Hank is gone as well. He looks back at the dryer. Two minutes is shown to be counting down. A voice is suddenly heard behind him.

FRANK: [offscreen] Excuse me?

Joseph turns around to see another missionary whom he also clearly recognizes. The young man's name tag reads "Elder F.Miles"

JOSEPH: Hi Frank.

FRANK: Hi Joseph. Umm, I heard you were like a detective or something?

Joseph looks a little shocked. This is surprising news to him.

JOSEPH: Well, not really. I mean, I've helped some people here before but I'm not an actual detective.

FRANK: But you found out what happened to those missionaries that went missing last year, before I came here right? And last month you helped Elder Gibson prove that he didn't rob that woman?

JOSEPH: Well, yeah. But those we're really just me getting lucky. I don't solve cases professionally.

FRANK: You think, maybe you could help me?

JOSEPH: How?

FRANK: My ring, I lost it.

Joseph gives him a look. He's not enjoying being put on the spot.

JOSEPH: I don't know Frank. I don't really do that kind of stuff anymore.

FRANK: Please? If I don't find that ring, my dad will disown me as soon as I get back from my mission.

Frank looks at Joseph with desperation. Joseph is left speechless, and sighs. He looks down.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: So much for it being a mystery free day.

OPENING CREDITS.


So, thats the opening of the first episode. If you liked it or it piqued your interest, please check out my site at:
http://web.me.com/roy.mendez/www.mis....com/Home.html
The full episode is there. Please leave comments here and on my site to let me know what I can do to improve my work. I'm here to learn. Thanks everyone!

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  #2  
Old 12-30-2009, 02:26 PM
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There is a lot of good in this intro

However, its a big of an info dump narrative wise.

I'd like to see that part not so rambly and you expect to find the main character given a task far above the ring thing hmmm

And also him doing laundry seems a bit dull for what I expected to find at the end of the panning...

Just my two cents
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:38 PM
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Yeah, the whole episode is basically an introduction to what the show is. I didn't want to add the ring storyline but I felt I needed to add a mystery (however dull and seemingly unimportant it may be) to portray what the show is ultimately about. The main mystery is introduced at the end of the first episode, and a sub mystery is the "how he did it" (kidnap two other missionaries) scenario from this opening. The link to my site is in the first post if you want to read the rest.

Regardless, I appreciate your feedback. Thanks!
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:26 PM
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How long does each episode run for? I agree with calligraphy. There's a LOT of info for the audiences to take in - especially before the opening credits. In my experience, if there is too much 'historical' narration in the first 2 minutes before the opening credits, people tend to switch off. Introductory narrative should really be about the "here and now". The rest can come in as the episode progresses.

That's just my opinion.
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:24 AM
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Thank you for your honest feedback Kimba.


Well the show is meant to be an hour long show, which in reality would actually run 40-45 minutes. However this first episode is longer as there is a lot of backstory to tell and characters to introduce.

As for the historical narration, I know it seems like a lot but if it were actually on air it would take no more than about 3 minutes. But for reading purposes for this site, I see both your's and caligraphy's point. However, I feel if the reader can get past that part, the rest of the episode is enjoyable. There are a few flashbacks throughout the first episode, but for those parts I've actually been complimented on how I handled it, compared to the opening.

Thanks for the advice though! I'm considering rewriting some parts to make it less confusing, and maybe a bit more appealing. Haha.


Another excerpt in a feeble attempt to get readers:

INT- MORMON CHURCH- DAY

Joseph is walking down the hallway leading to President Andrews office. He is walking fast, as if he is in a hurry. He reaches the door and knocks.

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: [offscreen] Come in!

Joseph enters. President Andrews looks up at him and smiles. Joseph smiles back, although a hint of nervousness can be seen on his face.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: Uh oh. Whenever President Andrews smiles as soon as I enter the room, it's usually bad news.

Joseph stands nervously.

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: Joseph. Please sit down

Joseph sits down in the chair opposite of President Andrews desk.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: Oh no. He called me Joseph. If he isn't referring to me as "Elder Ramirez" it must be really bad. Am I losing my Assistant position? That's what it has to be. He's tired of me running around solving mysteries.

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: I brought you here to give you some rather upsetting news.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: I'm losing my position. I knew it. He had replaced me with someone else, someone who didn't get involved with other people's problems.

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: Adam Rivers was attacked last night. I just got the news.

Joseph gets a look of pure shock on his face.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: I'm not being demoted. But Adam was attacked?

President Andrews looks at Joseph with a look of concern. Joseph notices.

JOSEPH: What happened?

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: Samuel Reyes, Oscar's father, visited him. The guards left him alone with Adam and he attacked him. He was shouting that Adam didn't deserve to live for kidnapping his son. He demanded to know where Oscar's body was hidden.

JOSEPH: Oh my God. What happened to Mr. Reyes?

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: He was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

JOSEPH: And Adam?

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: He's in the hospital. From what I heard, it's pretty bad.

JOSEPH: Why are you telling me this?

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: I figured you might want to know. That and I didn't want you to find out from someone else.

Joseph is about to say something else when the door is opened. A man sticks his head in before entering. He is a man in his twenties, dressed in a suit. His name tag reads "Carl Houser".

CARL: I'm sorry to interrupt President Andrews. But there's a small problem in the chapel and we need you for a brief moment.

President Andrews nods, and Carl leaves the room. President Andrews stands up.

PRESIDENT ANDREWS: Ok. Well that's all I wanted to tell you Joseph. You can go back to your apartment now.

President Andrews exits the room. Joseph stands up and watches him exit.

JOSEPH VOICEOVER: So Adam had been attacked and almost killed by the father of one of the boys he had kidnapped a year ago. But why now? He had caused that man so much pain, and now he was in the hospital. President Andrews said that the injuries were pretty bad. Would it be heartless to say "What goes around, comes around"?

Read the rest here:
http://web.me.com/roy.mendez/www.mis....com/Home.html
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:10 PM
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Has this actually being filmed yet or is it just for script reading? Because the script itself is in the wrong format.

Also, just a point on copyright, unless the actors shown on your site have actually signed a legal contract agreement to be placed there, you cannot actually add their pictures to the site. You could get into a lot of trouble for it. Trust me, in the entertainment industry, this is a very serious issue ... This also applies to any music you put in the trailer.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:05 PM
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It's just for script reading. I have no intentions of actually filming anything.

Really? Hmm, well I didn't think it'd be an issue since people make fansites dedicated to their favorite actors/actresses all the time. Well would it be considered copyrighting if I were to change cast to "Possible Cast" or "Ideal Cast" and add a line or two the the disclaimer? Something that admits they aren't affiliated with the project in anyway? As for the music, I could just take that down. I would like to keep the pictures for the site layout if that's possible though.

Thanks for informing me about this issue Kimba. I really appreciate it!
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:29 PM
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Not a problem. I don't want anyone to get into trouble for doing something they weren't aware was wrong.

Fansites are different because they are specifically dedicated to actors who have worked in various shows. The actors on your site haven't actually said yes to being part of your show which is where it becomes a breach of copyright.

It's probably best not to link any actor to your character - just a list of characters will do. Lawyers can get very anal about this sort of thing. This is especially so since the actors on the site haven't actually given you any permission to publish their photos on your site.

I'm very wary about copyright myself as I produce an audio series in which actors [as well as crew] have to sign a legal contract giving permission to use their likeness and voice on the web.

Unfortunately, it's part of the film/TV industry anywhere in the world.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:56 PM
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I see. Well I appreciate the information Kimba. I'll update my site and remove the pictures as soon as I get a chance! Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:00 AM
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Use *(VO) *or (OS) *in the character tags

Stick to the simple present tense. *Why say "Can be seen standing" when you mean "stand"? *

"First episode a little longer"? * *If you are doing two hour pilot, then do that.

If this is actually intended for TV, you need to observe the act structure of TV scripts.

A one hour show would have about 45 pages, divided into three or four acts, perhaps with a "Teaser" in front and/or a "Tag" at the end... of any length, but SHORT.

The acts are, unlike movie scripts, actual acts. * As in*

FADE OUT:
END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO
FADE IN:

Each act *is a little shorter than the one before, *essentially packing in more commercials once the viewer is hooked. * Page counts might be something like 20, 15,10 *

And each act should have an ending, not just hacked off at that length. *Think of them as "cliffhangers" if you like... basically they are to make people come back after the commercial break. * Actual, crafted, shaped acts, like in theater.

If you are serious about writing TV shows, you should check out Larry Brody's *TVwriter.com
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:03 AM
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BTW * I use pictures of actors on my script websites. *Or porn girls or corporate headshots or whatever. * *It's not really kosher. *But who really gives a shit? * If somebody wants to come bitch about it, I can remove them. * Unlikely event, actually. * *

You're not selling the website, are you? * *Why can a jillion *sites show pictures of Paris Hilton or Madonna, but you can't?

Do it if you want. *They're not going to come kill you over it.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:05 AM
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PS * Keep the writing spare and simple. * Why say "the door is opened" instead of "the door opens"?

Why all the "hads" in the last dialog? * Why not simple past tense?
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:51 AM
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Lin, thanks for all the pointers.
This is really just for fun. I have no plans to try and have this project turned into an actual television show. However, after seeing a few examples, I can see that the proper television script format is MUCH easier to write in. I will start to write along those guideline starting from the 5th episode, which is the one I am currently writing. Also, I am gonna convert the episodes I've already written into script format, which I've already done with the first two.Thanks for all the great advice!

Second episode is up! And it is in proper script format!
Excerpt (writersbeat edits the post so it isn't in proper format here):

EXT.APARTMENT COMPLEX-DAY

Joseph pulls into the parking lot. He sits in the car for a minute, looking as if he is about to throw up. He takes a deep breath and exits the car to begin his walk back to his apartment.

JOSEPH (V.O): So, President Andrews wants my
help. He only wants my help because its been discovered that the MTC fire was planned. By who? Here we go again. Another year, another mystery. Am I really ready for this? I guess I don’t have a choice. Barry and the others deserve to have their killer found.

Joseph’s thoughts are interrupted when he notices Billy walking towards him. He has a less than pleasant look on his face.

JOSEPH (V.O): Billy West, doesn’t look like he’s
having a good day. What could he want from me?

BILLY: Joseph, I need to talk to you.

JOSEPH: Hey Billy. What’s
up?

BILLY: I’ll make it quick. I saw you at
the scene of that accident today.

JOSEPH: Yeah, I was there. Why?

BILLY: Well, it wasn’t an accident. It was
a hit and run. I visited the woman in the hospital. She said that she was purposely hit by someone.

JOSEPH: Oh man, that’s awful.

BILLY: Glad you agree. She lost her baby
Joseph. I told her that you’d help her find out who hit her.

Joseph gives Billy a "You’ve got to be kidding me" look. Billy continues to stare at him, not releasing his gaze. Joseph lets out a loud sigh and looks down, shaking his head.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:43 PM
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Joseph’s thoughts are interrupted when he notices Billy walking towards him. He has a less than pleasant look on his face.
This points out two of my cautions about screenwriting:
--keep it spare and lean
--don't write what can't be seen or heard

Obviously we are not privy to his thoughts. * But no need to be. *Here's how I would do this:

Joseph breaks off as Billy strides toward him, scowling.

Spare, lean. *No innner realties that can't be seen. * "strides" or "slouches" or whatever instead of "walks" *evokes the visual without need for more words. **


Like I say, a lot of it is just getting use to a different way of "talking", not like writing fiction. * *Like talking to the blind, you end up learning not to use certain things like head nods or colors. *In scripts you learn to tell the story in very stripped-down, concise, present tense language;.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:53 PM
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Yeah. Well I'm working on it, step by step. Switching to proper script format was the first step. However, I do appreciate all your advice and I'm sure that eventually I'll get it down. Thanks again Lin.
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