Screenwriting Term 2 – Second Draft

Second Draft Script – Man to Man [2nd Draft]

With this draft, I had the opportunity to have it read out in front of a larger group which was good as I could glean a higher variety of feedback from my cohort.

The changes I made were my lead character’s name (from Philip to Joe) as I felt the name Joe suited his character better. I had added more reference to Jason’s sister Ella and also I removed the whole music subplot with Jason and just had him give up on basketball partly because of his father. A subtle change I made in this draft was every time I had Joe walking somewhere, I would describe that he walks with a limp, subtly hinting that he suffered a serious injury in the past. I wanted it to be subtle and not have a character explain Joe’s past in detail as I wanted to avoid expositional dialogue as much as I can. I did not want a repeat of the dialogue I wrote in my earlier drafts of Pain where characters explain to each other things that both of them already know.

Response from this draft was generally positive. Most of my cohort did not understand any of the basketball terminology as I suspected, so they felt they may have missed something in the drama. I was aware of the possibility of this when I was writing my first draft and therefore structured the drama in a way that even though you may not understand the terminology used, you can get a sense of the dynamic between the characters. One example would be the practice scene in my film where Joe has a go at Jason for not running a play they way he was supposed to. Even though Joe complains at Jason using basketball terminology the general gist of the scene is that Jason does something that he wasn’t supposed to do which results in Joe shouting at him. I think I conveyed that as well as I could; granted it’s hard for someone who is unfamiliar with basketball to visualise this scene, but if this scene were to be filmed then I suspect it would be clearer to the audience.

One major criticism that I got was that I emphasised the point too much about the presence of Ella in the story at the beginning which makes the last scene lack the impact that it would have. I agreed with this, initially I did not want to include too much of Ella as in the event that I do decided to make this film I know that casting Ella would be extremely difficult, finding a young black actress who can play basketball convincingly.

Another criticism I got was that someone said that in my script you don’t really engage emotionally with the characters since it’s such a weighty story but it’s told within the confines of a ten page screenplay. Someone mentioned that my script would be better suited as a feature length screenplay, a sentiment I agree with. I still wanted to include the music subplot with Jason (or perhaps a different subplot as I was told the music thing was cliched) and wanted to explore Joe’s backstory a bit more but I couldn’t do so within a ten page screenplay. The very fact that I felt that the stories of my previous two screenplays that I’ve written for this term were better suited for a feature-length treatment says something about my predisposition toward writing stories. Perhaps I’m not suited to writing short screenplays as my ideas always have too much weight to them to explore within the confines of a short screenplay, especially a short screenplay with a page limit.

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Filed under MDA2100 - Screenwriting: The Short Film

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