Tag Archives: feedback

Redfield – Third Draft Feedback

Redfield [Pilot] [Third Draft]

With my third draft I took on the advice of my tutors to remove the character of Doggett and replace him with Wyatt. Doggett only served a functional purpose with how he was written previously. By replacing him with Wyatt, a character whom I plan for having a larger role in subsequent episodes, it provides me with more opportunities to show glimpses of his character before I decide to develop him later on.

Additionally, for how I was going to show the visual link between William at 13 years old and older William at 21,  I was deliberating on what I could do to address this. Eventually I decided on having John give William his Stetson hat with the red feather right before he gets killed and eight years later we see William with the same hat the first time we see him on the wagon. I felt this link further emphasised William’s relationship with his father and his quest to avenge him in the sense that the hat could sort of be a physical representation of William’s father.

With the bank robbery scene, I decided to rewrite this scene and add a physical altercation between Jenkins and Miriam after Jenkins rapes her and is caught by Wyatt. I added this because I felt that in the previous draft I needed a legitimate reason for Wyatt to be able to escape Jenkins in a way that felt natural. The physical altercation helped that. Furthermore, I also added in a sequence of how we see Jenkins escape the bank after he is caught by Wyatt. This was raised as an issue in the previous draft as it felt that sequence could end a lot cleaner if we see how Jenkins manages to escape.

Finally, I rewrote William and Jackson’s dialogue scene on the porch toward the end of the episode. I decided on making William be a bit more inquisitive in his questioning of Jackson and use this as an opportunity to shed some light on Jackson’s backstory. This way I could successfully establish that both William and Jackson have been through similar situations where they lost someone they care about to outlaws , giving Jackson a reason to agree to teach him.

The general response to this third draft, taking into account all of the changes above were mostly good. The main points of feedback I received was that I shouldn’t have made William too inquisitive as it gave away that power of that scene from Jackson. Also this scene ran in contrast with the previous scene between William and Jackson in that Jackson steadfastly refused him but now opens up to him with no dramatic development to warrant that. A way I was advised on how I could address this was to have Jackson have the power of that scene, and make William’s desire of learning about hunting outlaws link into his backstory that sheds sympathy from Jackson.

Additionally, I also got feedback from my tutor that the dialogue scene between Tessa and Sally needed to be a bit more flirty in order to achieve the necessary amount of romantic undertones to establish a subtle attraction between the two characters. One way I was advised on how I could tackle writing the dialogue of this scene was to write the scene from Sally’s perspective as if Sally was a man trying to chat Tessa up at the bar. This is definitely a technique that could help me nail this scene and achieve the romantic undertones I want. Also people mentioned that the way that the conversation segues into the reveal of the Nickelwood bank robbery was a bit clunky with the two men in the bar talking about it being too convenient. In response to this I’ve been thinking about ways I could get Tessa and Sally’s conversation to flow into revealing this information.

Finally my tutor recommended to me that I try and figure out a way to intercut the endings of the three running storylines (William, Tessa and Walters) in order to have a cleaner ending as the way I’ve written it now feels like there are three separate endings playing one after the other. This is something I had also been thinking about and I feel I’ll definitely address it in my fourth draft.

 

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Redfield – Second Draft Feedback

Redfield [Pilot] [Second Draft]

I wrote this new draft after taking on all of the advice I had received from the first one. In this draft, of the advice I took on, I rewrote the introduction of George Jenkins much earlier and with more emphasis than before. I completely reworked Tessa’s introduction which I’ll get more into later and I rewrote the final dialogue scene between William and Jackson, removing William’s monologue and adding a jump in between when Jackson lights a fresh cigarette to when he has finished it to symbolise a passage of time.

I’ve also made some additional changes that came to mind as I was preparing to write this new draft. Among those were the introduction of oil leakage subplot with Maggie, the first scenes where Jackson is introduced to William and co. at McKinley’s ranch and extra additions to Tessa’s narrative arc as her new introduction informed my choices to include certain scenes.

One of the scenes I included was actually showing the bank robbery at Nickelwood Town and we see the act of Tessa’s mother Miriam getting raped and killed. Initially I was only going to allude to this in dialogue as an event that has already happened but I felt that I needed to show the traumatic event in Tessa’s life that propels her into her character arc of wanting to bring these men who did this to justice, the same way I established William’s character journey from the opening sequence of the event that fuels his thirst for vengeance.

I also tried to introduce Tessa in a different light than I did in my first draft, showing subtly her desire to rebel from what society expects of her. I attempted this by showing a scene in which Tessa is dressed in riding clothes and hides her riding boots  away from her mother who was about to enter her room. I did not put much emphasis on Donald and Michael Trager as I did in my first draft as I felt it was better served to save those characters for the next episode. I also introduced the character of Sally Harding as a potential mentor figure to Tessa rather than someone she already knew as I felt that the audience would want to see how that relationship is established.

Additionally, I also rewrote Jackson’s first encounter with William and co. as I felt that the version in the first draft was too stilted and the scenes felt forced. With this draft I tried to make it seem as natural as I could make it.

The feedback I got from my tutors on this draft was overall positive, but they gave me a few points to consider. One of those points was that Tessa and Sally’s conversation scene felt like a meeting between two potential lovers. This took me aback because that wasn’t my intention when I was writing this scene but the more that I think about it, the more that I think that this could make an interesting dynamic to their relationship. It made me aware that if I was going for the mentor-protege relationship, it would just be a carbon copy of William and Jackson’s future relationship and that’s something I did not want to repeat. So I’m considering taking these two characters in that direction as I feel that it would give my script a contemporary relevance by featuring LGBT characters, even though it is set in 1900s America.

Another piece of feedback I received was that my reintroduction of William after 8 years needs to be clearer. So I’m thinking of having a visual reference that links 13 year old William to 21 year old William which I think would make for a nice transition.

Also, with the second converstion scene between William and Jackson, I was told that Jackson readily questions William’s desire to chase outlaws when in their previous scene he rebuffs him so I need to rewrite that scene to give Jackson the power in that scene and have William earn his interest.

And finally the role of Doggett was thought of as being just functionary in the scenes that he appeared in. I’ve been given the suggestion of fusing his character with Wyatt who appears later in the script as he will serve more of purpose later on in the story so this is a suggestion I would most likely be considering.

 

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Redfield – First Draft Feedback

Redfield [Pilot] [First Draft]

For the first draft of my screenplay the general feedback I got from my screenwriting tutor and my cohorts was that whilst my script was well-written technically and filled with a lot of promise as a potential television pilot script, there were a few things I could still consider in order for it to be better.

One of the conflicting responses I got from people centred around the character of Tessa Trager. Whilst many people said that they liked her character and how I had written her, some people were concerned that she comes across a bit too strong and too tough, taken into account the time period in which my script is set. I couldn’t help but agree that I had introduced her too strongly and not left a lot of room for her to grow as a character. I came to the realisation that how I had written her in this first draft is the type of character I would want her to eventually become, so the benefit of her character arc (that I had missed) is to use the format of television writing to my advantage and establish that Tessa would go on a path that would eventually lead her to becoming that type of person I had written initially. Television serial writing allows you as a writer to take your time in developing your characters and this is something I would definitely take on board when it comes to rewriting.

Another piece of helpful feedback I had received was the way in which I introduced George Jenkins. I was told that I waited too long in the opening sequence to fully establish George Jenkins’ character. Since he is pivotal character to the plot of my series it would be essential that I give him a much stronger introduction that separates him from the rest of his posse as a key character so this is something I would definitely take on board for my next draft.

In regards to the dialogue of my characters, some people commented on the fact that the language in which my characters speak wasn’t consistent as characters would use slang that was used during the early 1900s as well as contemporary curse words that modern audiences would be familiar with; this inconsistency came across as jarring so in my next draft I would have to choose as to whether I stick with the actual slang and curse words used during the time, or more contemporary language so that it would be accessible to modern audiences.

Finally, in the last dialogue scene between William and Jackson I was told that the monologue William delivers to Jackson basically repeats what the audience already knows from the first opening sequence. I was advised to find a different way to convey William telling Jackson his backstory but not make it feel redundant. This is something that I have to figure out as I approach writing my second draft.

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Lamentation – Final Project [Rough Cut Screening Feedback]

The rough cut screening of my film went better than I had anticipated. The general consesus was that the motif of the flower was very prevalent and clear in my film compared to the other two Lamentation projects. People also praised the performance of my lead actor which I couldn’t be more happy with as the audition process behind finding actors was a long and gruelling one.

The thing that people pointed out or had a problem with was how quick the drama gets resolved, saying that it plateaus to quickly. As I mentioned in my earlier post about how the objective eye of the director can get clouded if the director themselves are also the editor, this was something that I did notice. However I soon realised it wasn’t a problem in the edit itself, but more in the script as the way the film is edited is quite frankly, strictly to the script in that how every scene transitions into the next is scripted and purposely constructed. This left me little breathing room to play around with the structure of the edit.

People made suggestions in to how I can counter this offering different alternative ways I can cut the scene. I ended up not going through with many of their suggestions as I felt that if I listened to them and changed my film accordingly, then it would not end up being my vision. If my film is going to fail or be successful, then I as a director want it to be on my own terms in accordance with my directorial vision. I do understand that in the real world that test screenings for films encourage filmmakers to change their edit of the film, but I think there is a fine line to making adjustments to your film and completely altering your film.

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Final Project – The Pitch

Lamentation – Presentation

I was extremely nervous going into the pitching session as I knew mine and Rita’s performance would dictate whether or not we got the green light. I prepared on my side as thoroughly as I could, conducting research by watching existing films such as Amour and The White Ribbon that have a similar feel to what I want to set out and achieve.

amour poster

In regards to our actual performance, I think we performed relatively well. I felt we were able to communicate the key points our production will set out to do as well as address any issues we may potentially face. I think how the class responded to us was better than I imagined as I was expecting and/or dreading a barrage of questions about our production (a lot of questions tends to be a bad thing I find, it can mean you haven’t really communicated your vision well to the audience).

If there was one key piece of feedback we received it was to restructure the framework of the story I initially pitched to remove or lighten up the scenes of mundane activity that I have my main character Donald doing to emphasise his loneliness. I feel that this feedback will help the narrative of our story become stronger and in turn help our film become successful.

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Book Trailer – Feedback & Comments

Just from what I feared from when we wrapped production, people who were unfamiliar of the Watchmen story did not get the story from the trailer we screened. Many felt that it resembled more of teaser ad than an actual trailer due to what little was shown on screen. This was due to logistical limitations as I stated on my previous blog post.

Also, the fight sequence in our trailer was commented on as being too staged and fake; one of my cohort members suggested that if I were to shoot a fight scene with two actors that have had no fight training, the trick is to cover it from many different angles and cut it extremely quickly, to give the sense that there is real damage being dealt to the actors as the audience won’t be able to pick up on the staged movement as it’s cut too fast. This is criticism I’ll definitely take on board if I were to shoot another fight scene in the future.

In hindsight, perhaps me and Fred did choose the wrong idea to go with for this book trailer project as the trailer we wanted to make logistically couldn’t be done with the resources we had. Perhaps looking for a novel which was set in an environment closer to us in actuality is what we should have went for in order to realistically convey a story within the trailer.

My whole experience producing overall was a hard one and I have learned a lot from it. Producing is an aspect of filmmaking I greatly respect but also one that I am loathe to do as the mindset of producing doesn’t come naturally to me. The amount of paperwork and the organising of all the logistics on a shoot is something which I have little talent for. I imagine that once you work on larger film productions the role of a producer is lessened somewhat as all the responsiblities that you would have to do yourself on a student film can be delegated to other crew roles (i.e. catering, travel, costume sourcing, props sourcing, casting etc.). Even so, I enjoy more the creative aspect of filmmaking rather than the logistical aspect.

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Screenwriting Workshop 3 – Third Draft Feedback

Screenplay here – THE CLEANER [3rd Draft]

I had to make a lot of compromises with this draft in order for it to fit into eight pages, as a result most of the jokes and gags that were in earlier drafts have been unfortunately cut out. This was commented on during my feedback session and people expressed regret that I had to cut it all out.

I also changed the dynamic of the opening of my script and tried to make it more visual by showing what my main character, Dominic, was doing prior to him calling Fat Charlie for assistance.

I can’t say that I am fully satisfied with this draft of the screenplay; since my screenplay is a black comedy I feel that for it to be what I really want it to be, it needs to be longer so that I can fit in all of the jokes that were in before and perhaps invent some new ones. I feel that the essence of black comedy comes in the dialogue between characters and the dialogue within my earlier drafts is what made my script too long in the first place.

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