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Thread: A Funny Black Script

  1. #1

    Default A Funny Black Script

    "I wrote "The Bitch Set Me Up" last year and am now interested in having it produced.

    It's funny, well-written, and can be cheaply produced.

    I think it would do well in film festivals.

    Anyone interested?

    EL

    Here's the link:
    The Bitch Set Me Up

  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting, Eric.
    That particular script doesn't appeal to me but, I'd love to see more people posting scripts here for collaboration.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Thanks for posting, Eric.
    That particular script doesn't appeal to me but, I'd love to see more people posting scripts here for collaboration.
    Right.

    Once all the production skills are mastered, there comes the actual content to be filmed.

    More discussion of that (scripts) wouldn't hurt.

    For example, humor in scripts works in many ways. Read a Seinfeld script and you hardly find a traditional gag (set-up, punchline). But the gags are there and they work exceedingly well as evidenced by the longevity of the series.

    You're from the UK, check out "Absolutely Fabulous Scripts." AB was a groundbreaking sitcom that spawned a half-a-dozen rip-offs here in the States (Designing Housewives, etc).

    Read the script and you get a sense of funny but see no standard gags.

    So how do you write a howling funny script like AB? No textbooks teach this. Few pro-writers can do it.

    If you think you're a great "filmmaker" but can't write a ground-breaking script like AB, then maybe you're not a great filmmaker; maybe you're just a great cameraman.

    This may explain why you don't see scripts posted here -- no one here can write one.

    The script is the thing.

    If you're a brilliant filmmaker, you should be able to write a brilliant script.

    If you can't do that, maybe you're better off doing something else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricland View Post

    More discussion of that (scripts) wouldn't hurt.
    I agree with that. And presumably in a hope of encouraging more discussion you wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by ricland View Post

    If you're a brilliant filmmaker, you should be able to write a brilliant script.

    If you can't do that, maybe you're better off doing something else.
    Which is not only contentious but patently untrue.

    What is a filmmaker? Who are the great filmmakers?

    I suspect the names that spring to mind are all producers and directors.

    A producer is someone who can recognise a good script (or potential) and has the wherewithal to bring the necessary people and funding together to make it into a film.

    A director is someone who can visualise a good script and ochestrate the cast, cameras, lighting sound etc.

    But then the Spark, Best Boy, Gaffer, Cameraman, Composer, Actors, Sound Recordists (etc you get my point) are all filmmakers.

    None of these need to be able to write a brilliant script to produce a brilliant film.

    I totally agree that a decent script is essential for a good film (the old adage "Content is King" rings true). I disagree that it has to be written by the producer or director - the "filmmaker". Which is exactly why your post caught my eye.

    As a member of an amateur filmmaking club, I'm always on the lookout for scripts as I recognise our own ability to come up with something is limited.

    However I can also understand that budding scriptwriters might not want to "waste" their work by allowing a bunch of amateurs to wreck it
    Tim

  5. #5

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    Well, where does this ability to recognize a good script come from if not the ability to write a good script?

    Here's a good example: Scriptwise, "Gladiator" was an abomination. In this movie, Russell Crowe is a Roman general betrayed. In one of the epic fight scenes he takes on no less than four professional gladiators and slays them all.

    Well, I'm sorry, but that's Superman fare. No general is going to outfight a professional gladiator just like no gladiator is going to out-general a professional general. Bad enough. But to have Crowe beat four of them in succession is something lunatic on crack would write.

    Crowe goes on to top even this insane feats again and again.

    What's happening here is this: the screenwriter wanted to show what a great man Maximus was (Crowe) but lacked the writing ability required to do this; so lifted ideas from the Superman and Batman comics he read as a kid.

    Bad script, bad producer, Ridley Scott, the director, no doubt needed a pay day.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    So bad script and bad direction - and in my own opinion, bad acting = failure then?
    It did win five Academy Award including Best Picture. How can that be a failure?
    It's a failure because it lowers the bar.

    Let's go back to the fight scene...

    If I remember correctly, Maximus kills three of four of Rome's top gladiators, one right after the other.

    Would you write a scene like that?

    Would you tell students it's the kind of scene they should learn how to write?

    Before "Gladiator" the measure of a good gladiator film was Spartacus. Spartacus lost his first contest; that made sense. He was mortal, not superman.

    Roman generals were not trained gladiators, they were political appointees selected because of the education and high intelligence.

    Imagine George Washington, Grant, Lee, Eisenhower getting in the ring with Rampage Jackson and submitting him. That's the same lunatic implausibility we see in Gladiator.

    I can't imagine what film professors are teaching their students about Gladiator except that it's the way NOT to write a script.

  7. #7

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    I've never seen a script as appallingly bad as Gladiator in my life. I walked out of the theater after the first arena scene where Maximus dispatches five gladiators. I thought this scene worse than "professional" rassling.

    The thing is, though, cinematically speaking, the film was excellent.

    I was moved to tears when I first saw "Spartacus." I just don't understand what happened over the past 50 years between the two films.

    More puzzling still, the co-screenwriter, David Franzoni, has an outstanding resume. He wrote the screenplay for Amistad, one of my favorite recent films.

    However, it appears the primary screenwriter was Josh Logan. Logan gave us the Broadway comedy, "Sweeney Todd." That offers some explanation.


    But to return to my original point: I should expect an indie-film forum would be discussing and breaking-down films far more than we see here.

    A few years ago I spent $5000 on camera equipment. My plan was to make an indie film. I discovered it was all but impossible to sit down and write a script. In fact, it was't until I got rid of all the equipment that I could study film and write.

    I've since concluded that the real art is creating the perfect comedy, that production and all that stuff are distractions.

  8. #8

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    I am reminded of awful productions with good scripts (schools plays), and of fine productions with less good scripts (Gandalf). Given that the script must be written before much of the production work, I think I accept some of ricland's reasoning.

    However, it is easy to assume there is a scripting style which has universal appeal. I might prefer cowboy films to be spoken in iambic pentameter. Some might say that knowing and understanding the target audience is even more critical than writing a script.

    I am sorry you (ricland) sold $5k of gear when you got a vocation as a writer. I am hoping you kept one cam, to while away any time you get writer's block.

    I am hoping ricland will stick around and review some of the scripting which Members post in these Forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricland View Post
    Well, where does this ability to recognize a good script come from if not the ability to write a good script?
    I'm sorry that makes no sense at all. I'm forever telling novice filmmakers here to review films because, whilst they may know little about filmmaking (but are trying to learn), they know an awful lot about watching films.

    Furthermore, most film critics by their own admission could not make a good film. I accept they have to have an understanding of filmmaking, but they do not have to be competent in the craft.

    Similarly a top music producer does not have to be able to play the instruments he is recording.

    Quote Originally Posted by ricland View Post
    Bad script, bad producer, Ridley Scott, the director, no doubt needed a pay day.
    Actually, whilst it may not meet with your own artistic criteria, writing a script for a populist blockbuster is a skill in its own right. It has to hit the lowest common denominator it can find which doesn't insult too many people's intelligence. And bear in mind people mostly watch films for escapism so realistim doesn't really matter.

    It may be selling out, but it paid the rent for an awful lot of people and an awful lot more enjoyed watching it. I didn't because it lacked any sort of realism (quite apart from the fact I don't like gladiator films). If you'd written the script for it would you be too proud to take the money and run?

    Still, great subject to discuss, eh? And like 'tother Tim, I hope you'll stick around and cristise the scripts of the films posted in "User Videos" - in fact you could look at the back catalog whenever you have a moment or two. And don't hold back, constructive criticism (that is where you explain why something is crap rather than just saying it's crap) is really sought after by the hardy perennials here.
    Tim

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    To be fair though... This isn't an "indie-film" forum, as you described it. Indie film forums are full of people discussing why money-making films are crap and how they could do it better.

    This is more for practical video makers. So, instead of talking about how we could make a great movie if only we (insert excuse here) we're happy trying our best with what we've got.

    So, that's why you won't find many critiques of "Gladiator" here but will see a lot of stuff shot in back gardens with home-made rigs and dodgy props.

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