I've spent 55 years living and learning and now it's time to fulfill the bucket list. Late mid-life crisis? Yes and no, but my hope is that what I write makes people laugh, think and want more!
I like to read and critique shorts because there is so much that needs to happen in a short period of time. You need to introduce the characters, build a plot and bring the story to a climax within ten to twenty pages. Your story does that, but in my opinion, doesn't work as is. It's not to say that the concept isn't good; it does have some merit, but it would be so awesome to have a horror/thriller without another clown in it. It's to the point that it's cliche. I think it would add a little light hearted chuckle if: "He comes into the light just enough for her to make out his appearance. Towering and slender with overalls and a red handkerchief wrapped around his neck. The big bulbous head with a cocked, bucktoothed smile and freckles on his cheeks. On his shirt is a stitched on name tag that reads "Jolly." Imagine Big Boy slaughtering the diners! Just my thought on doing anything but a clown. With that said, you should work on a few things, like, why do all of these people treat him like shit? I get Harold's backstory (bad parents, crappy life) but that doesn't explain why everyone craps all over him. Also, he snaps all at once at the end, but feel that there should be moments when he gets a quick "flash" of something ominous, that he shakes his head to clear it out of his mind. The last part that you need to work on is transferring the story to script better. There are several things that you describe that isn't scripted properly. First, the character of Harold. As the main character, we need to know more about his looks. You wrote: "HAROLD (early 20s) sits at the end of his futon". In my mind, I can't tell if he's 5'3" or 6'2", if he's black or white (if it matters), if he's handsome or grotesque. Just saying "early 20's" leaves it open too much to the imagination. Second, you have many places where the action describes something in another place. An example: " he grabs his car keys from off of his dresser and scurries out of the bedroom and to his small, beaten up car." He's in his apartment, so we have no idea what his car looks like. You either have to have a new scene outside his apartment to show us that car, or you need to remove it from the action line. Always think to yourself, can the viewer see what I'm describing. There are a few more places like this in your script. Lastly, you need to work on the dialogue. It's bland and I can't get a read on the character's true "voice". You wrote: Harold rolls his eyes before a slightly larger, older woman approaches him from behind. She taps on his shoulder. He faces her and sees her name tag: "MARY - MANAGER." MARY Harold, I unfortunately have some bad news. HAROLD What is it? He immediately knew it was either switching a shift or covering a shift since he was top pick for those. MARY Patricia, the girl who was gonna close with you tonight, called in sick. Harold stands confused but not surprised. HAROLD Are you serious? She's called in sick three times this month already. MARY I'm sorry, Harold. Nothing I can really do about that since she doesn't have enough write ups to get fired. Harold sighs heavily and holds a hand to his forehead. HAROLD Was anyone able to cover her shift for her? Mary just stares at Harold, appearing to not know if he's serious or just messing around. Mary simply walks out of the kitchen, leaving Harold with no answer. In this short span, you've introduced a character (Mary) but it's in the wrong place. The dialogue between the two sounds forced, plus there are items that are not needed (unfortunately), or would not be spoken ( Nothing I can really do about that since she doesn't have enough write ups to get fired.) You describe something the viewer can't see (He immediately knew it was either switching a shift or covering a shift since he was top pick for those.) The viewer will get the point in a much more compact interaction: Harold rolls his eyes before the manager MARY (50's, big boned, hair pulled back in a bun) approaches him from behind. She taps on his shoulder. MARY Harold, I've got some bad news. HAROLD What now? MARY Patricia called in sick. Harold stands confused but not surprised. HAROLD Are you serious? She's called in sick three times this month already. MARY I'm sorry, you'll have to close up alone. Harold slumps and sighs out loud as Mary turns and walks away. In this cleaner interaction, we still understand why he's working alone later and the angst he has for having to do it. All in all though, I think you have a good start and hope that my critique will help you with this script and any in the future. Good Luck!
I like reading shorts because you have to introduce characters, get to the meat of the story and end it within a few pages. You certainly did that. The issue I see here is that, although the concept is good, everything else doesn't gel well. If it's a comedy, it doesn't work (in my opinion). The dialogue between Scott and Diane is no more than insults using foul language. The way I read it and envisioned it, that didn't make it funny. As a matter of fact, the only true funny part was the reveal that Doc wasn't the counselor, but the janitor. Had it been written that Scott and Diane both hated each other and they were there because of a court mandate; then you can use their insults as fodder and have Doc be the comedic relief. Something like: Scott: She's a two bit whore. Doc: She's got to be worth more than fifty cents, hell, I'd give her a buck. Diane: Excuse me? Doc looks to Scott. Doc: Can she contort as well? Diane: Well, he's a dickless asshole! Doc: Most assholes I've seen don't have dicks, but I'm sure he's had his fair share of them, am I right? Scott: Wait, what?! Show Diane and Scott's hatred towards each other melt away from the insults they get from Doc. You can still use the reveal as is. You may want to reword it though to match it up better. Also, I don't know that the whole Doc/Smith thing needs to go on like it does. The reverse psychology already took place. It would be funnier (again, in my opinion) if Smith came in after, looked around, and said something like; "I see you've cleaned things up in here!" to which Doc could say, "Yes, more than you think!" Overall, I think you have a good start, just think it needs to be tweaked. Good Luck and keep at it!
What makes your problems different than anyone else's? Find out how 8 characters lives intertwine by having control of a mussed up one dollar bill, each having different issues, but mirrored at the same time.
In 2054, an apprehensive college co-ed faced with having to write a multi-generational story, enlists help from her Great Grandfather who takes her on a tumultuous road trip that threatens his life and gives her the inner strength to succeed.