British Comedy Guide

A Sample....

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hotzappa11

  • Friday 22nd September 2006, 6:26pm
  • Northampton, England
  • 2,445 posts

The first scene of something new i was working on. I'm sorry if it looks a little confusing, i'm just pasting from Microsoft Word that's all.

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM. DAY

A needle is placed on the record player and the music finally begins. The camera pulls back and we see MICHAEL COLE on the bed. He’s in his early twenties, likeable, and would probably be more self confident if he realised that.

Cut to: HOLLY, a very attractive young woman, early twenties, driven, and slightly domineering.

We are not sure if they are lying together but their dialogue is said at a rapid pace.

HOLLY
Punk.

MICHAEL
No. Punk rock.

HOLLY
Punk rock?

MICHAEL
No, no. Punk rock.

HOLLY
I don’t understand is there a
difference?

MICHAEL
Yes, of course there’s a
difference. It’s kind of like
when the both of us listen to
Marvin Gaye...

HOLLY
When do we listen to Marvin
Gaye?

MICHAEL
You know, we listen to Marvin
Gaye when making love.

HOLLY
We make love?

Holly laughs, then pauses. Michael looks annoyed.

MICHAEL
I... Jesus... Shut up. Look,
what I’m trying to say, you
know... suggest is... maybe we
should change our routine a
tiny bit.

Holly sits up, visibly taking in the idea. She says:

HOLLY
Okay. Here’s a deal... Instead of
listening to punk rock, why don’t
we listen to punk rock?

MICHAEL
No, it just doesn’t work.
(explaining)
Like I said, we listen to punk
rock.

HOLLY
I’m sorry Michael, but I just
don’t get what you’re implying.

Michael goes to open his mouth, then:

CLAIRE (O.S.)
Jesus Christ! Can you guys just
stop? Perlease.

MICHAEL
What?

The camera pulls back, revealing Claire, lying on the bed between Holly and Michael. She is obviously tired of their constant banter.

CLAIRE
(sits up)
Oh, come on. Do yourselves a
favour... Hell, do all of us a
favour and just end it.
(pause)
Oh, and it’s punk rock.

MICHAEL
Err, no. It’s punk rock.

CLAIRE
Whatever.

Silence. Michael sighs. Holly looks to him with her gentle eyes. She says:

HOLLY
(sincerely)
Look, Michael. It might be for
the best, you know.
(then)
She... I just... We’ve had some
great times together. Perhaps
it’s just better stop before it
gets worse. Okay?

MICHAEL
Yeah.
(pause)
Can I get angry now?

HOLLY
I guess.

CUT TO:

Time cut. Michael wears a pair of goggles. Holly, arms folded, holds a cigarette lighter.

MICHAEL
Okay. So, are we agreed that
we’ll end it like we always said
we would? I destroy your Nan’s
ugly antique vase and you get to
burn my copy of Prince’s “Purple
Rain.”

HOLLY
Yeah.

MICHAEL
(hesitates)
You know, we don’t have to do
this. Right?

HOLLY
Michael.

MICHAEL
Okay.
(pause)
Err. Ready?

Holly nods sincerely. Michael grabs his cricket bat.

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Mark Gran

  • Friday 22nd September 2006, 10:32pm
  • England
  • 5 posts

hotzappa, I have to be honest. I haven't the faintest idea what is going on here and I couldn't find anything remotely amusing about it. Is this a sitcom about a threesome (in which case, Michael seems like a bit of a dick and it's hard to see how he could get two women to sleep with him at the same time) or is this scene establishing what the show will be about and what happens afterwards? Could you give a brief synopsis as this would make the scene a bit clearer.

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hotzappa11

  • Friday 22nd September 2006, 11:30pm
  • Northampton, England
  • 2,445 posts

It's a sample establishing what the shows about it, you know, a first scene. There is no threesome. The guy is an avid music fan, who is going to try and buy a record store. The first scene is mostly about his breakup from his girlfriend, and getting away from her shackles.

Anyway, it's a rough sample. So, hopefully there's only a way to improve it.

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Mark Gran

  • Friday 22nd September 2006, 11:48pm
  • England
  • 5 posts

So who is Claire and why is she lying between them? You see what I mean? I'm sorry if I sounded a bit harsh but I couldn't understand the set up.

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hotzappa11

  • Saturday 23rd September 2006, 1:26am
  • Northampton, England
  • 2,445 posts

Yeah, i see what you mean and Claire is Holly's friend. I guess when i post something next time, i'll be a it more specific.

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Aaron

  • Saturday 23rd September 2006, 5:43am
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,509 posts

Yeah, I have to admit, I didn't really understand it at all. The whole "punk rock" - "no, punk rock" thing confused me. :s

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hotzappa11

  • Saturday 23rd September 2006, 2:14pm
  • Northampton, England
  • 2,445 posts

I guess it is a bit confusing. Anyway, back to the drawing board as they say.

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Radics

  • Saturday 23rd September 2006, 10:00pm
  • England
  • 14 posts

This almost comes across as a drama.

Also, you say that it is "mostly about his breakup from his girlfriend, and getting away from her shackles" but this scene points out her 'gentle eyes' and she seems to be a reasonable person and not the kind of girl who puts her bloke in 'shackles'. My sympathy was with her, not him.

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earman2009

  • Sunday 24th September 2006, 3:40pm
  • Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • 1,244 posts

yeah, that sample is very confusing. I didn't understand much.

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SlagA

  • Tuesday 26th September 2006, 9:05pm [Edited]
  • Blackwood, Wales
  • 5,335 posts

Hi

A technical point here but i've always been told that screen direction should be limited to actions / gestures not possible to portray in dialogue. Character and feelings should always be implicit or explicit in what the characters do or say. So the following excerpt:

He’s in his early twenties, likeable, and would probably be more self confident if he realised that.
Cut to: HOLLY, a very attractive young woman, early twenties, driven, and slightly domineering.

should be cut to:

He’s in his early twenties.
Cut to: HOLLY, a very attractive young woman, early twenties.

You would have to work out a way through words / action to show the viewer that he's likeable and not so confident, and she is driven and domineering. After all, if a script fails to do that, the viewer won't have the benefit of reading the directions.

Hope that helps, but i do have to echo the previous and constructive crits, you've had. I couldn't work out if or where the accentuation in the punk rock sections were. Maybe italics would clear that up.

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Scott T

  • Saturday 14th October 2006, 7:28pm
  • All over the shop, United Kingdom
  • 241 posts

I think it's impossible to critique on such a short sample, but I found it quite engaging, and think if I caught this bit on TV whilst channel-hopping, I'd be inclined to keep watching.

I can't think of the different options with 'punk rock' and think you'd need to either scrap or illustate this on the page since someone at the Beeb (for example) could possibly ditch it if things weren't clear.

I know what SlagA's saying about the stage directions, but that said I have seen scripts with almost autobiographical details about the characters in their first appearance, so I'm not sure what the deal there is.