SECOND DRAFT of “A Little Too Broken” Screenplay UP NOW!

Here it is, new and improved. And here’s the Kickstarter link!

Yeah, I cogitated on the notes I got from the WeScreenplay pro reader, and incorporated them into the story. I removed the infodump when Tom and Jamie first go to lunch, and stretched out their revelations a bit. The info is there, Jamie sees Tom’s ankle and knows he has prosthetics, he sees Tom hesitate on going into a crowded restaurant.

Tom originally revealed he’d lost his legs, and that he had PTSD. I left the PTSD reveal out this time, had Jamie notice the legs, and Tom acknowledges that.

After which, originally, Jamie infodumped like this:

JAMIE 
I’m HIV positive. Oh, and gay if you hadn’t figured that out.

He dares to look at Tom, he’s not horrified.

JAMIE (CONT’D)
I meet guys, and I tell them I’m poz, and sometimes I see them freaking out, but then they think they hide it. And I just… I don’t talk about it now. I don’t try and date anyone. So I don’t have to deal. With my anger. Because someone did this to me, and now I… Sorry. That has nothing to do with your situation. I just… I’m bitter, too, I guess. 

NOW, it’s like this:

JAMIE

I had a bad relationship with… Well, let’s call it unforeseen consequences. Which is my fault, because I shouldn’t have… But it’s also not, because he… Anyways, the important life lesson was, don’t be so trusting. Or naive. Whatever. I could have a big pity party, get a lot of sympathy, but, you know, it’s a certain kind of sympathy. So I’d rather just keep my anger and bitterness locked up. Because the pity just makes it worse.

Beat.

JAMIE (CONT’D)
That has nothing to do with your situation. I just… I’m bitter, too, I guess. 

Then I can go on to the two of them laughing at fake sympathy, without all the “oversharing” the reader called out.

The second callout was that we needed the stakes to be raised when Tom’s in his darkest hour. That there wasn’t enough there for the audience to worry.

Here’s the original scene where Ed and Jamie arrive at Tom’s and his journey back to life begins. “Mirror Tom” has been here before, as a negative voice, but nothing like this.

INT. TOM’S HOUSE – BATHROOM – DAY

Tom’s in the bathroom, looking in the mirror. He’s unshaven, he looks (almost) as bad as he did in that wheelchair in his parents’ house.

Mirror Tom is there.

MIRROR TOM
You’re a failure, you’re half a man, you sat there, you just sat there, you’re broken, you’re useless, your brain’s as fucked up as your legs, you couldn’t protect the ones you love.
(shakes his head)
Harry, you even failed Harry, you can’t even get up and take your dog outside for a piss.

Tom just listens.

There’s a knock at the door. He ignores it twice.

INT. TOM’S HOUSE – DAY

He answers the third time, knowing it’s Ed and he won’t go away.

Jamie sees Tom and his heart nearly breaks.

This time, the stakes are higher.

INT. TOM’S HOUSE – BATHROOM – DAY

Tom’s in the bathroom, looking in the mirror. He’s unshaven, he looks (almost) as bad as he did in that wheelchair in his parents’ house.

Mirror Tom is there.

MIRROR TOM
You’re a failure, you’re half a man, you sat there, you just sat there, you’re broken, you’re useless, your brain’s as fucked up as your legs, you couldn’t protect the ones you love.
(shakes his head)
Harry, you even failed Harry, you can’t even get up and take your dog outside for a piss.

Tom just listens.

The bottle of Xanax from his truck is on the counter. So’s a bottle of Jack Daniels.

He takes the lid off the pills. Takes the cap off the bottle.

There’s a knock at the door. He ignores it.

EXT. TOM’S HOUSE – DAY
Ed and Jamie stand outside Tom’s door. Ed knocks again.

ED
Tom, open the fucking door.

No answer.

JAMIE
Tom?

No answer. He turns to Ed.

JAMIE (CONT’D)
Can you smash it in or something?

ED
Son, I was in the United States Army. Kicking in doors is what I did for a living. 

Ed kicks the door and it flies open.

INT. TOM’S HOUSE – DAY

Tom hears the door being smashed open. He’s still standing in the bathroom, looking at the bottles.

Ed comes in the bathroom. He picks up the Xanax bottle, and his relief is evident when he sees it’s still full. He caps it and takes it, and pours the Jack down the drain.

ED
Come on, buddy. Let’s sit down.

Like a zombie, Tom lets Ed guide him to the couch.

Jamie sees Tom and his heart nearly breaks.

And all this is prefaced by an expanded version of Ed and Jamie’s conversation about PTSD, and Afghanistan, and Tom. I added a new and surprising fact about Tom, deepened the backstory behind both Tom and Ed’s time in Afghanistan, and added some detail from my reading about the Forever War about what it was like for soldiers posted deep in the Afghan hills, with tribes whose loyalties vary from moment to moment. I also made sure to include the “22 Vets,” which is the statistic about how many veterans kill themselves every day.

The reader had this comment about the ending: “Although the climax of the dinner was a great ending, it seemed too easy and a little too happy. We needed a little more conflict build up throughout in order to feel validated by the end.” I hope what I’ve added does that.

SO! The Deadlines Doth Approacheth for pretty much every screenwriting contest. And while the Kickstarter isn’t funded yet, I’m going to go out on a limb and submit to the Nicholl, which is the Oscars/AMPAS contest, Austin Film Festival, and Script Pipeline. That last one is based on this comment on the screenwriting subreddit. This guy’s been a winner or finalist in a lot of contests. Re Script Pipeline, he said,

These guys are awesome, and I say that as someone who has not had a “winning” script or made a single dime from their contest. Aside from my manager (more on that in a bit), these guys have circulated my material more than anyone else. As finalists, my writing partner and I had our script sent to at least a dozen managers and agents, ones that Script Pipeline thought would be a good fit for us. Any time a read request comes in, they email and let us know 1) who’s asking for it, and 2) if it’s okay to send out. The leads have read all our other material (several scripts), and have circulated our latest to folks who they think might be interested. From my experience, if you’re looking for somewhere to submit, these guys are serious about helping writers build relationships and get material made.

What I’ve learned from /r/screenwriting is that you can win contests, and that might be a door opener, but it’s still not enough to get your screenplay read, never mind your movie made. But, a win or even a finalist/semi/quarter placement is something you can put in a cover letter when you’re looking for an agent.

SO! I do need your help to get to ScriptFest/PitchFest in LA at the end of June, and pay the entry fees for these contest and additional fees for pro reader evals! Did I post the link? Here it is again!

http://kck.st/2ppS8cU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: