Posted by: steveonfilm | November 30, 2008

Something Isn’t Sitting Right

I’m putting a few finishing touches on the second act of my current draft of Marianas. I’ve been very pleased with how things have turned out. While I’ve had to change up some of the major beats pretty substantially, the flow of the script is still the same, and I seem to be hitting all my marks.

It might be the best stuff I’ve done to date. But even if it’s not, this draft is leaps and bounds better than my previous version. It almost hurts to read some of the older stuff as I go through and revise it.

It’s not all roses though. One scene is bothering me.

The purpose of the scene is to show Su that saving his sister isn’t going to be accomplished in black and white terms. There is a grey area he’s going to have to maneuver through, and that’s where Zhou comes in.

What appears as one things to Su, is actually something completely different, and Zhou tries to open Su’s eyes.

Take a look at the scenes and you tell me what’s working and what isn’t. I’ll probably tinker with this a bit more (Its a tad too long right now), but I figured outside eyes might be the best thing to look at it at this point.

INT. ZHOU’S SHOP AND DRINK – BACK ROOM – NIGHT

Su sits on his cot staring at a picture of Xia.

Some cheering can be heard from outside.

Su rubs his red, puffy eyes. He looks lost in thought.

More cheering from outside.

Not able to ignore the sheering, Su tucks the picture away and gets up.

EXT. ZHOU’S SHOP AND DRINK – BACK ALLEY – NIGHT

Zhou and a GROUP OF MEN are playing a dice game.

A BULKY GUY rolls the dice. Everyone watches intently. It hits the wall and bounces back seven.

Everyone cheers.

Su pokes his head out from the back door. He looks over the group as the Bulky Man hands the dice to someone else.

Zhou and the Bulky Man go off to the side to talk.

Su watches as he Zhou slips the Bulky Man some money and then pats him on the shoulder. The Bulky Man smiles a big grin and they walk back to the group.

Su goes over to Zhou and pushes him.

SU
This is how you help me? Gambling?

A few of the men look up. Zhou grins sheepishly. He talks to Su through his teeth.

ZHOU
Get inside.

Zhou continues to nod and smile. Doing his best to smooth this over.

ZHOU (cont’d)
Please, just ignore him. He’s got a fever. A little crazy in the head.

Zhou makes a swirling motion with his finger.

SU
I’m not crazy. You said you were going to help me!

ZHOU
Get…in…side.

Zhou grabs Su by the shirt and drags him inside.

INT. ZHOU’S SHOP AND DRINK – CONTINUOUS

Zhou throws Su up against the wall.

ZHOU
What the hell do you think you’re doing!

SU
What am I doing? What are you doing! You’re supposed to be helping me find my sister.

ZHOU
I am helping you find you sister.

SU
By gambling and splitting your winnings with Buddha out there?

ZHOU
Kid, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

SU
I know exactly what I’m talking about. Screw you. I’m outta here. Gonna find someone else to help me get my sister.

Su heads for the door.

ZHOU
You don’t know shit Ghengis! The big guy out there happens to work at the same whore house your sister is at.

Su stops dead in his tracks.

ZHOU (cont’d)
But go on. Walk through the door. I’m sure none of that is important. After all. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Right?

Su looks down.

SU
I didn’t–

ZHOU
You don’t know a lot of things kid! Well I do. I know when the boats come. I know where the girls go. I know how to get people into this country. I know how to get people out of this country. I know which cops you can buy off. I know which ones that will shoot you if you try. I know things kid. This is what I do. And I’m damn good at it too. Look at me.

Su doesn’t turn around.

ZHOU (cont’d)
Look at me!

Su turns. Zhou gets right up in his face.

ZHOU (cont’d)
Your uncle and I go way back. I owe him a lot. But you’ve about used up all my good will with this temper bullshit. You step out of line one more time so help me, I will let your sister die. I will let you die. I will tell your uncle I never saw you. And no one will ever know. You got that Ghengis?

Su doesn’t answer.

ZHOU (cont’d)
You got that!

Su nods.

ZHOU (cont’d)
Good. Now get up stairs. I don’t want to see your face until tomorrow. Go!

Su walks off.

Zhou crosses his arms and leans back against the wall.

I don’t know, what do you guys think?

Enjoy.
-Steve

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Responses

  1. I just read your scene. It’s a good scene, don’t see much wrong with it, but you do give too much away. Don’t spoon feed the audience. for example, this flows a bit better and leave sthe audience wondering how the BULKY GUY played into the scene, but you still don’t give it away…
    ____________________________________

    ZHOU
    You don’t know shit Ghengis!

    Su heads for the door.

    ZHOU (cont’d)
    But go on. Walk through the door. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Right?

    Su looks down, he doesn’t have many options and ZHOU knows it.

    ZHOU
    You don’t know a lot of things kid! Well I do. I know when the boats come. I know where the girls go. I know how to get people into this country. I know how to get people out of this country. I know which cops you can buy off. I know which ones that will shoot you if you try. I know things kid. This is what I do. And I’m damn good at it too.
    _________________________________________

    This doesn’t give too much away, leaves the audience wondering what the BULKY GUY was there for, and gives us more understanding that maybe SU can’t walk out, because he has no where to else to go.

    Also, it starts a little late. It would be more effective if SU walked outside and saw ZHOU handing the BULKY GUY money and after bulky guy leaves SU makes accusations. This shows a naivety by SU, and trims the scene a bit.

    Other than that, just a few misspellings:
    Sheering instead of Cheering
    Not able = unable

    Also, in your writing you want to be as direct as possible. Get rid of the “can be heard’s”, and the “some’s”. For example…
    ____________________________________

    Outside cheering distracts Su as he sits on his cot staring at a picture of Xia.

    Su rubs his red, puffy eyes. He is lost in thought.

    Unable to ignore the cheering, Su tucks the picture away and heads for the door.
    __________________________________

    This is more direct, simple, cuts down on the length, and says the same thing.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Good suggestions. You hit the nail on the head with a lot of what you pointed out.

    This scene replaces a one in the earlier draft where Zhou just mentions that he paid off some fat guy he was playing dice with. But the way I put it together just seemed so out of no where. It just didn’t fit.

    I put this together to replace it, and like you pointed out, just gave too much away.

    I’ll take your suggestions into consideration and tinker with it a bit tonight.

    Thanks!


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