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Seattle Screenwriters Message Board › Feedback thread for Marsha's uploaded screenplay

Feedback thread for Marsha's uploaded screenplay

Chris M.
user 10001659
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 10
Please post your thoughts here or wait for the next meeting she attends.

I read your screenplay a couple times. It’s certainly at a further point than many of the pieces we generally look at and I commend you for your work. I’m going to skip small details for now, but larger potential problems in my mind are:
1. It’s interesting how you have portrayed the characters by making their actions decisive and straightforward from the very beginning, then going back to explain where their motivations may have come from. This method can be very effective. That said, I still struggle with Mueller coming off as so one-dimensionally vicious during most of his scenes at the camp. I think there is room for development here; especially since he has a history with a Jewish woman. Why can’t his conversations with Elaina get more to the heart of the conflict rather than merely hint at it; seems like an opportunity to explore the compelling circumstances, both historical and personal, is lost. Further, without this, the hint of H. Miller at the end is less poignant.
2. On the other side of the same coin, where does Elaina’s heroism and deft manipulation of the commandant come from or are we just to accept her ability to rise above any circumstance?
3. You’ve done a good job of often using the text to signify visual action, which is sound technique, but much of it could be pared down, which would give you the dual benefit of leaving you with more room to work with, while highlighting more essential components of the action and making it easier for the script reader.
4. It’s best to avoid the obvious: there are numerous times when the unstated is needlessly spelled out, but most critically at the page seven inflection point: by having Elaina tell Maleka her plan, the audience can foresee a great deal of what’s to come, possibly taking away from the mystery and tension of your plot development.

Good work.
A former member
Post #: 1
Thanks Chris. I’m mulling over some of the scenes you mentioned.
Initially, he has no conflict. He saw a beautiful woman, intrigued & sexually excited him. He planned on fucking her and that’s the end of it. He is trying to be the obedient son of a high level German father. He knows his duties and obligations, his place in Society & the Third Reich after Hitler wins the war. His conflicts grow stronger as he starts falling in love with Elaina. His drinking becomes worse. He can’t openly discuss his conflict with Elaina. Elaina is sharp. She sees his conflict. She knows he is falling in love. THis gives her a certain amount of manipulative power. In his frustration, he asks (in regard to the blue torn dress) “why must you defy me”? She lectures him about the torn blue dress & tells him it is SHE who is saving HIM!.
(his desired romance with the Jewish girl while he was in “Commandant” training disappointed & angered his parents. He could have gone to prison but his father made it right with the powers that be. Von Mueller got his command post.) Further, without this, the hint of H. Miller at the end is less poignant. I will work on it.
2. She is quick, intelligent, perceptive & will do whatever it takes for survival for her husband, Maleka & herself. She’s strong & is willing to take chances for survival. Her only other alternative is accept death which she is willing to do to save her baby.
3. You’ve done a good job of often using the text to signify visual action, which is sound technique, but much of it could be pared down, which would give you the dual benefit of leaving you with more room to work with, while highlighting more essential components of the action and making it easier for the script reader.
4. . In previous scenes, Maleka clings to Elaina as a frightened child. Maleka asks, “What are you, I mean, “we” gonna do?” Elaina is explaining the plan to a 14-year-old very sheltered child. Maleka may be quick witted but she is still a child.
Just before the scene where the Nazis invade the Zorics camp, Maleka, upset, asks her mother,” Why do you have to cut our hair so short and dress us like boys?” Everything is so hurried trying to escape, Maleka’s mother slows down the pace, crouches next to her daughter, tries to give her some kind of explanation. The best she can do is telling Maleka it’s for her own protection. “Understand”? She’s really a child. Does she really understand?
I think Elaina has to lay it out for her. Maleka, losing all her family, really clings to Elaina for protection, safety. She makes a promise. As we see later, she understands her promise. Her experiences in Von Mueller’s home mature her very quickly.

Chris M.
user 10001659
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 11
There can be an enormous difference in what Elaina tells Maleka and what the audience hears. You can have both effects, should you want them.
A former member
Post #: 18
Holey Cow, Marsha! I wish I'd read this earlier...... I only read the first 10 pages, because I've got a meeting this morning, but those first 10 pages had me going "what's next what's next what's next????" I love the opening! If I could I'd read more, but do need to make this meeting today. Bellevue Library Room 3 at 10 AM. Bunch of filmmakers looking for a short to produce. If you have any, please come. Potential for future productions if this goes well. Which I suspect it will. :)
A former member
Post #: 19
What I loved most about it was there was a twist like every 15 seconds or so... :) And clever ones, too. Your characters are no dummies, that's for sure. Elaina.... love her.
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