Make Your Screenplay Better #2

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  • Opening scene of a feature length screenplay.
  • Pick out the common screenplay writing errors.
  • Consider how to improve your scripts.
  • Note: WordPress does not allow a faithful rendering of the Final Draft screenplay format. Hence, the spacing below is slightly out. But they suffice for our purposes.

Mystery Woman

FADE IN

EXT. – HAVANA WOMEN’S PRISON – DAY

MARIATA, 30s, latin , brunnette , good looking, leaves prison. She looks tense. She steps toward a car that is waiting for her . DIEGO, 20s, latin, is the driver. He gets out, they hug and he opens the door for her. Mariata gets in the car and they drive away .

EXT. – IGNATIO OCHO STREET, HAVANA – NIGHT

Mariata walks along street toward a shabby two storey apartment block. She bounds the stairs to the second floor, stops at one of the doors.

MARIATA (Shouts.)
Mami!

She puts her head to the door, listens, knocks. No response. She takes a key from her pocket and lets herself inside.

INT. – IGNATIO OCHO APARTMENT – NIGHT

Mariata steps into the living room of the small apartment. The curtains are drawn in the living room is a small bed with an old lady, ABRILLA, MARIATA’S MOTHER, 60s, in it . She breathes from a machine at the side of the bed.

MARIATA
Mami!

ABRILLA
Ola, hija!

Mariata rushes to the bed and they embrace. Mariata sits down next to Abrilla.

MARIATA (In Spanish .)
It stinks in here. Like sickness.

ABRILLA (In Spanish.)
No, daughter. Like death.

MARIATA
You are not going to die Mami. Not now.

Mariata gets up and opens a window. Traffic noises are heard through it. The room is lit by a prayer candle . Mariata takes a package of cigarettes and some matches from the side of her mother’s bed and lights up. It’s obvious that Abrilla then finds it a little more difficult to breathe but her happy expression shows that she loves the smell.

MARIATA
Hold on Mami, hold on. I will get money
and move you to a much better place.

ABRILLA
I’m tired Mariata, so tired. It’s hard living here.
I long to go to the other side.

MARIATA
No Mami! I’m going to get you a beautiful home.
I promise you. I just got out today, give me a
little time… I hear Marco is making money.
Lots of it.

ABRILLA
You are such a good daughter Mariata, such a
good daughter. I trust you. Not like your
useless brother Marco.

MARIATA
I’m the useless one, remember. Trust doesn’t
come into it with Marco. But I know who
he works for I’m going to talk to the guy,
get me a regular good paying job.

ABRILLA
Just be careful it’s not dangerous Mariata…
Are you staying here tonight?

MARIATA
No mami, I have to go.

Mariata begins to leave the room.

MARIATA (CONT’D )
Don’t forget, Mami. If my parole officer
stops by, I’m staying here with you.

ABRILLA
Mariata?

MARIATA
Yes?

ABRILLA
Leave the cigarette burning in the ashtray.

###

Updated on 12 June 2016: Areas that need improvement.

  1. Typos – first impressions (especially in the first page, Scene 1) count plenty. Typos indicate a lack of professionalism, a lack of care.
  2. There is a format when first introducing characters. This is lacking.
  3. Clunky narration/action lines.
  4. Incorrect use and placing of parentheticals.
  5. Incorrect tense in sentences – use present, not past, tense.

Note:

  • The scene headings are perfect.
  • All the other formatting elements are accurate.

###

Revised screenplay uploaded 26 June 2016

NB: WordPress does not faithfully replicate screenplay format.

FADE IN

EXT. – HAVANA WOMEN’S PRISON – DAY

MARIATA, 30s, Latin, good looking, steps out of the prison gates 
and with great disdain, scans the empty parking lot. 

EXT. – IGNATIO OCHO STREET, HAVANA – NIGHT

Mariata walks along a street toward a shabby two storey apartment 
block. 

She bounds up the stairs, her movements sleek and catlike, and 
stops at a door on the fifth floor.

                          MARIATA 
                      (softly)
                    Mami!

She puts her head to the door, listens and knocks. 
No response. 

She retrieves a key from her backpack and lets herself into the…

INT. – IGNATIO OCHO APARTMENT – NIGHT

Mariata steps into the studio apartment and immediately covers 
her nose with her hand. The place, curtains drawn shut, is in 
semi-darkness. 

Mariata steps over strewn clothing. 

On the coffee table, squashed beer cans and an open box of 
shrivelled pizza.

                           MARIATA
                      (whispers)
                    Mami!

ABRILLA, 60s, stirs on the bed. She breathes from a machine. 
The nose cup mists and clears with every laboured breath.

On a nightstand beside the bed, a clutter of medicine bottles 
and soiled cotton-rolls in a kidney tray complete the squalor.

                          ABRILLA
                 Ola, hija!

Mariata takes Abrilla’s hand in hers.

                          MARIATA 
                      (In Spanish)
                 The stench.

                          ABRILLA 
                     (In Spanish.)
                 The smell of death.

                          MARIATA
                 You’re too stubborn to die. 

                          ABRILLA
                 Even the Angel of Death does not care.

Mariata opens a window and traffic noise injects live into 
the mite-filled room.

Mariata lights a cigarette for herself.

Abrilla coughs but relishes the smoke.

                          MARIATA
                 I hear Marco is doing alright. 
                 Making plenty of dough.

                          ABRILLA
                 Your brother, he’s useless.

                          MARIATA
                 I’ll get some of that dough. Get
                 you a better place to live in.

                          ABRILLA
                 I fear for you.

                         MARIATA
                 I’ve survived prison.

                         ABRILLA
                 You staying the night?

                        MARIATA
                 No, have to go.

Mariata kisses her mother.

                        ABRILLA
                 So soon?

                          MARIATA
                 A parole officer will stop by. Tell
                 them I’m staying here with you.

                          ABRILLA
                 Mariata?

                          MARIATA
                 Si, Mami?

                          ABRILLA
                Light me a garet.

                          MARIATA
                 Mami, no!

Abrilla pulls off the nose cup. 

                          ABRILLA
                 Light me a garet.

Mariatta sighs, lights a cigarette and places it in her mother’s 
lips.

                          MARIATA
                 You smoke in bed, you go up in flames.

Abrilla ignores her and drags on the cigarette.

With a sigh, Mariata sets down her backpack and settles on the 
bedside chair.

                                                        FADE OUT

###

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************ Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2016 ************

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The Hush | Episode 2

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Episode 2 of The Hush clearly perpetuates the perception that MediaCorp and mediocre are synonymous.

But first, “The Good” parts in the episode.

Unfortunately, there were only flashes of the good and these came from the talents – Tay Ping Hui (playing Thomas Teo) and Carmen Soo (as Valerie Teo, Thomas’ wife).

As Lee Thean-Jeen (executive producer/scriptwriter/director) mentioned in a recent Facebook post, this was a difficult part pulled off well by Carmen Soo.

Tay Ping Hui (Thomas) shone in all the scenes he appeared. About 16 minutes in, Thomas confronts a debtor, Eddie Toh. The scenes showed the human side of Thomas Teo – a nice twist to his “quick temper”. This is what a drama is about – catching the audience unaware while keeping the storyline consistent and character portrayal relevant.

Next, the “Could be Better”

The sequence of scenes is all over the place.

  1. Insp Koh questions Sharifah and family – followed by…
  2. Big argument among the condo residents – serves no real purpose other than, I suppose, to introduce Irene Ang’s character (Mdm Gan) – what time was this? Take note as this is important. Second, Mdm Gan asks, “You’re telling me the police cannot identify the body after three days? Huh?” Good question. The Singapore Police is yet to embrace finger print and DNA technology. To simply ignore police procedures so that one can stretch a telemovie into a 13-part TV series shows lack of story telling skills and more.
  3. Jeremy Kumar (Jitenram Kiran Bala) and his wife, Yen Leng (Esther Low) walk out. They discuss about moving out to Yen Leng’s mother’s place. “Expats love this area.” Okay, does that mean the expats will move in the same day or the next? But that’s exactly what happens later.
  4. Next, a scene with Valerie Teo and Thomas Teo – monologue by Valerie – noted in The Good above. Though the acting is great, the backstory for Valerie is quite thin – but as we have more serious issues, I’ll leave this be.
  5. There is one scene involving the police – where Insp Koh is rude to Sharifah’s son – “You, boy! Anything you want to tell us?” Yeah, right! For a man who does not suffer fools, he is adept at suffering himself. Moreover, I would have thought that Sharifah, the “prominent civil servant” would not have tolerated this nonsense – but again, this episode has more serious issues. This is followed by Sharifah and husband, Daud (played by Tony Eusoff) interviewed by people from a magazine. Incidentally, we had to endure some ridiculous dialogue. If you wish to portray rumours and gossip, chose a better vehicle rather than taking the easy way out and making the journalist look unprofessional. It would be in character for Mdm Gan to spew this gossip.
  6. The scene that follows – Insp Koh questions Thomas Teo, who is rushing off to work. Same morning – or perhaps afternoon. It does not matter – I’ll concede that it’s the same day. BTW, the smart guy, Insp Koh again puts his foot in his mouth when he questions Thomas Teo. “You ever beat anyone up when recovering a debt?” Wow! What answer was he expecting? Or, was it to gauge Thomas Teo’s reaction. When Thomas Teo responds, “You ever beat anyone up when you question them?” Insp Don’t Suffer Fools had no response other than to square off like some cheap street hoodlum. Having painted the character of Insp Koh into a one-dimensional straitjacket, he has no choice but to stick to character – and realism spirals down. Considering that the entire series hangs on the backdrop of an investigation into an “unnatural death”, the police characters are crucial and could have played a major role in holding the show together. It could be better with a rewrite of the Insp Koh character and his dialogue. But all the above pale in comparison to what is to follow below.
  7. Next, Jeremy tells his father, Nelson (Remesh Panicker) that he is moving out. This follows item 3 above. All these happen on the same day – don’t ask me what time of the day. Just consider the timelines here.
  8. Later, Thomas Teo drives to a HDB flat and confronts Eddie Toh, the debtor. Eddie Toh’s mother brushes off and damages Thomas’ hand phone. BTW, I thought this was the best scene in Episode 2.
  9. The journal – not newspaper – that carries the Sharifah interview (item 5) is published! Voila! Was this the next day or the following week(s)? All so confusing. Journal publications usually take weeks after an interview. Even the Strait Times articles I wrote, took about a week before publication.
  10. These scenes are followed by Adam Farid, the security guard (played by Awad Salim), lamenting to Hafiz how Insp Koh’s questions had been relentless. So, was this the next day or weeks later? It looks very much as if they jumped from one story thread to another with scant regard for timelines.
  11. It has to be a few weeks later, because the scenes that follow indicate so. Enter the local vamp, Selena, strategic consultant (played by Sarah Lian – see image below). It would have taken weeks if not months to secure a tenant – especially for The Hush which now has a “reputation.”

    Screen grab MediaCorp Channel 5 Toggle

    Screen grab MediaCorp Channel 5 Toggle

  12. Next, Thomas Teo comes home that evening – same evening, no less (as in item 8). See what I mean by timelines? BTW, considering he is a businessman and his cell phone was damaged – why wait until item 14 (below) to bring it to the shop? Oh yes, he was working late and the shops close at 10.30 pm. He was working very late.
  13. After this, we see the scene where Nelson informs his domestic help Luisa Reyes (played by Cassandra Jean Spykerman) that Jeremy and Yen Leng would not be coming for dinner because they have moved out! Say what? “Oh, so sorry, Luisa, I forgot to tell you. Jeremy and Yen Leng have moved out.” Right! When did that happen? You mean siren Selena moved in the same day? When Jeremy informed you about moving out (item 7 above) – Selena was already waiting at the gates?
  14. Finally, Thomas Teo turns up at the cell phone outlet to repair his hand phone – the same phone that Eddie Toh’s mother broke. Okay, even if we concede that Thomas went to the shop the next day because the night before, he was working very late…I believe there is something in the cell phone that might leak out but hey, get your acts together – or rather, your scenes lined up!

How and when did Jeremy and Yen Leng move out so fast – same day?

How and when did Selena manage to move in so fast – same day?

How was the journal published and distributed to the GP’s office so fast – same day or by the next day, latest?

It looks like not one person but several people – in fact, everyone who viewed the final cut – missed the utter lack of continuity and hence, messed up big time! Were there no checks by anyone – including the final approving authority in MediaCorp?

I’m so flabbergasted and even now wondering – is it me or the episode? Please tell me that it’s me – I must have got it all wrong.

This is a time warp drama! Yes, that’s what it must be.

Or, I must have missed the plot in its entirety. Otherwise, for years to come, Episode 2 will make for good discussion in all the film and TV schools – ala Masters of the Sea.

************ Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2016 ************

The Hush | MediaCorp – Could be Better

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There are some areas where The Hush could have done better, especially with regards to matching character backstories to the roles they play in the series.

Sharifah, the high flying civil servant, lawyer and politician – “I’m not your maid”

Ariati Tyeb Papar, who plays Sharifah, has done a commendable job.

Screen grab - MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Screen grab – MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

The flaw is not with the acting but with the character’s backstory and how her domestic situation is portrayed.

Considering that Sharifah is a lawyer turned “prominent civil service officer”, it’s strange that the family does not employ a domestic help. The bio says she is a “politician”. This is descriptive but not definitive enough. Is she an MP? If this was made clear, I must have missed it. The fact that the newspaper mentions her when reporting the death in The Hush, indicates she is probably an MP – someone drawing a substantial MP’s allowance of more than $180,000 per annum, plus she also has a salary of a “prominent civil service officer”.

Okay, perhaps she wants to be a super-mum/wife/civil servant/politician and adept at burning shirts. Never mind that she overlooked time management and opportunity cost. However, her character bio does not sync with her screen situation. Perhaps in later episodes she might employ a maid 🙂 But for now, she is quite atypical of a successful career woman in Singapore.

For our purposes, if she has a domestic help, many of the scenes involving her screen family become redundant. Rewrites. New ideas for new situations.

Another character whose bio is in conflict with his role is Insp Koh, played by Shane Marduki.

However, this is merely my opinion and nothing to do with how Insp Koh is portrayed.

Screen grab - MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Screen grab – MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Insp Koh’s demeanour and approach is questionable especially as he is investigating a small group of neighbours, educated people – including a politician – people who will share notes and can kick up a fuss.

Considering that the character of Insp Koh “has little patience for fools” – one wonders how smart is his aggressive approach when interacting with the very people who are his greatest source of information and help. Also, I believe police officers are more mindful when conducting public investigations versus private interrogations.

A congenial person who puts his “suspects” at ease while doggedly hunting down the perpetrator of the boy’s death would not only be interesting and more watchable, but also a cut-above in his sleuth work. Instead, the show takes the “standard” MediaCorp approach when it comes to portraying police officers – often as aggressive and ready to flaunt the power of their badge and gunbelt.

Shane Mardjuki, who plays Insp Koh is doing a commendable but tough job, balancing roles with character traits. He already has me disliking Insp Koh – which is good for him as an actor. It shows his talent for getting the audience emotive.

However, it does make the Insp Koh character somewhat predictable.

Both Ariati and Shane are obviously talented and for them to shine, they need believable characters to portray. In a drama series, which promises very little action scenes – memorable/believable characters are one of the 3 crucial components.

Nevertheless, I’m invested enough to look forward to Episode 2. This concludes my 3-part review of Episode 1 of The Hush.

If you like what you’ve read, hit the Follow button and keep abreast of my reviews for Episode 2.

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The Hush | MediaCorp – The Good

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In Episode 1 of The Hush, several scenes posed special challenges but the scriptwriter/director (Lee Thean-Jeen) and the actors, Tay Ping Hui as Thomas Teo and Carmen Soo as Valerie Teo performed remarkably well.

The “first kitchen scene” 10 minutes into the show brought Thomas’ and Valerie’s relationship to the fore. I loved the tension and the undertows. Very well done.

Screen grab - MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Screen grab – MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

In this scene, special mention goes to Arthur Eu who plays the part of the couple’s 12 year old son, Keith Teo. The young talent pulled off his part with seasoned flourish.

Screen grab - MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Screen grab – MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

If you think the “first kitchen scene” was great – the “second kitchen scene” at about 24 minutes topped the first.

This second scene was extremely challenging. The emotions, the provocations by Valerie, the blistering restrain by hot-tempered Thomas were all dramatically portrayed. Remember that under Singapore law, the person who strikes, gets physical, is the offender. The law accords scant regard to the provocateur, especially if it’s a woman and, the spouse to boot.

All the unspoken unfairness and tension came through. Now, this is drama! This is character portrayal! Well done!

Screen grab - MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Screen grab – MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Tay Ping Hui was perfect for the character of Thomas Teo. His good looks, his experience and adaptability all came through and fitted the character of Thomas Teo to a tee.

Well, this has been my “The Good” part of the review.

Tomorrow, I’ll upload the 3rd and final “Could be Better” portion of my review.

If you like what you’ve read, hit the “Follow” button and let’s keep in touch.

If you don’t like what you’ve read, post a comment, offer your advice.

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The Hush | MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5 – The Kiss

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The Hush, Episode 1 Review, in one phrase – Ground breaking!

But first, some brickbats 🙂

There was not a single likeable person among the ensemble characters, likeable as in “nice”, in the opening episode. Second, many of the primary characters seem to have some sort of personal demon. Where is the nice guy; the funny person who punctuates the heavy drag with his/her witty observations?

Barring that, the characters generally lived up to their official “character bios”. Well done!

There were several flashes of brilliance – thanks to shrewd scripting, directing and talented cast. There were also a few instances that might do better with fact/reality checking.

What was ground-breaking in The Hush?

Screen grab - MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

Screen grab – MediaCorp Toggle Channel 5

At about 36 minutes into the show, audiences witnessed a tender scene between Jeremy Kumar and Yen Leng. This is ground breaking as it is the first time (that I know of) a local Singapore drama series has aired a kissing scene involving a Chinese-Indian couple. And after 50 years of “one-people, one-nation” – about time too!

This was no quickie peck-on-the-cheek. It was the real lingering thing. To their credit as professional artistes, Jitenram Kiran Bala and Esther Low displayed no inhibition and came across as a genuine couple.

Kudos to MediaCorp, Lee Thean-Jeen (Executive Producer/Director/Scriptwriter) and to Esther Low and Jit Bala.

This has been a “quickie” review on my part.

Over the next two days, I’ll upload parts 2 and 3 covering the good and the could-be-better about this, Episode 1 of The Hush.

Hit the “Follow” button and let’s keep in touch.

Updated 4 December 2016 > it took some time for the word to get around but now we have an update on “first screen kiss” >>> lifted off Facebook. Thank you Pawan Singh:

Pavan J Singh
Pavan J Singh Congrats, but I’m not sure that’s accurate… I kissed Glory Cen on the TV show What Do Men Want by Banana Mana Films (Jason Chan and Christian Lee) which aired on Channel 5 a couple of years ago….?

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The Hush | MediaCorp Singapore

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The Hush – A New Drama Series on Channel 5, MediaCorp Singapore.

I’ve always enjoyed Remesh Panicker’s narrations in documentaries. He has a rich voice and this  drew me to The Hush. And from the trailers, he comes across well, playing the part of Nelson Kumar.

MediaCorp/Toggle show info:

A brand new drama series! Before dawn, the body of an unidentified 16-year-old boy is found floating in the swimming pool of The Hush. In the hallways, neighbours trade whispered gossip as an investigation takes place, unravelling tensions and long-buried secrets of the residents. Who was the boy? How did he die? Will the lives of the residents ever be the same again?

A brand new? Okay, a bit of colloquialism there but no worries.

MediaCorp/Toggle Episode One – now is this a slugline or a synopsis?

The body of a teenage Malay boy is found floating in the swimming pool of The Hush early one morning, sparking off a police investigation that implicates several residents of condominium project – all of them had seen him lurking around the grounds or had contact with him prior.

Clunky! And with typos to boot.

My version, and this in essence is what the episode is about:

When a teenager is found dead in the swimming pool of a condominium, several residents become suspects.

Not exactly a reach-out-and-grab-you hook, but hey, that’s the storyline!

@ Eric Alagan, 2016

@ Eric Alagan, 2016

MediaCorp/Toggle Cast Info

On the surface, the bios of 18 out of the 19 characters represent a wide cross-section of Singaporeans:

  • Thomas Teo – the Ah Long collector, albeit a high-end version
  • Valerie Teo – working woman turned housewife, as common as the next character
  • Nelson Kumar – retiree and part of the “ageing population” that grabs headlines now
  • Sharifah Binti Ibrahim – high-flyer turned politician, a uniquely Singapore-style success story
  • Jaden Kok – man about town, planted to raise blood pressure
  • Selena – sarong party girl, planted to raise blood pressure
  • Daud Bin Abdul Rahman – middle-aged misfit, hope this character is not a prop for government infomercials
  • Luisa Reyes – the ubiquitous house-help
  • Jeremy Kumar – one half of a mixed marriage, hope they come up with new marital issues and not regurgitate the usual cultural (yawn) conflicts
  • Woo Yen Leng – the other half of said mixed marriage
  • Clara Teo – teenager/rebel, if she is really representative then she will have very little dialogue as this character would be buried in her handheld
  • Keith Teo – “akan dating” teenager/rebel
  • Mdm Gan – the in-house BBC
  • Insp Koh – no patience for fools, must be the smart one
  • Hafiz Bin Mohd Daud – teenager but more confused than rebellious
  • Sgt Krishnan – eager to carve a notch on his gun butt
  • Nina – the ubiquitous property agent
  • Adam Farid – security guard, someone to blame when anything goes wrong
  • Zulkifi Bin Abdullah – the true Star, one episode and his presence is felt throughout the series – the only one not representative of a typical Singaporean

With almost every single profile covered – almost, because they missed out the billionaire who occupies the duplex penthouse – the plots and sub-plots promise to be a cob-web of entanglements and rich possibilities.

Don’t get me wrong, I meant that as a compliment – a shrewd “inclusive” marketing strategy. However, beware that in trying to be something for everybody, the series does not end up being nothing for anybody. Investigating a ghost? Hmmm… tread carefully.

My primary concern is, the backdrop for the entire series is thin – the unexplained death of a teenager who had no business to be on the premises. For starters, how long will the investigations last? Days? Weeks? Months? Would this not constrain the depth of the sub-plots; how they play out; and, character development? One can only hope for some clever and out-of-the-box story telling. Perhaps I completely missed the plot – was that a pun? By the way, how many episodes are there in this series?

Updated 23 May – I’ve since learned that it’s a 13-part series. How much lapsed time is that in the series – 13 hours, days, weeks, months?

The primary plus point is having an ensemble cast. In this, they have taken a leaf off Tanglin. It’s superior to having one or two headline grabbing “stars”, which does not work because there is no one actor with that kind of drawing power in Singapore. After all, The Hush is competing with all-comers, starting with the offerings on cable and video streaming.

All said, as of now, The Hush looks, sounds and feels promising – and I plan to catch episode one.

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Make Your Screenplay Better

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How to do a script analysis? What would a script editor do?

This is a raw version of the opening scene for a 1-hour TV pilot.

  1. See if you can pick out all the errors.
  2. How is character development?
  3. What about the dialogue?
  4. Consider how you might improve on this version.

Note: WordPress is unable to format to Final Draft, hence the formatting is slightly off. However, for our purposes, this is an accurate enough presentation.

a galaxy far away

INT. TRONIAN STARSHIP – BRIDGE

AUTMANN (CAPTAIN) KRYLEON sits in the center of the bridge.

Surrounding him are other Tronian aliens, each at their stations.

Tronian aliens are humanoid, have bony ridges on their skulls and their skin often has mottled patterns of darker pigmentation.

The ship is being rocked and buffeted hard as it comes out of a very rough patch of space.

Everything smooths out and each of the crew visibly relaxes.

The forward display shows a star field.

The helmsman makes his report in the melodious formal tones of the Tronian aliens, sounding faintly Germanic.

HELMSMAN
Autmann, we have cleared the particle
storm. Instruments returning to
normal.

KRYLEON
Excellent. Where in Veruum are
we?

HELMSMAN
Unknown. Projected calculation
time: six sentauns.

Kryleon sighs in frustration.

NAVIGATOR
Sir, there is a living planet on
the scan.

Kryleon perks up.

KRYLEON
Living? How far?

NAVIGATOR
Three days. Scan shows it to be
heavily inhabited by a level six
civilization.

KRYLEON
Level six? Is that even worth
contacting?

SCIENCE OFFICER
They may not have star travel but
they are not far off. We should be
able to get the materials we need
for repairs.

KRYLEON
Very well. Set course and let us
see what we find.

Kryleon stares at the forward display, the Sol star looking a little bigger and brighter than the others.

The crew on the bridge becomes very busy, each working the controls at there station.

###

Updated 20 May 2016:

Considering that this is the very first scene of a pilot episode for a TV series – the opening could be more cinematic.

The scriptwriter has given the captain, (“Autmann” – in the Tronian lingo) a name – Kryleon – and as he appears in the very first scene, one can assume he is an important character – perhaps even the protagonist or antagonist.

All the other characters do not have names. The scriptwriter refers instead to their job functions – helmsman, navigator and science officer. This is a hint that these are bit players. Or, it could be an oversight by the scriptwriter. 

Without access to subsequent scenes or better yet, the first Act, it’s difficult to draw conclusions.

These restrictions notwithstanding, I shall draw my own conclusions. You feel free to do the same.

###

31 May, 2016

Here is my revised version. You’re welcome to suggest improvements.

                         THE TRONIANS

EXT. SPACE - ESTABLISHING

A bright spot in the ocean of speckled black. Faraway rumbles. 
Bright flashes of light. A cosmic storm rages. Space debris 
shoot past. 

A silvery speck emerges, FILLS the screen and careens away. 

A SPACESHIP!

INT. TRONIAN STARSHIP – BRIDGE

Flashing lights and KLAXON alarms punctuate the ship’s dim 
interior. Gradually, the buffeting smoothens and the mayhem dies. 

LIGHTS come on.

The CREW are humanoid – TRONIANS – bony ridges on skulls and 
light skin with dark mottled pigmentation.

CAPTAIN KRYLEON, lithe and well-toned, has the bridge. 

                        CAPTAIN KRYLEON
            Damage Control, report!

Kryleon’s voice is Germanic.

An equally nasal voice comes over the intercom.

                        DAMAGE CONTROL (O.S.)
            Electrolyser mains inoperative. Backup holding 
            for now, Captain.

                        EXCO BARAGA
            We need to put her down, Captain.

EXECUTIVE OFFICER BARAGA is a burly battle-scared Tronian 
but with a kind face.

The crewmen turn, expectantly, to their captain. 

Kryleon feels their intense gaze but deigns not to notice. 

The forward display panel shows a STAR FIELD.

                        CAPTAIN KRYLEON
            So, this is Veruum. What’s there?

SCIENCE OFFICER LUTZ, young and geeky, reads off his screen.

                        S.O. LUTZ
            A sol star, sir. Coordinates 76-45.
            Distance, 24 sentauns.

A green planet appears on the wall screen. 

                        CAPTAIN KRYLEON
            Nothing nearer?

                        S.O. LUTZ
            It’s the only inhabitable planet
            in this solar quadrant, sir.

Lutz works his touchscreen.

                        S.O. LUTZ (CONT’D)
            The planet is home to a simian civilization, 
            sir. Level six.

                        CAPTAIN KRYLEON
                  (to Baraga)
            All this way to visit a zoo!

Baraga's shrug says they don't have a choice.

                        S.O. LUTZ
            Sub surface pingbacks indicate
            they’ve the minerals we need
            for our repairs, sir.

Kryleon throws a look at Baraga and nods.

                        EXCO BARAGA
            Okay, put her down! And try not to punch
            another hole in her belly.

The crew gets busy.

                        CAPTAIN KRYLEON (CONT’D)
            Green planet. Are the inhabitants green too?

                        S.O. LUTZ
            Take a look, Captain.

The screen shows HUMANS on earth.

                                                  FADE OUT

Updated 31 May 2016:

Over the next few days, in the comments section below, I shall post the rationale underlying the revisions. Considering that screenplays are highly subjective, you might not agree with all the points. Nevertheless, at the very least, these serve to pique interest and provide a second opinion to any screenplay.

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