RJFS Writer's group!


Hi dudes,

I’m going to submit the screenplay I wrote for the 48 hour this week.

What Else Remains

Please tell me what you think, and if you think there are any interesting directions the characters and story could take (though keep in mind this had to be shot within 48 hours).

Muchas gracias,
Dana S


P.S. I was thinking about your writer’s group experience…it goes without saying, but if you want, you can submit your television pilot here for feedback.


I read WER, and first thing:
How was the shooting? How was the result? It’s pretty tough to produce a 6 pages scripts in two days.

About the script I did not really like the beginning as the transitions between the first scenes are a bit weird. They happen too suddenly.
It was okay for the next ones, in the end I loved the story and I think it works well.


To answer your question, here is what we submitted for the competition.
We shot the entire thing in one day, starting about Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and wrapping Sunday around 6:30 a.m., with two breaks in between (1 hour break, and one 30 min break). I originally had 3 writers on board, but I didn’t like the screenplay they came up with, so I ended up writing the screenplay between 3 and 5 a.m. on the Saturday. We had a call time at 1 p.m., and I was an hour and a half late, because I stupidly left crafty and packing my car to the last minute. And of course, my actions at the beginning of the competition affected the outcome of the film. We didn’t have time to do a proper color correction or sound mix, and I overlooked the placement of the music cues because we were so tired and rushed to submit. If I had arrived an hour earlier, or we had all gotten an additional hour of sleep, the movie could have been better.
Anyway, if you have any more questions on the process, let me know. And thanks for your feedback on the screenplay.


I watched it and yeah, sound and color are not perfect, some cuts are a bit weird and I still have the feeling that the first transitions are too sudden but I still liked it (the composition was great). Honestly for a 48 hours project it didn’t went that bad (even if of course it’s not perfect).
I recently had to make a short film with limited time for a film school entrance exam and it went way worst.


Lucas, what school did you apply to?
Also, how big was your crew. I think what helped me was that I had a crew of ten people. I definitely would not have been able to accomplish as much in time without all those hands. :slight_smile:
How was your experience shooting your short? Did you have fun, at least?


I applied to La Cinéfabrique, a public film school in Lyon, France.
What was great about that school was that it’s not that far from where I live and it didn’t cost much (100€ a year!). Plus, well, it’s seems to be a great place to learn filmmaking.

But for those reasons they are thousands of candidates, and only 30 of them are admitted. The exam was made of multiple rounds. The first one started a time where I was studying for my upcoming exams, but I thought it would be something simple to get started. I was wrong.
I was surprised to learn I had to send a resume and a motivation letter in the first week, a portfolio on the second one, and a up to 3 minutes long short film on the third week. Plus two online tests coming on the next Saturdays. When you’re not expecting that much and you know you’ll have to do those things while going to class and preparing your exams, it seems like a lot.

The first thing I did was finish the edit for a short film for my portfolio. I had shot it months ago but never finished editing because… Procrastination? I discovered the joy of editing nights.
During my free time at high-school I found the idea I needed for the short film (It had to be named “My cousine”) and started outlining it.

Then came the first online test. I was thinking that it had to be a simple multiple-choices quiz, again I was stupidly wrong. I connected early at the beginning hour, to discover that I had to write 19 things in 3 hours: short stories, essays, and movie scenes. It seemed like A LOT but I finished on time, two minutes before the end!

During the next week I finished my editing and realized that the story I wrote for the short film was just a movie story that I tried to tell in a few minutes. It sucked.
So I rapidly wrote a silly story, knowing it would be much easier to do and better to watch. I had to finish it before the end of the week-end.

The first shooting day came. We were six, we were unexperienced. We all had multiple roles. One would act then take care of the sound for the next shot. I had written and produced, and now I had to act, direct with non-actors, take care of sound, light and composition. It was obviously too much for an amateur. But we managed to get all the shots we needed.
We where shooting outside on a sunny day and I learned many valuable lesson, first one being YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH WATER.
On the second shooting day we were only three, but it went okay, and we had all the needed shots.

On the next Saturday I had the second online test which went worse than the one. But it was not that bad.
I then watched the rushes and… I panicked. It was reaaally bad. So on the nest day we re-shot a few scenes and I started editing with what we had. In the end I submitted it on time. There was problems with sounds, no color correction, pacing problems… But it ended better than I thought it would.

In the end I didn’t made it to the next round. Don’t know why as the school never sent me any feedback and I don’t know on what criteria they choose students. But I learned a lot and I had fun making it.

We were six amateurs shooting it, I failed the exam but I learned so it ok


Dude! Thanks for sharing. I can almost imagine how stressful that was. But I’m glad you had fun. Do you think you might apply to film school again in the future? Have you shot short films on your own since then?


I don’t think I’ll apply again. For the next three years I’ll be studying English and meanwhile I’ll try to learn more about filmmaking by myself. Hopefully I won’t “need” it then.
We may see in three years.

I shot a few short films since then but nothing serious. From time to time I’ll improvise something with a few friends. We have no real script, no storyboard… We find an idea, shoot it rapidly with a smartphone (no external mic) and I edit it the next day. The goal is to have fun more than to create something really good. But it still a good way to learn a bit about composition, directing and editing.


100 Euros per year…thinking of the amount of money film students borrow in the States. You could literally buy a race car for the price difference between 400 euros and what the average American art student will owe when they get out. That’s such an amazing opportunity!

Don’t worry about your first movie not turning out great…movies aren’t easy to make - there are so many lessons and sub-lessons you have to learn before you can take one from start to finish with any competency (I shot my first movie 19 years ago, and I’m still BAD) As I get older, I really see the value of sinking into ONE discipline and just specializing.

This week I’m giving you pieces of my pilot script to read. It’s about a cult of all things! But - don’t worry - it’s nothing like Mars’ script. This logline was lurking, and so it got written. We’ll see what comes.

Docdroid has been crap so this is hosted on Scribd…hopefully there are no issues. https://www.scribd.com/document/356714402/Script-Cultman-James-3


Also - I just want to acknowledge how much easier it is to do research for Christian religious leaders than Jewish ones…I can read all four gospels in an evening. It would take me all night just to learn the nuances in one page of Talmud…which - as a student of religion is amazing, but - as a screenwriter trying to get shit done - the Talmud can do one =P


Down in the Valley is finished. (pgs 82 -98).

Most of the time when I was writing these pages, I wanted this screenplay to be over. I’ve been working on this thing since February. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to work on something for that long. A lot of times, writing this felt like spinning wheels in thick mud, partly because I had not done any outlining beforehand. I was making everything up as I went along, which showed me that I can move a story forward out of desperation, but I have yet to learn how to build meaningful and deep conflict, relationships, characters, and backstory, and have inform the actual writing of the screenplay.

Anyway, this section will likely be as unpleasant to read as it was to write it, and for that, I want to apologize. However, I did try to wrap up as many threads as possible, and try and tie the story together with a deeper meaning at the end. I don’t think I successfully executed this completely, but it’s still there, nonetheless.

Jessica, your Talmud comment made me LOL. There’s a joke somewhere in there, about the Talmud being far longer than the Gospels, but I’m not clever enough to figure it out. I’m also excited you posted a television pilot script; I will read it and get back to you ASAP.

And yes, it’s super sad with expensive American film schools are compared to the ones in Europe. Completely unreal. This makes me again think that the price of American film schools is a total scam, especially with film equipment being so inexpensive…then again, if I could afford film school, I would be going in a heartbeat, so call me a sucker.

Lucas, I’m glad you have fun making shorts with friends - that’s how a lot of successful filmmakers get started anyway. Even though they’re personal films for fun, I’d love to see them if you’d ever feel like sharing.


I’ll say this unsolicited and sight unseen: As your harshest critic, your writing has grown SO MUCH in the last six months. Merely finishing a draft puts you ahead of half the people buying screenwriting books, and - having read an unholy number of amateur scripts - your story sense and love of the craft puts you ahead of 80% of the competition.

Believe in your work, my friend…there’s something really real in there.


This made me smile - thank you!!!
Seriously man, utmost gratitude.

I’ve taken a well-deserved break from writing completely over the past few days, and now I feel ready to hit the keyboard again. Expect another submission and feedback on your pilot within a few days.


I’ve read some DotV updates but not enough to really comment…this month is a cram session for me.

The other group (sort of) came back, and there’s one girl I’m throwing commentary back and forth with…she’s out-writing me by a factor of two pages to one! My work shows more polish but it’s hard to argue with results, and this chick gets them.

The pace tells me I may not be ready to work professionally yet, and that’s kind of disheartening given the number of practice hours I’ve put in. Impatience is what kills 95% of screenwriters before they even get started, so I’m reminding myself to be patient and grow…but I’m not-so-secretly chomping at the bit to start writing to studios and making myself known. However, the Halloween script taught me that going in before you’re ready isn’t wise. sigh


So, I read your cult script.

I’m not sure if it’s the limitations of the medium you’re writing for, but this is the best piece I’ve seen you post in this forum.
Even better, your screenplay, thanks in part to the steady pace of the action, reads like a television pilot; it’s easy to envision it that way, which is half the battle for a reader. You set up the relationships of the main characters efficiently and execute them well, and you make them complex and believable, thanks to the layered dialogue and nuances of the characters’ personalities.

I would love to see what you do with writing this pilot all the way through. Whatever you’re doing, keep it up.

– DS

P.S. I’m submitting critique this week in lieu of pages, as much of a cop-out as that may sound. I will have pages next week. Thanks.


I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been feeling pretty good writing this one. It’s a muted drama in comparison to the other things I’ve done, and - even though I want to write weird genre trash - what you want to write and what you excel at writing are kind of different things.

Here’s more…I wrote it faster, so there’s a lot less polish, but I’m trying to get to 48 pages before the end of the month. https://www.scribd.com/document/357309552/Script-Cultman-James-4


I’ve not answered this week, sorry for that.
First congratulations for finishing your script @PianolasonMars. We know it’s not perfect but there are some great elements in it and you undoubtedly learned from it.
And if you’re really interested in my attempts at filmmaking I can post (and translate when necessary) some of the stuff I made.

@Exquisite_Corpse I took the time to rapidly read the beginning of Cultman James and it’s good, I’ll read the new pages asap.

That’s it, sorry for being that concise but I’m busy. Have a cool week!


Thank you! And less, I learned a lot, which is an understatement.
And yes, I am interested. I’d love to see whatever you’d feel like posting. Send it our way!


Greetings. I read the rest of your teleplay. I think the conflict I mentioned in my last critique is still very strong throughout, especially between Kelsey and Isaac, as well as Rosales and Isaac. That’s good; it keeps things interesting. However - and I may contradict myself here - I wonder whether you’re revealing too much regarding Kelsey and Isaac’s relationship in the pilot. Since you have to think about arcs throughout twenty-two episodes of television, you have so much great stuff between them in the pilot that I’m wondering how their relationship can get more dramatic based on conflict alone, without having to throw in a major external event that I think would shake things up too much for the beginning of a television season. I don’t know a lot about writing for television drama, and therefore, I’m reluctant to make suggestions about what you should put in and keep out in this teleplay. Just for the sake of argument, what would happen if you took some of Kelsey out of this episode and put more of Rosales in? I love Rosales’ no-nonsense attitude, work ethic, and pride in her job (I’m getting all that from this character you created; how cool is that?). I’d like to see more of her, and I’m sure there are opportunities to do that in this pilot if you want.
Also, think about creating reasons for people to watch the second episode. Although the characters are well-developed and likable, and the conflict between them is great, what about the situations or relationships would compel viewers to watch the next episode? For example, you have Isaac going to jail, and immediately attracting attention due to his outsized personality. Gaining allies and enemies in jail could provide great dramatic material for an arc that could last several episodes, and could impact his entire community, within the cult and from without.
I’d love to see what you do with more of this material.