Monday, January 15, 2018

TODAY'S NUGGET: Freedomland (2006) - Setup/Payoff; By The End of Page One

[Quick Summary: A black cop has his doubts when a bleeding white woman stumbles into his sector, claiming she was car-jacked with her 4 y.o. son still in the backseat.] 

BAD NEWS: This script irritated me a bit because:
- I didn't know what it was trying to say.
- A few key setups were paired with tepid payoffs.

GOOD NEWS: It had my attention by the bottom of page one.

In short, the writer surprised me with a twist.

The script begins with a typical chase (cops after bad guys).

My thoughts: "I know where this is going."

But by the end of page one, there is a twist that upended my expectations.

My thoughts: "Where is this going?!?" I was excited to turn the page.

Here is the lower half of page one.  How soon do you realize the twist?

ex. "The two chased men split up; one running into the woods; the other (Eric) into a massive dormitory of some kind -- so big it blots out the weak winter sun.

Eric, before he squeezes through the rotted door, tosses a package (drugs?).

The two cops break into the clearing and then split up, the white one (BOYLE) chasing the kid who went into the woods, the black cop (LORENZO) going after Eric in the fortress-like abandoned dorm.

Lorenzo disappears inside through the same rotted door.


a buckshot creaky sign tells us we're looking at "FREEDOMLAND VILLAGE - CHILDREN'S UNIT A".

After that hold, we see Lorenzo slowly back out of that same rotted door almost like film being shot in reverse.

Despite the wintry air, he is sweating. HE looks totally haunted, almost shell-shocked, as if he forgot what he had gone into the building for in the first place.

He stands there for a beat, just trying to come back to himself, then --


almost leaping into Lorenzo's arms, as if he wants this cop to save him from something.

ERIC (near-babbling): Yo Lorenzo, get me the fuck out of here, man, just get me the fuck..."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: 1) It's good to upend the reader's expectations; 2) Be sure that you pay off whatever you set up.

Do both of the above, not either/or.  Doing #1 well will not cover for lack of #2.

Freedomland (2006)(undated)
Novel and script by Richard Price

No comments:

perPage: 10, numPages: 8, var firstText ='First'; var lastText ='Last'; var prevText ='« Previous'; var nextText ='Next »'; } expr:href='data:label.url' expr:href='data:label.url + "?&max-results=7"'