My first attempt at a Bond screenplay...it was great fun having a go

in Fan Creations Posts: 4,541
Set directly after SF, I know not everyone has the time to read though 90 pages but grateful for any feedback (good and bad)

always room for re-writes

cheers

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/89732916/scarred.pdf

Comments

  • edited August 2016 Posts: 12,724
    I read it @patb and I really, really liked it. I thought it was a great script with some great lines and really original concepts that felt very modern but was also classic Bond in the best of ways. Here are some thoughts of mine

    First of all I think the title is great. Simple but enigmatic, sounds cool and mysterious and also relates to the film.

    Loved the Australia stuff. The shark fight would make for a really original PTS and Bond throwing the cork hat on the way to M's office was a very clever but subtle callback to the Connery/Lazenby films.

    I was skeptical about Moneypenny's involvement but I really liked how you wrote the dialogue between her and Bond, it was playful and fun and didn't feel forced. The sister line in particular was really good. I think it probably needs justifying better than M wanting her to get out of the office for a bit though. Maybe he wants to avoid another Australia so has Moneypenny go to keep an eye on Bond? Or maybe there's comedic potential. Maybe Moneypenny is irritatingly efficient and helpful round the office so M, being driven insane, asks Bond with a hint of desperation to take her off his hands. Just a couple of ideas.

    Bond having to go to the college to get further information before his mission felt very Fleming and I really liked Moneypenny's bitchiness about it and banter with Bond after he sleeps with the proffessor.

    The Le Mans stuff was perfect and I think if this script was made would be highly praised on here as the highlight of the film and a series best scene. It felt very 60s and very Connery/Moore esque with the villain confrontation and Bond goading him with the high bids at the auction. Classic Bond in the best sense of the world. If I had to make one criticism, I'd say it'd be more interesting to see Bond in a new vintage car rather than another old Bond car. A DB4 Zagato perhaps? Or a classic E Type?

    I think Bond himself was very well written. More playful, self assured and relaxed, with some quips that Moore would be proud of, but there's still a brutality and viscerality that's in line with the early Craig era, reminding us that this is the same character (in fact this felt more like the Bond of CR/QoS than SF and SP did). I liked the snobbery too, the disappointing champagne line was very Fleming/Connery, it felt natural too, just so Bond without being forced. Bond in this script was a man just as comfortable at Le Mans as he is in high risk military situations, which is the perfect portrayal of a modern 007 imo. Thought it was really well done.

    Loved Bond scarring the henchman but couldn't help think that Block needs another gimmick too to set him apart. Some sort of weapon or something. Him appearing for round two after their escape at the end also caught me off guard, I thought it was a nice modern twist on the Hamilton henchman coming back for a last ditch attempt trope. Bond finishing him off was very satisfying too, with the "for Harry" line. Speaking of which I really liked Harry, he was a fun likeable character and felt very East End but didn't come across as an obnoxious cockney stereotype. I like it when Bond has contacts like that, from past adventures we don't know about. Adds to his status as a man of mystery.

    I really liked how you sowed the seeds for SP but in that film, M isn't aware of the organisations existence and Bond doesn't know what they're called. So I'd just refer to them as "them" or something and have Bond keep it to himself. Also, could limo man be Mr White? I think that'd be a nice touch of continuity and could help ease the gap. You could even chuck in a line hinting at the end of Quantum. Keisler telling White that Quantum no longer have the reputation they used to and are essentially dying on their arse after QoS, White telling him that they both know that there are much bigger forces at work than Quantum, something like that.

    The helicopter action scene with the drone was very tense. In fact the action as a whole was well done. The race would be great to see on screen and I loved the battle at the end. It's been too long since we had one of those and you set it up really well with the scenes on the sub (a mice way to get Leiter involved btw) then at the airforce base. Felt very high stakes.

    I thought Anne was a great Bond girl. Tough and capable but felt like a real person not just a cartoon (I think because you gave her a background and a personality, unlike say Wai Lin), and the scars and tortured past felt very Flemingesque. The scenes with her and Bond drinking in the desert felt very human and authentic.

    The scenes on the yacht were brilliant. I loved the "I can tell this is going to be fun" line. I really liked the villain because he seemed to be someone who actually relished the challenge of taking on Bond, which was an interesting idea. The father/son relationship is a brilliant idea too. It was very sinister and showing how readily Hans would kill Bond, that was a genius use of the SF walther and really added to the memorability and menace of the villain. Loved it. You also made the villain keeping Bond alive seem very credible. He finds the whole thing, the back and forth, the hero/villain dynamic/battle, a lot of fun, and he can also use Bond to his advantage as MI6's interest unintentionally gives his operation more legitimacy to the backers, and then at the end he needs him alive to give the offer of a counter bid to the western governments. It was great writing and he'd make a great on screen villain. He even had the balls to give Bond his gun back on the yacht to go and save Anne, I really liked the dynamic (I think maybe add a like or two explaining that the guards had their guns trained on Bond during this exchange though, to explain why Bond didn't just shoot him before running off). Maybe I missed it but I don't remember Hans appearing in the final battle? Maybe he could have interrupted Bond's escape after interrogating Keisler. Cpuld have been an interesting situation for Bond to get out of as he obviously wouldn't want to kill a 14 year old but he'd have no problem brutally killing Bond. The shared past between the villain and Anne was great too because of how subtle it was. I didn't see it coming at all, I'd completely forgotten about the PTS until the limo at the end.

    The last minute twist of the formula not being real after all was a nice Craig era subversion and a great way to add to the idea of Bond, at the end of the day, just being used by his government. I also loved the ending. A great use of the MR ending and I really liked Bond's exchange with M at the end (one criticism, 005's death being about 10 years ago, Bond wasn't a 00 until 2006). It was really well done and I loved M offering Bond a way out but Bond knowing that he was past the point of no return.

    One critique, I think most of it was really well written but a handful of lines stuck out as awkward (you shall go to the ball and the watson line stuck out to me). And maybe I missed it but why was Q rendezvousing with Bond in Australia at the start? I know he wanted the computer chip but I think some context is needed.

    But overall I really enjoyed it. It was a brilliant, classic yet modern script that struck a nice balance between early Craig era and Spectre Craig era, with a lot of great lines and characters. You should be very proud of what you've written. Don't take my criticisms to heart because I certainly couldn't do any better. This is an amazing script and it would have made a great Bond film in between SF and SP. I think if this was filmed and done well, it'd be one of the best of the Craig era for me, and I really mean that. Without a doubt the best fan fiction (it seems a disservice calling it that since it's a full script and that word has kind of negative connotations of fanboyish ideas, which certainly doesn'f apply to your script, so maybe fan creation would be a better term?) I've ever read.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,317
    I look forward to reading this!

    Well done!
  • stagstag In the thick of it!
    Posts: 1,053
    Hi @patb. I will read the script as soon as I am able then give you my feedback. I know how difficult creative writing can be so hats off to you.
  • edited August 2016 Posts: 4,541
    WOW!, Thanks for the very positive feedback, I am glad you enjoyed it.

    All of your points. Livingroyal, are very well made, its interesting when you know a line of dialogue is not 100% right and you are spot on with the ones that need work.

    I wrote it pre Spectre and the financial backer as a mystery but I amended it to fit in with SP but your idea is better (lots to consider). Not sure about the Mr White link (will have a think)

    Hans does not appear at the end as it does not fit in with the next film (working on the draft now.) Much of the scene work re Hans is to establish both his love/devotion for his father and that he is a fruit cake. This gives real leverage for justifying and explaining his actions and motivations in the next installment. and you have already spotted one of the key themes for the next one re Hans's age and Bonds job (its great that you spotted that and I would hope that the audience would also pick that up). Plus the fact that both Anne and Bond killed Kiesler "as one" takes on a new weight.

    Reading though 90 pages takes effort/time so thanks again and I look forward to more comments from other forum members (good and bad)
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 119
    Finally had a chance to read this!

    Overall, I thought you did a good job. I appreciate that you went for a smaller scale story and that there was no 'personal' angle unlike the last few EON films. It was actually quite refreshing. The downside to this is that the screenplay lacked a really big set piece that even the less 'epic' Bond films all possess.

    The PTS was classic Bond, as was the Le Mans sequence. Some shades of AVTAK there. I'll echo a lot of what @thelivingroyale had to say about the creepiness of the relationship between Kessler and Hans. Block was a fairly forgettable henchman so I think you need to give him some sort of defining trait to make him more memorable.

    One thing I found distracting was the multiple spelling and grammatical issues littered throughout the screenplay. With this being (I'm assuming) your first draft, it's perfectly forgivable, but this is something that definitely needs addressing with your next draft.

    I didn't like that Bond slept with the professor immediately with almost no rapport developed between them. It felt cheap and too much like something from the Brosnan era and somewhat out of character given this is Craig's Bond.

    All in all I liked Anne, though I would have given her a different background than being a French agent given the prevalence of French Bond girls throughout Craig's tenure.

    The last scene between Bond and M was great. Very well written.
  • I will get to reading this at the first opportunity... Creative writing is really hard...
  • stagstag In the thick of it!
    Posts: 1,053
    I will get to reading this at the first opportunity... Creative writing is really hard...

    I can testify to that so hats off to patb for his efforts.

  • edited September 2016 Posts: 4,541
    Many many thanks Coco for taking the time and all your comments are fair. I am using software called Final Draft which is good at formatting but hopeless re spell check so I do need to go through the whole thing manually but much will be re written following the feedback from the forum.
    I am glad you like the last scene with M, I am still not sure about it,

    I will be leaving this up for a few more weeks and wait for more feedback before the re-write. The nice thing is that all of the feedback has been a level of tweeking rather than at major faults. I am creating a list of issues that need to be looked at and hoepfully be sorted in the next draft,
    thanks again
    PS Is an Osprey full of French commandos raiding a chatteau with the whole building self destructing not a big enough set piece? I cant go for a volcano :-)
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 1,817
    Let me start right off by saying that this stuff takes an enormous amount of effort so hats off to you for having the conviction to follow through with it.

    I'll begin with the highlights. Le Mans is the first point where the first part where the script really takes its stride. The auction is classic stuff even if it is derivative of OP. The race I thought was good stuff. I also liked the first scene at the chateau.

    The action sequence with the drone is rather inspired. It has the potential to look thrilling on the big screen. The conversation on the yacht was the second point where the script really had that 'it' factor. I'm averse to children in Bond films as a rule but the relationship between Hans and his father is very chilling, so it is unfortunate that he isn't at least addressed, I know he appears in the sequel though so I suppose that's well and good.

    Finally, the final conversation with M and ending with Anne is a good way to close the piece.

    Now, some things I wasn't too sure about. If I'm perfectly honest I found the Australian stuff pretty contrived. The shark fight is a good idea for a PTS, but I do not like seeing children in Bond films (that moment where Dalton surprises that kid and his mother in TLD is the limit, IMHO). And I would relax the one-liners there. You could not get away with having a line like 'going down under' without massive groans from an Australian audience. I just feel, not to offend, like it's trying too hard. A woman saying 'struth,' and Bond saying 'g'day' as if that's how people actually greet each other in Australia and that cork-hat is just way overboard. Sorry I know that's a little harsh, it has to do with me being Australian and just not gelling with that part, no one else seems to have a problem.

    And sorry I know I'm being really harsh here, just know I'm not saying I hate your work because actually it's very good and I don't think I could write as well as you anyway.

    Some dialogue just feels a bit too forced, like it's derivative. Like when Harry tells Bond that he 'owns the club,' well I wonder where that came from. Other moments like telling Bond he can 'live to fight another day' I just found too distracting from the plot. Saying "Bond, James Bond" once is fine, saying it three times is excessive. And just in general I tend to prefer minimal dialogue, there are moments when Bond in particular is just saying too much. For example, during the auction, Bond pre-empts his bid by saying 'let's make things a little more interesting' and then when asked he says he is 'making things more interesting.' To me both lines are just unnecessary and if I may say so out of line with Craig's general character; remember that Craig epitomises the 'strong and silent type' to the audience and that is one of his key strengths. In general Bond is just saying too much and that therefore takes away from his sense of subdued power.

    Block is an unusual name and I would say a little underdeveloped. I will defend you here by saying all well and good for people to suggest that he has a gimmick of some sort. It is very hard to think of one! There is the acid scarring, which is coming to something, but I'm not sure what else there should be. He has the makings of a great character.

    I don't like the focus on everyday people. E.g. the film opening with an old woman going to sit at a cafe. Or the German couple in the car. Or Bond talking to French detectives. It just takes away a little from the Bond feel.

    I didn't like Harry very much and I couldn't quite tell what his purpose was? Sorry, that's really dismissive but I actually don't see it.

    The chemistry stuff with the professor is, well I don't know, I found that a little average. Her death is a little sideways and I feel it should be more dramatic. Bond getting angry after that I found really out of character, he had no reason to be angry.

    I like that we had a good old-fashioned battle at the end, but for some reason I could not feel the stakes. It may have had something to do with the formula not being real, I wasn't sold on that at all. I get that it's a subversion, but isn't it sort of dropping the ball? Almost if at the end of GE Alec puts the target on London but hold on, GoldenEye doesn't exist!

    We have Moneypenny and Q lending lots of assistance to Bond again which means 'Team Bond' is back. Obviously this is a design choice but it didn't sit well with me.

    My last point is that I didn't feel Kessler's menace and if it wasn't portrayed right you would get the feeling he's a little juvenile, being unable to control his anger at the auction and then wanting to engage in a car race with Bond.

    I'm sorry I wrote more criticism than I meant to. It's actually a very good effort and I'll restate that if I wrote a screenplay (I have tried and failed) it wouldn't be nearly as good as this. I'll consider reading your rewrite if I have the time and please don't feel like you have to take on any of my advice, since I'm sort of the last person you should get advice from.
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 4,541
    More valuable advice , many thanks, without going into detail, I think there is a danger when you first try, to sneak too much in (including perhaps forced references) and perhaps too much dialogue. You also picked up on some issues that I am surprised have not been mentioned yet so thats interesting.
    Most re-writes (not just Bond) involve stripping stuff away so I agree, sometimes less is more. Please dont worry about being too negative, I would rather have that than the attempt being ignored. I know there are a couple of respected members of the forum still to reply and a look forward to their input in addition to those who have already given feedback.
    Lots of ideas and thoughts for the re-write and I know from experience on the forum that ideas on what makes the perfect Bond movie differ widely so there is no way I would ever get universal praise,
    finally, unlike books, screenplays get ammeded write up to the last minute re dialogue. I am more concerned with the basic premise, the plot and overall tone. Does it actually feel like a Bond movie? Is it something that punters would enjoy and feel involved with? Are the characters developed and have their own motivations and clear role? These are the biggest challenges IMHO
    cheers
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 21,988
    @patb, that was great stuff to read, sir!

    Have you in any way been thinking about the "one minute per page" rule? I always wonder about that. :)
  • Posts: 4,541
    Thanks for the feedback, your time is appreciated.
    You are spot on with the one page per minute guideline but this does not count for action movies where you need to give the director time. So, for example, the Le Mans challenge is one line in the script re the actual driving but clearly the Director would want time to portray 13kms of dramatic track action,
    the same could be said for the chateau raid where these is clearly potentional for lots of action and the Gazelle/Drone set piece, so 80 pages converts perhaps to 100 minutes. This was a choice: to go for a compact, more traditional movie.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 21,988
    I like that choice, @patb! :)
    Thank you. If my mastery over English were a lot better, I might go for it myself. I think I have a few stories in me. ;-)
  • Posts: 4,541
    Give it a try! The story and characters are the foundation of any screenplay. Dialogue can be tweeked later.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 21,988
    Nah, between you and me, I lack the confidence for that. :)
    Seeing how well you did there, I couldn't get near your level on a good day.
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 4,541
    Thanks again for the feedback everyone.
    Started working on Version 2 with tweaks to dialogue plus:

    First meeting with MP deleted
    Location for M briefing Bond moved from M's office to Lords Cricket ground
    "Limo Man" changed to "Limo Woman" (she will become a mother figure and manipulate the orphaned Hans who will become a vengeful assassin for the next screenplay),
    Bond's car for Le Mans changed to Jensen CV8
    cheers
  • Posts: 676
    I was planning on reading this in full after reading the car auction stuff - will try Version 2 instead when it's ready. Looking forward to it!
  • Posts: 4,541
    cheers, will be about a week to sort out, I will make a big effort re spelling after Coco's feedback, with all this high tech, there is still no substitute for going though a hard copy with a highlighter pen.
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