An excerpt from my script review for Free Fire which will be available 05/22/17:
2.) Plot Stability
As the title to this review implies, the plot ran out of places to go.
There’s only so many times you can shoot a character, or conveniently miss hitting drywall/masonry that throws up dust clouds, before a reader will begin to yawn.
This script suffered that problem, and although the group dynamic occasionally shifted and new problems presented themselves, it was still a story about two factions having a gun fight in an enclosed space.
What Went Right
Stevo and Harry.
When Stevo’s introduced he’s clearly not the brightest bulb, and one who got in a fight the night before.
Enter Harry, he’s the one who gave Stevo the black eye the previous evening.
Although a little smarter, Harry can’t let go of the damage Stevo caused his younger cousin the previous evening.
Why’s this cool? An entire black market deal goes south because of two idiots.
Few people died during the initial shooting, and this is good.
The shots delivered injured people, and were just life threatening enough that everyone was slowly losing blood.
By wounding the characters, no one makes a fast getaway, so your reasons as a writer for keeping them in the warehouse actually make sense.
A “twist” of sorts, but the brilliance of this plot device was it gave both sides a way out worth fighting for.
What To Fix
Similar to the introduction of the ringing phone, I wanted more twists and negotiations.
When the two “carbine shooters” show up as the mysterious double cross, it was a perfect time for the two main sides to work together to take them down.
This way, once those shooters were dealt with in a special way, like having members from the two sides share cover, they’re back to an uneasy truce, and the stress of that will test these characters. That’s great drama when two enemies suddenly realize they’re side by side!
But we didn’t get that. Instead both men are shot rather mortally and quickly, introducing a single question of who hired them.
(That was good, but a larger opportunity was missed.)
Along those same lines, Leary, a late and uninjured friend to Chris and Frank, shows up, and is killed before really tipping the scales in one direction or another.
The point of all this?
If you’re going the contained route, you need to establish problems for all characters to overcome, and those problems can’t simply be the end of a gun barrel.
This is a shady arms deal, where very few people know one another, let alone trust each other.
That presents a world of opportunities so utilize it.
(Oh, and it was pretty clear Justine was in on the double cross. Don’t telegraph your plot like that.)
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