Genre: TV show – Drama
Premise: A young ballet actress with a haunting past joins one of the top ballet companies in New York. Once there, she quickly realizes just how competitive the New York ballet scene is.
About: As it became harder for actress Moira Walley-Beckett’s to find acting roles (she had parts in over 35 TV shows), she transitioned into writing, joining writing staffs for a few failed shows before eventually finding a writing gig on the short lived but heavily hyped, Pan Am. That exposure helped her become part of one of the most famous writing staffs in history, that of Breaking Bad. Walley-Beckett actually wrote two of the most talked about episodes in the series – first, Fly, with co-writer Sam Catlin. And then Ozymandias, which is considered to be one of the best television episodes in history. Now that Breaking Bad is over, Walley-Beckett is heading out into the scary world of show creation, where she’ll be the big writer in the room. Does her pilot warrant this promotion? Let’s find out.
Writer: Moira Walley-Beckett
Details: 60 pages

black-swan

One of the first things you want to look for with any idea is irony, as it continues to be the best way to sell a show/movie. A lawyer who can’t lie.  A vegetarian chef opens the best steakhouse in the city.  The ballet profession’s dirty little secret – that it’s the most abusive and cruel profession of all.  Without irony, you’re forced to cram as much information about your show as possible into the logline to help the consumer get what’s unique about it. And no matter how hard you try, you can never seem to make it all fit.

Taking on ballet’s dirty little secrets felt right for a Breaking Bad alum. That writer’s room was used to dealing with dirty little secrets. But the ticket for this anticipation train comes with an asterisk at the top. Wasn’t this idea just done in movie form a few years ago in Black Swan?

I’m seeing more and more of this as scripted television continues its Big Bang expansion. Instead of looking for new ideas, writers are taking their favorite movies and simply turning them into TV shows.

Did you like Twister? Make a show about storm chasers. Neighbors? Make a show about a frat house. Lucy? Make a show about a secret agent who gets really smart. It’s gotten to the point where writers are being straight up lazy. And the only way lazy entries work is if you can bring something fresh to the idea. The fact that you didn’t work at all to come up with the idea in the first place sheds doubt on this possibility.  But I’m going to hold out hope.  I’d love to watch the ballet version of Breaking Bad.

When we meet 21 year old Claire Robbins, she’s running away in the middle of the night. What she’s running from is a mystery, but by the look on her face, you can tell it’s haunt-you-for-the-rest-of-your-life bad.

Claire escapes on a train and arrives in New York City the next day, where she knows a total of zero people. Luckily, Claire’s got one hell of a skill to fall back on. Girl can dance. So she heads to one of the best ballet companies in the city, snags an audition, and kills it. She makes it into the troupe.

If you don’t already know, ballet chicks are the most ruthless, the most jealous, the most nasty girls on the planet. Actually, I don’t know if that’s true or not. But that’s the way they were portrayed in Black Swan and since I base all my knowledge in life on movies, I’m assuming this to be fact.

When the other girls figure out how awesome Claire is, they get even more jealous. And when cut-throat bi-sexual troupe leader, Paul, decides to have her headline his next show, well, the jealousy hits an all time high.

Claire somehow makes a couple of friends, including Mia, who spends more time banging random hook-ups than breathing. And Daphne, who secretly works at a strip club in order to afford an apartment overlooking the Hudson River.

Unfortunately, that past she ran away from ends up finding her, a man she shares a terrifying secret with. Will she be able to handle the pressure of New York City and her elite ballet troupe, or will she falter and have to go back to her hometown, where, surely, this horrible secret will continue?

Well, let’s just get this out of the way. Flesh and Bone failed test number 1. It wasn’t fresh. This was almost EXACTLY like Black Swan. A timid little girl. A dance troupe where all the girls hate her. An overbearing troupe leader who uses his power for inappropriate means. The aging girl who sees the new girl as a threat to her spot. Our heroine gets the lead part. We even have a wild night out to a strip club, similar to the famous night out between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

It’s a weakness every writer seems susceptible to. We fall in love with certain movies, and we want to make something similar. So we go in with the best of intentions, oblivious to the fact that our movie/show is the EXACT SAME THING as our favorite movie.

I mean we could literally write a beat for beat remake of Titanic and not know it until someone says, “You do know they already made a movie about the Titanic with a doomed couple that revolved around a missing diamond that sunk with the ship, right?” Ohhhhh, we think as we’re counting future box office receipts in our head. Yeah, I guess I didn’t consider that.

But if you’re able to move past the show’s common bond with the Aronofsky thriller, you’ll find some good stuff. What a TV show allows you to do is explore the more specific areas of a subject matter, enabling you to go beyond the classic movie beats into stuff like bleeding ballet shoes at the end of a dance, pulling an entire toenail off before the next session, and those dirty ugly locker room sessions before and after practice (girls stuffing paper towels into their no-no area because they forgot to bring tampons).

Also, a few of the characters are well-drawn. I liked the sex-crazed Mia. I liked secret stripper Daphne. This easily could’ve devolved into wall-to-wall darkness, which can drown a show (AMC’s “Low Winter Sun”). These two lit things up with their overbearing personalities, a nice contrast to many of the unscrupulous things happening elsewhere in the story.

In fact, there was enough good for me to almost give this a worth the read… until the ending. Now this is a huge spoiler, so turn away if you don’t want to know. But basically, a guy from back home keeps calling Claire throughout the episode, but she keeps avoiding him.

Finally, in the last scene, she answers, and we cut to the caller, Bryan, sitting in Claire’s bedroom back home. After a few exchanges, we realize that Bryan is Claire’s brother. And he’s beating off. To Claire. This is when we learn that Claire ran away from an incestual relationship with her brother. Cut to black.

Uhhhh…SAY WHAT!??

Where the HECK did this come from??? Where was this set up? What in King Joseph’s name happened earlier in the episode to indicate that incest was going to be a theme in this story?

I couldn’t believe that after a pretty well-written pilot, I witnessed a classic rookie mistake. The twist ending that has nothing to do with anything, and is only there for shock value. Twist endings need to be set up with a series of hidden clues to work. We get none of that here, turning the ending into a desperate gimmick rather than an “Oh my God!” moment.

To be honest, I think Moira could’ve saved this pilot with only a slight shift in her approach. One of the friend characters, Daphne, secretly moonlights as a stripper. Why didn’t Moira move this character angle over to Claire??? That’s a hook for a show. A girl at one of the most prestigious dance companies in New York moonlights as a stripper. There’s your irony. Now you have someone who has to hide that world while she becomes a star in the ballet world. I don’t know how long you could keep that going. She might have to quit stripping during the first or second season, but it’s a great place to start a character. Way more interesting (and relevant) than Incest Ballet Chick.

Not a badly written pilot at all. But a few questionable choices kept it from reaching its potential.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: The “mystery box past” is a staple in television, and it’s a great way to hook your viewer for future episodes. You simply hint that something bad happened in your hero’s past, and if that something sounds dirty or scandalous or intriguing enough, the viewer will want to tune in for future episodes to find out what it is. We saw it with Scandal (the main character had an affair with the president), we saw it with Lost (with all the characters) and we see it here, with the incest shocker. I didn’t like the incest shocker, but the mystery box past is still a great tool to use when used well.

  • Scott Crawford

    You can read the script here:
    Flesh and Bone: https://www.sendspace.com/file/bnkiyx

    • kentmur

      Thanks Scott!

    • tobban

      Thanks for the link. Never read a Breaking Bad script.

      • Scott Crawford

        It’s the only one I could find. Would love to get hold of a Breaking Bad OUTLINE – someone said they’re quite long and detailed.

    • Andrew Parker

      There’s many, including “The Fly”, posted here:

      http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Breaking_Bad/

    • BSBurton

      Do you have Christopher mcquarrie’s draft of “the wolverine” or any of his scripts? I DM’ed him on twitter for a PDF and he in unfollowed me lol

  • Magga

    Stripping is pretty innocent, though. I don’t know why it’s the go-to thing for contrast to upstanding work. However, a successful ballerina moonlighting as a stripper because that’s her real ambition, the thing that she wants more than anything to succeed at, would be pretty cool. Something for regular audiences as opposed to (in her view) chin-stroking cultural posers.

    • Logic Ninja

      That would be an interesting twist. A successful ballerina who just can’t hack it at her real dream, stripping.

      • Randy Williams

        Gives a whole new meaning to “The Nutcracker”

        • klmn

          LOL.

        • Logic Ninja

          Nice! Haha

    • Sullivan

      Couldn’t she be a welder who dreams of being a dancer?

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      “However, a successful ballerina moonlighting as a stripper because that’s her real ambition, the thing that she wants more than anything to succeed at, would be pretty cool.”

      I agree with you that the “moonlighting as a stripper” thing is so old that it needs crutches to walk but the other way around ? “I’m dying to be a stripper – showing off my naked body to horny men for tips – so I moonlight as a ballet dancer until I’m world famous and get paid big bucks because I’m quite okay with starving myself, with bleeding feet, with being surrounded by women so narcissistic and pathetically ambitious they’d rather cut off my toes in my sleep than just work their scrawny butts off”… I’m sorry but I don’t see this working either :)

      • Magga

        I kind of like the irony and the metaphor. How many times have someone established credibility as a director only to do Spiderman, or made Dog Man Star and decided that what they want is the simple, populist appeal that comes with “Coming Up”? What we see as high culture is often not what people want, and creatives often want adoration. But yeah, I sort of meant it as a joke

  • Logic Ninja

    OT:

    Ok, you’ve just received a bachelor’s degree in business, but you want to get into tv or film as a creative. You don’t care how it happens, so long as it does happen. Do you go to film school? Or immediately try to get a job in the industry?

    • Scott Crawford

      Take a six-week screenwriting class, read books, scripts, etc.
      Write an amazing script.
      Move to LA.
      Get a job that pays the bills, in or out of the industry.

      Sell your script.

      OT, OT: Do actors still go to drama school?

      • UrbaneGhoul

        Jessica Chastain did.

      • Logic Ninja

        So you’d recommend neither of the above? Seems kind of all-or-nothing. I mean, selling a script is about as difficult as getting drafted into the NBA. I’m a decent screenwriter, but am I NBA caliber? No way. Will I ever be? Hard to say, but odds are, no.

        So let’s assume I’ll never be good enough to sell a spec script, but I’d still like to work in film somehow. Maybe I’ll die a low-level camera operator, but to me that’s preferable to making millions in business.

        In that case, what would you recommend?

        • ChadStuart

          Go work for a producer. There are usually internships available. Try to get one. I think they have to be paid now, but you never know. When you’re there, you’ll naturally make lots of contacts, but you’ll also learn the ropes of producing. Although it’s lots of business, it’s also creative. Eventually, you’ll move up or strike out on your own.

        • klmn

          I’m a decent screenwriter, but am I NBA caliber?

          Well, I am a NBA caliber screenwriter! In fact, I challenge Kobe Bryant to a screenwriting contest.

          Carson, see if you can set it up.

        • Sebastian Cornet

          Maybe you should strip on the side while trying to break into the industry and then write a script about it.

          • klmn

            That depends on whether he is equipped for the profession.

        • Scott Crawford

          Not sure (these days) if everyone has to go to film school to get the information you need to write a great script. Not sure.

          Not sure (these days) if everyone has to get a job working in the mailroom of William Morris to get someone to hear about your script. Not sure.

          I tried the other day to work out the odds of selling a script. I’ll try again, and, please, chip in if you think I’m miscalculating. (I’m not keen on this NBA metaphor stuff.).

          132 specs sold in a year against, maybe, 50,000 scripts “put out there”. That’s 0.26% or 1 in 379.

          But… about 90% of scripts are complete piss. That’s not me being a ponce, they ARE complete piss. Rip offs, adaptations of the video game they played, autobiography of an Emo, whatever. So that increases the odds to 2.7% or 1 in 38. So, if you were teaching a class of 38, one of your students would sell a script. That year.

          But wait… what if you didn’t just write one script (about a man who moves to a remote house which may hold the secret to his nightmare visions), but wrote many scripts, perhaps two or three a year (doable, perfectly doable). That increases your chances even more.

          On NBA, there’s no mysticism about great scripts.

          Read Michael Hauge. Read Robert McKee. Truby. Pilar. Carson Reeves.

          Have a great logline. Not this…

          NIGHTMARE HOUSE

          A man moves to a remote house which may hold the secret to his nightmare visions.

          … I saw a lot of that over the weekend, maybe you did too. But this…

          THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN SAMURAI

          When a posse of modern-day cattle rustlers threaten a Japanese-American community in California, the locals recruit seven American gunmen and seven Japanese swordsmen to protect them.

          Imagine how much more excited a producer would be if he saw THAT idea come across his desk.

          I’ve talked (a lot) about the importance of KNOWING your story before you plunge into writing your script, or (at the very least) reworking your story after the first draft if it isn’t cutting the mustard.

          Research your subject, other movies, books, scripts.

          Write character biographies. Proper ones.

          Break the story into eight to twelve (or however many) sequences, each with its own mini-goal.

          1. Set up main character and his situation (in balance, but flawed).

          2. Throw main character’s life out of balance (positive or negative).

          3. Main character’s attempt to return to previous equilibrium the way he normally would (flawed) fails/backfires and he must leave his comfort zone.

          4. New plan to achieve goal and overcome conflict (outside his comfort zone).

          5. First major success (plan is working).

          6. Complication (stakes are raised, hero’s plan becomes more focused).

          7. Hero makes gains but is tempted by easy solution to his problems.

          8. Hero suffers major loss (possibly death of a loved one or friend, but not always).

          9. Hero learns key information that will bring about the climax of the story.

          10. Hero faces dilemma, a choice between going back to his old ways (for better or worse) or moving forward, overcoming his flaw.

          11. Climax of the story, hero’s goal resolved; villain(s) defeated and punished (if appropriate).

          12. Aftermath, twist in the turn, hero cannot return to where he was at the beginning, his life has been permanently changed (for better or worse).

          You can see why I’m not a screenwriting teacher! Makes perfect sense to me, though.

          Read other people’s scripts, do a “Bob Hoskins Buttock Test”: read a script on the toilet and see how long it is before you notice that your buttocks are freezing. Most scripts, less than thirty pages. Some scripts, all the way to end. The difference (when you start checking pages) is the difference between a readable script and less readable script.

          Something like that.

          Et voilà, a script you can sell. Possibly.

          But you got to move to LA to be a working screenplay writer. I’m staying in London with my dad, so I’ll be a “closet screenplay” writer.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closet_screenplay

          • Logic Ninja

            It’s true. At least 90% of scripts suck. Amazon Studios is proof of that–in weaker moments I troll through the recent submissions to make myself feel better.

            On the other hand, several big factors skew the numbers the other way.

            For instance, the vast majority of those 50,000 registered scripts are written by screenwriters who’ve never sold anything, directed anything big, or so much as held an industry job. I know I fall into that category.

            –whereas most of the scripts that eventually sell are written by those who’ve already sold something, directed something, or are working in the industry. Which means for the rest of us, the odds of success plummet to Mariana Trench levels.

            ….which only makes the lure of success all the brighter! The more unattainable the goal, the more desirable it all seems to become.

          • Scott Crawford

            Sell one script and your chances of selling another increase, defo. I’m not saying everyone should write this or that, but I think you need to increase your odds. Going in with one arty but uncommercial, experimental script that got good reviews on The Black List (or Amazon) won’t help you, but having something RELATIVELY commercial and well-written will help you.

            My point is, the screenwriting has changed with technology. At some point, people won’t even have to move to LA. It’ll all be Skyped. Maybe.

          • Logic Ninja

            This all raises an interesting point–in our internet age, should writers still cold-call and email/mail query letters? Or have services like InkTip and the Blacklist rendered the old ways obsolete? Thoughts?

          • Jaco

            Why are people still registering their scripts with the WGA?

          • Scott Crawford

            Makes WGA money, I guess. Also,makes it easier for us to work out the number of scripts put out there.

            Register your script if you like, but copyright it first.

          • Jaco

            Forgot to put the rhetorical font on my question.

            Point is – there is no reason. It’s a waste of money.

          • Scott Crawford

            I got the rhetorical bit…. I think registration makes the WGA about a million a year, so if they scrapped it they’d have to put up their membership dues, I guess.

          • Jaco

            Yes – let’s fleece all the bad writers out there so that working writers don’t have to pay higher dues. Great plan.

          • craze9

            For WGA credit arbitration purposes.

        • BigDeskPictures

          Business degree = production accounting job

    • Randy Williams

      If the degree was from Harvard, just make some phone calls, you’re in. If not, then hit the pavement.

      • Scott Crawford

        The college where I got my film degree has been demolished and replaced by million-pound houses. Not kidding.

    • klmn

      Get a job in LA*. Write on the side.

      Preferably not as a waiter.

    • mulesandmud

      Depends on your situation. Key variables:

      Where do you live?
      Can you afford school?
      Do you know what you want to do? (write, direct, shoot, produce)
      If so, are you already confident in your chosen craft?
      Do you have industry contacts?
      Do you have marketable entry-level industry skills?
      Do you deal with hipness and pretension well? (must be yes for school route)
      Do you deal with pain and humiliation well? (must be yes for industry route)

      • Logic Ninja

        1. Nowhere near LA, but willing to move anywhere in the continental US
        2. Can I afford school? Yes, but it would depend on the school.
        3. I’d like to write. Or direct. Or shoot. But not produce, at least not for now.
        4. I’ve written and directed before, so I know a little. I can handle big camera equipment and I’ve written 6 feature scripts.
        5. No industry contacts whatsoever.
        6. I’ve got 3 years’ office-related experience, but not in the industry.
        7. Maybe.
        8. Yes, definitely, haha.

        • mulesandmud

          Sounds like you don’t know what you want to do yet. Better make that your priority for starters.

          Schools is a way to figure it out, but an expensive one. I say go big (NYU, USC, etc) or don’t go at all.

          • Logic Ninja

            My thoughts exactly. At this point I want to write and direct, but I can do that on my own, micro-budget style.

            I do know I’m sick of spending eight hours a day doing something I hate. I’ve been trying to guesstimate the odds of finding a paying job in the film or TV industry (that isn’t accounting). If I’m going to relocate to LA, I’d like to know I can find work.

          • craze9

            You can find paying work in the industry. Production gigs (PA) or an entry-level position in an office. Just be aware it will be low-paying. Also if you can afford film school I have to assume you can afford to take an internship, which will give you industry contacts and experience.

            Mules has good advice. I would say you need to figure out what you want to do and you need to get industry contacts. Probably a job in the industry (any job) is better for you right now. People who go straight to film school without any industry experience are at a distinct disadvantage, imo, unless they know exactly what they want to do. (I worked in the industry for 2 years and then went to film school.)

    • Magga

      What do you define as creative? Finding a project and fighting for it is invaluable, because most people just want to direct, write or act. I’d give a lot to have some sort of business skills right now, as I’m applying for funding for a short in Norway and neither I nor my DP have any understanding of the legalities or the paperwork. I think I might miss the deadline and have to wait three months to send things off, even though the script is done AND most aspects of production are planned, with people we’ve used before on commercials. A business person, maybe with some sales skills, is incredibly useful, and most of the people one encounters in the field know nothing about story. An aspiring writer with a business degree would be awesome, and before you know it you might have favors to call in

    • Erica

      I would say depending on where you live, meaning if you have access to equipment, crew and actors (local theater groups always love this stuff) then you need to start making your own short stories. Start a Youtube channel and just make good content.

      Otherwise you have to live in an area the does production, like L.A. Then it’s a matter of getting your foot in the door. With your background an Office PA might be the easiest. Sounds boring but you can make some excellent contacts. Plus almost all of them want to make their own stuff. Hook up with them and just make stuff.

      Save your big scripts for when you get some momentum and a budget. Be persistent and don’t give up, that’s how you get in.

  • Randy Williams

    I’ve seen the stripping angle before and how long could she keep that a secret? I like the incest angle as long as the previous pages have been exploring emotion infusing one’s art. “Perversion” is sometimes very tied in to an artist’s ability to “let go” and capture the creative force. Whether society at large may object, they may feel that it is an essential and best part of themselves.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    That Stripper angle is actually from Carlito’s Way. It’s still a good hook and not done on TV, at least to my knowledge.

  • jw

    I think the most effective use of the mystery box of the past was with LOST. Because we didn’t know these characters before they landed on the island it left each and every one of them with the ability to be lying about who they actually were and the writers took great advantage with this. And, I think as an audience member it works fairly well to keep people on their toes. Now, it can’t be the ONLY mystery that exists, but when professionally used it can do wonders for story.

  • Logline_Villain

    Joe Eszterhas called and he wants some of his characters from “Showgirls” back…

  • mulesandmud

    Just gave the script a quick read. Carson’s right that the ending’s a problem, but not because it comes out of nowhere.

    The twist is set up fairly well. Some kind of troubled relationship with the brother is hinted at periodically – she gets ill pretty much whenever the subject comes up. Everybody’s got secrets. The script is generally preoccupied with sex and transgression. 2 + 2 = 4.

    The real problem is that this revelation doesn’t reframe what’s come before, either narratively or thematically. There’s no reversal, no irony. Mostly just shock value, as C says.

    The only extra layer that the twist adds is a single hint on the final page that – ohmygosh – maybe deep down she’s actually turned on by the incest. However, since this isn’t explored in any action or dialogue (just one short bit of facial expression), that extra layer remains functionally irrelevant, and this tiny nod at complexity doesn’t actually add anything.

    The incest idea isn’t terrible, though. It’s a powerful way to reveal rot beneath the surface of a family or a value system, especially something as obsessive and competitive as professional dance. The twist could reveal the nightmare behind Claire’s dancing dreams.

    It just needs to be tied to what we’ve seen. For example, if we spent the script hearing (or seeing) that her brother had taught her everything she knew, for example, and she quoted him incessantly to other dancers, and owed her career as a dancer to him, then a final reveal that he’s a sexual predator would ripple hard through everything we’d just read.

    Theme doesn’t get talked about enough around these parts, and for me that’s the real problem here. This script has most of the pieces in place to craft a thematic through-line and give the story real meaning, but it didn’t connect the dots all the way to the end. Every beat of your story needs to add meaning, especially your ending.

    • Sebastian Cornet

      So it’s a question of how invested the writer is in the thematic implications and not just in the shock value of the scenario.

      That may be the biggest reason why I dislike “Game of Thrones” There are shocking moments aplenty, but almost no thematic exploration of how they relate to the human condition. They are there to titillate…and that’s it.

      • Casper Chris

        Nailed it. Couldn’t agree more.

      • Acarl

        Great point Sebastian. I watch GoT up till season 4 then just lost interest. I had fun getting there but the thematic exploration was nill.

      • Nicholas J

        No thematic exploration whatsoever…

        • Sebastian Cornet

          Apologies, I think I misspoke. There are great deep moments in “Game of Thrones,” but I was talking about the moments that are so vulgar and cheap that they’re there for titillating value instead of substantial character advancement.

          The sex scenes with Oberyn and Ellaria in Season 4 come to mind.

          Joffrey torturing Ros and the other prostitute in Season 2 is what I had in mind, as well.

          Ramsay’s torture of Theon and further activities is another.

          The one that angers me most is in Season 1, when Littlefinger is talking about his past with Catelyn and we’re constantly distracted by Ros hand-screwing another whore.

          Now, on a bigger scale, the issue I have with the show’s overall approach to thematic exploration is that, oftentimes, it’s not exploration. They come to the edge of the mysterious temple, but they don’t actually step in and explore (the exception being Aemon’s confession, since that did have a major impact on Jon).

          Ned Stark dies next time we see him after his chat with Varys, so we don’t get to explore that.

          Littlefinger’s monologue is cool and everything, but since we don’t spend that much time with him, is an isolated moment.

          Tyrion and Jaime’s chat in the dungeon is rather interesting, but again it’s an isolated moment, and unlike the chat between Varys and Ned it could mean anything.

          Cersei’s power spiel might come in handy in Season 5 when she becomes regent, but I forgot it soon enough because it hardly built on anything since.

          Jaime’s speech is also very nice, but it’s more of a thesis statement than an exploration.

          My idea of great thematic exploration would be Omar’s arc in Season 5 of The Wire (Spoilers ahead):

          Omar comes back from retirement to get revenge on his mentor by killing the lieutenants and captain of the gang responsible. He’s always been a hardass, right? So why think he’s gonna fail?

          Except he’s become too arrogant by now, can’t see that he’s going after a crew that is more ruthless and smarter than anybody he’s been up against. Even after he survives a shootout by a near miracle, he won’t give up, blinded by the belief of his own myth.

          He goes out on the streets, calling out his rival’s name, but nobody pays him any mind. Finally he’s blindsided and killed by a kid who wanted the rep of killing the legendary Omar.

          This played out over a number of episodes and didn’t settle for just a 3-minute monologue to drive the point home. That is the level of sophistication I admire the most.

          • Casper Chris

            It’s easy to fake theme exploration, or do it superficially. It’s easy to add some monologue that appears to be really deep. Hell, it might even relate to something that is happening on screen, however remotely, but theme exploration is best when the theme that’s being explored is woven so tightly into the fabric of the story that the two become almost inseparable.

          • Nicholas J

            Did you watch any of the clips? None of them are remotely superficial.

            Tyrion’s story about the beetles comes right before SPOILERS his trial by combat. His life is at stake. And the story is about his search for the meaning of death. How he’s always looking for a reason behind all the madness and death and chaos, that it must mean something. But in the end, he’s realizing it doesn’t. The gods are nothing more than a mentally slow guy smashing people with rocks for no reason.

            One of the major themes of the show is being explored through both character and plot, in other words, story. So, exactly what you are talking about.

          • Casper Chris

            I wasn’t dissing Game of Thrones. Was more of a general statement.

          • Kirk Diggler

            There seems to be a fair amount of GOT bashing on this blog. Which is head scratching. It’s not perfect (stringing out the Bran & Hodor subplot to the point they won’t appear in Season 5 as well as the entire White Walker storyline, which seems to be in stasis) but no one can claim that it doesn’t explore characters deeply.

          • Nicholas J

            Yeah, I don’t really get it. I think the character work is second to none on television and is what drives the show.

          • Nicholas J

            Ned Stark’s discussion with Varys is a prime example of exploring theme through the shocking plot developments you are referring to.

            Watch the Jon/Aemon scene and the Ned/Varys scene back to back. They go very well together. It’s all about duty and honor vs. family. Both Ned and Jon have to make these decisions at the same time. Ned is pure duty and honor, it defines his character, and he is being forced to choose, to put it aside for the good of his family, and it ends up killing him. Jon chooses duty over family, because he believes that’s what Ned would do, but he’s wrong. Even the most dutiful man chooses love over all. “What is honor compared to a woman’s love?” Apparently it is nothing.

            A major theme of the show is being explored through plot development and how that plot affects/changes the characters.

            I’d check out your The Wire example, but I’m currently making my way through the show and haven’t gotten to Season 5 yet, so I can’t look at it. Sorry. I’m sure it’s a great example though. The Wire‘s pretty damn good.

          • Magga

            There are some shows on TV from this century that are so good that comparing others to them is unfair. We don’t dismiss movie scripts because they’re not Citizen Kane or The Godfather, but we routinely call TV series out because they’re not The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men or, more than anything, The Wire. I’m working my way through GOT, and while I arrogantly dismissed it after a very weak start, I think it’s getting better. Breaking Bad had to go halfway through season 3 before I found it consistently great (that airplane crash was the worst plot point of any quality TV show I have seen in my life and made me wait weeks before getting back to binge-watching pre-season 5) but it would shock me if GOT reached those levels. I guess my point is that that’s OK. Just because we’re in, or maybe just past, an era of historic greatness doesn’t mean that “very good” is unacceptable. A big summer movie on GOT’s level would be a miracle right now

      • Meta5

        I haven’t watched any Game of Thrones but I agree that any storytelling must include thematic exploration or commentary on society, or the human condition. Otherwise, it’s just empty calories or mindless time filler. There’s a time and place for that – on rare occasions, that’s all I want.

        But mostly, storytelling, especially if it takes a lot of time and money, must speak, in relevant ways, about the human condition or our society.

        This is why, with few exceptions, I don’t care for action movies anymore. I know the hero is going to survive. I know that good will triumph over evil – that story has been told umpteenth times. It doesn’t matter many how nukes you point at the hero’s head, I know he/she is going to survive. He/she might as well be sitting on the couch – it’s boring.

        This is why I liked Dark Knight Rising. Overall, it’s not the tightest movie. Nolan could have made a simple good vs. bad action movie and it would’ve made a billion. But he chose to comment on relevant topics- the wall street collapse, the occupy movement, a city must work together to survive, anyone can be a hero…He was the biggest director at the time in one the most elite industries in the world and he chose to use his position to make these comments. That, to me, is more inspirational than the narrative of the film.

        And for a moment, I thought they just might really kill Batman. I mean, did you really think any of the Avengers were in danger during their film? But, for a small moment, I thought they just might kill Batman.

        Ha, I may be rambling. Def. I forgot what I was originally planning to say. Thanks for listening.

    • Casper Chris

      The real problem is that the final revelation doesn’t reframe what’s come before, either narratively or thematically. There’s no reversal, no irony. Mostly just shock value, as Carson says.

      Exactly. That’s what a twist ending should do. Twist endings are tricky though. It all hinges on the reader seeing the clues and putting two and two together. You can have all the irony, narrative reframing, thematic resonance, message etc. in the world built in to your twist ending. If the reader doesn’t see the clues and “get it”, it’s all for nothing. As you can probably hear, I talk from experience.

      Theme doesn’t get talked about enough around these parts, and for me that’s the real problem here. This script has most of the pieces in place to craft a thematic through-line and give the story real meaning, but it didn’t connect the dots all the way to the end. Every beat of your story needs to add meaning, especially your ending.

      I think I love you.

      • klmn

        Get a room, you two.

        • Guest

          I recommend the /b/ on 4chan

    • Nicholas J

      I don’t understand why people are referring to it as a twist. It’s not a twist, it’s just a reveal. A twist is meant to change everything that came before. I haven’t read the script, but that’s not the point of the ending here it seems. It’s not like she was dead the whole time or something. So judging it based on what makes a twist good isn’t the right way to go about it IMO.

      • Scott Crawford

        A twist often changes our understanding of what happened before. The ending of, say, The Planet of the Apes, makes us rethink all that we thought we knew about a planet populated by monkeys. They have beaten us because we destroyed ourselves.

        John Truby often preaches the idea of story as a list of revelations. It’s a good idea.

        • BSBurton

          Well if it isn’t the new go to poster on SS. hello Scott, it’s nice to meet you. I heard that you’ve been active in helping a lot of people, that’s admirable. I think this post about “Apes” is a good one. Nice job.

          So what are you writing? Tell me a bit about yourself. It’s been about two months since I’ve posted, but you seem to be the talk of the town.

      • mulesandmud

        You’re right: it’s not a twist, per se.

        What’s so frustrating to me is that the story beat positions itself like a twist: the final scene postures as a revelation of serious dramatic import, one that echoes backwards to the scenes that we saw earlier as well as to future episodes. However, it adds very little to those earlier scenes in terms of actual meaning, so as a reveal, it feels hollow. Played as it is, when it is, there should be a major reversal or shift in perspective there, and yet there’s not. Instead, there’s just a shot of a dude playing with himself.

        Also, I agree completely with you about GOT, I just don’t have the energy to fight it out with people here. The show is masterful in how it juggles plotlines and characters (and dimensions within characters) while always privileging the development of its narrative ideas. Brilliant, brilliant show.

  • NajlaAnn

    “Twist endings need to be set up with a series of hidden clues to work.”

    Yes, but even with work and planning, not always so easy to do.

    • Scott Crawford

      William Peterson looking at his watch a few second before a car falls into the river….

      …because he arranged for the car to fall into the river a certain time

      Ignoring him in the restaurant…

      …because he’s not there, he’s a ghost.

      Probably loads more examples, but can’t think of them at the moment.

  • carsonreeves1

    That hardly implies incest.

    • jw

      Implications often have more to do with the individual viewing member than they do with the actual story, unless there is something so universally truthful about the scenario that it applies across the board. Considering every horror film or episode of Criminal Minds opens with someone running from something or someone I’d have to agree that the incest angle isn’t immediately apparent.

  • Stephjones

    Maybe she’s too frightened to do otherwise. Would you put yourself at further risk with that guy? He’s shown he’s an animal. Now he’s lost everything that mattered to him. Anger management would not be a high priority.

    • Randy Williams

      An elevator is a unique space. A place that confines some and liberates others. I’ve done some weird things in elevators and hope my life entire isn’t judged by the security footage.

      • BSBurton

        Lol, you gotta share now! What’s the down low on “Randy’s elevator time?”

    • klmn

      I predict he’ll be back in football in a year or two. He’ll get some counseling and the league will back down when the story cools off.

      A person has a right to make a living and both sides will agree to compromise rather than face a protracted court battle. Remember the quarterback who put on dog fights? Michael Vick, IIRC.

  • Eric

    Everything you said, with one caveat. Roger Goodell didn’t track down the footage. TMZ did. And they did for the same reason they release anything else they find, sensationalism.

    I don’t think there are any good guys in this story. Except maybe the viewing public, because the only reason anyone has done anything about it, is they assume we’ll be outraged.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I’m almost positive the Roger Goodell line was facetious.

      As in; Roger Goodell didn’t do anything about Ray Rice (short of a two game suspension) until Roger Goodell was presented with the elevator footage. Only then did Goodell act, even though he already knew Rice had knocked a woman unconscious. Apparently, seeing the act committed in real time is far worse then seeing the result of it, an unconscious woman on the floor. Goodell was all too willing to sweep it under the rug until he couldn’t.

      • Eric

        Okay, yeah. You’re probably right. I get the sense that grendl’s not an emoticon type of guy.

  • ScriptChick

    Different off topic from grendl (although I’m totally on board with his rant below) — but I’m still looking for a few scripts from the massive amateur offerings showdown:

    CHARMING
    TRIBUTE
    MOVERS

    OF GLASS AND GOLDEN CLOCKWORK

    Whether or not the votes have already been tallied, would still love a chance to read: botts100@gmail.com

    • crazedwritr

      did you get charming?

      • ScriptChick

        not yet!

        • ScriptChick

          got it thanks!

  • JakeMLB

    OT but relevant to the DIALOGUE article a few days back:

    http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2014/09/twitter-rant-eric-heisserer-on-subtext.html

    Eric Heisserer rants about subtext on twitter. A great read.

    There was some discussion about on-the-nose writing and in particular a line from THE EQUALIZER. I think Eric nails why there’s often no winning when it comes to subtext (or avoiding on-the-nose dialogue):

    Your DIRECTOR and your ACTORS will want as much subtext as possible, because it gives them room to do THEIR jobs well (if they’re good).

    The people who get the script BEFORE them tend to fear subtext because they can’t be sure how it will land on the screen. So… notes.

    Holy buckets, the notes you will get about limiting, destroying, removing, reducing, and nuking subtext. Oh man.

    1. “You know, I think you need to put a finer point on what she’s saying in this scene…”

    2. “What is she really saying here? I get that, yeah, but can you make that idea louder?”

    3. “Just put the words in his mouth; just so the audience knows what he’s feeling.”

    From strange to awkwardly porny, there are a hundred different ways execs will tell you to kill subtext.

    • Scott Crawford

      I was told the Annie Hall wasn’t subtext, but whatever. The person who told me shall remain nameless!

      On The Equalizer – and I think it was pretty well covered at the time – Carson’s point was, rather than have a character say to someone “I like you”, have a character REMEMBER something about someone they like, such as “Are you still taking singing lessons?” What Denz is really saying is, “I remember you because I like you, and I want you to know that without me coming out and saying it. Yet.”

      There’s a LOT of subtext on these comments boards.

      But while The Equalizer is artfully written, lots and lots of dialogue or long scenes without explanation and we’re supposed to imagine the subtext, yeah, sometimes you have to come out and say it. Mood pieces. Shit ‘em.

      • JakeMLB

        Right. I’m referencing how the “How’s the singing?” line got attacked for being lazy or on-the-nose. And yet, as you point out, it probably represents Denz’ subtextual like for the hooker. And if not, it could have been a deliberate choice because of pressures like Eric points to above. Regardless, it kind of proves Eric’s point that subtext is well subtextual and it’s hell for writers. Not only can it be missed but it can be misinterpreted or attacked for being lazy.

        • mulesandmud

          Don’t want to wade too far into the mud here, but I think you’re referencing my comment.

          I retracted the word ‘lazy’ because, as you correctly noted, the line might be the product of an exec note or other outside circumstance.

          That said, it’s still not much of a line; bald exposition on its best day. No extra points awarded for the ‘I like you’ subtext, which is accomplished better in other lines.

          While it’s important to understand the difficult positions that working writers find themselves in, let’s be sure not to let that context excuse the sometimes substandard products of their compromise.

          Thanks for the Heisserer link. Great stuff.

          • JakeMLB

            Hey mules,

            Yeah I wasn’t trying to pile more on the lazy argument as I know you rescinded the comment. I just saw that rant and thought of our conversation. And I agree that it’s not the greatest line. Just trying to consider it from all angles. I find it pretty funny and fascinating that a single line can spawn so much discussion. Writers…

    • Eric

      I’d say if you have to kill subtext, try to do it in an unfilmable aside. At least than you know it won’t make it to the screen.

      • Scott Crawford

        Bullitt (Steve McQueen) shopping for food, chucking things into the basket at random.

        Old one: A husband and wife on their way to see a marriage guidance councilor get into an elevator. Another woman steps in, a pretty, young woman. Man takes off his hat.

  • Scott Crawford

    Couple of Breaking Bad scripts written by Moria:

    “Mas”: https://www.sendspace.com/file/qlsvqf
    “Fly”: https://www.sendspace.com/file/iqrqsu

    Thanks, anoymous donor!

    • Kirk Diggler

      Opening line of “Mas”.

      “Sporting a full head of hair and impotent moustache, he’s as beige as his clothes.”

      A nitpicker might ask, “What does an impotent mustache look like?”

      Pg 2

      “PULL BACK to reveal Jesse — a shit-eating GRIN on his face.”

      As someone who thought it clever to write the exact same phrase in a script, I guess it’s not so clever after all. Promise never to do it again.

      My point. Writing at the highest level is full of tropes and the occasional over-written sentence. But if the story works, no one cares about the niggling little things.

      • Scott Crawford

        Difference, I guess, between TV script intended to be read by cast, crew, producers on show, who know the peculiarities of those scripts and spec that might be seen by many.

        Speaking of which, do TV writers still that stuff of giving characters X-rated dialogue they know they’re not going to able to shoot?

  • Erica

    It’s funny how you try hard, write a good logline. Rewrite a good logline. Talk about good log lines and what they mean. Try and find your hook, what’s different from yours compared to others. Why should you read yours? What makes yours so unique? The list goes on and on.

    Then on SyFy, there is a new show coming this fall “Z-Nation. It’s about Zombies and looks like basically the same story as Walking Dead.

    Yup, sometimes I just don’t get it. Oh well back to the re write.

    • Scott Crawford

      Idea I had: write the phrase “The _____ movie” or “The _____ TV show”, and fill that blank with something you don’t see in other movies or other shows but that people would be interested in.

      The AIR GUITAR movie
      The CROSSWORD movie
      The EBOLA TV show
      The PARKOUR movie
      The INTERIOR DESIGN movie
      The ROLE PLAYING GAME TV show
      The TWITTER movie

      or put two things together.

      The ZOMBIE ANIMALS TV show
      The ZOMBIE PRISON movie

      I like the last one: The Walking Dead meets Orange Is the New Black!

      • Erica

        Hmmm, The zombie prison could be fun!

        how about the TWITTER ZOMBIE KILLER.

        I’m just speaking more in general then for my show. How the trend seems to be as pointed out in the forum here about making the same stuff over and over. So Producer or Executive Producer it would seem, don’t even read what’s being made, just make what’s already popular to cash in. Not sure if that’s bad but.

        • Scott Crawford

          Coming to a TV screen soon, maybe:
          iZombie: https://www.sendspace.com/file/9hmoyi
          Zombieland (pilot): https://www.sendspace.com/file/8fo3cp

          … plus Z-Nation and others I don’t know about.

          One spec this year is described as Gravity meets Children of Men, and another is described as The Professional meets Children of Men.

          Real Heroes is described as Galaxy Quest meets The Avengers, while Eternal is The Avengers with Greek Gods (but isn’t that Gods of Greece with Gerard Butler due out next year?).

          There are several specs described as being like Night at the Museum… producers look at what’s popular and buy that.

          • Erica

            More zombies, how will the earth survive. Thanks for the links I’ll give them a read.

    • Scott Crawford

      Other idea: if what you want to write about is not the most original thing ever, just make it the best you can with the phrase “The definitive _____ movie” or “The definitive _____ TV show.”

      The definitive BANK HEIST movie
      The definitive DRACULA movie
      The definitive EARTHQUAKE movie
      The definitive ZOMBIE TV show

      If you can show that all the research has been done and this is going to the definitive or ultimate version of this story: there was never going to be another Titanic movie after Titanic. That was the definitive Titanic movie, despite what some people thought of it.

  • Altius

    Two kinds of shock episode endings: the kind that simply shocks you, and the kind that shocks you and makes you HAVE to come back next week to find out more. This sounds like nothing like the latter. Compared with the shocking reveal at the end of the “How to Get Away with Murder” pilot, seems like it falls vastly short of the ultimate goal of a pilot – to get you hooked and wanting more. Needing to find out what happens. Seems like a pilot can have plenty of flaws, but if it gets you to come back, it’s generally regarded as a success.

    • Erica

      It’s funny, the first thing that popped into my mind was “Flowers In The Attic”.

  • Acarl

    Don’t make me get my slipper…

    • kenglo

      LMAO!!

  • Meta5

    Don’t run me off the boards for this guys and gals, I’m just trying to
    discuss and come to conclusions like you. I don’t condone violence in
    any way. From what I see, both Mr. and Mrs. Rice are to blame for this
    incident which is why she forgave him.

    From what I see, she gave
    him a swat so he gave her a swat then he backed off as far as he could –
    he was scared, it looked like he wanted to climb the wall. If it ended
    there this wouldn’t be news. But she attacked him and he reacted out of
    fear, with no where else to back-up – maybe he knows how strong she is
    and that she could do serious damage? Why else would she charge him?
    Clearly she thought she could hurt him. And how do we know she hasn’t beat on him in the past?

    This
    is where someone says, “women are weaker than men” or “a man should
    never hit a woman.” Bullpoop. I know plenty of really strong women and
    plenty of really weak men. I see women in the gym doing 600 plus pound
    leg presses. My old mom does 225. If she trips me and stomps my head,
    I’m a vegetable. If one of these women charged at me in an elevator, I’m
    afraid I’d do the same. And let’s not forget how adamant we are all
    that women are equal and should be allowed to fight in wars.

    This
    was a one time incident and isn’t the same as an abusive relationship
    where the male is the aggressor and beating up the female. He backed off
    as much as he could, that’s where it should have ended. This wouldn’t
    be news. He would be applauded for backing off. She attacked. He
    reacted. If you poke an alligator with a stick, you’re gonna get bit. If
    you back a man into a corner then charge at him, you’re gonna get
    knocked out.

    Anyway, if this discussion continues, I hope it
    remains civil – I’m not a bad guy, violence of any kind disturbs me as
    much as it disturbs you even more so when it’s not a fair fight. In this
    case, both parties are to blame – if anything, Mrs. Rice was the
    instigator and aggressor. Since we don’t know all the details we can’t
    pass any real judgements.

    As for Donald Sterling, it disturbs me
    that anyone could be so dumb as to be a racist. But it disturbs me even
    more that the whole world is allowed to listen to something that someone
    says in the privacy of their living room.

    I think our fear as a
    society has swung too far in the wrong direction. I’m afraid to post
    this and I’m just trying to have a discussion and make sense of the
    world so I can be a better person and make the world a better place.
    That’s not something I should fear. And I shouldn’t be afraid to defend
    myself if I’m backed into a corner and someone, regardless of gender,
    charges at me.

    Anyway, carry on or correct me if necessary but let’s remain friends. Okay?

    • Malibo Jackk

      Was a two round fight
      with a TKO in the second round.

      • Meta5

        She should have thrown in the towel after the first round.

        Ugh, I feel bad for making light of a serious subject.

        Seriously, violence is the absolutely worst way to solve a disagreement. We all know that, just want to make my intentions crystal clear.

        Peace

    • Eric

      Watch it again. He swipes at her first then backs off. She comes at him. He decks her to the ground. She smacks her head on the railing on the way down and is out cold.

      If she was ever a threat before, she’s not now. And what does he do? He stands there with his hands in his pockets. He doesn’t stoop to check on her. He just picks her up when the doors open and drags her out. He clearly doesn’t care about her well being here. Not even a little. She was an annoyance and he shut her up.

      • Meta5

        Yeah, I don’t know, it looks like he approaches her which is okay b/c they’re intimate, and she swats him then he swats her. He does the right thing and backs up. She attacks, he defends.

        What happens after – I don’t know, can you really say how you would react? He’s probably thinking a million things at once. He knows he knocked her out and he waits for her to wake up. What is he going to do, perform CPR? Call the cops? He doesn’t run, he doesn’t stomp on her. He just doesn’t know what to do. What would you do? Check if she’s really knocked out?

        I don’t want to defend this guy too much. I hope I, or any man or woman, would handle this situation better. But if we haven’t been the same situation can we really say what we would’ve have done? It’s easy to imagine while we’re calmly sitting behind our keyboards and we have lots of time to think things over but in real life, in the spur of the moment, adrenaline flowing?

        I think if Mrs. Rice has forgiven then we should too. She’s not in abusive relationship. She can leave. She has nothing to be afraid of. She has video evidence, she could easily get half of his money.

        Anyway, I appreciate the discussion – you might be right. I really can’t say how I would react in that situation and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’m a decent human being.

        Peace

        • Eric

          All I’m saying is…

          I’m a 140lb screenwriter who’s been in very volatile fights with a girlfriend who was holding a pair of scissors. I was never so “afraid” as to believe my only option was to deck her, or even slap her with an open hand.

          Think about it, this guy stiff arms linebackers for a living but he can’t keep his girlfriend at arm’s length? Does he not think he can outrun her once the doors open either? This guy’s entire career is based upon the premise of scary people coming straight at him, but when it’s his 100-something pound girlfriend he’s just so terrified he panics? I don’t buy it. He didn’t hit her out of fear. He hit her out of annoyance.

          • Meta5

            It’s being backed up in the corner that causes the fear. On the field he’s got places to run.

            And it’s wrong if we assume that she hasn’t assaulted him in the past and he didn’t fight back or even defend himself for fear that he’d be accused of abuse. Maybe she used that to her advantage to assault him regularly. Maybe he’d finally had enough.

          • Eric

            The place he has to run on the field is directly toward huge men who want to crush him. He takes multiple pounding hits every game. Probably gets pretty banged up at practice too.

            And he hit her TWICE. He hits her, backs up, then knocks her out when she comes a him. The only reason he has to “defend himself” is because he pissed her off by whacking her in the face. How could you excuse the first hit? Preemptive strike?

          • Meta5

            She swatted him so he swatted back. It’s the wrong move but it wasn’t a full force malicious attack. This wouldn’t be a story if it ended there. Fight’s over, they’re even.

            Why did she swat at him first? Because she wanted to provoke him? Because she’d done it before and he didn’t retaliate and that’s how she always gets what she wants?

            Why would she charge at him? Because she’s pissed? So a woman attacking a man is okay if he pissed her off? How about the other way around? If a woman slaps a man and pisses him off, can he attack her?

            You’re assuming she hadn’t assaulted him in the past. Maybe she attacked him in the past and he didn’t retaliate which is why she thought she could do it again. Is it okay because he takes a pounding on the field?

            I don’t know. I can’t judge. Only they know what happened that night, and during their relationship. She’s publicly defending him now. They both regret the incident. They both admit their fault. This whole show has done more damage to their lives than the incident itself.

            I appreciate the discussion. I think I’m going to leave this alone now. Since we don’t really know what happened I don’t think we’re going to sway each others opinion too much at this point. I respect your view – you might be right. But feel free to continue if it’s nagging you, I might jump back in.

            Seen any good movies lately?

    • Stephjones

      Well, I’m no wimp but that guy would definitely have me sucking my thumb in the bathroom stall ala Lloyd Christmas if he came after me.

      • Meta5

        I’m larger and stronger than average and any physical altercation frightens me, size or gender doesn’t matter. Anything can happen.

        If curling up and sucking my thumb prevents a fight, that’s what I’d do too.

    • kenglo

      We can remain friends…BUT…..

      NEVER, EVER, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHOULD A MAN HIT A WOMAN.

      PERIOD.

      Could be Rhonda Rousey coming at you!

      Don’t care.

      A man is physically more powerful than ANY woman, therefore, an unarmed (caveat of course) woman is NO MATCH for a man, whether he is a 200+ lb NFL player or a 140lb writer.

      Women who take self-defense courses, who are led to believe you can strike a man and get away while he is stunned….. QUIT PAYING THEM PEOPLE YOUR MONEY!! You cannot physically defend yourself against a man who is bent on harming you. You must use your mind, stay calm, take your thumb or forefinger, and DRIVE IT INTO THEIR EYE SOCKET until it stops! That’s it!

      You cannot kick him in the groin (how many violent people get hit in the groin and keep coming?). You cannot punch them (if you have ever REALLY hit someone you will find out that that Sh$T HURTS your hand, especially LITTLE WOMAN hands!)

      All Ray had to do was grab the woman, and be done. No punching, no ‘being afraid’. I mean really, she’s smaller than him, and he’s not all that big.

      Your argument is flawed Meta5. We have Mothers, Sisters, Daughters. Women should never be struck.

      Not saying they sometimes deserve to be struck, just saying they shouldn’t be.

      My .03 cents.

      • Meta5

        I agree, Mr. Rice should’ve handled it better. They both should have. And we’re wrong to assume that Mrs. Rice hasn’t assaulted him in the past but that would be okay b/c he’s a strong guy and could defend himself.

        And I completely disagree when you say that any man is stronger than any woman. It’s just not true.

        And if you think women are too weak to hurt a man then just ask one to wallop you in the temple. Then go to the hospital to check for concussion or brain damage.

        The never hit a woman slogan is hypocritical and unfair. If we’re going to have our strong woman campaigns and have women fighting in wars then the slogan is undermining these efforts.

        In this situation, if it was Mrs. Rice in the corner and Mr. Rice charged her and she knocked him out, or even just fended him off, we would be celebrating her as a hero. Mrs. Rice would become the poster child for strong women. Mr. Rice would still be seen as the abuser.

        If it were two men in this situation, Mr. Rice would be seen as defending himself.

        That’s hypocritical and unfair.

        If we’re going to have our female led action flicks, female superheroes, our strong women campaigns, women fighting in wars, our Rhonda Rouseys, our Venus and Serena Williams (I wouldn’t want to fight either of them) then we can’t turnaround and say women are weaker and you should never hit a woman.

        I appreciate your comments.

        • kenglo

          You evidently have never been in a fight.

          “And I completely disagree when you say that any man is stronger than any woman. It’s just not true.” ~ It IS true. If that were NOT true, since you are comparing professional fighters, Rousey at 130lbs is weaker than ANY contender of that weight class on the Men’s side, regardless of martial skill level.

          If this were NOT true, women would fight men in the ring. They don’t. A left hook from a dude is more powerful than a left hook from a woman, period.

          And this also holds true to that other ‘martial arts myth’ that size does not matter ~ It DOES. That’s why Floyd Mayweather doesn’t fight Klitchko for the heavyweight title. When someone of small stature says it doesn’t matter, he is taking your money. Not to say a man with good training cannot beat a larger opponent (in the street), but the bigger guy has the advantage and you would have to fight him differently than someone of equal size.

          Women fighting in wars ~ They have guns, drones, tanks, jets. Has nothing to do with fighting.

          “If we’re going to have our female led action flicks, female superheroes,
          our strong women campaigns, women fighting in wars, our Rhonda Rouseys,
          our Venus and Serena Williams (I wouldn’t want to fight either of them)
          then we can’t turnaround and say women are weaker and you should never
          hit a woman.”

          ‘Female led action flicks’ THOSE ARE MOVIES! I don’t believe Sly Stallone can fight either! Neither can Van Damme! And I definitely know ScarJo can’t fight. You really believe that stuff huh? LOL….I know a stunt guy who was tasked with training Tom Cruise for THE LAST SAMURAI – said the dude has two left feet.

          A MAN should under no circumstance hit a woman. Period. You may get scratched up. You may get popped in the lip. You may even get hit in the temple and suffer a concussion, as you so eloquently (and improbably) put it.

          If you have to hit a woman in a skirmish, fight, brawl, you’re a punk. Period. If you are defending yourself from certain death (knife, gun, sledgehammer to the temple) then by all means, defend yourself.

          Looks better on camera. Better than cold-cocking a little person in an elevator anyways.

          Thanks for the discussion!

          • Meta5

            Obviously movies aren’t real. The point is, there is a growing movement promoting strong women in our society. The portrayal of strong women in movies is part of that movement. I’m all for it. But if we’re going to turn around and say, women are always weaker so you should never hit a woman, it undermines those efforts and it just isn’t true.

            And the concussion example comes from personal experience. I was sitting on a curb and the woman I was talking to earlier in the evening asked if I wanted to go home with her. I guess she took the one second I took to formulate my answer as a diss and before I could answer she whacked me in the temple. I stood up, dizzy, seeing spots, I didn’t even know what happened. She was a bit bigger than an average female but nothing out of the ordinary. She had walked away but she could have just as easily knocked me over and stomped my head. Funny thing is, I did want to go home with her.

            I think you are stereotyping and lumping all women into one mold. There are more strong women out there than you realize.

          • kenglo

            LOL ‘she’ might have been a ‘he’….

          • Meta5

            lol

  • astranger2

    The HOF Dallas Cowboy head coach Tom Landry once vehemently fought against having cheerleaders roam his Texas Stadium sidelines, stating it was just plain pornography…

    Tex Schramm, Cowboy president and GM, took Landry into a private viewing film, showing him real triple-X rated films.

    Schramm pointed to photos of the now world-famous Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and said, “Tom, that’s not pornography.” Pointing back to the porno flick and a wide-eyed Landry, he continued, “THIS is pornography.”

    … Years later that same religiously-devout Tom Landry was asked what he would do if a running back of his was caught smoking pot.

    The head coach’s reply, “how good a running back?”

    I wonder what Goodell, and the NFL’s response to the TMZ clip would be if that player were an Andrew Luck, and not a basically washed-up running back?

    Nice post, grendl…

    • BSBurton

      Good post Stranger, you have the best stories !

  • Scott Crawford

    Someone else sent me the scripts. Thank them!

  • klmn

    The commissioner is already backing down.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/10/us/nfl-ray-rice/index.html

  • BSBurton

    Good post G/S man! Good to see you back in the mix.