Love by Rob Burke Draft 2 (vers 1)

DRAFT 2 (vers 1)
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DRAFT 2 (vers 2)
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Draft Two Comments... have YOUR say!

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Rob Burke (Friday, 31 August 2012 17:31)

    For those who have read the original script here are the differences between the rewrites:

    (a) Version 1 takes away the specificity of time/place and has an ambiguous ending;

    (b) Version 2 takes away the specificity of time/place, removes the flashbacks, focuses a little more on the passengers in the bus, and has an ambiguous ending.

    Happy to do further development with anyone thinking about filming this.


    Rob Burke

Love by Rob Burke Draft 1

A man on a bus receives a powerful valentine from a little girl.
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Draft One Producers Development Notes for the author

1. We thought this was a great short dramatic piece and felt it would benefit from being run in real time as the two minutes leading up to when this man does, or doesn’t, press the button.

2. We suggest you consider leaving the ending open – leave your protagonist having had a meaningful interaction with the young girl and knowing his actions – should he choose to go ahead – will kill her.

3. Flashback – if you decide to keep flashback in, make sure you are more descriptive. Put in the individual scenes to show a filmmaker what the flashbacks are and more importantly, what these memories mean. Remember that the more locations you add, the more difficult it will be for the filmmaker.

4. We did have a slight question about whether a young child would give a Valentine card to a stranger? What if the child just sits on the bus next to him and is colouring in a Valentine? Or what if the interaction is just a smile? He is just observing her and at the moment of his imminent death these interactions are amplified.

5. This is a great visual story and would likely suit a director that wants a piece that resonates. Trust a visionary director to interpret this story.

Have your say, what do you think?

Comments: 21 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    chris (Friday, 03 August 2012 11:52)

    this one is tougher to film, but i really enjoyed the story - well done

  • #2

    Kosha Engler (Friday, 03 August 2012 12:45)

    Great style and efficiency in the scene descriptions, lots of urgency and tension. Sharp storytelling with the jagged shards of memory flashing throughout, showing the man's motivation. I would like to believe that a girl's message of love could stop a terrorist. Although I'm not sure it would.

  • #3

    Rob Burke (Friday, 03 August 2012 23:51)

    Wow! Excited to be a part of this process.

    Thanks Kosha and Chris. Appreciate the comments and kind words.


  • #4

    Jon Mills (Saturday, 04 August 2012 00:30)

    To be honest I was a bit unsure about this. Firstly, a minor point, but saying the terrorist has a 'dark beard' is a bit of a cop-out - if he's an Islamic terrorist, have the guts to say it. I'm guessing a white guy with a dark beard isn't what you had in mind.

    Secondly, I admire wanting to write a story like this but in 2 minutes it risks being glib. A full short dedicated to this subject would be fine, could work - but in this form it feels a bit like a very complex global issue can be solved with a few more paper flowers from cute kids.

    In terms of moving this forward I wonder about losing the flashbacks (a bit too Homeland for me) and maybe making it ambiguous as to whether he is a suicide bomber - or maybe leave it right to the end. So the film is about a kid giving the card to a grumpy stranger on a bus, mum being embarrassed (which was a nice observation), then he gets off abruptly, we think he's just a twat, and THEN you reveal why he got on the bus. And perhaps have him getting on the next one - so maybe he will go through with it - leave it ambiguous, and you don't need the stuff about the other bombers, the audience will figure this out instantly.

    Sorry, this feels like I'm trying to rewrite your script! Of course it's your bag, so feel free to ignore this!



  • #5

    Rob Burke (Saturday, 04 August 2012 00:51)


    First - don't be sorry - I'll take any and all comments/criticism. I appreciate anyone taking the time to read something I wrote. I'm even more appreciative of someone who takes the time to comment - good or bad. So thank you very much for the read and taking the time to write your thoughts!

    I'll just comment on a few of your points:

    I used "dark beard" specifically to be vague. I can see what you are saying about it being a cop out though. I just wanted to leave enough leeway for filmmakers to decide for themselves how to envision "The Man". As well, I also wanted to leave room for a filmmaker to decide whether The Man is a terrorist - or someone who's determined for revenge. Having three other bombers be a part of this certainly clouds that issue though.

    Your second to last paragraph is what I was trying to accomplish with this script - you don't know who this guy is or what he's really doing until he gets off the bus. I think having "terrorist" in the logline here takes that surprise away for a first time reader. Maybe the flashbacks do too - I've had comments both ways. If a filmmaker thinks the scene will work better without or with different flashbacks, more that willing to rewrite.

    Also, I like your comment about the other bombers . . . another thing I went back and forth on with this script. As I mention above, having them in does paint "The Man" as a terrorist. Definitely something I'd consider rewriting if a filmmaker wanted it that way.

    Again, thanks for the read and comments. Only way this process is going to really work if people are committed to making their scripts better.


    Rob Burke

  • #6

    Jon Mills (Saturday, 04 August 2012 01:21)

    Hi Rob,

    Fair point re: the logline - now I come to think of it, knowing he's a terrorist from the beginning does kind of alter the way you read it!

    I take your point about about leaving the ethnicity of 'the man' to the director, but it feels a bit like avoiding the responsibility! But I guess this could be the 80s, IRA/UVA. Chechen rebels in Moscow. Actually maybe if the whole thing was dialogue free you could play with this - make the setting ambiguous, universal.

    Anyway, glad you took the comments as intended, and hope the next stages of the script development go well.



  • #7

    Glyn Cater (Saturday, 04 August 2012 01:49)

    Interesting discussion, Jon and Rob. I'd say make it as ambiguous as possible in all respects, without losing the essential story. The mobiles and sirens resolve the story, it doesn't need spelling out on TV. Anyway, I can't remember the last time I saw a shop window with live TVs on (at night). Also, keep it as simple as possible - I'm not sure about the flashbacks (we don't need his biography) - and he should be solo. The story is about the card, not him.

  • #8

    Andy Robinson (Saturday, 04 August 2012 13:38)

    This is a powerful story, but I think the use of flashbacks in some ways cause more problems than they solve. The flashbacks suggest an innocent family man caught in an atrocity. Has this propelled him on the course he is now taking - to kill other innocent people? If this is motivation, then you have to get into who perpetrated the attack that killed his family - and be a bit more specific about where he is from (just as you are very specific about Picadilly Circus in London. If he was once a family man who can still be moved by the simple gesture of a child, then perhaps there is another way of showing this - a family photo in a wallet glanced at before he sets out on his mission?

  • #9

    C Bacon (Saturday, 04 August 2012 17:04)

    Really powerful - congratulations!

  • #10

    helene jackson (Saturday, 04 August 2012 20:33)

    mmm this is a tough one, brave decision for writing this.
    nicely written but formatting wise i think if this was laid out standard industry format it would be longer than 2 pages and the finished film will over-run (small point but it niggles me sorry).
    finally the biggy, in all honesty a suicide bomber would not be dissuaded from his mission by a small child. a certain mind set would allow him to think of those around him as inferior beings/not human/about to become martyrs for the cause.
    i know we all love this story to be true, we all hope that love can change the world but if the other scripts can tell us of the harshness of reality - kidnapping/prostitution/lust and lies i cannot see how this fanciful tale (although with all my heart i wish it would) can sit with these other lurid tales of our inhumanity.

  • #11

    Rob Burke (Saturday, 04 August 2012)


    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    I'm not sure what you mean by formatting issues, so can't comment on those. Also, I don't think the finished films themselves necessarily are limited to just two minutes are they?

    As far as the bigger and much more important issue that you raise about whether or not a bomber could be dissuaded from his mission, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. Though few and far between, there are real life examples of bombers that have changed their minds.

    Truth be told - I didn't know this fact when I wrote this script. The idea from the story was born one morning when I woke up with one thought: "What can love change?" I then had an image of a small child and a very angry man and started brainstorming from there. It was only after receiving comments about whether my story is really something that could happen that I started looking online for real life examples. I was very happy to find that such examples are out there.

    Maybe the story would work better if, as suggested in the comments above, he is just doing this solo vs. w/ a group. Something I'll definitely think about.



  • #12

    Damian Mallon (Sunday, 05 August 2012 03:27)

    I really like this idea but, like a couple of comments above, I am unsold on the flashback part of the idea. You would then need to move your kiss (maybe have the mother give the Little Girl a peck on the head after the card is given?)

    I also think that an ambiguous end would be more powerful. Maybe not see him getting on another bus, as he is about to throw the device in the trash have another bus start to arrive and the Man look up at it.

    Congratulations, and it's great to see you responding to the feedback.

  • #13

    Rob Burke (Sunday, 05 August 2012 06:31)

    Damian - some great thoughts. After thinking about it a lot - would like to try and tackle a version of the story like you suggest. Making him solo and making it more ambiguous at the end could really work. I had a version w/o the flashbacks and might return to that as well if needed. We'll see though - still not sure how this process is supposed to work.

    Thanks for the feedback - I can't imagine not responding - good and the bad, all a part of the creative process.



  • #14

    Craig (Sunday, 05 August 2012 11:23)

    First of all again !TAGLINES/LOGLINES! why give stuff away???

    People have been saying he's a suicide bomber. He gets off the bus and is going to set the bomb off with a phone. So he's not a suicide bomber.

    You have to let us know what he is, not let the filmmakers decide. This is a screenwriting competition, it's your story so tell it.

    You should want it made as you have writen it and filmmakers will want to change it. That's how it work. But if you say it's fine, do as you want, they'll walk all over you and it will no longer be your story!

    You have a location down to the nearest foot almost. Your saying all the filmmakers have to go to Piccadilly Crrcus (which must be one of the hardest places to film???) but wont say what the man is like, He doesn't even have a name.

    Only have one bomber, It's his story. Having 4 makes it very 7/7, but if that's what you want then you have to say.

  • #15

    Phil Charles (Sunday, 05 August 2012 11:28)

    Enjoyed reading your script. I’ve no doubt people planning to bomb sometimes change their minds, but to make this feel completely believable I feel the man and the girl need to have more of a connection. At the moment she appears to offer him the card completely out of the blue. I suggest getting him on the bus sooner and spending more time on the girl/man interaction. The girl can notice this preoccupied man (sad/grumpy in her eyes). She could try to offer him a smile, the man ignoring her, trying to remain focused. This could then build resulting in the girl giving him the heart, her last resort.

    As mentioned in other posts, the flashbacks are absolutely not needed. Audiences are savvy, they’ll draw their own conclusion as to what’s driven him to do this. Or just one flashback if you absolutely want the kiss to be the father’s, the most organic place for this to come being once he’s been given the heart. And making him a solo bomber means you can get rid of all the TV in the window stuff and spend longer on the bus. Huge congrats.

  • #16

    Rob Burke (Sunday, 05 August 2012 18:05)

    Thanks Phil. Some great suggestions worth thinking about. Much appreciated.

  • #17

    Mark (Wednesday, 08 August 2012 11:09)

    Hi Rob,

    Well done on this.

    I think the key step is to really embrace that core idea that you had: what can love change? If you start with that point and then build it up, I think it could really help with cutting out the extraneous stuff and getting to the heart of the concept.

    I agree that the flashbacks, tv scenes don't really add much in the way of emotion and could be cut.

    I think you could go really bold. How about something like this, just as a thought experiment at this stage:

    Either the bomb is on a timer or he's got the detonator. He's on the bus (do we even need to see his face?), finger hovering over the button or clock ticking down, sweat pouring, getting closer and closer. maybe he starts to cry from the pressure? Then the little kid sees him - and gives him the heart. Argh! What's he' going to do? He looks at the kid, the kid looks at him... he's crying, the kid's smiling... the clock is ticking.....

    And then you end there without showing what he does. Or you end sooner, fade to back, then come back up with him walking down the street clutching the paper heart.

    I'm not saying you need to do it this way, I'm just putting out the extreme form in case it's helpful for you honing in on what the core idea is - what the script is really about at its heart. I always remember an interview with the dudes that made the Sinead O Connor nothing compares to you video, and how they always said they wished they were bold enough to only focus on her face for the whole thing. I always take inspiration from that.

    I hope this is helpful. Please do have a look at my script Practice Makes Perfect and let me know what you think.

    Cheers, and well done again.


  • #18

    Daniela-Maria S. (Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:36)

    I loved this script, good suspense, well written, not really begging for sympathy. It touches some of the dark aspects of the human psyche. I think that it would have been even more dramatic if he would had had to run after the bus to extract the backpack with the bomb about to explode being under the control of another bomber, or such...
    Well done.
    Four stars from me.

  • #19

    Rob Burke (Wednesday, 08 August 2012 20:18)

    Daniela-Maria and Mark - I really appreciate the reads and the helpful comments.

    Mark - I'll have to consider not showing his face - could be very dramatic at the start.



  • #20

    Layla (Friday, 17 August 2012 01:20)

    This was a refreshing read after the more mainstream Valentine's Day scenarios. In terms of notes, I would go with your first instincts and stick to the thread of what can love/innocence change. In that vein, I would start with the man on the bus (bearded - I take as more of a means to disguise than a reference to an Islamic man. So, if it's bringing up issues perhaps make him more Average Joe, so he blends in with the crowd and his demeanor is his tell). The man on the bus, focused on what he's about to do, he observes as the bus fills with people going about their everyday lives, he is seemingly uneffected. Until the little girl draws him into hers. The kiss from the little girl to the mother can be a trigger for the man to get off the bus. An ambiguous ending I think is the way forward, as is the man acting alone and ridding of the flashbacks (in case I didn't made that clear).

  • #21

    Rob Burke (Thursday, 30 August 2012 20:35)

    Thanks for the comments Layla. Two new drafts should be coming that work in some of your thoughts (as well as some of the others above your comment).