I'll Stand by You by Emily Salter Draft 2

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I'll Stand by You by Emily Salter Draft 1

Matt and Hannah's Valentines date is interrupted when the babysitter calls
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Draft One Producers Development Notes for the author

“I’ll Stand By You” has a potent emotional story at the centre of the script, and a small number of structural notes will help this play out with more potency and resonance;


1. The story may well work more efficiently told in a linear style.  The current flashback scene is solid as written, but can be used to set up more story stakes.  The rose works great as a visual representation of the date, and gives her something to look at later, but do we need to start the script on the date?  This could be in a restaurant, or in Matt’s flat (see below) & means we can establish they have been seeing each other for some time (or at least more than once), that she really likes him and that she has something to tell him about her life that she’s nervous to tell.  That something is that she is a single mother and acknowledges that most men would run at this point.  This abandonment is her greatest fear.  Then her phone rings and the narrative unfolds as written.


2. With this, when Matt does appear to have gone, she’s dejected and rejected in just the way she hoped not to be.  This crucial imperfection of Matt’s, that he could run, needs to be built into his character.  What about the situation means he’s a guy who would disappear without a word?  If we see his flat, does it smack of a moneyed singleton, a boy with his expensive toys?  Or perhaps it’s a simple misunderstanding about who has called?  If he doesn’t know she’s a single mother, his mind could jump to any number of things before that eventuality...


3. So when he does come back, he needs to introduce himself to Lily.  This is Hannah’s greatest hope, so will assuage her greatest fear.  It shows he is committed to her and this relationship.

Have your say, what do you think?

Comments: 12 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    Ann Murgatroyd (Friday, 03 August 2012 23:00)

    A lovely down and up of emotion there. Very sweetly written. A warming story of people who care.

  • #2

    Simon Dymond (Saturday, 04 August 2012 11:08)

    Nice story. Simple and human.Just a thought but can't help thinking it might even work better if it was told chronologically. If we saw the date get interrupted and we saw the boyfriend leaving without a word, it might have more resonance with an audience when he comes back at the end.

  • #3

    Damian Mallon (Saturday, 04 August 2012 14:16)

    This is very sweet.
    I agree with #2, about telling it being stronger if told chronologically.
    1) I feel the main reason for the flashback is to break the flow (which has been linear until this point) so Matt has time to leave and return with the food, but the flashback has character and plot points.
    2) If the rose giving scene is at the start and set on the front doorstep, the piece comes full circle at the end.
    3) Telling the story chronologically makes Hannah kissing Lily a stronger red herring and I think this makes Matt's return all the sweeter. Matt leaves, Hannah realises, Hannah pulls out the rose, Hannah sighs, looks down, smiles and kisses Lily, Fade to black; SFX Knocking cuts us back in...

  • #4

    Thom Bruce (Saturday, 04 August 2012 16:47)

    I concur with the points raised by Damian and the solution offered by Simon. Not a fan of flashbacks - often they're used where they ought not to be because they're an easy way to force exposition into the moment and I feel that's what's being done here.

    Simply telling it chronologically fixes that and, in my opinion, solidifies the set-up: 'single-mum, on date, babysitter caring for kid...'. The trick then is to seamlessly flow through the scenes you must depict in such a short time - I'd suggest a brief scene in the restaurant where we see a glimmer of the date going well before Hannah gets that urgent phone-call, then cut to the beginning of the script and tell it as is from there...

  • #5

    C Bacon (Saturday, 04 August 2012 18:39)

    Lovely - thank you so much for giving it that ending!! Congratulations!!

  • #6

    Stephen Cooper (Sunday, 05 August 2012 00:41)

    Turned into a very nice script after being a little worried at first. The ending really brings everything together well.

  • #7

    Shaun Bond (Monday, 06 August 2012 12:07)

    I enjoyed the story, it gradually pieced itself together and has a warming ending. If I was to provide feedback though, I would do well to mention one or two things in the way it was written from a Director's POV. There are instances in the script where you slip into prose mode and over explain, for example; the lines 'a hint of dejection in his face but he's clearly trying to hide it' and 'Matt tries to smile but it doesn't reach his eyes' are too descriptive and result orientated for an actor to take any notice of and these are likely to be ignored. Similarly, in the opening line you use the term 'nicely but simply' which is very difficult to envision as 'nice' is a bland word which has different connotations to different people. A 'Fade In' and 'Fade Out' would also be necessary on a script so that we know it has ended and begun on those two pages and nothing is missing - especially when page 1 isn't labelled as such. Scriptwriting is a technical thing to master and practice though - well within everyone's grasp - the story is the hardest part, and I feel you've done well with this one. Good job!

  • #8

    Glyn Carter (Tuesday, 07 August 2012 01:35)

    this is a nice story, but it would be better told in a single scene cut over the half-hour or so it takes to unfold. Good writing can allude to the truncated meal, and the fact that this is a rare date for a single mum. Sorry, but the flashback sucks: unnecessary and horribly expositional.

  • #9

    Laura Koons (Friday, 10 August 2012 01:31)

    Among my top favorites of the 50 Kisses. Enjoyed your sweet story.

  • #10

    Richard Green (Tuesday, 14 August 2012 05:13)

    Nice. I like that I thought he had left! You got me. I don't think you need to show anymore than you have - audiences have some intelligence to work things out themselves. Sweet. Needs to be well cast though.

  • #11

    Liam J. Holland (Wednesday, 15 August 2012 17:58)

    I like it. It's a very sweet little story, it's nicely among my top favorites to shoot. But like other people have said I would probably make it in chronological order, it will still be just as sweet a story.

  • #12

    Margaret Ricke (Thursday, 16 August 2012 16:51)

    I'm agreeing with comments 2, 3 and 4 above.

    Yes, people have some intelligence, but they'll also be watching a long string of two minute movies. It isn't helpful to hold back the fact that this is a date rather than a married couple on a night out, though. I thought the latter until he knocked at the door.

    When you go on a first date you're checking the person out. Do you want to let this person into your life any more than you already have?

    Using the door to bookend the story brings that question into the mix. The door is the entry into her world, and he's making a decision whether to leave or come back. That's a big decision in this case.

    I might have to tackle this one. I really love it.