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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    The Quickie Challenge  ›  The Devil's Dice - QC Moderators: MarkItZero
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  Author    The Devil's Dice - QC  (currently 1094 views)
Don
Posted: August 20th, 2017, 11:20pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Devil's Dice by Ralph Smith - Short, Drama - Hours before the world changes forever, a scientist comes to a church for guidance. 3 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  August 20th, 2017, 11:33pm
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Warren
Posted: August 20th, 2017, 11:44pm Report to Moderator
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Hi,

SPOILERS


Quoted Text
Neither the sleek cut of his suit nor his handsome face can
hide what he’s looking for so intently: salvation.


How can we know he is looking for salvation? Scripts need to be visual.


Quoted Text
by people who cherish it.


Again, how can we see this?


Quoted Text
they almost seem to WHISPER WITH EVIL.


How would you convey this?

Okay so it's Robert Oppenheimer dropping the bomb.

Not entirely sure how I feel about it. It does have atmosphere, but for 3 pages I found it long and the dialogue got a bit much.

Well have a think about it.


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 2:27am Report to Moderator
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Hey there,

I really had no idea what was going on here. Then I read Warren's comments and now I feel stupid but I really didn't figure it out.

There's a lot of padding in this script which won't be conveyed on the screen. A 3 page challenge really emphasizes the need to keep things lean and focus on what the audience will actually see.

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Cooper
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 2:33am Report to Moderator
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This script made me feel stoopid lol.


Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.
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Dustin
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 2:53am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder than dialogue.

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How old are RAIN and LIGHTNING? Ah, I see, they're visual effects?

I didn't get it. If not for Warren knowing or Googling, I would never have been bothered to find out. This is well-written and your asides do not bother me, however, the story is completely lost on me.
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khamanna
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 7:27am Report to Moderator
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Not for me sorry to say.
I just didn't get it.
And I think it's because of Robert's speech at the beginning. He talks a lot, but everything he says is over my head.
Then the old man says something. He has the dice in his hand and I didn't get what role the dice plays in this.
I have a feeling the old man is a suicide bomber. I wonder if I'm correct. You gave us a few clues that made me think that. I may be completely off. Let's see.
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grademan
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 9:31am Report to Moderator
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Essentially a 2 1/2 page monologue in a church with barely enough clues to figure out what he's talking about. The character of the old man in the church was supposed to be the devil? An ambitious effort but could use a bit of clarity. Felt like you were experimenting with your writing style? Some things fit, others didn't.
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ajr
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 9:47am Report to Moderator
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I got Oppenheimer from Robert and the time period so I had a clue of where you were going with this, and I assume the old man is a mythical figure, however I don't know exactly who or what, and I'm not sure how Oppenheimer knew to seek him out at this Church.


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JEStaats
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 10:09am Report to Moderator
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From the logline and date, I knew exactly where this was going. I had a lot of preconceived notions of where this might go and was looking forward to it.

A great premise but it just didn't do it for me. I knew it would get tagged with some of the un-filmables and the dialog being a bit wordy. You have something here, it just needs to be cleaned up. I didn't get the pips growing and enveloping the hand. I want to know what you were going for here!!!

Good attempt. Revise and let's see it again.
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 3:19pm Report to Moderator
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Who are Rain and Lightning?

I can respect this for what it is, but for me, it's dull, hard to follow, and just not my cup of tea.

The writing is OK, but seems to be trying a bit too hard to be something more.

It's a ballsy effort, but not something I will remember at all.

** 1/2


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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hawkeye
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 3:34pm Report to Moderator
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So Oppenheimer is essentially struggling with the idea of creating a weapon (the atom bomb) that can wipe out humanity -- in effect, he and his colleagues are playing God themselves.  While that's an interesting premise, it's too convoluted to be presented coherently in a three page short.  I think the problem here is that you have essentially written a monologue, which delves into the psyche of the character speaking, but doesn't give a more detailed look at the issue behind it all because all we're doing is listening to him babble.

Fairly well written, but needs more (like being a feature film) to make this work, in my opinion.

Best,
Gary


Click on the link for my blog as Rick Hansberry and I take script from concept to completion (and hopefully to the screen) Lake Regret Movie
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MarkItZero
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 4:43pm Report to Moderator
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I tried to understand it, I really did. But my brain is tiny. So he's burdened by the realization of what he's created. He's going to kill himself to stop it.

And the Old Man has the same kind of burden. He could kill himself and not be The Devil's puppet anymore? Cuz the dice are controlling him. Or he's The Devil himself...

I don't know.

My head hurts.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 6:12pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Laplace?

I can't figure it all out.

Why is he seeking salvation? How do we know it? If this were on screen, we'd see him in the pew about to kill himself, but we wouldn't know anything else. 'cept an old man behind him who keeps coughing.

Clarity needed.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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StevenClark
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 9:00pm Report to Moderator
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Writer,

Interesting story, and I feel a dialogue heavy approach is one of a couple ways to write a three pager successfully. But it needs clarity, as I really have no idea who Robert really is, or who the old man is behind him. Seems you were going for something deeper, but you just didn't hit the mark.

Steve


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Stumpzian
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 2:38pm Report to Moderator
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This is an ambitious script that flounders along the way.

There's no way to know this is Robert Oppenheimer. He's never even addressed as "Robert." We might get it at the end, given some of what he'd said in church. Still, showing his nametag as he watches the bomb test would help. (Or maybe his name doesn't really matter. Maybe he represents anyone who had qualms about development of the bomb.)

I'd cut way down what he says in church; the average person doesn't know what the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is, so I'd use only what helps us understand why this unidentified man is "seeking salvation." The old coughing guy and the strange (radioactive?) dice have some meaning, but I missed it.

Nonetheless, I give you high marks for tackling this at all, let alone in three pages.

Henry



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DanC
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 3:08pm Report to Moderator
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Again, I agree with everyone else.  I was lost until I read the comments.  I had no clue what was going on.

Interesting theory of what Robert did before the launch.

Where I really got lost was who was the Old man?  Satan?  The dice were demonic.  

How could Satan be in a church?  Or drink holy water?  

So, after Robert sets the gun down, does he leave it?

This needs a lot more clarity.

Dan


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stevie
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 4:13pm Report to Moderator
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I'd read most of the comments first so had a fair idea what was the go here. All good until Robert started talking! Complete gibberish to me - needed his dialogue to be coherent and simple so we know who he is and whats happening. As a result I skimmed after that and lost interest.

This could've been the best entry but it was taken inn a wring direction


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Angry Bear
Posted: August 23rd, 2017, 1:53pm Report to Moderator
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I thought this one was pretty good.

The fact that we're told this is 1945 gives us a pretty good idea of what he's talking about, IMO.

Not sure about pulling the gun on himself in the church though...

Is it LONELY church or LONE?

Maybe, instead of him going on talking, why not set it in a confessions booth instead? That way we get to see the priest struggling with what he hears as well.

Good job!  


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pale yellow
Posted: August 23rd, 2017, 8:28pm Report to Moderator
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Oh K WOW superb writing on display here.

And wow how I love that you used a real historical figure/event in this.

I have a Robert Oppenheimer story as well that Kevin and I advanced with in the NYC Midnight contest! And in ours the events and what happened to him 'could have' changed history but did not.

You did a great job here. Great dialogue. Great character. Mystery cards throughout. And the irony in him helping the man that turns out to be the devil. Wow ... all I can say.

You got my vote here.


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Michael
Posted: August 23rd, 2017, 8:40pm Report to Moderator
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Just like that B-29 Aeroplane, this script flew right over my head.
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PrussianMosby
Posted: August 24th, 2017, 10:01am Report to Moderator
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Good start all in all, I'm just puzzled why he thinks aloud in a church. On the other hand, it's a pretty bizarre choice to do so and unexpected as well to experience it, so I'm undecided on that…

P2 I don't believe those long monologues do work on screen

Okay, I didn't get it.

Reads somehow as if the devil has some self-doubts, shows some compassion which I think is pretty interesting as a concept. I also take this from his last dialogue where he sates that he could give it all to Robert and be no longer responsible for all bad on his own - but it kind of wouldn't be right - he says (at least how I Interpret it)

Then Robert nevertheless says "Now" and the bomb goes...

So, isn't this contradictory regarding what devil says?

Whatever, the monologues were too long. They should be more direct and touchable.

Otherwise there's already a heavy atmosphere going on that I liked pretty much. Lots of risks are taken here. Ambitious stuff. Definitely worth to revisit.


No End of Wolves   (9p - psychological horror)

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Abe from LA
Posted: August 27th, 2017, 5:12pm Report to Moderator
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THE DEVIL'S DICE

Not a story that can be appreciated in a quick read and especially so if the reader isn't given some heads up as to the main character, and his role in world history.

There is an underlying brilliance on the part of this writer, and the effects DICE has on its readers. It might even parallel Oppenheimer's own brilliance, which of course was so far above the general public in the early-mid 1940s, that most could care less what he (and his team) was creating. Until the bombs were dropped.

And so this story has a lot of meat. But it's also tough to chew. I found myself skipping chunks of dialogue because it wore me down. I didn't need it to know where it was leading me.

I like the setting. The country church is perfect.  The old man, not so perfect.  His role seems obligatory to meet the rules of the challenge. Dump the old man and the dice.
Let Oppenheimer pull off the road and deal with his own demons (depression). I don't think he was a religious sort, but in these hours before the Test, he finds himself at the crossroads. I agree with Pia that Robert's monologue should be a confessional with the church minister

Suggestion: Let this tale be about an [seemingly] ordinary man who is distraught over the suicide of his mistress (Jean Tatlock). We can relate to his personal struggles and his contemplation of suicide.  Then, if you choose, back into some of the scientific
Let the minister be the one to help Robert find renewed faith and move forward.

Or maybe it's the minister's story from the get-go. The question ultimately posed: if this minister knew who he was saving, would he have intervened in Robert's "suicide"?

Nice job

I'm giving this story high points for the possibilities.
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