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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    The Quickie Challenge  ›  On a Pair of Dice - QC Moderators: MarkItZero
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Don
Posted: August 20th, 2017, 11:29pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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On a Pair of Dice by Jon Swift's Long Lost Love Child - Short, Drama -  A visitor is mistaken for someone he isn't.  3 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Dustin
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 12:26pm Report to Moderator
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Code

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough
to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift



That's because religion is about control, John. Making us love each other is not the idea. Its purpose is to make the followers of one hate and mistrust the followers of others.

Code

We do not see his face. 



This is a tell. Show us why we don't see his face. You're the writer. What's he wearing that covers his face?

Code

CLOSE UP: HE SHAKES HIS DIRTY HAND THEN OPENS HIS DIRTY PALM
TO REVEAL A PAIR OF DICE. 



Not dirty dice?

Code

This commotion attracts rubberneckers and oglers. 



oglers? Why are they getting turned on by this?


Yeah, and once they'd read the little note, they burst out laughing. What difference did it make that Jesus, who could be just some bum pretending, was cast out? As the church spent millennia oppressing the poor while doling out pennies in the form of 'charity', it would have been hypocritical to do otherwise. The atrocities that have been committed under the banner of that religion would have made any real deity give up a long time ago.

What was he doing carrying around the dice? They were there and then they were gone. no attempt to explain them.

Not for me. I'd have to believe in fairy stories to relate to this.
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hawkeye
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 12:46pm Report to Moderator
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It's an interesting story in that you have the pious people in the church throwing out the person they are there to worship.  Not badly written at all, although, if anything, maybe a little overwritten with direction and detail. And I'm not sure I've ever seen a prop used in an actual script like that.  Also, who is the narrator? In almost all cases, the narrator is someone known to the audience (or later known to the audience).  Is the narrator Jesus himself? Couldn't tell from the script.

This was on the edge of the rules, as Jesus shows the dice at the beginning but doesn't do anything with them. Seems like you should have found a way to make a use of them; otherwise, why show them at all?  Maybe you could have had them placed in the offering plate with the note somehow -- a metaphor for how the church gambles with people's lives, perhaps.  Grasping at straws there, but hopefully you get the gist.

Good luck!
Gary


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JEStaats
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 12:54pm Report to Moderator
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It feels like the dice were thrown in just to meet the challenge. Now, if they were the stone dice from the Romans, that would be cool although it would need some explanation as I wouldn't have a clue except that it was in another short.

Yup, the story of organized religion. It would make for a good commercial during the Super Bowl. Not sure what it would be promoting except for a PSA. Kinda like the Indian Chief in a canoe with all the pollution and a tear.
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DanC
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 1:46pm Report to Moderator
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I know it wasn't part of the challenge, but, what role did the dice play?  I agree with JE, if they were Roman dice, now that makes sense.

Kinda cool story.  I think you could have cut part of it out and made it faster.

I think you also could have shown the church perhaps gonna play Bingo (which I still think is gambling, but, somehow, they allow it) or some other form of gambling.

Cool twist at the end.  

Not bad.

Dan

If the dice had played a role, this could have been one of my favs, or if not played a role, at least had some significance.  


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Dreamscale
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 3:38pm Report to Moderator
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You wait to describe this "Visitor" until he is inside the church, but we definitely see him outside - which is where he needs to be described.

Narrator?  Huh?  WTF?  Who is this - Christopher Lee, maybe?  

The writing style isn't what i appreciate, which makes it tough to like this...and I don't, but I do appreciate the effort, and actually like the idea...BUT...the dice here have absolutely nothing to do with this script and appear to be here only to meet the challenge.

The ending is what works, and if the writing and all were better, I'd rate this pretty high...but I can't as is.

** 1/2


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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pale yellow
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 3:53pm Report to Moderator
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Dice symbolizes chance people. Jesus argh


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Dustin
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 4:03pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from pale yellow
Dice symbolizes chance people. Jesus argh


What does Jesus have to do with chance? Wouldn't he have already known what was going to happen when he walked in the church? Hence he having the note. Unless he had two notes - just in case.
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pale yellow
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Quoted from Dustin


What does Jesus have to do with chance? Wouldn't he have already known what was going to happen when he walked in the church? Hence he having the note. Unless he had two notes - just in case.


Well.. my thinking is that if you believe in Jesus...  then you know he gives people chance after chance after chance. He'd rather hang around a prostitute than a hypocrite. Agree the dice were not used well enough probably. I mean he could have walked away from the church and it go up in flames. May've been better. Who knows. lol


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stevie
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 4:47pm Report to Moderator
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This had the potential to be awesome but doesn't quite get there. Need to ditch the Narrator and just have the preacher intoning through it. Ok we know that the visitor is gonna be Jesus, right? So have him maybe crawl up the aisle while the people watch, thinking he's some bum. Then have a reveal - I dunno, holes in his hands and feet - and he throws the dice or whatever.

I think the problem is the dice are from the Bible where Jesus throws out the gamblers and moneylenders who have taken over the temple - correct me if i'm wrong. But that doesn't work if readers are familiar with it, especially younger people who won't have read any of the Bible.


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 5:35pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Why is this called On a Pair of Dice?

This in not about dice. And, why are they even in his hand?

And, why is this man, who turns out to be Jesus, so dirty. Is he "testing" them? He doesn't need to test them because he knows full well that most are a bunch of hypocrites.

Don't get me started there because I'm inclined to agree with Dustin on that religious count. Not that I'm against the principles way way behind the facade, but mostly, it's all about money and, oh, man, just get angry thinking about it.

The sentiment of this story is good, but it's way too sappy.

It's got good potential, and I mean that sincerely, but let's get real:

Jesus was the one: FUCKIN' FLIPPIN TABLES with the money changers. That's Jesus!

Would he lamely allow himself to be escorted out? DAMN!!!! He did that already.

Now, he's a commin' by hook or crook as a freakin' King. Is he not?

Why represent him as lowly and dirty. It's ok. But you need to set it up. How and why, which, I guess 3 pages...

But still,

This was good. I wouldn't say it's bad.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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hawkeye
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 6:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
Why is this called On a Pair of Dice?


Might be a play on paradise? Just a guess.


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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pale yellow
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Quoted from hawkeye


Might be a play on paradise? Just a guess.


Title of the poem the narrator is reciting through the script by Jonathan Swift.


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hawkeye
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 7:17pm Report to Moderator
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Ah, got it.  Although I wonder if Swift was utilizing a pun in the title.


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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MarkRenshaw
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 5:20am Report to Moderator
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I think this is the last script I've got to read and it's the one (for me) which shows the most potential. It's really thinking outside the box so I've got to give it scores for that.

I really like that this is based on a poem. I've never heard it before but I loved it, and I loved that you had the narrator recite it as the story unfolded.

The dice really do feel thrown in (forgive the pun) and I know there's a symbolic explanation but they really don't justify being in there or the title of this as it stands.

Camera shots and angles really don't belong in a spec script, just tell us what the audience will see and the camera guys will do the rest, or the shooting script will sort that out, it distracts.

Another distraction is the awkward action on page 2. I got lost with the Usher, Visitor, Young Guy, Preacher, Elders and whoever else  was in the scene. It was over complicated and messy.

But I love the story and the style in which you try to tell it. With a polish, this could be very powerful. To me, this isn't about the actual Jesus going into a church and shaming everyone, this is more of a comment on organised religion.

I met a priest from LA over the weekend, lovely chap. He said to me, "Religion is the word of man, spirituality is a gift from God." I've never heard such honesty from a priest! lol. I see those Watch Tower guys (Jehovah's Witnesses)  around Manchester every day. They are always dressed very smartly and they will quite happily setup near some beggars and completely ignore them.

This to me is what this story is about, what it represents. Not Jesus manifesting himself in one church but showing the bloody hypocrisy about organised religion as a whole. And I love it, my favorite script!

-Mark



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MarkItZero
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Yeah, I also saw this as exposing organized religion. I actually enjoyed it a lot. I did not enjoy it almost disappearing up its own ass with the narrator poem stuff. You just copied verbatim his poem/riddle On A Pair of Dice. How about instead coming up with a good way to incorporate dice into the story?

Here's an idea, how about when he leaves the Church he walks straight into a whorehouse/gambling den (hence dice being rolled). And all the sinners there welcome him in with open arms.

Then the churchgoers open the envelope.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Warren
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 12:06pm Report to Moderator
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Hi,

Why is Jesus carrying around dice? Seems like he was just trying to meet the criteria of a quickie challenge.

Not quite how I imagined the second coming of Christ.

I personally didn't mind the story. Definitely not the worst I've read.

Some of the formatting choices were odd to me but each to their own it seems. First time I think I've seen an image of sorts in a script. I feel it would be better written as an INSERT minus the picture.


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Heretic
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 1:26pm Report to Moderator
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I, too, want money and whiskey.

The tear from the statue is pretty over the top. The whole close is, really. Jesus leaves a snarky little note? Doesn't seem Christ-like.

Up until then, I quite liked it. I think the Swift riddle is a biiiiit of a stretch in connecting thematically, but maybe I'm not reading it quite right. This is the most ambitious of those I've read so far, and also probably my favourite. But I do think it swings way too hard at the end.

I wonder if it'd be better to play this out with no dialogue except for the V.O. I can imagine the imagery that could replace every line, here, I think.

Good stuff.


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Stumpzian
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 1:31pm Report to Moderator
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I admire that you took a somewhat complex approach-- that is, basing the script structure on a Swift poem. I'm not sold on it, though. Is it just literate window dressing, or does it actually serve a solid purpose? I'm still thinking.
Other thoughts, in no particular order:
The idea here has been done many times before (church hypocrisy, what if Jesus came back, etc.).
I groaned when the statue shed a tear and when I saw the printed note.
I don't think the dice in the visitor's hand is enough to be counted as the required object.
And a drone in the camera directions! Hadn't seen that done before.

Henry




Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Stumpzian  -  August 25th, 2017, 7:02pm
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StevenClark
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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Writer,
The writing in spots is awkward - it seems you might've had a little trouble with this. I get it. However, I just wasn't on board with the story. The congregation seemed like they were from another planet with all their robotic head bowing. And the man at the end being Jesus did not seem to work, and I think the problem lies in the set up of the story. Not to mention, the dice were just kinda thrown in. I can't really figure any reason for
Jesus to be holding a pair of dice anyway. Not for me.

Steve


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PrussianMosby
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 11:07pm Report to Moderator
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The interactions are unclear. What's going on there? Is it before the Mass begins?
Okay, nice, tricky ending…

The long set-up is just not clear to me, I mean, f.i., the preacher walks around having small talk with people here and there. There's a fine thought of a concept I feel, only the story isn't developed enough yet. Keep at it. This could be something very funny/ironic or perhaps something very provoking and serious.  For now it is somewhere in between, too half-cooked.

With more direction and clearer storyline this could have a fine and interesting value imo.


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Angry Bear
Posted: August 25th, 2017, 6:56pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this one. How fast we judge people. Even the one that teaches us not to.

Good writing and good story. LOVED the little insert in the script on the last page.

I agree that the dice felt a little forced. They never came into play, so to speak, so it felt it had nothing to do with it. However, after a rewrite when the challenge guidelines no longer apply, you can just get rid of them.

Great job!


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ajr
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I liked this one too. Love anything that takes a shot at organized religion. And while the story is not the most original - a judgmental congregation - it's done in a very interesting way, through the poem and through the eyes of Jesus.

I don't think the writer needs to go so over the top with stamping this man AS Jesus - he can simply be a down on his luck fellow, since Jesus said 'what you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.'

Otherwise we tread into determinism - Jesus knew that they would cast him out, hence he left the note predicting that they would. Then again, he's Jesus, so if they had reacted positively to him, he could have made the note say something different with a wave of his hand. But it sure did look like he was going into this church knowing he was going to get the bum's rush. Okay I have to stop now...


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Michael
Posted: August 26th, 2017, 8:10pm Report to Moderator
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The concept was good, I had no idea he was Jesus. I thought the envelope he gave was probably full of money, and he used to go to the church or something. It's a cool story.
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Cooper
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Mixed feelings on this one. Definitely outside the box, which I like. Dice definitely feel forced, which I didn't love. I like that you were trying to say something with this.


Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.
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