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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  Omelian Resolution - OWC
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  Author    Omelian Resolution - OWC  (currently 2284 views)
SimplyScripts
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 8:26pm Report to Moderator
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Omelian Resolution by James Redd (James R) - Short, Drama - Twins Jayce and Shenna live the perfect life in the seemingly perfect city of Omelas. But when they find out that a helpless child pays the price for the happiness of the Omelians, they quickly resolve to end the arrangement. (Set in the world of the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" By Ursula K. Le Guin)  - pdf, format


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Pete B. Lane
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Omelian Resolution? That's when you're really determined about what omelet you want, right? "I'll have a Denver or nothing!"

Seriously, this is good. A very well-written and intriguing piece. I don't "get" it though, but I don't seem to mind. How does the child's imprisonment allow for this utopia? Weird. It's certainly dramatic and tweaks the setting nicely.

A memorable one. Grade: A
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chism
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This script was a mixed bag, for me. It fit well into the theme/genre, but the story itself never really came together for me. You’re dealing with interesting themes, the balance of good and evil, how the suffering of one child pays for the happiness of thousands. I wish you had focused more on that stuff, because it’s what is interesting.

My biggest problem is the scene between Jayce and Shenna when they decide to help break the child free. The dialogue here is really obvious and on-the-nose, very clunky. The characters say exactly what they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. Who does that? It’s also a repetitive scene that would benefit from a lot of condensing.

Still, there were some good things. Like I said, the ideas were very interesting and I think the script began to recover in the final scenes. The ending was very esoteric and kind of dark, which I liked. The children accepting the balance, knowing that their lives are made to be so good because of another’s sufferance. That’s some deep stuff.

Technically, its also pretty good. Although some of the formatting stuff bugged me a little bit. There are description chunks that are way too long, they should be in blocks of no more than four lines. They also shouldn’t include anything that the camera is unable to record, so lines like “…How can they be happy knowing what they know now?...” and “…They are stunned that their mother would say such a thing…” should be taken out.

Overall, it was pretty good. I think with some if you rewrote some of the dialogue and spent a little more time on the themes of the story you’d have a strong script. Still, a job well done.


Matt.
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The boy who could fly
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Well this was an interesting way to use the theme and genre, it was different, but I think it fit well.

I think the Idea is interesting, living in a Utopia of sorts but at the pain and suffering of a young child.  I so wish we knew more about that though.

I thought the dialogue through out was weak though, it just felt off, I was saying it aloud and it just sounded weird to me, I think that is the weakest part of the script, and when it came to the ending I didn;t buy it, the kids seemed to give up to easy.

All in all it fit the challenge but the ending and dialogue were weak which kinda killed this very interesting premise.


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stebrown
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I don't know what "The ones who walk away from Omelas" is, but unless it's a short story written by the same writer as this then I'd disagree with this one being allowed in the competition.

The idea is very interesting but if you've based this on a short story you've read then it's not original is it? Apologies if I've gotten the wrong end of the stick about this because I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned it.

The writing was good but I agree about the dialogue and some lengthy descriptions.


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Quoted from stebrown
I don't know what "The ones who walk away from Omelas" is, but unless it's a short story written by the same writer as this then I'd disagree with this one being allowed in the competition.


The short is based on a published short story by a noted science fiction writer, so it's  based on something which isn't the writer's original work.


13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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stebrown
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Quoted from mikep


The short is based on a published short story by a noted science fiction writer, so it's  based on something which isn't the writer's original work.


Are there any rules on that then? Only I thought that the shorts had to be original work. MY first OWC so I don't know if this has been brought up before.


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SimplyScripts
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 3:55pm Report to Moderator
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I disagree with that that don't believe it is keeping with the theme and spirit of the OWC.  I also disagree with those that believe that this isn't an original work.  (Seriously, how many of the OWC participants used "OZ" as their spiritual jumping off point when writing his/her script.)

I thought this was one of the most original takes on the theme and (as far as I've read) the only script that the word 'prison cell' wasn't used, but it became quite apparent at the end that this is precisely the circumstance the character is in.  

For those of you who wish to continue the discussion you can also read the short "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas" here; http://harelbarzilai.org/words/omelas.txt and you can see that only the setting and the utopian theme come from the short story.  If the writer had removed "Festival of Summer" and "Omelas" from the script, then the connexion between Le Guin's work is essentially severed.

btw, I'm glad to see the healthy discussion on this script.  I urge those of you who are rejecting reading it out of hand to give it a go and compare it to the short story.  

Don




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stebrown
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That's fair enough Don. I hadn't heard of the short story before so couldn't tell how closely it was based on it.


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James McClung
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This had the makings to be a great script. Not only did it have the essentials (good description, dialogue, character development, etc.) and fit the OWC theme nicely while still setting itself apart from the others, it was loaded with all sorts of interesting concepts, themes, and ideas. Unfortunately, I felt the end kind of killed it. I can't help but feel like there was some sort of message to all this but usually when there's a message at the end of a script, something has to happen to get there. That's not the case here. Everything's setup for a great payoff, whatever it may be, and in the end, nothing happens. It's downright anticlimactic and considering the setup that preceeds it, it's extremely disappointing.

The ending of a script usually doesn't impact me as much as this one but in the end, this felt really lukewarm to me. Bad ending or not, I still have to say this is one of the standout entries this time around but it's still very disappointing, mainly due to all this could've been.


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pwhitcroft
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It’s a good intriguing story that moves and develops as it goes.

I agree with the comments about the ending and the dialog. Although on the dialog I was trying and failing to persuade myself that it was a deliberate attempt to reflect the alien culture. You can have some slack but it doesn’t come together.

The first few pages are set around the horse race narrative. If this is included at all the end of the race especially needs to be more tense and dramatic.

For my nit picks - the “Then” at the beginning of the second line is redundant. The definition of evil given is not one I’d agree with.

Philip

(I'll keep my head down during the discussion on adapting published works because the script in my signature is based on an Arthur C Clarke book!)


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mcornetto
Posted: February 27th, 2008, 5:04am Report to Moderator
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Since it was pretty much decided that it’s ok to write an adaptation then I won’t even go there.  However, since I didn’t read the story, then I have to give this a review based on its own merits.

It had an engaging story (The question of whether it’s your own or somebody else’s does raise its head) and it met the brief of the OWC.  The actions were plentiful but well written enough that they did not distract.  The dialogue was voluminous but not clunky and seemed to work rather well with the story.  You have a good grasp of crafting a story.

Like everyone else, however, I was disappointed by the ending.  I wanted a bit more from it (I know this was probably a space issue more than anything else).

So, well done. If we aren’t considering budget or securing rights to the story then I will give this an OPTION.
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damn, i really really liked this one. there's a great contrast with the utopian setting and dark undertones. I also loved the ending, it creeped me out a bit. at some points the dialogue seemed stiff but it seemed to make sense in a utopian world. there was maybe two small errors, so small they escape me at the moment (damn my short term memory). I also liked the lean descriptions and actions, with heavy dialogue, it still moved. great job.
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It's hard to tell what era this is taking place in. First it starts out like a modern day, then it sounds like it goes back into the 1500s, and I was getting confused to what it was.

The dialogue was a bit weird in some places, and some descriptions were clunky. Since you used up the full 12 pages, this story felt like it didn't even end and like I missed a whole chunk of it. I don't know how, but it just does. And by the way, I do think that the kids do give up too easily like Jordan said, but then again you were real close to breaking 12 pages.

Sean
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Does Omelas have anything to do with Salem? Which hunts and finding causes of Evil and all that? I haven't read the story yet, so I'm not sure.

I wish I didn't know this was an adaptation.

The weakest part is the dialogue. The characters are good, and they deserve dialogue that matches them. You can't tell one speaker from another.

I don't know if adaptations should be allowed in the OWC. We should be inspired, but not copy.
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I'll agree with most of the points above as it's an interesting and different take on the prison cell theme. The script's main opportunity is the dialogue, which is stilted from beginning to end. Everything is expressed clearly, but in an overly formal manner, with an artificial sound to each speech. It reads like a 1950's version of the future.

I think if the horse race is removed the dialogue reworked to sound realistic, the ending might carry a bit more impact. But it IS a heady subject to tackle in a short span of pages.


13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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This was okay.  The metaphor of a utopia and a prison is clear and I think the execution was actually pretty good.  The dialogue was extensive and even a little frustrating at times, but then I looked at it from a broader view and realized that in a utopia, well, they'd probably talk a little fishy anyway.  

I think I get the part with the child.  Is it supposed to be symbolism of what the outside world is like?  Maybe the child wandered in and to preserve their utopia they locked him up down below?  And then by releasing the child means to exit the "prison" and go into the real world.  Hope I got that right.

Overall it was a nice read, but it didn't hit me as deep as it probably could have.


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This one was a bit weird.  However, I'm not going to lie. I didn't really understand it.

The script was very well written. Good descriptions and characters, but some of the dialog was a little ham fisted.

I feel as though I can't comment on the story because I really didn't understand it. Once the writers are revealed, could you please PM me and explain it to me? Then I'll read it again and see if I understand it better.

This one has got me very curious...

As of right now, I'll give it a C

~Zack~


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Blakkwolfe
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Wow.Excellent. The needs of the many out wiegh the needs of a few...The story, though it has sci-fi elements, is definitly drama- it deals with people, emotions and spirit- man against himself, right against wrong, the inner struggle of doing the good you ought to do, even though it may go against the grain...I was disappointed that the twins lost thier conviction when they saw they would have go against thier mother...Thier desire to please thier mom and the status quo was greater than the need to save the child...This is a powerful metaphor that is true on many different levels.

There are a few different ways that I interpreted the symbolisim; the most obvious to me being the plight of child workers all over the world who labor long hours for little pay so that we can have Nike's, Kathy Lee Gifford clothes and other such things that are bought and paid for at a higher human price than money.

The other interpretation that I read from it comes from my other life. Would the US government knowlngly condemn 1 out every 150 children to maintain the status quo? In my opinion, yes. The parralel of one child suffering for the sake of many certainly comes into play.


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I had a hard time getting past the dialogue.  I understand what you were going for  but it just felt a little too elementary for me.  Unfortuantely this marred what was an intriguing idea.  

The horse race was devoid of any real drama - that didn't set your story off to a good start for me.  No come from behind, gut it out win - just a simple 'cross the finish line'.  Maybe that is what it's like in utopia when you never lose and are never disappointed - kind of boring though.  Although maybe that's the point - utopia can never really exist for us.  

I did think that the story picked up steam once the concept of the child was introduced, as well as the moral fallout that the twins were forced to grapple with.  The ending I was okay with.  It could have went one of two ways.  You opted for the more restrained choice.  Either way I would have been fine with.

As for the validity of this entry - I'm fine with it, although it's good that you acknowledge Le Guin up front.  Personally I'm not sure why you didn't just change the name of the city, as well as certain other events and make this wholely your own.




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James R
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Hey, thanks for all of the comments. I will soon be getting up responses to all of your queries. This has been a great experience for me and, I'm sure, for many others.

And Zack, my comments here should explain enough about the story but I can still PM you if you want me to.

James R


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James R
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Quoted Text
Seriously, this is good. A very well-written and intriguing piece. I don't "get" it though, but I don't seem to mind. How does the child's imprisonment allow for this utopia? Weird. It's certainly dramatic and tweaks the setting nicely.


Thanks for the compliments, Pete. One of the things that intrigued me the most about the story was that it was not explained why this was the arrangement or with whom.


Quoted Text
My biggest problem is the scene between Jayce and Shenna when they decide to help break the child free. The dialogue here is really obvious and on-the-nose, very clunky. The characters say exactly what they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. Who does that? It’s also a repetitive scene that would benefit from a lot of condensing.


Thanks for reading and for the compliments, Matt. I attempted with the dialogue to make them sound "otherworldly" so that it would be clear that Omelas is not really part of our world. I had to imagine what people who had never lived outside of a Utopian society would sound, but I agree that in places it sounds clunky.


Quoted Text
when it came to the ending I didn't buy it, the kids seemed to give up to easy.


I knew this when I submitted it, TBWCF, but I just couldn't seem to get it under 12 pages (my original ending had 2 more pages on it). Maybe I should have thrown out the horse race and improved the ending. Chalk it up to experience!


Quoted Text
The writing was good but I agree about the dialogue and some lengthy descriptions.


Noted, Ste. Thanks for the read.

I thought this was one of the most original takes on the theme and (as far as I've read) the only script that the word 'prison cell' wasn't used, but it became quite apparent at the end that this is precisely the circumstance the character is in.  


Quoted Text
For those of you who wish to continue the discussion you can also read the short "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas" here; http://harelbarzilai.org/words/omelas.txt and you can see that only the setting and the utopian theme come from the short story.  If the writer had removed "Festival of Summer" and "Omelas" from the script, then the connexion between Le Guin's work is essentially severed.


Thanks for the vote of confidence, Don. I was a little nervous that my script would be thrown out after this discussion and I'm glad I was given a chance. I could have changed a few names and claimed the idea as my own but I wanted to give credit where credit was due. Le Guin is a great writer for those into sci-fi writing that questions our world and society. If you liked the script you might like her writings as well.


Quoted Text
The ending of a script usually doesn't impact me as much as this one but in the end, this felt really lukewarm to me. Bad ending or not, I still have to say this is one of the standout entries this time around but it's still very disappointing, mainly due to all this could've been.


Thanks for reading, James. I appreciate the fact that you read it and were into ti enough that the ending was not enough to make you love it. I will be reworking this one and adding back into it some original ideas. I think this was a bit heavy for 12 pages and I couldn't fit everything I wanted into it.


Quoted Text
The first few pages are set around the horse race narrative. If this is included at all the end of the race especially needs to be more tense and dramatic.


Yeah, Philip, the race was in the short story (link above) and I used it as a means of showing the Omelian people. It might have been entirely unnecessary but I wanted to show how blissfully unaware they were. Thanks for the review.


Quoted Text
If we aren’t considering budget or securing rights to the story then I will give this an OPTION.


Ha, ha. I thought about that too. This would not be very cheap to make as a short. One more reason for me to do the rewrite.


Quoted Text
there's a great contrast with the utopian setting and dark undertones. I also loved the ending, it creeped me out a bit. at some points the dialogue seemed stiff but it seemed to make sense in a utopian world.


Thanks, B. I'm glad you saw it the way that I did. Somebody understands me!  


Quoted Text
It's hard to tell what era this is taking place in. First it starts out like a modern day, then it sounds like it goes back into the 1500s, and I was getting confused to what it was.


It was difficult setting up an entire new world in 12 pages and this is one area I will be looking at in the rewrite. Thanks for the read, Sean.


Quoted Text
Does Omelas have anything to do with Salem?


Yes, AB, Omelas is Salem O backwards. It was what inspired Le Guin to write this story. Or at least what inspired the name of the place. Thanks for the review and take some time to read the short story if you get a chance (link above). It might show that I was inspired by an idea and the copying was kept to a bare minimum.  


Quoted Text
I think if the horse race is removed the dialogue reworked to sound realistic, the ending might carry a bit more impact. But it IS a heady subject to tackle in a short span of pages.


Noted, Mike. Thanks for the suggestions and for understanding my plight.


Quoted Text
I think I get the part with the child.  Is it supposed to be symbolism of what the outside world is like?  Maybe the child wandered in and to preserve their utopia they locked him up down below?  And then by releasing the child means to exit the "prison" and go into the real world.  Hope I got that right.


I love the fact that we'll never know, Greg.


Quoted Text
This one has got me very curious...


Thanks for reading, Zack. If this post still doesn't adequately explain things I can try to give you more info since you are curious. Reading the short story would help! Especially since it mentions an orgy.  


Quoted Text
Wow.Excellent. The needs of the many out wiegh the needs of a few...The story, though it has sci-fi elements, is definitly drama- it deals with people, emotions and spirit- man against himself, right against wrong, the inner struggle of doing the good you ought to do, even though it may go against the grain...I was disappointed that the twins lost thier conviction when they saw they would have go against thier mother...Thier desire to please thier mom and the status quo was greater than the need to save the child...This is a powerful metaphor that is true on many different levels.


Thank you kindly, Blakkwolfe. I am glad you got so much out of it. Read the short story if you haven't yet. It made me think about all of the same things.


Quoted Text
The ending I was okay with.  It could have went one of two ways.  You opted for the more restrained choice.


My original ending was not the "restrained choice" but I couldn't make it work with the OWC rules. I liked how the ending turned out, though maybe rushed. Thanks for the read, MGJ.

Again, thanks to all for your honest reviews.

James R




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James R
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I really need to learn how to do the "Quoted from" part in the quote boxes, don't I? Anyone want to give a quick lesson?


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Pete B. Lane
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Quoted from James_R or whatever name you want
I really need to learn how to do the "Quoted from" part in the quote boxes, don't I? Anyone want to give a quick lesson?


Sure, just start the quote with [quote= name] without the space before the name.

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James R
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Cool, thanks Pete. It's been a while since I used any of my html skills.

James R


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Quoted from James R
Thanks, B. I'm glad you saw it the way that I did. Somebody understands me!  



Not a problem, this entry was one of my favs, probably in my top 3
great work!
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James R
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Quoted from BPeterson
Not a problem, this entry was one of my favs, probably in my top 3
great work!


Stop, you're making me blush  .

Seriously though, thank you. I've got some more ideas I'm working on along these lines, if only I had more time! I think I was supposed to be born on a different planet with 28 hour days or something.

"There is much to do and less time to do it in."

James


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Concept was really good. But the execution... that's where it gets tricky.

I know you say you purposely made the dialogue sound "otherwordly" but it just came off as "I think exactly what I say." While we may want this in real life, it doesn't work in scripts.

The child. I know you like the ambiguity of the child's origins but its lack of explanation makes your message fall flat. If you didn't want to give us a definite, something like multiple IV's attached to the child would do. Something for us to start to bridge the gap. A child huddled in the corner answers nothing and more importantly distracts the reader instead of making them empathize. i won't even talk about the idea of the two kids meeting two disheveled kids that represent "the balance" (more than I already have).

The horse race. You missed an incredible chance for a dual metaphor. The kid using the horse for gain. Just like the society uses the imprisoned child for gain.

It would be interesting to see a re-write. I still give it a "good show."


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Hey, thanks for the read and the words, SF.


Quoted from Souter Fell
A child huddled in the corner answers nothing and more importantly distracts the reader instead of making them empathize.


The short story does talk a little about the child's origins but I decided to throw that out to add to the mystery and to keep it to 12 pages. As you pointed out, though, it makes it harder to empathize with the child. The rewrite is going to have more in it, so look for it in the coming weeks/months.


Quoted from Souter Fell
The horse race. You missed an incredible chance for a dual metaphor. The kid using the horse for gain. Just like the society uses the imprisoned child for gain.


The horse race was meant more as a display of how this fictional society works (there are no losers, yay!), but I have been playing around with some ideas about the race, including throwing it out altogether.

Thanks again for the read.

James R


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colkurtz8
Posted: March 4th, 2009, 8:43am Report to Moderator
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James

I really liked this, man. The confused comments that litter the discussion board here are all the publicity you need for this to get more reads,. The head scratching, questions and varying interpretations piqued my interest.

AMALI (cont’d)
We’ll talk about it tomorrow. I
just want you to know the truth.
Don’t stay up too late.

Talk about leaving your kids with food for thought & a possible sleepless night the way the Mother very ominously tells them some scanty details about their "trip"...before saying the above line.

Very good pacing to this, by pg 6 when they are walking down the hallway, the suspense is rife. Between Machus & Amali they are really building up the intrigue with their cryptic comments about what the kids are about to see, nicely done.

Sorta' reminds me of "The Village" in some ways, the way they have turned their back on society to form this new "Utopia". The innocence of the two kids is akin to Bryce Dallas Howard's character.

"The twins both jump, shocked to hear anyone else in the
hallway as they thought they were alone."

I think you could just say "The twins both jump" as the rest we can work out ourselves, its unnecessary to detail it.

Its a good ending, climactic confrontation between the four characters, I liked the direction it took and the way the Mother was so defiant in saying that she wouldn''t follow them, leaving them to make the ultimate choice.

However I think more explanation is needed for the child suffering, It's only touched upon by Amali but not developed or reasoned. Basically its an "For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction" to put it in Newtonian terms.

But is that enough to warrant their blissful existence? I know this is a piece of adapted fantasy to begin with, but I think a greater background story or history as to how Omelia was originally formed is required to fully believe in the story. At 13 pages its too big a story to fully realize, it feels skimmed over in parts.

That aside I really enjoyed this, great writing, great premise & most of all great potential for development into a feature.

I disagree with ABSteel about the dialogue I thought the direct, non-ambiguous, say-exactly-what-you-mean nature of it totally fitted the piece & the all too idylic surroundings. Not to mention Jayce & Shenna are only 15 after all and by the looks of it were very sheltered until now.

Are you entertaining the notion to expand it?

Nice job

Col.


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James R
Posted: April 16th, 2009, 4:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Col. Thanks for reading and commenting, just like you said you would. I didn't realize there was a review here so I apologize for the late return.


Quoted from colkurtz8
I really liked this, man. The confused comments that litter the discussion board here are all the publicity you need for this to get more reads,. The head scratching, questions and varying interpretations piqued my interest.

Thanks for the compliments, glad you enjoyed it.


Quoted from colkurtz8
However I think more explanation is needed for the child suffering, It's only touched upon by Amali but not developed or reasoned. Basically its an "For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction" to put it in Newtonian terms.

But is that enough to warrant their blissful existence? I know this is a piece of adapted fantasy to begin with, but I think a greater background story or history as to how Omelia was originally formed is required to fully believe in the story. At 13 pages its too big a story to fully realize, it feels skimmed over in parts.

I agree to a point. Recently I have been thinking about this one again as I believe it has what is needed to turn it into a feature. I have not yet written a feature length script and am in the process of writing my first (which is why I haven't been around much lately). I think this one shows some promise and I will definitely be revisiting it when I get the time. My original ending had more of an explanation to the reason for the child being there but I ended up throwing it out to leave more to the reader's imagination. It seems that most people disagree with it so I will definitely have to rethink it.

Thanks again for your reading, your reviews are always very thorough and helpful.

James


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colkurtz8
Posted: April 17th, 2009, 7:43am Report to Moderator
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No problem with the delay in your reply, your script it was well worth the read, thats what matters most.

"Recently I have been thinking about this one again as I believe it has what is needed to turn it into a feature."

-- To reiterate, I couldn't agree more. There is a whole alternaitve world to be explored here with the concept and the parallel existence of the Omelian civilization. I recommend you give it some serious thought, seee what you can flesh out..

Best of luck with any developments you may have with this, and your feature-in-progress.

Col.


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