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Don
Posted: March 11th, 2018, 12:12pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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All Inclusive by Kyle Bowler - Horror - A young family's holiday to a remote coastal cottage takes a sinister turn when they allow two strangers to stay with them after an apparent mix-up with the booking. 89 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 (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  May 24th, 2018, 9:00am
revised draft
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MarkItZero
Posted: March 11th, 2018, 3:56pm Report to Moderator
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Think you've definitely got something here. I might try to do notes at some point. Gotta read it again cuz I kept getting interrupted. Is the author around for feedback?


That rug really tied the room together.
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LC
Posted: March 12th, 2018, 3:08am Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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Kyle, this is a terrific page-turner, (Bloodlist-worthy imh).

Really really good. Because of this you should clean it up by way of typos, slugs, minor errors.

Either way this'll get Optioned or I'll eat my hat.

I'm not going to critique the entire script, suffice to say I read it all and it was a terrific read.

A few things I'd advise you to concentrate on:

Your character descriptions are a little lacklustre.

EMMA, late twenties, stopped worrying about her looks a long time ago...
Really? I don't know many late 20s women where that would apply. Someone older who no longer gives a hoot, yes.

TOM, mid thirties, too young to look so worn, but judging by
the fact he can type quicker than most people speak, it’s not
due to manual labour, adds a sentence to a lengthy email.

That's a mouthful. Not a great analogy for an opening description imh, and not a great description full stop. You can do better than that. You're trying to say perhaps he's a pasty-faced pencil-pusher? I get it, but tighten it up.

INT. LARGE CARDBOARD BOX – DAY
Interesting opening on a cardboard box and I’m with you on the visual but that cardboard box is -

In a little girl's  bedroom, and within the Hopkinson House.

Speaking of which, Hopkinson as a surname is also too much of a mouthful, imh. Call them Martin or even Smith or just Hopkins, but ditch the three syllable thing.

Use th surname in the House slug when you first intro it too  – you do in the denouement, so...
Makes the location clear.
Page 3
A heated argument ensues (not pursues)

EXT. PACKED SANDY BEACH – DAY
Just try:
EXT. BEACH – DAY

And then describe it as being crowded if you like, but...
The beach is crowded? I never got any sense it’s crowded. Why not (budget wise, as well) make it a deserted beach all to themselves. It'll suit the atmosphere of the rest of the script too.

EXT. BEACH – CARPARK – DAY
Is more succinct.

EXT. CORNISH COAST - DAY
A secluded property sits at the top of a cliff.
It’s decent in size but looks tiny compared to the vast
ocean, sweeping rugged moorlands and steep granite cliffs
surrounding it.

Lovely description of the setting, but make sure you use this great description in your actual plot. Otherwise it's wasted. Wendy dangling Sophie over the cliff and telling her not to tell her parents (or else...)would be much more effective and nail bitingly suspenseful than her issuing the same threat inside the location/cottage.

Why does Emma say:
I still think it’s worth a look when clearly this is their destination?

Wendy's character description:
Then turns to see WENDY, late forties, a hippy-like woman who’s best years have passed, exit the front door

...'whose' best years btw, but even so...

...wait till you get back (not til)

Look over your script carefully. Words such as to/too
His names Terry. His name's Terry. En-suite bathroom not ‘on suite'. Window seal should be sill.
‘obsessions probably a better word for it.’ Apostrophe is missing. Etc.

There are too many typos.
Clean up on aisle 1 needed.

I'm being picky cause a great script demands you be picky too.

SPOILERS:


I like your ending and it's probably a popular choice but I prefer the old classics where the nasty villains get their comeuppance. And I think you could milk the ending more; weave some further suspense with their initial escape at least. Page count you could easily add a bit more.

Oh, nearly forgot. Your title doesn't really do the story justice. I don't have an alt but will let you know if I think of something.


Either way, a solid horror script!
Very enjoyable to read, and it flies by.


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JordanB
Posted: March 12th, 2018, 4:47am Report to Moderator
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Kyle,
Great horror script! I think the title could be changed
as to me it doesn't fit the story.  
You did a great job with the dialogue. It was smooth and
true to each characters voice. And I love how you exit scenes
early. It made for a smooth read.  

At first I was a bit skeptical if Tom would really accept the $750 in exchange to share the accommodation with complete strangers but you did enough with their financial struggle to convince me otherwise. Good job. But I think keep reinforcing this a little. For example, Tom’s dialogue on page 15 to Emma suggesting that Sophie could benefit from the stranger’s company is, to me, a bit far fetched. I would be very protective of my daughter, especially with complete strangers. That chunk of dialogue could be better used to strengthen his stressful money troubles. Just a suggestion.

Also, Wendy’s possessed behaviour on page 32, although eerie as hell, to me comes out of nowhere.  Maybe build it up a little? Or pull back on it a touch?

Page 66 – Montage. I would have like to have seen Nate flirt with Emma a little or even stealthy brush up against her from Tom’s drunken/passing out perspective.    

Great job and good luck with this! I couldn't put it down!

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Kyle
Posted: March 12th, 2018, 10:36am Report to Moderator
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Hi MarkItZero, yeah I'm around. Thanks for giving this a read. Any notes you have would be much appreciated. Happy to read something in return.

Kyle
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Kyle
Posted: March 12th, 2018, 10:50am Report to Moderator
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Hi LC, cheers for giving this a look, glad you enjoyed it.

I know it's a bit messy in places, I gave up writing a while back so this one's been sat on my laptop for about six months with no one else reading it till now. I gave it a quick once over for typos before posting but obviously didn't do the best of jobs. Grammar and spelling's never been a strong point for me. It's still a first draft so I'll try and tidy it up a bit in the next one.

Your character descriptions are a little lacklustre. EMMA, late twenties, stopped worrying about her looks a long time ago... Really? I don't know many late 20s women where that would apply. Someone older who no longer gives a hoot, yes.

I was trying to imply here that she's fed up with her marriage and maybe even life in general. I kind of had a back story in my head that they got married too young and had a kid when their relationship was already stale, so she's been at the point where the only thing she cares about is her little girl for a while now, who obviously isn't worried about what she looks like. Also, it hopefully makes a bigger impact when she puts on the dress later on.

Agree with you that Tom's intro could be better.

INT. LARGE CARDBOARD BOX – DAY
Interesting opening on a cardboard box and I’m with you on the visual but that cardboard box is - In a little girl's bedroom, and within the Hopkinson House.

I thought I could get away with this as a first scene just to add a bit of mystery for the reader but I could be wrong.

Hopkinson as a surname is also too much of a mouthful, imh. Call them Martin or even Smith or just Hopkins, but ditch the three syllable thing.

Yeah you could be right. I don't really put much thought into names, just write down whatever comes into my head at the time.

The beach is crowded? I never got any sense it’s crowded. Why not (budget wise, as well) make it a deserted beach all to themselves. It'll suit the atmosphere of the rest of the script too.

Pretty sure I'd just come back from a holiday in Devon with my niece when I wrote that so I was probably picturing the beach we went to there. I think what you say about atmosphere rings true though so I'll re-think it for the next draft.  

Lovely description of the setting, but make sure you use this great description in your actual plot. Otherwise it's wasted. Wendy dangling Sophie over the cliff and telling her not to tell her parents (or else...)would be much more effective and nail bitingly suspenseful than her issuing the same threat inside the location/cottage.

This was just to set the scene really, didn't give it much thought beyond that but I will for the next draft.

Why does Emma say: I still think it’s worth a look when clearly this is their destination?

She's reading the brochure at the time, talking about the Bison trail.

Look over your script carefully. Words such as to/too
His names Terry. His name's Terry. En-suite bathroom not ‘on suite'. Window seal should be sill. ‘obsessions probably a better word for it.’ Apostrophe is missing. Etc.

There are too many typos. Clean up on aisle 1 needed.

Cheers for pointing these out. I'll get the fine tooth out when I get chance.

SPOILERS: I like your ending and it's probably a popular choice but I prefer the old classics where the nasty villains get their comeuppance.

Originally, the ending I had in mind was a lot tamer but the image of the two couples on the sofa after the video was too good to pass up so I went with that instead.

And I think you could milk the ending more; weave some further suspense with their initial escape at least. Page count you could easily add a bit more.

I see where you're coming from. With the original ending this scene was a lot longer but I cut it back to try and keep it below 90 pages. It winds me up when horrors start to drag their feet towards the end so I tried to go with a quicker resolution.  

Your title doesn't really do the story justice. I don't have an alt but will let you know if I think of something.

I'm not sure if it's the same overseas but in the UK 'All Inclusive' is a common type of holiday so it was supposed to be a play on words with that. If you do think of any others though I'd be happy to hear them.

Thank you for the feedback.

If you'd like me to read anything in return just let me know.

Kyle
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Kyle
Posted: March 12th, 2018, 10:55am Report to Moderator
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Hi JordanB, thanks for giving this a read.

Great horror script! I think the title could be changed as to me it doesn't fit the story.
You did a great job with the dialogue. It was smooth and true to each characters voice. And I love how you exit scenes early. It made for a smooth read.


Cheers! Gonna have a think about the title. It's something I always struggle with but I thought I did a good job this time around. The feedback I've received on here says otherwise so I'll keep on trying.

At first I was a bit skeptical if Tom would really accept the $750 in exchange to share the accommodation with complete strangers but you did enough with their financial struggle toconvince me otherwise. Good job. But I think keep reinforcing this a little. For example, Tom’s dialogue on page 15 to Emma suggesting that Sophie could benefit from the stranger’s company is, to me, a bit far fetched. I would be very protective of my daughter, especially with complete strangers. That chunk of dialogue could be better used to strengthen his stressful money troubles. Just a suggestion.

I think Tom means well but he's a bit incompetent when it comes to his family but I agree the stranger's company bit could be a little too much. I'll think about this when I come back to it.  

Wendy’s possessed behaviour on page 32, although eerie as hell, to me comes out of nowhere Maybe build it up a little? Or pull back on it a touch?

Yeah definitely something to think about. Up until that point there ain't too much happening in terms of horror so maybe it comes off a little strong.

Page 66 – Montage. I would have like to have seen Nate flirt with Emma a little or even stealthy brush up against her from Tom’s drunken/passing out perspective.

Good idea. I tried to stay away from going over the top with the flirting, just enough to make it feel uncomfortable but I think it would work well if it's coming from Tom's perspective.

Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed it.

If you'd like me to read anything of yours let me know.

Kyle
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ReaperCreeper
Posted: March 13th, 2018, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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Hello. First of all, big congratulations to you for just finishing a feature at all. I know it doesn't come easy to a lot of people, and Lord knows I struggle with it.

I usually do writing notes followed by story notes, but I'll be entirely honest: I couldn't get past page 2. I'm generally a little bit nit-picky, but IMO the writing here is unpolished enough that it actually lacks any semblance of consistent readability. I'm not talking about the use of fragments and such -- in fact, I'm of the opinion that anything goes in screenwriting, generally speaking. That is, as long as the writing is always clear and readable.

I'm truly, honestly not trying to discourage you in any way. I fully meant to read the entire script and give my full thoughts on it, but I found myself constantly having to stop. I thought I was 6 pages in, then looked at the page count and realized I wasn't even past the second page.

Here are what notes I did gather before I stopped, for whatever it's worth. You'll probably be able to tell what did me in.

-"A slither of light" should probably be "A sliver of light" or something similar. Slither is a verb. It can be a noun based on context, but in such cases, it's a movement, not perfectly applicable to light, I don't think.
-"Sophie squirms and wriggles, desperately trying to beg and plead through uncontrollable laughter."
This is purely subjective, but IMO, this passage is a little overwritten. Could easily be something like: "Sophie squirms and wriggles. She laughs, giggles out desperate pleas [...]" Not exactly that, but something similarly shorter, you know? You could pretty much consider this general advice, applicable to the entire script; since it's so early in, I'll stop mentioning overwriting concerns. Just a general suggestion.
-Unsure if this is a typo or not: "It is or it isn't?" should probably be "Is it or isn't it?"
-I think "brightly colored" should be "brightly-colored" in this context, i.e., Look at this brightly-colored room! vs. This room is very brightly colored!
-"The usual junk piles up against one side of the room along with timber boards, rolls of insulation and tools leftover from a conversion that never came into fruition." This is an instance where sentence clarity is lost, IMO. It reads like it should be made up of full sentences, but it's in fact made up of fragments that are too long in and of themselves (thus defeating the purpose of a fragment) and don't really flow or conjoin properly. In this case, full sentences might be better. How about something like:
"Rolls of insulation, timber boards, and other miscellaneous tools are piled up against one side of the room, left over from an abandoned project." Or something like that. (P.S. in this context, left over is correct over leftover)
-A recently slept on mattress contains a made-up adjective, which is totally fine as long as it's hyphenated properly, i.e., "A recently-slept-on mattress." P.S. I'd use "other side" as opposed to just "other" in this paragraph, since you did make it a separate paragraph and therefore severed the natural correlation to the previous one. I had to read the passage twice to know what you had meant. It seems like a simple enough thing, not sure why it's written this way. The punctuation, or lack thereof, doesn't help either.
-Honestly, I found this particular paragraph highly problematic, and instances similar to this are what made me stop reading altogether:
TOM, mid thirties, too young to look so worn, but judging by the fact he can type quicker than most people speak, it�s not due to manual labour, adds a sentence to a lengthy email.
There is simply neither clarity nor concision here, no logical rhythm to anything. There's no sequence to it. It's slightly wordy while also telling us very little. Nothing flows.

The paragraph is made up of fragments and sentences separated by liberal comma use, all serving entirely different or even contradictory purposes. I had to really pause and re-read this to get a sense of what it was describing simply due to the chaotic nature of the wording and structure. The entire scene, really, is written like that.

It's also a pretty calm scene; I don't even want to know how this sort of writing would jumble up an action sequence. Fragments are fine, but try to clarify what's a description vs. what's an action vs. what's an unfilmable. Have them work in conjunction with one another instead of competing for impact and letting them overpower each other. A large portion of the paragraph only tells me that Tom can type quickly; nothing told me he was actually writing an email (or even sitting at the desk, for that matter) until he "adds a sentence to a lengthy email."

The way the entire scene is written literally describes a seemingly empty setting, then pauses to tell us about a character that I suppose I'm meant to guess is in the scene, then pauses again to tell us about said character without actually telling us what he's doing or where he actually is in the scene, physically, until the last four words of the paragraph, which tell us he's writing an email. You allude to the fact that he's a fast typist, but don't actually tell us that he's typing at the moment or where he is in the scene's setting.

Just tell us where he's sitting and what he's doing. When you tell us there's a desk and laptop, just tell us Tom's sitting there, then proceed to describe him and his current action.

The previous 2 scenes with Emma and Sophie had a couple of issues, but I could understand them. I didn't have to completely stop and re-read them to know what I was supposed to be picturing. I have no idea why the writing during Tom's intro is so different in regards to readability. I skimmed ahead a little to see if further pages had the same issues. When I saw that they did (to varying extents), I stopped.

Like I said, I don't mean to deflate you with these comments or anything like that. My comments are comments that I've given out as well as received myself. Hopefully, you will take them as they were intended. I really do want to help, not attack or scrutinize. I don't want to call the script unreadable, but it does need a polish. A big one, IMO.  

-Julio
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Kyle
Posted: March 13th, 2018, 12:54pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Julio.

Cheers for the feedback.

I'm not new to this like you seem to have implied. I've written five features and around two dozen shorts so far and out of the fifty odd people who have read my work including producers, you're the first one to completely write off the writing itself.

We all have different styles and mine clearly didn't work for you which is fine. I struggle to get through a lot of professional scripts that have received high praise for reasons that clearly don't bother others. Each to their own I suppose. This is still a first draft so I'll take on board what you've said for the next one.

If you'd like me to read anything of yours I'd be happy to. It'd be interesting to see how we do things differently.

Thanks again, genuinely. If feedback isn't honest then it's useless in my eyes.

Kyle
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ReaperCreeper
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Quoted from Kyle

I'm not new to this like you seem to have implied.


I didn't mean to imply that at all. I was merely saying that completing a feature is an accomplishment in itself, no matter how many we've written. I apologize if that came off as condescending in any way or for any reason. For what it's worth, you've written more features than I have.


Quoted Text
I've written five features and around two dozen shorts so far and out of the fifty odd people who have read my work including producers, you're the first one to completely write off the writing itself.


I truly do my best to never stop reading based on prose style. I make a point to only stop reading when I feel that the prose actually becomes too (literally) difficult to comprehend, in which case I'll make note of it immediately. I don't want good tales passed over just because the prose gives one pause or is otherwise perceived by someone to be sluggish, my reasoning being that if I struggled with it, at least a few bigwigs out there with far less time on their hands than me would probably feel similarly.

And no, the irony of me stopping because of the same reason I just stated is not lost on me, but realistically speaking, my opinion doesn't really matter as much as a producer's.  


Of course, in the end, my opinion is just that. If what you're doing is working for you, by all means feel free to discard what I'm saying or otherwise mold it into something that will help. Plenty of things pertaining to screenwriting are at least partly subjective anyway (or most of it, I'd even say, though lots of people would fight me on that).

I may give this one another shot when I'm less stressed, see if that affected my judgment somehow.








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