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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Series  ›  Æternum Moderators: bert
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Posted: January 3rd, 2017, 5:13pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Æternum Episode 01 by Chris Bold - Series, Horror, Sci Fi, Thriller - When a grad student becomes obsessed with finding a cryptic book, she is unaware that its words are a terrible contagion. 58 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



Visit http://www.simplyscripts.com for what is new on the site.


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Bold
Posted: January 3rd, 2017, 5:49pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you for the quick add!

Æternum mini-series logline:
When four strangers are thrust into the center of inexplicable events, they must prevent a cosmic cataclysm by overcoming inter-dimensional horrors, science run amok, and a book that hideously transforms its readers.

I’m happy to read / review original material in exchange for feedback.

Thanks for your time & consideration!

|.  .  |  .|


Bold on IMDB



Æternum "Reasons Unknown" (Pilot) • Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi • 58 Pages

I will reciprocate feedback!
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Female Gaze
Posted: January 4th, 2017, 2:41pm Report to Moderator
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It's not who will let me; It's who will stop me?

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Well, what can I say?

THIS IS GENIUS!

I read the entire thing no problem.....I want episode 2 now!!!...please.

There were a few issues but it did not impair my read at all. Just get Grammarly and let it do a scan on the whole thing.

Other than that great job man. Really.
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MarkItZero
Posted: January 4th, 2017, 7:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bold,

I took a quick glance, seems like some fun stuff. Sort of an Evil Dead Necronomicon vibe to it.

Generally, though, starting out it might be hard to get notes on something this long. Especially with the OWC (one week challenge) coming up.

You might want to consider posting in the script review exchange section.

Or, join in the OWC coming up, review people's scripts, and maybe they'll return the favor.


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Female Gaze
Posted: January 4th, 2017, 8:17pm Report to Moderator
Purple


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ORRRRR....you can just do the exchange thing which works fine. I like to think each section has a nice group of writers and readers.

But this is a site that is all about the shorts.

I thought it was wonderful and would be happy to give notes if you want them.
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eldave1
Posted: January 4th, 2017, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
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This was really imaginative.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Bold
Posted: January 4th, 2017, 10:48pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you all for the kind words and for taking time to check out Æternum.

It seems like there's feedback being provided on both the Unproduced Screenplay category threads, and the Script Review Exchange section.  I don't necessarily want to start another thread in the latter, if that's considered cross-posting.

I am brand new here, can someone help me out with what the standard etiquette/expectations are?

(I'm primarily interested in writing & reviewing television- and feature-length material.)

Thanks!

|.  .  |  .|


Bold on IMDB



Æternum "Reasons Unknown" (Pilot) • Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi • 58 Pages

I will reciprocate feedback!
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Female Gaze
Posted: January 4th, 2017, 11:07pm Report to Moderator
Purple


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You can do whatever you like on here....MarkitZero has a point OWC will suck up all the attention on here for the next few weeks.

Shorts are this forums bread and butter. I am glad that you decided to focus on television and film though. Score one for us!

The advice mostly comes from the fact that you are new to the site and people are less likely to give noobs any feedback because of the lack of quality in script and time.

You don't have that problem. At least you know how to format. Thank goodness..took me like a year to figure that out myself.

Point is give and you shall receive. That's the code of etiquette on here. Keep it up though.
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Bold
Posted: January 5th, 2017, 12:09am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Ashlie!  I'll post a blurb on the Script Review Exchange.

I'd love to get notes from you if you have them, and I'd certainly return the favor in kind!


Bold on IMDB



Æternum "Reasons Unknown" (Pilot) • Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi • 58 Pages

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eldave1
Posted: January 6th, 2017, 6:30pm Report to Moderator
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Chris: I had time to read the first 20. Over all, I think you have something special here. Dialogue is generally superb and the story is engaging. My comments are mostly in the nit - take them or leave them variety as I believe you know what you are doing. Here they are on the first 20:

Your opening is beautifully written.  However, and this may be a lone wolf opinion, I think the breadth of your vocabulary hurts it.


Quoted Text
CARAVAL

Not sure many readers are going to know that this is a small 16th century Spanish sailing ship. Why not just say that?  


Quoted Text
CONIFERS

More will know this, but I still think betters as Cedars, Firs and Pine Trees….

Quoted Text

SLIPFOOT, an elderly native Makah

Again, not sure how many folks are going to know that this was an Indian Tribe – I would add that. E.g., SLIPFOOT,  an elder in the Makah Indian Tribe. Personally, I would also have liked some description of his physical characteristics and his garb.


Quoted Text
EXT. OLYMPIC PENINSULA, 1562 A.D. – DAY

Not sure that this shouldn’t be in the form of a SUPER rather than a scene heading.


Quoted Text
EXT. WILDERNESS – DAY
Slipfoot comes to a rock incline, he goes up instead of around. As he climbs his foots SLIPS - and he drops everything just in time to get a handhold. He climbs down to retrieve his belongings.


It is efficient writing. However, I think this needs just little more to define “everything”. He left IOÁNNIS with a satchel and a parcel.  Did he climb with one in each hand or did he place parcel in the satchel before he ascended?  Also think it might be a bit more visually interesting if he didn’t just slip – maybe something like a HAWK sloops nearby distracting his focus. Finally – think he should watch the satchel fall to the ground – its contents spewing out as it heads towards the ground.


Quoted Text
INT. GRADY’S APARTMENT - MORNING - PRESENT DAY
Faint shapes visible through fabric. The THRUM of a digital alarm. A bed sheet is pulled away to reveal a CEILING. ELIZABETH GRADY, 30ish, opens her eyes and looks up at it. That kind of white apartment stucco that churns like oatmeal if you stare at it too long.

Grady defuses her alarm clock and sits up. She gets out of bed, does some gentle stretches, and steps into the shower.

Once her hair is washed, she dons glasses and begins reading a hanging water-proofed iPad. She continues washing, swiping through digital text with a soapy finger.

Her apartment is clean and sparse. Dressed in business casuals, she tops off her travel mug with coffee and loads books and a laptop into her shoulder bag.

Hand on the doorknob to leave, she pauses and puts an eye to the security PEEPHOLE. The corridor is empty and the door across the hall is closed.


This is confusing. I had to read a couple of times to get the sense of the location. I assuming now this is like a studio apartment. But certainly, the bathroom is a separate room – yes? There is no change in scene heading when we go there. One second she’s in bed, the next in the shower and the next fuly dressed ready to go – al within the same scene heading. Also the description of the apartment is 2/3rds down the descriptive block – move it up earlier so we get a sense when the scene opens and add a mini-slug for when she goes to the bathroom. Something like:

INT. GRADY’S APARTMENT - MORNING - PRESENT DAY

Faint shapes visible through fabric. The THRUM of a digital alarm. A bed sheet is pulled away to reveal a CEILING. ELIZABETH GRADY, 30ish, opens her eyes and looks up at it. That kind of white apartment stucco that churns like oatmeal if you stare at it too long.

Grady defuses her alarm clock and sits up. Her eyes scan the apartment - clean and sparse.
She gets out of bed and does some gentle stretches.

BATHROOM SHOWER – MOMENTS LATER

Once her hair is washed, Grady dons glasses and begins reading a hanging water-proofed iPad. She continues washing, swiping through digital text with a soapy finger.

APARTMENT - MOMENTS LATER

Dressed in business casuals, she tops off her travel mug with coffee and loads books and a laptop into her shoulder bag. Hand on the doorknob to leave, she pauses and puts an eye to the security PEEPHOLE. The corridor is empty and the door across the hall is closed. The fish-eyed coast is


Quoted Text
MILLS
Morning Ms. Grady!

Should be a comma after Morning – you have this issue throughout the script.


Quoted Text
GRADY
Have a good day Mr. Mills, put some pants on.


Another example. You need a comma after day. I also think this works better as two sentences. i.e.,

GRADY
Have a good day, Mr. Mills. Put some pants on.


Quoted Text
FRANCESCA grabs the other. ‘Chess’ for short. Late 20s, petite, vivacious, confident. A bite-sized stick of TNT.


Great character description. Made me want you to add a little more description to Grady when she is first introduced.  

Here’s a real  nit – but I think it works better having her as ELIZABETH in the dialogue blocks rather than GRADY.

Anyway - solid stuff here IMO - hope the above is helpful.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Bold
Posted: January 6th, 2017, 9:10pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from eldave1
My comments are mostly in the nit


David, I am all about that nit.

Thank you for the excellent and granular feedback, it is greatly appreciated!  If you're looking for feedback on anything, let me know!

Cheers,
|.  .  |  .|


Bold on IMDB



Æternum "Reasons Unknown" (Pilot) • Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi • 58 Pages

I will reciprocate feedback!
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eldave1
Posted: January 6th, 2017, 9:21pm Report to Moderator
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I am cool right now - but will definitely hit you up in the future.

I did read the next 20. General observations.

I really like Grady and Chess - you have nailed their voices. Kudos on making them totally different people yet still close. I see so many scripts where the voices blend together after awhile. All of your characters are unique.

I liked the scene at the son's house - great dialogue. However, it seem a little too easy/convenient to me that they would find what they are looking for on first stab.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Bold
Posted: January 6th, 2017, 9:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from eldave1
it seems a little too easy/convenient to me that they would find what they are looking for on first stab.

Yep, you nailed it.
Probably my biggest issue with the story at the moment.  I'm having trouble coming up with an elegant solution.


Bold on IMDB



Æternum "Reasons Unknown" (Pilot) • Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi • 58 Pages

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eldave1
Posted: January 7th, 2017, 3:42pm Report to Moderator
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Okay - done.

First and foremost - you can write. There is a lot of talent here.  Keep at it. I mention that first because I am going to focus on what I saw as potential problems and I didn't want it appear negative as I felt generally positive about the writing. Also, I am an amateur writer who hasn't sold squat. So take comments in that vein. This is just me spit-balling.

SPOILERS AHEAD

1. Theoretically, this is  going to be a series.  However, the most interesting character and the protag is dead. Not sure what you can launch from here given that. If it is going to be a series, I think Grady must survive and pursue other artifacts. Perhaps it is going to be a a non-serial one - i.e., each week a new protag and a new challenge - if so, this note doesn't apply.

2. Taking each scene separately,I liked the drama.  I liked the humor. However when viewing it is an entire story, the tone was inconsistent for me. e.g., building tension derailed by something funny. In parts this became The Da Vinci Code meets Scooby Doo. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, but it did derail the tension. I think this - you can write drama and you can write comedy and you haven't quite yet settled on which way to go. Although I am someone who prefers humor - I think the tone of this should go darker.

3. The Scene with Joseph at Grady's house was a bit of a cheat when you had him unscrewing the light bulb. If his intentions were not nefarious - why would he do this?

4. Grady not calling the police did not seem natural to me. She's sobbing in fear. She calls Chess, etc. The reason she doesn't call needs to be developed (e.g., because she is a thief herself).

5. I love the way the scene with Chess at Joseph's house is written. But I don't buy it logically. From what Grace tells her he is a pyscho - and she shows up at her house by herself? Got to work on that I think.

6. Other than convenience for the story - why would Joseph's Dad want Joseph to promise that he would keep the book??

7. I am not a fan of Grady's primary motivation - i.e., to make a career for herself.


Quoted Text
CHESS
Will you listen to yourself? The
book can wait!
GRADY
Only the book matters. If somebody
finds out before I finish, they’ll
take it under the Antiquities Act,
ending my career before it starts.
Just when I’m beginning to
understand the syntax.


This makes her less noble. And isn't that the very thing she despises about Baldwin?

Suggestions:

-  Make Chess more of a bad ass. Something like a ex-Iraqi veteran turned Cop, turned private investigator. e.g., She's Demi Moore from GI Jane. She joined the police for a few years - got bored and became a P.I. - That is why she can handle the likes of Joseph no problem and is also a perfect partner for the more academic Grady. It might also give her access to background checks, etc. that are the tools needed to help Grady investigate this whole thing.

- Do not kill Grady. Make her your hero - trying to find the antidote to the evils of the book. I would even like to see her and Chess head out to Olympic Pennisula, interview scholars and researchers out there on their journey together to solve this mystery.

- Kill Marcus is the first victim. Have the prick steal the book from Grady - his arrogance is what makes him not heed the warnings and he dies for it. Then - the book goes missing once again sending Grady and Chess on their Journey to find it.  

- Develop a plausible reason why the book just can't be destroyed. It sticks out there like a sore thumb.

Overall, I think you have written some nice scenes and are a talented writer. However, I think you have left some holes in the story plot and at times the tone is inconsistent.

Hope these notes help.




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Bold
Posted: January 7th, 2017, 9:51pm Report to Moderator
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David,

Thank you again for dedicating so much time and thought to your feedback.  I’ve been writing in a vacuum so it’s really great to get this level of detail, you have some excellent observations.  


Quoted from eldave1
1. Theoretically, this is going to be a series.  However, the most interesting character and the protag is dead. Not sure what you can launch from here given that. If it is going to be a series, I think Grady must survive and pursue other artifacts. Perhaps it is going to be a non-serial one - i.e., each week a new protag and a new challenge - if so, this note doesn't apply.

My rough outline for Æternum is that the first four episodes would introduce the four main characters – seemingly an anthology at first, but their stories quickly intersect.  In later episodes we would re-introduce Chess, who is hunting down the Palimpsest.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you always knew Buffy, Willow, and Xander were going to survive.  In Game of Thrones or The Wire, it’s anybody’s guess who will make it out alive – and it allows for much higher levels of tension.  Grady’s demise establishes for the audience that the threat of death is real and that no one is safe.

I realize this could be off-putting or confusing to the audience in a pilot episode.  I’m considering intermixing the four main characters’ stories in episode one (a la Heroes or Westworld), then Grady’s demise would end up in a later episode.  Still not sure yet.  My focus is getting the other three characters’ stories written first.

Quoted from eldave1
2. Taking each scene seperately,I liked the drama.  I liked the humor. However when viewing it is an entire story, the tone was inconsistent for me. e.g., building tension derailed by something funny. In parts this became The Da Vinci Code meets Scooby Doo. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, but it did derail the tension. I think this - you can write drama and you can write comedy and you haven't quite yet settled on which way to go. Although I am someone who prefers humor - I think the tone of this should go darker.

I feel that having moments of humor & humanity allow the audience a little breathing room between moments of tension.  I don’t want to write something unrelentingly dark.  I think Whedon really strikes a good balance of humor & tension in Serenity, that’s sort of the vector I’m aiming for.  But I have a ways to go.

Quoted from eldave1
3. The Scene with Joseph at Grady's house was a bit of a cheat when you had him unscrewing the light bulb. If his intentions were not nefarious - why would he do this?

The light bulb gimmick doesn’t really have a logical justification (other than Joseph isn’t quite right in the head), honestly I just wrote it because it felt like a creepy moment that could have some really good imagery.

Quoted from eldave1
5. I love the way the scene with Chess at Joseph's house is written. But I don't buy it logically. From what Grace tells her he is a pyscho - and she shows up at her house by herself? Got to work on that I think.

Grady is unwilling / unable to get the police involved (see below), so Chess confronts the problem head-on.  This is part of her persona… she has very few fears or filters, particularly when it comes to protecting her friends.  I don’t want to give her some military background, she’s just a natural-born ass-kicker.

Quoted from eldave1
4. Grady not calling the police did not seem natural to me. She's sobbing in fear. She calls Chess, etc. The reason she doesn't call needs to be developed (e.g., because she is a thief herself).
6. Other than convenience for the story - why would Joseph's Dad want Joseph to promise that he would keep the book??
7. I am not a fan of Grady's primary motivation - i.e., to make a career for herself.

So these points here have to do with the Palimpsest…

SPOILERS AHEAD

The Palimpsest isn’t supernatural.  It was designed to reprogram the brain of the reader.  Think of it like a computer virus, in printed form.  The more you read it, the more obsessed/brainwashed you become.  Like Gollum and the Ring.

So Landon is brainwashed, and makes Joseph promise to protect the Palimpsest so that The Work will continue – not realizing that Joseph’s dyslexia actually affords a measure of immunity.

But Grady is is not so lucky and is reprogrammed by the Palimpsest… to covet it, read it, and follow its instructions – to the exclusion of all else (food, sleep, hygiene, personal safety).  The metaphor here is Addiction, and I think I need to re-work some scenes so that this metaphor comes across more clearly.

Quoted from eldave1
Develop a plausible reason why the book just can't be destroyed.

Yeah I have some thoughts on this.  The Palimpsest holds the key to starting a quantum apocalypse…but it also holds the key to stopping one.  Probably what will happen is it does get destroyed, but somebody has read it in full, allowing them to spread the infection/brainwashing in full, verbally.  Still need to iron out the kinks, but that’s the direction it’s heading.

Anyway, that’s some of the thinking behind it.  It still needs a lot of work, but it feels good to finally write again and I think the logic/structure obstacles can be overcome.

Thank you again for the great feedback David, it is extremely helpful!

Best
|.  .  |  .|


Bold on IMDB



Æternum "Reasons Unknown" (Pilot) • Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi • 58 Pages

I will reciprocate feedback!
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