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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Horror  ›  Something's Out There
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  Author    Something's Out There  (currently 743 views)
Don
Posted: July 11th, 2018, 4:10pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Something's Out There by Zack Akers - Short, Horror - A young couple slowly realize they are NOT alone in the dark. 6 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

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Don  -  July 17th, 2018, 3:00pm
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StevenClark
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Zack,

Written well and I saw what you wanted me to see, but without any kind of story - or backstory - then itís hard for me to get a handle on this. Iím pretty sure I get what youíre going for, and it actually meets my criteria for horror, and that is it doesnít necessarily have to make sense, it just has to be scary. But this just seems random, like killing just for killings sake. A jump scare just for the hell of it without anything to ground it. Iím not saying serve up two extra pages of back story, but for me it just needs a little more to get me into the story. Hope this makes sense.

Steve


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Dreamscale
Posted: July 11th, 2018, 5:09pm Report to Moderator
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Zack Attack!!  What up, brother?

Just read this from start to finish. Can't say I really liked it, but I didn't hate it, either.

Couple things I noticed as I read.

Lots and lots of camera direction.  No reason for this at all, IMO. Using a POV is fine and dandy and cool, but make sure whatever is under the POV, is literally what is being seen through the POV.

Lots of CUT TO: - Absolutely no reason for this.  Just a space waster and irritater.  If you want to show passing time...as in alot of it, sure, use a CUT TO, but otherwise, the start of a new Slug is all you need.

I was on Page 4 and I said out loud, "Is this really Page 4 already?"  I actually went back to make sure you didn't start on Page 2.  So little happened in the first 4 pages...but in reality, so little happens throughout the entire script.

We have no backstory, no character development, nothing that makes either character stand out or be memorable, and no story or plot here...at all.

The end, for me, at least, was very predictable, sorry to say.  Maybe the way you wrote it, it just seemed so damned obvious that someone else was in the sleeping bag.  Also, I don't buy that the dude wouldn't see the bloody, mangled corpse, as most tents that are backpacked into the woods are very small.

It needs more, IMO...as in ALOT MORE!  Characters and dialogue need to be memorable in some way(s).  Killer needs an angle...a backstory...something.

Just my 2 cents, brother.  Hope it helps.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Warren
Posted: July 11th, 2018, 5:23pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Zack,

SPOILERS

Not too much here in terms of story or originality. A couple camping in the woods being stalker by a killer, itís really been done to death. Even the logline is pretty generic; it could easily be applied to so many horrors.

People say all you need is a unique spin on a used up idea. I donít think this quite got there.

Hard to get invested in anyone without knowing anything about them or the situation.

Lots of camera directing which is okay if you plan on filming this yourself but at the end of the day the DOP is going to decide how to shoot the film. That being said this would be super easy to film and I wouldnít be surprised if it gets snapped up.

The writing is pretty good. Iíve read some of your other work so I know we have some stylistic differences so I wonít bother mentioning them.

My only suggestion would be to give this something that sets it apart. Who is the killer? Why is he there? Is there a history of this happing? Maybe give us some conflict between the couple.

Just amp it up a bit.

All the best


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Zack
Posted: July 12th, 2018, 1:22am Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right, get it written.

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Hey guys,

Thanks for reading.  A buddy and I are actually gonna be starting our own Youtube channel where we will be focusing on short horror films. This will be one of the first shorts we produce for the channel.

I actually intended for this to be under 3 pages, obviously I failed. I know this needs a rewrite, but my dilemma is that I need this to be shorter, yet most of the feedback I've received thus far suggests I need to add more to it. I suppose I can get away with expanding this another page or two.

The thing that is attacking the characters is supposed to be a Wendigo, and I purposefully gave no explanation. Perhaps this was a mistake. I still don't want to reveal what "It" is, maybe I'll have the characters mention that these woods have a history of disappearances.

I also agree that I need to do more to develop the characters, but I really want to stay away from exposition. In the backstory I've created for them, they are going through a rough patch in their relationship and are using the camping trip as a way to get closer. Any suggestions on how I should approach this?

Zack


*NEW DRAFT*

DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)
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HyperMatt
Posted: July 12th, 2018, 3:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack,

I'll look at this tomorrow and post my thoughts.


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Zack
Posted: July 12th, 2018, 7:12pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Matt, looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Zack


*NEW DRAFT*

DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)
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HyperMatt
Posted: July 13th, 2018, 3:18am Report to Moderator
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Great use of a small location. It is used effectively, very eerie in places.

Love the use of the title card at the end.
When I write shorts they are just shorter stories, but this is a good short narrative.


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HyperMatt
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I't only 7 pages, but Jessica seems to me a lot more deeper a character than Tim who seems a stereotypical jock type. That is not a criticism. He serves his purpose, this type of character seems always present in slasher flicks.


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Dreamscale
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Quoted from HyperMatt
I't only 7 pages, but Jessica seems to me a lot more deeper a character than Tim who seems a stereotypical jock type. That is not a criticism. He serves his purpose, this type of character seems always present in slasher flicks.


Jessica has 6 lines of dialogue (7 if you count the extra 1 where her dialogue is continued, and set apart by an action block.

How can a character be " a lot more deeper a character" with 6 lines of dialogue over 7 pages of script?

These are not deep characters in any way, shape, or form, sorry to say.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Zack
Posted: July 13th, 2018, 11:03am Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right, get it written.

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Thanks for giving this a look, Matt. Very happy you enjoyed it.

I'm going to have to agree with Jeff and say that neither one of the characters are deep at all. Of course, I was never really trying to be "deep" with this short. That said, I'm trying to add a bit more character to this with the rewrite.

Thanks again for reading.

Zack


*NEW DRAFT*

DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)

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Zack
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Quoted from Dreamscale


The end, for me, at least, was very predictable, sorry to say.  Maybe the way you wrote it, it just seemed so damned obvious that someone else was in the sleeping bag.  Also, I don't buy that the dude wouldn't see the bloody, mangled corpse, as most tents that are backpacked into the woods are very small.



Any suggestions on how I could make the end less obvious? Also, would it be more believable if instead of a bloody corpse, it's just her decapitated head?

Zack


*NEW DRAFT*

DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)
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Dreamscale
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Quoted from Zack
Any suggestions on how I could make the end less obvious? Also, would it be more believable if instead of a bloody corpse, it's just her decapitated head?
Zack


Zack, here's the deal...

Your script is 6 1/4 pages, not counting the "title card thing" and THE END.  Near the end of Page 4, nothing has happened, and Tim is back at the campsite.  By Page 5, he's inside the tent, talking to an unresponsive Jessica...and this goes on another 1/2 page, meaning, we have less than a page left, and something has got to happen, and since they're in the tent, and Jessica isn't responding, it just seems like nothing else could happen except have the killer in the sleeping bag and Jessica dead...or missing.

There's another issue in the tent itself.  When Jessica goes in by herself, you say the sleeping bag is "large".  To me, that means it most likely fills up most of the interior of the tent, or at least half, as again, like I said earlier, this appears to be a hike-in campsite, and hike-in tents are not large and spacious like car camping tents can be.

When Tim enters the tent and Jessica doesn't answer, you say that he "rolls over and faces the other direction", which would mean, he's facing the interior wall of the tent, most likely at a right angle to the door of the tent.

The you say just beside him is Jessica's corpse, which he somehow didn't see or sense, which is very hard to believe or picture.  And then, you say, "right behind him, the sleeping bag sits up".  If he's lying next to the sleeping bag, how would it sit up behind him?

Just my 2 cents again, so now that equals 4 cents.  


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Zack
Posted: July 13th, 2018, 4:15pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale

The you say just beside him is Jessica's corpse, which he somehow didn't see or sense, which is very hard to believe or picture.  And then, you say, "right behind him, the sleeping bag sits up".  If he's lying next to the sleeping bag, how would it sit up behind him?


I agree about it not being believable that he wouldn't see or sense her body. I did intend for the tent to be a large, four-person tent. It's the kind I have and always use. i'll be sure to make it more clear that the tent is large. I also think switching the body to a decapitated head will help sell it more.

As for the sleeping-bag rising behind him, I meant that he is sitting up, facing away from the sleeping-bag. Obviously he is still sitting next to it. Should I have it read "Beside him, the sleeping-bag sits up."? I feel like the way I phrased it gives a better visual, but maybe I'm wrong.

Thanks for all the advice, Jeff. You've taught me a lot through out the years. I really appreciate it, Dude.

Zack


*NEW DRAFT*

DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)
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Philostrate
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Hey Zack,

Solid writing. Can't say I loved the story, but I enjoyed the misdirection. It was somewhat expected, but I liked it anyway.

There's no much left to say. Steve, Jeff, Matt and Warren have covered it all pretty well.

My only suggestion would be to cut a little the set up. My take is that you're creating the eerie atmosphere for the final twist, but by the end of page four little has happened.  I think you can trim the start a little to take us there faster while keeping that same great atmosphere.

If you want to keep the short as it is, I would suggest giving us more to think about (who's the killer? what's he doing out there? has this happened more than once?) or start with a kickass scene that grabs our interest right away.

Hope it helps.

David


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