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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  All Highways Lead Downtown - OWC
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  Author    All Highways Lead Downtown - OWC  (currently 3864 views)
Don
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 9:34am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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All Highways Lead Downtown by Greg Baldwin - Short, Drama - They survived the attack.  They survived the wait.  Now they must survive the escape. - pdf, format


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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  March 8th, 2008, 4:05pm
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ABennettWriter
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 11:37am Report to Moderator
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Best idea of the first batch. It's original, good story, good characters. I don't think anyone really uses the word "dissipates", except my boyfriend when he wants to sound like a snob.

I think saying, "The End" is redundant, since you have "Final Fade".

Great job!

Edited to Add: I think it fits into the theme very well, too. Even though its not a literal cell, being confined to an area works for me. I think this could be a very good film. You've got some great visuals and I'm fascinated by the end of the world stories anyway.
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Souter Fell
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 12:16pm Report to Moderator
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Pretty good.

Seemed like a big action movie trying to be contained in 10 pages. Couple of notes.

Doc's sacrifice. Not only was it completely unspoken and had no emotional consequence on the three of them, but without the Doc advance or singling himself out, you say all three dogs attack him first. Just kinda cliche if you ask me.

I like the idea of the acid rain, but you take out it's knees pretty quickly. First it quickly starts to melt road signs but then Doc says "no big deal." It's scarier if they have to cover themselves, maybe the skin on their fingers start to peel as they hold planks and whatnot over their heads to shield themselves.

"I'd say it's now or never. There's more out there than there is down here." What does that mean? More of what? Food? People?

Oh and the building coming apart is just a little too convienent. Ty and Lori do nothing to save themselves but run. They're completely passive. Ty doesn't even kick the dog when he's distracted. Everything's happening to them and they don't take an active role.

And jumping into building rubble. You get hurt when it happens. I'm not saying this as far as "that could never happen." I'm saying it as a missed opportunity. Maybe Ty gets some rebar through his calf, Lori won't leave, is ready to die trying to defend them their against the dogs, and as the canines advance towards them, the building collapses. At least Lori would have intended an active role.

I liked it. Don't get me wrong. Little tweaking here and there.

Good show.


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Zombie Sean
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 12:45pm Report to Moderator
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This one was a good one. It took me a while to figure out that the destroyed city was actually a metaphor for a prison cell. That was cool.

The mutated dogs sort of reminded me of Resident Evil. And Doc's sacrifice...eh, it didn't really affect me in any way. It actually seemed a bit cliché.

The acid rain was a cool idea, and I agree with Souter, maybe you should have the skin from their fingers or shoulder begin to get eaten away by the acid.

Sean


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bert
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 3:20pm Report to Moderator
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I love this title, but I am not sure if this is the kind of story that lends itself to a short.

Not without some kind of resolution, at any rate.

The journey of these characters has a past and a future, but you have only provided a snapshot from a single point in time.

Our characters do not experience a change of any sort, there are no new revelations for them to experience, and they end much as they began.  One character dies, but with only a dozen or so passages of dialogue, there is no time for his death to have any resonance.

Of course I like the dogs and the acid rain and the shell of the city, all of that is good.  You have many fine details, and it was fun to read despite the fact that it was empty calories.

It is not that nothing significant occurred, but there just was not anything to take away from it when we were finished.  A good effort, but the survivors of the apocalypse probably warrant more than 12 pages.

OWC Score: 75%


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James McClung
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 4:17pm Report to Moderator
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How sneaky. The whole city's a prison. Clever. Not sure if I approve, considering the OWC guidelines stated a prison cell. Nevertheless, I guess I can't blame someone for finding a loophole. I do have to say though, I didn't like the sound of the word "prison" being thrown around. The only reason it's used is to justify the script for the OWC. I think people would've been able to figure out the loophole without it. Oh well...

Anyway, pretty standard, this one. It's a post-apocalyptic plot, which is always ripe for drama. I guess you got the genre right, despite your mutant dogs (I did like the extra tails BTW, freaky stuff). Nevertheless, I felt this has all been done before. Nothing really new for the scenario. This was fun, I suppose, but hollow. I can't say I didn't like it although I do like a little more drama in my drama. The conflict amongst the characters felt lukewarm.

Oh, and why are you calling the characters hermits? Hermits are people who live by themselves. These three definitely know each other and two of them share the same last name. Hermits, I think not.


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ABennettWriter
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 4:32pm Report to Moderator
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"Not sure if I approve, considering the OWC guidelines stated a prison cell."

I think life is much more rewarding if you think outside the box. Even if he didn't use a cell, he took what characteristics make a cell. Confinement, isolation, solitude.

There are a lot of interpretations for "prison cell" and I think you've got a pretty narrow outlook on life if that's what you wrote about.
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James McClung
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 4:56pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ABennettWriter
Even if he didn't use a cell, he took what characteristics make a cell. Confinement, isolation, solitude.


Those are the characteristics of a prison, not a cell. A cell is an actual physical environment designed to confine. A prison doesn't always have to be physical. The environment here is confining as a prison, not a cell. It doesn't really matter though. I still think the entry's legitimate, regardless of it being unconventional.


Quoted from ABennettWriter
There are a lot of interpretations for "prison cell" and I think you've got a pretty narrow outlook on life if that's what you wrote about.


I'd be willing to bet a lot of people wrote about conventional prison cells. It doesn't mean they have a narrow outlook on life or even writing, for that matter. Seriously. No need to make things personal. I don't mind people bending the rules but you can usually tell when someone's more focused on finding a way around guidelines than writing a good script and usually, that's detrimental to the final product.

In any case, the script's a legitimate entry, like I said. Let's let other people read it and give their thoughts.


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rc1107
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 5:15pm Report to Moderator
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Lol.  This is off-subject, but the first thing that popped into my head after reading the first line was the Sublime song 'Caress Me Down'.  "And when it came out, it went drip, drip, drip.  I didn't know she had the GI Joe Kung Fu Grip."  It got a smile out of me.

All right, back on-subject.  I can't really praise this one as much as ABSteel has, but I don't necessarily think it was bad.  I'll give you the credit of it fitting (ever so slightly) the theme, only because the characters run around calling it a damn prison, but nothing else.  I think them staying down in their shelter better represents the theme better than, (oh no), them being trapped in a couple hundred square miles of a city all to themselves.   You didn't nail the drama genre in the slightest.  There was nothing between the characters.  He calls her baby twice, that's about all the emotion I felt out of it.  Even at first, and a lot of the way through, I thought they were brother and sister.  The forces chasing after them isn't drama, it's action/adventure.  Don't get me wrong, it was a good action/adventure.  And it is good to think outside the box, but I imagine you'd be fired on the spot if a producer gave you a week to come up with a solid drama and you came back with this kind of budget.

And Bert is ultimately right.  You start in the middle of something that has already begun, and you take it nowhere.  You don't give it a resolution.  Just a bunch of monsters chasing people.  The people escape only for the time being and they make a forced joke about Los Angeles.  It is a good story and deserves a lot more than that.

The acid rain was a very good idea, but as it is, doesn't make sense how it can melt a traffic sign and their clothes, but doesn't seem to do much damage to their skin.  In fact, the only reaction I saw was the girl saying 'Ow.  Crap.'  I just sneezed a couple of minutes ago and it hurt worse than how Lori is reacting to acid pounding against her flesh.  (It seriously did hurt.  I think I pulled a rib or something when I did that.)

So, all in all, a pretty good and interesting story.  But, ultimately, for this challenge, barely... BARELY... passes the theme, and fails without question at the genre.

- Mark


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mcornetto
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 6:14pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this read. As a matter of fact, I hope more of them are like this one.  The story was a bit light but the action was good and the characters well drawn.  My major issue with this is that I don’t believe it met the prison cell challenge.  

Some other comments are that I didn’t really feel enough compassion for the characters involved. When the Doc gets it, I should be feeling the hurt but I’m not because there isn’t enough build-up for me to really feel his loss.  

Plus the other two don’t have a chance in hell of surviving, at least I don’t get that impression from the script – and I should.  There needs to be a bit of hope that these characters are competent enough to survive in order to carry this story.

Otherwise, not bad for a week, and since we aren’t talking budget constraints then I would give it an OPTION.
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ABennettWriter
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Emotion doesn't equal drama.
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greg
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 6:36pm Report to Moderator
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This was definitely the most metaphorical of the first batch.  That may or may not be a good thing.  I think I picked up on most of the metaphors in here; the city is the cell. While it does seem big for one, when the entire world is a prison, suddenly it's not that big.  The escape, the dogs as the other prisoners, and even the title; the "downtown" has a double meaning here.

Could have added more drama with Doc's death.  Like the others said, all the dogs pouncing him at once was cliche.  Maybe have him run with Ty and Lori and then have the dogs attack.  That would have been better, I think.

Overall I liked it.  The imagery was cool and the mood was nice.  You took a dare with the metaphors, but it was enjoyable and paced pretty well.  Good job, "Mick."(I would have expected something like this to come from Kieth =P)


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rc1107
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Quoted from ABennettWriter
Emotion doesn't equal drama.


I got a whole list of ex-girlfriends that tells me otherwise.

:-)  On a serious note, though, I'm sure emotion is in the equation somewhere.  I'm not saying the story was bad in the slightest, minus the few small element problems.  I did enjoy it.

But it almost seems like this was a pre-written, longer story cut down to fit the 12-page limit.  Then dialogue was added about being trapped like California was a prison, to fit the theme.  Then, it seems like the writer forced some kind of emotion between the brother and sister and the Professor to fit the genre.

I'm probably wrong and that's not the case.  But to me, it seems like a much bigger story than what it here.  Like an excerpt.


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chism
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 8:41pm Report to Moderator
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This piece was okay. Like other people said, the drama could be amped up a bit with Doc's death and some of the dialogue was a bit on the nose (especially the speech about humanity being a stupid species. It's a good point, but the way it's written is a bit obvious).

I also don't really care for the ending lines. Their (seemingly) long term companion has just been eaten to death, on top of which they were just being chased by a pack of mutated dogs through a collapsing skyscraper, and they're making jokes? It spoils the mood a little, for me it did anyway.

But those are minor quibbles in an otherwise good piece. Some cool ideas and imagery, end of the world type stuff is always interesting. The metaphor of the city as the prison was a nice idea as well. Overall, this was a pretty good one. Good work.


Matt.
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BryMo
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 10:03pm Report to Moderator
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Your title immediately intrigued me.  And your beginning proved that you know how to write. Your descriptions are beautiful, very detailed and complete. Shows you thought about the surrounding the character was in. This one is easily the best in the first group for me. But when I look at the story itself…it doesn’t seem to come full circle.

Also, when the time came that the professor sacrificed himself, I wasn’t too shocked nor did it touch any nerve. Too cliché for me I say.

Really all your story could use small modifications. But it was still really well written.

Good luck.


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