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  Author    Soulshadows II: Uncle Harry  (currently 3298 views)
Don
Posted: November 9th, 2009, 8:55pm Report to Moderator
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Soulshadows II: Uncle Harry by Steven P. Dilworth (steven8 ) (Tanis by Robert Newcomer and Steven P. Dilworth) - Series, Supernatural -  Scott's Uncle Harry may have been cruel and vindictive all his life, but who says it has to end there? - pdf, format

Listen to the audio version.

Enjoy other scripts in the SoulShadows II Series or the first season of SoulShadows


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Angry Bear
Posted: November 10th, 2009, 12:04am Report to Moderator
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Hey Steven,

very well written script, but I'm including some suggestions/questions below. Nothing big to complain about as far as the writing goes.

Characters were fine. My only issue here was the remote control... I felt you took too long to make it play a major part. Sure it was mentioned fairly early, but it didn't become an antagonist until way past the 1st ppt. at least IMHO.

silly comments that I jot down while reading. good start in the middle of the action.

I liked the return to Tanis. after the initial intro and first scene. new and different.

what does "greats people in a very classic fashion mean? I'm a foreigner here in the US. I have no idea what you mean by that.

ditto that for Gina�

give you the shirt "off" his back? not sure about this. maybe I'm wrong.

more weird descriptions of hugs. I guess I'm dense. LOL

oily business? I think you have too many descriptions that I've never heard of, but maybe everyone else has, so take it with a grain of salt.

page 5 at the eagles club should definitely be a "flashback"! I see you have that on a second look, but it's not in the right place. I think� also pretty sure it should be END FLASHBACK rather than RETURN TO PRESENT. again, could be wrong.

Is that really a montage on page 10? Just asking. seems like just a scene to me or series of shots.

good transitions

I don't know what classic "implore" stance means. I'm sure everyone else do, but I don't and I don't like googling everything I don't know.

nice come back to the Scott and Sarah's house with the ripped clothes and heavy breathing.

overall, very nice, but a tad too chatty. Great entry.



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Angry Bear  -  November 10th, 2009, 12:32am
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steven8
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Quoted from Angry Bear
Hey Steven,

very well written script, but I'm including some suggestions/questions below. Nothing big to complain about as far as the writing goes.


Thank you, Pia.  The phrase "very well written script" means a lot!!


Quoted from Angry Bear

Characters were fine. My only issue here was the remote control... I felt you took too long to make it play a major part. Sure it was mentioned fairly early, but it didn't become an antagonist until way past the 1st ppt. at least IMHO.
[quote]

Hmm.  I'm not sure how I could have moved that point up.  I tried to build on it's importance as a heinous tool wield by the first antagonist, who then passed his soul to it when he died.  Hmm.

[quote=me]
silly comments that I jot down while reading. good start in the middle of the action.

I liked the return to Tanis. new and different.


Very glad you liked the return to Tanis.  When I first decided to write a Soulshadows episode, I didn't realize that bert wrote the Tanis parts, and it was the idea of writing the Tanis character which excited me so much in the first place.    I had the whole Tanis segment written, and then Michael posted the 'rules' for the series, which stated that we were NOT to write the Tanis part.  That popped my balloon, I can tell you.  bert, however, said that if it excited me that much, to go ahead, and he'd look at it afterward.  My initial Tanis segment was nothing like this, except for the false start.  Bert liked that part, and kept it.


Quoted from Angry Bear

what does "greats people in a very classic fashion mean? I'm a foreigner here in the US. I have no idea what you mean by that.

ditto that for Gina


Ah, this may not be unique to America either, as it may just be my upbringing.  Not sure.  Classic, to me means that in a funeral home, you always keep your actions low key, voice down, and greetings of people at the casket are very low key and formal.  This is how Rhonda greeted people, but Gina was too loud and 'glamorous' with her actions.  "OH, It's so wonderful to see you.", etc., and guys (and maybe girls) may walk away from one of her hugs wondering if she had been coming on to them.


Quoted from Angry Bear

give you the shirt "off" his back? not sure about this. maybe I'm wrong.


Yep, I missed an 'F'.  Should have been off.  I read that thing five times before submitting the final, too!  Doh!


Quoted from Angry Bear

more weird descriptions of hugs. I guess I'm dense. LOL


No, not dense at all.  It's my job to convey the ideas properly.


Quoted from Angry Bear

oily business? I think you have too many descriptions that I've never heard of, but maybe everyone else has, so take it with a grain of salt.


Harry's 'friends' were mostly his drinking buddy's and they weren't perhaps the classy types.  They also mostly hoped he'd left them some of his precious treasure he always bragged about.  So their proclamations about his wonderful nature were false and overdone.  'oily'


Quoted from Angry Bear

page 5 at the eagles club should definitely be a "flashback"! I see you have that on a second look, but it's not in the right place. I think also pretty sure it should be END FLASHBACK rather than RETURN TO PRESENT. again, could be wrong.
[quote]

I found it shown as RETURN TO PRESENT in a paper I read about the proper formatting of flashbacks.  The only explanation I can give.  

[quote=me]
Is that really a montage on page 10? Just asking. seems like just a scene to me or series of shots.


It covered a passage of time throughout the funeral, so I thought it better as a montage than a series of shots.


Quoted from Angry Bear

good transitions


Thank you.


Quoted from Angry Bear

I don't know what classic "implore" stance means. I'm sure everyone else do, but I don't and I don't like googling everything I don't know.


Like with your hands apart with a 'what did I do wrong?' look on your face.


Quoted from Angry Bear

overall, very nice, but a tad too chatty. Great entry.


Thank you Pia.  I suppose some of the dialogue could be conveyed through actions, thus reducing the chattiness.  I appreciate your reading this and giving me your thoughts.  This was a fun script to write!

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grademan
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Steven,

I read this and then listened to the iScript version. The audio version was better than reading the script. I think it's because I didn't analyze the story when listening to it. Does that mean it would be better as a film? I don't know. I have a few comments to help sort out what I thought about the script:

-- Tanis was great, as usual. Her fumbing with the remote was well done. A techno-phobe with remotes. Funny, she seemed more comfortable with a cell phone in a prior episode.
-- The bookend scenes with the remote was a cool idea. It's hard to make a remote control ominous and this helped that a lot.
--  Harry was such an unlikeable ass, I doubt he would have such a large funeral attendance. Drinking buddies with hope of inheritance? Would have been better to have everyone there cause they hated him. Would have been an interesting dynamic.
-- The Reverend knew about the remote? And everyone  knew about it? Harry was more popular than I thought.
-- Of course, the remote was meant to absorb Harry's mean temper but it would have been interesting to see if the remote had any impact on Harry.
-- A few awkward descriptions: The implore stance, oily business, and (FILTERED) in the character slugs were lost on me. I did like the bit about the remote blurrring into a light saber.
-- Dialogue was a bit long esp. at the funeral. There were some gems in there. "Yes, you almost behaved" was my favorite.
-- It took pages before we left the funeral and Scott's house and got to the executor's meeting where the remote was up for grabs -- though why anyone would want the remote is beyond me.
-- The part where the voice on the TV was repeating Harry's sentences in Scott's and Sarah's voices was a cool device to add tension. Nicely done.

Overall, good effort. The plot was well structured but the story was a mixed bag for me. Some of it I liked, some of it could have been better.

SoulShadows is a cool idea and like the OWC is a stretch for all of us. You took the risk and did well with it. You told Pia in the post above you had fun writing this. Cool.

Gary

BTW, thanks for not referencing Adam Sandler's medicore movie about a universal remote.

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grademan  -  November 10th, 2009, 12:23pm
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Dreamscale
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Hey Steven, I took page by page notes for you, so youre getting a double post.

I actually liked this one quite a bit when it was all said and done.  There are lots of issues, IMO.  The technical ones are all covered in the page by page notes, but lets discuss some things here as well.

Too slow, dull, and detailed in the beginning.  Too many useless characters overall.  Not enough dialogue that helps us get to know anyone, as most of it didnt go anywhere (until the end).  Note, Im not saying in any way that there is too much dialogue, Im saying what you chose to write didnt do much in terms of characterization until very late in the game.

I think the biggest problem here is that you chose to show the wrong scenes in this story, and because of that, it was too slow up front and we never got to know much about your title character, Uncle Harry, or his evil remote.

IMO, the opening scenes in the funeral and cemetery went nowhere and did nothing. Too many characters introd that really had no place in the script took space away from showing us Uncle Harry, and why he was so mean, and what the deal with the remote was.  Id completely rethink everything up to page 14 or so.  Once things got going between Scott, Sarah and the remote, it was a great story and read, but up to that, it was flatline and had many wasted opportunities to develop Harrys character.

I dont think the Flashbacks worked very well.  Instead of all the goings on at the funeral and cemetery, you could have just had Scott and Sarah (or 1 or 2 of the sisters) reflecting on old Uncle Harrythrough Flashbacks even.  But if the Flashbacks provided the only real action, they wouldnt seem so out of place, like they did.

As I said in my page by page notes, I really liked the finale and ending.  Well done. I liked how you went back to the opening with Scott and Sarah ready to swing away, also.  Very well done and creative.  And because of that, I actually liked this overall, based on the payoff.

Hope this makes sense and helps.

Page by page notes

Page 1 I miss the usual cool transition from Tanis Alcove directly into the story.

Page 2 Initial intros are a bit long and awkward.

Love the wrong beginning, and Tanis return.  Very unique idea.

Opening sentence under new Slug feels long and awkward.

Page 3 All your intros are tough for metoo much completely unnecessary detail and info.  Theyre also awkwardly written, and many arent even complete thoughts.

I dont know where the dialogue is coming from between Scott and Sarah, re Uncle Harrys moneyseems completely out of left field.

Myra and Les intro is very awkward, with no ages given.  Older can have a lot of different meanings, depending on the age of the reader, for instance.

Page 4 I like Les dialoguevery funny!

Too much description of things that dont matter each person hugging someone else in a different manner, etc.  Just skip all this nonsense.

Another couple walks up and gives Rhonda and Gina the oily business about what a great man their Uncle was, and how much they loved his beautiful collection of antiques. So youre telling us this is happening, but theres no dialogue going on.  Theres no one introd (youd use all caps if youre introing a new character).  So this is a throwaway passage that shouldnt even be in here.

Sarahs last line here makes her out to be a real bitch, IMO.  This is not the kind of thing to say about people at a funeral.

Page 5 Scott is sipping a coke, and Harry brandishes a very large mixed drink. Very awkward sentence here.  The first part should obviously be rewritten to read, Scott sips a Coke.  The second part just sounds weird with the word brandishes.  Also, the use of very large paints an odd picture in my headlike insanely big, and I doubt thats what youre going for.

I cannot get a visual of Myra and Les here cause I have no idea how old they are still (you say younger versions, and thats relating to your earlier description of older).  Know what Im saying?

. . .and my nephew and I are now heading to out find more pieces of silver to complete that set! to and out need to be flipped.

As Pia said, the Flashback is incorrect the way its laid out.  A Flashback is really just another scene that takes place in a different time period.  Interesting note -  I did a quick Google search, and the very first example says to do it the way you did itbut I do not agree with it.  There are a number of different ways to write a Flashback, but the bottom line is to make sure it is clear and makes sense.  Heres the issue with the way you have it you return to present just fineits very clear the Flashback is over, but by not setting the scene again (with a Slug) its tough to remember exactly where we were.  And this Flashback was less than a pagejust think if your Flashback was 3 or 4 pages long.  My advice is when returning from a Flashback, treat it like a normal scene and write a new Slug, so its clear where we are.

OK, heres another issue with this Flashback you return to the prior scene obviously (but I had to check and see where we were) and it comes off like Scott just told this story to Sarah and Gina.  A Flashback does not necessarily mean that a story is being told, but were seeing it actually play out.  Many times, Flashbacks are simply a single character reflecting back in timeremembering.  If you want this to be told to other characters, you have to set it up that way, IMO.  Interesting to see if anyone else has thoughts on this.

Page 6 Hmmm, another Flashback, 1 page later.  For me, the use of these Flashbacks is kind of taking me out of the storybut maybe the problem is that the story has been too stagnant in the funeral home, too long.

Page 9 Sarah and Id better get going. The more I think about him the madder I get. Folks might not like it if I punch the corpse. First of all, Id should be I it doesnt read or sound right using a contraction here, even though proper English would say that I had is correct.  The last sentence here doesnt work for me, and again just sounds like something that shouldnt be said in a funeral.

Its a tough sell because there have only been 2 relatively short Flashbacks with Uncle Harry in them.  In the first one, he didnt come off as a bad guymaybe a little improper drinking in a bar with his 13 year old nephew, but he seemed pretty nice and jovial.  In the 2nd Flashback, he starts out sounding cool, asking if dinner was OK, but then lost it for no reason.  Its hard for me to think hes such a bad guy just based on what Ive been shown.

The inclusion of FADE TO: cost you a whole bunch of lines, and what did it accomplish?  Exactly, nothing.  I just dont see any reason for transitions like this, unless you are doing something outside the boxfor an effect.  When page count counts, avoid these and get as much prose into your script as you can.

Page 10 This not a Montage, and I dont see any reason for even wanting to use one here.  If anything, its a Series Of Shots, but thats not necessary either, IMO.

preparing to speak stay away from verbs like this.  They dont work in a scriptits like hes frozen in place.

The Reverend has raised his hand for the benediction. incorrect tense used here.  Keep it all in the present, brother!

Page 11 Again, I dont like the dialogue between Scott and Sarahit feels completely inappropriate, and makes them look like A-Holes, IMO.

Cool, Im glad Miriam spoke up.


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Page 12 Rhonda turns to Gina, who is still hugging herself closely, so they all turn to her. Really, REALLY awkwardly phrased and confusing.

Is the entire scene with Scott and Sarah actually inside the car?  Nothing is technically incorrect here, but Im just wondering if you plan on having everything seen from within.  IMO, scenes like these always play better when you have an EXT scene as well, showing the car drive up, or whatever.  Just wondering

Also, the Slug is missing a time frame.

Page 13 Another meaningless FADE TO:

INT. HALLWAY SENIOR HAVEN APTS. LATER This is messed up, IMO.  You already introd the place as Wadsworth Senior Haven Apartments, now its just Senior Haven Apts..  Also, the way you have HALLWAY followed directly by SENIOR without a hyphen, its strange.

Page 14 sits down his box, sits down her box these both read very strangely.  I understand what you mean, but using sits down doesnt work.  If not just puts down, it would be sets down.

General note every time I read universal remote I have to laugh, because no one that I am familiar with actually calls them that.  They are simply known as a remote.  Just had to throw that insorry.

Page 15 Good dialogue line from Scott about being able to push Uncle Harrys buttons!  Funny stuff.

Page 16 Slug missing a time frame.

Page 18 any more should be anymore

Page 19 Are new remotes only $10?  I thought they were much more than that.

General note Im very happy you are now referring to it simply as remote!

Page 20 Scott is in the shower as pounding filters through the noise of the water. He realizes its the door, and leans out. This passage is poorly phrased.  Its also got an unfilmable in it He realizes its the door.

Sarah is saying something from the hallway, but it cant be made out over the shower. this is also poorly written and phrased.

Sarah isnt in the bathroom, so her dialogue would be OS, right?  Now, if the door is wide open, youre cool, but if its just cracked like you said, I think its off.

Page 21 I like the back and forth here and Sarahs use of bullshit.  Sounds very real, actually.

Youre continually leaving a time frame out of your Slugs. Some of them are fine, because youre basically using mini slugs, but when there is a passage of time, you need to use a time frame.  For instance, when Scott comes down into the kitchen, we know time has passed, because his hair is wet from the shower.  You can use moments later or just later.  But you should get in the habit of using something.

Scott stands there in the classic implore stance, hands out. I think others have commented on this already, and Ill agree, its poorly worded.

Page 22 He cant take it anymore. Show us, dont tell us.

Over her shoulder. out of place in front of the dialoguecould be a wrylie, Id say.

Scott stalks past the living room, stares at Sarah sitting in the Lazy Boy, remote it hand, then he stomps into the bedroom and slams the door. Lots of issues in this sentence.  it should be in.  Its a big run-on sentence also that needs to be broken up.  Its just poorly written and there are too many things to bring up in detail just rewrite it!

Page 24 The CUT TO: and SMASH CUT TO: are just completely unnecessary and waste lines.

I actually really like how you brought us back to this opening scene.  Very well done!

Page 25 Scott and Sarahs shadows cast on the wall as they attack each other. Although I understand what youre going for here, and actually like the idea of just showing the shadows, its not written correctly, an comes off very awkwardly.

Page 26 Using LATER as your time frame here is incorrect.  Yes, its definitely later, but its actually days later. Later, IMO refers to later that same day.  When you go to a new day (or night or whatever), just use DAY, NIGHT whatever it is.

Good ending!  Very good ending.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.

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Dreamscale  -  November 10th, 2009, 5:21pm
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Angry Bear
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Great notes Jeff.

I agree about there being some characters that didn't really need to be there and that some of the dialogue didn't reveal character or bring the story forward.

Over all though I thought it was very well done.


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Hi Steven! How's that footy fix!?

Mate, I really liiked this! I think it may be the first script of yours I have read, apart from an OWC one.
I read some of the other comments and have some agree/disagree points to make.
For me, the opening scenes were great. The funeral home ones especially. I really felt I was in a movie, I could picture the people so well. Then I thought the flashback sort of slowed things a bit. Not the Eagle Bar one, the one where Harry is brandishing the remote. I know you were establishing the power of the thing but it seemed flat to me.
i agree with Jeff about the montage - it isn't one. Just one long scene at the graveyard.
Ok, when the remote starts to exert its influence, this was still good. But I though Scott and Sarah got worked up to quickly. To me, it would've been better, say, if Sarah first asked if he had said something. Then the TV could keep saying more louder stuff. Then they could finally snap. a gradual buildup seemed more appropriate to me.

Ok the ending was prefaced in the first scene. Is this good? Possibly. It made it predictable but no less exciting. Your writing was top notch!

anyway nice effort for the series and go the sainters in 2010


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Agree with Stevie-mate that the remote took over too quickly, but I think that's because there wasn't enough room (space) to play it out like it could have, because the intro part was WAY TOO DAMN LONG AND DULL.

How's that for a WAY TOO LONG sentence?

Problem with the beginning...or actually the first 14 pages or so, is that nothing relevant happened.  All the characterization was for minor characters that had nothing to do with the actual story or plot.  We needed to get to know Scott, Sarah, and of course our title charcter, Uncle Harry.

We never got to know old Harry-ass like we needed to.  If he's your title character, he has to have more than the few scenes he did.  We needed to understand what an ass he was...and maybe even why.  We didn't, and that's the big issue here, IMO.


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Hey!  Thanks a lot for all the great reviews guys.  Jeff, I slapped your review into Word and checked the count.  Your review had a little more than half the total word count for my entire script!!  

I really appreciate all of the time and effort put into these reviews, and I take them to heart.

I'm not so sure there were too many characters at all.  I felt they were all needed to convey what I wanted.  However, it has bugged me as well that Scott and Sarah go off the deep end so fast.  This is due to space limitations, and could be given more room if we got to that segment sooner.  Now, I wouldn't say the beginning was "WAY TOO DAMN LONG AND DULL" myself, I'd say it was a 'slow build up', to quote one of my favorite screenwriters.  

We definitely could have spent more time getting to know old Harry-A** as Jeff suggested, and I think perhaps I know how that could be done.  Or maybe not.  Hmmm.  I'll have to think about that.  I'd like to have an hour long script to make this into more, you know?

I'm mostly excited about four parts of your reviews:

1) Jeff saying "Good ending!  Very good ending." - No one has liked one of my endings before.  Yay!!

2) Stevie saying: "Your writing was top notch!" - Wow!  No one here has said that yet!  Thanks Stevie!!

3) Grademan saying: "You took the risk and did well with it." - Thanks!  That means a lot.

4) Pia saying: "Great entry." - Pia, everything you write is automatically gold, so this means a lot.  Thanks.

Oh yes, Grademan. . .no fear of my ever referencing anything involving Adam Sandler.  Ever.  

Again, thanks guys!

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steven8  -  November 11th, 2009, 11:24pm
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I liked the idea behind this one at its core, but I didn't care too much for the way it was presented.

I think the opening bits at the funeral go on for far too long, which causes the real heart of the story to arrive way late and be cut short.  Because of this, things seem to go from okay to downright awful way too quickly.  

If the opening were shorter, they got the remote quicker, and you had a steady build up with their disagreements that ultimately leads to the ending as you have it, I think the suspense level would go up dramatically.

Anyway, a good concept, but needs more punch.


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We seem to be building a consensus.  It just needs MORE COWBELL!!  

Thanks Shelton, you are absolutely right.  It's needs to get to the meat of the story sooner, so the remote can do it's voodoo bit with more depth.
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Hi Steven

I thought this was a very good episode in the series. Good character development and an interesting premise. I think the things being said through the TV were actually unspoken truths between Scott and Sarah but once this 'evil' gets inside their lives then everything comes out in the open.

A couple of technical things like;

Page 4 - You hint at a lot of dialogue in an action paragraph. I don't really think you should go into such detail with that. If you're wanting to say what is being said I'd have thought just writing the dialogue itself would be the way to do it.

Page 13 - INT. HALLWAY SENIOR HAVEN APTS. - LATER

I don't think that is the clearest way to write that slug. It looks like the full name of the place they're in. I'd seperate 'Hallway' from the rest of it.

The script feels to me like it has only two acts.

The build-up - Flashbacks of Uncle Harry and learning about his will.

The remote - There isn't really much going on in between. As soon as Scott and Sarah get the remote they are pretty much in the shit. Maybe some benefit of having the remote could help things out. Maybe even have Sarah coming around to the idea?

I did enjoy the script but I feel the structure could have maybe been improved on.

Ste

P.S. I like how you hinted at a continuation of the story with the object being passed on. A little like the son getting the coin in the end of my 'Riches' episode.


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Quoted from stebrown
Hi Steven

I thought this was a very good episode in the series. Good character development and an interesting premise. I think the things being said through the TV were actually unspoken truths between Scott and Sarah but once this 'evil' gets inside their lives then everything comes out in the open.

A couple of technical things like;

Page 4 - You hint at a lot of dialogue in an action paragraph. I don't really think you should go into such detail with that. If you're wanting to say what is being said I'd have thought just writing the dialogue itself would be the way to do it.

Page 13 - INT. HALLWAY SENIOR HAVEN APTS. - LATER

I don't think that is the clearest way to write that slug. It looks like the full name of the place they're in. I'd seperate 'Hallway' from the rest of it.

The script feels to me like it has only two acts.

The build-up - Flashbacks of Uncle Harry and learning about his will.

The remote - There isn't really much going on in between. As soon as Scott and Sarah get the remote they are pretty much in the shit. Maybe some benefit of having the remote could help things out. Maybe even have Sarah coming around to the idea?

I did enjoy the script but I feel the structure could have maybe been improved on.

Ste

P.S. I like how you hinted at a continuation of the story with the object being passed on. A little like the son getting the coin in the end of my 'Riches' episode.


Yep, it's just like the son getting the coin at the end of your story.  A cool dangler that lets people know that someone else is gonna go through s**t too!  

Good point about that slugline.  It would read better as:

INT. SENIOR HAVEN APTS. - HALLWAY - LATER

You think?

Yeah, putting an encounter including dialog in an action paragraph was certainly not my first choice, and it bothered me, but I felt it didn't need to be detailed, but could just be an improvised bit.  I was trying to save space.

The things said through the TV were in no way unspoken things between Scott and Sarah.  It was Uncle Harry's wicked spirit getting even from beyond the grave.  I believe, if this were filmed, we could convey the mental effects of the spirit from within the remote better, via lighting and acting.  As it reads, I too agree that the characters turn to killing quite quickly, but they are not truly themselves.  The voice from the TV is controlling them in more ways than just nasty remarks.

Thanks a bunch for the read, ste.  I appreciate it!
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jayrex
Posted: November 18th, 2009, 1:40pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Steven,

I finished your script yesterday and thought it was good but could have been better.  I thought the ending was good but the beginning to middle could have been stronger.  I personally think that if you skipped the funeral scenes and maybe put more time into the remote and the Scott & Sarah scenes, then this would have paid off more.

I also like the beginning with Tanis starting at the wrong point, but felt the choice of scene was a little too late into the script.  Maybe start with a scene from the middle as the current scene choice kinda gave away what we were going to encounter.

Compared to the others in the series, I thought this was a good addition.

Jeff wrote some very good points that I thought best not to repeat.

All the best,


Javier


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