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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Max's Traveling Circus Moderators: bert
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  Author    Max's Traveling Circus  (currently 2178 views)
Don
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 5:37pm Report to Moderator
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Max's Traveling Circus by Gabriel Moronta (mr. ripley) - Short, Horror - To save his chldren, a husband must cooperate with his ex-wife to escape a fun-house.   29 pages - pdf, format


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bert  -  March 10th, 2011, 8:23am
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screenrider
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 8:54pm Report to Moderator
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Gabriel,

I can tell you put a lot of work into this, so it pains me to say I quit reading after 16 pages.  Although it's no fault of yours.   I've just seen this particular theme played out one too many times.    There's nothing new here, IMO.   On a positive note, you're writing style is flawless.   Utterly flawless.

All the best with it.
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Mr. Ripley
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Thanks Screenrider for your honest opinion. I do admit it's a bit cliche but I believe I've added something new to it. It was an idea that I've had on the back burner some time now and wanted it on paper.

Thanks Don for posting this up as quickly as you did.  

Thanks to Gary, Brett, and Bert for giving this a read and their critique before I submitted.

Hope everyone enjoys it. If not, sorry.

Gabe  




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Mr. Ripley  -  March 7th, 2011, 11:09pm
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Baltis.
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 11:32pm Report to Moderator
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A script analyst once told me, "what you got here is a tired idea that's been used a thousand times.  That's not important.  What's important is how you repackage the idea".

I took his advice to heart as he took my money... I will always remember that bit from the script which was crushed to bits.  It was my 6th script.  And that was many years ago.  I use that frame of mind to this day... In fact, my new script uses that advice.
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Mr. Ripley
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Thanks Baltis for your advice. I had a feeling when writing this script that I was entering cliche territory. Nevertheless, IMO, I left the area making new ground. Hope that makes sense.

Gabe    



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Baltis.
Posted: March 8th, 2011, 4:16am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr. Ripley
Thanks Baltis for your advice. I had a feeling when writing this script that I was entering cliche territory. Nevertheless, IMO, I left the area making new ground. Hope that makes sense.

Gabe    


Also, I just wanted to make it known I'm gonna read your script here as soon as I finish my script, which "hopefully" means right now or in the next hour.  Don't think I just commented for no reason.
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Mr. Ripley
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No worries. If you want to read it, that's good. If not, then please leave a reason why you were not interested. And this not only goes to you Baltis but the other people.

Gabe



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Electric Dreamer
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Gabe,

Good to see you have the tenacity to rewrite this script.
Thanks again for giving me the chance to preview it for you last month.
Since you added ten pages this draft, I felt a new read was in order.
Overall, I feel like you enhanced and clarified the narrative.
I still feel the script needs more motivation and urgency to it.
Along the lines of the kids wishing their parents would reconcile and reunite.
That wish relayed to the circus folk could trigger the events you've written here.
That type of scenario increases character dynamics amongst the family.
They are the characters your readers will identify with more than likely.
The kids being responsible for the tests creates family tension and dilemma.
A scenario like that makes the overall story arc more personal and dramatic.

We've seen the naughty circus routine before.
What do you feel about your script separates it from those other efforts?
Whatever that is, do everything you can with your craft to enhance that point.

Here are a few typos I came across...

p. 3 "right front of us"
p. 4 "my too Elenore"
p. 23 I think "tamper" is meant to be taper.

Thanks for posting and keep writing and rewriting!

Regards,
E.D.


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Mr. Ripley
Posted: March 8th, 2011, 1:45pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks E.D.

I'll never turn down a read and critique.

IMO, the naughty circus thing has been done before but I feel I added a new twist to it by creating the set of characters invovled in the circus. Think Heroes meets the circus. That's what I'm going for.

I was thinking of creating a series out of Max's Circus. I have an idea for ep. 2 but still working out the kinks. Nevertheless, I wanted to get an overall feel about this script before I proceeded further and I'm planning to submit this to a festival. I think it works as a short.


Quoted Text
I still feel the script needs more motivation and urgency to it.
Along the lines of the kids wishing their parents would reconcile and reunite.


Max has his own agenda. He was just aquiring the children's trust and cooperation. I have to clear that up which means another rewrite. I still have to fix half of the script where the parents go through the examinations. For some odd reason, I find it wrong. Prob due to my insecurity but I have to work that out somehow.

Thanks,
Gabe




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Mr. Ripley  -  March 8th, 2011, 3:28pm
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rc1107
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Hey Gabe,

I love stories about carnivals, circuses, (or circusi, i'm not too sure what the proper plural form is), and freaks, so I was looking forward to this when I saw the name.

It has its good points, and it has its bad points, in my opinion.

One of the things that confused me was that I wasn't too sure what kind of story this was going to be.  I didn't know if it was going to be a supernatural story, horror, a comedy, or a drama.  (Based on the logline, I was leaning more to a comedy or drama).  In other words, I didn't know if I was going to have to suspend belief or not for the story.

Before, I would've said that Elenore's character wasn't believable at all.  No one has suchy a bitchy pessimistic attitude as that and that condescending.  But now, after dating somebody like that, there really ARE people out there like that.  (Funny thing is, the girl I know in real life like that, her name is Angela.)

The pacing of the story is pretty fast, which I think is very good in a story like this and also has something to say about the formatting.

I did have a little niggle with a couple of the blocks describing how the scene is set up.  I'm not too sure if it's because the wording wasn't quite right or if I was just reading things wrong.  At first, I was like, why are they just letting Max take their stuff right out of their hands, then I read it a couple times and figured out he hypnotized them somehow.  I think that needs to be a little clearer, showing the reader he has mind control over them.  (And, once again, there comes up that issue I brought up before.  If I knew right away I was supposed to suspend belief, I might have understood it a lot quicker.)  I don't know if I'm the only one who's had trouble with that hypnotism part.  Like I said, it just could have been me not reading it right or too fast.

Lol.  I liked at the end how his name and her name mixed to make Danielle.  I didn't see that one coming and it made me laugh.  I did have a little problem with the imagery, though.  Were they two heads sharing the same body, which could make things pretty interesting with them having to talk to and put up with each other all the time; or were the faces joined together, making only one head?

So, all in all, not bad of a story, but I do think a couple things should be made clearer throughout the script so there's not any having to go back to reread to see how a scene is set up.

Have a good one,

- Mark


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greg
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Hey Gabe,

Circus themed - awesome.  The sideshows - awesome.  The quirks of the sideshows - awesome.  If anything, I would want to see more of that.    I found this to be very interesting  mostly because I'm not sure if this was supposed to be more of a supernatural piece or more of a horrorish-drama.  Why is that interesting?  Because I enjoyed this.  There were questions I had and that I still have but overall I liked what I read.  

Some notes that I took -  

*The hostility between the folks was kind of eh.  I mean the courts were involved, there's obviously some bad blood there, but maybe not have them argue in front of the kids...or at least not as coldly as they were.
*Some of the dialogue early on is kind of clunky, and I'm not sure if it's typos, syntax error, or what.  e.g. - Julie: Does it bother?  <---typo?  or something? There's a few of these wordings around.
*I don't know why but I found Smiley knocking that teen out to be absolutely hilarious
*P14 - Max retrieves Elenore's purse, Daniel's wallet, etc.  Where is he retrieving them from?  I think I might I have missed something...I see that they have the blank stares a second before which indicates something supernatural, so maybe wrong choice of word?
*"Let him complete the question.  I promote dialogue." <--lol
*"Does it involve Angela?" IMO Angela is too minor of a character to make as a plot point in this situation.  And really the statement doesn't lead anywhere so I think you can do without it.
*Great ending

The dialogue was an issue.  Max had some really good lines but also had some that came out clunky, similar to Daniel's and Elenore's.  There's obviously a lot of potential here for some terrific one liners and quirky remarks - capitalize on that!

What was the fingertips?  I'm kinda confused with all that.  

Maybe have a fortune teller or something involved early on that can possibly be a foreshadowing of Max's goal to get the folks to work together.  I see what he was doing but I think it can be better transitioned from the beginning up to the actual major conflict between the parents and the carnival people.  

As I said, overall I liked this.  There's a couple holes that I think can be easily pasted up but it's an interesting story and has some very creepy things going on.  I mean it's a carnival, you know?  Also - more humor I think would benefit this story greatly.   There's some good stuff in there but definitely room for more.

So nice job, Gabe!

Greg



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greg  -  March 10th, 2011, 2:46am
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Mr. Ripley
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Hey Mark,

Thanks for the read and critique.


Quoted Text
I love stories about carnivals, circuses, (or circusi, i'm not too sure what the proper plural form is), and freaks, so I was looking forward to this when I saw the name.


This was an idea I had in my mind for a while but needed some time to put it down on a piece of paper. Funny thing is that I never went to or watched a horror movie dealing with this concept. It was simply a fascination on why people are afraid of these places.  


Quoted Text
It has its good points, and it has its bad points, in my opinion.


Every literature does.


Quoted Text
One of the things that confused me was that I wasn't too sure what kind of story this was going to be.  I didn't know if it was going to be a supernatural story, horror, a comedy, or a drama.  (Based on the logline, I was leaning more to a comedy or drama).  In other words, I didn't know if I was going to have to suspend belief or not for the story.


Originally, I was thinking of horror, but as I was writing, it didn't feel like horror to me. I did plan to make this into a series but wanted to come up with more stories for it. So, i went with the general approach to get a consensus of what people thought this piece was. Thanks for pointing that out.


Quoted Text
Before, I would've said that Elenore's character wasn't believable at all.  No one has suchy a bitchy pessimistic attitude as that and that condescending.  But now, after dating somebody like that, there really ARE people out there like that.  (Funny thing is, the girl I know in real life like that, her name is Angela.)


My condolences. I worked with a older woman who was like that. Never had a girlfriend like that, lucky for me. So, I thought of her when writing Elenore.


Quoted Text
The pacing of the story is pretty fast, which I think is very good in a story like this and also has something to say about the formatting.


Thanks.


Quoted Text
I did have a little niggle with a couple of the blocks describing how the scene is set up.  I'm not too sure if it's because the wording wasn't quite right or if I was just reading things wrong.  At first, I was like, why are they just letting Max take their stuff right out of their hands, then I read it a couple times and figured out he hypnotized them somehow.  I think that needs to be a little clearer, showing the reader he has mind control over them.  (And, once again, there comes up that issue I brought up before.  If I knew right away I was supposed to suspend belief, I might have understood it a lot quicker.)  I don't know if I'm the only one who's had trouble with that hypnotism part.  Like I said, it just could have been me not reading it right or too fast.


No problem. I'll see if I can fix that. I was following the strict rule of show not tell. But I fix it to horror.


Quoted Text
Lol.  I liked at the end how his name and her name mixed to make Danielle.  I didn't see that one coming and it made me laugh.  I did have a little problem with the imagery, though.  Were they two heads sharing the same body, which could make things pretty interesting with them having to talk to and put up with each other all the time; or were the faces joined together, making only one head?


Think of two-face from batman. That's what I was going for. being with a someone that type of personality in that type of way, hell.

In regards to the name, thanks. Grademan suggested the "elle" portion so that it can fit.  


Quoted Text
So, all in all, not bad of a story, but I do think a couple things should be made clearer throughout the script so there's not any having to go back to reread to see how a scene is set up.


Of course, I'm planning to revisit this piece after I receive more critique.

Thanks again because I know this wasn't a easy piece to follow for 29 pgs. lol.

Gabe



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Mr. Ripley
Posted: March 10th, 2011, 6:54am Report to Moderator
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Hey Greg,

Thanks for the read and critique.


Quoted Text
Circus themed - awesome.  The sideshows - awesome.  The quirks of the sideshows - awesome.  If anything, I would want to see more of that.    I found this to be very interesting mostly because I'm not sure if this was supposed to be more of a supernatural piece or more of a horrorish-drama.  Why is that interesting?  Because I enjoyed this.  There were questions I had and that I still have but overall I liked what I read.


Thanks for your compliments. Grademan, Bert, and Electric Dreamer suggested that I needed to make this more like a circus and I thank them for doing so.

In regards to the theme, I'm filing this as horror. No specific though. It has a little bit of all.


Quoted Text
*The hostility between the folks was kind of eh.  I mean the courts were involved, there's obviously some bad blood there, but maybe not have them argue in front of the kids...or at least not as coldly as they were.


I wanted to establish that they couldn't stand each other so when the ending came... a big surprise.

Also, I think it fits with Elenore's personality. I really exaggerated her personality.



Quoted Text
*Some of the dialogue early on is kind of clunky, and I'm not sure if it's typos, syntax error, or what.  e.g. - Julie: Does it bother?  <---typo?  or something? There's a few of these wordings around.


The example where Julie asks that question is when Julie sees Angela with the collar. So, Julie's asking if the collar bothers Julie. Hope that makes sense. But I'll check it.


Quoted Text
*I don't know why but I found Smiley knocking that teen out to be absolutely hilarious


You're messed up. lol. I saw Smiley as the comic factor in the story. That's good to know. It fits with his persona.  


Quoted Text
*P14 - Max retrieves Elenore's purse, Daniel's wallet, etc.  Where is he retrieving them from?  I think I might I have missed something...I see that they have the blank stares a second before which indicates something supernatural, so maybe wrong choice of word?


Yeah. Thanks for the catch. I tried to make as much white space as possible.


Quoted Text
*"Let him complete the question.  I promote dialogue." <--lol


Don't know what to say about this but I guess it unintentionally good. lol.


Quoted Text
*"Does it involve Angela?" IMO Angela is too minor of a character to make as a plot point in this situation.  And really the statement doesn't lead anywhere so I think you can do without it.


I was concerned about her. I wanted to establish her as the fortune teller early on so everything afterwords was explained.

I'm planning to do a series out of this, but that's before I submit this to a contest. So, i wanted to hint at her abilities.


Quoted Text
*Great ending


Thanks. The ending was the hardest part. And, I might be adding more to it. Maybe...I don't know...lol.


Quoted Text
The dialogue was an issue.  Max had some really good lines but also had some that came out clunky, similar to Daniel's and Elenore's.  There's obviously a lot of potential here for some terrific one liners and quirky remarks - capitalize on that!


I like Max. One of my best creations. Yet I hate the bastard because of his dialogue. Coming up with his dialogue his rough. But I'll work on him.


Quoted Text
What was the fingertips?  I'm kinda confused with all that.  


Max wants to make sure that the children don't have unique powers...but there's something he didn't count on.


Quoted Text
Maybe have a fortune teller or something involved early on that can possibly be a foreshadowing of Max's goal to get the folks to work together.  I see what he was doing but I think it can be better transitioned from the beginning up to the actual major conflict between the parents and the carnival people.


I was thinking of that but I love that beginning lol.

Also If I did a beginning for Max , I would have to do one for the four other characters. So due to love for the beginning sequence and laziness, I didn't. But I'll see what I can do.


Quoted Text
As I said, overall I liked this.  There's a couple holes that I think can be easily pasted up but it's an interesting story and has some very creepy things going on.  I mean it's a carnival, you know?  Also - more humor I think would benefit this story greatly. There's some good stuff in there but definitely room for more.


Thanks Greg. I'll see about patching up those holes. I'm working on something now to get myself refresh for a rewrite over this bastard script here. lol. It's a love/hate thing.

Gabe






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Dressel
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Gabe,

Right off the bat, good work.  You know what this reminded me of?  A classic episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"  Not sure if you're familiar with that show.  It seemed similar in tone, story structure, characters, etc.  Sure, they wouldn't say f*** so much on Nickelodeon, but still...

I think the thing that worked most for me was the visuals.  This would be a visual delight to see: the man on fire, the mirror room, the circus itself, etc.  It would be an art director's dream.

Oh, and I really dug the "bringing them together" bit.  At first I thought it was cheesy, but you ended up playing on it very nicely.


OTHER NOTES

The beginning is very disorienting.  There's no real description of the circus following the slugline, so we're just put right in the middle of a world we know nothing about.  I know you take us through it, but in the beginning I was confused.  I was also confused as to who Smiley was, where he came from, whether or not Max knew him...it was all just too confusing for the opening scene.

p.2 - "Impassiveness slowly dominates Smiley's cheerfulness" - That's a really clunky, awkward description

p.4 - Do Daniel and Elenore argue in front of the kids?  If so, then disregard, but if they don't, you might want to put that they talk quietly

p.7 - "Spying from a distance, Angela slowly regains composure" - In this section, it's hard to tell if someone's spying, who it is that's spying, or really what's going on.  Smiley just appears.

p. 14 - I assume they're in a hypnotic trance, right?  If so, make this clearer.

p. 18 - A fireball to the face?  That sounds violent, with no real effect listed.

--
Other than that, a solid read.  Like I said, I'd fix up the beginning a bit, but other than that, I have no real complaints.  Good work.

-Matt


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Mr. Ripley
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Thanks Dressel for your critique.


Quoted Text
Right off the bat, good work.  You know what this reminded me of?  A classic episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"  Not sure if you're familiar with that show.  It seemed similar in tone, story structure, characters, etc.  Sure, they wouldn't say f*** so much on Nickelodeon, but still...


I'm a big fan of the show and the episode your talking about. That's what inspired my Max character and the fun house. This script would be more for adults.


Quoted Text
I think the thing that worked most for me was the visuals.  This would be a visual delight to see: the man on fire, the mirror room, the circus itself, etc.  It would be an art director's dream.


One of the reasons I like this script is for it's visuals. How about watching this on 3d? I'm considering turning this into a feature so it can be more marketable for 3d. lol.  


Quoted Text
Oh, and I really dug the "bringing them together" bit.  At first I thought it was cheesy, but you ended up playing on it very nicely.


For some odd reason, I have mixed feelings about that dialgoue. I don't why. lol. But good to know you liked it.

OTHER NOTES


Quoted Text
The beginning is very disorienting.  There's no real description of the circus following the slugline, so we're just put right in the middle of a world we know nothing about.  I know you take us through it, but in the beginning I was confused.  I was also confused as to who Smiley was, where he came from, whether or not Max knew him...it was all just too confusing for the opening scene.


I do plan to rewrite this so, one of my agendas is to make things clearer. I love that opening sequence yet I understand your point. There are some areas that I can probably improve on for instance by making the area more circus like, some dialgoue specifically Max's, etc.

I'll probably describe the area as Smiley flies across. The only reservation I have is budget. But I'll see what I can think up.  


Quoted Text
p.2 - "Impassiveness slowly dominates Smiley's cheerfulness" - That's a really clunky, awkward description  


Thanks for pointing that out. That's why I'm a member of SS. I was trying to describe how Smiliey's expression turns blank. I'll work on it.


Quoted Text
p.4 - Do Daniel and Elenore argue in front of the kids?  If so, then disregard, but if they don't, you might want to put that they talk quietly


They do argue in front of the kids. Ok.


Quoted Text
p.7 - "Spying from a distance, Angela slowly regains composure" - In this section, it's hard to tell if someone's spying, who it is that's spying, or really what's going on.  Smiley just appears.


Smiley was watching spying on Angela. Angela didn't want no one notice the couple. I'll make it clearer


Quoted Text
p. 14 - I assume they're in a hypnotic trance, right?  If so, make this clearer.


Yeah. It's more of mind control thing going on. But I'll work on that.


Quoted Text
p. 18 - A fireball to the face?  That sounds violent, with no real effect listed.


I had to blind her somehow.


Quoted Text
Other than that, a solid read.  Like I said, I'd fix up the beginning a bit, but other than that, I have no real complaints.  Good work.


Thanks. Let me know if you need something else read.
Gabe



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