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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short  ›  The Thing That Wasn't - Filmed Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: November 22nd, 2012, 11:18am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Thing That Wasn't by Chris Shamburger (sham) - Short, Horror - A babysitter discovers the real reason children should be scared of their bedroom closets. 12 pages - pdf, format

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 22nd, 2012, 11:53am Report to Moderator
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Hey Chris!

Good to see your name on the board again!
Is this a rewrite of that nifty closet thingy you wrote?

I thought that was filmed?
Is this just a re-post?
I wasn't sure if the script was taken down to be produced.
Let us know! If it's new, I'll gladly read this tale again!

Regards,
E.D.


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Sham
Posted: November 22nd, 2012, 5:09pm Report to Moderator
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This was "optioned" in October of 2011 and removed at the request of the director, but the contract fell through when I lost all communication with him.

The script has been very slightly reworked and put back on SimplyScripts to maybe find a new audience and (hopefully) the attention of other filmmakers. We'll see what happens.

Hope you enjoy!


The Doll - New!
Hiccups - 2013 Shriekfest Finalist! Filmed!
The Thing That Wasn't - Filmed!
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Busy Little Bee
Posted: November 22nd, 2012, 6:00pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Sham

"HEATHER, 19, enters from the kitchen holding her Android
phone. She’s the type of girl who wears UGG boots and a tweed
pub hat to a babysitting job."

Are you telling us or showing us what Heather is wearing.

The two girls are in the midst of a disagreement about bravery vs. fear, actually a nice little exchange here. It gets even better as Heather comes up with a plan to (thus plot) prove her point, a game. The plot continues to turn a again and again, nice. Great job. Probably best short I've read in awhile. You managed to push your character into the smallest corner possible the closet, and kept it entertaining. Not to heavy on the gore, and great ending. Nice read, man.

BLB


Commodus: But the Emperor Claudius knew that they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you have been doing, busy little bee..."
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killerk
Posted: November 23rd, 2012, 3:40am Report to Moderator
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Very good smooth read, kept me interested until the end, and not many mistakes.

As stated by BLB, I didn't like Heather's description either.

The only other things I noticed was-

HEATHER
d*rnit! - Should be Damn it!

HEATHER
Goddamnit, Courtenay! - Should be God damn it, Courtenay!

But that's just me being picky.  
  


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Sham
Posted: November 25th, 2012, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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Hey, BLB!


Quoted from Busy Little Bee
Hey, Sham

"HEATHER, 19, enters from the kitchen holding her Android
phone. She’s the type of girl who wears UGG boots and a tweed
pub hat to a babysitting job."

Are you telling us or showing us what Heather is wearing.

It's a bit of both, I think. Had I just said "She wears UGG boots and a tweed pub hat," I think readers would completely miss the fact that — oh yeah — she's only babysitting.


Quoted Text
The two girls are in the midst of a disagreement about bravery vs. fear, actually a nice little exchange here. It gets even better as Heather comes up with a plan to (thus plot) prove her point, a game. The plot continues to turn a again and again, nice. Great job. Probably best short I've read in awhile. You managed to push your character into the smallest corner possible the closet, and kept it entertaining. Not to heavy on the gore, and great ending. Nice read, man.

Thanks so much, BLB! Glad you enjoyed it.


Quoted from killerk
Very good smooth read, kept me interested until the end, and not many mistakes.

Thank you, killerk!


Quoted Text
The only other things I noticed was-

HEATHER
d*rnit! - Should be Damn it!

HEATHER
Goddamnit, Courtenay! - Should be God damn it, Courtenay!

But that's just me being picky.

Yep, that's definitely a matter of taste, the same way son of a b**** could be sonofabitch, or OK could be, well, you know how many variations of OK there are.

Thanks for reading.


The Doll - New!
Hiccups - 2013 Shriekfest Finalist! Filmed!
The Thing That Wasn't - Filmed!
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CoopBazinga
Posted: November 25th, 2012, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Chris,

Not a bad little tale here although it did come across as a tad conventional to me and lacked surprise  – the babysitter, oncoming storm and a monster in the closet.

In saying that, this certainly had enough to keep my attention and was written with poise by someone who knows how to handle the horror genre – this reminded me of another author’s work on SS. It’s one of the better shorts I’ve read in a while on SS to be fair so well done on developing a well-rounded little short.

After a getting to know them start which nicely added in the addition of the nail polish which came into play later, this really builded up a lot of tension and most of importantly for me was the mystery which helped this story flow for me.

This was what kept me interested to the end anyway and although I had an idea that Courtenay was maybe not herself upon stepping out of the closet, it was the suggestion that maybe I was wrong that held my interest.

But the ending wasn’t a disappointment and left me satisfied if not overwhelmed. Overall, this is a fine little short and I can understand why it was optioned first time around even if it did end up not going anywhere. I wish you best with it.

Good luck and keep writing.

Steve
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 25th, 2012, 12:55pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Sham
This was "optioned" in October of 2011 and removed at the request of the director, but the contract fell through when I lost all communication with him.

The script has been very slightly reworked and put back on SimplyScripts to maybe find a new audience and (hopefully) the attention of other filmmakers. We'll see what happens.

Hope you enjoy!


Hey Chris,

Well, that's a big bummer sandwich.
Your fine contained tale screams easy production.

This fella was looking for a horror short not too long ago.
Give him a shout...

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-looking/m-1346181395/s-0/

Good luck!

E.D.


LATEST NEWS

Clone Wife
- Rom/Com - 105 pgs.

Is optioned by Destiny Pictures!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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KAlbers
Posted: November 25th, 2012, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Chris.

I really enjoyed reading this... the tension was great.

Few things I found myself getting hung up on;

1. I felt the way Courtney learns of the horror movie a little too convenient, contrived.
"Besides,  your mom would kill me if I let you  watch this movie." I like that she doesn't want to go to bed, but what if she sneeks back out of bed and finds Healther watching the movie, Heather catchers her, then the deal is struck? (Just spit-balling)

2.  The banter is great between the two of them (save for a couple of questionable lines of Courtney's. ) But it flows nice until we hit a bit of snag with chunky dialogue. (Now I'm probably the last one to comment on cutting down, so please forgive me):
"When I was your age, my parents would stay up late every Friday night and watch a scary movie. I used to beg them to let me stay up and watch one with them, but they said no. One night, I asked again, thinking they would say no and send me to bed like they always did, but they didn’t. Instead, they took me into their bedroom and made me a deal. Heather looks back at Courtenay. They said if I could stay in their closet with the lights out by myself for two minutes, I could stay up and watch the movie."
What if you simply said:
"When I was your age, I always begged my parents to let me watch a scary movie, one night they finally said  "Yes", but... only if I could  stay in their closet, in the dark, by myself for two whole minutes. Then, I could stay up and watch the scary movie."
Just a thought.

3. When Courtney is in the closet, I think it would be better to have it completely black, play with sounds to pulls us into it, as you do with what Heather hears through the door.

4. Finally I got to say, I know it's suppose to be a horror script, but I kinda was satisfied with the "Gotcha" moment with Courtney. Heather being beaten at her own game. I thought this was cute and brought a smile to my face... but then we go on and I kinda lost interest after that. I think because I was pushed to my seat with the closet not opening and Heather's panic, for a short script I didn't want to go through with another panic, then revelation, it was too much for a short script, for me... but then I guess it wouldn't be a horror.  I do like the idea that something else did lurk in the closet with her though.

There are other notes, but I think others have covered them already.

This all being said: It's very well written, held my interest and I really enjoyed it.  And of course, these are just my thoughts on it. I look forward to reading more of your material, and hopefully seeing it on screen, sometime in the near future,  too.

Best,
Kev


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ABSteel
Posted: November 25th, 2012, 9:02pm Report to Moderator
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Very nice read! It'd also be very easy to shoot. From a casting angle, would it work with a little boy or a teenage boy? I personally like scripts with an even number of sexes instead of two of the same. It's not a huge deal.
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SteveUK
Posted: November 27th, 2012, 8:04am Report to Moderator
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Hi Chris,

This was a good little read. I agree with what the others have said regarding Heather's description - it's definitely a little clunky.  It reads more like you're telling us what she might wear hypothetically, as opposed to a description of what she actually is wearing. It may be more clear if it was amended to something like:

Self-aware and vain, she's the type of girl who thought it was a good idea to wear UGG boots and a tweed pub hat to this babysitting job.

The back and forth conversation between the two girls worked really well, and you had me hooked. I also like how you worked in the nail polish.

Whilst the ending wasn't a surprise, it certainly didn't disappoint. Great job!
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Dreamscale
Posted: November 27th, 2012, 12:08pm Report to Moderator
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I remember this from awhile back.

I liked it then and I like it now.  It's well written for the most part, effective, and even downright scary.

The description stuff of Heather is probably something I commented on when this first came out.  IMO, anytime you attempt something like this, you're going to get peeps who don't like it enough to actually bring it up.  It's something that is always a risk and the payoff isn't worth it.

You know what I'm saying?  Does it matter if Heather is the kind of girl to wear UGG boots and whatever kind of hat to a babysitting gig?  Not to me, it doesn't.  My recommendation is always to keep it simple.

Good work here, Sham.  I really like this script.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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screenplay_novice
Posted: December 7th, 2012, 6:04pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this one. I think it was well written and it had an excellent flow. I thought I had it figured out. The little girl would be put in the closest and something would get her, but the babysitter would rescue her in the nick of time, and they would somehow kill whatever was in the closest, but no, I was proven wrong, and happily so.
Nice job.


If you can't beat 'em, then get yourself a bigger stick!
John Mavity
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WillJonassen
Posted: December 15th, 2012, 4:16am Report to Moderator
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Dude! This is a really great bit of work. Some things to touch on, to reinforce (just as a way of giving some original props) from line one, I'm impressed with your choice of wording. In that action line, for example, the word "signals" is a great choice that is very vivid in multiple ways, and is used in that one moment with great impact. There are other examples of equally fine choices, throughout, that make each line fresh, exciting, visceral, and as a result, the whole flow pulling us forward. The dialogue, also, between the two, felt very real and natural in my experience. There was just enough real feeling in it, in fact, to bring genuine chills when the terror actually came.

Great narrative, too. As Novice pointed out just above, when Courtenay ran out of that closet and was giving her explanation for the noises, I thought, "ohhh.... I hope this is some kind of trick/demon/doppelganger." And guess what? Ha! It was. It really was, and in the best (or worst for heather) possible ways. Creeeepy.

The barest thing I can even give as a critique - and which doesn't come from any real mistake on your part, but my own obsessive compulsiveness - is that there are those orphan/widow words near the end, of a single word on a line, alone. Even in the first line, the "The" hanging there on line one as part of the sentence on line two, "The distant boom of..." I would shift-enter that word/sentence down to line two, just to clean it up and be conducive to the natural flow of the eye physically moving along the page, and therefor, reading comprehension. It shouldn't push the last word down to a third line. On parts where there is an orphan left alone on a third line, then, I know my teacher would certainly want to see them brought back up, somehow, if this was in class. Think of it that way. Bare-bones typography stuff, and there are probably only three or four other examples (again, not mistakes, but about making something great, perfect), knit-picking... and if you wanted to say, "I know that, but wouldn't want to see that perfect of a version on the internet, or care." I wouldn't blame you, because you're right.

And because "The Thing that Wasn't," was... awesome.
There's no "error" in it, anywhere. There's no letting us down, at all.
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WillJonassen
Posted: December 15th, 2012, 4:34am Report to Moderator
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An add-on to address the dialogue disagreements from some other members and why I like it: what our member friends without children (or children, but not babysitters), may never have experienced (or did, but forgot), is that real conversation with a kid is often a little... like storytelling. One often goes into a little character special just for children when dealing with them, and tells stories with a special voice. This happens subconsciously and naturally, without thinking. We all attempt these conversations with them, leading and trying to retain control. However, kids are so very smart in response to this, and that strongly came through as well. It's so real, it strikes me that it must be real.
This is why I agree with the dialogue, fully, as is.
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