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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Castles Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: July 31st, 2013, 5:40am Report to Moderator
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Castles by Steven Clark - Short, Drama - A day at the beach yields a profound moment for a father and his four year old son. 6 pages - pdf, format


Visit http://www.simplyscripts.com for what is new on the site.


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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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stevemiles
Posted: July 31st, 2013, 9:10am Report to Moderator
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Steve,

a sweet tale with some engaging visuals of Ray playing with his son -- just not sure what you were aiming for the audience to take from it?

Chance’s ‘Just like life’ line was a nice aside and I could see Ray being taken aback by it.  Guessing this was the profound moment, yet how or why we reach that point was lost on me.  Though maybe that’s the point?

Writing’s a little fragmented in places.  No doubt a choice in style you’re comfortable with, though you could smooth the read out somewhat by re-working the descriptions -- your call to make.

A couple of minor things that stood out:

‘Several minutes pass, many waves are jumped.’  -- So do we watch for several minutes as they jump waves?  

‘He SWEATS’. Not sure what this was trying to put across.

Interested to see your take on this.

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here:


http://www.sjmilesscripts.webs.com
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StevenClark
Posted: July 31st, 2013, 1:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve,
Many thanks for the read, and for the compliments.

The take on the profound moment, which is what Chance says after "just like life," is that there really isn't a profound moment. Just the musings of a four year old, which can seem profound on any given day. But I also tried to show that special bond between father and son, and the potential dangers that await in life.

He sweats. Yeah, reads awkward. Should've written something like Sweat drips from his forehead.

Many waves were jumped. Silly mistake on my part. Gotta remember to show time passage, not tell!

Anyways, glad you seemed to enjoy it. Thanks again.

Steve


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Gage
Posted: July 31st, 2013, 2:32pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve,
I enjoyed this one.  I guess the inner cynic in me was expecting some horrible shark attack or drowning the entire time I was reading it, ha, but I'm glad it turned out to be just a nice day at the beach.  The only thing I would suggest that needs immediate changing is a possible addition of a parenthetical at the "building up smoldering civilizations" line.  That sounds waaaay too epic for a father to say while building a sand castle, so I figured he said it playfully.  A parenthetical could clarify this, perhaps.
Overall I just enjoyed the lightness of the piece, good work.
Gage


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StevenClark
Posted: July 31st, 2013, 9:56pm Report to Moderator
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Gage,

Thanks for the read.  A shark attack would've livened things up a bit.  After all, it is almost Shark Week.  

Not too sure about that even being a parenthetical remark by Ray.  It's def over Chance's head, yes, and it was said playfully.  But I don't think it's worthy of parentheses.  Not unless it's a direct quote.

But I'm stoked you liked it, Gage!  Thanks for the feedback.

Steve


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: August 1st, 2013, 3:31am Report to Moderator
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That was a nice tale, sweet. I could visualise the beach and enjoyed the Father/Son relationship.


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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StevenClark
Posted: August 1st, 2013, 7:48am Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Thanks for the kind words. Visualization is something I strive for in my scripts. I'm glad it worked for you.

The two characters in this story were borrowed from the feature I am currently working on. That piece, a drama, is anything but light and sweet.

Thanks again.

Steve


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DanBall
Posted: August 1st, 2013, 9:58am Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve Clark,

GREAT imagery on this one. You really set the tone well and the kid's dialogue was good, not too much. Cliches were almost impossible to avoid, but you did it. I thought you got close and might hit a few, but you stayed clear.

That being said, I'm not sure what the point was. "Just like life" seemed to have significance, but for no more than we knew about the characters, it fell flat. I don't think it works well and while you could add backstory to it, I would rather see you try and make something else from it. Instead of having that comment be about their family rebuilding after whatever tragedy they might've faced, make it about something else. If you want to leave it open-ended, maybe throw some more clues in there to help readers better formulate any number of guesses as to what that comment means to the boy, to the dad, to both of them. But give us enough to let us know you aren't just being lazy, leaving off an ending.


"I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Max'."

THE PINBALL WARRIOR (scifi, WIP, ~30 pg.)
A STAND AGAINST EVIL (short, 9 pg.)
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 1st, 2013, 10:38am Report to Moderator
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Yo, Steve.  I gave this a read.  Sorry to say, I didn't get much out of it, and was literally waiting for something to happen that would tell me what this was all about, or what it's trying to say.  It never happened for me.

Writing-wise, there are numerous issues on every page.  I see you're attempting a creative style with your Slugs, but you've missed many Slugs, as location changes, but you don't include a new Slug.  Lots of orphans wasting entire lines.  Personally, I'm not a fan of the short, choppy writing itself, and feel like you missed out on many good visual moments, because of this.  You've also included a bunch of unfilmables.  Some other issues as well that don't help in my reading enjoyment.

I guess different peeps could draw different themes or meanings from this, but IMO, there's little here that hits on any level of power, because the elements at work here are all very cliche and universal as well.

Not a bad piece by any means, but it doesn't do anything for me.

Take care.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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bert
Posted: August 1st, 2013, 11:15am Report to Moderator
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Having a four-year-old child suddenly pipe up with grand observations about "life" struck me as a bit contrived.  But not unbearably so, really, and this small moment is really where the story seems to be leading us.  Perhaps the child should be a bit older, perhaps not.

What I would suggest, however, is deleting the responses from Ray.

At that point, it feels like beating us over the head so we are sure not to miss it.

Just let Ray smile and ponder.  That is enough.

Personally, I had no problems with the "smoldering ruins" line.  Seems fine to me.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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StevenClark
Posted: August 1st, 2013, 8:52pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DanBall
If you want to leave it open-ended, maybe throw some more clues in there to help readers better formulate any number of guesses as to what that comment means to the boy, to the dad, to both of them. But give us enough to let us know you aren't just being lazy, leaving off an ending.


Hey Dan,

Good observation, but guilty as charged, I guess.  However, I was not lazy.  This was the way I wanted it from the beginning.  As Bert said, everything that happens is only leading up to the moment the boy says, "just like life."  But the kicker is what he says after that about Santa Claus and the space station.  Meaning, whatever he said before that is totally lost, gone forever.  It really meant nothing.  It was just something he said.  Again, the musings of a young child.  Could mean something, could not.  Here, it didn't.

Bert,

Thanks for your suggestions.  You make an excellent point.  Toning Ray down seems like a good way to just let the moment flow.  Will def consider it.

Dreamscale,

Sorry this wasn't for you.  It was just one of those stories that really doesn't have that punch that many people expect.  Lack of clear ending, and open ended, perhaps, to a fault.  

I hoped to convey with the fishermen in the boat that this could be an older version of Ray and his son, and the lifeguard was meant to represent the possibilty of future dangers that may lie ahead.  I did not leave it ambiguous on purpose, but I was hoping people might catch what I was going for.  And that was?  Kids say the darndest things.  How's that for chiche?

But really all I tried to present was just a light little piece.  And maybe a little something to think about.  No more, no less.  I'm just glad you took the time to give it a read.

All of you.

Steve


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spesh2k
Posted: August 2nd, 2013, 2:25pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steven, this script isn't my thing necessarily, but I enjoyed it overall. It was sweet and light-hearted.

The "just like life" comment came out of nowhere, but it suggested a whole lot. Maybe the mother passed away? And I liked that the kid, though disappointed, kept rebuilding and rebuilding, and how his father helped him after someone had trampled over the last one he did.

I dig the subtext in the dialogue and the overall story. I didn't have much of a problem with your writing style. There are a few un-filmables here and there, but I didn't find it annoying as it kept the story moving.

You had plenty of white space, but watch out for them orphans. A lot of them on the 1st page alone. Kinda makes the page look unbalanced the way they just dangle there.

And I noticed that you had a MINI SLUG at the very bottom of Page 2 (FISHING BOAT) -- again, just another presentation thing, but you probably want to avoid that.

Overall, good job.

-- Michael


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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: August 4th, 2013, 2:26am Report to Moderator
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I thought this was a good short, I think you should shuffle the cards the get more subconscious impact from the audience.  Use your symbols to your advantage.  

Whenever you repeat a focal point, the sand castle in this case, it should have another layer brought into it that is a twist on itself.  If the boy admires it, only to leave it easier, then it diminishes the grip you want to have on the audience.  Life is like building sand castles, our work gets swept away, but something bigger and more crafty results in its destruction.

Another symbol that you used was the homemade flag on a toothpick.  A flag, in the context you used it, is to make claim to something that's yours.  I feel that after Chance said, "Just like life" and his father questioned him about it, it would have been a good opportunity to have Chance lay his flag down immediatly, to claim what he said without a doubt.

Its refreshing to read a piece where a father and son can build something together.

The story resonates with me, there are a few happenings that are a bit random, but it's solid.  Good work,

Johnny
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StevenClark
Posted: August 4th, 2013, 6:14am Report to Moderator
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Hey Johnny,
Thanks for the comments. You're right on with the flag symbol. Writing this I looked to the flag to offer some kind of significance, but I got lost along the way trying to figure out Chance's out of nowhere "just like life" dialogue.

In hindsight I should have returned to the flag and made it mean more, because it would def add another dimension to the story. Thanks for pointing that out.

Mike,

Thanks for the read.  Appreciate the mini slug thing you pointed out. Wasn't even thinking about that, but formatting-wise I know it's a no-no.  Sometimes I miss the most glaring errors!

Btw, Morphine rocked. Excellent writing.

Steve


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rc1107
Posted: August 6th, 2013, 2:47am Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve.

I really like this one.  I was waiting for something big and tragic to happen, as well, (the cynic in me was expecting the worst), but I liked the way you took it.  Nice and calm and just something to think about.  No more.  No less.

Reminded of something my 3 year-old said today.  I was changing the batteries on the remote and told him I had to change them because the other batteries died.  He just sat there for a moment, watching me change them, and then says calmly, 'Grandpa died, too.'

Anyway, nice job on this one.  There wasn't much in the writing that got in the way of my read, like in 'The Grade'.

Good job.

- Mark


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