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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Reflections Moderators: bert
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  Author    Reflections  (currently 3076 views)
Don
Posted: October 18th, 2014, 3:32pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Reflections by Steven Clark - Short, Drama - A woman reflects on her life as she cleans up after her husband. 5 pages - pdf, format


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


-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: October 18th, 2014, 5:03pm Report to Moderator
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A few thoughts, just my opinion of course.

I was dragged in quickly but then got a bit confused... not sure why she'd get up so early unless she was going to work, but then she runs to the store... would anyone do this before work or did I miss something.

I got that Phil wasn't very tidy, and that it annoyed her, but that's 99% of men and 99% of marriages... not sure I got enough from the build up to explain the denoument.

Well written though and could work well with a clearer rationale for the ending.

Anthony


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: October 18th, 2014, 5:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve,

Cool short. I was wondering where you were heading with it at first, but I'd say the ending paid off well. I didn't see it coming at all. It ties everything together well, and it works because you struck a good balance between what makes folks tick, but still keeping it in the realm of sincerity.

Dialogue didn't do it for me. You did such a good job telling the story that you probably don't even need it - at least most of it. Overall, good job. I always enjoy your themes, you excel at this every time.

Johnny
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StevenClark
Posted: October 18th, 2014, 8:39pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Anthony,

Thanks for the read!


Quoted from AnthonyCawood


I was dragged in quickly but then got a bit confused... not sure why she'd get up so early unless she was going to work, but then she runs to the store... would anyone do this before work or did I miss something.


Don't forget, she had a bowl of cereal in between that! But seriously, not sure how to respond to that... Perhaps she's an early riser. I think what's meant to be intended is that Phil has already passed, she knows it, so her day might not go how it normally does. I know that is not explained her, nor do I think it needs to be.


Quoted from AnthonyCawood
I got that Phil wasn't very tidy, and that it annoyed her, but that's 99% of men and 99% of marriages... not sure I got enough from the build up to explain the denoument.


Well, that's really kinda the point in that it is so commonplace among us slobs called men. I figure that's it's something that, when reading, both men and women can relate to, perhaps broadening its appeal some.

Thanks again. Didn't realize that Terminal Z was in production when I read it yesterday... Congrats!

Steve



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Angry Bear
Posted: October 18th, 2014, 9:28pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steven, just gave your script a read. Here are my simple thoughts.

Page 1.    It reads awkward to start the very first paragraph with negative something. Don't know what the proper term is, but telling us what we can't see doesn't seem right. You need to tell us what we see, not what we don't.

Just a thought here at the end of page 1. This is a 5 page script. So far, nothing has happened. A woman brushes her teeth and eats breakfast (which is weird anyway, don't people brush their teeth after they eat?) Her husband sleeps in the bed.

If something strange is going to happen or sa or whatever, IMHO, you at least need to hint at something on the first page.

Page 2.   IMO, those aren't really a series of shots that warrant their own special lines. Takes up extra lines for no reason. Filmmakers will shoot these. Editors will use them. They are not really story worthy, if you know what I mean.

Page 3.   A lot of Mindy talking to herself. Not a huge fan of that. Most people don't talk a lot to themselves out loud.

Page 4.   By now, Mindy starts to sound pretty whiny, IMO.

So, it turns out her husband Phil is dead.

I guess the point of this story is that Mindy complains about her husband, but when he's gone she's all upset and realize how important to her he was. Now that's fine, but I think you need to dig deeper into the story and the characters and their motives for this to work better. Right now it feels pretty flat to me. There is a story here at SS written by Helio Cordero who wrote a very funny and sad story about a family man who dies in his favorite TV watching share, but no one in his family notices. They are too busy with their own lives. Day in and day out, they keep walking by this man who is slowly starting to stink in the living room. That was an excellent story, because it explored the characters and how this tragedy could go on and on. I actually wanted to shoot that story myself. It was great. So sad. Tragic. I think that's what you need to work on here to elevate this story for some emotional impact.

Hope this can be of any help.  


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khamanna
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 1:30am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven,

I gave it a read. The story is solid - but I would like to see why he killed himself.

I like it, but I would have liked it better if I understood why he did it. Maybe you better change it to "she killed him". Or why would he kill himself? He wanted out, he didn't like his life... didn't want to be married to her just like her, but couldn't tell her - I don't know, but I would like to know.

The dialog didn't work for me. The lines on p3 are on the nose for me:
"You were so clean when we were dating"
I think you have to rework the dialog, but I'm no dialog expert, so don' tlisten  to me, listen to others.
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StevenClark
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 7:17am Report to Moderator
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Johnny,


Quoted from oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Hey Steve,

Cool short. I was wondering where you were heading with it at first, but I'd say the ending paid off well. I didn't see it coming at all. It ties everything together well, and it works because you struck a good balance between what makes folks tick, but still keeping it in the realm of sincerity.


Thanks for reading! I'm glad it worked for you. I tried to make it something that all of us, especially women, could relate to. Mindy could have easily passed for my wife. I keep telling her she's gonna miss me when I'm gone.

Also good to hear the ending was a surprise. I suck at twists/reveals. Something I've gotta work on, but this is a start.

Steve


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Dustin
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 7:36am Report to Moderator
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I started getting really bored on page 2. I know that may seem a little early... but nothing is happening.

I think you could cut down some of the dialogue, allow the visuals to tell the story more... which you do a very good job of already, just could do with a tad more.

I like the twist ending.

I know you need a build up... I just think you need to make what she is doing more interesting. To be honest I stopped with this at page 2 yesterday... so something may need to be done about the first page to spice things up a bit.
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Athenian
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 8:17am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven,

I like the idea of the woman knowing but denying the fact that her husband has passed away. On the other hand, I think it would be better if he had just died from natural causes. The suicide thing leaves many questions, as Khamanna said, so maybe you should keep the story simple.

Also, after returning home, Mindy seems to lose touch with reality and just imagine things (the empty driveway, the new stain next to the empty coffee cup, the plate of eggs etc.). I understand that she is in a state of denial, but it isn't very plausible that she'd even imagine herself making the bed. Perhaps she could just be "seeing" certain things, without participating.

Like I said though, the main idea is good. I'd definitely be interested in reading a rewrite.

Manolis
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StevenClark
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 8:32am Report to Moderator
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Pia,

Thanks for taking a read. So far it seems that the first really needs work, and I agree with that. Especially with something as short as this, on that important page 1 there needs to be something more of a "grabber" to kind of let the reader know what kind of road they're going down. Point well taken.

As far as dialogue goes? You know, it never fails... The things that seem awkward to me as I'm writing are always picked up by the keen eye of the readers.

I spoke with an actress who read this and we both agreed this could work just as well with no dialogue at all, something I know you might have been pushing for for this months OWC. Looking back, it seems it might be the way to go here.

As far as that other short... That sounds really great. I wish I'd seen that.

Thanks for your time.

Steve


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colkurtz8
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 11:59am Report to Moderator
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Steven

“No light comes through the windows, still too dark out. A
digital clock sits on a night stand by the bed. 5:28.”

- Could as easily be shorted to: “Dark outside. The night stand clock reads : 5:28” or “Still dark outside…” to avoid confusion since the slugline says its “MORNING”. Either way you could save a line there. Although, it’s only a 4 pager so I guess length isn’t really an issue.

“rolls off some paper towels, cleans the stain... again.”

- Why not use the sponge again and save on the paper towels? Sorry, you don’t have to respond to that It just caught my attention.

MINDY
Remember about sweeping before you
left?
(laughs to herself)
I pay the bills, I keep everything in
this house organized. It's the least
you could do...

- I’m working off of presumptions here but hasn’t he just gone to work? Isn’t she the one at home? So he must be contributing to bills. On the other hand, this could be a clue that something else is going on here. Reading on...

MINDY
Sure, you go off to work without a
care in the world. Our son goes off to
college... Me? Still stuck here
cleaning your mess.

- Ok, so he has gone to work. Why isn’t he helping pay the bills then?

“On her hands and knees, scrubbing the bathtub.”

- I shiver to think what mess he’s left in the bathtub...

“then shuts the light.”

- Perhaps “turns off” or “switches off” would be more suitable than “shuts”

A well crafted and tragic twist at the end, I never saw it coming. Then again, I tend to miss these things. Not only was it effective emotionally but it answered my questions in the above page by page notes. I was ready to berate Mindy for her complaining and to cut Phil and her son some slack since the former was working while the latter was just living his own life and going to college. I felt her whining was unjust. As a result, I thought this was going to end with her taking her own life (with the pills) or leaving the house altogether.

I guess the absence of the car when she comes back and of course the absence of Phil really leads you away from the true nature of events but I didn’t feel cheated or anything, it fit within the script’s construct since we’re experiencing everything from Mindy’s point of view.

However, I did wonder, upon hindsight, where did the new coffee stain and half eaten plate of eggs and toast come from because Mindy only had cereal. I understand the messy bathroom and unmade bed because that was Mindy herself and the dusty hallway can be explained in that manner too but the food and coffee felt like unfair misleading of the reader…unless I’m missing something.

Also, I wondered about the way in which Phil died. I'm thinking he passed away in his sleep due to whatever ailment those pills were for or is something more sinister? I don't think it needs to be specified or anything, You've given us enough to interpret between the pills and the visual of him in bed. I was just curious.

Overall, good job with this, simple, self contained and producible. Not often I come across a script so short that’s able to justify itself. It’s a hard task which is why I don’t write them but this succeeded for what it was.

Col.


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Dustin
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 12:09pm Report to Moderator
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I think the dialogue works. I didn't think it did at first... but once the end is revealed it works. Maybe cut it down. I was going to make a note about the dialogue but dropped it after the reveal.

I also didn't assume he committed suicide... I thought the pills were hers for depression due to having to clean up etc...

Anyway, great story. You should really get a team together and film this.
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StevenClark
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 2:03pm Report to Moderator
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I'll get to everyone's comments and questions on this but I did want to address this one:


Quoted from Dustin

Anyway, great story. You should really get a team together and film this.


My father in law's a professional photographer. He has all the necessary equipment to get this done, and has been bugging me to write something so we could make a film. So, I do plan on filming this myself.

Steve


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Dustin
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 2:14pm Report to Moderator
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Great news mate. If you're going to take it seriously you could add a little more story (often this can only mean an extra line or two) and take it to festivals. We're making our second film now and it's an amazing buzz. Probably even better than the buzz I get from finishing (really finishing) a story. Yeah, much greater than that come to think of it.

Your father-in-law will have to be the cinematographer, perhaps both work together on the production side of things... maybe also you should seek out a director, you'd be amazed the people willing to work for free on the right project. Pitch them, send them a copy of the script... just like you'd pitch a producer.

Maybe even look for some forgotten about actors see if they'd be interested. You never know. Many just like to keep their hand in the game and will do anything to stay on the ladder.
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StevenClark
Posted: October 19th, 2014, 8:22pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Khamanna,

Thanks for the read. So far I think everyone has brought up the dialogue. I will be making some changes when I revisit this.


Quoted from khamanna


I gave it a read. The story is solid - but I would like to see why he killed himself.


Who says he killed himself? Those pill bottle could have had anything on them really. I suppose you can say I left that open end, but when writing, his death was never meant to be suicide. I was thinking more like heart failure. But, I guess it can be open to interpretation.

Steve


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