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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Like a Moth to The Flame - Sold - In Preproduction Moderators: bert
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  Author    Like a Moth to The Flame - Sold - In Preproduction  (currently 1647 views)
SimplyScripts
Posted: June 20th, 2015, 8:58am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Like a Moth to The Flame by Matias Caruso (mr. z) - Short, Thriller - A bedeviled woman hires a shaman to perform a ritual to extricate a rejecting lover from her mind. 10 pages - pdf, format


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


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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
SimplyScripts  -  January 7th, 2017, 11:30am
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DustinBowcot
Posted: June 20th, 2015, 4:04pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Matias, I like some of your stuff but this one, although it may hit notes with some, doesn't do it for me. I found it got repetitive and melodramatic around page 5 and I skipped to see it was just more of the same until the finish. It might play out better on screen.

I'm sure there will be those that will connect with this piece though. Impressively written as always, just failed to grab me with this particular subject matter.

I don't want to say that's your fault as it's probably mine. Good luck with it.
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GreenGecko
Posted: June 21st, 2015, 9:58am Report to Moderator
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I agree with Dustin on this one. It started off nice and relatable, but by page 5 I started getting irked by the repetition. That said, it might just be awkward to read.


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TonyDionisio
Posted: June 21st, 2015, 4:43pm Report to Moderator
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Damnit, get to the point!

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Sorry, stopped at pg 4 due to mumble jumble dialog.
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stevemiles
Posted: June 22nd, 2015, 4:08pm Report to Moderator
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Matias,

Different.  I like linking the imagery of the moth/flame to Nadia’s inability to let go of ‘Jack’.  Making Nadia’s initial dialogue in V.O was a good choice -- at least we don’t see her talking to herself which would’ve killed the read for me.  

Not quite certain of the tone here.  Preferred the supernatural/mystery over the drama.  The appearance of Mr. K. is what kept me reading.  

‘It’s because the flame is beautiful.’  -- Thought that would’ve been the end there -- followed by the final LED TV bit.  The passage in between feels a bit too much -- less being more as they say.

Good visual interpretation of addiction.  The twist with ‘Jack’ I didn’t see coming.  Perhaps ease back on the intro dialogue and get us to MR. K. sooner -- all that early dialogue seems to hold the bigger idea back.

Steve  


My short scripts can be found here:


http://www.sjmilesscripts.webs.com
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Mr.Z
Posted: June 23rd, 2015, 4:48pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you guys, I really appreciate your time and the useful feedback.

To make Nadia seem crazy I thought that it would be cool to have her thoughts be chaotic and repetitive, but I grossly miscalculated the effect it would have on the reader (i.e. making the story feel repetitive as well).

I re-read the piece with this in mind and did some cuts. I uploaded a new version which reads tighter. Until it's up, any new reader that happens to read this message can find it here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12626297/Like%20a%20Moth%20to%20the%20Flame.pdf

Thanks again for your help!


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GreenGecko
Posted: June 23rd, 2015, 5:32pm Report to Moderator
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I went over it again. My favorite bit is "Jack is my flame." The first few pages are darkly comical.

I'm glad I finished it this time, because I actually like the story. Whimsical and dark with a nice twist.

I think the main problem that makes it come off weird is that you're doing a lot of telling through voice over. It's sort of a double edged sword. A lot of these ideas (shopping, cutting, eating) can be shown without her explaining it, but at the same time it gives her such personality. I don't know what to tell you.

And this is just a random idea I had, but maybe it should all be in V.O. (even the conversation with Mr. K) or all in actual speech to give it more of a hallucinating feel. But that's just a silly idea I just had.


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Mr.Z
Posted: June 23rd, 2015, 5:55pm Report to Moderator
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Ha, glad you dug it the second time around. Thanks for the additional thoughts.


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colkurtz8
Posted: July 6th, 2015, 5:16am Report to Moderator
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Matias

“A SMARTPHONE lies over a table, BUZZING intermittently like a
wounded fly that can’t take flight.”

- Good prose.

“She FREEZES. Spots a dozen SHOPPING BAGS lying sprawled on
the floor. A black fancy dress spilling out from one of them.”

NADIA (V.O.)
No. That - that didn’t work.

- Ha, I liked this moment.

Her eyes land on an ice cream BUCKET that lies toppled on the
tile floor. Its contents melting into a surrounding pool that
grows like blood around a corpse.

NADIA (V.O.)
Eating like a pig doesn’t make the
pain go away.

There’s a few CUTTING SCARS on her arm.

NADIA (V.O.)
Even the pain doesn’t make the pain
go away.

- Great visual storytelling here as you show her attempts to alleviate her pain, her loss. From the money to food to self inflicted wounds. Punchy and effective while also injecting some humour of the darkest kind.

I love the frantic rhythm of the prose (the scenes don't merely CUT TO: they FLASH TO which reflects the fevered frenzy of Nadia's mindset and ramblings. Form matching content.

NADIA
Yes - yes - I miss him. I don’t
want to miss him anymore. I want to
forget him. And I want to forget I
forgot him. So I don’t miss him and
I don’t miss missing him. I don’t
want to burn like the moth. Tell me
how to forget him –

- What she really needs is that Lacuna Inc. Patented machine from "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind"   Relatively painless and no creepy man appear from thin air asking you to breathe incense. All you get is Kirstin Dunst and Mark Ruffalo dancing semi clad on your bed!

NADIA
His touch... his taste... his
smell... makes everything go away.

- I'm starting to think Jack isn't a person, instead representing her dependency on a certain drug or something. She seems to refer to him in those terms anyway.

MR. K
It’s been long without “Jack”
hasn’t it?

- Oh so it’s actually as literal as Jack Daniels? Ha!

“Mr. K. is now gone... or probably was never even there”

- I think we can 100% assume he wasn't. I wonder does Mr. K represent something or someone? Rather then it just being another figment of her imagination.

“bottle that Mr. K. took is still MISSING.”

- Or maybe he was...

“She notices she’s holding the bottle in her hand.”

- Ah!

I really liked this.

You're exploring a theme we've seen a million times before: addiction, yet you managed to bring a somewhat fresh and wholly immersive perspective to it. There are so many pitfalls with this topic, simplistic moralizing, didactic finger wagging, a redemptive protagonist, the human spirit triumphing over adversary narrative, hitting rock bottom before soaring above it all, etc. It’s so easy to resort to the same cliches we see in these types of stories time and again that you must be extra mindful to bring something original to the table, a new treatment of a familiar subject.

In this regard I think you succeeded. Mainly through the crazed internalizing of Nadia's character and the immediacy that brings. It’s the immersive quality I mentioned above where we feel like we're right inside her mind, feeling every inch of her struggle.

I don't have personal experience of being seized in that kind of all consuming vice-like grip of addiction but this felt pretty close to conveying the obsessive, one-track state of mind of someone abstaining from something every fibre of their being is craving.

Even though I copped that Jack wasn't a person before it’s revealed (and I’m often slow on these things, other may catch on sooner) it still worked well. Perhaps if you toned down some of the more pointed lines which give this away it might withhold the twist longer but then you will be sacrificing some of that maddened aspect to Nadia's ranting which gives the script its edge.

Its testament to the work when I found myself almost welcoming her capitulation at the end. Yes, it is a tragic conclusion (or rather a “back to square one”) and I know I shouldn't be promoting her succumbing to her "flame" but jeez, anything to stop this insanity, anything to give her some peace, however ephemeral it might be. I felt I'd witnessed her go through so much that my empathy in seeing her get a temporary rest-bit from her demons overrode any concern over her essentially falling back into the abyss.

I also detected some of that in your handling of the scene which some might have a problem with it. I mean, you really emphasize the beauty of the whiskey being poured, splashing over the ice cubes, her arched silhouette against the TV conveyed with "first kiss" and "lover's touch" analogies. The whole scene takes on a sexual almost ethereal quality in contrast to the bleak, squalid surrounding we'd seen thus far.

However, I don't have a problem with it. It’s a matter of staying true to perspective, whose eyes we are seeing this through. This is very much a 1st person narrative all from Nadia's point of view so it makes complete sense to sensationalize and glorify it they way you do. It also gives you an opportunity to get in some cool, poetic visuals

Now I’m off for a bourbon and coke.

Col.


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Mr.Z
Posted: July 7th, 2015, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks so much for the read and the in depth analysis, Col. Glad you liked it, man. You totally got what I was going for... sucking the reader into her crazy world.


Quoted from colkurtz8
Now I’m off for a bourbon and coke.


My work is done.  



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khamanna
Posted: July 7th, 2015, 4:57pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Matias,
I'm sorry I can't have in depth analysis for you.
Just stopped by to say that I liked it a lot - I read the second version. It's very stylish, very different to any other short out there including your own.

And it reads like poetry.

I can't suggest any changes, sorry. Maybe no changes would be my suggestion. Very beautiful read. Thanks.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 3:01am Report to Moderator
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Hi matias

Sorry, I read the original not the re post.

Personally I thought this is a touch of class.

Yes, the repetition could be trimmed, but the imagery and mood for effectively one location, almost one person, is powerful.

Other thoughts

Mr K is a mirage type figure, yet the addiction comment sounded like a therapist, bit on the nose. I would make him a little more subtle. Bit off the wall, but I could imagine an image of him reaching into the cabinet, but we see a woman's hand pick up the bottle.  Or I could see him look at the bottle and just say, I only deal with love. The implication being this isn't love etc

Last dialogue line could be the one before, I think steve had the same idea

Quite liked the idea of her reflection in the TV as a final shot, now dancing with the class. A kind of reference to a twisted version of herself, distorted.

Overall this could be a page or two less.

This should be filmed

All the best


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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sniper
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 3:28am Report to Moderator
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Hey Z,

Always enjoyable reading your shit (especially when there are no vampires or knife throwing badasses). This was no different. Good visuals, nicely worded. I had Jack picked from page 2 (yes, I'm that good), so I was just waiting for the reveal - which did make the story drag out a bit.

I think this would look great on screen, and should also provide some lucky actress with a nice opportunity to show off her skills.

Good shit.

Peace
Rob


Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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Mr.Z
Posted: July 10th, 2015, 9:50am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading guys and gals, I appreciate your time.

Khamanna: No need to apologize, I’m thrilled that you liked it so much.  

Bill: I trimmed some of the repetition and I think you’re right about Mr.K; some of his lines like “withdrawal delerium” sound too technical. Good catch. Thanks!

Rob: Glad you liked it, amigo. So you figured out the twist you sly dog. I’m thinking about mentioning “Jack” the first time and then only refer to him as “he” in order to conceal the twist a bit more. Glad you liked it and you didn't rip me a new one.  


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SimplyScripts
Posted: January 7th, 2017, 11:36am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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"Like a Moth to a Flame" by Matias Caruso has been sold and is currently in pre-production.

It will be produced and directed by Jeff Easley. Production will begin in early March.

Jeff recently directed John Hunter's "Writer's Block" and "The Coffee Maker from Hell" written by Greg Thomson. Both of those scripts are from Simply Scripts too.

Jeff's IMDb and Vimeo pages.


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


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