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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Apple Tree Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: November 22nd, 2015, 5:58pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Apple Tree by Steven Clark - Short, Drama, Supernatural - While performing community service, a troubled man finds something he never expected  -- hope. 12 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.
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: November 23rd, 2015, 4:10am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven.

An interesting and challenging story here. Well written, I had no trouble visualising the scenes and characters. There was one block were you put an unnecessary BEAT as the action was already dictating a pause. I only mention it as it actually drew me out of the story for a few seconds.

SPOILERS AHEAD

I didnít quite buy the whole premise but I think if you fleshed it out more it could work. There didnít seem to be enough screen time for Billy to develop a complex relationship with Julia. We jumped from introduction to caring, intimate friends quite quickly. I also questioned how he could spend so much time with this ghost in a hospital without anyone interrupting, especially as he is carrying out mandatory community service and presumably under close supervision.

There seems to be a bit of an inconsistency. At one point he kisses her on the cheek but later his hand passes through her ankle. It also seemed odd that Cal knew about the ghost and just accepted it. This seemed just a convenient mechanism to explain what was going on to the audience.

I think if Billy worked at the hospital full time and you spread this story out over months, maybe even years, it could be very powerful.

I hope my notes help.

-Mark



For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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StevenClark
Posted: November 23rd, 2015, 6:48am Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Thanks for reading. I hear you on a couple things. I struggled with the Billy/Julia relationship as I wanted this to be around ten pages, maybe even less initially. I knew I had to get their relationship to the point where they'd both be comfortable telling each other certain things. As a result it felt a bit forced and I knew it.

As far as the kiss and his hand slipping through her. That happened where there was a big shift in tone and she was in distress. When she went into labor I thought it was a good opportunity for her to reveal herself. So, I'll stand by that scene.

Thanks for the feedback, Mark. Much appreciated.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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RichardR
Posted: November 23rd, 2015, 2:07pm Report to Moderator
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Steve,

Comments from the nether world.

I like your story, but I think you can improve it by cutting the opening scene.  It adds costs, and you can convey the same information through dialogue between Billy and Cal and perhaps showing Billy with an ankle restraint.  I know you're also trying to show how Dad is really trying to be a good guy, but again, you can do that with Julia.  

Given Billy's character, I would expect him to give Cal all kinds of grief.  I would expect Billy to be a slacker.  I would expect him to duck into room 121 in order to smoke or goof off or something.  He's not a good person, and that should be shown.  Dumping the opening scene also frees up space for better development of Billy and Julia.  It would take time to get through Billy's shell.  

And then, the apple shows up so Billy has to call dad.  OK, I'll buy it.  I would buy it a bit more if Billy did some things for Julia--flowers, candy, stuffed animal.  He is totally on board with a ghost.  And maybe it's a stuffed animal like the one he had as a child.  You figure it out.  

Best
Richard
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Marcela
Posted: November 23rd, 2015, 6:46pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve, I loved the way it's written, liked the characters. But I didn't understand when he grabbed her foot and his fingers slipped through it. I didn't get the ending first time, Julia and Cal distracted me so much that I completely forgot what happened at the beginning, so I had to read the beginning again to understand! Maybe Billy's father should appear more in the whole script?
Keep up good work,
Marcela


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StevenClark
Posted: November 24th, 2015, 7:19pm Report to Moderator
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Richard,

Thanks. Good advice about cutting the opening scene. I knew I needed more time for Billy and Julia to develop. The way it's written now seems rushed, so that's one way to free up some space.

The apple itself doesn't prompt Billy to call his dad, it's more Julia's situation that does. But in order to get thy full effect I'll have to add more, which goes back to your suggestion. Thanks again.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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DustinBowcot
Posted: November 25th, 2015, 4:14am Report to Moderator
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Why is the stenographer typing? They usually only type when people are speaking. They also use, as far as I remember, a type of shorthand and type everything up proper later. Generally speaking in a courtroom, you only hear that clacking sound when people are talking and maybe for a second or two afterwards. They're usually very good. But, I could be wrong, my knowledge comes from memory. Just something that jumps out at me right away.

40 hours community service isn't bad. Don't they usually dole those out in the hundreds? 40 hours is not even 7 days.

Code

BILLY
So, what is this place built on top of
some ancient Indian burial ground?

CAL
Always been a hospital, far as I know.
We heal the sick.

BILLY
So, what is she? A ghost?



This dialogue needs to be handled better. Too otn, too many questions. Yes the viewer wants to know, but we shouldn't second guess their thoughts in the dialogue. It's distasteful.

This is a well written story, it just feels a little unsatisfying. The courtroom scene, although visual, doesn't do enough to set up Billy's character. If you want to show him as somebody just down on his luck and wanting to do the right thing, then you need to find another way to do this.

There needs to be more interaction with the ghost, more on he sharing what type of person he is. I think he also needs to help her in some way.

The bones are here for a good story, I just feel it needs a little more. Definitely worth investing some time in though. Nice work.
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eldave1
Posted: November 25th, 2015, 11:55am Report to Moderator
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Steven: As always - your writing is solid.

This:


Quoted Text
BILLY
What? That's not supposed to happen.
Parents are supposed to be loving and
kind. Understanding... I don't get it.


Was a bit of dialogue that I didn't think quite fit. If I got it - Billy's estranged from his Dad so the fact that he wouldn't get that parents can be asses kind of threw me. After Julia says - they disowned me - I think Billy would say something like - that's the problems with parents - they think they own you in the first place. - Something like that - i.e., should have been a point where they recognized their common experience with parents.

In terms of the story - there is a very short time lapse between Billy meeting Julia and their subsequent connection. I know it is a short so you are restricted and I am not sure how I would show the transformation any better - it just struck me as - too quick.

If you ever decide to expand this (maybe even to a feature) - I would find it interesting if Billy went on a journey to find out (a) who Julia was and (b) whatever became of her baby. Who knows - maybe Julia can be a ghost from 33 years ago and it turns out that Billy was her son.

Anyway - another solid effort on your part.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Erica
Posted: November 25th, 2015, 10:37pm Report to Moderator
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I really liked this story, it's well done.  I don't have much to add that the others haven't already said.

Maybe a small passage in time could help, have Billy say, something about his 40 hours almost done (even to Cal)?  We might get a better sense of time passing.

It may also have a bigger impact if Cal doesn't know anything about the ghost.  Tells him to go back and look, room empty and when Billy walks out, on the wall is a picture that was never noticed before of "Room in memory of Julia ____".

Then the scene with Cal talking about the job and gives him the apple.

Then cut to the car and calling his dad.

Just my thoughts.


[url]http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/GoodbyeV3a.pdf[/uit.url]
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stevemiles
Posted: November 26th, 2015, 4:44pm Report to Moderator
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Steven,

Solid writing, never a chore to read.  Some thoughts on the story, all opinion so feel free to burn after reading.  

I like the idea of Billy learning a lesson from his experience with Julie; though for me thereís a disconnect between the ghost reveal and Billyís choice to call his father.  Much as I like the ghost angle I have to question how it serves the plot.  Nothing wrong in wanting Julie to be a ghost -- it suits the situation/location; though what about the story?  What about the core idea changes if Julie were a normal patient -- dying instead of disappearing?  Thatís what Iím not seeing; I donít feel the ghost angle is tied enough to the plot which ends up overshadowing Billyís choice to call his dad -- which is what this is all about.

I get a brief hint of Billyís estrangement from his father; though as I read this, Billy is the one pulling away, with his father reaching out to him via the letter to the judge.

For Julie it was her family that abandoned her.  If it were Julie running from them (through a sense of shame perhaps?), then I could see a stronger link to Billyís actions -- their lives share a common thread.  As it is the two angles donít seem to mesh leaving Billyís decision to come off forced.  

Not to be too down on this, again, I like the idea at the heart of it; Iím just not getting enough of a connection between these two characters to make for a satisfying payoff.  

Hope this helps.

Steve.  


My short scripts can be found here:


http://www.sjmilesscripts.webs.com
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StevenClark
Posted: November 27th, 2015, 6:43am Report to Moderator
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Marcela,

Thanks for the read. His fingers slipping thru her foot was to finally show that she is indeed a ghost. She had alluded to it earlier, but here is the first sure sign. AFA Billy's father appearing more, I wanted to only drop a hint of him at the start, in order to set up the ending. But perhaps you're right and in his discussions with Julia he should be mentioned again.

Dustin,

Hey man. Not really acquainted with the law, but maybe 40hrs does seem kinda light. A few peeps are saying to drop the courtroom scene. It's interesting because it would free us some space and allow for more character/relationship development between Billy and Julia. We'll see. But I agree with these comments. Definitely something missing. Thanks for your time.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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StevenClark
Posted: November 28th, 2015, 6:06am Report to Moderator
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Dave,

I see what you're saying about that line of dialogue. Actually it's meant to convey the same meaning as you had suggested, but indinferl your way is more in keeping with who Billy really is. Another thing you picked up on - maybe he finds Julia's a ghost from 33 years ago. Well, with her mention of Audrey Hepburn, and the hairstyle, that's exactly what I was trying to portray. I'm thinking Julia's been there for years and years, since then 1950's at least.

Thanks for reading.

Erica,

I understand about the passage in time. I do feel it needs that, and it might benefit the story if there is one. Originally there was another patient he met who wanted Billy to change his bed pan. As you might have guessed Billy was having none of that and hustled out of that room.

Appreciate your time.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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alffy
Posted: December 1st, 2015, 3:56am Report to Moderator
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Hey, Steve

I really enjoyed this and it was an easy read.

I think most points have been covered in previous posts; Billy and Julia get close quickly, does Julia need to be a ghost?  Actually the last point is a good one, does she need to be ghost?  I think it would work just as well if she wasn't but I also think Dave's suggestion that if you were thinking of lengthening this it would be good for Billy to find out more about her and the baby.

Overall though I really liked this.


Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

You can find my scripts here
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StevenClark
Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 10:30am Report to Moderator
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Steve,

Thanks as always. I get what you're saying and should I revisit this ill take things into account. Initially, Julia wasn't a ghost, but I wanted to keep the page count down -- way down. So I felt if she were a real person it oils lead me on a road I had no time to take. Otherwise, I think you're spot on.

Anthony,

Thanks for the read. See ghost explanation above. Otherwise, not the most cohesive thing I've ever done so we'll see. Certain things I just don't get back to, this might be one of them. If I feel something is good enough I'll take a hammer and chisel to it, but this..?

However, someone did approach me about maybe turning this into a web series?! Wonder where that guy went.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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