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As I've mentioned before, this is probably your best work IMO. It was a sweet story yet dark at the same time with just a smidgen of that "creepy" factor. You excel at creating likable characters that we care about but, some of the time, it gets a bit too schmaltzy for my taste. However, you avoided the schmaltz here without compromising character, thus being even more effective.
This was a great short. I think it'd place well in competitions and, of course, would make a cool, emotionally gut-wrenching little film with a heartbreaking yet hopeful conclusion.
Thanks for the kind words and helping with this before I posted here. This is a slightly different version from the one you read, but changes are small and only there to add just a touch more clarity to Steve's abilities. There's a line by Bryn where she says... "This one last time." Was toying with the idea of using that for the title at the last minute, but decided on your suggestion of Midnight Clear, as it just sounds more catchy and insistent. Thanks again.
Glad you liked this. This started out as a three-pager, very non linear and ended when they danced. I sat on it for a little while until it just started to evolve into something else.
BTW, good job on The Revelator being featured on STS. That was a good one!
Hey Steven, a few thoughts, just my opinion of course...
Loved this, built the mood really effectively and there's some great imagery too... Yes the reveal was what I expected BUT that was good as sometimes stories should go where we expect and want.
I think you largely resisted the temptation to over do it, so it remains a nicely subtle drama for the most part.
A couple of things that struck me, and this could be just me... 1) Bryn, is traditionally a male name, threw me initially when it's a she. 2) I personally didn't think you needed the reveal of the sign at the end, I think you've established she's in some form of medical/nursing facility already. 3) The 'See you next year' line felt wrong to me... It implies he visits once a year which seems off if they were husband and wife.
I'd recommend putting more emphasis on the cerebral things rather than the heartfelt dialogue and symbols. I understand the conflict, but its emotional punch never landed. It's like the characters had a relationship of no relation, no punishment, just roses and dirty cheeks.
Isn't the end reveal the question you want to ask at the start of this short? Beginning with the "why" could define the "who" in a more engaging way? I dunno, these are some of the things I thought after the read. It's a clean write for sure, it just feels to me like it never commits to one direction.
Here in the states I'd say it's just the opposite -- Bryn is largely a girls name.
Regarding the reveal -- I dunno. That's what I went with, and yes it can be assumed that she's in some kind of nursing facility. I just wanted to drive it home really. I guess I just wanted peeps to know "exactly" where she was.
Re -- See you next year. I'm with you on that one. I felt weird writing it, and chewed on it awhile. But in the end, I'm hoping people might have figured out - maybe - that busting her out is a yearly ritual of his, not just visiting.
Not too sure how this would've looked had I started with the reveal. It's an interesting idea and I'll think about it. I was feeling that it might drag this out, but what I'm thinking now is it might take only a page to do so. Less than that really.
This was heavy on symbolism, wasn't it. Lost a rose -- lost her mind. Lights turning on and off -- Bryn's life doing likewise. I like that stuff, though I did feel the park scene needed something more in the way of dialogue. Thanks again.
I liked this, LOVED some parts of it (especially the "I miss you, guys" scene), but do have a couple of questions:
- Is this yearly ritual somehow related to the circumstances of Cooper's death? Is it implied that he died of a bad cold that he might have caught while playing outside? I guess not, but Bryn being concerned about his health might be interpreted this way. (Of course, she may feel responsible for her son's death regardless of the way he died.)
- Bryn knows that Cooper is dead, right? Otherwise, why would she want to see him only once a year, during this special ritual? My understanding is that she believes he now exists in a different dimension. If that's the case, you could probably have the same story without her being "crazy" (studies have found that many grieving people experience such hallucinations, anyway).
Good job overall, though. A really touching script - hope it makes its way to the screen.
No, the ritual is not related to the circumstances of his death, rather it is Steve's yearly attempt to bring his wife back to reality and the real world. Steve possesses this power to make Bryn see her son though he isn't really there, much the same he made the receptionist she was speaking to Mickey Mouse on the phone.
I thought Cooper's death would have better been explained by a drowning incident, most likely taking place around the Christmas holiday. Now that is implied when Bryn's first stop is at the lake. But I can see how you might think it was a bad cold based on what Bryn said to him at the park. IMO, that was just a mother being a mother.
Does she feel responsible for his death? That's a question that's not really answered, but personally, I think the answer is yes.
I do think she knows he's dead, but she also realizes that Steve can bring him back to her, referenced by Bryn's line -- Is there enough magic left?
But this is basically a story about a man who wants his wife back and only has one opportunity a year to do so. Hasn't worked yet, unfortunately.
I missed this when it came up. You know my thoughts on this already and I don't see much change since I read it before. Anyway, it's beautifully written and has such a sad story. Great read and top writing.
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