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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    Scarefest Script Club  ›  A Cut Above the Rest - SSC2WC Moderators: Zack
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Don
Posted: February 23rd, 2017, 9:09am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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2nd Draft
A Cut Above the Rest by Chris Bodily - Short, Cannibal Horror, Pod, Clone, Science Fiction - A food critic uncovers the dark truth about a burger joint that has never gotten one bad review... or else. 13 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work


1st Draft
A Cut Above the Rest by Chris Bodily - Short, Cannibal Horror, Pod, Clone, Science Fiction - A food critic uncovers the dark truth about a burger joint that has never gotten one bad review... or else. 12 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  March 3rd, 2017, 5:46pm
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pale yellow
Posted: February 23rd, 2017, 2:59pm Report to Moderator
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Love your title and you did a good job pulling me in with this logline.

Cool story ...like  a  a dash of WestWorld with a pinch of Stepford and add blood and gore and hamburgers.

Good writing ...good dialogue.

"But I don't even smoke weed" had me laughing

Good stuff here.... love the fate of the food critic.


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: February 23rd, 2017, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hi chris,

I liked the fact it is self contained, helps with filming.

I also like the idea of an institution, a history passed down - you could use that more

The whole dead bodies in the burgers was a tad obvious so lacks punch - then the unnatural new bodies seems a bit unexplained

One weak aspect is, who's story is this? We don't follow anyone in particular and I feel this makes it looser. I would stick with one, either the new boy stuck in the middle, the evil owner, or reviewer etc

On reflection I would work the hidden institution and the unexpecting newbie thrown into the middle

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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Dreamscale
Posted: February 23rd, 2017, 5:58pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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I read the whole script, Chris.

Sorry to say, absolutely nothing worked here for me.  It's very odd because this isn't horror at all...more like comedy.  There aren't any monsters, and based on Stepford's own words, there aren't even any cannibals here.

The amount of name dropping/product placement here is unprecedented...almost in a pisser-like way.  It's overdone and goofy, to say the least.

Some of the descriptors are also very pisser-like, so I'm wondering if that's what this was intended to be.

Story-wise, not really much here, and what is here is completely and utterly unrealistic, which again, signals to me this is a comedy or a big old fat pisser.

Writing-wise, not bad in terms of mistakes, but the plot, action, dialogue, and descriptions are all extremely cheesy, and have nothing to do with horror.  There aren't any surprises, there isn't any tension, there aren't any scares.  Even the setup itself is just goofy.

I'm sorry, but I don't have anything positive to add, other than you were 1 of 8 to complete the challenge, so good on you for that.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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MarkItZero
Posted: February 23rd, 2017, 7:08pm Report to Moderator
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I like the general idea of a food critic getting stuck in a restaurant serving human meat. But the way you've set it up isn't very believable.

If you look at something like Ratatouille, even though it's about a rat cook I could still buy into that premise because it's based on a real "issue" for high-end restaurants. That is, reviews do matter and can affect your business. They just took it to an extreme and had one super influential reviewer.

I don't think professional critics go to fast food restaurants. And, even if they did, their opinions would probably not affect sales at all. You can have rat cooks or cannibals without straining credulity cuz that's fantasy movie stuff. It's harder to completely ignore the more mundane realities of how restaurants operate if that makes any sense...

Then it turns out the critic is actually investigating the disappearance of his colleagues and conveniently has a private investigator friend... I couldn't buy into any of that.

I'd suggest you go with something simpler that's grounded in some reality. For example, a couple of snooty Yelp reviewers show up who act like they're professional food critics. They end up causing a stink and somehow get into the kitchen where they witness how the food is really made....


That rug really tied the room together.
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Conz
Posted: February 23rd, 2017, 9:28pm Report to Moderator
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I hope these colors come back into play, b/c you sure are keen on telling me about them.

I kid.

ďStepfordísĒ is a good nod. Ö bit on the nose, probably.

Notes as exposition could work, but only if they are brief.  

Why would he assume the cashier was a rookie?  He didnít witness the opening scene.

Clones, huh?  Well I guess thatís a good way to cover the bloodtrailÖ but Iíd also counter that thatís a lottttt of work to go through to serve human meat for a few customers.  The place is dead.

Nitpick, but famous food critics probably arenít going to fast food restaurants.  

A note tuned to 432 hertz.  How am I supposed to envision/hear what that sounds like?  Also, if a sound is brainwashing them, things that cover your eyes are an odd choice.  They should all wear walkie talkie type head micís that get tuned to a frequency and brainwash them, no?

I didnít like that most of the story and setup came out in notes weíre supposed to read on the screen.  I think this would have flowed better with Victor as the main character.  Open on him telling someone all the stuff he had written about how his fellow critics always come back weird from Stepfordís and have him attempt to call Bobby, etc.   Open with the suspicion.  Then have him go to the restaurant and let his guard down when he realizes everything seems to be in order, etc.  You know what Iím saying?

This is like a comedy that didnít go all out, so it comes off as weird tonally.  The cannabis joke, the good burger joke, they just seem sprinkled in and inconsistent.

Overall, sure, itís a story I guess.  I feel like Iíve seen it.  Reminds me of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horrorís segment that I assume plays on Soylent Green (never seen it, but obviously know the twist.)


I'd list my "work" here, but I don't know how to hyperlink.††

"Career" Highlights
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Hank of W
Posted: February 24th, 2017, 4:40am Report to Moderator
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The logline is promising but the story under delivered, sorry. The mind control sunglasses and the clones imo were counter effective in your attempt to deliver horror, it's just silly.

Taking away those, the story is kind of cheesy and I feel like I have read a hundred of this, sorry, but I am not a writer anyways.
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DanC
Posted: February 24th, 2017, 9:58am Report to Moderator
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Hey Chris,

I'm gonna read and comment on your short.  So, here goes:

What's a pre-lap??  I've never seen that.

Wouldn't the logo be on both sides, not either side?

So the regulars are all like the Stepford people, but, this new guy Chuck isn't?  You should perhaps contrast Chuck more, perhaps in different colors.  Or make the visitors wear the same types of colors in the logo.


Wait, so Chuck tries on the shades AT THE SAME TIME that Victor walks in?  Is that what you meant to happen?

I might be dense, but, I didn't get initially that Phil and Dave were workers.  I thought they were patrons.  Same with Chuck.  Since Chuck is new, I'd really go for the oddball attire.

When Victor says McDonalds is cheaper, is he talking out loud, or to himself?  And why in God's name, or Satan's name, or whomever, would anyone compare any store with McDonalds or BK?

Full disclosure, I love both those places, but, I know what I'm getting, and healthy, quality food isn't expected.  So, not sure why he'd compare them to MCD.

Not sure I'd list the soda names merely for the sake that you'd have to pay them.

Just asking, but, can one pass out, dead?  

I think I'd make the scene in the back room a bit more drawn out and brutal.  Have more workers back there etc.

On page 8, why the break in the action?  You have a very tense situation.  Then you cut to some dude eating a burger, suggesting it's a different day (because you write "day" in the slug line instead of continuous), then cut back to Victor.  I was confused to say the least.

Are we supposed to know what all this means?  The A note, the frequency, the Bose logo??

The weed comment is pretty funny.  And I'd imagine you took the shades from They Live.  Obviously, Stepford comes from the Stepford wives.  I think I'd steal other movies too, if you can think of them.

When Dave says Give me that back, what is he talking about?  Oh, the hatchet.  Wait, you say that Dave has it, then Victor accidentally grabs it?  How does that happen?

I don't know, but, for some reason, I am not intimidated by Stepford and the others.  Perhaps it's because you kinda make them sound clumsy and, in my mind, that makes them able to be taken advantage of.  Perhaps if you make them robotically efficient, it might work better.

One thing I don't understand, aren't they all wearing shades?  So, when Victor had the chance, why didn't he just knock them all off?

Overall, it was fun.  I enjoyed it.  Just tighten it up.  I'd also like to know if Stepford isn't human.  What is the purpose for serving man?  How do they get their supply?  

Good luck with the story.

Dan



Please read my scripts:
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-series/m-1427564706/

I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

Thanks
Dan
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ChrisBodily
Posted: February 25th, 2017, 12:21am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading and offering your feedback.

Just to answer a few questions:

What is a pre-lap


Quoted Text
A pre-lap is when the dialogue (or any sound) from the next scene starts before we cut away from the previous scene. They are a common and useful transition.



Quoted from Conz
Clones, huh?  Well I guess thatís a good way to cover the bloodtrailÖ but Iíd also counter that thatís a lottttt of work to go through to serve human meat for a few customers.  The place is dead.


That's exactly what I was going for. If they didn't clone everyone they killed, somebody would have investigated forty years ago.

The script is supposed to take place before lunch, so, yes, it's a bit dead. The same is true for all restaurants that early in the day. (I know from experience; I used to work as a volunteer at Mazzio's Pizza for a career class. They're a step up from Pizza Hut, Domino's and Little Caesar's.)


Quoted from DanC

Wouldn't the logo be on both sides, not either side?


http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/95559/can-either-mean-both-any-and-both

"Either" can mean:

1. One or the other ("Either shit or get off the pot.")
2. Both ("Two beautiful women on either side of me")

It's a fancy way of saying "both."


Quoted from DanC
When Dave says Give me that back, what is he talking about?  Oh, the hatchet.  Wait, you say that Dave has it, then Victor accidentally grabs it?  How does that happen?


You seem a bit confused. You misread this part:


Quoted Text
Dave creeps toward Victor with his hatchet.

Victor grabs it, accidentally  hitting Chuck in the face and
knocking his sunglasses onto the floor.


The only thing Victor did accidentally was hit Chuck in the face, "knocking his sunglasses onto the floor."


Quoted from DanC

Wait, so Chuck tries on the shades AT THE SAME TIME that Victor walks in?  Is that what you meant to happen?


Just a few seconds before.


Quoted from DanC
And why in God's name, or Satan's name, or whomever, would anyone compare any store with McDonalds or BK?


Huh? Store?  


Quoted from DanC
So the regulars are all like the Stepford people, but, this new guy Chuck isn't?  You should perhaps contrast Chuck more, perhaps in different colors.  Or make the visitors wear the same types of colors in the logo.


Doesn't work that way. He's an employee, and they all wear uniforms. Patrons can wear whatever they want. (This isn't a fancy French restaurant with a black-tie dress code or anything.)

Chucks a new employee; he hasn't been brainwashed yet.


Quoted from DanC
I might be dense, but, I didn't get initially that Phil and Dave were workers.  I thought they were patrons.  Same with Chuck.  Since Chuck is new, I'd really go for the oddball attire.


Phil's introduction reads:


Quoted Text
PHIL (19), also sporting sunglasses, talks into his
drive-thru headset.


Dave's reads:


Quoted Text
Phil and DAVE (21), chubby, dark sunglasses, freeze for a
beat. Then, they gasp, cheer, and applaud.

Nodding, Stepford signals that he has more to say. Phil and
Dave quiet down, their smiles never diminishing.


And Chuck's:


Quoted Text
CHUCK (31), blond hair, neutral expression, is the only one
not smiling eerily or wearing shades. Standing next to the
cash register,
he shifts his eyes, as if confused.



Quoted from DanC
Not sure I'd list the soda names merely for the sake that you'd have to pay them.


Perhaps, but it does (no pun intended) ground it in some kind of reality.


Quoted from DanC
Just asking, but, can one pass out, dead?


I don't see why not.


Quoted from DanC
I think I'd make the scene in the back room a bit more drawn out and brutal.  Have more workers back there etc.


I'm strongly considering it. My frame of reference was Halloween III: Season of the Witch, where the villains mostly stood around.


Quoted Text
On page 8, why the break in the action?  You have a very tense situation.  Then you cut to some dude eating a burger, suggesting it's a different day (because you write "day" in the slug line instead of continuous), then cut back to Victor.  I was confused to say the least.


It's all the same day. I find "Continuous" to be unnecessary 99 percent of the time. Sorry for the confusion. I wanted to contrast the blood-soaked slaughter and horror with the mundane eating of the burger... and to further satisfy the (accidental) cannibal parameter. The patrons don't seem to realize they're cannibals. I cut it this way for impact.


Quoted from DanC

Are we supposed to know what all this means?  The A note, the frequency, the Bose logo??


There's a conspiracy theory/controversy concerning this: The frequency of middle A used to be 432 Hz until Nazi Germany reportedly changed it to 440 Hz, which it has remained ever since. And since we're so used to 440 now, 432 would seem a bit odd to an untrained ear. I did it to accentuate the "off-ness" (for lack of a real word).

Bose. They don't want you to know this, but Bose is very much guilty of making shoddy products, claiming they're the best thing since sliced bread, overprice them, and brainwash an unsuspecting public. And it's been proven, too. This is also what Stepford's is doing in my script, but on a more sinister level.


Quoted from DanC
I'd imagine you took the shades from They Live.  Obviously, Stepford comes from the Stepford wives.  I think I'd steal other movies too, if you can think of them.


Bingo and Bingo. I borrowed ideas from Spongebob, a Good Burger sketch with a food critic (Sherman Hemsley), the Good Burger movie, They Live, The Stepford Wives, Soylent Green, Halloween III, To Serve Man, and a sketch on All That (Seasons 7-10) where aliens open a restaurant and serve customers as meat. Whatever works, works.


Quoted Text
I don't know, but, for some reason, I am not intimidated by Stepford and the others.  Perhaps it's because you kinda make them sound clumsy and, in my mind, that makes them able to be taken advantage of.  Perhaps if you make them robotically efficient, it might work better.


I'll definitely (no pun intended) beef them up in my rewrite.


Quoted Text
One thing I don't understand, aren't they all wearing shades?  So, when Victor had the chance, why didn't he just knock them all off?


I didn't think about this, but I guess since they've been wearing those shades forever (as opposed to Chuck), they'd be harder to apprehend.


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ChrisBodily
Posted: February 25th, 2017, 12:43am Report to Moderator
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And to answer Jeff...

Is this a pisser? No. Is it a comedy? Not necessarily. What it is, though, is a serious satire.  A serious work with some humor.

What is your personal definition of horror? People are getting chopped up, slaughtered and served as food for other people to feast upon. How is that not horror?


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Dreamscale
Posted: February 25th, 2017, 12:54am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ChrisBodily
And to answer Jeff...

Is this a pisser? No. Is it a comedy? Not necessarily. What it is, though, is a serious satire.  A serious work with some humor.

What is your personal definition of horror? People are getting chopped up, slaughtered and served as food for other people to feast upon. How is that not horror?


The way it's presented, bro.  It ain't remotely horror.  Nothing is remotely real in anything you st up or presented.  Nothing is "horrific".  It;s all for laughs or the piss.

Sorry if you don't get that, and I am not trying to be a dick or mean.  Just saying...



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AnthonyCawood
Posted: February 26th, 2017, 5:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hmm, I liked most of this but there were some logic issues that detracted from it for me...

What do they gain by killing people and serving them as hamburgers, and cloning them?
Doesn't anyone think it's odd that they wear sunglasses indoors all the time?
I get that the staff are hypnotised by the glasses but the patrons?

Anyhow... decently written but the above issues stopped me fully engaging.


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
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JEStaats
Posted: February 27th, 2017, 2:47pm Report to Moderator
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Chris - I'm so glad I read your script before reading any of the above comments. I see that it's not intended to be a comedy but it could easily be an outrageous physical comedy if you wanted to go that direction. I agree with many of the comments made above and would've loved to see Chuck be the break out hero in this. I thought that was his path but, dang, gutted instead.

Not sure what I enjoy reading more: Your reviews of my submissions; or your responses to comments of others.
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Zack
Posted: March 1st, 2017, 3:26pm Report to Moderator
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I've worked some fast food in my past and that helped this read a bit for me.

Quirky story. Pretty violent too.

Some of the action lines read a bit odd to me.

Not very scary, but this had some creepy imagery. I liked it.

~Zack~


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JEStaats
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Hi Chris - I like the new intro. It explains why the review of a fast food joint. I'm going to steal the practice of keeping pink slips on my desk, if it's alright with you;)

Many of the same logic issues but, hey, it's horror and logic should be thrown out the window with the baby. Chuck must be hard up for work if he stayed around that joint. And why would the critic follow Stepford into the back room after find out his french fries were fingerling potatoes? Just to get his phone back? Stepford should've had a big cleaver behind his back or something.

Entertaining read. Good job.
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