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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  Off The Clock Moderators: bert
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  Author    Off The Clock  (currently 619 views)
Posted: December 10th, 2017, 9:44pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Off The Clock by Charles Harding - Horror - A group of restaurant employees discover something very sinister is breeding in their hometown.  105 pages - pdf, format

New writer interested in feedback on this work

Visit for what is new on the site.

You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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Posted: December 11th, 2017, 9:55am Report to Moderator

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Your formatting seems off. Are you using software? If not, Fade In, WriterDuet and Celtx are some free versions that could help you with this.

Also, you have a few blank pages at the end that you could cut out to get the screenplay down to 105 pages.

I just don't want to see others discard your screenplay from feedback because of these issues.

All the best,
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Posted: December 12th, 2017, 9:16pm Report to Moderator

London, Ontario
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Read the first 10 so far ...

Scene headings are incorrect "EXT. ROAD NIGHT" is supposed to be " EXT. ROAD - NIGHT

Your first action block ...

Quoted Text
A young couple are running frantically down a dark deserted
road, constantly looking up, clutching each otherís hands.
This road is on the outskirts of a small town in Louisiana.
Terror is spread across their faces! They come upon a tree
and stop, desperately trying to catch their breath. The guy
keeps looking around.

You start out by describing the couple and say what they are doing, then you have a short little location description right in the middle before going back to the  couple. Best to start with the "This road is on the outskirts of a small town in Louisiana. " first then go into the couple.

For example


A lone, vadalized sign reads "Marthasville - 2 Miles". It looks close to tipping right over.

A young couple stagger by it, their arms and legs struggling to cooperate as they suck in all the air they can. They move off towards a tree on the side of the road and almost collapse when they reach it.

Page 5

You have a show don't tell error here .... "She and Caryn have been friends since forever."  ... we have no way of knowing how long they have been friends, you can give us an idea through their conversation as you do with Dana telling  the BJ story.

As for the whole BJ story, I think it can really be shortened down. Two friends conversing isn't really interesting to read for very long. You also have quite a few big dialogue bits in there too, one of which is 71 words long. Dialogue is best used by saying the most with the fewest words unless for speeches or stuff like that. I think this bit here can be taken down to one to one and a half page length rather than 2.

Start of page 10 ...

Quoted Text
A young man of about twenty five is doing push ups shirtless.
His name is
ANDERSON. He has a nice build, and
performs the exercise like a man who is not afraid to get
sweaty. Hip-hop music is playing in the background. A knock
comes at the front door. He stops, and puts on a shirt. On
the other side is his brother DONALD ANDERSON dressed in a
police uniform. Donald is the older brother of about thirty
five. Heís more muscular, mainly due to his years of playing
college football in his younger days. Upon seeing his brother
Donald laughs.

You need to break up this action bit here, readers won't be as willing to continue when they see chunks like these.

So far the writing is decent, the opening scene was good. Perhaps look into some screenwriting software for the formatting issues like Marty has stated above.

Will continue reading if you are around.
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Posted: December 13th, 2017, 1:10am Report to Moderator

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Wow. I can't believe I missed that heading error. I usually write them the way you stated. Thanks for that. As far as the action blocks I can definitely work on those. I have a habit of also getting a little carried away with the dialogue at times. Lol. I appreciate the feedback. I use Final Draft software and am so used to it I don't see any problems since that was the software I was recommended since I first began writing scripts. I have looked into other software programs so thanks for that recommendation. Keep reading though. I'm hoping that despite its few flaws the script entertains.
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Posted: December 17th, 2017, 8:33pm Report to Moderator

London, Ontario
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Good to see you're active on the forums, will give this a read through and post my thoughts.
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Posted: December 27th, 2017, 12:05am Report to Moderator

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Thanks. I appreciate that. Any other reviews are gladly welcomed from anyone else.
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Posted: December 28th, 2017, 8:29pm Report to Moderator

London, Ontario
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finished, sorry for the wait. My thoughts ...

Page 14 "Caryn
and Debra laugh. The front door opens and in walks
FREDDIE, Carynís father. Heís a big man, with a working manís
demeanor. One of those fathers who can be loving one minute,
and fiercely protective the next. Heís accompanied by another
man in preacher clothing. This is PASTOR ISAIAH JAMES. Heís a
shorter man, with a stocky build, and thin rimmed glasses on
his face. Antoine runs to his grandfather. "

This big action block can be separated, it has multiple camera shots in it. For example ....

Caryn and Debra laugh.

The front door opens and in walks  FREDDIE, Carynís father. Heís a big man, with a working manís
demeanor. One of those fathers who can be loving one minute and fiercely protective the next.

Heís accompanied by PASTOR ISAIAH JAMES, short and stocky with thin rimmed glasses on his face.

Antoine runs to his grandfather. "

I also trimmed it down a bit too.

Very small nitpick here at Pastor Jame's comment ...

I bumped into Freddie in the store, and decided to come over
and see how you all were doing. Always a pleasure to see the
families around town."

Almost makes this meeting sound forced in a way, but it's a very small nitpick anyways.

page 17 " ... retrieving a chocolate chip
cookie from a jar shaped like a bear eating from a pot of

You don't really need to describe things in big detail, shorten descriptions
of things not vital to the story to keep things reading smoothly. We don't really need to know what the cookie jar looks like.

" Page 18 "The camera pans around watching cooks sizzle up food, while
servers hustle about getting drinks. "  

Try and keep camera directions out, here
you can simply say the kitchen is an organized chaos with cooks and servers darting around.

Page 18 "These two guys have the most interesting
conversations, mainly due to the fact that they are always
talking about something, no matter what else is going on. "

Unfilmable, there is no way to show this on screen.

Page 24 Roger's bit  "You better come out here right now!! I donít play behind my
truck!" typo?

page 30 "Sheís one of those chicks that always has to be the center of
attention, and loves when men make her feel like she is the
sexiest woman in the world. "

Another unfilmable.

Page 32

"The crew is in full attendance. Everybody is having a lot of
fun. The house is furnished nicely, and a pool in the back
sparkles with a magical blue. Alcohol and food are in
abundance. The walls are vibrating with the sounds of hip hop
bounce music.

Monica and Tatyana are good hosts. They
shamelessly own the room, with their wit and style.  
A knock comes at the door, and Tatyana
goes over to answer it.    

Well damn itís about time! Where did
go? Paris France?  

The living room has a big flat screen, with a stereo system
alongside huge woofers. A sliding glass door separates the
room from the pool. "

Action is out of place here, describe the room (only what's important) and try not to break it up like you did here.

Page 34 - Anthony's and Sheila's conversation can be reduced, it's not intriguing.

Page 36 - Just an idea for some drama, why not have Caryn question Rashad about

error page 48 "They laugh as the reactions of the crew. "

page 56

Caryn follows him, as they run to his car and peel off.
Sylvia stands on top of the roof, with tears in her eyes from
the deaths of her girls. She pulls the knife from her neck
and licks some of the back blood off the blade. She watches
them drive away into the night. "

This needs to be separated

Page 57 Five, scaly, hideous, half vampire, half cannibal creatures
emerge from behind her. "

Good description, I don't get the half cannibal part though, how do cannibals look?

Thread bare hairs, sweaty and horrendous, cover their bodies ... I don't get the thread bare hairs.

Enjoyed the scene where officers see gory pool area, good work on this.

page 74 - you need some more scene headings as you go from outside back into the room and then
to his grandma's room

Page 75,  they say "boy" a lot, get repetative after a little bit. same with all the  "Girl"'s at the start with Dana and Caryn.

Page 75 "Debra screams like a woman during childbirth"

this bit didn't work for me you want her to scream in horror not pain.

"Debra grabs Antoine, and they run into the bedroom bathroom
with the thing right on their tails"

just say bathroom

"Debra closes the door, right before the monster grabs her
robe! It smashes into the door like a demon from hell trying
like anything to get inside.

All the highlighted stuff really isn't necessary as we already have a good idea what it's doing and how.

Idea - What about having the vampire break into the window, instead of it just standing outside
of it doing nothing? Maybe when Antoine and his Grandma are coming back to his room they hear the window smashing. You depict these things as rabid beasts so having one sit and wait is just odd.

page 79/80 too many wrylies (relaxed), (With A Difiance In Her Voice) (To Rashad) (Seriously)
(sadly) (recoiling) (Irate) ... all can be cut. Wrylies are used for when clarity is needed for the readers. It's fairly clear already.

Page 95 - You need to trim or at least break up that 145 word long dialogue bit.

All in all I thought this was a decent story, there's a couple of suggestions I have for you to consider, but it worked for me. It can be better though, you need to go through this and start trimming down a lot of the dialogue and action blocks you have in it, doing this would at least make the read smoother. I liked the bad-ass Pastor too, cant help but feel the first scene where he sees the vampires can be better though. Maybe have him already in his house when he encounters them?

My suggestions ...

- Perhaps change the vampires thing a little bit, give the vampires that Sylvia releases more of a purpose or story, maybe she was planning on creating an army of vampires to consume/enslave the world and that is all she has made so far ... unless there serve another purpose already, not sure.

- Make Sylvia have a personal vendetta against Caryn, have her being hunted down by Sylvia from the get go as is they seem to meet by chance outside the bar.

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Lightfoot  -  December 28th, 2017, 10:25pm
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Posted: December 29th, 2017, 11:26pm Report to Moderator

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Man thanks for the suggestions! I appreciate it. I can see where you are coming from with your critique on the action blocks but I don't completely agree with the dialogue reviews. The people say certain things for a reason. That's just how people talk from this state.

I like the suggestions about the bathroom scene. An attack from a window would be great but I thought it was understood that the vampire stopped attacking Debra because it went after Freddie. Either way I incorporate that in future drafts.  

Also, Sylvia meets Caryn for the first time in the story and immediately notices something in her. A personal vendetta sounds too much like other vampire movies. You know the ones where the lead vampire from a century ago notices our hero and they remind them of someone they knew from said century. They did this in the original 'Fright Night". I just felt that Sylvia would  notice a spark in Caryn early on and despite Caryn killing her girls she would want her to join the dark side alongside with her.

The vampire army described as having thread bare hairs and tattered clothing is meant to introduce a different species of vampires. It's a given in most vampire films that when bitten the victim becomes a vampire. I thought of doing that but then there would've been a town full of monsters walking around and I wasn't exactly writing salem's lot. To keep control of the chaos I made it so that Sylvia and her girls could bite people and turn them whereas this new breed was more brutal and destructive. They went for the complete annihilation of their victims. I thought it would make for a different angle.

Upon reading your reviews my mistakes are things that can and will be fixed. I think the reason you may see this in my script or some of their other scripts you read on this site is because we as writers see some of these things in screenplays that have been made into hit films. No matter. Small revisions at best.

Well all in all I'm glad you at least liked it. Thanks so much for the reviews and suggestions. They have been a real big help.

I will be posting more stories to this page soon.

Thanks again.
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