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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2018 Two Week Challenge  ›  Signal Fire - 2WC Moderators: Mr. Blonde
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Don
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 10:05am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Signal Fire by Neil Percival Young - Short, Adventure - How will anyone find their way in a brave new world? 13 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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StevenClark
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 10:41am Report to Moderator
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Writer,

Some awkward, or just wrong, formatting regarding your dialogue. I got what you were going for, but others may not. Your choice of names threw me a bit, and I had to keep reading to remember that Suds was a girl. Then later, you have a girl named Sal - also leading to more confusion. That said, I have no clue what this story is about. Something about Windows/computers? Whatever it is, itís lost on me. I just had no idea what this was all leading up to, and the end didnít tell me either. Sorry I have nothing more positive to say. But, good job on getting an entry in. This was a tough challenge.

Steve


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Stumpzian
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 11:16am Report to Moderator
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I read this one first only because it had a comment already.

I think this is excellent. Evocative, understated, very well done in general.  I think you forgot to introduce Sal, even though it's clear who she is.
I look forward to coming back to this for a second read, and I may comment further.
Henry

Next day: Okay,  I have read this a second time and still like it very much. This a small story set after some non-specific societal collapse. There are hints of what it might have been, which, to me, is sufficient.
I've read subsequent comments after my first post that mention various problems -- formatting and so on -- and I don't disagree. All are fixable.
What stands out are the (1) dialogue, (2) atmosphere of fear and sadness, and (3) intriguing elements (evens/odds, worship of "great" ideas, God, etc.).
There's much to appreciate here.




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Stumpzian  -  January 28th, 2018, 1:25pm
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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 12:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quick commentary, then Iím giving you my messy notes given in order of how it is read. Love it, got it, loved it, very happy with this first read. Wasnít perfect, but a rewrite or two and you got a really nice script. Characters, story, themes, all pretty right on. Kudos. Messy notes time. Some are just me rewriting part of a sentence the way I would like it to sound, and others are commentary. Good luck.

So aged and black with grease you can barely tell

wiry and (find an easier word to imagine than slight)

Faded neon ski jacket(once-colored is a kind of drawn out)

Donít realize suds is talking to hen right away, maybe add in line of action to clarify

Deepening evening is awkward phrasing. I know what it means, but two -ing endings in a row is funny to read

Whatís suds provoking with her stare?

Long ways away I believe sounds better than way away

Belly, breasts, provocative- I like the attempt at short writing big impact, but I donít think this was a good place for it.

And decides to tell the story- we know hen decided to tell the story because he is telling the story.

Suds Iím going to fuck you up comment came a little late,

Blackness doesnít sound right here

Scrabble??

Secret house key, not house secret key

Last two lines of dialogue, redo it.
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JEStaats
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 1:13pm Report to Moderator
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Interesting read but very difficult to follow. I know people frown on parenthetical use but it would come in handy when there are multiple people having a conversation and side-bar comments. I did like your vision of this dismal future and the message of our reliance on technology but it would have been nice to have some indication of what triggered the course of history.

Perhaps I need to read it again to see why they did what they did at the end. Good job getting this done and submitted.
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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 11:33pm Report to Moderator
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The opening line isn't needed.The line that follows it is better." The air is thick as eater"? What's that supposed to mean? Is it foggy? Also, evening is in the slug, so we already know it's evening.

I know Hen's got a lot of 'xplainin' to do, but the space breaks look odd.

Some characters dialog is kind of tough to follow at times, at least when they aren't dropping f bombs, but it doesn't matter because....

I' don't get it.
Sorry.


"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
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Dreamscale
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 1:15am Report to Moderator
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OK, as I've said on another entry, when you intro a character or characters, whether by name or just "whatever", it should be CAPPED.

So...we have literally half a page describing 3 characters passing a van in a ditch - TOO MUCH!

Page 2 - dialogue is so vague, there's literally no way to know what's going on...if anything.  New Slug of "HILLSIDE" - OK, we know the setting is a "hillside" - why would you want to repeat that 6 words into the first line? "deepening evening" - WTF?

Next Slug is the same as the prior, but now you use "NIGHT".  Doesn't read well and can be done much more effectively.

Page 4 - whenever you use a name or anything used as a name in dialogue, it needs to be offset with a comma.

The double/quadruple dialogue doesn't work as written.

You say, "They leave the hilltop." - meaning, they exit the scene you set, yet you have 2 more action lines and 3 lines of dialogue.

"is sat" - Really?  Oh man...so bad!!!

Skimming now, as I have no clue what's going on or why.

Page 9 - here we go again - you say Suds leaves the room, and then in the same passage, she's doing something in the room.

And...again, the same setting in a new Slug, in a new time - this doesn't transfer well to film or read well at all as written.

No clue whatsoever what this about or what went on.  No clue what event didn't take place.

Writing is OK, but lots of issues. Dialogue is "unique", but no clue why or what it's supposed to show.

Not for me at all, sorry to say.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.

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Dreamscale  -  January 28th, 2018, 10:42am
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ChrisBodily
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 4:47am Report to Moderator
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First of all, I'm a big fan. It's too bad your Pono thing fizzled out.


Quoted Text
EXT.  ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE - EVENING


The commonly accepted time indicators are DAY and NIGHT. Sometimes DUSK or DAWN, if you must.


Quoted Text
Dusk on a summer's evening. The light is polarised, the air is thick as water and quiet.


A Brit writer. Nice! I hope you can figure out how to film this.

"Undulating." Learned a new word.


Quoted Text
HEN is a man in his forties, wearing clothes so aged and grease-blackened it barely tells they were once jeans and a pullover.


Very awkwardly written. You could try:


Quoted Text
[...] it barely shows that they were once jeans and a pullover.


That being said, the paragraph would still be too busy, sorry to say. Also, "were once" this and that... Everything is happening now, not in the past or in the future. Use present tense, active voice.


Quoted Text
Itís been there a long time


This in in the past, and therefore, unfilmable, unless you want to show flashbacks.


Quoted Text
part reclaimed by the elements, covered in weeds and moss.


That whole sentence reads awkward.


Quoted Text
Ee is old.


Who's Ee? "He," by any chance? Cockney dialect?


Quoted Text
And he's from [the] city.


Or does she just talk like that?


Quoted Text
Why's he still alive?


God, he's not THAT old! LOL! If he were 120, then you'd have a valid argument.


Quoted Text
Thereís a large fire pit, a stack of wood, rusting sheets of corrugated iron, and a telegraph post.


A little too busy? Important set pieces or incidental set dressing?


Quoted Text
Far on the horizon, another fire burns on a distant hill. Obscure movements show that distant figures are pulling corrugated iron to block their fire, keeping it open on the facing side and the opposite side, sending the signal on.


A lot of these action lines are busy, overwritten and slow down the pace. I'm getting a little bored, to be honest.

P3


Quoted Text
Thatís all ee can hope.


Oh, I see. Cockney dialect.


Quoted Text
Thatís not wankers[,] Suds. Thatís cooperation



Quoted Text
Weíll be seen, then what[?]


Or is this a rhetorical question?


Quoted Text
Fucking dead bitch. You donít even exist, you dead bitch. Waste of fucking time.


Huh? Who's dead? Is she drunk?


Quoted Text
A small isolated two-up two-down cottage.


What does that even mean?


Quoted Text
Suds is sat in a rocking chair knitting something, on the edge of the darkness.


Iffy grammar and passive voice.

End of page four and no clue what the event is. If it doesn't pick up by page five, I'm baling.

P7


Quoted Text
Brutal and organised.

Itís Adamís Principle all over again. You know that?


Why is this dialogue separated?

And again. I know you're trying to divide it into clean paragraphs, but it doesn't work for dialogue. Separate each paragraph with action or another character cutting in.

P8


Quoted Text
Thereís something he canít say, and heís trying to make Hen understand that.


Borderline unfilmable.


Quoted Text
Calm self.


Reads awkward.


Quoted Text
Bisto creeps down the wooden staircase. Every step risks a
creak.


Ends in an orphan. Try to minimize/avoid these.


Quoted Text
Hello, bitch.


Not my favorite. I don't get it at all. What was the event? Something to do with computers? Y2K? I'm lost. Sorry. Congrats on entering, though.


FADE IN:
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khamanna
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 9:19am Report to Moderator
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Hi.

Some of it is great. Suds lines - absolutely all of it is so money, really great stuff. And I loved Sud, the way she treats Bisto and Hen.

Didn't get what happened, how Sal managed to find Hen and not sure what happened at the end. Did they kill Sal and spared Hen? What does "Love...?" means at the end?

And didn't get the event that led up to it. The crash of 2000? Don't buy it would have led up to this if I'm correct about it. You could have told us in the log.
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Stumpzian
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 1:28pm Report to Moderator
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I've amended my original comment above.



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LC
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 7:24pm Report to Moderator
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I think this challenge runs the risk of big world stories that can become less involving. And the parameters of the challenge mean not all stories will translate well to the screen. This one is self contained enough though, that it possibly could, as it's a smaller more personal plight, and character driven.

I like it. You've imbued it with personality and these three characters are clearly on the run from something.

That said, I was in the dark re the specific God/religion v technology millenium event that did/didn't occur.

For sure this needs another draft of two, and a bit more in terms of story/threat, goal - where are they running to/what is the end goal? but you've evoked nicely a certain atmosphere and done well with character voice.

**
To reviewers who comment on words used or terms of reference they're not familiar with, etc., please consult Google or some other search engine first: 'scrabble' is not just a word game, it's a verb. A 'two up, two down'  is a common form of Brit house design.

We're writers and we come from all corners of the globe. Reading different styles, word usages, character dialogue
from other parts of the world etc ., is a lot of the joy of reading and writing. Don't assume the writer is a git and has it wrong.

Just one note to the writer though: I'd personally save: 'is sat' for character dialogue rather than use it in description. Jmho.

Good job.




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MarkRenshaw
Posted: January 29th, 2018, 10:09am Report to Moderator
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Writing notes as I'm reading.

Logline needs more. Why is this a brave new world?

A nice opening scene. A bit prosey but that's just my own tastes.

Watch out for parenthiticals. They should be rarer than a rare thing. The dialogue literally should speak for itself, and it does in your case, no need to tell the actor how to deliver it.

Auto Continues do annoy me. I know Final Draft defaults them on but you can turn them off in the options.

Clever trick turning the fire into a beacon. I'd be interested in where you got that idea from!

This is a fascinating dystopian landscape you have here. I don't know what has happened (or not) in this timeline but you are painting a vivid bleak picture. Page 7 and 8 uses a long conversation which feels too on the nose to try and explain it, but it doesn't work as well as the action scenes before it. I'd suggest continuing with the action and just let the audience guess for themselves.

Nice tense moments in the house which leads to Sal's arrival and then there's some sort of stand off and I lost it a bit at the end, wasn't quite sure what was happening or why.

Overall a very decent effort which just seemed to drift off at the end.


I have to say and I'm going to say this for every script in this challenge (so I'm basically cut and pasting this last bit into all of them lol) that well done on entering! This was creatively an extremely challenging outline, one in which quite a few didn't even attempt or dropped out of. To have a completed script in the running deserves a pat on the back and a collective high-five!

-Mark


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DanC
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 2:06am Report to Moderator
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Killing villains since 1980!

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Okay, I'm confused.

What event never happened?  And what is going on?  I mean, I have no clue.  

SPOILERS

Is this like a Children of the Corn thing where some crazy god-statue kills people?  

I don't know what or why anything happened.  I hope the writer does a second attempt at this.

It was a good suspenseful story.  

I hated the names.  Perhaps you can fix those, especially Hen.  And why did they take new names?  Even in the Walking Dead, they still keep their names (for the most part).

Good job entering.  Pretty solid, just need to clean up and make it much clearer.

Dan


Please read my scripts:
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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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MarkRenshaw
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Quoted from DanC
Okay, I'm confused.

I hated the names.  Perhaps you can fix those, especially Hen.  And why did they take new names?  Even in the Walking Dead, they still keep their names (for the most part).

Dan


I kinda picked up on the names as well and I think it's quite clever. Normal names seems to have been lost (or banned) with whatever tragedy befell this Earth. Hen explains his name was Michael but now it is Hen because he likes eggs. Bisto and Suds seem a bit more savage because they grew up after this event. I believe they chose objects they found as names. Bisto is the name of a stock (gravy) mixture in the UK and Suds is obviously from some soap or detergent box.

I do like it, it is different and paints a vivid picture, even if I don't know what event did or didn't occur.




For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Stumpzian
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 7:39am Report to Moderator
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I'm with Mark on the names. Very inventive.



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