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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2018 Two Week Challenge  ›  Fire and Water - 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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Fire and Water by Deep Throat - Short, Crime, Thriller, Drama, Political, Historical Fiction - Ben Bradlee's decision to ignore the Watergate break-in comes back to haunt him four years later as Woodward & Bernstein try to prevent the Presidency of E. Howard Hunt. 15 pages - pdf, format

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JEStaats
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 11:45am Report to Moderator
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Wow.

Obviously from one skilled and seasoned writer. Awesome piece of work you have here for two weeks time. It flowed so well, spot on facts and reference. Damn good stuff here. I don't have anything critical to say. I'm sure I missed a punctuation faux pas, but hey, I was too engrossed to notice.
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Dreamscale
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 1:14pm Report to Moderator
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Another fictitious historical script - I actually assumed every entry will be of this nature,a and again, not being interested in history, I have a hunch I'm not going to love this, but let's see.

Page 2 - The crows applauds..." - "crowd"?  or "crowds applaud"?

Well, it's very well written, so kudos for that.  It's an interesting take and well thought out. There's action, and for those who find this kind of thing entertaining, I'd say it definitely is entertaining and overall well done.

For me, though, I don't find these sort of historical of fictitious historical stories to be my cup of tea, but nice job here.


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ajr
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 5:20pm Report to Moderator
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Funny, I was listening to the album FIRE AND WATER by Free when I opened this up...

So, definitely heady stuff, written by someone who has a commanding grasp of Watergate. I think I know who wrote this, based on the comments made in the announcement thread. So good stuff. My comments are more aimed at what the piece is trying to say, and what it ultimately does say, not the execution. Though my one comment on execution would be that the first half page needs to be 2 pages. I realize you're under a page constraint here and that's probably why the conversation between Bradlee and Bernstein is clipped, but we need more about why Bradlee doesn't want to pursue this. He's a newsman, and this is news. Maybe I'm missing a nuance that history explains to us.

In essence, we get a restoration of history, and the good guys win, in 1980. So my questions would be - what were the ramifications of this alternate history? Did Vietnam go on longer? Did we not slide into the Carter recession? Or was the recession worse? In other words, we have a mystery here, and ultimately a shoot 'em up, however I'm not sure of the ultimate effect on the U.S. and on the world. I would be more interested in that. Less cloak and dagger, and more exploring HOW this alternate reality changed everyone else's reality.

Good job and good luck with this going forward. I think, free from the constraints of the challenge, there is a lot to explore here.


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DanC
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 2:22am Report to Moderator
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Killing villains since 1980!

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Wow, this was crazy.  I thought it dragged a bit when they were listening to

SPOILERS

the tapes.  I would have shortened that a bit.  

You alter history by only 4 years, so, I don't think we need to hear the same stuff that we "know" in our history books.  

It was well written.  Not my cup of tea, but, well written.  

I wonder what would have happened if they failed or were assassinated.  Now, that would have been a story!!

Good luck with it.

Dan


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LC
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 9:39pm Report to Moderator
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Nicely written/recounted, just doesn't set the world on fire for me.

Still, I'm not a huge fan of All The President's Men either.


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Stumpzian
Posted: January 29th, 2018, 8:49am Report to Moderator
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After reading this, I went back to the logline to see whether the genre  was Comedy. Nope, Political-Historical Fiction, among others
Therein lies the problem, if the reader is to take this as plausible alternative history.
* Hunt and Liddy would not have been the nominees. Never. After two successful terms, Agnew would have been the presumptive nominee. Those two guys would have been unknown obscurities.
* Gerald Ford pinning Nixon against the wall is not believable, nor was his motive for doing so. Ford was a mild, glad-hand who was anything but confrontational or ambitious.
A few other observations:
* Hunt hiding under Bradlee's desk? Only in a comedy. Maybe.
* Collusion with the Soviet president and fake news: Please, no.
* All the name-dropping will lose people who are new to the Watergate saga: Dean, Haldeman, Colson, Helms, MacGruder, Dahlberg.
I have other complaints  but will stop.


Henry




Revision History (4 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Stumpzian  -  February 1st, 2018, 10:10am
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 5:44am Report to Moderator
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You got the change across nicely in the logline, kudos for that.

This is expertly written, and serves as a historical comparison to events that are transpiring now in Trumpland, although it is a little heavy-handed at times. For example, I'd have left it at 'False Journalism' rather than then adding the fake news comment, as if you didn't trust the reader to make the connection.

I'm not very familiar with the finer details of Watergate, but what I read seemed realistic and believable.

By the end though, I felt disappointed. It wasn't terribly exciting for me. This world changing timeline alteration simply gave Nixon a few more years until he was caught. Nothing exceptional occurred.  On the last line you have Reagan losing the election, which could have had a massive impact but this seemed too little, too late and we don't get to see the implications.

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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stevie
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 7:50pm Report to Moderator
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Very well written with tons of spot on research about the Watergate events. The story didn't really interest me and i didn't google anything to catch up on more info about but good job!

I remember going to see All The President's Men at the cinema when I was 14! A mate dragged me into watch it saying it was important we saw it lol That was 2 hrs of my life gone


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CameronD
Posted: January 31st, 2018, 11:21am Report to Moderator
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I am a little foggy on the specifics of the Watergate WaPo side of things but interesting premise. (Watched All the President's Men long ago)

I don't see why Ford would be angry at Nixon. at the convention. He didn't know about events until after the fact. Hell he pardoned Nixon remember?

How can Bradlee and Bernstien talk about the Watergate break in and it's implications if they are still early in the investigation? For all they know, without any leaked info it's just a peculiar break in. They are making assumptions it seems about the gravity of the situation with information they shouldn't yet have.

I don't know if you need to spend 2 pages on listening to tapes. What's in them isn't what your story is about.

Hunt is hiding under a desk with a rope? That image seems funny to me.

The last page illustrates my problem with the story. It's just too big for a 15 page short. At the end you run through an entire page of aftermath with just newspaper headline after newspaper headline. It's easy to tell you reached the page limit and so just crammed the rest of the story in at the end. A tale like this needs time to develop, build and grow. Now if you had narrowed the scope to focus on one part that woulda been much better. But you try to rewrite All the Presidents Men in 15 minutes and it just doesn't work.  Also without seeing that movie I think the reader would be totally lost on who these characters are and what exactly is going on. maybe it woulda been better to have brand new up and coming reporters work the story instead of leaning on Woodward and Bernstien to carry the weight here.

The writing itself is very good as others have noted. But the story is too unfocused I feel. And without any knowledge of how Watergate went down the reader will be LOST!


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Dustin
Posted: February 2nd, 2018, 4:57am Report to Moderator
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I'd have to Google Watergate and I can't be bothered... because I don't care. Not one for me. I don't watch or read anything to do with politics. They're overpaid bastards whose only job is to fool the general public into believing we have choice.
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Cam Gray
Posted: February 2nd, 2018, 7:31am Report to Moderator
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Hey Writer,

So then, The Post has just come out recently and they kinda primed the end of it to set a sequel in place...here we go!!!

It's well written (three scripts down and they've all been pretty darn good on the construction front), I was never bored, and overall it came together pretty well. The pace varied, the scenes were very vivid and the dialogue read well.

The plot. What the actual truck?? It's like someone expertly set up a drama, then had a couple of angry beers and just ramped it up to 11 on the daft front. Or, seeing as the Six Nations starts tomorrow, it's like having a penalty square in front of the posts, then sending your prop forward up to hoof it 20 metres wide.

Really good set up, really, really good, but then just completely unbelievable and almost farcical by the end.

Still, I quite enjoyed it, good effort.

Cam

P.S. This read was done with a bit of Interpol on in the background, Pioneer to the Falls really suits it!!


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Spqr
Posted: February 2nd, 2018, 1:30pm Report to Moderator
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Redoing the Watergate affair is an intricate affair, involving the juggling of events, facts and timelines, so the writer must be commended for attempting it.

Opening with a review of Deep Throat is funny. Bradlee’s refusal to run the break-in story because it might skew the election doesn’t ring true. That’s the exact result all newsmen strive for. And the Pentagon Papers affair has already proven that Bradlee doesn’t care about the effect the Post’s stories have on the country. But, if the owner of the paper says no, then Bradlee has to go along with it or quit. And right now, Bradlee isn’t sure the Watergate break-in story is important enough to give up his job for.

The nominations of Hunt and Liddy for prez and vice prez is a non-starter even as fiction. But being put in charge of the Justice Department under a new Republican president would be almost as bad. Maybe Agnew gets the nomination. He’s as creepy as Nixon. Ford confronting Nixon at the convention is good. But doesn’t this put Ford at the top of Nixon’s enemy list? A list that Agnew is happy to inherit.

On page 3, the conversation on the phone could be condensed into a single sentence by having Felt tell Woodward to meet him if he’s interested in the Watergate break-in. In the next scene, you have Woodward trying to convince Bradlee to reopen the break-in story. What new facts have come up to make Bradlee change his mind? None? So Woodward meets Felt first, to come up with the new facts he needs.

Page 6. As far as Felt is concerned, anyone that isn’t Nixon or one of his cronies is an improvement, so I don’t think he’d mention Carter and the democrats

On pages 7-10, the good guys listen to the tapes where the bad guys display their evilness.  Rather than having static guys listening to a tape, show Woodward and Bernstein tracking down leads and interiewing people while the tapes play as Voiceovers.

Page 10. Shouldn’t Nixon be worried that his conversation with Haldeman will end up in the Post? So maybe they have the conversation in a bathroom.

Page 11 and 12. We find out Hunt was Oswald’s accomplice, and that Nixon colluded with Brezhnev. I think “facts” like this would excite the Post a lot more than the break-in story, so maybe you don’t want them in here.

The shootout in Bradlee’s office doesn’t fit in with the tenor established so far. Nixon and his cronies think they’re smarter than everyone else so they’d come up with something more devious, possibly involving militant Cuban exiles and the defoliant Agent Orange.

The montage of newspaper headlines at the end is too long. Just a few would be more effective: “Nixon Implicated in Murder Plot”; “Nixon Resigns, Arrested”; “Carter Wins.”
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AlwaysTheNewGuy
Posted: February 5th, 2018, 7:38am Report to Moderator
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Definitely skilfully done, but not my cup of tea. Historical fiction about events I know next to nothing about. On that basis, I just couldn't keep my head in this one. The more detailed, the less I could follow. Sorry!
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