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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
I'd like to see the emotional abuse be less overt.
Eg., Barb tells Tommy that little mute boys don't get presents. It might heighten the power of this exchange by having her make it sound as if it's for his own good. Some sort of "because I love you and am so kind, you can't have presents..." That's the kind of thing a parent like this does. It's evil. But the kid accepts the explanation because he wants to accept it. The alternative is too awful. The audience, of course, sees right through it.
On the other hand, you might have decided to go with basic black-and-white strokes in order to get to the game more quickly. Fair enough.
Sure am glad the puppy didn't come while they were there. Poor puppy.
The premise here is excellent. The execution, not as much, but not terrible by any means. After the payoff, I found myself more or less pleased.
Indeed, I think the family's meanness might be way over the top. I mean, why even set a plate for Thomas if they aren't going to give him any food? I think feeding him scraps or the less desirable foods would've been a better way to go that would've delivered the same effect.
Furthermore, while I can understand his brother's glee at his torment, I think his mom's didn't make sense. The thought crossed my mind that Thomas is eight years old and his mother still *delights* at torturing him (at least that's how I interpreted the first instance of cruelty involving the letter). Would've she have gotten burnt out doing so after eight years of being a parent? I mean, Thomas isn't dead; they must've been putting in some work to take care of him over the years.
Kyle can be mean all he wants. He's a familiar archetype, but ever relatable. I wonder, however, if the parents wouldn't be better off as annoyed or dismissive of Thomas rather than active perpetrators in Thomas' misery. That's one way to go about it anyway.
At the same time, it also crossed my mind that Thomas' mistreatment at the hands of his family might be intended as over-the-top ala Harry Potter or Matilda, but those works had more distinct characters and more interesting methods of mistreating the child in question. Here, the family's actions seem a lot more screenwriter-ly and transparent in the sense that their primary purpose is to instill contempt in the audience and therefore sympathy for Thomas. I think by further developing the characters, you would alleviate the obviousness of the situation AND add more color to the script at large.
I also think the climax feels rushed, which is a shame, given the quality of the payoff. I mean, only one round and the game literally forces the characters to finish. The plot is pretty much on autopilot at that point. I wonder if it wouldn't be better if the characters went through each round normally and then all transformed into their respective objects/animal at once. Of course, by the end, they would note how odd it is that each round corresponded with something on Thomas' list (as would the audience). Might give the ending away, but could also provide some nice tension/buildup to the finish.
Anyway, love the concept. Execution could use some finesse.
Interesting take on the contest. I liked the way this one wrapped up - I just feel that it needs to be streamlined. IMO - there's too much banter back and forth. Once one gets the gist that Thomas is psychologically abused by his family, you can go from there. But if you do tighten it up, it could be fun.
Here are a few generic notes.. not much, but I think they'd be helpful on a rewrite. And FWIW - I think the concept behind this one is intriguing enough to go for that.
P 1: No big, but I’d personally chop up the paragraph with the Kyle, Barb and Rick intro a bit. It’ll make them stand out more.
P 1: They are in the middle of a game of Chutes and Ladders – too passive. Rephrase. P 2: Oooo, Barb and Rick are toxic parents! Seriously! p. 3: Don’t you think (?) Hmmm – just a thought… but as Thomas is trudging upstairs, maybe he’ll overhear Barb and Rick talking about him. Just a bit of subtle exposition of how they justify their nastiness to their own son. P 4: Hmmm – Dark Santa. Ah - a version of Krampus. Kinda!
Hey this turned out pretty good! Writing was precise with no real overlong descriptions.
My only gripe is the disgusting attitude of the parents and sibling to Thomas. Although, I guess as we are seeing it in the middle of his life, their behaviour would've begun when he was much younger and we are just seeing it in this cross section. If you can rewrite it a bit more in the face it may be better? I dunno. It seems too obvious and over the top as we know something nasty may happen to the parents inevitably.
As if in a desperate rush, he sprints out the door.
This line probably isn't needed. It's weird to run that fast when inside a house, even for a kid.
They are in the middle of a game of Snakes and Ladders,
Who honestly plays this past the age of 5? Even 5-year-olds think it's shit. There has to be some type of low IQ thing going on... because it is the most mind-numbing game ever devised. Word searches come a close second.
This is weird... like Disney weird. The poor little mute boy (Cinderella) can't get any xmas pressies (go to the ball) and must reside under the wing of his stronger older brother (the ugly sisters).
Thomas sits against a wall, bounces a tennis ball against
the opposite wall.
In his house? The noise would travel all over the house. How irritating. Unless he managed to do it in time, even music wouldn't help. No wonder nobody likes him.
He catches it in two hands, looks down at a smiley face
drawn on with marker, he flashes a smile back.
I feel sick. Ripped straight out of that Tom Hanks, Island film, where he draws a face on his ball sack and talks to it. His only friend. Aw. It would have been funny if it was his ball sack. Or maybe, less perverse, his kneecap. That'd be quite amusing too. Witht he kneecap he could have had two friends. One could be the mediator during arguments.
And let Thomas watch.
Mua ha ha ha ha ha
7 pages to get going. You could cut the santa part out completely and just have the game show up in the kid's stocking. He would think his parents got it. Using a Bad Santa only answers where the gift came from, it doesn't answer where the bad santa came from.
In a poof of red smoke and gold glitter, Rick vanishes, a
soft, fluffy teddy bear takes his place.
Sounds like a cross between Cinderella, The Dursleys (Harry Potter), Matilda, and my own life, to some extent. I've been Thomas'd before, but perhaps not to this extent.
You made me hate Barb, Rick, and Kyle from the get-go, which is a good thing. Barb sort of reminds me of my grandmother (who raise[d/s] me) at her worst. (She has mellowed out with age, but she can still be a bit tough and controlling, even into my adult life.)
But enough about me, lol. I liked the Dark Santa/Krampus, and I loved seeing the family get their comeuppance.
This story has a fairy tale quality that I normally don't care for. But in the end, it kind of works. I do think that the Leonard family was over-the-top cruel. Abusive to point that it was hard to believe. Definitely tone it down. Pick your spots of abuse. Maybe create a scene in which everybody, including Thomas is enjoying a nice dinner. But Thomas' plate if loaded with greens — broccoli, artichoke, squash. And Thomas doesn't get dessert until he eats every bit of his dinner. Make it seem in a nasty way, that Thomas is at fault. The family can eat dessert as Thomas struggles with his veggies.
I don't think Thomas' spirit is broken. Yet he's 8 and I wondered how long has he been subjected to senseless abuse. What if he's adopted, a kid new to the family, who more likely would want to please his new parents? Or maybe he's a foster kid. Foster family abuse is not uncommon
How about a scene in Thomas' room, in which he practices reading aloud from a kindergarten book. I'd root for this kid even more, if he's trying to beat the odds in his own way.
The Dark Santa didn't work for me. Seemed out of place in this story
You do a good job of keeping Thomas pure of heart. I like the bit of foreshadowing on page 2, when Barb says to Thomas, "Speak and you shall get your wish." Nicely done.
I'm thinking that Thomas can speak, but might have a speech impediment. In this family, that's the open wound waiting to be picked at.
A pretty solid effort overall. Again, I commend you for not taking a dark turn. I was going to suggest that his abusers be turned into things like a punching bag and trampoline, but nah, you got it right. Thomas is a good kid, I like him, and I appreciate how he gets his comeuppance, without going Chucky on everybody,
Thanks to everyone for reading and giving your views. I wrote this in a few hours over a couple of days. I'm happy enough with how it turned out. Obviously, now there are some things I'd change. This was intended to be over the top and I can see that turned some people off. If I choose to develop this idea, that's something I'll take a look at.
Canis, if you read this, the story seems to have rubbed you up the wrong way. That was not the intention. I, too, have experienced instances of mistreatment to children and although this was over the top, I was not poking fun at such matters. It was supposed to be more of a children's revenge story.