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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    March, 2013 1+6WC  ›  Dead Connection - 1+6WC
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  Author    Dead Connection - 1+6WC  (currently 4793 views)
Posted: March 16th, 2013, 4:38pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Dead Connection by Gary Howell (hawkeye) - Acton - A world famous deep sea explorer of sunken ships leaves a Last Will containing a code that could lead to a vast inheritance to the first person who can decode the message, but for his attorney son, the secret to breaking the code may lie not only in a mysterious satellite phone he receives after his father's disappearance, but whether he can evade the assassins sent by a Mexican drug lord to recover the phone. - pdf, format

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Posted: March 16th, 2013, 5:50pm Report to Moderator

I am a writer first and a critic second.

"On the road to Rome."
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Who's Erika--?  You mean Brigit.

Okay, so far, so good.  I'd keep reading for sure.  The writing is very good.  Glad you left us with a cliffhanger as well.   Good to see you didn't waste anytime getting things going.  It bolds well.   I wasn't to surprised when Rocky jumped.  But-- I find it hard to believe that Stacy doesn't know what a satellite phone is--?

I could be wrong, but most people do.

Are you a lawyer--?

Oh, the logline, yeah it's still early in the process.  Consider trimming it later on down the road.







"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
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Posted: March 16th, 2013, 6:41pm Report to Moderator

Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

The Great Southern Land
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For a week, and a start to a feature, this is not bad at all Gary.

Interesting that the guy's name is Murdoch too. I'm guessing that might not be deliberate? A few errors and things that could do with a spit and polish but that's to be expected with a one-weeker.

Example: 'Wasn't he coming back from his deep-sea expedition last night' was a bit on the nose, but hey, you can tighten it up later.

Main thing is you've intro'd some interesting characters, an at-sea location which made for a colourful opening, and a great little cliff-hanger at the end of p.12.

And, love what you did at the end of page 12. In movies the character always gets the number down straight off whereas in reality you'd be going: 'ok, I got 555 21...can you repeat...? so, that was good with Eric. Nice frantic scene to finish on till the next chapter.

The log-line is a bit of a mouthful... but I reckon you probably know that.


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: March 16th, 2013, 7:54pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

Bowden, Alberta
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All rightyroo, Gary? Didn't I hear you write (hear you write? WThell? ) That you are an attorney? Then that must be the reason for the long logline. Tee-hee.  

I like the opening of this one. The opening scene on the yacht, (maybe if I owned one I'd learn how to remember how to spell it. Double   )  

The only issue for me was a bit of trouble with placing the names of the characters. When Eric was introd on the page, he wasn't really introd on screen. He's at his desk, but we would have no idea of his connection with the older man in the first scene, his father.

This is a solid interesting start.


A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Posted: March 16th, 2013, 8:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gary.  I read this earlier and didn't know whether to comment or not seeing as I'm not taking part in the 6+1WC but what the hell.

It's good.  Very interesting.

The log-line put me off.  Very, very off.  Like, so much is happening.  Too much.  Not just the words.  But in the story.  It made me think, was so much going to be happening.  You have sunken ships.  Exploration.  Drug lords.  An attorney.  A dead guy.  A phone.  A code.  Like, it all seemed like so much to take in.

So far though, that isn't the case.  I enjoyed what I read, plain and simple.  This isn't my type of movie/screenplay in general, but I cannot fault the writing at all.  Good luck in the rest of the challenge!

-- Curt

"No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story..."

Short scripts

(6 pages, drama/thriller)
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Posted: March 16th, 2013, 11:27pm Report to Moderator

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Hey, Gary. This one is up next.

Apologies in advance if I'm being picky but these smaller things might not seem like much but in a large 100 page script, they do become a hassle.

Page 1: If it were me, I'd put the description of the Yacht first rather than the character but this is just personal preference.

Are you certain, sir? I can wait

The second line seems off. The "Are you certain" part is very formal but the second sentence doesn't match up because of its casualness.


Page 2: It's usually best to avoid camera directions, I can see you compressed it down to 2 words to save space but it still took me a second to understand what it was.

Try and avoid paragraphs more than four lines.

Page 3: No comma needed after "pudgy".

Page 4: "wasn't he coming back
from his deep sea expedition last

Sorry man but this is just too on the nose. A real person wouldn't repeat something they already know.

Page 11: Deeply mysterious, strange description, I admit it made me chuckle. It just sounds like a creepy voice you'd hear on X-Files or something.


This isn't bad, Gary. It's a good effort but I can definitely see that it's rushed.

The dialogue needs a good clean up, it just doesn't come off as naturally as it should - but sadly it's not just one or two lines, it's about half of the exchanges. I think it just might  be me though since nobody else has mentioned it. The reactions seem rushed to the father dying and there are a few formal/informal inconsistencies jumping around the whole script.

But the father going into the water really got me intrigued, solid mystery there. I'd read on just for that reason.

Some of the relationships also seem a little 2D, consider giving them an edge. I know it's early in the script but hopefully Stacy and Randy aren't there for the sake of exposition. Time will tell though.

Looking forward to reading the full script, man. Just fix a few things up and you're good to go.
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Posted: March 16th, 2013, 11:32pm Report to Moderator
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Like mentioned above, your log isn't good at all. Not only is it way too long with too many things going on, but it's all crammed into one really, really long sentence.

But the script itself is very well done... The writing is clean, and the characters are distinct. It's easy to visualize what's going on, which is definitely a widely overlooked skill among writers. Props.

I think some of the dialogue on page 3 is kind of on the nose. I don't really understand Eric's intentions in saying "I'm doing something people will use. You've worked for years on something no one cares about".

I feel like you introduced too many characters within the first five pages. While it's good to hurry and introduce your major characters early and get on to the story, I'm not a fan of having a new character each scene.

Not a big fan of the dialogue on page 5, either. "Hey man, just wanted to tell you, your dad went overboard on his cruise ship and he hasn't been seen in the mysterious waters since". It's just exposition. The lines are there just to give the audience information, and it's obvious.

Actually, almost all of Randy's dialogue reads like this. He doesn't talk like a real person would. It's hard to describe, but reading the dialogue out loud and picturing a real actor saying the lines on screen might help.

In casual conversation, for the most part people don't really say things like "they're questioning him" and "he disappeared". Same with "is there a search ongoing?"

And more of the same with page 10, where Eric explains what a sat phone is just for the benefit of the readers.

Would I read more? Yes. I'm looking forward to the rest. Pretty suspenseful. Maybe the mysterious voice is a little cliched, but it works.

Nice job. Looking forward to the rest.

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Posted: March 16th, 2013, 11:48pm Report to Moderator
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Have to say that I wasn't really getting into this until page 10. IMO if a couple of the scenes were shuffled in the beginning it might run smoother, for instance the boat scene then the search scene then the lawyer scene then car with Stacy and Eric.

Was intrigued by the father going missing and the man on the other end of the phone. Sounds interesting, but as others have pointed out this definitely needs a clean up. Good effort for one week though. Would like to see where it's going.

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Posted: March 17th, 2013, 12:09am Report to Moderator

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It looks like I get to check out some OWC action on my pitstop here, so I opened yours first.

I'm not going to go too much into it because I know you gotta keep moving on this, but a few things stood out for me.  The dialogue between characters reads awkward.

"It's like finding a needle in a haystack the size of Rhode Island" I keep thinking if you wrote "Texas" it would have sounded better.

I started getting confused during the character introductions, Rocky/Randy - I had to go back a check it again.

If the crew discovered Rocky was missing, even after they contacted the CG, there is no way that the yacht would head into port unless they needed fuel or they had a hidden agenda.  When someone falls overboard they search with the CG.  Captain Jack Fisher (31) is too young to be a Captain, much less involve himself with the case unless Rocky is an extremly important.

I really enjoyed the way you had Rocky enter the water, but I felt it needed more explaination or raise the stakes.  I know you are establishing a mystery,  but at the same time, how cool is it when the audience knows something that the other characters don't?  I also loved the fact that we didn't get the full set of numbers at the end!  Good "oh shit" moment.

Good luck with this and I can't wait to see the rest.


Revision History (1 edits)
oJOHNNYoNUTSo  -  October 22nd, 2013, 10:42pm
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: March 17th, 2013, 5:45am Report to Moderator
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The effects of writing again....

The Island of Jersey
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First off, what logline. Now I should be banned from giving advice on loglines, since I am awful at them, but it way too long IMO and more like a summary. Others will disagree, but I think it should be tighter.

Like your copyright - you can tell you're a lawyer!

Yacht - I think I would have describe this as a super yacht - made it a tad clearer on the money and wealth attached, but its a good place to start.

Voice OS - I would only use this when the voice is not known for a while, if introducing the character straight away I think most prefer the name

The parentheticals is not normally used for reactions, that would be in the action lines. I sometime break the rules where things change mid dialogue, but otherwise not


I liked this. It has a fast pace to it, we know where we are, and I have a picture of these characters.

I also have lots of what will happen next, which is good.

I think the father going into  the water works - some may want more 'why', but the simplicity of it sets up the question which it then will have to answer.

Tidy work.

My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most 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
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Posted: March 17th, 2013, 9:58am Report to Moderator

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So everyone, thanks very much for the reads!  I greatly appreciate it!

Now for the first order of business.  Yes, that logline sucks.  Barf.  But I literally wrote in like 30 seconds so I could post it before the deadline and then drive in a car for 1000 miles.  Looking back, I should have skipped the car trip and spent more time on the logline!

Also, I totally missed the Erika - Birgit thing.  I originally had her named Erika, but then when the main character became Eric, I felt like I needed to go back and change her name everywhere.  I just missed one, it appears!

I agree pretty much with what everyone has said--there's definitely some dialogue that needs changing.  I probably was torn between exposition and getting to the point in 10-11 pages, and so some of it looks a little spotty, definitely.

Johnny, thanks for the heads up on the Coast Guard particulars!  SimplyScripts members are definitely a wealth of information.  I will utilize the info you provided in the rewrite process!  Maybe make both of them Lieutenants, perhaps and a tad older?  I'll have to figure out about the yacht part and keeping it out at sea and how that plays in with the rest.

I just hope I can figure out what happens in the story from here!

Thanks again, all!


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Posted: March 17th, 2013, 2:58pm Report to Moderator

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Randy and Eric's conversation over the phone about how their father went missing could do without all the dialogue, like others said.  Maybe instead of having Randy say that they have choppers and cutters -- show the choppers circling the air over the water.  Cut some of his lines about who-saw-who last before they went overboard.  Show the cops questioning these people and writing notes.

And hey, your logline might be one giant sucky run-on, but it pulled my interest.  Inheritance...decoding messages...mysterious satellite phone...Mexican drug lord.  Sounds promising.  
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Posted: March 17th, 2013, 3:19pm Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Guest
Randy and Eric's conversation over the phone about how their father went missing could do without all the dialogue, like others said.  Maybe instead of having Randy say that they have choppers and cutters -- show the choppers circling the air over the water.  Cut some of his lines about who-saw-who last before they went overboard.  Show the cops questioning these people and writing notes.

Steve, I think you're right about that conversation.  I've thought about taking that dialogue out entirely, but I felt like I needed to introduce Randy since he does play a role later.  But I like your idea of showing what's going on, and maybe just have Randy informing Eric that their dad is missing, then cutting to the Coast Guard search and the investigators.  Thanks for the input and the read!


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Posted: March 17th, 2013, 5:57pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gary, this is a pretty good start you've got going here - plenty of intrigue and questions that need answers. The logline definitely needs work! Way too much information.

A lot of the dialogue is a little on the nose and doesn't come off as natural, but that's something that can be cleaned up on the eventual rewrite.

Your slugs should always have a time on them, be it DAY, NIGHT, LATER or CONTINUOUS. The formatting also seems a little off - they seem a little close to line above them.

You do quite a bit of telling instead of showing throughout. You tell us that Petr is is Birgit's husband; That Eric works for Carter King Kravitz; The secretary intercepts the call; Eric and Stacy are on the highway out of Houston to Galveston  -  you should show us these things in the story, instead of telling us. When Birgit goes to bed, have her kiss Petr and say "Goodnight, darling" to show their relationship. And do we really need to know the name of the law firm that Eric works for, or the exact highway they're driving on?

Here's a few other things that I picked up on:


Don't introduce a character straight away as the opening to your screenplay, try to set the scene first. Maybe something like:


An eighty foot LAZZARA YACHT cuts through the dark choppy waters.  Stood on the back of it is ROCKY MURDOCH (62), balding but in good shape.  He holds an empty glass and stares off into the night.

When Birgit arrives with Rocky's fresh drink, you tell us that Rocky hands her his empty glass, but not that she gives him the fresh one. He just hands her the empty, then starts drinking again.

You say 'Erika departs', which should be 'Birgit departs'.


When we go back outside on the Yacht, you have a 5 line paragraph of text - try to keep them at 4 lines or less if you can. This can be easily solved by making the last 2 lines a separate paragraph.

Also, at the end of the paragraph you say that he 'steps silently into the water, and disappears into the dark waters.' Having 'water', followed by 'waters' in the same sentence reads as repetitive. If I were you, I'd change it to 'disappears into the dark sea'.


When you have the phone conversation between Eric and Randy, you need to include an intercut. Something like:


A concerned looking RANDY MURDOCH (30) sits on an overturned bucket on the dock.  He talks into a cellphone.

Eric. It's... dad. He's... he's missing.




You have another 5 line paragraph - try to split it up.


The discussion about the differences between a sat phone and a cell phone felt forced and unnecessary. Just have Stacy say "A sat phone? Who'd send you that?" and cut out the detailed explanation.


You describe the MALE VOICE as deeply mysterious - this threw me off. What's mysterious about it? Maybe have it as:

A deep MALE VOICE, disguised by a voice changer, speaks--

Change 'Eric is furiously searching...' to 'Eric furiously searches...'

Overall though, this was pretty good for a weeks work, and I was definitely intrigued enough to read on!
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Posted: March 17th, 2013, 6:28pm Report to Moderator
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It starts out slow (except for the guy jumping into the water) and then ends with good suspense. There's definitely room for cutting. For example, that small scene in the yacht bridge was unnecessary. I think you can have Birgit leave the drink and cut directly to him jumping off the ship. Then cut to the Coast Guard interviewing Birgit, Randy and Petr so that's your opening sequence.

Then cut to the law offices and Eric gets a call about his missing Dad and he gets the box at the same time. There's a bunch of banter that did not seem relevant - maybe it does when you finish the whole thing.

A decent start and a good cliffhanger in the end.
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