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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2015 One Week Challenge  ›  Drop Zone - OWC
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  Author    Drop Zone - OWC  (currently 4934 views)
Don
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 11:34am Report to Moderator
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Drop Zone by Otis Hoo - Short - A physicist about to compete in a reality game show gets a call from his wife--she's pregnant--and his brother has hit on her. 8 pages - pdf, format


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JSimon
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what I liked

- I am guessing this is by a veteran writer. I try to pick the ones no one has read yet to give them a bump, and it's nice to find a little gold at the bottom of the pale!
- Too early for me to say after having read only 6 or 7 of these OWC's, but I am guessing this will be one of the more original ones. It's also very well written and it's nice to have one where you can just read right through. Thank you, writer!
- I also liked the effort at some character development here

suggestions:

- this is a TV show where contestants risk it all. Good! But then it's very weird that his brother runs the show or something. I don't know how to fix that because of the whole misdirect at the end where we think his brother killed him. So Rob would have to have some kind of access to the elevator. Maybe this: Rob somehow got in and bugged the elevator. He tells rob that when a certain light goes off to hit the brakes.

There's a lot of potential to do something with this. I'm not sure what. I like the idea of elevator chicken. I guess it's best not to think too deeply about the rest. Very good work!
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Iancou
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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Have to say I liked it. Good premise, nice character development. I would add that there is no closure for the Angela/Rob issue. It was merely a backdrop for the whole contest. What was the purpose? Just tension for Mark to overcome?

There are a few technical issues.


Quoted Text
The phone ring tone RING TONE interrupts him, and he frowns as he answers.


Sound cues are generally capitalized.


Quoted Text
ANGELA (V.O.)
(on phone)
Mark, you have to rethink this.  
You can’t do it.


People only heard on a phone, radio, etc. are a voice over (V.O.) Angela and Rob should both be (V.O) in every instance. Same with VOICE and ANNOUNCER as well.


Quoted Text
The speaker hisses HISSES for a second before ROB’s voice invades the elevator.


Sound cue.

As for his not being allowed any timing devices, wouldn't the phone count?


Quoted Text
The elevator shudders SHUDDERS as it gathers speed.


Another sound cue like the "rattles" and "shakes" a couple of lines later.


Quoted Text
The lights flicker FLICKER dramatically


The "flicker" is a special effect like a sound cue.

At the end of page 7, SCREE should be SCREECH, unless this is different in other parts of the English-speaking world, i.e., "oy" instead of "hey".

Anyway, hope this helps. Best of luck.

Ian



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DanC
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 8:56pm Report to Moderator
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It was pretty good.  I didn't care for the premise, but, it's like the running man.  

The problem is, the running man was a post apocalyptic world.  This isn't.  

It was a good read, I just find it hard to believe such a dangerous show would ever happen.

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rendevous
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I think I used to play a game called Drop Zone. It was an arcade game, I wasn't throwing people out of airplanes without parachutes or anything. Not that I can remember.

As for ealier comments, you don't have to capitalise sound effects and special effects. The idea is to be consistent. A few here and there might have pepped things up a bit.

That said, this seems to be another one with on phone VO trouble. I only mention it as I keep assuming Angela's in the lift, when she's not. Same later with the announcer. I've gone all format Nazi, but if they ain't in the room you should show so with VO or OS. There, that's done.

The plot had a bit of a hole. Hmm, I'm being polite, as it was rather a huge one regarding the rules of the game. It'd be fixable though.

It's not a bad idea at all. I think it'd work better with some trimming and polishing. Like my head.

R


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Dustin
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 3:38am Report to Moderator
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I'm at page 2 and thinking wtf? The dialogue is so melodramatic I'm tempted to bail. Skipping a bit, skipping some more. Sorry writer, this story isn't for me.

3 out of 10.


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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A  lift dropping.  Choose how far and you win...or die. Not too bad an idea, really.

Someone above mentioned the running man. Fair point.

But this is far more film able

Back story and depth. Didn't quite click. You tried, and that added depth, but it didn't quite strike home. But it was close.

Rob - let's be honest. What was he? He was the depth and it didn't work.

How about a failed father whose child doesn't believe he is a real dad. What what you do for that? What if you won and walked away saying he's better off without you, but with the money? True sacrifice. What would that do to a kid? Etc

Look, it has a theme. How far would you go. Push everything in that parallel. How far to go for honesty. How far with regret. How far to resolve a problem.  Then throw it behind a falling lift.

This script could fly...really could... But not yet. But don't get me wrong. This aint bad.


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eldave1
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Quoted Text
ANGELA
(on phone)
Mark, you have to rethink this.
You can’t do it


I think Angela needs to be V.O here Same for ROB when he enters the story.

Good craftsmanship at work here - but I just didn't get end of the story. His clicker doesn't work - TERROR - screams at his brother and then all of a sudden he's safe. Meaning? ??


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wonkavite
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 5:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hmmmm... reallllly liked the premise.  I think it's great!  And overall, the script was executed well.  But I think it could be better.  Once tweaked, this one could be pretty great.

My qualms:

- A few typos - nothing unexpected for an OWC
- The dialogue felt a bit stilted to me.  A quick polish could smooth that out nicely.  (The exposition, for instance, was too obvious.)
- The ending.... HUH?  The brake fails to work, and then it does?  There's no real conclusion here.  We don't know if Mark's been betrayed by Rob (and if he wasn't, why did the brakes fail?)  And if he was... why did he survive?

So, IMO, the ending needs some reimagining.  But I love the idea. A lot.
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Max
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 6:00pm Report to Moderator
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I liked the premise as well, to echo wonkavite.

The problem which I noticed instantly was the phone conversation...

(V.O) should've been next to Angela's name, if you didn't want to do that... an INTERCUT would've been appropriate there i.e. chopping back and forth between two scenes and establishing ANGELA as more than just a voice.

Might've been a violation of the rules... so I don't blame you.

The game show idea was creative, and the bit about the contestant recovering from his coma got a chuckle out of me... which only expanded the ridiculousness of this so called "game show"

Technical issues aside, creativity and fresh thinking is what I like... thumbs up from me.



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AnthonyCawood
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Liked the premise and the writing in general but think the ending lets this down as it is unclear what happens...

My thinking...
a) Brakes fail and then start working, no reason for this and feels a cheat
b) Brakes start to work slowly and he just doesn't realise, if so this needs a better explanation.
c) The brakes don't work becuase Rob has unteferred with them, but only so his brother can win - again would need more explanation.

Anthony


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Gum
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Oh man, what some people wouldn't do for money. Can you say  "Fecal incontinence"... Mark can.

I was lost on what was happening initially, and truthfully,  was almost out. But when the game show host fed Mark the rules... I was hooked and HAD to finish the script. I think you could lose the phone call IMO and just go for broke, meaning Mark's there for the wad o' cash and that'd be it; "show me the money" and all that jazz.

Maybe embellish on the fact you came up with an entertaining  game show, albeit sick and twisted, but a cool game show none the less. Then I would add all these crazy things to make it even more deranged: Daily Double, Fireball Round... Kamikaze!  

It's a clever concept, I like it. Richard Dawson would be proud.


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MarkRenshaw
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Some of these entries are really creative, even if they are bonkers! I think they all should be applauded.

The lift-drop contest thing is great, I love this idea.

For me though a lot of the dialogue was on the nose, obvious exposition for the audience and that kinda spoiled it for me.

The build-up is good, you made me believe Rob had sabotaged the elevator so it would crash. So kudos for not doing the obvious but the ending feels flat. It ends, he won. Hurragh! But I think there could be more here.

Love the concept though!

-Mark


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SteveDiablo
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Bit too talky, don't think it needs so much chit-chat.
Read the whole script and I thought it was OK.
Low budget, in a lift, fits the challenge.
Decent job.
3/5
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stevemiles
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Sadly the log promised more fun than the execution delivered.

That said I liked the premise of the ‘Drop Zone’ show a lot.  A good angle using a physicist as the contestant; I just wasn’t convinced by the last minute phone calls -- would they not have had this conversation before?  Perhaps not a big issue.

An extra twist to the ending would’ve gone a long way.  As written it’s dislocated from the set-up.  What real difference did it make to Mark that his wife’s pregnant and his brother has been hitting on her?  Mark chooses to continue despite his doubts and stops the elevator, winning a bunch of money -- what did he/we learn that informs the outcome?  A great idea for the challenge, just wish I could’ve taken more from the ending.


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Dreamscale
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Opening passage is poor at 4 lines, but also ratehr comical to me.  So, Mark is handsome, strong, and the man that every parent wants their daughter to bring home, huh?  Not too many daughters living at home with their parents at this age.  You also have passive language here.  Bottom line is that this description just reads so bad, I'm seriously tempted to close it down immediately...but I won't.

Using actual numbers is not the way to go, bro.

Is Angela in the elvator all of a sudden?  WTF?

Wow...is this meant to be serious?  Dialogue is not well done, sorry to say.  Mark is a physicist?  Really?  I doubt that...

That's it...sorry...the dialogue just keeps going and is so OTN and so false, I can't continue.

Oh, 1 more thing, be careful assuming all the feedback you receive is correct, as there is some absolutely incorrect comments on your thread.  Iancou is not giving you sound advice, so take with a large mound of salt.


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Stumpzian
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A creative premise for the elevator requirement -- game show where you either die or win something. Good title, too.

For a physicist doing life-or-death calculations, I think Mark makes a glaring mistake .  He uses 750 feet when the actual distance is 749.

Angela calling at the eleventh hour didn't ring quite true. She begs him not to do this, tells him she's pregnant, hints that his brother has come on to her and may have rigged the game. I'm not sure of her motive. Maybe she thinks the brother won't want her when he finds out she's pregnant, so she panics and re-evaluates her options? Given that Mark is instantly angry at his brother, might he not wonder whose child it is?

I like the reference to the previous contestant being in a coma. It's funny and serves to emphasize the danger.

The ending needs to be developed. As it is, the script feels unfinished.



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LC
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I think it's a pretty good idea and it's fast and there's a ticking time bomb of sorts which would play out nicely on screen.

A little bit convenient the brother runs the show - I might think about interweaving a different line of story there i.e., they could still be rivals in the love stakes - and/or competitors at this 'game' instead.

The one thing I think you left out is why that huge pot of money might be so important to him - I know everyone wants to win money, right? But with a ten million dollar prize you could have him doing it for altruistic reasons or to save somebody else's life - then you've got a real hero and real stakes on top of your character risking life and limb. As it is no-one here is doing anything for any kind of honourable pursuit and though you could argue skill, it's basically just greed and vanity.

The ending just kinda dies on its proverbial really, doesn't it. And: the 'breaks into a dance' bit is not good. I think perhaps the deadline was looming and you thought, oh well, this'll do. I think you need some kind of twist here for all that came before it.

This line at the top of page 2.
             MARK
For whom, Angela, for whom.


You use who when you are asking about someone's identity, not whom.

Finally, as Henry mentioned, I really liked the reference to the other guy in the coma, that was clever. You need more of that as opposed to the 'pregnant' scenario imh.

Solid idea overall though - everybody loves the elevator plummeting to the ground in movies and here you set it up as a game. Not bad, just needs a bit of a revamp.


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Dreamscale
Posted: May 28th, 2015, 10:27am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
This line at the top of page 2.
             MARK
For whom, Angela, for whom.


You use who when you are asking about someone's identity, not whom.


Ah yes, but keep in mind that peeps rarely speak in "correct" English, meaning there are no corrections to dialogue word or grammar choices.

Everyone I know uses "lay" vs. the correct "lie" when referring to themselves, including myself, even though I correct myself in my head each time I say it or hear it.



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Grandma Bear
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Quoted from Dreamscale


Ah yes, but keep in mind that peeps rarely speak in "correct" English, meaning there are no corrections to dialogue word or grammar choices.

I absolutely agree with this. I see readers correct dialogue all the time, when often the words chosen are exactly how the writer wanted the character to speak.


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Dreamscale
Posted: May 28th, 2015, 10:43am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
I absolutely agree with this. I see readers correct dialogue all the time, when often the words chosen are exactly how the writer wanted the character to speak.


Sometimes, great minds think alike.  



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JSimon
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Dream and Angry are correct. However, LC rightly points out it is a very strange use of whom. Is the mistake meant to reveal something about the character? I suspect not. In which case who is probably preferable.
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DaveTroop
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The Running Man meets Days of Our Lives

The first 4 pages of dialogue reads like a bad soap opera.  Very OTN.

Then we find out we're on an extreme game show called Drop Zone.  Okay, now we're cooking.

Okay, I'm no physicist like Mark, but shouldn't he be strapped down?  If one is free falling in an elevator at 750 feet, wouldn't they be hugging the ceiling?  Or is this an Acme elevator?

I know there has to be a good reason for Mark to enter the Drop Zone besides just money.
He seems happily married and quite intelligent.  Maybe if he had less or nothing to lose.

Overall, I liked the elevator game show much more than the melodramatics.  
If you tweak the dialogue in the first 4 pages and make it seem more realistic, this would be awesome.  

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JSimon
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Dave, I'm not a physicist, but I believe he would be on the floor because he's falling at the same rate as the el.
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DanC
Posted: May 28th, 2015, 11:07am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JSimon
Dave, I'm not a physicist, but I believe he would be on the floor because he's falling at the same rate as the el.


I don't.  I think he's be in free fall.  He is falling at the same rate, but, his air resistance would come into play.

Objects don't fall at the same rate.  They fall at the same speed (isn't it roughly 9.8 meters/second squared or something like that), but, then you have to factor in resistance and several other factors.

I'm not a physicist either, but, I did study one on TV (kidding), I did take high school and college courses.


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JSimon
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Found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shvC2uxMemo

She does seem to float a little, though nowhere near to the ceiling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrvsfP1PxYk
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LC
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Ah yes, but keep in mind that peeps rarely speak in "correct" English, meaning there are no corrections to dialogue word or grammar choices.

Ha! Just noticed this Dreamscale pearl of wisdom.

I agree it is ultimately the writer who decides the character's dialogue right down to its idiosyncrasies, bad grammar etc., but if the dialogue is not consistent with previous dialogue I won't hesitate to comment on it. It's not sacrosanct, the writer can take it on board or not - up to them.



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RichardR
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Dialogue is generally off limits for criticism except when it doesn't fit the character or is obviously unrecognized usage.  We assume the writer took the the time to make the dialogue as telling as possible.

Best
Richard
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RichardR
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A passable idea.  I think improvement comes from swapping roles.  The guy in the elevator is a get-rich-quick sort, and his brother is the physicist.  Elevator has to rely on his brother for the solution to the free drop.  And the ending is ineffectual.  Perhaps a tiger-or-lady ending is preferable.  A crash, black screen, fade out.

Best
Richard
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LC
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Quoted from RichardR
Dialogue is generally off limits for criticism except when it doesn't fit the character or is obviously unrecognized usage.  Richard

That's what I'm saying - this guy's a physicist - university educated, real smart guy in general, or else after this little exercise he'll be mashed banana on the ground floor. I stand by what I said and think the wording makes the character look like a bit of an idiot.

And c'mon guys, that rule is all well and good but even some 'off limits' things need a little scrutiny considering we call ourselves writers. Unless you're writing a character out of say, 'Slingblade' or that ilk, I'd be careful about being sloppy and doing too many slip-ups. Movie scripts are not exactly like real life - there's a difference. Each to their own however, so now I'll let it go.


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JSimon
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There is a reason the use of "whom" in dialogue here is noteworthy. When is the last time any of us have heard the word whom in everyday dialogue in the real world? It's rare. When a character in a script uses it it's normally because the writer is trying to tell us this character is a stickler for the rules of grammar, which tells us something about his nature. And when this character is using whom incorrectly that tells us something entirely different about his nature. Which is great! A self perceived stickler who gets it wrong...that's potentially a great way to reveal something about the character. As long as that's the writer's intent. I'm not sure it was here, and LC is helpful in pointing it out.
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LC
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Thanks, JS. I appreciate the backup.

The other common way someone might use 'whom' is if their character is a bit of a pompous arse. Then it'd be applicable to 'type' as well.  


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Jeremiah Johnson
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I like the idea of this just not sure if it worked for me.  The elevator drop from that distance would be hard to show on film with small budget but would be good tension.  The story with the brother running the show and possibly wanting the man's pregnant wife feels more like a TV soap.  Make sure some of the technical aspects of the "game" are correct so the real physicists and engineers don't pound you for mistakes and clean up the dialog a bit, could be alright short.  Good luck.


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ChrisBodily
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Not bad, actually.

The rules of the game should be broken up by action, because 13 lines is (generally) too long for one chunk of dialogue. The announcer isn't Quint or Patton.

RE: "SoundGate" -- It's not really necessary (actually annoying) to CAP sound effects.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?57780-Capitalization-and-Sound-Effects-Format-Fun

Some of the dialogue could be tweaked. "Whom" is a bit awkward, no matter how you use it. It's a word that (in general) only English teachers use. I tried asking somebody "To whom do I give this to?" and (while it may be grammatically correct - or not) it sounded so wrong and awkward.

Grading method:

Jeopardy = A
Wheel of Fortune = B
Family Feud = C
Big Brother = D
Survivor = F

This long-running game show is also the name of the grade I give your script.

What is Jeopardy?

You are correct.

Jeopardy. A. 8/10.


FADE IN:
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nawazm11
Posted: May 30th, 2015, 7:25am Report to Moderator
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There's a good idea at play here, but unfortunately, almost nothing works here. The Rob and Angela dynamic is just filler, it's meant to resonate but it doesn't, but why should it? We don't even know why he's there until the second half of the script, how can we get behind anyone? It's all mumbling jargon to us.

What you need to do is just rethink the whole emotional aspect of this, maybe after the challenge, move it out of the elevator, show us a little more of what's going on here. There needs to be a real sense of anger, desperation, jealously, infighting -- but right now, there's just nothing. The ending too is a problem, him just dancing out of the blue after nearly dying. On that note too, two feet? When does the person get the money? Is it just a new set of contestants every show? If so, you'd be hard pressed to get that number without having luck on your side, and then beating it too. I just can't get behind the logic. Needs work, but could be something.
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: May 31st, 2015, 8:56pm Report to Moderator
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Mark's description, position, location is overwritten. If he just stood in an elevator without the extra fluff, his description would've been more resilient.

I'm not opposed to using "as" in my writing. Nothing wrong with it. But, when you see it several times, it's usually an indicator the sentences can be arranged better.

ANGELA
He said he knew we were having problems, and that he would be there for me.

MARK
That son of a bitch.

I cracked up when I read this. Love it for probably the wrong reasons.

The dialogue drags the story with it. I'd recommend putting the stakes of the contest at the beginning - it will cut down Mark and Angela's back-and-forth.

I found the brother trying to get with his wife angle amusing... not sure if it was intended that way, but it also created a lot of tension before the final plummet.

Polarizing ending. The stakes you set before this moment vanished. I wanted to like this more. It's a good premise, I'd like to hear from the writer so I can put this in context. Maybe I'll see it differently.
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PrussianMosby
Posted: June 1st, 2015, 8:39pm Report to Moderator
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Drop Zone

The concept is interesting but the story felt very constructed, unbelievable and especially artificially dramatized:
The woman informs her husband she's pregnant – of course while he's starting in a dead or alive TV show. Then, she tells him that his brother contacted her, her brother-in-law; so there must be a disturbed relationship (unexplained) within this family if he presumes his brother doing something wrong. Then, finally on top, exactly that brother, Rob, is also host of the TV-show he's in. ???

original concept here



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Max
Posted: June 14th, 2015, 8:17pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Opening passage is poor at 4 lines, but also ratehr comical to me.  So, Mark is handsome, strong, and the man that every parent wants their daughter to bring home, huh?  Not too many daughters living at home with their parents at this age.  You also have passive language here.  Bottom line is that this description just reads so bad, I'm seriously tempted to close it down immediately...but I won't.

Using actual numbers is not the way to go, bro.

Is Angela in the elvator all of a sudden?  WTF?

Wow...is this meant to be serious?  Dialogue is not well done, sorry to say.  Mark is a physicist?  Really?  I doubt that...

That's it...sorry...the dialogue just keeps going and is so OTN and so false, I can't continue.

Oh, 1 more thing, be careful assuming all the feedback you receive is correct, as there is some absolutely incorrect comments on your thread.  Iancou is not giving you sound advice, so take with a large mound of salt.


May I ask what's wrong with Iancou's advice?



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Dreamscale
Posted: June 14th, 2015, 11:13pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Max
May I ask what's wrong with Iancou's advice?


You may ask, and since you asked so politely, I'll even answer.

Sound cues and special effect cues do not need to be CAPPED.

Some sounds can be CAPPED, if they're loud and you really want to draw attention to them, but in no way shuold every singel cound cue be CAPPED..nor should anyone bring up such rubbish as critique - there's more than enough things that are definitely incorrect in this script to concentrate on.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Max
Posted: June 14th, 2015, 11:23pm Report to Moderator
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What about the V.O advice?

How do you intro a character over the phone as V.O?

Do you have to make mention in the action lines?


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Dreamscale
Posted: June 15th, 2015, 11:04am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Max
What about the V.O advice?

How do you intro a character over the phone as V.O?

Do you have to make mention in the action lines?


Only characters that are visible onscreen will be intro'd.

Characters that speak while not onscreen are either V.O. or O.S.

Characters speaking over a phone or the like are (V.O.), so it looks like that feedback was correct.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Max
Posted: June 15th, 2015, 1:28pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale


Only characters that are visible onscreen will be intro'd.

Characters that speak while not onscreen are either V.O. or O.S.

Characters speaking over a phone or the like are (V.O.), so it looks like that feedback was correct.



So if there's a V.O over the phone... you'd just say it's a deep voice or something? Or would you just use the character name?

This is before the character appears on screen.


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Dreamscale
Posted: June 15th, 2015, 3:25pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Max
So if there's a V.O over the phone... you'd just say it's a deep voice or something? Or would you just use the character name?

This is before the character appears on screen.


Use wrylies sparingly and when necessary...or important.

It's up to the writer to make those decisions.  If the "voice" coems into play again or needs to be made out to be different, creepy, whatever, than sur, go ahead and use a wrylie.



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Max
Posted: June 16th, 2015, 11:10am Report to Moderator
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Nah, what I mean is...


Quoted Text
FADE IN:

INT. BATHROOM OR WHATEVER

bla bla, Keith answers phone.

                        KEITH
                   Hello?


A character who hasn't been introduced yet has called Keith, he's on the other end of the line.

Would you do.... MALE VOICE (V.O)... or would you just use the characters name in dialogue, even tho they haven't been introduced?

Or would you use an action line, to say that it's a deep voice on the other end, or a male voice.


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Dreamscale
Posted: June 16th, 2015, 12:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Max
Nah, what I mean is...

A character who hasn't been introduced yet has called Keith, he's on the other end of the line.

Would you do.... MALE VOICE (V.O)... or would you just use the characters name in dialogue, even tho they haven't been introduced?

Or would you use an action line, to say that it's a deep voice on the other end, or a male voice.


Nope, just use the character's name and (V.O.).  As I said, if it's important that this vioce sounds different or whatever, you cold use a wrylie, but probably unnecessary.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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RKeller
Posted: October 20th, 2015, 12:04pm Report to Moderator
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Pg 1
Why so much description on the elevator?  Just "elevator" is fine.

Pg 2
He's in the elevator and NOW he choses to check the life-and-death calculations?  Dumb idea.

Pg 4
You have two speakers in the elevator.  We assume Rob is on the mobile phone speaker. (Rob's voice invades the elevator suggests through the elevator speaker)
So the ANNOUNCER is/was the VOICE.  This was an abrupt and unexplained transition.

Pg 5
Mark presses the red button (twice apparently: taps then presses) and nothing happens.
He yells his brother's name, the brakes stop the carriage.
Either this is deus ex machina or it needs a re-write.
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