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This is an exciting story and could be very interesting on film, especially with camera angles giving the audience confusing views of staircases, railings and elevator doors -- this could be an extremely entertaining film.
GRETCHEN Copies of copies have nothing to do with the laws of physics! BART You donít know that for sure!
Love those lines!
Wonderful ideas in this script, especially that when offered a possible solution to the problem, the workers refuse to even consider it since it might not be sanctioned by management. Yay!
I think the OWC has reached the stage where there really isn't a lot more to add to all of the comments. I find myself pretty damn confused after reading this and I'm somewhat interested whether that was supposed to be the point. Maybe to an extent.
The main thing that confused me was if these people were aware of the stress test or not. It's revealed straight from the title, which would otherwise be giving away the point, unless the characters already knew about it. Did they? Where were they going? What was that memo even about? Some clarity about it would be incredibly useful.
On the upside, I did like the surreal satire of working a corporate desk job, which no one really likes doing -- hence the really aggressive and annoying characters, who REALLY were annoying. Some good lines in here too. I'm confident that I didn't get quite a few "inside jokes", but it looks to be one of the more interesting takes this OWC. Despite, I believe the short needs an overhaul to make what the hell is happening more clear. Decently played, I guess, writer.
Not a bad entry. You have a pretty decent handle on dialogue, and an interesting premise. It's just that I wasn't enamoured with your ending. You have 11 pages of buildup, then your reveal. I think you could have another person in charge of the "stress test" enter at the end and give the reveal. It might have made for a more interesting ending with these characters, who I genuinely liked.
The dialogue did go on for too long, it seems. You should check your page count and try to bring it down some, cut out some unnecessaries, trim the dialogue and amp up the tension these people are feeling. You had a solid build up. And what was written on Gretchen's copies made for good tension, but it sucks that we never got to find out what.
The original title I had was The Stroke But I went for a phonetic alias of Bill S Guire (Billy Squier) I wasn't thinking of Bill & Ted at all. The "company" (which is the same name as the one in another script of mine- The Rite Of The Rat and "Bart" is also mentioned) was notorious for playing mind games with some of the employees to make them more productive and Not To Question Management. Those are the only similarities/connections.
In early drafts there were more F bombs and visually the elevator was "given a new look" where the bosses hired a graphic designer and painted the walls, ceiling and floor to look like 3D street art, chutes, ladders and stairs etc. The lights would be a poor man's UV. It took way too long to explain. But then I remembered a film, one I haven't seen in many years, Being John Malkovich and then my thoughts turned to Terry Gilliam's Brazil as well. But anyway, I recall office spaces that were cramped, or deliberately proportioned wrong to annoy workers in those buildings. So I concocted a blend of the surreal and cane up with...this.
Quoted from DS
What was that memo even about?
I struggled with this one. It was in and out so many times, I finally left it out. I was too far ahead of myself- but I felt that if I included it it would have been on the nose.
But here it is:
They come to a memo haphazardly taped on a door. Felix reads it, moves along. Bart and Gretchen peek at what it -
GRETCHEN No time! Move it! Move it! Move it!
They rush up to Felix.
BART What did it say?
FELIX It said the stairs were out.
Later in the 'vater--
GRETCHEN Well you read the memo. Maybe you read it, read it wrong or you read the wrong memo or maybe you just flat out lied!
BART Thatís right! Maybe the memo said Ďdonít take the elevator, take the stairsí We should have taken the stairs.
FELIX I read it right.
So at this point it should be clear. The memo said 'Don't take the stairs'. Felix didn't lie. His co-workers are over stressed and they are stressing him out. Gretchen didn't really stop to read the memo on the door. Why?
FELIX Gretchen, what are they copies of?
GRETCHEN I donít know! Copies of copies! I just do as Iím told!
Gretchen swears that even she doesn't know what the copies say, that she didn't pay attention. Felix really grills her on this, not believing her. Gretchen believes that
a) What her copies of copies say isn't that important but at the same time:
b) She has a fear of losing her job if her job were compromised in any way (in her unrealistic POV)
So when Felix reads the copy and what it says, he gets angry, throws it away.
BART Well? What did it say?
The question pisses Felix off. Stares Bart down.
FELIX I donít think I should repeat it....what do you think it said?
I decided to leave it that way. Go, on folks. You know what it said in essence, don't you? The stairs are out.
Like the concept and how it's written. I visualized the elevator/stairwell taunting the characters, and it was fun to read their reactions as they become more disoriented from being toyed with.
The sad bizarre truth is that as difficult it is to comprehend, yes the flights of stairs is the elevator.
I'm not sure I fully understand that line, not its content but its purpose. Is it to add clarity to the story or amplify the reaction of Bart, Nancy, and Gretchen? Both?
I see you mentioned Being John Malkovich as an inspiration. I could see that mostly in the dialogue of page 8 & 9 because it isn't focused on the elevator, but more aimed at a solution from the real problem - the company they work for. I felt as the story progressed, it would be less about the elevator and more about the intrusiveness in their professional lives - like the part when Shemp declares, "I hate working here..."
I also felt if the characters accepted the surreal nature of the scenario a bit more, the reader would relate better too. Instead they all seemed ready to rock n roll from the start, and even though you set it up in the first paragraph to do that, Felix's demeanor provides a nice umbrella for the rest to give it a chance and see how it goes.
The ending was good, I enjoyed the emphasis on Felix asking, "What do you think it said?" Overall, it was hard to visualize but I like the architecture of the elevator/stairwell and how it plays tricks on the characters. It's clever.
I liked your dialogue. Some of the characters sounded the same to me. The 12 pages length was a bit of stretch for such a concept. I wish you had kept it short and sweet. I love how the answer lies in the title. I was lucky enough to only read the title when I'm done reading the script. It had a better effect that way. But like I said. A shorter piece would have forced you to write stronger and wittier dialogue and more unique characters. Also introducing all of them in such hurry in the beginning was a bit confusing. You wanna take your time introducing characters to the reader. Well done and good luck.