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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2015 One Week Challenge  ›  Company Stress Test - OWC
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  Author    Company Stress Test - OWC  (currently 2938 views)
Don
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 11:37am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Company Stress Test by Bill S. Guier - Short, Science Fiction, Satire Comedy, Surreal - There's something wrong with the stairs, so four employees take the new elevator. There's something wrong with that, too. 12 pages - pdf, format


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bert  -  May 24th, 2015, 12:24pm
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DanC
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 1:27pm Report to Moderator
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Is this Bill Sarre?

Sorry bud, I didn't care for it.  It was high concept, and had a few tiny errors in it, but, I didn't care for it.  No answers were given.  For anything.

6/10


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eldave1
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 2:36pm Report to Moderator
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On the positive side - I loved the premise of using an elevator for a company stress test. That being said, I had a very hard time visualizing the elevator moving as it is were a stairwell and I think there could have been a more inventive stress test.

The dialogue got a bit mundane for my tastes and I thought several of the action blocks could have been written crisper.

A long winded way of saying I started out with a positive feeling about this but it went downhill for me.



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SteveDiablo
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 3:01am Report to Moderator
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Might make a good book.


Security cameras loom above the company logo on a wall with
the slogan ďWe are always on the watch!Ē. Some EMPLOYEES,
dressed professional, attempt to either hide from the camera
or move past it as quickly as possible.
FELIX (30s) stand out from his colleagues for three reasons.
One, his clothes are a size too big. Two, his tie is loosened
a bit more. Third, he whistles as

So many problems here. I get what you are TELLING ME, but I'm not really SEEING IT happen.
I'm out.
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Dustin
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 4:07am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Code

Bill S. Guier


Interesting fella.

Got to page 4 and there's a lot of talking and things are not making sense visually. They're in a lift but also on the stairway. It doesn't work for me.

3 out of 10.


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stevemiles
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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Bill S. Preston Esquire -- is this you?  Or just some random coincidence...

Like the concept -- well suited to the surreal.  A decent enough payoff.  On the flip-side the dialogue began to drag around the halfway mark.  Thereís some amusement that builds in the repetition (whose fault/what did you do! etc.) but a good trim would ease this along no end.

Not sure if it fits the challenge -- is it an elevator cause you say it is?  Perhaps -- a contained environment I suppose.  Also not sure what I was Ďseeingí -- tricky to visualise this Ďstairlevatorí -- no doubt even trickier to budget for...

Challenge aside, as surreal satire I think it hits the mark -- take care of the length and I think youíd have a decent little swipe at corporate culture.

Pretty sure Bill Sarre's not behind this.  Sense of humour does feel familiar though...


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Dreamscale
Posted: May 25th, 2015, 9:27pm Report to Moderator
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Ok...uhhh...hmmm...

I can tell early on there are going to be loads and loads of problems.  The big, incorrectly broken up blocks of text, the completely unnecessary dialogue that I'm not sure is supposed to be funny or just poorly written, and the fact that by page 3, nothing remotely entertaining has taken place.

I glanced ahead and it looks like they never even are on an elevator, and it's just pages and pages of dialogue.

I'm way out...sorry.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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khamanna
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 2:48am Report to Moderator
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I think that you have a good feel of dialog in general and I think it would be a good short if you considerably shortened this, gave your characters something to talk about and made your characters somewhat memorable.

My problem is - they talk about broken stairs for several pages, then broken elevator for pages and pages. The twist is very good though and I think you should rewrite this.

I'd try get rid of "what's wrong with the stairs" talk and "that's weird" talk, look for the ways to skip it. Maybe add a bit to their relationship, explore it more, so that the reader could stick with the characters and emphathise with them.
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 4:02am Report to Moderator
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A kind of surreal Charlie and the Chocolate factory meets Alice in Officeland story. Itís an unusual concept for sure and a bold effort but unfortunately it didnít work for me. You tease the audience too much without giving them anything to keep them interested and fail to deliver satisfactory answers.

I found this odd from the start but not because an elevator is a set of stairs, as this is actually the coolest part of your script. No I questioned why employees would choose the take the stairs over an elevator. I questioned why the audience is not allowed to see the memo. I questioned everything and hoped to get something which would keep me going to the end and the explanations I sought. Unfortunately the characters and dialogue are annoying and repetitive, they failed to carry me through the story. So I scanned through the last few pages and caught that it was some stress test but I was totally lost by then.

You complied by the rules of the OWC though and you entered so well done for taking part and kudos for such a bold and somewhat different approach to the challenge.

-Mark


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RichardR
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 10:50am Report to Moderator
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Not for me.  Lots of chat but no real talk.  An odd surreal place but nothing worse than some time lost.  If this were a stress test, then there needs to be more stress.  Heat, perhaps a fake heart attack, fire, something besides whining and going around and around in circles.  

Best
Richard
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Gum
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 2:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Writer,

Honestly, I thought it was funny/bizarre you had them going into a stairwell disguised as an elevator, weird. The dialog and banter between the initial character set was funny as well; all chaotic and such. It really did put me in mind of a Seinfeld episode.

Unfortunately, you lost me somewhere around 8 pages of WTFís between everyone, then more characters adding to the mix, with more WTFís from them. IMO this could easily be trimmed. Just seems like a whole lot of needless banter for the payoff.


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AnthonyCawood
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 3:34pm Report to Moderator
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A few typo's, nothing that a re-read and polish wont fix...

I like the idea of the stairs being out, and Bart's reaction to it.

I must admit I'm struggling ti visualise the stairs in the lift concept.

But accepting that the lift shaft has some stairs in it, why are they panicing so much? If there some inherent threat on the stairs? Why dont they go to the top or bottom?

Read through to the end, have to say it went over my head a little, wtf happened?

Some interesting ideas in this but needs work imho

Anthony


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
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EWall433
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 6:21pm Report to Moderator
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I glanced over the comments and see that I donít have much to add. I also had trouble visualizing the stairs and the characters drove me bonkers. Iím not sure this was set up properly because the characters seem to overreact to everything. They donít seem to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what they are in or why. Itís just a string of assumptions with nothing to back it up and then freaking out even though I still didnít feel like Iíd heard anything concrete about what was going on. There were just a slew of questions.

Why did they not just do Felixís plan? Why didnít Felix think of that quicker? Why did anyone believe that some girlís paperwork would have the answers? Did it? What kind of company owns something like this? Why do they assume itís a test? I know thereís a camera watching people, but that doesnít really set me up for this insanity. What even happens if they fail the test? Are they fired? Are they murdered? Have there been other tests? This is need to know. Without knowing the answers to these questions I donít know whether to fear for your characters or think theyíre morons. In the end it tilted toward the latter.

I do like the idea of a two level elevator and characters stuck on it because only one door opens at a time. Figure out a better puzzle from that and you can make this interesting.
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wonkavite
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 8:09pm Report to Moderator
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This one... didn't work for me.

I think the premise has plenty of potential... but for me, I felt the dialogue dragged on too long - you could chop off a few pages, and ratchet up the tension several notches by doing so.  The characters felt interchangeable, and nothing was adequately explained.  IE: what exactly IS this strange company, and how did they pull off an elevator with stairs?

Visually, I think that could be amazing.  But too much in this script felt... incomplete.  Which isn't really surprising, given that this is an OWC.  Which tends to cause a writer to rush their work.  )
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: May 28th, 2015, 9:22am Report to Moderator
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I'll try to comment as I read...never the best with an iPad. The auto correct can make some strange choices...

Heavy start - dense para's. My preference is two lines, with an occasional three. Keep it lean. But let's carry on...

How long are this lot going to go on about the stairs - don't over play it

They are in the stairwell - looking down at lift doors opening. I'll be honest I'm struggling with understanding this

The stairs is the elevator - you got it right, difficult to understand.

Then they are back on the doors arguement!!

Page 7 dispute over who mucked up. The truth is that this is boring, repetitive and does nothing for story. Every word should drive it forward, add a layer etc

P10 back in the messed up arguement. STOP IT,!!

Ok, ok.

This doesn't work for me, as you can probably guess. A few tips

1) unless the characters need certain attributes they will all drift into each other. Sometimes try and give them something to remind us

2) clear goal - I have no idea about this one. If it is to get out, let us know why

3) clear hurdle - I couldn't get my head around this.

4) twist - it's often its best to end with one, not always I accept, but this needed something

I'll guess you went for some surrealist dream here and that's hard to pull off.


My scripts †HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
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Stumpzian
Posted: May 28th, 2015, 1:41pm Report to Moderator
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I would change the title. It tells us what's up right off the bat. Therefore, we get impatient with the craziness that ensues.

The  slapstick Escher quality of the is-it-stairs-or-is-it-an elevator business could be funny to watch if we didn't already know the deal.

A title change, and some trimming, could make this a winner.




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c m hall
Posted: May 28th, 2015, 9:34pm Report to Moderator
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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!
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DS
Posted: May 29th, 2015, 12:16pm Report to Moderator
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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.
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SteveClark
Posted: May 30th, 2015, 5:55am Report to Moderator
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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.

Overall, a decent effort for the time allotted.

Steve


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PrussianMosby
Posted: June 5th, 2015, 7:44pm Report to Moderator
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Company Stress Test

Personally, I am always suspicious of a script that needs 100% of the given space.

Honestly, after page two I'd spend my time different. Don't take it personal, I would just switch off the movie because there's nothing moving on.

It is pretty non-visual. You have a lot of I-pages, only dialogue, that shouldn't be.  Maybe there's something inside here, I don't feel it yet.

The character's have no other interactions or mode of expression than talking. What they say, is moving in circles, repetitive. Just a tough challenge this time...



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DarrenJamesSeeley
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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:


Quoted Text
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--


Quoted Text
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?



Quoted Text
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.


Quoted Text
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.






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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: June 12th, 2015, 12:34am Report to Moderator
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Darren,

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.
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realxwriter
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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.
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