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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2015 One Week Challenge  ›  I Got 99 Problems - OWC
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  Author    I Got 99 Problems - OWC  (currently 4349 views)
Posted: May 24th, 2015, 12:26pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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I Got 99 Problems by Elisha Graves Otis  - Short, Fantasy, Horror - An office worker returns home after a long day and embarks on a rather surreal journey in a faulty elevator to the 99th floor. 11 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: May 24th, 2015, 3:01pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Killing villains since 1980!

Buffalo NY
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That was pretty good.

I loved your pop culture references.  I knew them all, so, yeah, I'm old

I liked the buildup.  The story made sense, and it was a self-contained unit, meaning the questions you raised, you also answered.

I appreciated that trip down memory lane.


The reason I didn't rate it a bit higher was b/c all the action kinda zoned me out.  I really had to "try" not to skim.  I'd try to add more dialog to it.

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Posted: May 24th, 2015, 4:11pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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I wish I could be more positive, but for me, this didn't work at all, and was extremely dull, and a tough chug to get through.  The read itself felt like I was reading a 25 page script, and tthat's never a positive sign.

Just way too much of "nothing" and a very small payoff, that for me did not work at all.

Writing-wise, things appeared to be OK early on, but your voice got in the way, and there's just way too much unnecessary detail, many times in the way of adjectives and adverbs.  The asides didn't help either.

Grammar and punctuation are also an issue, but nothing all that bad.

It's the lack of a real story here.  The lack of interesting action, and just way too many floors.

It's a tough challenge and you met it, so kudos for that.  For me, though, I was looking for the end to come, and hoping for a payoff.  Yes, you did offer a payoff, but for me, it didn't do anything for me.

Best of luck going forward.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: May 24th, 2015, 4:23pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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Quoted Text
Elisha Graves Otis was an American industrialist, founder of the Otis Elevator Company, and inventor of a safety device that prevents elevators from falling if the hoisting cable fails.

Interesting. I wonder if the name will have a bearing on the story?

It's taking three pages to get going so far. I'm pretty sure you could easily cut the first two pages without hurting the story at all. I'm finding it a chore to read at the moment. Remember the come in late get out early rule.

Well yeah, that was pretty surreal with the 'Mom' thing at the end but it spoils it in my opinion.

An old tale, but aren't they all... over all, not a bad effort. 5.5 out of 10.

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Posted: May 25th, 2015, 1:06am Report to Moderator
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I could not help myself. Have to start reviewing this OWC with this entry. 99 Problems (and a bitch ain't one?) Who could resist?

Sadly...speaking of problems...
plague should be plaque
"steaming black coffee" How do we see the steam? There's no lighting around ("powerless monitors")
'suddenly' - most visual actions happen in the moment you show them. It isn't that sudden. There are a lot of SUDDENLYs in this script and even one SUDDENLY! Repetitive and hokey.

But Awkward writing.
Not sure why Elevator and Floor starts with an uppercase. That's a nitpick, but it is too noticable.

"is sat" (p4)
'palm of a hand' which hand? Larry's  hand?
Robbie The Robot is the robot of Forbidden Planet, not Lost In Space. (I first summed this up as character error, but it would appear that Larry is a sci-fi pop culture nerd)

A fart joke.  > that seems out of place.

The wierdness and surreal atmosphere goes the distance. Every time I started to get into it, you throw me out.

Not a bad effort. But given the title, I also expected something a bit more edgy, funny or dark humored.

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Posted: May 25th, 2015, 8:31pm Report to Moderator

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I actually liked a lot of the humor in the beginning of this. The set-up starts off light-hearted. A frustrating elevator ride and Larry, whoís a bit of a dweeb, just trying to pass the time. The fart joke actually worked for me, and I also liked the decision to give Larry a robot friend. The montage maybe went on too long, but then we started turning into the horror part of the tale. For me, thatís where this started to get rickety.

The faceless man is creepy, but a bit of an easy choice, as is the crazy elevator. But mostly my problem was that it led to a payoff that didnít feel natural to the set-up. The tone of the piece worked for me and I dug the initial concept (a floor by floor elevator ride where the stops get progressively more horrific). I could definitely see things going in an even darker, more surreal, Silent Hill-type direction. Iíd go back and try to figure out an ending that keeps to that initial concept. Make us dread whatever horrible thing heíll find when he finally makes it to the 99th floor.
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Posted: May 25th, 2015, 9:13pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Down Under
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I was sort of getting into this but ended up bailing on about page 8 as it all went arse up.

The pop culture refs were done well ( God, how hot was Erin Gray from Buck Rogers lol?) but perhaps the writer lost control or ran out of time.

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Posted: May 26th, 2015, 8:38am Report to Moderator
Old Timer


Over there.
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Hmm, yes. A plague on the wall. Get the bleach out.

"powerless security monitors". Eh? Are you talking about the UN or something?

It's nice that Larry saunters. But I doubt it's appropriate to your story. It's like that old man on the bus the other day who kept winking at everybody.

Jeez, Larry sounds an awful lot like Ned Flanders. Add a few okey diddly dokeys and a moustache and you're there.

The humour seems quite gentle and quaint in this. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But it can be hard to make it funny.

I think that montage proved my point. Even if a great comic actor did it, they would have a job making it funny. Maybe Stan Laurel could have. Alas. Like my patience, he is long gone.

Needs a bit more plot, in me humble.


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Posted: May 26th, 2015, 11:19am Report to Moderator
Been Around

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this one quickly became tedious for me.  I can take only so many stops and clever comments to the robot.  Get on with the story.  HOw many jokes can you tell on one match?  Only know when there are too many.  Didn't work as a story for me.

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Posted: May 26th, 2015, 5:26pm Report to Moderator
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Gosh darn it - really ?

Too much with the different floor imho, could lose some of these quite easily.

Effectively written though and I like the robot


The end, hmm not a fan of 'dead all along' endings, sorry.


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c m hall
Posted: May 26th, 2015, 9:18pm Report to Moderator

peninsula of Jersey
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Lots of good things here; Larry is an entertaining character, he's trying to make the best of whatever happens -- and Larry's interaction with the robot as companion / memory will keep things interesting for the audience.  And I think that having  Larry be a victim of senseless violence instead of just dangerously clumsy (as it seems in the beginning) is a good decision, it takes this from being a skit to being a memorable story that could be a good film.
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Posted: May 28th, 2015, 6:47am Report to Moderator
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Like the title.  Think thereís much to be made of the situation, a passenger forced to endure every floor on his ride in a faulty elevator.  One niggle was Larry seemed a little too childlike in places.

Not what I expected -- kudos for taking it somewhere different.  I rather like it, think you handled the surreal aspect well and made the most of the suspense.  Nothing was as it really seemed.  Another elevator ride to Heaven/Hell but a different approach.  Iíd cut the fart gag, that did nothing.

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Posted: May 28th, 2015, 7:16am Report to Moderator

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I like the concept of using the elevator as a way of reliving one's life as they say in the last moment before death.

The execution is extremely flawed and the writer needs development. Let's take a stab at some of the writing problems

First of all, it's waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overwritten with description. An example: Larry has turned a crimson red; a mixture of
desire and toe-curling embarrassment.
That really just needs to be Larry turns red.

And that kind of thing is in literally every line. It makes this a real slog to get through and as a result it becomes hard to pay attention to the story. I mean it took an act of will for me to finish. If you cut out all that description and stick to what's simple to describe...and don't describe what doesn't need to be described...then we should be able to fly through this story.

Quoted Text
A plastic cup filled with steaming black liquid stands next
to a bank of powerless security monitors.

Couple problems with this. First, this is a curse placed on you by the "rules people". Rules people throw all common sense out the window as they try to force rules of thumb into laws filled with thou shalts. What happened here is you heard some anal rules person say "How do we know what's in the coffee cup?" So instead of saying there is steaming coffee you felt compelled to say steaming black liquid.

But another problem with this description is that it has, as far as I can tell, no reason at all for being there. It's not connected to the story, doesn't add to any kind of mood or tone of the location. Imagine you are filming this: is it necessary to get this steaming coffee and find a way to keep it steaming for the length of the shoot?

A few self-deprecating moments go by.  I have no idea what that means.

Often in screenplays we find a capable writer trying to create a story from a bad concept. In this case we have a concept really ripe with potential. Putting it in the future was clever so you could have a crazy tall skyscraper with more floors and therefore more stops on the elevator. There were probably more clever things to this story that I missed because I started to skim due to the tedious writing. With a little work you will quickly learn to clean up that writing style. And it will make it easier for you to write because there's no need to work so hard on description!

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Posted: May 28th, 2015, 1:39pm Report to Moderator
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Cast Your Fate To The Wind

Upstate NY
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Okay, I get it. But who shot him and why? Not clear on that.

This was okay, stayed within the parameters for the most part but... Boy! Was this tough to get through. You really need to trim this down. Felt like I was reading forever and it's only 10 pages.  The vibe/tone was consistent, if not a bit goofy with Larry's musings. Not sure a grown man would act this way, but... If he's on his way up to "you know where" then I guess it doesn't matter all that much.

Still, too much going on here to hold my attention. It was a tough read. However, good work on getting this done. Not a bad story, just needs to be trimmed way down and tightened up, IMHO.


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Posted: May 28th, 2015, 11:05pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

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Your writing style jumps between different focuses without much flow. Mention things when they need to be mentioned rather than overloading the reader at the start with a security desk, coffee, monsters, a sign, and eight other different things. Which one matters? Do they matter at all?

Trash (mostly) all the dialogue where he talks to himself, it's unneeded and cheesy -- unless of course, the latter part was your intent.

"Oh, good morning Mr. Tyler. "  

Wait, apartments now have 99 floors? I'm way behind on the times.

Uh, well, not sure if I can say I was a fan of the story. I think it had a good horror/comedy vibe going, but it was way too simple and bland to evoke anything in the reader. Again, too simple, needs more, or less for the story you're trying to tell.
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