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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2020 Challenge  ›  I Scream, You Scream... - May OWC Moderators: Administrator
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  Author    I Scream, You Scream... - May OWC  (currently 302 views)
Don
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 10:39am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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I Scream, You Scream... by Holden Afart - Short, Drama, Sci Fi - A man encounters turns of fate during an excursion into a virus-ravaged world. 6 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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eldave1
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 2:00pm Report to Moderator
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I like the premise of going forward two years into the future.

IMO – you didn’t need the Male Scientist in the opening – the Reporter's first dialogue block gets the job done.

I got confused here:


Quoted Text
EXT. HOUSE - DAY
A royal blue sky dominates and shows off luminous rays, courtesy of our home star.
The man walks to the side of his house. Inside an electrified fence sits a huge home filtration system.

Because he was just in the car backing out. Is this the same man?

Really not loving the long blocks of Reporter dialogue on the radio here.   If you are going to have this – I think it would be more interesting if we were getting info on the present day (two years from now) rather than what we all knew happened in the past.

This was a very poignant tale. I liked it. But IMO the Reporter was too over the top – This is one where I think the ubiquitous Narrator or info over black would have served the story better.

Nice effort.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

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Bayne
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 5:02pm Report to Moderator
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Definitely some powerful moments here. Man's venture though the abandoned streets, his encounter with the infected woman, and the ice cream moment were all well written and poignant.

Some issues:

Since Man is the protagonist, and he endures some fairly impactful moments, I recommend giving him a name.

There is too much exposition from the reporter, in my opinion. It takes up half the script. Since you visually show us the filtration systems, and the characters wearing hazmat suits, we the readers can piece together the basics of the world you've introduced to us without a detailed verbal explanation.

Now this is super nit-picky, so take it with a grain of salt: I recommend making the virus a fictional virus inspired by COVID-19, but not actually COVID-19. This way, you wouldn't have to worry about readers digging into the scientific plausibility of your story. Some people really care about all that technical stuff. Even if it is plausible, you don't want readers getting hung up on that when they should be invested in Man's journey.

This is a very good effort, though. I would just put your primary focus on Man's journey and character arc, and focus less on the details of the virus.
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_ghostwriters
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 8:01pm Report to Moderator
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Overall, I liked this.  I usually do when it comes to a dystopian society.  HOWEVER, I thought this would go over much better with less V.O.  Not sure if it really enhanced the story that much.  Regardless it didn’t kill the flow/pacing for me.

Shrug, I'm only one reader so feel free to ignore me. Hope it helps, good luck with it.-A


"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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LC
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 8:15pm Report to Moderator
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Whoa! A real info dump in this one and I found the tone discombobulating.

A royal blue sky...

A family of deer, scaled from big to small like The
Partridge Family, wiggle their way across the road.


I'd personally pare things back a bit in terms of your descriptions. Jmho.

Loved the ice-cream bit and the tree/virus but then the running over of the woman was a bit - tone again - every which way. I wasn't quite sure what I'm meant to feel or takeaway from this one, almost as if you weren't sure which way to go yourself, genre wise.

Memorable, for sure.




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spesh2k
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 8:34pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this one, though the tone doesn't really match the title.

I thought this was very well written. And though there was a lot of voice over, it didn't really bother me because it was well written... and interesting. Especially with the trees and the atmosphere being pretty much polluted by this virus.

And the ending was very strong... surviving isn't the same thing as living. And I could taste that ice cream as he exposed himself to what would for sure be his impending death. Good stuff!

-- Michael


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 5:44am Report to Moderator
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Another one that doesn't match the criteria of "Can realistically be filmed with limited actors and sets."

Be careful about being too forceful about the message you want to convey, it can drag the reader out of the story.  Tone down the reporter or find a more subtle way to get across what you want to say.

Apart from that, it's a good dystopian sci-fi.


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Arundel
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Been liking all the "post-nuke" style scripts that I've read. This one I wasn't sure if I was missing some scientific explanation about how the main character somehow "beat" the virus or figured out something from seeing the filtration system in the ice cream shop. No, he just chose to enjoy himself in the end.

The voice-overs here worked as they told the story and let the visuals just guide it along. Didn't feel they were overdone and no additional dialog was needed. Sad, peaceful tale. Enjoyed.
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Rob
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 4:47pm Report to Moderator
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This is really strong. A truly frightening scenario. The deserted (but functional) ice cream shop in the middle of doomsday is brilliant. I can understand the man's action at the end, but I am freaked out by it. Great work. I wouldn't really change anything.
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Gary Howell
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 8:05pm Report to Moderator
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I guess overall I was impressed by the writing, but confused by the ending.  Why does finding the ice cream shop with the ventilator running convince him to go out into the open and eat the ice cream?  What is it about an abandoned ice cream shop that leads him to believe everything is okay.  You also mention when he gets to the ice cream shop that it's "Abandoned... at least for the moment."  That seems to indicate that there's someone there but no one shows up.  But there's fresh ice cream that someone made.  Who made it and what happened to them?

And if he was okay with being outside without the suit, why wouldn't the woman be okay as well?  And the man doesn't seem to show any remorse over running her over.

Okay, so back to the writing, it was certainly quality stuff, but if there was anything I would adjust or change, it would be the voice overs of the reporter.  Seemed to go on too long for my taste.  And I'd like an explanation on that ending (but I may be just a bit dense).  Good job overall on this, though.  Best of luck.  


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Fais85
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 2:17am Report to Moderator
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The heavy V.O. kind of spoils the fun. A lot of information in the V.O. is self-explanatory. You can get rid of them. Also, IMO it would be better if you replace Female Anchor with the man himself. He is narrating his story.

The scene where he kills the woman (or releases her from her pain) was very powerful.

I liked it overall. Very nicely written.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 9:12am Report to Moderator
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In some ways that was very bold. A big concept, perhaps too much for a short.

I applaud the sci FI angle and thinking out the box, so to speak

Story wise, we were told most of it and the rest was a bit out of the blue, and sometimes confusing.

There is something in this.


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Yuvraj
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 9:39am Report to Moderator
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Must say that it is well-written.


Quoted Text

FEMALE ANCHOR (V.O.)
The turning point came in the Summer of twenty-twenty, when President Trump exerted pressure on the Governors to open their states before robust testing and contact tracing were in place.


Truth be spoken, my friend.


Quoted Text

The automatic garage door opens with a rumble, revealing a cul-de-sac composed primarily of concrete and asphalt.


Cleverly written.


The VOs/dialogs of the FEMALE ANCHOR and MALE SCIENTIST were also good. Really felt the seriousness of the issue.



Quoted Text

FEMALE ANCHOR (V.O.)
It's a well-known fact that trees can get viruses. We just didn't know that it would get this virus.


The dialog crushed me. What an imagination brother.

Just one issue, it felt as if the story had more potential than what is presented. It's a short so that is acceptable but the story felt as if it has much more wider spectrum than displayed.

Anyways, keeping all that aside, big up to your imagination, dude.

Good luck.




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steven8
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 1:02am Report to Moderator
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Very powerful and very sad and sadly very possible.  Until it changes from a possible post-apocalyptic future to a Twilight Zone episode.  That is what the ending felt like.  Not that I don't love the Twilight Zone.  I do, but it took me out of the story you had created.  Overall a well written script, and the voice over worked fine for me.  I like a good voice over with powerful scenes.  I'd just like more to explain the ending.

[edit] to Yuvraj: Trees can get viruses - https://morgridge.org/blue-sky/do-trees-get-viruses/
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Spqr
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 10:17am Report to Moderator
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I'd like to see this one on the big screen. It was reminiscent of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. I can't think of anything that would improve this story.

If you're of a dark bent, you could change the name of the virus and turn this into a black comedy: the Man goes around chopping down trees instead of vampires.
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JEStaats
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 10:55am Report to Moderator
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That was quite good. Excellent flow and a full arc. Nicely done, writer.

A couple misspellings (e.g. Stret) and grammar issues but it's an OWC. It's interesting that through the years (I've only been here for four) so many OWC entries take place in and around ice cream shops! Anyone else notice that?

Great job - thanks for entering.
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khamanna
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 2:23pm Report to Moderator
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It's a good story but I think the last page, which is the ending, and the ultimate punch to the story, will be lost to the viewer unless the ancor says something. Or maybe the man says something.
And why there is a man not in gear on a bench. I might have missed something there.
You could cut on some of it but that's a very good idea nd you played it well.
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PKCardinal
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 5:56pm Report to Moderator
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I'd like to see what this looks like if you completely lost the reporter. I'm betting it would be even stronger.

And, regarding the woman in the street, I'm torn. It's a great (horrible) moment, very important to the story, but somehow it felt out of place with the bigger story. Like, I either need a couple more moments like these to explain his mindset, or you need to save this particular scene for a different script. Almost an all or nothing feeling for me, story-wise.

That's probably confusing, so I'll try to say it another way...

Without the woman, it becomes the story of a man in his final moments, having already made his decision to die, making a last trip to the ice cream shop. Very strong.

With the woman, it's almost the story of the things that lead to his final break. Like I need to see one or two more things building to the break.

I hope that makes some sense.

Anyway, this was a really good script. Thanks for sharing!


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Dreamscale
Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 9:38am Report to Moderator
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I'm running out of time to get through these, so no exact notes, just thoughts.

For me, there's way too much VO with the Anchor and Scientist, but thinking back, I really don't quite get it, either, as in how...or why...are TV's still working and why are these 2 going over what happened years earlier?  Also, with the ending you chose, for me, it actually needs some VO or something to explain just how everything's OK all of a sudden.

Not naming your characters is always a problem for me, as I can't get behind a nameless character.

There are shades of many movies in here that we've all seen, so it really doesn't come off as anything unique.

I didn't like the end and didn't understand anything about the significance of the ice cream shop.

I did like the idea that trees were the cause - that's unique, just don't go The Happening route!  

Some writing errors and mistakes, but not badly written.

***


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ajr
Posted: May 25th, 2020, 11:23am Report to Moderator
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Hey all,

Thanks for the reads and the comments. Glad that it provoked some thought and some different opinions.

The title was mentioned - if you google "I Scream, You Scream", you'll get tons of results on ice cream. So that was a nugget. I think it worked independently as well, since the word scream connotes horror.

I didn't name the man since he was never going to be addressed by anyone, and he was originally set to have no dialogue. I threw a line in at the last minute.

The V.O. - I didn't want use the trope of getting inside the protag's head and have him spoon feed the background, because that then becomes his opinion, filtered through his experience. The reason I start on the TV and introduce three different talking heads is so that they can continue to give us the facts as we ride along with the man. So how I visualized this is that is a documentary he's watched many times, and you "hear" the rest of it, as if he's home watching it, as the action unfolds.

I think this can be filmed. I took great pains to limit the actors and keep them apart. Though the scene with the woman would have to be creative. Motion is relative, and with the sound of an engine revving and a little forward motion and a loud THUD, you can convey a lot. And the ice cream store should be able to be done, since the protag is already wearing hazmat gear.

Some mentioned being confused by the ending. No, he is not okay. I wasn't going to give him a line of dialogue, and then at the last minute I thought I'd stamp his choice with the "major Tom" line, an homage to Bowie where of course the astronaut sees so much beauty, he knows he can't top it, and, well, there you go...

Originally I was going to write this piece about global warming... the idea was that it was always 140 degrees out, and so the way to survive was refrigerated suits. Easily adapted to COVID since, as some of you noted, yes, trees can get viruses. So yeah, a social commentary on the fact that we may spend too much time outside too soon, and to our detriment.

And who hasn't been in their house during this whole thing and said "boy, I am DYING for some ice cream!"

(0:

AJR


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