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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    July 08 One Week Challenge  ›  The Family Name
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  Author    The Family Name  (currently 3724 views)
Posted: July 25th, 2008, 12:16pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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The Family Name by Timothy F. Betts (souterfell) - (Sitka Spruce) - Short, Drama - An elderly collator pursues a coincidence to his past life. - pdf, format

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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  August 5th, 2008, 2:40pm
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The boy who could fly
Posted: July 26th, 2008, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

British Columbia, Canada
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I liked this one.  It fit the challenge quite well.  I was confused with all the Ing's at, but after a little bit I got used to it.  I think once Irving figures out who Ing really is it moves along too fast, I think there would be a few moments of shock and trying to get used to it, but other than that it was written well and it was an interesting story that worked well for the challenge.

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Posted: July 26th, 2008, 5:36pm Report to Moderator
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This is a quality work. It’s well developed and very bleak. However it seems quite drawn out. The story progresses quite slowly and the writing style is the same so perhaps it’s tough to enjoy reading it.

After a bleak start like this if you could find a way to accelerate towards an up beat end this would be great. OK it might also destroy your integrity, but you’ve got to eat!

One specific point where I was confused was the “condition” element at the end of page 2. Thinking about it I think you mean “distress”. Condition initially implied a medical problem to me. I thought he was having a heart attack or something!

Another very minor point is that I thought your use of the required dialog felt a bit stretched.

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Posted: July 26th, 2008, 7:01pm Report to Moderator
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Didn't anyone ever tell you to avoid using ING?

To be honest I did find the number characters named ING in this were a bit confusing.

I thought the eventual story that arrives was a good one,  but it took far too long to get there.  I would start this on the door step because there really isn't much before that point that is critical to the story.

Also, I did find it strecthing believability that the guy would know it was his dad just from the tiger.  I think there has to be more there.

But nicely done and it fit the challenge.    
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Souter Fell
Posted: July 27th, 2008, 8:33am Report to Moderator
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I liked it. The "ing" name was a little confusing but mostly just made me read closer and pay better attention.

The ending scene does move much quicker than the rest of the story. Don't know how I feel about the bevy of emotions that must be occuring in such a small time frame.

I do like the bleak ending. And it fit th challenge criteria very well.  Good show

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Zombie Sean
Posted: July 27th, 2008, 2:03pm Report to Moderator
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A boozer, a user, and a two-time loser

Anywhere there's a zombie...
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Finally, one that actually went with the genre. But I'm sure more will follow.

This one was cute, though, like everyone else, the name "Ing" was confusing, and it took me a while to know who was who.

I really have nothing else to say, except that there were a few spelling mistakes and I liked the joke at the end.



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Posted: July 27th, 2008, 2:27pm Report to Moderator
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I actually missed the line first time I read it, but went back and found it after.

Overall I really liked this story, the best of those in the challenge I've read so far, though like others said, I wonder if less time could have been spent in the beginning at Ing's job and more focus given to his conversation with his son.
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Posted: July 28th, 2008, 5:59am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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First off  "SPOILERS"  

This one fit the challenge, and I think you did a real good job with it.

The voice over on page one should be O.S. though, because Jameson is in the same room, even though he hasn't been introduced yet.

A couple minor type o's... those nasty little things...

now on to the story...

I didn't think there were too many Ings.

I thought the beginning was fine. Him in a dull job... drinking... Honorable discharge... it showed the backstory.

I liked the short, but I felt bad for Ing. Thinking his staying away would give his family a better life, when obviously his son would have wanted him around.

The highest mountain. I liked that, too. Just because you don't know something, doesn't mean it isn't there.
I took that as: I've always loved you even though you didn't see it.

I wonder what would have happened if one of the kids overheard their conversation outside?

Nice job,

Award winning screenwriter
Available screenplays
TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy
ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
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Posted: July 28th, 2008, 10:41am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

The bleak North East, England
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This was a good story and the first real drama one I've read so far.  

I have to agree with Michael though that I'm not sure Irving would know it was his dad from a paper tiger, saying that, I've heard that people have a sense that they are related to someone.

I thought the beginning was fine and the ending was sad but worked well.  The best I've read so far.

Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

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Posted: July 29th, 2008, 7:42pm Report to Moderator

Florida, USA
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Took a little effort to get past the Ing name...Short for Ingmar maybe? Good descriptions of a soul eating job and the people who work there (I did that sort of thing for a while in High School)...There was some heart in this story and definitily hit the drama button.

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently - Dove Chocolate Wrapper
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Posted: July 29th, 2008, 9:32pm Report to Moderator
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i didn't nessesarily have a problem with the name ING...just was a tad ehh with the choice of amount of names. But it all made sense by the end.

I thought this was written well, def did fit the challenge but..okay this isn't you, it's me. Sometimes a drama can easily go cliche and too soap opera for me. Sometimes for me this one did (the dialogue with the father and son at end) but then i ask myself "how else should it be done right?"

The way i do things is to play with word choices and structure to make it like characters have a voice of their own.

The backstory before the main issue at the end  i think is good. I think while filming you get a sense of character and by ends way you see how and why things are the way they are.

Good job! And good luck!

Good Golly Miss Molly
No Place Like Home
New Moon Rising
The Ballad of Uncle Sam: An Anarchists Melody
Toy Soldier
This Modern Love
A Virgin State of Mind

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Posted: July 30th, 2008, 6:31am Report to Moderator
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This was a very well written piece. Many of the other entries in this challenge have resorted to superficial action like violence to try and create drama, but you went the low key approach and tackled a family drama and I reckon your story has way more clout than any of them, because it resonates with emotional truth.
I was impressed by the way you seamlessly worked the theme/line into the dialogue and I liked the line about the brooding emo daughter. But the icing on the cake for me was the serve Irving gave Ing right at the end. That was great. No complaints from me.

Well done.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: July 30th, 2008, 3:37pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

Bowden, Alberta
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This is obviously a well written short that has a ring to it!

It only has a couple of minor typos, it flows well, the feel of the mundane is well drawn out and the meaning of the script is perfectly tied to the title.

I don't have any real complaints with it. Maybe the phrase, in keeping with the theme, is a bit tacked on, but it takes nothing away from the quality of the script.

The reason I say "tacked on" isn't because the story doesn't deal with mail, but
it doesn't deal with the kind of "wow idea" that I thought was meant in the challenge.

My suggestion would be to change the ending. I was thinking: Do they really have to go their separate ways?

Especially, since Ing says to Irving, "It's the start of a new relationship." It only makes sense that it end on a good note.

Now I think I'll end with what I'm going to guess, (because I haven't read any of the reviews so far) might be a complaint.

Some people might say that this is too cliche, that there's nothing new here, but I say, that cliche "themes" are all that writing is about-- all that life is about. The themes never change. Now, that's not to say that cliched word choices are good, but even they are perfect sometimes if we're dealing with a cliched character. For instance:

The old lady (might be me someday-- might be me even now) with all the cats who says, "I think the weather's gonna change-- I can feel it in my bones."

In this OWC, we dealt with a theme where the mundaness and cliched ideas surrounding postal workers have surfaced in many of the scripts. There was definitely, in most of the scripts I've read so far, the idea of dissatisfaction, where the question for the mailman/postal worker is: Didn't you want to be more? Do more with your life?

It's interesting, because Blakkwolfe said, and I have to agree, that being a mailman, doesn't sound like a bad job.

A great benefits package, and what I would say is that getting out each day and moving about in the external environment sounds like a really healthy job, (despite breathing in smog if you're in a city that has poor air quality-- but that's another story).

So what I'm trying to say here is that if the idea of "the missing father" who shows up one day on his grown up son's doorstep is said to be too cliche, I would say: Talk to my husband who hasn't seen his father since he was four years old. Talk to an old friend of mine whose mother walked out on him when he was little.

These people are "living stereotypes". They are living cliches. And like I said, so am I. And one day, if I ever make it as a professional writer, I will live in a big house with lots of cats, I might even put on an apron (who says no one does that anymore) and serve my husband his scotch with some smoked salmon and cream cheese (which will bring all the cats swarming into our living room) but we'll be ready with many cat treats.

Anyways, this one was done extremely well. If you can maybe develop the characters just a little bit more, that's what I think I'd like to see. Take it up just a bit to that next level. You've already done that with the origami. Maybe you could write in a scene that shows "the emptiness" Ing feels before he finds the piece of mail to deliver. Besides, the mundane at work, show his loneliness perhaps.

That might be a good idea. Then there's a little bit more of a build before he finds the letter and goes to meet his son.

You might also enter into both lives at once in the beginning. Go back and forth between Ing in his world, and his father, (though we don't know it yet) in his.

Excellent work!!!!


A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Posted: July 31st, 2008, 2:12am Report to Moderator

Venice, CA
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Good solid effort.

Probably the only straight drama I've read so far.  Most of us (including myself of course) had to resort to various other genre elements in order to pound out this short but you took the road less traveled and were faithfully true to the 'challenge'.  Kudos.

Pacing was a tad slow but I think it fit well with the plodding life that Ing has been reduced to.

Yeah... paper tiger might have been a stretch but I'll give you credit for inventing a different approach to revealing this plot point.  Much better than just regurgitating this:
"Irving... I am your FATHER!  Search your feelings... you know it be true."
Although, given the dramatic build-up, none of the readers would have seen that line coming.
Unfortunately, the straight drama story I just commended you for writing, would have gone right out the window.  Anyway... I'm quickly losing my focus.  I guess pounding out a pot of coffee at midnight isn't such a good idea.  My fingers are getting way ahead of my brain.

Back to the lecture at hand... I liked the story.  Felt the father son conversation did slip into a slight cliche.  Would have maybe liked to see a more difinitive reason for Ing abandoning his family other than the fairly standard, yet always depressing "I was no good for you".

However, the 'highest mountain' analogy really saved the finish and helped send me off with a satisfied feeling.

Again, good job nailing the genre and creating a readable drama.  

"Who am I to judge and strike you down?" -- Tool
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Posted: July 31st, 2008, 6:24pm Report to Moderator

Newcastle, England
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This worked really well, very dramatic.

I liked the way the monotony of his job/life was shown through his V.O early on. I felt that portrayed a lot about Ing's character in a very short space.

The scene with the family was quite moving, I liked his joke/message and Irving's reaction to it. That felt real.

I didn't think the quote fitted all that well in that piece of dialogue -- wouldn't he say "but the guys at the post office are never gonna believe that"? not 'this'. That's a pretty minor failing though so overall a really good script. Excellent writing technique too.

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