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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  OWC - The Spirit Men
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  Author    OWC - The Spirit Men  (currently 4216 views)
Don
Posted: October 19th, 2008, 4:09pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Spirit Men, The by Morgan Cooper (MBCgirl) - Short, Young Adult, Horror - Identical twins, living in a small northwestern town are drawn into a story about thirteen indian braves who were slaughtered over 200 years ago. They promised to return and take revenge on those who took their souls. - pdf, format


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Don  -  October 31st, 2008, 9:06am
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Dreamscale
Posted: October 19th, 2008, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Good story here that falls into what I think the YA genre is.

A few mistakes here and there, but cleaner than most.  Fairly tame and even "cute" most of the way, but then gets into the actual "horror" at the very end.  Would have liked some more horror, but in a way I think it works, cause we know what's about to go down, and the scalping is a rather cool way to end things.

Good effort here with good descriptions and a story that actually makes sense.  My favorite so far!



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mgj
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This had a nicely effective slow build.  The ending - very last scene anyway - sort of contradicts the tone you had established up until that point.  From strictly a marketability standpoint this could make it a tough sell since it's difficult to define what age-range this would be geared towards.  That aside, I think drawing on ancient myths is a good idea and you made good use of the wilderness setting.  I'm sure a cinematographer would have fun with this.  There are a number of scenes, in particular of the indians emerging from the mist in their canoes, that could be quite effective on screen.


"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein

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mgj  -  October 19th, 2008, 6:47pm
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MBCgirl
Posted: October 19th, 2008, 6:13pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from mgj
This had a nicely effective slow build.  



I agree with mgj's comment on this one....finally a story that is complete and makes sense.  I liked the ending, but I guess that's up to interpretation...individual taste.  I like that it doesn't give so much away.

There are a few minor mis spells, but over all the writing style was better than most.  I think it's a little like "Goonies" in nature...

Good job over all.

~m~




http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
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pwhitcroft
Posted: October 19th, 2008, 9:44pm Report to Moderator
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I like the concept and the setting and atmosphere are well drawn. Overall though this feels like the beginning of a longer story. As a result the set up in this is too long for a short of this length.

“A small island, sits inside a larger one, just below Mt. Erie.” – I don’t understand this description. I can’t think what this is supposed to look like.

“are identical twins. Ashton puts out his foot, tripping Ashley as she tries to sit down.” – How can identical twins be a boy and a girl?


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slabstaa
Posted: October 19th, 2008, 10:39pm Report to Moderator
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OK, formatting wise, this is fine.  

The constant use of "continuous" isn't really needed.  We know that everything is happening continuously already.

Now I forget what the word is, but you have incomplete sentences, or is it called fragmented (I know there's another word for it, but I forget at the moment)?  For example,

"Kevin and Ashton throw logs on the fire, scramble back into position."

"Ashley turns on her flashlight, shines it into Kevin's face."

To others, this might not be a big deal but I prefer putting the "and" in there just to make it look clean and not distracting.

Dialouge is fine, but it felt off for me at one point on page 9 when Ashton said "we have to devise a plan!"  Do 13 year olds talk like that?  I don't think I knew what devised meant when I was little.  Maybe "we have to come up with a plan... and quick!"

I'm thinking the spooky scene you have here is the Indians on their canoes appearing
through the mist.  I could picture that being filmed and being very creepy.  Maybe have one of the Indians slowly turn their head in the direction of the kids?  That would be a real shit-a-brick scene.

Perfect ending.  Seems a little too gooey with blood, but it's just enough to show us what the rest of the town has to go through since the twins' father was a skeptical moron. lol cops never believe anything in horror related stories until the shit hits the fan.

Good work here....only thing I was clueless about was "rhododendrons."  Sounds like a
prehistoric dinosaur to me.  I'm assuming it's something in the woods.
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walford
Posted: October 20th, 2008, 12:53am Report to Moderator
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More of an historical adventure rather than a horror type of story.
Old Indian stories tend to be just that, old Indian stories. It didn’t capture my imagination. I didn’t even care if Mr Higgins got the chop, in fact the twins should have got the chop, they were just too nice and clean. Maybe if Mr Soli had suffered some racism, or even the twins had at school. Where was the character insights that make them different make them interesting to the age group young adult. Seven or eight year olds might have liked this but anybody older would demand more.  Bit like the Famous Five, lots of brownies, but without the lashings of lemonade. Cheers Walford
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mythos
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I think you have developed well-drawn, engaging characters and successfully created a particular world.

I wonder if the climax and resolution is completely out of sync with the rest of the story? For most of the story we have a Norman Rockwell view of the world, charming and innocent, then very abruptly, it changes into blood-lust mode. Do you think it might work better if you either:
(a)     introduced some level of violence/horror incrementally, or
(b)     change the ending to finish off on a implied violent act rather than an overt one?

That’s my main observation: the ending seems to belong to a different story.

A few minor points as well:

•  Punctuation needs to be looked at: its/it’s; your/you’re.
•  You might want to break up descriptions that exceed three lines.
•  Ashton calls his dad to tell him about the sighting – wouldn’t Mr Soli say something
   about them not being in school? Or does this call happen after school hours?
•  “Grabbed old Mr Hollister coming out of the store” – we know nothing about what happens to him. Perhaps drop Mr Hollister?
• Spirit Man says to Higgins: “you have a black soul and are full of hate” – is there a way of showing us these traits in Mr Higgins well before this point to set up Higgins. Mumbling about trick ‘o’ treaters isn’t enough to make us sufficiently dislike him badly enough to want him killed.
• I’m not in the US, so please excuse my ignorance: Is it okay to refer to Native Americans as Indians, without upsetting people? In a similar vein, you might want to reconsider Ashton’s stereotypical “whaa.. whaa… whaa” or is this acceptable because of his Native American heritage?

Anyway, take on board only what works for you.

A well written piece!


The journey is the reward.

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mythos  -  October 21st, 2008, 5:38pm
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 21st, 2008, 8:27pm Report to Moderator
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I think you've got a good logline and for the most part, this story fit the challenge well.

Some notes I made: The use of the word "laugh"  or "giggle" came a little too often in the sense that it seemed to happen by default.

The premise is really good, but it needs a little bit more to sustain it and also to twist the cliche into a bit of a new form. Even still, this kind of story never grows old and I think kids will always enjoy this kind of thing. What kid doesn't dream about solving some kind of mystery and running around with walkie talkies? So this is good. There just needs to be some more suspense.

You should have used intercut for the conversation between Ashton and his father.

I liked the dialogue on page 11 where Ashley says she's the CB Queen and that she's eaten too much pizza and then Ashton calls her a goof. This felt real to me. Like two kids really talking.

The end dissapointed me. I think what was throughout- hitting the young adult genre well, finally came crashing down in one of those endings that happen because the writer needs to end it.

Sadly, the genre changed completely at the end: Mr. Higgins, snarky as he may be, gets scalped and that's the end of the ball game.

The kids' role in this now is uncertain. We can ask ourselves: What will they do? Will they be heroes and save the town somehow?

I think that this is a good first draft.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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babentman
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Nice work. I liked it better than many of the others- the ending was confusing to me but effective in any case. I look forward to seeing more from you.

Very good effort!


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The boy who could fly
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I thought this one was pretty k0ol.  The beginning reminded me of the fog when that old guy tells the story to the boy scouts around the campfire, also the Indians coming back for 13, kinda like the pirates who come back for 7.   I think this fit the theme and genre perfectly so high marks for that.  I liked the build up and I thought the ending was pretty cool as well, I like how it just ends.  Anyway this is a good entry for this challenge, it worked very well.


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The ending of this seems to happen just as the action really jumps up and takes off.  I was expecting more.  However, I really like this script.  You've got a good set of characters and an interesting idea.  The scalping was really cool.  Some of the Indian's dialoge doesn't sounded awkward for someone who died in the 1800s.  Espcially the "No, it's time for you to pay".  That phrase just didn't sound right to me coming out of an 1800s Indian man.    


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slap shot
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i liked the "out of the box" approach to the assignment...the use of "incomplete" sentences is, not only accepted, but expected in spec-script format...as long as they move the story forward...the story seemed to be weighted more towards the front end which took away from the conclusion, but was still a good read...my two biggest gripes would be the large blocks of action that might be better told through dialogue and the over-use of !!!!!!!!!!!!!...let the dialogue flow and the reader will know when you scene is at a fever pitch...thanks for a good read...keep going (!)

peace,
db

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slap shot  -  October 27th, 2008, 2:51pm
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Tommyp
Posted: October 29th, 2008, 2:27am Report to Moderator
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I liked this script. I would have liked to see more of a build up, more of a 'race' to try and save Mr whatshis name. Also, the end would have been cool to see other Indians attacking people.

Really great descriptive info, and it flows well.

The dialogue doesn't seem as natural as it could be. Some of the lines are a bit forced I think. I would chuck more words like, "man" or "cool" or "sweet".

Up to the last scene it sounds like a book by Enid Blyton. Well her style of dialogue and storytelling. Like the Famous Five, or the Secret Seven.

Overall it was a very good script, better than lots of the ones for this months challenge. It also followed the guidelines, which is always a plus


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sniper
Posted: October 29th, 2008, 8:42am Report to Moderator
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The opening scene - the tale by the campfire - reminded me a lot the opening scene from The Fog (Carpenter's version), also the Indians coming out of the fog in their canoes. Other than that I thought the script worked pretty well, sorta like a cross between The Fog and The Goonies. I didn't understand why there needed to be such a big time lapse between when the kids first see the Indians and til they get home. I read it as the went up there in the morning and in the next scene in Solis kitchen it's evening.

Unfortunately the story is over pretty much before it begins - like it's part of something bigger. Too bad, it was pretty good while it lasted.

Rob


Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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MBCgirl
Posted: November 1st, 2008, 7:26pm Report to Moderator
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I wanted to thank everyone who read and commented on my VERY FIRST EVER screenplay   Good time to learn during the OWC one week challenge! I thought I would respond to your reviews and offer you a bit of background on why it is the way it is. =)

First...I chose Mt Erie, Wasington for it's small town feel. It really is a very Norman Rockwell area.  Additionally, from the top of Mt Erie, it is one of the few places in the world that there is an island with a lake and a smaller island in the middle of it.  The panaramic view from up there is incredible. To see this beautiful view  - copy/paste the following into your browser:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mount_Erie_panorama.jpg


Walford - The northwest also has a very strong Native American or Indian heritage.  Lots of totem poles, etc.  For a story of this type...to use the word "indians" is exceptible.  Everyone I know growing up played cowboys and indians   I don't think this adolecent story needed any racism to make it work

Additionally, I suppose you could say it was a little too squeeky clean, but YA is from 12 to 18...I chose to work on the lower end of the age spectrum.  Everyone has their own individual taste, so I appreciate you sharing yours with me.

Pwhitcroft - I was incorrect in identifying the boy/girl twins as identical   Identical is same sex   oops!  I stand corrected.  Please read above about the island within an island

For Slabstaa   Fragmented sentences are fine and in fact usually make it easier to read.  I understand that everyone has their own preference, but I got my info from someone who has been writing for quite some time and so I went with their advice.  Either way is okay.

"We have to devise a plan."  My kids did talk like that... =)  Devise was a good word in our household. Ashton is the leader of this group...everyone seems to follow him and he is a little bit more mature than even Nelson is at 14.

I loved the idea of the indians turning to look up to where the kids are...that would be spooky!

Rhododendrons are a bush that has beautiful flowers...and they grow wild in the NW.   

Mythos -  the very fact that the ending is so opposite the rural, quiet, secluded and even a little, innocent setting, is why I made it that way.  No one would believe that 13 indians would return and take their revenge, but these kids did...Ashton, the ring leader said he believed, and wanted to go to the top of Mt Erie...but in reality he wanted to play a trick on the others using the elk caller.

I neglected to say how long it would take to get up to the top of the mountain.  It would take most of the morning and into the afternoon, but much easier to get down on bikes since it is all downhill Mr Soli also did not know where they were calling from and he didn't take them seriously anyway.

Hollister was actually written in to emply that the indians revenge was starting to happen around town.  I wanted to keep the horror...if you will - to the very last moment.

Sandra =  the object of this lesson was to write a YA genre story where there is a hoax and two kids know the truth.  The twins knew the truth and tried to tell their father the local police man, but even though he told the story every year...he didn't believe...maybe he lost it when he grew up...

Cazale -  The line about the indians stating that it was time for them to pay...was a twist on what Mr. Higgins had just said...surely I could have stated it in more of an indian fashion. Good point!

Tommyp -  I'm old...so I didn't think of adding words like "cool or sweet"...but I should have in order to make it more a part of today.  Good point!

Sniper - the time frame difference is due mostly to geographical elements.  They had to ride their bikes down the mountain, get home, eat dinner, put their costumes on and it's dark by 5:30 so trick-or-treators go out around 6:00 in Washington State.    

Plus...the spirit men come out at night...just like ghosts

Thank you again to everyone!  I certainly appreciate all your comments and glad that a number of you enjoyed it   

morgan


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: November 1st, 2008, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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I LOVE rhododendrums!!!!

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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MBCgirl
Posted: November 2nd, 2008, 11:37pm Report to Moderator
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Some things are better left to the imagination!

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I love them too!  Rhododendron's that is.  They have so many different colored flowers.  I used to have a doberman that used to like to catch the bumble bees trying to get their necter.   He would sit there hours snapping! lol

Be sure to copy paste in the url so you can see the view from the top of Mount Erie.

~m~


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: November 2nd, 2008, 11:59pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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I saw it and it's God's country-  the island with the lake in the middle and then another small island within that. A beautiful carving of earth and water.

Sandra




A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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MBCgirl
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 12:18am Report to Moderator
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Some things are better left to the imagination!

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Shaped like an eye   

Time for bed now...

Cheers!


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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mcornetto
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 2:10am Report to Moderator
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Hey, I didn’t get to read this during the OWC so I thought I would check it out now.  First off, I think this is damned impressive for a first screenplay.  Well done, you did a good job.  

Secondly, I was just skimming some of the comments and I noticed that you had mentioned that identical twins needed to be the same sex.  It might be more likely but I don’t think that necessarily always true.  Identical twins refers to how the twins were created.  Identical means the egg split after it was fertilized and fraternal means that two eggs were fertilized.  I’m no expert on the matter but I don’t think just because they come from the same egg means they have to be the same sex.  I thought sex was determined much later than conception. I could be completely wrong. Anyway…

I found a couple of things that I think are issues with the script.  The first is the chattiness.  There is too much talking going on.  Show us these things happening rather than telling us about them.  

The second was the ending.  I think this script ended where it should have started.  Forget about the OWC and the challenge for a moment and imagine your script starting with the first attack.  Your reader would be caught up in the mystery and the action and you would have them.  

Then unfold the story about the spirit men, about the way their father wouldn’t help while they race toward a goal of saving a town.  You said they had a plan. What was it?  I wanted to see them try.  You need to tell your story but you need to keep me breathless while you are telling it.  It isn’t easy but I think you have the ability to do it.

One other minor issue was the brother.  When you introduced him you told us he was the brother but you never showed us.  Avoid things that are not filmable – this has to translate to a visual medium – you have to show us.

Overall this was excellent for a first try.  I look forward to seeing the scripts you write as you improve.

Cheers,

Michael    
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slabstaa
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 2:25am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from MBCgirl

For Slabstaa   Fragmented sentences are fine and in fact usually make it easier to read.  I understand that everyone has their own preference, but I got my info from someone who has been writing for quite some time and so I went with their advice.  Either way is okay.  


Well obviously I am not a professional screenwriter

It's definitely not a no-no in writing scripts, so I won't condemn you.

It's all about preference.

Now write like the wind!  I want to see what else you can come up with.
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slap shot
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 11:15am Report to Moderator
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quoted from the "spec format guide"...Sentence fragments are not only acceptable, they are preferred...write in short, simple sentences.  avoid the use of "and".

remember that when you submit a script, the person reading it has a stack of other reads in front of him/her...the easier the read, the better chance they will give your work a full viewing...

peace,
db
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Dreamscale
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 11:20am Report to Moderator
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Agreed 100%!!!!!  Why use "and" and other words like it, when all it's doing is taking up space, and making for a more difficult read?  Short, sweet, and commas instead of "ands".

Fade to Scalp!!!!!!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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MBCgirl
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 11:34am Report to Moderator
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Some things are better left to the imagination!

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Thank you Cornetto for the review.  Obviously I need it!   I understand that I am (and probably will be) a bit chatty.   I am chatty in real life *wink

I think you gave me some really good insight to the story...it takes a bit to get your mind wrapped around the concepts, etc.  That is part of the reason I jumped in on the Killer Game.  I realize it's not perfect format, but it will help me to grow in understanding the concept of showing...not telling.

I will do a rewrite of this and I may need to pick your brain a bit as I go. Hope you won't mind.  

I already am putting together an outline for a comedy about internet dating. I used to write a lot of articles on the topic of dating and interviewed many a person...so I think there are many funny, if not dark humored elements to this form of meeting people.    

Thank you again for your insight. I certainly do appreciate it.
~m~  


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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MBCgirl
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 11:44am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from slabstaa


Well obviously I am not a professional screenwriter

It's definitely not a no-no in writing scripts, so I won't condemn you.

It's all about preference.

Now write like the wind!  I want to see what else you can come up with.



As I mention to Cornetto.  I'm working on a new one...that should be around 100-110 pages. Comedy genre that I think is still viable to viewers.  Does love win in the end...we'll have to wait and see.

Thank you for your review.  I understand what you are saying, but the beauty of a screenplay is it does not have to be gramatically correct in every detail.  Spelling is a big issue for me with a lot of scripts I read...and my own included...I really try to catch them...but sometimes you miss one or two after you read it so many times through.   

One thing for sure...I will keep working on it!  



~m~


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
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MBCgirl
Posted: November 3rd, 2008, 11:47am Report to Moderator
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Thank you Slap Shot

I saw that post when you originally made it...and I was happy you did...sometimes we can second guess ourselves...

I admit I am still learning so I tend to make a lot of other mistakes...but I will keep this in my writing "key" selection if you will

Thank you again!


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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MBCgirl
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Agreed 100%!!!!!  Why use "and" and other words like it, when all it's doing is taking up space, and making for a more difficult read?  Short, sweet, and commas instead of "ands".



I agree too...now that I have the concept down.  I don't use it in everything/ever instance...but it has become more the rule for me than not.

Thank you for the insight!

~m~



http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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Quoted from slabstaa


Now write like the wind!  I want to see what else you can come up with.


Hey!  If you want to see more of my writing, check out the SS Craven Killer Game Thread.  

I have written 2 pieces to that puzzle so far...it's an interesting tale to say the least...it's also a great vehicle for learning.  You might enjoy how it is going together since it is a collaborative effort.  

~m~


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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Interesting review Pia...I felt like I got whipped with a wet noodle   

Thanks for the insights and I'll do better the next time...quaranteed!


http://www.myspace.com/mbcgirl  

I love words and the fact that when the page is blank...there's nothing there until words are formulated in my brain. Those thoughts...rushing through my viens and out my finger tips, find "life" on the page.  

When people and places come to life...that to me is exciting.


MBCgirl =)
My finger nails should look nice while I type - Red works!
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Zombie Sean
Posted: November 15th, 2008, 1:08pm Report to Moderator
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Morgan,


This was a very well-written script but I have some things to point out. If Mr. Soli tells the story every year, why are Ashley and Ashton so surprise about what the story is as if it's the first time they've heard it? There are some unnecessary bits and pieces, such as Ashton needing to put in more logs in the fire, or some lines that don't really  move the story but just try and get a laugh, and even the elk call. That wasn't necessary at all. You need to stick with one name for Mr. Soli. When we're first introduced to him, we know him as Mr. Soli. But then he becomes Office Soli. Alex came out of nowhere and is only in for, like, half a page. Is he really necessary? The ending was very abrupt, too. So they never found a way to stop it? And they didn't even try to do anything to stop it? They  just watched in horror? This really reminded me of John Carpenter's The Fog.

Sean


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"...there is an island with a lake and a smaller island in the middle of it. "

Campbell lake. Flat bottom V8 boats, water skiing, and beer.
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