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Bus of Doom by Philip Whitcroft - Short, Young Adult, Horror - Two high school students attempt to make money with a "Fright Car" on Halloween. They are upstaged by a greedy Demon Trader with a far more sinister "Bus of Doom". - pdf, format
This screenplay I had a few problems with. What I DID LIKE....I liked the boys creative idea to make a little money by decking out their van for halloween...but I don't think 17 year olds say a lot of "err's" etc. There was too much of that for me.
There was no true hoax and I think the reality of living through what they were supposed to have lived through...Josh would not want anything to do with a bus full of blood, especially since the girl he liked had her head severed off in there...
I know it can be anything it wants to be...but thi was too far out there for me....the bus portion, developed in a more serious fashion could be something, but the unrealistic parts would have to be removed.
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!
Terrific premise! You have an imaginative story told in an entertaining manner. I like your tongue-in-cheek approach to the selected genre – some excellent comedic moments amongst the horror. Great line: No, seriously, for real, they are making people into toiletries for the dead!
A few suggestions you might want to consider:
• An alternative to spelling out Daniel’s word whiskers is to create individual character descriptions with traits for each of the protagonists that will allow the actor to interpret and deliver Daniel’s dialogue appropriately. Alternatively, drop the word whiskers after the first few and trust the reader to infer them.
• I understand why you have Fay doing the bra adjustment thing, but you can probably abbreviate the introduction of this device and we’ll still get it.
• The three survivors don’t seem to have much reaction to seeing their friend Lynn chopped up. You might want to think about either creating greater emotional response or allow Lynn to escape, perhaps injured.
• Some of your descriptions can be abbreviated to create a quicker read. You’ve successfully painted the picture so you can be a bit more economical with your words – don’t worry, the reader will get it.
• Watch the use of words “but” and “and” – they have a very limited role in a screenplay.
• Similarly, take care with “ing” variations with words. For example: The floor is stopping moving and the seats are settling back into position, can easily convert to: The floor stops moving, the seats settle back into position.
• Take care re: screenplay protocols – individual descriptions for each character, especially principals; brackets not required for character descriptions.
I think you have written a very entertaining piece that will benefit by finessing the descriptions to make it a quicker read.
I thought it wasn't bad. I liked (well not exactly liked but wasn't totally irritated by) the characters. I thought the story was quite creative, original, and ghoulish. This basically needs some clean-up of the writing and the action. It gets a bit muddy around the graveyard and then it doesn't recover until after they get out of the bus. Clean it up and I'll read it again. Well done.
Your story was alright, not bad. Interesting and creative. It is wacky to a point. Not totally wacky, a few laughs. Not enough redeeming qualities. There was a few errors here & there. I did get a little confused in the Demon Bus. It sounded like mechanical chairs were moving about with a floor that worked like a treadmill.
This story gives new meaning to the phrase "underground economy"! Killing people to service the needs of dead people is a wild idea. When the four kids enter the bus, it's a disappointment to the them--and the reader. It's Halloween, so why not divide the bus into small rooms that house displays like a wax museum? Only the headman's blade, the guillotine and electric chair, really work. (Okay, these examples are probably lame, but you get the idea.)
And since you've sketched out the boys to be kind of dorkish, why would a pair of hotties like Lynn and Fay waste any time on them. Either I've totally misread the boys' characters and they're not dorks, or else the girls need a good reason to want to spend one of the funnest nights of the year with them.
At the end, when Josh gets the idea of making big dough with the bus next year, why wait? Maybe he knows where all the cool guys and snooty girls who've hassled them for years are hanging out tonight...
Overall, the idea of the bus (both the boys tricking out a van to make money and the demon trader's bus that caters to corpses) were very original. They were well described and I had a pretty clear picture of all of the action.
The problem though for me was the characters. As most have mentioned, the "ums" and "ers" were rather irritating and interrupted the flow of the story. All of the characters seemed a little one-dimensional and the dialogue was pretty unbelievable for a bunch of 17 year olds. I'd consider going back and developing the characters a little more.
Also, I'm not sure how you feel about it but I'll second Spqr's suggestion for the ending and Josh's revenge. I think it'd make for a clever, twisted ending.
Overall, I really liked the visual descriptions and the bus idea, but the characters & dialogue didn't work for me. Sorry.
EDIT: Forgot to mention that I would've liked to know what the Demon Trader looked like. I think someone with such a cool name & occupation deserves a better description, one that your action scenes prove you're capable of giving.
Thanks for all the comments. When I started writing this I had no idea what I was going to do after I set up the Fright Car and the Bus arrived. That’s why each new sequence launches into its own wacky area!
On some of the specific points: Yeah the interior of the Bus could be anything. When they stepped on I had no idea what they’d find! The erm’s and err’s kick in when they are talking to crowds or girls. I’m not sure they are as bad as some of the comments suggest. When I was 17 every other word I said was an erm or an err! “It sounded like mechanical chairs were moving about with a floor that worked like a treadmill.” – That sums it up well.
Something I only noticed after I entered this is that I must have been affected by the economy and all the talk of greedy traders!
What annoyed me most was the "errs" in the dialogue. The only time it was actually funny was when he said "I err reckon," which sounds a lot like "erection" if that was the effect you were going for. But I'm sorry to say, this didn't work out for me. I didn't find much of it funny, and I started to get bored with it. The dialogue didn't really seem believable and I had no idea what was going on.