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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    April, 2019 One Week Challenge  ›  Gondolier - OWC Moderators: Zack
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  Author    Gondolier - OWC  (currently 577 views)
Posted: April 19th, 2019, 9:03pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Gondolier by Gilbert Sullivan - Short, Horror - A power engineer must fight for his life to get the job done. 10 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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Posted: April 20th, 2019, 1:42pm Report to Moderator

Tucson, AZ
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Nice work, writer. Great action and suspense. Not too gory and an excellent vehicle and setting. Maybe I missed it but did they eat the farmer? Are they zombies or cannibalistic? Doesn't really matter, it's a short and doesn't need too much explanation.

Good job!
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Posted: April 20th, 2019, 1:55pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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I felt bad that this 1 entry had ZERO reads yet, so here we go...

As I always say, your Slugs set your scenes, so there is no reason to repeat the Slug in the opening line of the passage that follows the Slug.

You should give us a visual of this pylon - how big is it, how tall, etc. Without, no way to visualize the scene.

On Page 3, we're still on the "Third Platform", yet you have alot of description of this zombie horde attacking a farmer in a field.

Lots of little mistakes showing up all over the place...typos, missing punctuation, missing words.  I'm not going to spend the time to point them out.

Page 7 - 80 feet up - now you tell us?  Way too late...we need to know exactly where this action is taking place, as most peeps will have no visual idea what this entire scene looks like.

Page 9 - "smashing to the floor" - what floor?  The ground.

Well, not really any actual story here, just a scene from a zombie movie.  Why are there zombies?  Who knows.  Very little character here, but it's rough with only 1 character in a life or death struggle.

For me, this does not fit the challenge, although I'm sure you'll say this plastic gondola thing is a vehicle, but it doesn't work for me.

It's just too long and tedious and there's really no reason to root for Travis, as we know absolutely nothing about him.

At just over 10 pages, this feels like 15 or more.  Needs to be streamlined and as noted above, as is, no way in the world to visualize where this is taking place.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: April 21st, 2019, 4:31am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Down Under
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Ok into the reading! Picked this one randomly.

I liked this!  At first it was not doing it for me but as Travis got higher and the creatures kept coming after them it had some nice suspense for the challenge. The gondola (I thought it was going to be a cable car for some reason lol) was a unique choice of vehicle I give you that.

Wasnít a fan of the ending - you had two pages left to make it resolve but it sorta fizzled out. I guess the writer was nearing the deadline perhaps and wanted to wrap it. Anyway I thought it was a cool little short

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Posted: April 21st, 2019, 5:47pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Orlando, FL
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This is almost all visuals with hardly any dialogue and a lot of amped up and crazy action.  

There were a few parts where I got lost with which zombie was trampling over who and the 'human bridge' thing was a bit hard to visualize at first.  I had to go back and re read that passage a couple times to make sure I was seeing it correctly in my head.    

Overall, your descriptions painted a pretty clear picture and was able to put myself in Travis's position.    Which would suck!    

I thought Travis watching the Farmer bite it from the third platform was intense.   You just know that he's their next meal.  

I noticed one of the reviewers got confused as to where this action was taking place.  

On the third platform ?  On the farmland below?  

Perhaps if you stayed on the third platform and added TRAVIS POV:  

This worked and I don't think the gondola was a copout.  Interesting.  But more of an opening sequence for a feature film.   It was intense.      
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Posted: April 22nd, 2019, 12:41am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Vancouver, BC
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Great action here. It was tense, it flowed well, it was visual and it was clear. Well done.

The story works, but I think you fell into your own trap with the ending. You created unstoppable zombies. The kind that kill everyone in a day. There's no saving Travis, so you left him hanging, literally. I liked it right up until then, up until it felt like you didn't know how to end it.

There are some problem areas. I agree with Jeff, a description of the pylon would have helped right off the bat. It became clear it was a big structure when you made a big deal out of the climb.

So, eighty feet up, and he says something and the horde hears him? Over their own hisses and tearing into the farmer? That seems unlikely.

Where you stretched my belief beyond the breaking point was him jumping out of the gondola and throwing the carabiner clip and it hooks onto the cable. Come on. You could have had him jump and clip it before falling, it didn't need to suddenly turn into an anime.

I don't know how he completed the patch job without electrocuting himself, especially since he made a big deal of it at the beginning. Maybe that's how it should have ended, with him killing himself and taking a whole lot of them with him. But getting away with that unscathed? I don't see it.

Still a good entry, and yes, a gondola is a vehicle. Congrats on getting it done.

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Posted: April 22nd, 2019, 3:22pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Pretty good effort. Nice original take for a moving vehicle. Great original location.

Some tweaks could help. One thing might be to dial up the humor a little. The humor is here, so just a matter of enhancing. That could be used to break up the intense action description and hold our attention.

Screenplays are a tricky thing. In the film version of this there will never be a dull moment once the zombies arrive. As we see the zombies are intelligent, work together like a hive, and are supernaturally fast, we'll feel the danger.

Yet it's a challenge to present this in screenplay format in a way that makes it more readable. It has me really thinking what could help because I sympathize with the problem.

I don't write screenplays anymore, I do prose. So the question becomes how might I make this more interesting to the reader in prose? Of course the answer is that we are in the head of the protagonist in prose, and his thoughts, if they are interesting enough, will carry us along through the danger.

But you can't do that here, so what might help?

One thing is to bend what people for some reason keep insisting are screenwriting rules. I'm not going to make any specific suggestions, but any trick to grab a reader's attention is worth considering.

Another possible technique is to do a little more of what you are already doing here in adding some humor. This would give you the chance to break up the action with some dialog.

It's worth comparing this quality work with another OWC script, the Stowaway. That writer made an interesting choice: he made his character loathsome. Jeff astutely points out that there is no reason to care what happens to this character. You could make the character stand out more in way which would allow more humor. One approach would be to make him more loathsome, but it's not the only approach. Some possible examples: maybe he's afraid of heights. Maybe he's cowardly overall. Maybe he has anger issues. Maybe he's an anal retentive rule stickler. There are already signs of that, you could dial that up.

You could also add to the stakes. What if the reason this worker climbed the utility pole was because there was a cat stranded up top. You wouldn't need the kind of pointless dialog at the beginning. Instead you'de be jumping right into a problem, saving the cat(sorry, not meant as a writer-geek joke). Then when the zombies attack, we care more about the guy(he likes animals) and he now has the goal of saving himself and the cat.

Good work. Good story to consider the challenge of making scripts more readable even when they are competantly written.
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Posted: April 22nd, 2019, 6:56pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Sydney, Australia
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Hi writer,

Quoted Text
Travis steps onto the metal beam, shimmies around the
upright steel girder and starts up the second set of metal
This time he takes the safety line from his belt and uses
the nylon carabiner clip to secure himself to the girder
edge before ascending.

The action isn't very clear to me, I'm not sure exactly what I'm meant to be seeing.

More zombies. And their movement is ripped straight out of World War Z.

Just realised we seem to have a lot of zombies, they are even called the horde, but it was just one single decker bus wasnít it? How many could their possibly be?

Quoted Text
Travis doesn't know.

An audience wonít know what Travis doesnít know, or what he knows for that matter.

Quoted Text
Is a swarm of crazies

Now we have another swarm? Where did everyone come from?

This feels incomplete, and more like a scene in a zombie feature.

Again we have no idea why any of this is happening.

The suspense was relatively well handled, and the choice of vehicle was unique, but to me this is just another forgettable zombie story. Sorry it's just so over-cooked at this point.

All the best.

To View All My Scripts Please Use The Link Below

My Website

Private Message Reply: 7 - 22
Posted: April 22nd, 2019, 7:14pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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So that's what they call them things!

Different choice of vehicle for sure.

Definitely reads like a scene from World War Z as Warren said, or I guess any of the various zombie based films/shows popular at the mo (i've stopped watching them!)

Suspense is there though and I think this is a Brit writer with the enigmatic 'leave em hanging' ending - literally in this case.

There's some confusing sections that could do with an edit but reasonable effort.

Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays -
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Posted: April 23rd, 2019, 9:16am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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You get weird coincidences in every OWC. This is the second script in a row Iíve read with zombies. What are the chances of that? Like the other zombie script (First Responders) it is well written and slick. This is more original than FR though with the gondola angle providing a unique scenario. It was tense, exciting and ticked all the OWC criteria in my opinion.

The ending was a bit of a let-down. Like FR it didnít end and went no-where Ė more of a setup for a longer story perhaps? Thereís also no explanation where these hundreds of World War Z style zombies have come from suddenly and why?  

A good effort though and an enjoyable read.

For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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James McClung
Posted: April 23rd, 2019, 10:31pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Washington, D.C.
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This is a solid, dare I say bold entry. Your choice of vehicle is unique and far from obvious, certainly way down the list of choices I could've come up with. The broader setting, i.e. the pylon, is fraught with peril and accentuated by the presence of "them" (I would've liked to have seen the electricity exploited more). The action is varied, inventive, and unpredictable, i.e. suspenseful. You might catch some flack for the lack of character/plot, but it works from a conflict point of view, no doubt.

Some minor but noteworthy gripes. The action is especially complex and often difficult to read or visualize (I think I more or less made it through, but not all of the passages were successful). I appreciate your keeping dialogue to a minimum (good exercise in visual storytelling), but it results in a slow, dense read. Travis's asides help break up the action, but at the same time I'm not crazy about characters talking to themselves (in this case, I'd probably concede they did more good than bad).  I wish you'd provided a little more clarity of where/how the pylon was situated before Travis started climbing it. Using PYLON as a slug struck me as unusual/unnecessary at first but made more sense as the platforms are introduced (I might've gone with PYLON BASE or something to that effect though).

Funny thing, I had to look up the word "pylon" along with a few others. Not a problem, but there is/was a debate over in the "Does a script require clear motivations" thread between Jeff and Warren about whether or not the onus is on the writer to provide clarity on such things. Seems I came to my own conclusions in real time. No skin of my nose hitting that Google.

Much to like about this one. Very dynamic, thoughtful, and ambitious for a OWC entry. Good work.

Private Message Reply: 10 - 22
Posted: April 24th, 2019, 8:15am Report to Moderator

Not in Britain
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This was well written. I didn't care for the ? asides in the descriptions. Dead? Is he or isn't he?

I had to google what a power line gondola was. Is it REALLY a vehicle? The setting is original I'll give you that, but I wonder if it would've made things easier to understand if you set it at winter resort, or some tourist attraction. One of those sky tram things.

Anyway, writing was good. Some of the action was confusing in parts and didn't give me the correct visuals so I had to go back and re-read some of it.

Was more like a scene from a zombie movie but kinda checks all the boxes of the OWC I guess.

Good setting. Good writing. A solid effort.

Producer/Director of The Dollmaker by Matias Caruso
Producer/Director of So Dark (the series) by James Williams
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: April 24th, 2019, 8:54am Report to Moderator

Shakespeare's county
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Hello writer

I'm not a fan of capitals in dialogue - I think because the name is capped, if the dialogue is as well it looks messy. We get from the context that he is shouting.

preternaturally - no there's a word - I would go with unnaturally personally, but maybe I would just be dumbing things down.

Oh hell no! fast, intelligent Zombies? I hate those! - They scare the shit out of me! - whatever happened to the slow dumb kind that I could easily outrun? OK, so if I was watching this, it would fill me with horror. Good job.

Alright - I've finished it - bloody terrifying. Out of the ones I have read, this is probably the one that would scare me the most.

Writing is great, the story is too - no unique spin on it, but you do it well.

I prefer the ending to this one than the other zombie entry - All this fighting for his life, and the final image of him dangling, nowhere to go - I like it.

A unique take on the vehicle as well, imaginative - This one is among the top in my list

Well done for completing the challenge


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Posted: April 24th, 2019, 11:24am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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I enjoyed this for the most part, it just got a little trying toward the end and I skipped the last couple of pages to get to the punchline. It's kinda blah, blah action to read but would translate better on screen most likely. Well written. Couple of typos that don't hurt the script.

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Posted: April 24th, 2019, 11:40am Report to Moderator

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I'm not a big fan of zombie stuff, I'll say that right off the top. Very rarely do we get anything new.

Here, the choice of location/vehicle helps. Very inventive.

Outside of the challenge, though, this really is just a scene from a zombie movie. A really good one...

Unfortunately, you did such a good job of boxing your hero in, I absolutely knew he was a goner very early. How could he not be? We know it's a large outbreak by the loss of contact with his co-worker. So, I kept thinking, even if he survives this moment, he's dead anyway. So, I guess I needed a sense that somehow, someway, this was survivable.

You did a good job overall. I was very unengaged through the first few pages (I told you, I just don't like zombies.) Yet, as the short went on, I was leaning in. That's a good job by you.

To wrap: high marks from me against very long odds. The setting and resulting action saved the day.

60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature
The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature

Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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