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Trebizond by Mac Dirkunturns - Short, Horror - A CEO on vacation with his family takes a trip in his RV to a ghost mining town in the Mojave Desert only to disturb the guardian spirit of the town and suffer the consequences. 12 pages - pdf format
Interesting idea, but it was too long and not very scary. Seemed more like a comedy with horror elements played straight. The bat attack on the RV was a cool way to hit the contest requirement. What was the purpose of Alexios? Is he a protector or a psychopath?
"I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Max'."
It took a long time to get going and when it did, it just fizzled to an unsatisfying ending. It really wasn't my bag. I kept thinking, hoping, that it was all going to come together into some epic finale, but all we got were bats and no hint or explanation of the cave dweller.
Before I even begin reading, let me throw something out here. I can tell just by glancing that this is going to most likely be bloated and overwritten. You have one 5 line passage, four 4 line passages, the 1st, ending in an orphan, one 3 line passage, and your opening page is just "very dense".
Let's see if I'm right...
You wait until the 3rd passage to tell us there's also an ATV on a carrier...we'd see this pretty much as soon as we saw the RV...which is where you need to make this known...if it matters.
You could have EASILY saved 2 lines in your 1st 3 passages, as the orphan and double orphan (4rd passage, ending in 2 words), are very easily done away with.
Yeah, as I "knew" each of your passages is overwritten and you could/should easily shave off a line on each, if not 2.
Page 2 - orphans, orphans, just wasting lines, bro, with completely unnecessary words and wording.
Page 3 - man, oh man...dull and bloated. Cold be another Hills Have Eyes, and I bet if I watched it now, I'd cringe at the dialogue, just as I am here.
NOTE - Don't go over 4 lines in a passage. Seriously, no matter what anyone tells you, just don't do it...and if you do, reread the passage..again and again, and whittle it down to 4 lines.
You know what? I'm out, bro. Top of Page 4. You've wasted well over half a page with nothing. No character to any character. No story whatsoever. You wasted so much space on trying to show the Mojave. I appreciate the attempt at the visuals, but you cna't waste 3 pages doing that, while bringing nothing else to the table.
"A CEO on vacation" - oh, man...talk about unfilmables...
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Okay, I think it took too long to get your story started. Way way way too descriptive. I thought the Mojave Desert was a character. No doubt we as writers should be focused on being visual, but I don't think we should second guess the reader. Try to find a happy medium between overwriting and being a bit more sparse.
Gotta admit, I'm not completely sure I get Alexios' angle in all this? For me, the ending was just "Meh." I wanted more. Didn't get it. I didn't exactly love this, neither did I hate it. I guess the best word is indifference. Good effort though.
A-CAROLING FOR CHRISTMAS
GHOSTS OF APPALOOSA
RISE OF THE AMAZONS
THE SLEEPING TIGER
THE TIME GUARDIAN
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
The opening is too descriptive. If a page is a minute on screen, look at your first page. It's 12 seconds at best. By page two, we're up to 30. You can cut that first page down by half and it does the same job.
Once we get to the town, things improve a bit, and then we're suddenly far into supernatural territory. Okay, it's The Mummy, except Alexios is really bad at his job.
Great job with the bats. It's visual, the tension is high, it's devastating. And all that tension evaporates when it seems the bats turn into marshmallows once inside. How can the bats do that to the RV and pour inside only to become little more than a nuisance to the people? Nobody's even hurt by them.
Dead man's hand, Dead Man's Pass...and nobody died. The RV was the only casualty, aside from all those bats. Weird choice, especially for a horror.
You let the characters off easy. Kill them all, or let Jeff or Anna escape in the ATV. As it is, this has no teeth.
Not a very effective character description because there is no way to convey it on screen.
You go into great detail telling us exactly what everyone is wearing, is it important to the story?
ALEXIOS, ageless, but ancient,
Again, I'm not sure how we would know this? So he looks young or at least good for his unknown age? But how can you possibly convey the ancient part?
His face is wrinkled and parched. He wears a grey beard. His eyes are pale and clear.
Next line tells us he essentially looks old, so I'm not sure what you’re really going for.
Alexios summons more of his power. 8. ALEXIOS Huuuhh! Huuuuhh! Huhduhmuhduhbuh .... Huhmuhduhmuhduh ...
Who the hell is Alexios? And what is his power?
A HUGE SWARM of bats flies out. Millions and millions of bats in a seemingly endless stream rise up in the night sky in this FLYING CLOUD, wings FLAPPING, voices SCREECHING.
I literally watched The Silence last night.
deranged destruction for their mission
Another script where stuff just happens... because. I'm sorry, an argument has been put forward that I should just sit back, relax, and enjoy it for what it is, but how could I possibly do that? I have absolutely no idea why any of it happened.
I'll say it again, I believe that a good story has purpose, everyone has defined goals and reasons for pursuing those goals, whether it be the protagonists or antagonists. We need something to get behind.
I'm not a fan of the writing here. Too over written for my liking: "CEO on vaction" - cannot be filmed "Wears days-old stubble" - what else do you do with stubble other than wear it? "He drives at the helm" - i would be impressed if he could drive from anywhere else other than the driving seat. "Jeans" - everyone is wearing jeans, who cares - why tell us if it is not important.
Is there a salon in the RV? never been in an RV so I am possibly misinterprating what salon means.
Not a fan of the dialogue - doesn't seem natural but more importantly, a lot doesn't seem necessary - normal mundane conversation that doesn't add anything. I can already see this short could be a lot shorter.
The windows have shattered in the RV but they haven't instantly been swarmed by the bats? they are still getting dressed - would the bats not rush in? I also can;t imagine that a shotgun blast to swarming bats would create a hole long enough for them to run through, the hole would be filled instantly with flying bats.
Not much of an ending, the phrase "Long walk for a small drink of water" comes to mind - too much build up and not enough pay off. Who is Alexios? why is he attacking them? why bats?
This needs some serious reworking - it could be half as long and not lose anything.
I'm not sure what scene was meant to have prolonged suspense - also didn't seem that scary - You wanna see scary when it comes to animals you just have to watch Alfred Hitchcocks 'The Birds'
I'm finding your descriptions a little trying and nonsensical at times. Like the t-shirt logo in full view. Is this a camera direction? Like a close-up of the logo? Does it matter that it's in full view? Likely not. He drives at the helm of his dream RV. How do we know it's his dream RV? He then accelerates and brakes... really?
Mona 40s.... you call her foxy, then go on to describe her as such. Why waste this space?
4 pages and they've only just got into the town.
I Googled to see if 'down water tank' is a thing. It isn't.
I actually laughed out loud.... and then I had to explain why I was laughing to my gf. She didn't laugh, just smiled in mild disappointment. Not quite sure what - or who - at.
It crashes over
rocks and old mining equipment.
Why pick 'crashes'? It reads as if the RV has crashed.
Also what's with the crazy driving? Donuts in an RV? How fast would they be? Would it really be hang onto your seat stuff? Doesn't treat it like it's his dream RV.
So, Jeff is the rock climber yet Neil is the one telling him about climbing safety?
I was about to say this is too Scooby-Doo for me but then I realised there's even an RV in this. All that's missing is Scooby. Not one for me.
With Neil's fashion sense and his psychedelic dream RV paint job, I bet Anna and Jeff, both in their 20's, wouldn't be seen dead in this RV.
This is very overwritten in parts. Just a lot of unnecessary, clunky descriptions like:
EXT. RV The RV rolls up the road. Sunlight beams off the bright paint.
EXT. DESERT MOUNTAIN From a peak not far from the road, the flash of the RVï¿½s paint in the sunlight reveals it is the only vehicle on the switchbacks.
Neil's totally reckless and out of control on that ATV. His family are more likely to be frightened for their lives not squealing with excitement. This family is like the Griswolds on vacation as they go around smashing up ancient buildings and churning up sacred land.
Alexios just stepped out of a South Park episode. Maybe this should be better suited as a comedy?
Anyway I'm half way through and not much has happened, apart from the history lesson. Lots of dialogue and exposition.
This script should really be 6 pages long. Sorry to say not for me.
Descriptions need some work. You don't have to give every detail of a surrounding area for a reader to conjure the image. Their minds will fill in a lot things. Needs to be visual, but also efficient. Just takes time and practice to start sensing when enough is enough. Keep at it.
This idea of family traveling to ancient ruins and very bad things happening can work. Vaguely reminds me of The Hills Have Eyes.
It's hard to make it work as a short cuz this crazy stuff starts coming out of nowhere. I think you could save time by just having them roll up to the site in the first scene. Would give you more time to establish the Alexios guy. Right now his reveal is jarring.
It wasn’t clear to me whether Anne and Jeff were boyfriend/girlfriend or brother/sister.
Overall, I feel your description work is very strong, but your dialogue is weak.
Trebizond is the name of this, but I don’t know what’s so special about it.
Jeff says, “Are we allowed to go into the mine?” He’s in his 20s and he’s talking like that?
Maybe, “It would be cool to explore in there. You think it’s safe?”
>He puts his hand on his hips and swaggers a couple of steps.
For some reason I had this vision of him about to perform a dance move.
It feels like Alexios is shown, we discover he’s the cause of the bats, but we never learn why.
They have their little spree in the ATV, are forced back to the RV because of the dust storm and that's pretty well it for story.
We need to know more. Why they chose this place for a vacation. Especially since this family is supposed to be well off. What was their intent? It's certainly not scenic etc... It just doesn't ring true.
As I said though, some of the descriptive work is very well done.
Only 13 comments on this script? Ok, let's see if I can figure out why.
Page 1. A lot of descriptions that slow down the read. Not sure you need to tell exact colors and such. Although I can see it better. Perhaps try to find a happy medium? Clear pictures with fewer words?
A little odd family. Dad 60s, mom 40s and kids 20s. Is there a reason for those ages?
Neil talk to the others like they are kids. "Put on sturdier shoes. Mona, that goes for you too." They are all adults...
Anna sounds like a little kid though.
I'm getting a The Birds vibe here.
Okay, finished. I thought this was decent and followed the challenge parameters.
My only issue with this was the way too much descriptions and the family itself. The family not feeling right at all. Kids in their 20s who sound and are treated like 12 year olds. A mother, I assume, who doesn't interact with the kids at all. She felt like some old sexpot that Neil has found later in life.
I think if you fix the characters to a more believable group of people, maybe just friends even, and then streamline your writing so it's leaner and flows better, I think this could be quite good.