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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    April, 2019 One Week Challenge  ›  Scripts of the April 2019 OWC Moderators: Zack
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  Author    Scripts of the April 2019 OWC  (currently 9418 views)
Dreamscale
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 9:12am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Quoted from Warren


H.P. Lovecraft's work was used in this OWC and I didn't get it. So while he might have been great in his time and maybe still is now, I'm still going to want a story with meaning.


Enlighten yourself, Warren. Read a book.  You can do it!


Quoted from Warren
So you aren't telling us just to accept a plot, but what are you telling us? I think the really subjective part of all of this is who decides how much explanation is enough. I want understanding, you're happy to go with it because to you think that's what horror is, it's completely personal.


I'll decide how much explanation is enough, Warren.  Next time you're not sure if there is enough explanation in a script, just ask me, and I'll let you know.


Quoted from Warren
I don't think the explanation ever needs to take away from the horror, I don't quite understand the link you're drawing there? Care to elaborate?


I'm not surprised you don't understand, Warren.  That's pretty much par for the course.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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eldave1
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 11:15am Report to Moderator
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The original discussion was two-tiered and not whether we needed to understand the background on monsters. To over-simplify, for a good story/script:

1. Should the characters have clear goals and motivations and thing happening for a reason.

2. When writers create a certain world, should the readers have an understanding of that world and the related monsters, etc.

My opinion.

For # 1, regardless of genre, for me the answer is yes. That being said, you don't have to hit someone over the head with it. In Stowaway, we know our protag is a run of the mill gruff driver delivering avocados. In Libertine, our protag is delivering slaves. Good enough for understanding the character motivations.

The one area I thought Stowaway could have done better in terms of issue # 1 was the opening phone dialogue from Red. It needed more explanation - Red is angry at a guy for some reason, wants an apology from him, and ain't delivering shit  until he gets it. Throughout the story I kept thinking what promise was broken, who was that dude Red was talking to - that background was never provided and thus made the story a tad less rewarding for me.

Back to the point - sometimes character motivations and goals are easily implied.  We know why someone is captaining a slave ship. Why someone is driving a delivery truck.

Conversely, if those characters are in worlds that are not commonly understood then I think the writer needs to do more in terms of their goals and motivations.

For # 2

There are some monsters that are rooted in common knowledge and additional detail is not required. Conversely, some or not and detail is required.

If you are writing a vampire script - much of the groundwork is already laid out for you. But imagine that you are writing the first vampire script ever. If you have your vampire running home in a panic to get there before sunrise - you're going to need to explain to the reader why.


I would also add this. To me it is always better to satisfy 1 and 2.  IMO, Horrors tend to meet these goals more than any other genre and it is one of the reasons I personally don't enjoy them.

- People doing ever day normal stuff.
- A horrific monster comes out of nowhere and kills them.

Ugh.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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eldave1
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 11:22am Report to Moderator
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Oh - PS

I've never read a "Lovecraft" script - at least that I know of. If there is a requirement that one must understand Lovecraft n order to understand an OWC Lovecraft based script - well, that script isn't probably going to score well with me because by definition I will not understand it.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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ReneC
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 11:49am Report to Moderator
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Horror is being uncomfortable. It could be tension, it could be gore, it could be our fears realized on screen. Usually all of the above.

The one thing that horror must have is a sense of hope. Hope that survival is possible, hope that the protagonist has a chance to win, hope that the creature can be defeated. Even if that hope is ultimately crushed, it has to be there or we won't invest ourselves in the characters.

When it comes to creature horror, if we don't know the rules or it seems like the creature can do anything, we don't know what to hope for. Most creature horrors hold off on the creature's full potential until the climax, doling out glimpses and fragments of its abilities to thwart early attempts to beat it or escape it. If the creature is fully established early, the rules are also established early and the story becomes learning how to overcome something seemingly impossible to beat.

What irks horror fans most is when the rules are established and then broken. It's one thing to withhold a creature's power and reveal it at a crucial moment, but to reverse something that was established earlier to make the creature harder to beat is a no no. And yet it happens all the time.

The reason we keep seeing the same creatures (vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc.) is because we no longer have to explain the rules, we just have to demonstrate which set of rules these ones follow. If it's a new creature, then you have to give some context because the audience expects it, and rightfully so. But defining the rules doesn't mean you have to explain them. You probably shouldn't explain them. You just need to stick to them.

Lovecraft is an example of leaving hope intact until the full scope of the creature is revealed. Then all hope is crushed, and that's the point. For the shorts in the OWC, they focused on the ending but the horror and hope leading up to it was weaker. For the ganglers, I thought the creatures were explained enough to get them, I just had a hard time picturing them.


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leitskev
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 11:55am Report to Moderator
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The question of the value of making a script readable is linked to the issue of clarity. No one likes to be confused when reading something, it's not enjoyable.

A couple of points on clarity.

One, how much rope the reader gives the story varies. If you are an established pro writer, the reader will give you the benefit of the doubt and read more carefully than if you are an unknown amateur. And if it's OWC, some people(myself included) might have a tendency to read too quick. We can miss things that shouldn't be missed and really aren't the writer's fault. But a writer has to keep this stuff in mind when creating the script. Who will be reading it? How much rope will they give you?

Two, when it comes to clarity, it's only the relevant things that really NEED to be clear. If in the Stowaway the truck driver suddenly pulls over on the road, takes photos of wildlife, and then gets back in goes on his way, we'll be asking why he just did that. But for the purposes of the story I didn't really need to know what his cargo was, where he was heading, what type of music he likes or how the spiders mutated.

At first glance, the appearance at the end of the monster spider is over the top. However, it's not out of the blue. The actions of the little spider tell us we're not dealing with an ordinary spider. There is something supernatural or super-evolved about it. And we're also tipped off about a possibly absurd(in a good way) conclusion by the humerous tone throughout.

So I really never felt confused. I didn't need to know where the spiders came from. I expected an appropriately ridiculous finale and wasn't disappointed.

I'll skip discussing Libertine, confusion was not the issue there. Instead consider Jeff's script. We didn't know exactly where this invasion came from. Presumably from another world. We didn't know what the gathering was about. But I don't think we needed to. It's familiar ground: an invading creature that takes over the host and is spreading. I don't think clarity was an issue. We knew enough to proceed through the story.

I'll compare Jeff's script to the one Dena and I did, which did have more of a clarity issue. Jeff's alien spreads physically through a kind of shooting quil. We see it happen, so there's no confusion. In our story, we have a serial killer that is able to abandon one body for another, jumping ship. The challenge with that is showing it. There are probably ways to do it, but we didn't have the time to think of them or are not clever enough, especially in a short/single scene script. Those clarity issues made it a harder read.

The Ganglers was more complicated, but nonetheless perfectly clear by end as everything is revealed.

This is also why I am in favor of SOME unfilmables. If an actor can portray it, and an unfilmable can make it clearer to the reader, then why not?
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Dustin
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 12:04pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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My point on the vampire was that I could simply write a vampire attacking people and not need to explain where it came from. An alien from space, do we really need to know exactly where it came from? The planet it came from is inconsequential. Once we start adding this information we are adding layers of drama.

As with anyhting else this all comes down to balance. Some things will need to be explained, but not everything does.


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Dreamscale
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 12:15pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Quoted from Dustin
My point on the vampire was that I could simply write a vampire attacking people and not need to explain where it came from. An alien from space, do we really need to know exactly where it came from? The planet it came from is inconsequential. Once we start adding this information we are adding layers of drama.

As with anyhting else this all comes down to balance. Some things will need to be explained, but not everything does.


I agree completely...some things need to be explained, and others do not.

As my good friend, Warren, keeps asking, who makes that decision?  Well, obviously, the writer does, and sometimes the writer makes the right call, and others, he makes the wrong call.

If your story is set in the pacific Northwest, and a Sasquatch is your Antag, no explanation whatsoever is required.  But, if your Antag turns out to be an African lion, you better let us know how it got there and what the Hell it's doing there.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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eldave1
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 12:21pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
My point on the vampire was that I could simply write a vampire attacking people and not need to explain where it came from. An alien from space, do we really need to know exactly where it came from? The planet it came from is inconsequential. Once we start adding this information we are adding layers of drama.

As with anyhting else this all comes down to balance. Some things will need to be explained, but not everything does.


True - but...there are things we might need to know.

Vampire mythology is almost universally known now. No need to fill in the blanks.

But using your Alien from Space is an example - no, don't need to know where the Alien came from. But we might need to know something about it - it's Achilles heel, it's preferred prey, etc. etc and the story would be enhanced if we know the motivation of the characters. e.g., you can just have a spaceship humming along - or you could have a spaceship with a specific mission - the latter is more fulfilling for me as a reader.

I'll use your Libertine as an example - you could have just had any ole boat with men on it that are eventually murdered by a witch. Instead you have a slave ship with characters that have clearly different motivations - that's a ton more rewarding from a story perspective than just a ship at sea. We know why they're at sea, we know what they're objectives our  - we have context for the horror that follows and have differing degrees of empathy for the victims of the horror.  I think that is what Warren really was referencing when he started the thread.





My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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eldave1
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 12:26pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale


If your story is set in the pacific Northwest, and a Sasquatch is your Antag, no explanation whatsoever is required.  But, if your Antag turns out to be an African lion, you better let us know how it got there and what the Hell it's doing there.


I actually think this was Warren's point. If you believe this - then the only disagreement you two would have on the topic is whether or not an African Lion is common in the Northwest. I'm guessing you both would say no.




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 2:44pm Report to Moderator
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How much do you need to know?

It all depends on the tone, the mood you are going for, the purpose of the story.


For instance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=80&v=B8jeRXK_U7U

Let's pretend for a second that the thing in that video was real, and it was hostile. We don't know what it is, no one does. It is the Unknown. Perhaps some weird, invisible/chameleon amphibious entity, perhaps a spirit, perhaps a figment of the imagination.

If you write a story about that and all it does it randomly kill people for no reason, it would be a fairly generic horror, and the fact you know nothing about it doesn't really work.

If, on the other hand, you craft a story around a strong theme about how "it's always the unknown danger that gets you" then it could work very well. You can imagine the main character being a guy that is super prepared, so prepared that he survives the tsunami. He's particular about everything because he has a deep fear of something that perhaps even he can't verbalise or understand that has affected his life, his relationships, and led him to be this character who over prepares. The unknown creature is then a metaphor for his inner turmoil and the fact there is always a variable in life that is going to get you. It's a story literally about fear of the unknown...to paraphrase H.P Lovecraft: Horror is about Fear, and the greatest and most primal fear of all is fear of the unknown...and it works perfectly.

Or it's a story presented as a murder mystery...survivors of the Tsunami are being picked off. Some people claim to have seen this creature...but are they lying? Delusional? Are they really killing off the survivors themselves for some reason? Then the main character thinks he might have seen it. But did he? He's not sure...is it just suggestion that made him see it, after all it was dark...etc etc. You might never find out the truth about whether it's even real but you can still craft a really great story about it.


Basically, you can have something completely unknown, but you have to have very strong clarity elsewhere about other things.

At the other extreme where you need to know a lot....that's actually a lot harder to imagine. Generally with horror the more you know, the less scary it is, because you've rationalised it.

If you give Michael Myers a backstory of abuse and humanise him, he becomes a sad little victim and not scary anymore. If the weird shadow creature that's terrorising a family is a quantum experiment, it's not frightening anymore. In a horror story that kind of reveal generally ends the feeling of fear and often takes it into the realm of the ridiculous and destroys the suspension of disbelief.

I think you'd only really need to know a great deal if the core of the story was about knowledge itself...Let's say the kind of fear that keeps some technologists awake at night: their fear that they are going to make humans obsolete, whilst at the same time being obsessed with continuing their research into artificial intelligence. There is a real horror in that, and you'd have to go into huge detail to really make it work.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 2:50pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale


I agree completely...some things need to be explained, and others do not.

As my good friend, Warren, keeps asking, who makes that decision?  Well, obviously, the writer does, and sometimes the writer makes the right call, and others, he makes the wrong call.

If your story is set in the pacific Northwest, and a Sasquatch is your Antag, no explanation whatsoever is required.  But, if your Antag turns out to be an African lion, you better let us know how it got there and what the Hell it's doing there.



I think the story would have to address the issue....but you wouldn't need to know how it got there.

Jeff runs through the bushes.

JEFF
Run, it's a fucking Lion!

WARREN
There are no fucking Lions in the fucking Pacific Northwest.

JEFF
You fucking tell it that it doesn't exist, then.


The Lion comes through the bushes.


Maybe it/they have escaped from a zoo, or been abandoned by private owners...that can be discussed by the characters, if they've got time...but you'd never need to know definitively.

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eldave1
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 2:53pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films



I think the story would have to address the issue....but you wouldn't need to know how it got there.

Jeff runs through the bushes.

JEFF
Run, it's a fucking Lion!

WARREN
There are no fucking Lions in the fucking Pacific Northwest.

JEFF
You fucking tell it that it doesn't exist, then.


The Lion comes through the bushes.


Maybe it/they have escaped from a zoo, or been abandoned by private owners...that can be discussed by the characters, if they've got time...but you'd never need to know definitively.



Does it eat Jeff?


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 2:58pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from eldave1


Does it eat Jeff?


Jeff  and Warren are Bigfoot hunters. They've got all the gear...infrared, night vision, trail cams, motion detectors etc They're going to catch the big fella on vid.

At night, their little alarms go off, they've caught something big on one of the trail cams...that looks strangely like a Lion.

It is a Lion. And it's hungry.

They get chased by it, mauled by it. On the point of starvation, blood loss and death, they manage to get away from it by crossing a ravine.


Then Bigfoot kills them both and feeds them to his family and his pet Lion, whom he'd let out for some exercise.
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Zack
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 3:04pm Report to Moderator
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Anyone here ever watch the movie "The Guest". Practically no information whatsoever is given to us the audience, but there is a coherent logic to all of the antagonists actions. The writer of the film has said that he had written scenes where the antagonists backstory was explained, but the scenes where scrapped because he felt it was better to leave stuff up for interpretation. Sometimes what you don't know is scarier than what you do know.



Great movie by the way.


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eldave1
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 3:06pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films


Jeff  and Warren are Bigfoot hunters. They've got all the gear...infrared, night vision, trail cams, motion detectors etc They're going to catch the big fella on vid.

At night, their little alarms go off, they've caught something big on one of the trail cams...that looks strangely like a Lion.

It is a Lion. And it's hungry.

They get chased by it, mauled by it. On the point of starvation, blood loss and death, they manage to get away from it by crossing a ravine.


Then Bigfoot kills them both and feeds them to his family and his pet Lion, whom he'd let out for some exercise.


Nice twist! I think the next OWC should be based on SS members


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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