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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    End of the World One Week Challenge  ›  Enigma - EOWOWC
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  Author    Enigma - EOWOWC  (currently 2901 views)
Don
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 10:09am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Enigma by Kevin Lenihan (Leitskev) - Short - An evil being appears as a personality within a mental patient whenever a national tragedy is about to strike. Vigilant agents hunt for him in hopes of stopping disaster by deciphering his taunts. - pdf, format


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CoopBazinga
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 12:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Kev,

Was happy to give this one a peek…

I’m not going to go into the writing – once I’m up to this standard then I might be worthy of such a comment but I don’t think it’s even necessary. It flowed along at a great pace and the dialogue is decent for a week’s work even with the British dialect, though it could have been better. Hey, that’s where your British SS folks come in handy my friend.  

The idea of this enigma character is a good one although it does leave me, the reader a lot in the dark which is the point I guess thinking about it. Mystery is great in a story but when your whole plot line is rested on it - could do with some explanation, IMO. On the other hand, what am I talking about - the script is called "Enigma" what did I expect!

I liked how you added in all the tragic events from the past to add meaning to such being, they know of such an event in advance so the government need to be there.

It raised such a question of why the government  (special agency of whatever it may be) wouldn’t  create some kind of special operation for the such people that could be either taken over or consumed  by such “enigma” beings.

It’s a good story on the whole – like I say, love the exorcist element of the enigma but the real story should have been Dr. Bell and his daughter Sara but did this get the conclusion it deserved…?

Well, to be honest, the ending fell a little flat with me and that’s because I've seen it all before. Another "it’s the end of the world scenarios" (Can't blame you for that, it was the kind of challenge) with everyone watching the meteorites hitting planet earth.

I just think that this ending would have been better served with Dr.Bell savouring those last moments with his daughter – this relationship needed a little more for this to work. Let’s be honest, Ian and Dr. Norris are good characters but they lack depth so the real element here was the father (Dr. Bell) and his relationship with his daughter (Sara) but I didn’t get a lot about this relationship.  This should have been the backbone to this story but was never really explored for me – it got lost in all the government jumble.

But in saying all that, an expected fast and good read for an OWC. A solid idea but I think the characters needed more to push this one on, the father, daughter dynamic dissolved by the end, when for me, it should and could have had a nice resolution to bring more meaning to the end of the world.

Great idea though – I couldn’t come up with this kind of stuff even when I have my brain power working on overdrive.

Merry Christmas, buddy.
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leitskev
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 1:00pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve

We normally don't have writer responses until the end,  but since this is not anonymous, I figure I can at least fill in some of the details on parts of the story that are vague.

First, I think you are saying the story is kind of flat, and I agree 100%. I came up with the idea when we got the instructions, worked out the basic concept, and then realized there was no reason to care for the characters. So I added in the pregnant daughter, but that didn't really solve the problem.

I can at least explain the premise, though. No one knows who or what Enigma is. At some time in the past, the government noticed he would show up in mental patients right before a national tragedy, and near where it will occur.

So they started trying to detect him in the hopes that they could prevent these tragedies. They issued the Enigma Protocol, which are instructions to all mental care hospitals to regularly test their Multiple Personality patients for signs of his emergence.

When he appears, they have a team which rapidly responds and tries to trick him into giving us information about the coming disaster. In this case, he emerged in Maine, and as is the case here, he can emerge in more than one person. So the government team responds.

The idea with the doctor's daughter is that she was vulnerable to Engima because she was on the verge of a breakdown because she was pregnant and afraid to tell her father.

When they are on the roof and they get a call that Enigma has emerged in other East Coast locations, they know something really bad is about to happen.

It's not the end of the world, though. I saw this more like a Tunguska event, only instead of Siberia this meteor blows over the Atlantic. It won't wipe civilization, but it will create a giant tidal wave in the Atlantic basin.

I considered doing some different things with the ending. For example, I thought of having Bell hug his daughter, tell her he loves her, only to have Enigma say something. But that would be inserting humor very late in the story!

I think the concept of chasing this Enigma personality in order to prevent disasters has potential. What do you think? If I were to do a feature on the concept, I would probably create a different scenario and characters.

I only write shorts for OWCs, and my shorts seem to be flatter than the Great Plains!  Hopefully I do better with features.

Thanks for the read.
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CoopBazinga
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 2:18pm Report to Moderator
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Just a quick reply, Kev, as I’m about to turn in the wine glass and call it a night.

The fact that you’ve not only given me a categorical backstory to the happenings of this story but also some hope for a feature shows me that you have put work into this and that I can appreciate.


Quoted from leitskev
No one knows who or what Enigma is.


The name is a give-away and I like this mystery element but to rest the whole story on it without a hint of an answer is a problem to me at the moment IF you were going to expand it.

No problem here with the short but it could do with some good characterisation between Dr. Bell and Sara to bring this little short along.


Quoted from leitskev
So I added in the pregnant daughter, but that didn't really solve the problem


The pregnancy did feel like it was thrown in there for character sakes – add some meaning to it…why does the father care other than the obvious? I do feel this relationship could be expanded and there is clearly lots of potential if you did turn this into a feature.


Quoted from leitskev
They issued the Enigma Protocol, which are instructions to all mental care hospitals to regularly test their Multiple Personality patients for signs of his emergence.


I do feel that a secret agency would have something set up for this where all patients capable of such would be in their care – of course you can’t get all but to have some mention of an already set-up organisation would make this world more believable .

Like I said – Love the idea but there wasn’t enough of a relationship displayed between father and daughter on which this story was depended on in a SHORT story, IMO.


Quoted from leitskev
I only write shorts for OWCs, and my shorts seem to be flatter than the Great Plains!  Hopefully I do better with features.

Thanks for the read.


I understand,  I’m nowhere in your league in writing standards but I only try to write features as well – I have no real interest in shorts and really only do one in an OWC…don’t mind reading them but have no interest in writing 'em. Wish I’d entered a pisser in this one to be honest though.

No worries for the read mate.

I wish you all the best with it, Kev.

I might come back tomorrow rambling on with other thoughts as I am running on wine fumes now…

Take it easy.
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pale yellow
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 3:58pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this story. I was concerned for the girl.

Feels more like feature material to me. I can definitely tell that you spent a lot of time on this...planning and thinking your characters and story out.

Great job Kevin.


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B.C.
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 4:29pm Report to Moderator
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I thought this was cool as hell and I didn't think this fell flat at all.  The ending is suitable for the concept and this is a short, after all. You are good at concepts and hooks, Kev, and there are some great ideas and set ups here. It would make for a very interesting feature idea because there is a lot of room for an interesting B-story with the girl being pregnant and also it would be cool to explore all the things he predicted in the past. Considering this is a OWC, I thought this was really impressive. While I think the Enigma character could have easily fallen into an 'Exorcist' type parody, I think you held it back enough in that regard for it not to get out of hand.  

Enigma's personality and dialogue could do with some tuning, though. He comes as a bit "Mwuhahahahaha" Dr. Evil at the moment. I'd make him dirtier and more threatening.

One line took me out of the pace, slightly, but it only happened the once: "We need every possible clue he unwittingly spits out". Stood out for me.

Good work, though.  I really enjoyed it.
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mcornetto
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 8:52pm Report to Moderator
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Great idea for a script.  No complaints about the writing but I think the story was a bit cramped in a short.   There's definitely a feature in there - I suspect you're already thinking about it.

If you were going to keep this a short, I would suggest getting rid of Ian -- you don't really need him.   You already have the unusual aspect of Enigma appearing in several locations and it didn't really make sense for him to be doubled at the scripts location.

Well done for the OWC
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nawazm11
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 9:00pm Report to Moderator
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This was actually pretty damn good, Kevin. Really tense, I was jumping out of my seat to know the ending, it was a little flat but still enjoyable.

This felt like it would work a lot better as a feature, Enigma was a great character, very original.

You obviously spent a lot of time on here which is a great sign. Really loved the writing you had here, a nice style.

My grade - B+.
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: December 22nd, 2012, 11:31pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Kevin,

This story has a slick set of wheels, I enjoyed it. There is a lot of questions I had about the script, but in the end I guess it doesn't matter...Enigma got the last laugh.

Your story is really creeping me out because I feel like Enigma might have taken me over when I was writing last week. Lol, that bastard got me! Good job.

Johnny
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: December 23rd, 2012, 1:54pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Kevin,

I haven't read much of your work for a while, but overall it showed to me how you have moved on. Crisp writing, good flow, competent handling.

I was trying to assemble my thoughts whilst reading the other comments, and I think Michael summed it up for me. Just a little too much, too crammed for a short, but a good effort.

Re the pregnant girl, yeah, I think that can be dropped to simplfy the story which would be driven by the what's next issue, what's he doing etc and the conflict between authorities.

Kind of reminded me of a film with Nicholas Cage, can't remember the name, where the end is oblivion and he saves his kids as they are taken to another world.

Otherwise, sound work.




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leitskev
Posted: December 23rd, 2012, 2:36pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the notes, guys.

I don't write shorts except for OWCs, so I started last week with this:

1) prophecy; 2) a concept that could be expanded to feature.

Those were my starting notes. Not sure where the multiple personality idea set in, but I thought wouldn't be cool if one of those personalities, just one(in addition to the base one)was real, and was someone else.

I like trying to write shorts for the OWC, but every one I have ever written is guilty of the 'too much going' on complaint. Oh well, I do have fun doing them! If I ever write a really good one it really will be the end of the world! Happy holidays, guys.
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kingcooky555
Posted: December 24th, 2012, 9:52am Report to Moderator
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The hook/premise here has promise. If you turn it into a feature, I would think about the genre. If you make it a horror, you might get comparisons to the Exorcist. I think this type of hook might do well as an Action/Thriller. Then create a suspense if the bad guy (Enigma) is really just an act or the person is really possessed by the supernatural. The villain or anti-hero (Enigma) could play a Hannibal Lecter role as agents try to pick his brain - maybe even give Enigma's body terminal cancer or something combined with imminent doom (the ticking clock to up the stakes).

Good story. You did have a helicopter thrown in there, which is an expensive prop for a short, but that's easily cuttable. I really don't bother with shorts myself, but they are a good way to test out concepts. And you have good one here.
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Dreamscale
Posted: December 24th, 2012, 10:00am Report to Moderator
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Hey Kev, I read this yesterday during a half time and never got back to write down my feedback.

Your writing has really come a long way.  This is well written, well thought out, and well done all around.  You and I will most likely always have our disagreements on asides and the like, but you know what you're doing and that's what counts.

As others have said, this is too big for an 11 page short, IMO.  It's actually a testament to your abilities that you could even tell this story in just over 10 pages.  But, the bigger issue for me is that it';s way too big for an OWC.  Too many details to think through, etc, and in a week's time, it's almost impossible to pull this off effectively.

Just going from memory now, but 2 big things that don't work and a couple minor ones.

You mentioned numerous Enigma associated tragedies over the years, and I think they were all committed by man, not natural events, which doesn't jive with the meteor crashing into Earth.  I would keep Enigma's actions focused on men's actions, maybe he actually gets inside peeps and causes these events?

Obviously, if a meteor was headed for Earth, we'd all know about it hours/days/weeks/months in advance.  It made zero sense to me that suddenly, this massive meteor was near seconds away and no one knew it was coming.  Kind of destroyed the whole story for me.

I think you mentioned an assassination attempt on "Carter" in 2006?  I'm far from a historian, but what was this in reference to?

Overall, an impressive job in less than a week, Kev.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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leitskev
Posted: December 24th, 2012, 10:45am Report to Moderator
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thanks for the notes, Jeff

Yeah, not great for a short. I tried. I don't seem to have a short mentality. I think a short should ideally channel everything toward one lasting image or impression, and I can't seem to do it.

I did want to come up with something that had feature potential. Probably not going to try this as feature, though. Too many other ideas in front of it.

I can fill in a few things that weren't clear. Enigma does not cause the tragedies. He just shows up to watch them. An evil voyeur. Like Stevie! Two videos are used to show that. The first was Pearl Harbor, and obviously he could not have caused that. The second was the JFK assassination.

The idea is that once the government became aware that he would show up before a disaster, they tried to use this to try to prevent the disaster. And sometimes they succeeded. For example, they prevented the plot to kill Carter and they stopped terrorists from setting off a nuke in D.C. in 2006. They failed to stop 9/11.

When it comes to meteors, we don't know about all of them, especially the smaller ones. In fact just about every month one goes by relatively close that we didn't see until it went by. A meteor the size of the one that blew over Tunguska in 1908 would be big enough to cause a major tidal wave, but would be too small for us to see ahead of time. And in this story, this is not a civilization ending meteor, but rather one that would cause a huge tidal wave, possibly some global cooling.

At least I didn't underline or use bold slugs this time!  Thanks again for the read, man.
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leitskev
Posted: December 24th, 2012, 10:49am Report to Moderator
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Hey Cookie

Thanks for the suggestions. Yeah, I think thriller would be the way to go. The question would be whether to go psych thriller, like Silence of the Lambs. I think that makes more sense than to go Bourne.

That would give maybe a chance to explore just what Enigma is. I would probably come up with different characters and a different disaster. In the short, I kind of needed a disaster that could be quick and close to the hospital.

Thanks man!
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