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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2018 Two Week Challenge  ›  Cherry Blossom (was Olympic) - 2WC Moderators: Mr. Blonde
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  Author    Cherry Blossom (was Olympic) - 2WC  (currently 2055 views)
Shakey
Posted: February 5th, 2018, 6:42am Report to Moderator
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Well that was a strong juxtaposition of characters and situations.

I wasn’t sure whose side I was on, and I liked that a lot. (I was inclined to be on the side of the Japanese girls, but I think that’s partly because I once had a cat called Hanako.) Both sides were well drawn, and neither was a plot-point-baddie.

There’s a lot to like here. I know it’s been done before, but cutting between grand battle scenes and little moments of dialogue between innocents caught up in a war works well. Also, dumb machismo was largely avoided by the soldiers’ reaction to Tokyo Rose and the newborn baby photo. (As noted in my comments on Operation Downfall, I’m really not keen on stereotypical men doing stereotypical things. The patriarchy can be terribly boring as well as socially oppressive.)

I might be being stoopid, but why was it called Olympic? Perhaps something to do with the Trinity Test, a reference also lost on me?

//

One other comment - perhaps a question for all the scripts. The budget for this one would be astronomical. Is that a problem? Does that count against it, in a very practical sense? Is the ambition here to create short films that are actually filmable?

When I see comments from reviewers about some nuance of character motivation being “unfilmable” I often disagree. Those so-called “unfilmables” are often useful clues as to character motivations or direction points. Those sort of “unfilmables” are way less dangerous than practical “unfilmables” like “hundreds of Japanese planes of all types descend...” Just saying.
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PrussianMosby
Posted: February 5th, 2018, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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Hi,

when the landing craft is open, having no ceiling, then as far as I know, it's a clear EXTERIOR setting.

P3 you should go with short slugs or whatever else concept there but don't interrupt the action as you did with those full slugs.

P5 the "Well shit" comment felt wrong. It may look funny to a viewer but in character I imagine it's far from having a humoristic view to find yourself in burning trousers (no matter how hilarious it looks like) while your comrade Shoe just disappeared in a fireball a second ago. So, not the correct/understandable way to earn sympathy from an audience for showing him as the strong man making a snarky comment in that very moment, imo.

P6/7 end page with full sentence

Okay, huge sets, complex effects and an ultra-high character count, hmm, also story-wise I question the entertainment value which at least should reason such massive effort.

I recognize this as a writing sample, a technical piece dealing with big sets and especially action line writing. And it's done well to a certain degree I feel. Then… the dialogue wasn't good I must say.

Some typos and many formatting issues definitely weakened the performance here. You know, if you go sample and I see no other purpose here, then be precise and tidy in form.

Descriptions were okay, strong in war genre for my taste. Well, but story, what can I say- it was just a concatenation of war happenings. There was no clear goal, meaning or expression, an arcing character or anything to reflect on… also the ending didn't serve anything in this direction.

But as said, I very early saw it as a writing practice thing here regarding genre-bound proceedings and execution within big-set pictures… so never mind


In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

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Angry Bear
Posted: February 5th, 2018, 2:11pm Report to Moderator
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Another war script...

Lots and lots of typos and such made this a slow read for me. Several times I had to re-read sentences to get what you meant.

I think you did a good job setting up the two opposite sides. Scared marines and scared school girls. That was good, but we didn't really get to know anyone. The only thing was the baby at home, but other than that, everyone was just another name. Something to work on in a re-write, IMO.

Although you set up the two sides of the conflict, I still didn't root for anyone, so by the time the story ended, all I felt was depressed. Sort of a, everyone died, kind of feel. Perhaps add something in the end that shows some sign of positiveness. Maybe the allied forces lost and the school girls are celebrated as heroes or if you want the west to win, show something good from that outcome. Just a thought.



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FrankM
Posted: February 5th, 2018, 3:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Angry Bear
Another war script...

Lots and lots of typos and such made this a slow read for me. Several times I had to re-read sentences to get what you meant.

I think you did a good job setting up the two opposite sides. Scared marines and scared school girls. That was good, but we didn't really get to know anyone. The only thing was the baby at home, but other than that, everyone was just another name. Something to work on in a re-write, IMO.

Although you set up the two sides of the conflict, I still didn't root for anyone, so by the time the story ended, all I felt was depressed. Sort of a, everyone died, kind of feel. Perhaps add something in the end that shows some sign of positiveness. Maybe the allied forces lost and the school girls are celebrated as heroes or if you want the west to win, show something good from that outcome. Just a thought.



SPOILER

Soldiers in Vietnam were affected terribly by the human-shield and child-soldier casualties, but there were important qualitative differences with WW2. Allied propaganda before the (planned) invasion carefully and clearly laid the blame for these particular child-soldiers at the feet of the Imperial Japanese Army. My expectation is that the new warrior wouldn't survive thirty seconds in the hallway, but that's not really the point of the story.

Had this been done in retrospect, with some hand-wavy path to survival and capture, I could see her bravery pierce the endemic racism of the time. "I want to see her at Paris Island. How long until she turns 18?"


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StevenClark
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 2:50pm Report to Moderator
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Writer,

I couldn’t really tell what this story was all about. There seemed to be no real twist or satisfying conclusion to the story, there were logic issues (school girls armed with bamboo stakes attacking Marines with rifles), and it was heavy on exposition. Not to say I was lost, but I didn’t feel a real sense of place. It was overly long. A lot of the writing itself can be trimmed. Wasn’t a big fan of the dialogue, either. I guess the biggest issue was that the two girls should’ve had me caring more for what happened to them - they seem to be the protagonists here, but I felt indifferent. I must say this was rather ambitious, but it needs a lot of work.

Steve


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FrankM
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 3:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from StevenClark
there were logic issues (school girls armed with bamboo stakes attacking Marines with rifles)


Illogical, but also a historical fact that Japan's homeland defense plan literally involved issuing wooden weapons to civilian volunteers. The only inaccuracy is that as far as I know, the minimum age to volunteer was 15 for boys and 17 for girls.


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PrussianMosby
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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Yep, Last Samurai convinced in that field as well. It's not uncommon that people use simple methods when protecting their ground. Although I think Steven's comment is legit since it wasn't established that well here.


In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

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Warren
Posted: February 10th, 2018, 2:33am Report to Moderator
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Congrats.


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CameronD
Posted: February 10th, 2018, 12:48pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks again everybody for the votes. Now that the veil of secrecy has been lifted I'd like to chime in with my thoughts on writing this and to the responses on the great feedback. I always like to do that with these challenges.  

That said, this script is quite flawed I feel. I submitted 8 minutes before deadline so never got to really go back and edit the first draft like I wanted. The commas are always an issue in my scripts, a consequence of sleeping through English class in HS and I always get a kick of the feedback suggesting English is my 2nd language. lol The budget for this is way over the top but I knew it would be from the start so threw caution to the wind and went all out. The dialogue could be tweaked as well along with some of the action sections. Also there's a point where I changed a character's name midway through (SHOES) but missed changing his old name in one sentence. Ugh. Embarrassing.

I can only guess then the story itself did the majority of the heavy lifting.

That said, I am a high school history teacher and the idea came from a lesson I give on the atomic bomb. Was it justified or not? Had the US invaded the death toll would have been massive on both sides as Japan was ready to commit suicide on a national scale to resist. I ask my kids to imagine US soldiers having to gun down waves of Japanese school girls armed with bamboo spears and the effect it would have not only on the Japanese but on the American soldiers as well.  That utter and senseless waste of human life on both sides for a war that was for all intents and purposes done and over with was the core idea behind Olympic and what I was trying to convey.

A couple things.

Olympic was the code name for the invasion of the southern island of Kyushu and what the script was named after. However as was pointed out, I never connected those dots in the script. Oops.

X-Day was Olympic's version of D-Day and would have dwarfed those landings with 15 invasion beaches all named for US auto manufacturers. Studebaker beach just happened to be the closest to Nagasaki.

Nagasaki was intentionally not bombed during the war to keep it intact so in case the A-bomb was dropped it would be a test bed to measure the weapon's destructiveness on a real city. This is why the soldiers are a little confused why it's still near pristine when they enter it in the script.

Yes, the Japanese were training schoolgirls to fight back with bamboo spears.

They also had suicide speed boats hidden in off shore caves ready to hit American landing craft if the invasion began. What's scary is that these boats were unknown to US planners until after the war ended.

Some estimates of US causalities from invasion were between 500,000 to 1 million.  The US made so many purple hearts in anticipation of the battle that they are still given out today.  

I was afraid the ending sequence would be too close to Full Metal Jacket but nobody mentioned that so that's good. I liked the ambiguous ending and how it fit with the theme of senseless death. At least in my mind that's how it read.

With all the great feedback received I already have plans to rework this to make it tighter and stronger along with a title change so thanks. I really do appreciate it. I learned how to write screenplays from all the feedback and advice on this board a few years back so thank you for that SimplyScripts. I know this is a totally meaningless win, but I've entered a few of these over the years and it does mean a lot to me. This wasn't perfect so I think I just got lucky more than anything else but still, graicas all the same.


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CameronD  -  February 10th, 2018, 1:28pm
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: February 11th, 2018, 6:11am Report to Moderator
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This was one of my two favourites so I'm glad it won. Congratulations!

I think it resonated with me because my grandfather was a Royal Marine in WWII and he experienced battle with Japanese forces. He told me lots of compelling and harrowing war stories (although I didn't know about the suicide speed boats!) and they've stuck with me.

The typos didn't bother me at all. I think there's a massive difference between a badly written script and one that's obviously been rushed. As this is a timed challenged event and we all have lives to live, the latter doesn't influence me that much.

As I mentioned in another thread about this, English and screenplay formatting issues can be fixed quickly and learned, telling a compelling, believable and entertaining story is another matter. When I'm reviewing these scripts, the story and characters are always first and foremost in my mind. In that regard, (plus how it would transition to screen, regardless of budget) this script stood out and deserves the win.

Well done.

-Mark



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MarkRenshaw  -  February 13th, 2018, 3:20am
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DanC
Posted: February 13th, 2018, 1:56am Report to Moderator
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Cam, great job.  I really enjoyed this one too.  It was a lot of fun and I felt bad for the girls.  To them, we were the bad ones.  It was thought-provoking.

Dan


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CameronD
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Oh hey cool. I didn't realize this was posted. yet. I rewrote and resubmitted my entry after the contest (and with Don's approval) for a special circumstance that may or may not be revealed at the time of this post. Anyways, an updated version of Olympic, now titled Cherry Blossom, is linked on the front page.

I usually like to rewrite these OWC's with the feedback I received to make them stronger stand alone scripts and that is what I did here. If you've read it before not too much is changed. I cleaned up some typos and grammatical errors which were badly needed .The biggest addition is an extra scene where the two Japanese girls sneak out into the middle of the night to watch a convoy of Ohka rocket powered suicide planes being delivered to a launching facility. How they view the weapon gives an extra opportunity to highlight how they view their place in the war as kamikazes in their own right. it also ties the narrative together in a much stronger way as that weapon appears in all 3 acts of the script and eliminating the launching facility of this deadly weapon becomes the incentive for the doomed marine mission at the end. It's not perfect, but I'm MUCH MUCH happier with the final product in this version.

Also, in case any wanted to see the old version (I dunno for compare and contrast reasons) I will link to it here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tq3ADK3OHN0cdnXt8srUlpEpmNvw0i_p/view?usp=sharing


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