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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2020 -  One Week Challenge  ›  The Machine - OWC Moderators: ReneC, Administrator
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  Author    The Machine - OWC  (currently 937 views)
Posted: January 24th, 2020, 6:19pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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The Machine by Maximus King - Short, Horror - If Maximum Overdrive and 127 Hours had a baby, they would call it... The Machine. - 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: January 25th, 2020, 1:06pm Report to Moderator
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I was going to say this reads like a Stephen King short, but then saw the nom de plume and realised that's what you were going for. Well, good job... up to page 7 I think you got this pretty much spot on.

Page 7 I think the prayer is a little overdone, but a very minor niggle.

Overall I thought this was great, excellent job writer.

Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
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Posted: January 25th, 2020, 1:26pm Report to Moderator
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After reading the logline I went in thinking I wasn't going to like it...but I ended up really enjoying it!

Very well written, a very easy read. Definitely could use a trim in a few places like IMO, most of the last two pages with the minivan family are unnecessary. We really don't need to see all that detail.

A few nitpicky thing that stood out to me...Pg. 1..."bland decor"? Weird description for a gross restroom. I was thinking urine stained...
Pg. 2...2 hours worth of Mountain Dew. "Ahh, sweet baby Jesus"...laughed out loud here.
Also, description of the vending machine, "look like it's been here for years". Well, I would assume they don't change them out that often, so most vending machines probably are there for years. Maybe change it to "decades", or even to something like "the Nixon era".
Pg. 7...this long block of dialog...I just don't know. First, he seemed way too calm for a dude whose arm is half chopped off. And it goes on pretty long. Just my opinion.
The rat skeleton seemed thrown in there to meet the criteria.

Overall, this is a well-written, solid effort for this OWC. I really enjoyed it.

ZERO tolerance for RUDE people.
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Posted: January 25th, 2020, 2:02pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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Hey, writer. Really good work here. My kind of horror.

Won't lie, it's a bit slow at the start. First couple of pages kind of dragged. A lot of overwriting. But once Brett's arm gets stuck, this thing gets going. Gruesome story.

I'm a little disappointed you didn't fully commit to your "127 Hours" and have Brett cut off his arm, but I also really like the direction you took this. Also love the mythology you created with the snack van at the end.

Great job. This is the first I read, and will likely remain one of my favorites.

WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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Posted: January 25th, 2020, 4:21pm Report to Moderator
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Southern California
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Okay - really well written. Crisp and clean throughout.

Brett's dialogue on page 7 didn't do it for me. It kind of derailed the horror aspect for me a bit.

I know I am supposed to be suspending disbelief, but I had a hard time visualizing the horrific engulfing done by the machine - i.e.., that it good be done.

The rat skeleton is really just shoe-horned in for the requirements - but okay.

Anyway - writing was top notch.

My Scripts can all be seen here:
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Posted: January 25th, 2020, 4:32pm Report to Moderator

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Not really my thing but it was well written, I could really "see" it.

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Posted: January 26th, 2020, 1:56pm Report to Moderator

Not in Britain
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Well written if a little unbelievable but so was Maximum Overdrive and that was done on a much grander level. The dialogue like others said was a little out of place. Not sure if it was trying to be a comedy or not. It still worked but maybe a tad long. Also liked the mythology of the candy company. That added an extra layer to what really is a simple story. Rat skeleton seemed thrown in to meet the requirements.  Great job though.

Producer/Director of The Dollmaker by Matias Caruso
Producer/Director of So Pretty/Dark by James Williams
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Posted: January 26th, 2020, 11:17pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

A helluva long way from LA
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Ok, decent, clean writing style.  But you lost me with Brett’s dialogue(y'now that bit) -- eye roll. And this just went downhill from there.  You have some good description in here buried in a lot of stuff that can go bye-bye.  In other words, didn't think you needed ten pages to tell your story.  Anyhoo-maybe I wasn't the right audience for this.  Oh yeah - marnieml made some good points about the family bit.-A

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Posted: January 27th, 2020, 12:48pm Report to Moderator

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A well-written script. Very descriptive. My only nitpick would be the prayer.

Overall, this is a solid script.
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Posted: January 27th, 2020, 2:02pm Report to Moderator

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Simple, great idea and very well done. The writing, if a bit lengthy in one or two places, is pretty good and I really enjoyed the read. I like how you blend horror and humor, and you made me chuckle more than once. Great little tale, well done!
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Posted: January 27th, 2020, 10:00pm Report to Moderator
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Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
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As I go:

- Logline -- okay, but I'm imagining AC/DC blasting over the entire thing now...
- As we get into the machine intro I'm wondering: King would have set up a flaw by now, a moral misstep for which the story would visit retribution on its protag. Though not in Maximum Overdrive, I guess. Still: an element that might be missing.


- Yep, a good ol'-fashioned Creepshow entry! One of my favourites here. But as above, I can't help but think this is missing the sense of cosmic justice -- or even cosmic injustice -- that typically attends these tales. We want to feel like there are rules that can be followed or broken with consequences or not -- the "Thanks for the ride, lady!" of it all. I wish the setup had given us something about Brett -- some reason more for us to like or dislike him, some reason for us to wonder, would I escape this horrible fate? The disingenuous prayer is played mostly for laughs and doesn't seem to take him that deep anyway. I'm not saying that this has to be a morality play, but these things aren't nearly as scary when they don't come with some strong sense of the world's "rules."
- Anyway. This would satisfy in any horror anthology.


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: January 28th, 2020, 12:24pm Report to Moderator
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Shakespeare's county
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Jesus, how strong is this coil lol couldn't he just slide his arm out of his sleeve? (before it's twisted and engulfed, of course) - that would have been my first reaction, rather than popping in some more money.

The prayer - as has been said - is a big negative.

The rest is well-written, simple, possibly easy to film (with some really gross imagination).
A gross horror that will get those with a fear of being stuck.

I'm seeing some contradiction around here (nothing to do with you) - another horror in the competition gets complaints of "horror for horror sake" or "no explanation as to why" - yet, those same reviewers love this one - strange.
I only mention it because I am here to learn, and this is the reason I stay clear of writing horror - I can't see the difference between this and the other entry.
This all seems random - he by chance comes across the machine, he doesn't seem like he deserves it, no reason why the machine does what it does - gore for the sake of gore.
Not knocking it by the way - That's what I like about (watching) horror, some times bad stuff happens for no reason - and sometimes we want to be scared and grossed out, doesn't always have to be given rhyme or reason. I would just love to be able to learn why some work and others don't - You seem like you have this sussed, maybe you can give me some pointers

Anyhoo, enjoyed this, well written for sure - if I was watching it, I would be sufficiently horrified.

Good job - but here's the rub - Do I mark as criteria met based on the skeleton? I'm torn, will think about it...

Revision History (1 edits)
Matthew Taylor  -  January 28th, 2020, 1:01pm
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Posted: January 29th, 2020, 2:33pm Report to Moderator
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While well done overall, action happens as it unfolds. There's a lot of and THEN this happens! And THEN thishappens. You don't need the THEN's. It happens and the script is fine without it.
Overall, this entry is pretty solid, although you could just have the family at the end pull up, and are just about to get some goodies. We already know what's coming.

Not sure why a can of soda is the same vending machine as candy.  

"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
my scripts on ss :
The Art!
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Posted: January 29th, 2020, 6:50pm Report to Moderator

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Page 2: “He makes a b-line toward it.” Should be “bee line.”

Still page 2: If I’m reading it right, the slogan “JOLLY DELIGHTS...FOR YOU!” is on each candy bar wrapper. This is way too long.

I like the script a lot, especially the description of the machine swallowing Brett.

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Posted: January 29th, 2020, 7:19pm Report to Moderator
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Las Vegas, Nevada
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This was a good one. Enjoyed your logline, even though it "isn't proper". This short easily fit into the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE or CREEPSHOW mold. One complaint is why didn't Brett just take his shirt off when it started to get tangled but I suspended my disbelief. Back to your hosen logline, it describes what the reader is in for and I got a kick out of the ending. When the kid gasps that there are no M&M's, great set-up-payoff and then the inkling the whole thing is about to happen again with the father. But this time he's not alone so what will happen? Thoroughly enjoyable.
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