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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  The Executioner - OWC
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  Author    The Executioner - OWC  (currently 5191 views)
Don
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Executioner by Kevin Lenihan (leitskev) - Short, Gothic Horror - A young woman on the run from something terrible, guided by a friendly spirit, learns the nature of her dark heritage. 12 pages, 7 characters, PG-13 Rating - pdf, format


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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  October 29th, 2011, 4:56pm
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darrentomalin
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 1:09pm Report to Moderator
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Started out good but then got lost in some exposition. The historical accuracy and pulling on actual events was inspired and well presented but we did get bogged down in facts sometimes.
I liked the characters and the very atmospheric descriptions.
A very rich and deep story very well written for one week's work.


http://darrentomalin.webs.com/index.htm

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Zanej
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 3:20pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this story. Definitely something f.or you to re-write to a feature imho great work
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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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A little wordy for me ("The silence is broken") and tons of exposition between TALL MAN, CHRISTINE and GOODY. I'm a little surprised why you just didn't call Tall Man 'The Execuctioner' (as a character slug should suggest) and I don't mind some of the history, But they could just get to the point.

The ending left me puzzled a little bit. You would think that Goody and Executioner could have informed Christine on who or what is the real danger - even in the long speeches.

Liked this overall, but it ran out of gas for me.


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wonkavite
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 6:23pm Report to Moderator
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* Spoiler *

This one - a bit long for my tastes.  

I liked the main characters, esp. at the beginning, when they were on the train.  When it opened, was curious about what they were fleeing, and the truth behind the dreams.

I felt that the story started to run out of steam, however, shortly after they met Osgood.  

LOVE the fact there's actual history embedded in the plot, but it got too complex for my tastes (given the length of the overall script.)  Regarding the twist ending - you get the feeling from the story that Rafti and Christine have been dating a long time.  How could she have not known what he was?  If the relationship was shorter, a hint in that direction would clear that up.

That said - visual, clean writing.  Kudos on the OWC!
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 6:37pm Report to Moderator
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This script follows the literal translation of the OWC rules.
Hmmm, north of Boston, who’s from there other than me?
Story doesn’t kick in until page four.
Don’t see much reason to show us the journey to the church.
Actually, the bulk of the story happens through exposition.
There’s very little activity until the end.
I like using historical reference, kudos.
However, the explaining motivations at gun point killed it for me.
Thanks for playing OWC.

Regards,
E.D.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 6:39pm Report to Moderator
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The story is quite good.

Gothic Horror: Yes.

Theme: Yes.

Suffers from a very common error...the fact the story is told almost exclusively in dialogue...IE exposition.

Try and find ways to get across visually what the characters say to take away from the "talking heads" syndrome.

Decent effort.

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Scar Tissue Films  -  October 15th, 2011, 7:29pm
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leitskev
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 7:23pm Report to Moderator
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Salem witches, my neck of the woods. Literally. We should sign the Executioner for the Celtics!

You missed a "dream" in a slug.

Probably a little too much information for a short.

Did the English have gold coins in the 1600s? You should look that up.

Where was the Executioner when they took his wife to the trials in Salem? Where were the kids, since they have descendants?

Any more gold buried out there? I live pretty close.
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Dreamscale
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 9:15pm Report to Moderator
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Just didn't quite work.  Hard to follow...hard to visualize.

Seemed thrown together without enough thought to backstory.

I actually threw in the towel around page 8.  Characters didn't seem real...I didn't/couldn't relate or care about anyone.

Writing is Ok...not bad at all, but the story didn't work for me.

Congrats on completing an entry for the October OWC.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 12:26pm Report to Moderator
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So much that could be invested with this one.

In this portion of dialogue:

RAFTI
Christine--

CHRISTINE
Reverend Osgood. She put that in my
head.

If you’re in a theater and you sneeze, you’ll miss this one.

On page 3:

CHRISTINE
She will guide us. I can feel it.

I felt that they didn’t know where they were going (even though prompted by Christine’s dreams) and yet they landed conveniently in the church, which is good, but I think there needs to be some element of surprise. What I’m referring to is the fact that they entered that church for a reason: to get shelter and warmth yes, but because they were searching for Osgood. That being the case, I don’t think they would have just sat down.

What’s difficult for me is that I’m trying to discern the issues I’m having with it and make the discovery of little things that can be fixed and there’s something in what I’ve written above:

They’re on the run, they’re stressed and pumped with adrenaline and they know that Reverend Osgood’s in that church. So when they enter, I think they’ll immediately start searching. Calling.

Also, I’m thinking that you need to provide more work on Rafti’s character. He wants that treasure. That is motivating hard to pressure Christine. By drawing up a short scene focusing on “something wrong” between them, I think it would be powerful. (Rather than conceal by trickery to the audience, forshadow in truth).

Here:

>RAFTI
What were you gonna say before? When
she mentioned the tall man?

But he didn’t mention him before that.

Here:

OSGOOD
There's a local legend 'round these
parts, a tale for children, passed on from generation to generation. About a man called the Executioner. Eight feet tall and wielding a giant axe. He's somehow connected to Goody Morgan, a local woman hung as a witch.

That's the woman I NEED TO SEE. And I need to see her looking EXTRAORDINARILY LIKE Christine.

**Because of the twist at the end, the following shows Rafti out of character:

>Rafti becomes embarrassed.

RAFTI
We ran outta money, reverend. We're
kinda desperate.

I don’t think he’s the type to be embarrassed; more the type to answer Osgood’s question of “Where you staying?” with:

Rafti grabs the collection plate, holds it out like a panhandler.

RAFTI
We’re out of time and money. Thought
We’d stay here.

…and then Osgood can issue his reply regarding Dane. HOWEVER: I'm thinking Dane can be eliminated altogether. (You're a heartless woman, Sandra. Poor Dane can't get a break nohow.   )

*Now a question comes to my mind. Even though Dane seems to just know that Christine is a descendent, something doesn’t feel right and mostly, I just feel that the following should be visual and not just exposition through dialogue:

DANE
Goody Morgan was declared by Cotton
Mather himself to be the queen of hell. Several of her neighbors, mostly Abbots, gave sworn testimony against her.

DANE
And on the day she hung for
witchcraft, her empty cabin somehow caught fire and burned to the ground all on its own.

*Again, would like to see that as visual.

CHRISTINE
What has this to do with me, though?

***(Why does Christine suppose that Dane has the answers. Goody led her to Osgood, not Dane. He’s some stranger. So I guess I’m saying it feels like it’s not hitched together quite right. Like something’s a bit askew. Like I mentioned above: my solution would be to eliminate Dane altogether for one thing. I don’t think he’s required.)

**And it follows:

DANE
You are her descendent. I've known
many Morgans, and you have the look about you.

CHRISTINE
But why am I in danger?

DANE
I couldn't say. But I would, however,
be careful in trusting the guidance of Mrs. Morgan.

RAFTI
Mrs.?

DANE
Why, yes. You have already met her
husband. The Executioner.

CHRISTINE
He is her HUSBAND? The Executioner?

*** Thinking about the story as a whole: For myself, I feel like the set up with them on the run was good, but somewhere here, there’s the problem because Dane has all the answers. Also, I’d like to see Goody and the Executioner in scenes at the beginning to help us establish in our minds all of the back story that’s being discussed.

You might even consider (and I just thought of this now) Having the Executioner enter the church and haul Christine away by the power of his thoughts where she finally, “feels she should follow him rather than run from him”. Show “the shift” somehow in a way that’s to your liking, but show it. Then:

Rafti chases them, (apparently to save Christine. Create “the chase” however you like, but I think it would be good to make a hard general shift in visuals where THIS is now NOT a dream. So, with that, the qualities that existed in the dream scenes, are now vastly different.

Here:

***GOODY
Before my husband came to this land,
he was in the Royal Guard. When Charles the King was sentenced to die, Thomas insisted it be by his blade.

Who’s Thomas? – I only now just learned from more study that Thomas was the executioner. I thought before that Thomas was someone else. My screw up.

I think the “who’s who” of it all can be generated at the end where the stashed treasure can be found. Also, I think this stashed treasure and some of the hard facts of Goody and Thomas need to be established at the beginning through visual and not through dialogue as I said. Feel strongly about that.

If you could possibly show a dream of that variety first, then whip us awake! Out of Christine’s POV as it were, then I think this might be a start. I think it would have to be done all very quickly and nifty-like for this one to create the speed of the train. The flashing images. As it was, the train beginning had me feeling Source Codish. With a bit more of the creep factor going on, it could be eliminated.

Really, I think so much could be done with this. Even with a short, but like DARK ESCORTt, I think it would make an even better feature.

I think this one is loaded with potential and excellent for an OWC. I really do feel like I'd love to be able to suck all of what's explicit in in dialogue and feel it inside my bones, feel it in my blood, taste it on my tongue and then, I'd love to have it take me somewhere beyond twists and plots and history. I'd like it to be served like a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, on my tongue, not from the formless memory of just a Dane or an Osgood.

This is a wonderful entry for this OWC and I think it shows how powerful participating can be because it's not just about a single story being created and whomping perfect right away; rather, it's about the subtle shifts that take place during the whole process.

I'm glad that I could muck around in this land with Goody and Thomas even though they're not quite here yet.  

Sandra





A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 1:24pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Peter

There is no way I can compete with Sandra!! In short I thought this well written but needs a few tweaks.

Small issue - the tall figure is the executioner but his name doesn't change so I thought a different person was speaking. One to clarify.
Rafti reveal - just a bit too much. In a way I thought the story to that moment was enough if further ghost inclusion. The twist of a betrayal based on the myth, humm, not sure.

In essence the start, the journey, the mystery was good. After that it seemed to falter in terms of pace and direction and intrigue, but, could be worked up.

solid writing.

All the best.


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grademan
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 6:52pm Report to Moderator
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Personally, I wanted to see the guy execute someone. Give it an edge.

Introduce him as THE EXECUTIONER rather than TALL MAN or HOODED MAN. The title gives it away anyway.

Good job,

Gary
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 9:06pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from Dreamscale
J

Seemed thrown together without enough thought to backstory.


There was loads of backstory, but it's that common mistake of putting it through in dialogue.

This is a script begging to be a feature. It would be nice to see what's going on with it, but also with some new angles.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Ryan1
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 10:07pm Report to Moderator
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I don't know if the parenthetical subtitle was necessary.  Whenever I read "Inspired partly by"...I get a little nervous.

Was the name Rafti inspired by a historical character?  If not, that was a weird name for the poor guy.   This had a very strange beginning, two people who haven't slept in days riding a commuter train.   I suppose I can understand why Christine couldn't sleep because of the Executioner nightmares.  But why Rafti?  The issue with expositional dialogue begins early in this script when Christine explains about her dreams and waiting for instructions.

HOODED FIGURE, TALL FIGURE...I would have just stuck with EXECUTIONER.

"A few weak candles dispute the darkness of the empty church."  That sentence read odd to me.

Halfway in and I can see the main problem with this script is that information is being handed to us either from highly informed secondary characters or through dream sequences.  So, there's not much tension building.

Dialogue like this:

OSGOOD
The trials are over, sister, but do
not think that witchcraft is welcome
in this town.

CHRISTINE
Reverend, I am no witch. I just wanna
be left alone. Can you not help me?

I had to keep reminding myself that this was taking place in the present day.  These people had a knack for speaking like they were in ye olden times.

Once again, one of the big plot points, that the Executioner is the husband of Goody Morgan, is revealed by a handy character.  Also, in the dream the Executioner says that he is Christine's grandfather.  Of course he's a distant ancestor,  so maybe he should have used the term forebear or something.

Rafti's revelation that he's a descendant of the Abbot's was just a little too much at this point.  This seemed a like a case of a writer with a big story in his or her head and they were trying to cram it all in within the alloted pages.

Missing a FADE OUT

Overall, I liked the ambition here, but I felt like I just had a story read to me instead of viscerally experiencing what was on the page.  A noble effort, but it just didn't work for me.  
















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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 11:49pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from Ryan1
The issue with expositional dialogue begins early in this script when Christine explains about her dreams and waiting for instructions.

Halfway in and I can see the main problem with this script is that information is being handed to us either from highly informed secondary characters or through dream sequences.  So, there's not much tension building.

Once again, one of the big plot points, that the Executioner is the husband of Goody Morgan, is revealed by a handy character.  Also, in the dream the Executioner says that he is Christine's grandfather.  Of course he's a distant ancestor,  so maybe he should have used the term forebear or something.

Rafti's revelation that he's a descendant of the Abbot's was just a little too much at this point.  This seemed a like a case of a writer with a big story in his or her head and they were trying to cram it all in within the alloted pages.

Overall, I liked the ambition here, but I felt like I just had a story read to me instead of viscerally experiencing what was on the page.  A noble effort, but it just didn't work for me.



Ryan, you've given very good and worthwhile comments. I have a suggestion to give it a whirl with a "shift" in perspective from Christine's POV where instead of running from the Executioner, she's drawn to him. And this, I had imagined in The Church Scene which I think has loads of opportunity to spring off from and build the suspense.

Lot's of good opportunities exist with this one. It's nice and raw and lovable because of all of the imaginations that can develop from it.

Sandra













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