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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 5164 views)
leitskev
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 5:17pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading! I expected some would really like this and some would really hate it. Very useful reviews, so again, thanks.

For anyone interested, I'd like to explain this story and then explain some of the real history that inspired it.

the story:

Some big questions that came up in reviews; who was chasing them on the train? Why did Rafti have the dream of digging? Why did Martha lead them to Osgood? Finally, and unbelievably, how is this Gothic?

Rafti is a descendant of the Abbotts, one of the founding families of the colonial town, and a family that helped destroy Martha by accusing her of being a witch, and thereby taking her land. Rafti discovers, while researching his own family history, that Thomas, the Executioner, had buried several bags of gold, done so at the instruction of his dead wife. The purpose was to help their descendants when they are in grave danger. When the descendant comes into danger, they are contacted by the ghosts of Thomas and Martha and guided to the gold.

So Rafti hatched a scheme. If he could find a descendant, attach himself to her, and at the same time convince her she was in danger, the dreams would be triggered. Also, the fact he intended to kill her triggered the dreams. The dreams were further enhanced by Raftiís doing things to convince her someone was after her. So there was no one chasing Christine, but the combination of the dreams and Raftiís manipulation convinced her there was.

The ghost of Martha does her best to lead them to the gold. To Boston, then Abbottsville, then Osgood, who leads them to Dane. Rafti wants Christine to sleep, get more instructions. And when she wakes, he pretends he has had the dream of digging in order to encourage her. He knows about that dream from his research. This was a clumsy foreshadowing attempt on my part.

Why does Rafti wake her from the dream when he finds the gold? He has a gun, so killing her will be easy. He wants her to know that once again the Abbotts have destroyed the Morgans.  

Oh, the gold. Thomas was a loyal man of the king, Charles I. When Charles was sentenced to die by Parliament, Charles wanted a trusted man to do the work, to make sure the cut was clean. He rewarded Thomas a kings ransom for this unfavorable task.

Too complicated? Too expository? Yeah, sorry. I tend to do that sometimes.

Gothic? Come on. We got a damsel in distress, a colonial church, a colonial house, and haunted woods. Most important, we have powerful connections to past ancestors and inherited sins, all huge parts of Gothic myth and tone.

The real history this was based on:

There is a house up the street from where I now live, in Andover, Ma., called the Abbott House, built in 1685 by Benjamin Abbott. The house was called the witch house for centuries, though the connection, it would seem, is indirect.

The Salem with scare begin in 1692 in Salems Village, now the town of Danvers(broke off from Salem later). Andover at the time shared a boundary. The two girls that started the scare were brought to Andover to look for witches, and Martha Carrier became one of the accused. Martha was married to Thomas Morgan Carrier, who was said at the time to be the executioner of Charles I. He was an interesting character himself. He was 7í4 and lived to be 109 years old, and was youthful and vigorous up until he died. He has many descendants today.

When Martha was accused of being a witch, one of the accusers was Benjamin Abbot. Apparently Martha and Thomas had a home somewhere near Benjaminís new house, though itís unknown where now. There was a property dispute that had to be settled by the town, and there are records of this. The town, which was stock full of Abbotts, sided with Benjamin, not surprisingly. Martha supposedly put a curse on Benjamin as a result, and Benjamin became ill. This became his testimony.

The land I now live on could very well be her land. If not, itís certainly within a mile.

Itís also possible that the Benjamin Abbott house was in fact built by the Carriers. At the time, when someone was convicted of witchcraft, the accusers were awarded with their land. Nice system, huh? So for a long time it was thought the Abbott house was built by Thomas and Martha. Current thinking is that it was not, but thereís no way to know.

Martha was called the Queen of Hell by Cotton Mather at the trial. She was one of the few to never confess, and maintained her innocence right up until they hung her. A neighbor, however, testified that she had ridden on a broomstick with Martha in the night. Yes, look it up.

The Abbott house stayed in the hands of the Abbotts for 10 generations. Somewhere along the way, one of the Abbotts actually married a Carrier, uniting the families.

Thomas moved to Connecticut with the kids after the trials. His remains and his immediate familyís were found in a secret cemetery in the 20th century when a highway was constructed across what was still their land. The graves were relocated.

Martha was buried with several men who were hung with her as witches, all thrown in a common grave, dug so shallow that body parts showed above the surface.

Hope someone enjoyed this little history tale. I started reading about this stuff the day the OWC began. Once I did, I knew I had to get them in a story somehow. The number of details combined with the unique parameters of this OWC almost made a complicated story inevitable. For those that stuck with it to the end, thanks!
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 7:31pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from leitskev
Thanks for reading! I expected some would really like this and some would really hate it. Very useful reviews, so again, thanks.

For anyone interested, I'd like to explain this story and then explain some of the real history that inspired it.

the story:

Some big questions that came up in reviews; who was chasing them on the train? Why did Rafti have the dream of digging? Why did Martha lead them to Osgood? Finally, and unbelievably, how is this Gothic?

Rafti is a descendant of the Abbotts, one of the founding families of the colonial town, and a family that helped destroy Martha by accusing her of being a witch, and thereby taking her land. Rafti discovers, while researching his own family history, that Thomas, the Executioner, had buried several bags of gold, done so at the instruction of his dead wife. The purpose was to help their descendants when they are in grave danger. When the descendant comes into danger, they are contacted by the ghosts of Thomas and Martha and guided to the gold.

So Rafti hatched a scheme. If he could find a descendant, attach himself to her, and at the same time convince her she was in danger, the dreams would be triggered. Also, the fact he intended to kill her triggered the dreams. The dreams were further enhanced by Raftiís doing things to convince her someone was after her. So there was no one chasing Christine, but the combination of the dreams and Raftiís manipulation convinced her there was.

The ghost of Martha does her best to lead them to the gold. To Boston, then Abbottsville, then Osgood, who leads them to Dane. Rafti wants Christine to sleep, get more instructions. And when she wakes, he pretends he has had the dream of digging in order to encourage her. He knows about that dream from his research. This was a clumsy foreshadowing attempt on my part.

Why does Rafti wake her from the dream when he finds the gold? He has a gun, so killing her will be easy. He wants her to know that once again the Abbotts have destroyed the Morgans.  

Oh, the gold. Thomas was a loyal man of the king, Charles I. When Charles was sentenced to die by Parliament, Charles wanted a trusted man to do the work, to make sure the cut was clean. He rewarded Thomas a kings ransom for this unfavorable task.

Too complicated? Too expository? Yeah, sorry. I tend to do that sometimes.

Gothic? Come on. We got a damsel in distress, a colonial church, a colonial house, and haunted woods. Most important, we have powerful connections to past ancestors and inherited sins, all huge parts of Gothic myth and tone.

The real history this was based on:

There is a house up the street from where I now live, in Andover, Ma., called the Abbott House, built in 1685 by Benjamin Abbott. The house was called the witch house for centuries, though the connection, it would seem, is indirect.

The Salem with scare begin in 1692 in Salems Village, now the town of Danvers(broke off from Salem later). Andover at the time shared a boundary. The two girls that started the scare were brought to Andover to look for witches, and Martha Carrier became one of the accused. Martha was married to Thomas Morgan Carrier, who was said at the time to be the executioner of Charles I. He was an interesting character himself. He was 7í4 and lived to be 109 years old, and was youthful and vigorous up until he died. He has many descendants today.

When Martha was accused of being a witch, one of the accusers was Benjamin Abbot. Apparently Martha and Thomas had a home somewhere near Benjaminís new house, though itís unknown where now. There was a property dispute that had to be settled by the town, and there are records of this. The town, which was stock full of Abbotts, sided with Benjamin, not surprisingly. Martha supposedly put a curse on Benjamin as a result, and Benjamin became ill. This became his testimony.

The land I now live on could very well be her land. If not, itís certainly within a mile.

Itís also possible that the Benjamin Abbott house was in fact built by the Carriers. At the time, when someone was convicted of witchcraft, the accusers were awarded with their land. Nice system, huh? So for a long time it was thought the Abbott house was built by Thomas and Martha. Current thinking is that it was not, but thereís no way to know.

Martha was called the Queen of Hell by Cotton Mather at the trial. She was one of the few to never confess, and maintained her innocence right up until they hung her. A neighbor, however, testified that she had ridden on a broomstick with Martha in the night. Yes, look it up.

The Abbott house stayed in the hands of the Abbotts for 10 generations. Somewhere along the way, one of the Abbotts actually married a Carrier, uniting the families.

Thomas moved to Connecticut with the kids after the trials. His remains and his immediate familyís were found in a secret cemetery in the 20th century when a highway was constructed across what was still their land. The graves were relocated.

Martha was buried with several men who were hung with her as witches, all thrown in a common grave, dug so shallow that body parts showed above the surface.

Hope someone enjoyed this little history tale. I started reading about this stuff the day the OWC began. Once I did, I knew I had to get them in a story somehow. The number of details combined with the unique parameters of this OWC almost made a complicated story inevitable. For those that stuck with it to the end, thanks!


Wow, Kevin you are so much of a better person than me!!!!!

I seriously had thought about explaining a lot in my script, but for me, my best critic, my husband, knew exactly what it was about and I'll tell you: That man loves his movies; so if it passes well with him (and I actually did several rewrites after the initial pass) then that's a good sign because he never gives any false praise. The way it stands, I will only allow people to determine their own interpretations of P.F. I may expand it to a feature with some help, but I'm not going to re-write it as an OWC piece. It is what it is. A helluva lot of work went into it and I'm just pleased with the opportunity to work like crazy. Working like crazy is the work I like best!!!  

Kevin, I've taken some good hard looks at The Executioner and again I say:

It's way more than a short OWC It's loaded with history and character that you just can't possibly put inside of a twelve pager!

Your destiny is to write features. Your destiny is to play with history. Your destiny is the passion that runs through your veins and as Michael and Pia would tell you:

That's Gothic! (To me!!!!)  

The Executioner didn't fail in this challenge. It was only wetting its mouth.  

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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leitskev
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 7:53pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Sandra. I think Bert had it right: more than a short, less than a feature. I guess that puts it in no man's land!

Could more stuff be added to make it feature worthy? Perhaps. Maybe some day. I have too many things lined up to work on at the moment to worry about it. I guess I'm just not good at shorts(not saying I'm good at features). I come up with stories that are too complicated for a short.

It's a tough challenge to have a complicated story and not have it be expository. I guess in a feature you can spread things out a little more.

I do think with some tweaking of the dialogue, this is an easy to film short. Ray's analysis had this being a budget buster, and I'm not sure why, but then I don't know much about filming. The locations are pretty easy: a train, a town square, a church, an old house, some woods. None of those seem very difficult or expensive to me.

I don't think it would feel as expository in film. For example, the church scene would have a certain amount of threat and tension built in, with someone presumably chasing them, and Osgood locking the door and blowing out the candle. Dane is expository, but actually a brief scene. Most of the film time would be in the dream sequences, which would really break up the brief expository exchanges.

I do think if I rewrite this, one change would be to have the Executioner say very little. He should be more quiet. A few of his lines will go to his wife.

BTW, the little river up the road from me is mentioned several times in the Salem witch trial records as being where the devil took people to baptize them into his service. So Satan hangs out in my neck of the woods!
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 8:15pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer


What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

Location
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Quoted from leitskev


I do think if I rewrite this, one change would be to have the Executioner say very little. He should be more quiet. A few of his lines will go to his wife.

BTW, the little river up the road from me is mentioned several times in the Salem witch trial records as being where the devil took people to baptize them into his service. So Satan hangs out in my neck of the woods!


Re: The Executioner having few lines...

Excellent idea!!! And really:

Isn't it usually The Wife who does all of the talking?!!  

Re: Satan and His agenda:

You know me. I believe that Sataaan is really working to benefit everyone. The obstacles we face only help us to grow.  

G-d bless you Kevin and I hope the big "S" is in your corner!!! We surely don't need to have to deal with all that Hell and shite.  

Sandra




A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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leitskev
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 8:30pm Report to Moderator
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You would have like the real Martha, Sandra. She always told it the way it was, which is why the neighbors disliked her. She didn't take it from anyone. And when they put her on trial, she didn't back down from anyone. She's the only one they hung who never tried to get off by confessing. I hope I did her character justice with my portrayal here.

Massachusetts hasn't changed. Back then, the Puritans thought they knew it all, went after you if you didn't play ball. It was their version of political correctness. Today, the Puritans drive Prius's with bumper stickers about global warming and Hugo Chavez. Fortunately they can't hang those that disagree like in the good old days. Not yet, anyway.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer


What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

Location
Bowden, Alberta
Posts
3675
Posts Per Day
0.80

Quoted from leitskev
You would have like the real Martha, Sandra. She always told it the way it was, which is why the neighbors disliked her. She didn't take it from anyone. And when they put her on trial, she didn't back down from anyone. She's the only one they hung who never tried to get off by confessing. I hope I did her character justice with my portrayal here.

Massachusetts hasn't changed. Back then, the Puritans thought they knew it all, went after you if you didn't play ball. It was their version of political correctness. Today, the Puritans drive Prius's with bumper stickers about global warming and Hugo Chavez. Fortunately they can't hang those that disagree like in the good old days. Not yet, anyway.


Holy crap do I love Martha!!!

It's to her credit that she doesn't "confess"!!! What the hell's to confess anyways??!!!

That a person's born naked and half blind and people slap your ass and tell you you're not a Christian?!!!

Stellar, Kevin!!!

Sandra



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