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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  Abracadabra - OWC
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  Author    Abracadabra - OWC  (currently 8728 views)
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 9:24am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Abracadabra by Darren J Seeley (DarrenJamesSeeley) - Short, Gothic Horror - An eccentric 19th century magician hired to expose a paranormal fraud gets more than he expected. 15 pages, 5 characters, PG-13 Rating - pdf, format

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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  October 29th, 2011, 5:56pm
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Posted: October 15th, 2011, 2:35pm Report to Moderator

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Got a bit lost, not sure what was going on sometimes tbh, but I think that's my fault.
It is very eloquently written with enjoyable poetic descriptions and images but some of it came across as a little pretentious.
Use of italics and wrylies broke the rhythm of the read.
Victorian catherdrals were not built in 1787 - the victorian period began in 1837 ended 1901
Loved the language in the dialogue, very era appropriate and the atmosphere was tangible.

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c m hall
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 5:40pm Report to Moderator

peninsula of Jersey
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I like this very much, although it is confusing, it's very entertaining.
The characters and dialogue seem fresh and original.
The feeling of madness that's just-under-control in the story keeps expanding, but not too far, this script seems to be just the right length.  My favorite, so far.
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Posted: October 15th, 2011, 6:03pm Report to Moderator
Guest User

There were times that the descriptions were too terse/staccato for my taste.  

...I'm afraid that I found this one very confusing.  Really didn't understand where it was going, or what previous relationships existed between the characters.  

It caused me to feel that this one meandered too much...lost steam towards the end.  FWIW: felt the red ants in the eye sockets was a nice touch...  )
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 7:38pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

Los Angeles
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This one subscribes to the literal misinterpretation of a ghost.
Is Anton on a bridge AND dealing with a wooden monster?
Seems to me novelistic prose creating logic snafus on page one.
And more chunky descriptions clogging the story’s arteries.
I struggle with it too from time to time, over visualization.
Page eight. How does a dead goat squeal?
I had a hard time following this one.
There was a deception, I guess a misunderstanding about a ghost.
Ambitious and not overly expository, but didn’t fully work for me.
Thanks for playing OWC.



CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Posted: October 15th, 2011, 11:30pm Report to Moderator

Buy the ticket, take the ride

That's me in the corner
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I read this one first based on the logline.

Parts of this I liked the writing very much, but other parts confused me.

The style seems almost inconsistent, in a way, and with far too much of a focus on the feet of your characters.  Seriously, by page 3 you must have mentioned them a dozen times.

I stuck this out for 12 pages, but it was a difficult read.  I would never have been able to make it through a feature written in this style.  The wonderful parts were offset (and outnumbered) by the confounding parts.

Stop trying so hard.  Remember that in a script, the key element is clarity.

It is fine (though risky) to challenge your reader with a literate style -- but you must be cautious to never confuse them outright.

Here, you have done the latter.

Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 9:39am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Part time writer

The Island of Jersey
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Hello James,

To keep it brief, I like others, found this a hard read but it has potential.

Wooden monster?
One scene is titled balcony then she looks out a window - not sure that's wholly clear
Over description in parts eg cadence walk, doesn't help me
Dead goat squealing?

All the best.

My scripts  HERE

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Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
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IMDb link...
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 9:51am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Yeah...very awkwardly written.  Very novelistic.  Writer trying way too hard with descriptions, phrases, and words that have no right being in a Spec script.

I stopped before page 2, because I know that every mistake I saw on page 1 will repeat itself again and again throughout.  Sorry.

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, 4:13pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

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

Bowden, Alberta
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I think you have some very good moments with this, but there are issues in nailing the "what it about" factor early on.

Let's take a look:

>Moonlight shines off a small European village town off in the distance.

Take a look at: village town

Use one or the other, but not both.

Why not put SMALL EUROPEAN VILLAGE as a slug.


>Moonlight shines down

Yes. It always shines down. Maybe have it illuminate from the a cliff on a rise or something. Do something to make a really clear impression.

I know if I just read "moonlight shines down", in my head, I can be down on the ground receiving that moonlight, or up in the clouds with the moon, as if, dispersing it; so I think you can work on clarity.

I like:

>Heavy winds sift through his dark coat.

For me it gave the perfect image.

The work you did with the visuals of the old rotten bridge was good, but we need to get into the essentials of the story faster I think. And we need to feel and know Anton's personal motivations for coming there very clearly early on.

All the Leo and John banter in the dialogue at the beginning had me clueless.

See page three and you'll maybe see what I mean. And the excessive wrylies take the reader out of the story and also, they're just over directing the actors. Good scripts are written with a lot of strong implicit clues and they are contextually based. It's the context that provide the actors with what to do. Then they can work their magic with it.

I could go on, but I'll just stop for now.

I see some good work here. I don't see so much of the theme. Also, I think you can work more on character. I say that a lot though.


A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I usually groan when I read loglines that mention someone getting “more than he expected.” You might be making fun of the expression but it’s right up there with “more than he bargained for,” etc.

So I was drawn in because I’ve dabbled in magic and psychic trickery for years. I was a little disappointed to find this story has nothing to do with that but that’s fine, I can look at it on its own terms.

I feel the description is too poetic. Wooden monster? I applaud you for trying to be dynamic but a lot of the time the description comes off as trying too hard and really just makes what’s going on more confusing.

Not much to say about the story. There really doesn’t seem to be one.

There is some good imagery. Without a coherent story, though, the imagery is really lost.

The story needs to be developed more and the description needs to be a little more straightforward. Nail that and you’ll have something.

Good luck.


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Pale Yellow
Posted: October 17th, 2011, 9:46am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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I was confused from the beginning....wooden monster. I kept getting lost. Some of the descriptions were good but some were almost overboard for me.

Best of luck and thanks for entering!
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Posted: October 17th, 2011, 2:42pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Vancouver, BC
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I just couldn't get past page 2. It tries too hard, the prose is purple yet ineffective. It's just awkward. I'd like to read this with the excessive descriptions dialed down.

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Posted: October 18th, 2011, 7:52pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

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There's a lot going for this but I feel you may have bogged it down with your writing style.
Has a very Gothic vibe and although I'm a little confused as to what exactly happened, I believe Mary and her brothers tried to use Anton as a sacrifice in order to give Mary more power - only for their plan to go wrong. How it went wrong kinda evaded me but I'm assuming Anton didn't step in the circle?
Might be interested in giving it another read in future.

The writing is different, well in tune with the topic, and it did make for an interesting read but at times it grated a little.
I enjoyed the visuals and tone.

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Posted: October 18th, 2011, 8:57pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I think the writer really tried for period detail, but the choice of words made for a confusing read.  The tails ends of his coat flapping like raven's wings was a nice, evocative line.  The wooden monster of the bridge on the other hand, was almost deliberately misleading.

The constant cutting back between Anton and Mary to John and Leo and back muddled up the narrative flow.

I never quite grasped what was going on with the dead goat sacrifice and the dead woman's body and why Anton was necessary.  I was hoping Anton's skill in magic would play a bigger part in the story.  Strange script that would be helped by more clarity in the writing.

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Posted: October 19th, 2011, 11:27pm Report to Moderator

Victoria, Australia
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I don't get it Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm lost on this one.

Still, the imagery was awesome! Right down to the red ants coming out of the eye sockets:p

Good job on setting the mood perfectly.
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