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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  Mischief At Morley House - OWC
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Don
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 8:26am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Mischief At Morley House by Pete B. Lane (pete) - Short, Gothic Horror - A secret lurks Ďbout Morley House. A secret that wonít be ignored. But she donít mean no harm - if you donít do no harm.  12 pages, 9 characters, Hard R Rating - pdf, format


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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  October 29th, 2011, 4:57pm
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darrentomalin
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 2:53pm Report to Moderator
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Loved the dialogue, great descriptions and accuracy.
Not sure "You want to get messy, bitch" fits though.
Also, a ghost using a gun? sort of ruined it - much more poetic if she was hung perhaps?
Well done.


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

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 6:39pm Report to Moderator
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Again, this oneís got a misunderstood ghost.
The title evoked some Hardy boys vibe.
This oneís chock full of slap happy chicks.
The extended flashback didnít work too well for me.
Seems that couldíve been tightened up or told as a story.
Refreshing to see the lady get her chocolate freak on.
Sensuality has been lacking in most of these gothic tales.
It was nice to have a psycho chick, for a change.
A reasonably well executed, if familiar tale.
Thanks for playing OWC

Regards,
E.D.


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Ledbetter
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 7:18pm Report to Moderator
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This one didnít work for me.

Reason being, it wasn't Gothic Horror at all that I could see.

The writing was good but a few times, the southern draw thing actually pulled me from the story because I had to try and figure out what he was saying. Awful lot of characters for a short as well.

Good job on submitting to the OWC.

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wonkavite
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 7:22pm Report to Moderator
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* Spoilers*

Very clean writing - so kudos on that!

This story, though...just didn't do it for me: for a few different reasons.

Margaret comes off as much too cliche - the spoiled, white rich bitch....who just happens to have jungle fever.  And her motivation for killing is far too thin.  She decides to kill her sister, just because she saw something she shouldn't (and allows Jesse to hang for the crime)?  Then she decides to kill Zona, for the same reason.  Such motivations just aren't believable.  If you were writing this as a satire, that would work.  But as a serious horror - it takes away from the impact of the story.  

Then there's Margaret's half-nudity scene.  Got no problem with nakedness in films.  But this one was totally gratuitous...which again made Margaret much too cartoony.

Zona was a good character, that I would like to have seen more of.  And the idea of a black man being hung for a crime he didn't commit - that idea's got promise (though I'm sure it's been done).  But the cliches in this one held it back from reaching it's potential.  With a revamp, it could be very interesting...

Unfortunately, this one descended darned close to torture porn.  Which -when written for its own sake - is never, ever a good thing in a script.  Or for a writer.

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Don  -  October 18th, 2011, 7:34pm
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dogglebe
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 10:19pm Report to Moderator
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While this script was very neatly written and pretty well formatted, I found the story to lack any substance.  The whole forbidden-sex-thing seemed dull and amateurish.  The description Zona finds the wet, writhing couple reminded me of a colorful line from the-script-that-must-not-be-named.

Sorry to be so harsh here but, aside for the formatting, this was just not a good script.


Phil
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stevie
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 11:15pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this one up until about the last four pages, when it descended into a sort of soft porn slasher flick!

Before that I thought the period was evoked nicely, and the premise was done well. I think the basis of Gothic horror is hinting at the violence, without actually showing it explicitly.

If you could re-write it to finish it earlier, it would a tighter story.

Good effort!


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Scoob
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
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Definitely felt more of a period piece than Gothic horror.
I really liked the writing in this one, quick to read and the ghost being Lisbeth instead of Jesse actually surprised me. ( Not sure why since Lisbeth was killed in the house but just being honest.)
The ending seemed a little rushed and incomplete, which is understandable.
I enjoyed it for the most part. Well done.



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The boy who could fly
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 5:09pm Report to Moderator
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This one was pretty good, had a nice atmosphere to it, kinda drags for a biy and I thought a ghost holding a gun was kinda silly, broke the mood in a way, but other than that there is some solid writing here. Good work on the OWC.


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 8:52pm Report to Moderator
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Yesin' we had some southern dialogue and all those pre-requisites for a black slave show, but I really felt this was very cliche and completely lacking in originality.

There are thousands of scripts flying around like this I'm sure. What have you got here that's original that you are bringing to the table? Why are you even submitting something that is not even attempting to be gothic?

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Ryan1
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 10:34pm Report to Moderator
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A lot of ideas in this one that never quite come together.  I liked the setting, but I don't think you went for a full Southern gothic yarn.  You set the mood, but the story never found its footing.  

Does a ghost really need to use a gun?  

The "You wanna to get messy, b1tch?"  line seemed out of period.

Margaret was a nasty character that deserved to die, but I wish it happened with more originality.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 17th, 2011, 9:24am Report to Moderator
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Hello ??

Enjoyed the read.

I agree with others that;

Dialogue was a bit hard for me
Margarets first crime seemed to lack adequate motivation
Ghost with gun - not sure

Otherwise I enjoyed and thought it could become quite interesting if varied and enriched.

EDIT I went back and re read this one. The writing was better than I remembered and the story flowed well. I thought the story was well structured and easy to follow. I thought the flashback was fine. Yes it told some past story but also showed her character in what she DID, although quite why she does that to her sister may need a little more reason. We saw her actions, the cold nature of her soul, so to me it worked. It's just the end that doesn't do it for me, but with a few changes that could be fixed. Sound work.

All the best.


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IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr

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Reef Dreamer  -  October 27th, 2011, 5:43am
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ReneC
Posted: October 18th, 2011, 2:52pm Report to Moderator
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Great writing from an obviously experienced and confident author, the few grammatical errors notwithstanding. A pleasure to read.

The flashback was a poor choice. It serves no purpose but to tell some backstory, pure exposition. If the memory had some impact on the character's arc it would have been appropriate.

The resolution was another poor choice. I'm confused about who the protag is. Logically it should be Zona but the ghost is the one who kills Margaret. It would make more sense if Zona manages to escape or kill Margaret with the ghost's help.

What's really strange is the ghost's sudden decision to kill Margaret. I find it difficult to believe Zona is the first person to give Margaret an excuse to murder again. Her intentions leaped to murder far too quickly for that to be the case and she was prepared for it. So why now? Why didn't the ghost kill her long ago and be done with it?

I like the setting and tone, the dialogue is believable and distinct, even the slave labour and sexual taboos were handled well if a tad clichť, but the shortcomings are big pills to swallow. This has great potential with a major rewrite.


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Dreamscale
Posted: October 18th, 2011, 4:01pm Report to Moderator
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Not bad...not bad at all.

Writing's OK, but there are numeruos mistakes, but compared to the vast majority of these OWC entries, much, much better.

Dialogue didn't really work for me.  I do appreciate the effort to show Southern drawl, but IMO, you went too far with it and missed at other times.

The story is interesting, but too big for a 12 page short, IMO.  Not sure I really see Gothic Horror here, either.

Overall, not a bad effort by any means.


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Breanne Mattson
Posted: October 19th, 2011, 3:08pm Report to Moderator
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This is another one with a title that makes it sound like a comedy. Itís the word mischief. You might consider changing it.

The way the southern dialogue is written makes it drag a little. I think you went a little overboard with it.

Some of the descriptions are a little awkward.

Would Margaret really call Zona a bitch in this particular era in history?

A ghost that uses a gun? Thatís a new one. Kind of takes the fun out of being a ghost, if you ask me.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good effort. The story didnít really grab me, I think mostly because Margaret is so unlikeable and Zona isnít really developed. If you flesh out the Zona character more, and even Lisbeth, you could make it into something.

Good luck.


Breanne


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greg
Posted: October 20th, 2011, 1:29am Report to Moderator
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I wanted to like this more, but it just seemed to lack a punch.  Lisbeth being the ghost didn't work for me and the problem is I'm not sure how you could have made it worked.  It just seemed cliche and routine.  I was hoping it would go in another direction but it ultimately went into the one that I guess plays it safe.  I liked the dialogue for the most part.  Tough at times but I liked it.  Margaret is a badass but I would have liked to see more personality and development from her.  Just more of what makes her tick.

So this is well written and it's a solid effort for a week.  I have my qualms about it but nice job.

Greg


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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: October 20th, 2011, 8:39pm Report to Moderator
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This one was well written for sure.

This is also one that I felt more as a straight up ghost story than Gothic, but thats just M/O.

Not a bad job for a week.

Good job on getting it done.


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leitskev
Posted: October 20th, 2011, 10:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hmm. I am surprised the reviews are not more positive here, especially given the relative state of most of the other OWC's. I thought this was generally well done, and I don't think I'm an easy reader to please.

There were a couple of times the southern accent was a little too harsh, which caused me to trip. But overall it was effective. Same with the writing.

Definitely Gothic horror, and a misunderstood ghost. No question this qualifies.

The characters were pretty believable. We don't know all that much about Zona, which is a little bit of a weakness here, but we do care about her, so she does the job as a character.

Nothing really thematic here, and no character arc or development in sight, but things are well enough done I can look past that. I actually only have one problem:

A ghost saving the day by firing a gun? Can you come up with something better after the reveal? That just seems like you couldn't figure out how to have the ghost get her out of the situation.

I might also add that I think Margaret is pretty conniving, so I think her planned murder of Zona would be MUCH more devious. A stocking is not a very reliable way to kill a healthy young slave use to manual labor; and Enoch is a risk to come back. Certainly he knows Margaret is with Zona.

The flashes are fine. Had you written them as a story as suggested, people would have complained it was expository. You can't win. This worked fine.

Spike Lee to direct?

This is in my top ten, though I am not done reading. It actually would be in my top 3, except for the ghost with a gun thing. It still could make my top 5 maybe. Well done!
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Baltis.
Posted: October 20th, 2011, 11:10pm Report to Moderator
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The script is constructed very well --Everything has a decent rhythm here, even the dialogue, I thought, was pretty damn good.  Convincing, really.

There are some technical stuff going on here that I don't use myself anymore, but some still do -- So it's a personal choice.

For instance (Cont'd) after characters speak aren't really relevant anymore.  

The use of your Flashback was, to me, a bit sloppy -- but it's, again, a personal preference.  I'd have just done the initial Flashback within a scene heading like such

INT. MORLEY HOUSE, KITCHEN - DAY - 1841 - FLASHBACK

No need to tack up the page and waste space.  But don't use this rule if you're comfortable with your own way of doing it.  The way I've shown you is simply a suggested method given to me by a consultant.

Nothing too crazy new going on in this one.  It's not the worst I've read in this event, but it's lacking in some areas most aren't and that's simply substance.  The story is kind of dead pan to me, it just wasn't super exciting.  But it wasn't bad either.

Great effort, a helluva lot of work to get this kind of story told in such a short amount of time and looking so presentable.

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albinopenguin
Posted: October 21st, 2011, 4:17pm Report to Moderator
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enjoyed the dialogue in this one even though it took me out of the "zone." i felt the same way about the adventures of huckleberry finn. its a nice touch, but i'm forced to read each line aloud in order to get its meaning. so its a double edged sword IMO

overall, i liked this. however it definitely needs some revising. i want to say more but im trying to read as many of these as possible.


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RayW
Posted: October 22nd, 2011, 12:36am Report to Moderator
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Locations & Sets  -   EXT & INT grand Southern mansion w/ Civil War period furnishings, EXT shed
Actors  -  ZONA (16), ADA (50s),  EDMUND MORLEY (45), ZECHARIAH TWEED (55),  MARGARET MORLEY x 2 (20) & (15), ghost,  JESSE (15), LISBETH MORLEY (18 ), extras at hanging x 12, hangman, OLD MAN (70),  ENOCH (20)
Costumes  -  1840s house service uniforms x 3, period suits x 2, Gown x 3, stockings, nightgown
Props  -  tea service & platter, dishes to wash, wealthy table settings x 3, vanity w/ mirror, brushes and combs, slave work clothes for Jesse, peach, pocket knife, lounge, book, oil lamp, gallows build, noose, sack, large suit cases, table w/ drawer, book, large knife, oil lantern, gun cabinet, black powder pistol, carpet to be set afire
Audio FX  -  tea service crashing to floor, slap, glass breaking, CLICK! black-powder pistol fire
Visual FX  -  ghost apparition, ghost hand to pull hair, Lisbeth's bloody chest stabbing w/knife, cracked glass, Lisbeth ghost with pistol, black powder pistol fires, Margaret's chest shot, Lisbeth's ghost recedes, ghost returns, room ablaze
Other  -  lighter, body harness for hanging, horse and carriage w/ driver, big fan for air gust, extension cords or portable generator + fuel, stunt coordinator for hanging and strangulation sequences, MUA for Margaret's missing teeth
Comments -  FWIW, you never wash an iron skillet in the sink. Turn off your program's dialog (CONT'D) feature. I'm unclear as to the point of the parlor conversation scene. A lot of work for a fair result. Mostly a ghost story, though.



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SpecialAgentDaleCooper
Posted: October 23rd, 2011, 12:08pm Report to Moderator
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First off, nice and snappy logline - I like. It definitely got me interested in reading.

The screenplay itself was interesting. I didn't see anything glaringly wrong with it. The story didn't really grab me as much as I'd hoped it would, and the character of Zona needed some fleshing out, but overall it's a strong effort.
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Quiou
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I liked your script. I think it was well written, and I think the ending was good. Liked other said, some choice of words might be wrong for this era.
The setting is good. The ghost fits well in the story.
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rdhay
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Yep, so there are things that could be fixed (title, historical accuracy, etc.), but overall I think this is a really good effort. It was an engaging read, so kudos I personally didn't like the southern accent spelled out - I think stating it's a strong southern accent would suffice.

Good job!
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rc1107
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One thing's not sitting right with me here:  Is this a comedy?

I ask only because I have a picture of a ghost going around yanking Margaret's hair for the past five years, and I can't help but to laugh.  Man, that would have to be the most annoying ghost in the world.

Otherwise, this is pretty well written.  I'm failing to see why a few people have ventured to call this a torture porn, though.  Yes, there was a scene with boobs in it, but no more than 'Titanic' showed, and I don't think 'TITanic' was ever labeled as a porn.

Okay, so there was the description of 'wet and writhing', too, (which I kind of liked.  Gave me a powerful image in my head), but I still wouldn't label this as a torture porn, either.  The violence I think was standard horror fare.

Zona was a great character.  Would've like to see this story be about her, rather than Margaret.  I would've liked to have seen Zona take Margaret out herself.  The ghost using a gun does put a ridiculous image in my head.

Tweed's character is way too over the top, especially for bringing nothing to the story, and so is his dialect.  You probably should've made his drawl a little more like Zona's and Ada's.  Just a faint accent.  Still a drawl, but a natural one.  You did good not giving a deep drawl to Margaret and Edmund, though.  They're a little more aristocratic, so they'd speak better English.  Good job recognizing that.

Not a bad story, but could've used a little better execution.  You had some good characters in place.  They just needed to be a little more defined, and probably needed a little more attention focused on the likable characters.

- Mark


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