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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  Falling Angels - OWC
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  Author    Falling Angels - OWC  (currently 6109 views)
Dreamscale
Posted: October 18th, 2011, 9:02am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Easily the best script I've read so far of 27.

There are issues throuughout that should have been caught, but in terms of writing, it's head and shoulders above the rest.  Many awkwardly phrased lines make this a bit confusing in places.  Lots of missing punctuation - mostly commas.  A major blunder is a missing Slug when the action goes outside of the church.  Calling Du Mort, "the father" over and over didn't read well. The dialogue from Marie wasn't great by any means.

I liked this for what it is.  I feel like Du Mort was a bit over the top in his evilness, which took away slightly from the power invoked here.  The setting was well thought out.  Having actual history play out as a back drop was also a great idea.  Personally, I liked the different colored ghosts, but feel they could have been set up a bit better.  I enjoyed the ending very much, also.

I feel the Gothic-ness, but I'm not so sure about teh misunderstood ghost aspect.

All in all, easily the best entry I've come across so far.

Well done!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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leitskev
Posted: October 18th, 2011, 12:26pm Report to Moderator
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This review brought to you by an amateur viewer and the makers of Jameson's Irish Whiskey. Please don't drink and drive, but if you must, drink Jameson's!

Gothic enough. An ancient church, an ancient town; cemetery; a damsel in distress; sins that haunt. Not sure about misunderstood ghosts. I guess Du Mort misunderstands what they are maybe, or what they can do.

The writing needs quite a bit of editing, Understandable for an OWC. Some areas were very awkward, such as "she feels a pain in her ankle and bends down to look." I understand the purpose of having her bend, it's just awkward. There were several of these, and a bit of over description.

Loved the setting and the description of it. An original choice, thank you very much!

Started losing me in the middle. I didn't understand some stuff, let's begin there, maybe I can figure this out while I'm reviewing.

"Oh Father, what have we done? The
Lord seeks vengeance for our sins.
I heard his servants, evil ghosts"

--never did figure this out. Maybe it'll be more apparent as I reread.

"They’re HERE Marie, they’re HERE."

--shades of Poltergeist

"There is no heaven Marie, no hell,
and I will not be... judged."

--not something I would expect from someone watching spirits at play.


"Your ghosts are kind Marie. You
have a decent grave"

--I don't understand why they are 'her' ghosts. Did she summon them? Has she summoned them before? Is this a reference to her grandma's ghost, which the priest is now telling her did not go to Heaven?

"I’ll save you... from entering hell a virgin"

--wait a freaking minute. He just said there is no heaven or hell!!


Ok, second read, and I still cannot make sense of the spirits. After the reveal, I'd be curious about whether there is a theme here. Be careful about trusting a priest? the dead are weak but not useless? Innocence triumphs in the end? There doesn't have to be a theme, I am just wondering.

Another thing that might have helped would be to have the priest have a character arc, even if we don't see it all, but we know of it. For example, he could have basically been a good priest who was overtaken by greed in time of war. That would give him a struggling conscience, and we would watch the struggle, knowing that the war within him affected the prospects of the innocent girl.  But this story makes a point to not go this route. The priest has sided with the Germans, so we know he was always evil. And there is absolutely no remorse or conscience in him. He is so purely evil that he becomes less interesting.

I love history, this script is probably in my top half of scripts. And it started out pretty strong. I have three main objections.

First, I never made sense of what the spirits were, how they fit in. Are they just the disembodied dead? Are they powerless? does it make sense that the priest knows about them, but casually says there is no heaven or hell? and when they put on such a uniquely powerful display, he says they are powerless? And then he mentions hell, as though perhaps he believes in that now, but no heaven?

The girl hints at a prior sin with the priest, described in the quote above. But from there on on in she is presented as innocent and virginal. I don't get that.

Finally, despite the very strong start, I really found myself drifting in the middle. And this might be due to something that is very difficult in a short to achieve. And that is that we don't know the girl, so we don't care much about her. She's innocent and all that, but that's also standard stuff from central casting. That girl has been in every script(mine too! She gets around). So we have the standard innocent girl and the standard, uncomplicated priest. We knew he would try to kill and rape the girl. That's what uncomplicated evil characters do in that situation. We didn't need to know the OWC parameters to know that, either. Anyone reading this will know that.

But take heart! Obviously writing an effective short is a very difficult thing to do. I've only read one that really worked in this challenge, and that one was pretty cliche, almost to the point where you get the feeling the writer is winking at us. This is tough, and obviously this particular OWC is tougher than usual. All in all, this script probably doesn't suffer from flaws any worse than most of the others, and is probably better than half.

IMO, of course. Amateur reviewer, respectfully signing out!
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Scoob
Posted: October 19th, 2011, 6:43pm Report to Moderator
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This failed to keep my attention at the beginning but I'm glad I read through it. There is an interesting idea of losing faith in a crisis and I'm sure some of the visuals would look great.
The writing felt a bit rushed, with a clean up things could probably bomb ( no pun intended) ahead at a better pace.
No complaints about the tone and setting, I just struggled to get into this one for some reason.



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Breanne Mattson
Posted: October 20th, 2011, 7:37pm Report to Moderator
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I think you did a good job of creating the war atmosphere. I liked the overall feel of it. It reminded me a little of an Ingmar Bergman movie.

Not crazy about the ghosts, though. Could have done without them, actually. Would have been better if they were figments of Marie’s imagination.

Father Du Mort denies heaven and hell but at the same time acknowledges that ghosts are real? Seems inconsistent.

I like the ending except for the title cards.

Good job.


Breanne


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jwent6688
Posted: October 21st, 2011, 4:55pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this one. You set up the atmosphere well here. The church is a nice Gothic setting. AS is this story. I'm sure others will disagree, but I'm not gonna argue it.

I would assume that the priest wanted to pay off the Germans with the church gold? The Mayor disagreed? What brought Father to be so evil does elude me. I tried. I though the backstory about her grandmother didn't play a part in this, was waiting for it to. If it did, I missed it.

I'm sure the author is getting a good deal of questions about the ghosts at the end. I will wait for them to chime in. I don't need a script to answer everything for me to be enjoyable, as was this one.

It was nice to see the yanks drop in to save the day at the end. AS was the backstory about the parachutes in the church window, if that is actually true, I'm glad to have learned that.

Good job completing an OWC...

James


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Grandma Bear
Posted: October 21st, 2011, 5:13pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed the fact that you chose a war setting. Not that I necessarily love war settings, but it was very different than some of the other scripts I've read so far.

I liked that Father Du Mort "Father of Death" turns sinister. I would have liked to see him go a little further...  

I liked the visuals of the ghosts and that they all had their own colors. However, I didn't really understand why they were there and why they were at that one particular grave. In a rewrite you could probably ditch the ghosts and instead work On Marie and her faith and the antagonist the Father.

I liked the soldier parachuting in...to restore faith?

The writing did not scream newbie to me. If I wrote it however, I would probably trim some extra words here and there to make a clean crisp and faster read.

Another good one in my book. Good work.


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bert
Posted: October 22nd, 2011, 12:12pm Report to Moderator
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On page one you state, "...there begins the heavy sound of pounding artillery".  In "most" instances, script-wise, stating that an action of any sort "begins" is considered wasted words.  Most often, an action occurs, and there is no need to state that it begins. A distant explosion breaks the silence -- and leave it at that.

The I/E slug with CONTINUOUS on page 2 is working too hard.  She stumbles to the door is EXT.  She stumbles inside becomes INT.  Blow off the rest of that stuff and your continuous is assumed.  You only use continuous (in my book) if there is some reason the reader might become confused about the flow of the scene, and that is not the case here.

What is the point of Du Mort dropping the glass bottle on page 3?  Watch out for needless details that clutter your narrative.   Every action in a script -- and particularly in a short -- needs to serve a purpose.

When Marie pulls aside the curtain aside to reveal the Mayor this has little impact, apart from that of a body lying on the floor.  Unless he is wearing a nametag or something, he is just some guy on the floor.  I would make Du Mort's victim another priest -- in clerical garb -- increasing the visual impact of Du Mort's evil deed.  The nature of their dispute over church funds can remain the same, and it even makes more sense, in a way.

I am not sure the pervert angle is necessary.  Once you have established his murderous nature, he has his motive to harm Marie, and is that not enough?  The whole virgin thing almost feels like you are overselling Du Mort, making him almost cartoon-evil instead of subtly evil, which (to me) diminishes the piece.

I am also confused by the role of the multicolored spirits wafting around. It leads to some nice visuals -- as with Du Mort running his fingers playfully through the ethereal black spirit -- but their purpose, and why they appear now, seems disconnected from the rest of the action.  The tale will be strengthened if you somehow justify the presence of these spirits -- in this place -- at this time -- in a suitable fashion.

I will also note that you abandon Du Mort at the most critical juncture in this tale.  What becomes of him?  You neglect to tell us, and that is an omission that must be corrected for this tale to feel complete.

I do not mind the title cards you have placed near the end, as they contribute something unique to this tale.  If you are going to focus on the stained glass windows, however, you need to emphasize these windows (and their destruction) earlier in the script.  I missed it the first time, went back to look, and even then found nothing to indicate that this event had any real significance.  If you have a "payoff" late in the script, be sure you give it a proper "set-up" earlier on in the narrative, or its impact is lost.

I enjoyed the unique setting you brought to this script, and I found the writing solid, with very few instances of cornball dialogue where frankly you had the opportunity for tons of it.  Nice job there.  A solid entry amongst some of the better ones I have read, and correcting a few narrative hiccups would make this stronger still.  Notify me of a rewrite should you do one.


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irish eyes
Posted: October 22nd, 2011, 4:25pm Report to Moderator
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I really enjoyed this script, one of the best I`ve read..
I finally get the feeling of Gothic horror from this one.
I enjoyed the  setting, French church during world war II and the father du Mort character(nutter)

You had few typos here and there, but overall an excellant read.

Well done for getting your OWC out

Mark


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greg
Posted: October 22nd, 2011, 5:08pm Report to Moderator
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This is one of those rare pieces where I struggled to get into it but was eager to continue on.  

There's a lot of interesting things going on in this script from Marie's story, to the evil priest, to the war setting, to D-Day, to the ghosts - there's some good stuff in here, no doubt and I really enjoyed it for the most part.  

It did read slow for me and I feel the writing could be simplified, but I thought overall this was unique.

Nice job.

Greg


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SpecialAgentDaleCooper
Posted: October 23rd, 2011, 10:43am Report to Moderator
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Very interesting, with a nice attention to detail in terms of historical accuracy. The spirits were a neat touch, and I thought this approached religious themes without being too preachy.

It was also compelling from beginning to end. I echo what someone said earlier, though, about du Mort being a tad over the top. I did, however, think on that a bit and I feel that excess (in the wake of the horror surrounding him) may have contributed to, and ultimately helped in, fleshing out the character in my mind.

Good work.
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Ledbetter
Posted: October 23rd, 2011, 4:24pm Report to Moderator
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Boy, coming in at the end on this one and I see it has pretty much been gone over. Every time I found something to talk about, I found a thread had already covered it.

Great story! In short, this would look good on film. A classic feel and tone throughout. In fact, I will go so far as say, it's my Fav so far.

Hell I even like it better than mine.

Good Job!

Shawn.....><
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Quiou
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As a french, I like your setting. Sainte Mčre Eglise was well chosen and the church was great. The father was so evil, and i like this A LOT. I didn't feel the gothic horror part. WWII is not really gothic in my opinion.
The spirits don't really fit in the story. They appear "out of nowhere". I think it would have been better if they were spirits of people she knew.
An other thing. It may sound stupid but "red" and "purple" for a spirt is not my thing. When I imagine Normandie on June 6th 1944, I see different kind of colors. It doesn't seem right in the settings.
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rdhay
Posted: October 25th, 2011, 6:29pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Good job here. I like the visuals, though I think you could pull back a bit with the ghosts. I agree re the priest's name - it's too much, I think.

My only real problem with this one was the dialogue, mainly because it's really not clear what's going on. You do have a few unfilmables too, but that's an easy fix.

Overall, really good job!
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wonkavite
Posted: October 30th, 2011, 7:56am Report to Moderator
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Hey Reef -

Thought Falling Angels had alot going for it - kudos!  Especially good for just a second short.  For my taste, I *strongly* do feel that you need to tone down Father Du Mort...make his evil more subtle and insidious.  Having him try to rape Maria just makes him over-the-top and takes away from the impact.  BUT - there's alot in this story with themes and writing that are good, and can certainly be built upon.  The lush historical background, the idea of the ghosts (and God) being impotent to help the "good who are in need".  The parachutes coming down at the end were also a great visual.  Give this more nuance and less "volume", and you've got a really good one here.

Cheers,

--J (Wonkavite)
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 30th, 2011, 11:13am Report to Moderator
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Falling Angels, my second short.  Thankfully, better than the last one.

Thanks ( garry, hugh, darrenj, wonkavite, feat747, Zanej, E D, Scar T, CM Hall, DJ Seeley, Ryan, Steve, Sandra,  Jeff, Kevin, Scoob, Breanne, Jwent, Pia Bert, Irish Eyes, Greg, Sara, Led, Quiou and RD Hay)  for the reviews . All taken on board.

I appreciate FA needs work. I’m on it. Whilst I am happy with the response to FA I am VERY annoyed with myself for losing control of the priest. I knew this but failed to deal with it. Thankfully most accepted this as one of the tweaks that are required.

I have a lot to learn and don’t have the writing prowess of others so I will need to work hard.

Aim –  I wanted this to be compact and dynamic.  So I chose an active setting and added a simple story with which to create a debate.
  
Who are the Falling Angels? – I like complexity in the name. Is it the soldiers? Or the Priest’s fall from grace? Maybe Marie, the Angel that falls to her safety because she believed in spirits?

I concluded it was about all of them. The idea of a dynamic day when lives change and good and bad switch places when the circumstances decide.  

Background story – it strikes me that the writer needs to carefully assess what info is needed and what can be held back. I lean towards holding back on the assumption that the viewer will accept scenes if presented clearly, perhaps more readily than a reader. Ooh, that sounds like a debate.

Marie is the young, innocent, god fearing village girl, brought up in the occupation (four years) and reliant on the family/church as her foundation. When her house is blown up (45 civilians died in Ste Mere eglise that night) her instinct is to run to the place she trusts, the Church.

In my mind Father Du Mort (the name roughly means “of death “, is this over the top?) was a complex character, not pure evil. A reliable local priest (helping Marie’s grandmother was to expose his good side and why Marie would trust him) but he has sided with the Germans. How or why we don't know.

When D Day arrives, he realises he must run. In the madness of the night he tries to steal the booty, is found out and in a fight the Mayor is killed. His decent is therefore triggered through war, fear, collaboration, theft, murder and assisted with alcohol.  Enter Marie, stage left.

Relationship – there is NO sexual relationship. Marie’s words about “OUR” sins, was her fear that the God she trusts is destroying the word around her. Why? That must be for humanities sins. She goes to him in her hour of need as a father figure.  Need to clarify this.

To spirit or not to spirit? -  Initially the spirits were the solution to the ghost requirement.  Soon they were extended to create density within the debate. Is there a god and if so will it intervene? The pilgrims drinking the spring water was the set up for their existence (the spring is a true fact).

I didn’t want to explain everything. I wanted there to be an element of mystery but not too much. The fire is the energy of humanity.  We don’t know why it’s on but we see D Day in the background. The suggestion is made that they are linked.

Ah, the beloved Spirits. Black = death (not evil), White = life, Red = emotions, Gold = attributes, Purple = spirituality (Marie’s colour).

This script concluded there was that a spirit world but not with a heaven or hell, just one place. The Priest is presented with the existence of the spirit world, but believes that he will not be judged. He thinks he can do what he likes. Remember, he has lost the plot.

The overuse of “hell” was me losing control (easy fix), but in essence the script was to suggest that the single spirit world you go to can be more heavenly or hellish, depending on what happens to you. Like either ends of the same spectrum, rather than different worlds. Needs work to clarify.

Misunderstood –This was the Priest’s opinion that the spirits play no role. They do. The black forewarns his death, which he ignores. The purple reacts to Maries spirituality. In following the spirit she falls into the trench and escapes the explosion that kills the priest.

Title cards – these are true. I visited the church during the week, after I had written the first draft. There I discovered that the stained glass window has parachutes falling around the virgin, almost as I had written it!! I couldn’t let that pass. Not everyone likes them, but I feel it adds depth/connection.

However, I don’t like the writing in capitals. It seems harsh. Would it be better to write in normal font? Is there another way to present this?

Historical inaccuracies – I took some liberties. As it is rare for a script to be based like this I wonder what readers think. I decided to write it as I needed it. The cemetery is actually 100 yards away. There is no crypt. On D Day German soldiers were in the church tower, it was not empty.

Does this matter?

That’s enough for now. A rewrite is in progress. Thanks everyone.


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Reef Dreamer  -  November 2nd, 2011, 3:26pm
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