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Revenant Stand by Ray (ray w) - Short, Gothic Horror - Two men are caught up in a haunting life-ending drama within an ages old forest clearing. 12 pages, 4 major and a dozen minor characters, PG-13 Rating - pdf, format
Ghosts - yes Gothic - in part, a romantic tragedy but lacked darkness, but I think most scripts round here will have to give up something to get a story across. Lost in the constellation of her freckles - now that's not a line I've heard before. Not sure it works too well but it's different, along with the "trickles from her aura" following sentence. The idea of a ghost forest. I like that, but, if it is for ghosts why did it need a child to die in it, surely they go there anywhere. Sorry, it is a bit picky I know.
Finally, there is the Ruth:Henry thing. Sorry it didn't work for me. Let's be honest he was 12 when Hailey died, then spends 40 years with Ruth and with all the wisdom of life, goes back to a dead 12 year old. I didn't feel it enough to believe this.
In short I liked the forest idea and think it had potential.
The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
A lot of the action in this had a repetitive feel to it, and a good deal of it didn't make much sense to me. The inclusion of the forest surveyors felt forced and somehow inappropriate to a story like this. The scene of Ruth attacking Steve was unintentionally funny, I'm afraid. The guy really can't handle a sixty year old woman? And Mike seemed way too trigger happy with that pistol of his.
There is the core of a good idea here. A forest where ghosts wait for their loved ones to join them. But, as other have already said, I don't believe at 12 years old that Henry would have found his true love. It was a strange beginning to this tale.
With some reworking, I think something could be made of this concept, though.
Lots of good stuff here, but also some unlikely things, and at times the writing was slightly awkward to follow.
I like the idea of the revenant stand, a sacred grove of sorts where the dead wait for their life partners to join them. And I like the issue raised, where what happens to the Ruths, whose husbands have another loved one.
The dialogue with the two surveyors is ok, but goes on longer than needed. Needs tweaking. The rest needs even more tweaking. At times peoples actions or dialogue seem a little off, but nothing that can't be fixed.
Mike pulling a gun is really odd. Surveyors don't carry guns. Also, when the old lady comes after them, the other guy holds out his stake as a weapon. Come on, it's an old lady.
I'm not sure if this meets the requirement of the challenge with a misunderstood ghost. I guess it kinda does in that locals assume these are evil spirits in the grove, but in reality they are just spirits waiting for loved ones.
I think you have a concept with potential here. And potential is also the word I would apply to your writing. You show ability and moments of doing things well, this just needs cleaning up so that it will flow neatly from the first page to the last, and so that some things seem a little more realistic. In general a nice effort, glad I picked up this one.
Some of the doalogue was great, much of it could be cut back, particulary the exposition. I also don't buy the 12 year old love story having such a long grasp on them and when Mike pulled the gun on Ruth it was ridiculous! Still, some nice descriptions, I love the "constellation of her freckles" line and the teaser was excellent.
The misunderstood ghost parts feel a little foggy here. Please intro your characters with CAPS, parents count too. 12 year olds “getting notions” in the 50’s? No sale, for me. I don’t understand what “leaf devils” are supposed to be. I like the road markers transition, but not all the dialogue. It’s tough to talk about a ghost legend and make it engaging. However, I don’t think the transition fits the gothic theme. I had a hard time following the pole pulling and cell call. Mike firing at someone we haven’t been intro’d to was weird. I had a hard time with the lost lover thing. Perhaps it would work better if the kids had more lines. They make a promise to be together, etc. That could help. Thanks for playing OWC.
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I really liked how this one started. The first breath of young love, a nice summer's day - then sudden tragedy.
I'd expected the next scene would center on Henry, having grown older and wearier. And to have him pine after what-was-never-meant-to-be, with a sweet melancholy gothic tale.
Instead, we had the construction crew. Mind you, I thought some of their banter was great...just not what I'd hoped for, in this script. And Ruth works as a character in general. It'd be great to have a woman (a little less bitchy and more sympathetic) who did provide for Henry all these years...just to find that he still carries a torch for someone else.
I'd love to see the story developed more in that direction, a small emotional tale of lost love...and those who stay behind and live. Don't know if that's the way you want to go... But I know it's something I'd love to read. And the opening works towards that so nicely.
There's some good writing, here, but I think the dialogue seemed unproductively repetitive. I think the ending suits the story, but overall I felt shortchanged, I think this could have been better with much less Mrs. Walpole, no matter how much we love the name.
Excitement trickles from her aura? Between first lust and too much electricity? Some of the description feels like you’re trying too hard.
The fall description is unclear. It took a second read to really get what was happening. You should try to be more straightforward. Clarity is more important than poetic license.
Mike’s exposition gets longwinded, especially when he’s just filling us all in on details that could have been shown better after Mrs. Walpole arrived.
And the exposition goes on. And on. And on.
Steve attacking Ruth with a pole just doesn’t seem credible at all.
Then Mike puts a gun to her head? Sorry, this is too unbelievable. She hasn’t posed enough of a threat to warrant all that.
There are major problems with this script. First off, there really is no main character. Neither Steve nor Mike stand out and neither one is particularly likeable.
Steve and Mike are both characters who would be inconsequential in most stories. They’re really just two supporting characters, two guys just doing their job. They’re the kind of characters who get knocked off at the beginning of a movie, before the main character is even introduced. They’re expendable characters.
Now Henry’s back? I’m sorry but I find Henry’s connection to a girl he kissed when he was twelve to be implausible.
The beginning offered some hope but it just unhinged after that. It’s a beginning with no middle or end, no main character, no compelling characters after the opening, and major credibility issues.
I recommend the writer study up on story structure. This will really help you. Great stories need compelling main characters. A story doesn’t have to be realistic but it needs to be something an audience can accept.
Over written in a very poetic, novelistic fashion that doesn't work for me at all. Sure, it reads "pretty", but it's probably twice as long as it needs to be...at least the first page and a half, as that's as far as I got.
I'm sure some will love this kind of prose, while others will bail quickly. I bailed. Sorry.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
This starts of very strongly. Good visuals, good dialogue, nice pacing, and a beautifully haunting image in Hailey's death. Well done.
The exchange between Mike and Steve starts off strong, some of the best dialogue I've read in these submissions so far. But then it degenerates into long speeches of exposition, awkward actions that don't fit the tone, and Ruth's eccentric behaviour that breaks the ambiance entirely.
Ruth starts off defending the Reverent Stand but her goal switches when Henry's time draws near. Henry doesn't care about anything except rejoining Hailey. Hailey may or may not be a part of the Reverent Stand but is only there to reclaim Henry. Mike and Steve are only there to do a job and get caught up in something they have zero effect on, merely observing the final events as bystanders. The result of all this is a disjointed mess of too many ideas and no clear storyline or even a clear protag. Who are we supposed to root for? What is the message? Why should we care about any of this?
Good writing, you've got potential and the beginning of this is really quite good, but it needs a lot of work.
I saw a good story concept here. I love how you drew up the country girl/city boy angle.
For the way I view gothic, it didn't hit the mark. I hear people talking of "American Gothic" and I cringe. Please, can someone explain what "American Gothic" is? Because from the comments, it seems American Gothic translates as:
Just another "In the woods ghost story".
And it's 7:11 here and I have to ask:
Jeff, what's going on? You're bailing on all of these?
Not bad. This has the potential to be really good but falls short at the moment. The beginning is good. The ending is good. Everything in between is up and down. At times it feels like things are being given more explanation than they need and it gets redundant. The characters could use some work as well. They feel too typical, though Henry and Hailey had a solid connection. That part was well done.
Overall it's a good entry. Could be chiseled down some, but good job.
I've got to be honest and admit I found this one difficult to get into at first. I put that down to me just trying to get into the writing style so I gave it another read and everything did flow much better. I still found myself re-reading certain sentences and that became a little infuriating but there is definitely a decent story here. I particularly liked the revenant stand idea, the use of wind ( the leaf devils? ) acted as a character itself and the sacrilege of constructing on "holy land".
The characters were a bit hit and miss. Sometimes I felt the dialogue - as good as it was at times - went on a bit more than necessary.
Locations & Sets - EXT forest clearing w/ road trail Actors - HENRY (12), HAILEY (12), FATHER (40), MOTHER (40), extras x12, STEVE (22), MIKE (30), RUTH (60), HENRY (70) Costumes - 1950 period nice dress adults and children, Hailey's country clothes, Ruth and Henry's nice outfits, Steve and Mike's outdoor work clothes Props - picnic table settings and food, blood, surveyor's pole & roll of pink ribbon, utility box and surveyor's tripod, handheld GPS, old map, cell phone, revolver, rod through leg, handkerchief Audio FX - leaves rustling, car backfire, skull crack, screams, CLICK! Hooting sounds, auto alarm, Visual FX - leaves twirling x 12, Other - 1950 cars x 3, truck, spray bottle for sweat beads, MUA for Henry's paleness, bleeding shirt for Henry Comments - More of a ghost story than Gothic horror.
Leaf devil: I love that! I know exactly what you're talking about, I believe - the tornadoes of leaves that come up on windy days in the fall? Anyway, into my actual notes:
The opening sequence was really good, and the slugs (in my opinion) had the power of being well-written and having a distinctive writer's voice without being too wordy.
There are a few typos / spelling errors that need cleaned up.
Ultimately, I really liked this a lot. The story was great, the dialogue was some of the best I've read in this set of screenplays, and it weirdly reminded me of Twin Peaks (cough, check out my username, cough).
the story was not gothic in my opinion. Nothing really happened for about 6-7 pages, and it's too bad. the concept is nice. I would have loved more details on the couple and thei life together. I think the two guys didn't really feet in the story, and you could have done without them. The beginning and ending were good. I didn't really feel the middle of the script.