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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  Open House With An Empty Heart - OWC
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  Author    Open House With An Empty Heart - OWC  (currently 4050 views)
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 9:26am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Open House With An Empty Heart by Baltis Sinclair Schuller - Short, Gothic Horror - When you buy a house you buy the stories within its walls... Good or Bad. 12 pages, PG-13 Rating - pdf, format

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

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  October 29th, 2011, 5:02pm
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 10:43am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Great logline. There are so many scripts, I found myself skimming loglines, even good ones. So congratulations on standing out in such a large group. Although I would change it slightly grammatically:

When you buy a house, you buy the stories within its walls... good or bad.

Overall, I thought you did a pretty good job. It had its moments. And these types of scripts are usually scarier on screen than on the page.

I didnít see the connection with some of the scenes. I imagine it lost some of its cohesiveness in an effort to trim it down to meet the page requirement. Iím sure it would improve with a little more length.

There were a few lines I thought could be cut, for example, Karenís line at the end of page 3 and the realtorís at the beginning of page 4.

A few other things:

Whenever you have a character startle another character like on page 2, itís best to find a way to get to the characterís reaction quicker and construct the incoming characterís description around that. As it is, Karenís reaction is too late because of the realtorís description. Try having Karenís reaction first and then describing the realtor and see how that feels to you.

P4 - test should be tests.

P8 - Karen is called Mrs. Winslow by the realtor. Not sure if that was intentional.

Good job with the challenge. Good luck with it.


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c m hall
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 3:42pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

peninsula of Jersey
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I think this is well written, it could be an entertaining film.  Because Karen seems so self absorbed and somewhat blank in the beginning, I think we get a nice jolt of interest when she makes such an effort to find the crying child, and then the bits of backstory that we get help to fill in some blanks.  Still, there could be more backstory, if you wanted, if you rewrite this without the page limits from the OWC.
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Posted: October 15th, 2011, 4:08pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Wherever I go, there Jwent.

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This definitely suffers from lack of pages. I enjoyed the story though. Wasn't sure if the house itself is supposed to represent death? Thats where she ends up after her crash. Its a bit sparse as to what happened to the realtor, but an intrigueing piece none the less. Good job completing an OWC...


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 7:07pm Report to Moderator
OWC Moderator

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Quite a good effort.

Didn't really get much of a Gothic vibe per se, but it was a decent ghost story. Had decent tension and didnlt over stay its welcome.

Well written, with only a few typos that stood out.

On the down side....nothing that hasn't been seen before....

Oh and House with an Empty Heart or The House with an Empty Heart would be a better title imho.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 6:49am Report to Moderator
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The effects of writing again....

The Island of Jersey
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Hello Irene!

Not bad but I had a few issues, but in  essence this has decent potential.

My comments;

Realtor in first scene should be (o.s) as he is not seen, then he is not introduced so we know nothing about him. I had to check that I hadn't missed something.
Halliburton case - bit too much detail for me, breaks up the read
Insane profit - why say this?
Flashbacks - need to be finished with an end flashback or something similar, check the manuals
the end after fade out??
To me this was more ghost story rather than gothic but I think most scripts require some tolerance on the detail

As to the story, a house for the dead. Yeah, I can see this, has potential and the meeting of the three was well played at the end. I wasn't wholly sold on the running scenes inside the house, but may be that's just my taste.

All the best.

My scripts †HERE

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IMDb link...

Revision History (1 edits)
Reef Dreamer  -  October 27th, 2011, 10:31am
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 10:20am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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While I didn't really feel any Gothic vibe too much, on the plus side it was a great logline and overall well written. I think this one was inked by one of the SS regulars.
If it is who I think it is, this is the best OWC you have done yet. If it isn't who I think it is, you are on same level as Sandra. I think that's saying something of leaps and bounds. I really liked this a lot.

So far it's in my top three. Even if I'm wrong.

"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
my scripts on ss :
The Art!
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 11:10am Report to Moderator
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This one's got potential.  Interesting premise, workable ending - definitely in the realm of gothic (with a misunderstood ghost, so it fits the criteria.)  The writing's clean as well - good to see that the submitter is someone who knows their craft.

Re: details.  I think this one needs more "atmosphere and tone" vs. all out horror, at least at first.  Not quite sure how you'll accomplish that, but a bit of a rework and a trim could do the trick.  

Kind of find it hard to believe that a full sized SUV could float in a basement - even if it is a ghostly one.  

I do enjoy the deceased realtor - nice touch and character.

Another question, though: if Karen's husband was killed, then who exactly is Dan.  The new boyfriend?  Also, since you show the daughter and the dead husband at the end, it would help to see them live at the beginning of the flashback for reference.  Just a thought.

Needs some restructuring, and added "ambience" - but a nice submission.  Enjoyed it, and see additional promise with this premise....
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 12:28pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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One of the stronger scripts in the OWC, not much gothic going on but thats becoming a given.
It came across as very well written but with some odd errors such as "she test the" "the realtor gone" "Dinning Room"
Spell check, check and check again!
Other than this, very good though I was confused by the plain white business card and why she didnt react to it, I read on to see if this was deliberate and sure enough, it had turned into a newspaper clipping.
I think that whole element of the tale doesn't work for me. Why would a ghost give someone a newspaper clipping of their own death? to gloat afterwards?
And, if he was helping her, why would he have a sinister smile?
Minor nitpicking perhaps, but I could tell this was written by someone with at least some experience so minor things like that become major.
That said, this is one of my favourites so far, great dialogue and beleivable characters (as three dimensional as you can get with limited pages)

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: October 17th, 2011, 12:40pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

Los Angeles
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Lot of realtors showing up in the later entries.
Six pages chatting with the realtor is way too much IMO.
Multiple times you type ďtestĒ instead of ďtestsĒ.
Very forthright supernatural behavior. Too blunt for me.
The realtor tells the protag the house is evil.
Why would he divulge that and still show the house?
I had a hard time following the action.
The ghostly motivations were unclear to 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 18th, 2011, 3:29pm Report to Moderator

just another ego maniac with low self esteem

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This was a nice effort, but I didn't really see in fit within the parameters of the challenge. Save for the Neo Gothic reference, it lacked the atmosphere for a Gothic horror, even in a comtemporary setting.

Alot of the dialouge was very mechanical and jarred on me alot. Sound out your dialouge or have someone read it back to you.

Small gripe about this:  'He draws attention to an obscure carving whittled out of the door - a human skull with a brass door knocker pierced through its nose protrudes.'

A brass handle set in a piece of wood like that would (pardon the pun) be snapped off in a week, this would be an all brass piece - occupational hazzard.

On page 5, what purpose does the realtor opening and closing his brief case serve, other than breaking up a huge block of dialouge? Action descriptio should move the story forward.

A few little typos here and there and 'done by a children', need to tidy those up.

The story showed some imagination but was more like something from the Twillight Zone. Overall a solid effort.
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Posted: October 18th, 2011, 4:48pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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This script had a lot of ideas swirling within it.  Some worked, some didn't.  I knew there was something  wrong with the realtor the way you introduced him.  Those wire-rimmed glasses.  Guaranteed trouble.

A house in a modest suburb with twenty-six rooms?  

The entire first half of your script is nothing but a conversation between Karen and the Realtor.  The story needs to be set in motion quicker.

The use of a small child laughing or crying as a device to get the main character running into a dark room should be retired from the horror genre.  It's been done so often, time to put it on the shelf.

Good visual with the scattered wedding rings all over the floor.  Not quite sure of its meaning, however.

As for the ending, I understand Karen had come to rejoin her dead daughter.  But now the husband is dead too?  I reread this, thinking I missed something, but I don't understand how  Dan could be there to greet her at the door.

Some good ideas here, but like several of the scripts I've read, too many questions and not enough answers.
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Posted: October 19th, 2011, 12:14am Report to Moderator

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This was a very well written script. I enjoyed it.

On screen I think this would be very scary indeed. A good horror fan would love this type of movie.

The dialogue between them sounds very believable but it might be too long. If you rewrite this don't cut it out so much that it sounds fake, because it really helps with the whole story the current way you have it set up.

The only bad thing about this was that I thought there was too much going on. Too much stuff happening and I had to read it a second time, just to soak all the information in. But hey, that was just me.

Overall, it is a very good entry. Nice job,  

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Posted: October 19th, 2011, 2:58am Report to Moderator
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I liked the dialogue here.  Whoever wrote this has a gift for that.  The narrative was a bit sloppier.  

It was a good story, albeit a bit on the illogical side but it worked for the theme and genre.  

I think maybe it's a bit too big of a story for the page count and therefore may be a bit crunched which gives it the feeling of being underdeveloped.

Or perhaps as some people have suggested, maybe the editing is what made it seem a bit sloppy.  

Either way, you have something that will work here.  Get another draft together without worrying about the page count and see where it goes.

Good work for a week.    
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Posted: October 19th, 2011, 10:50pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Victoria, Australia
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It was a bit confusing, but other than that, I really liked it. You captured the mood, and I really liked the torment with the daughter's death.

One thing that especially needs to be clarified is the ending when she returns to the house - did her husband just die between her driving off and running into the semi?

Good job! It's on my list
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