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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 4051 views)
Posted: October 20th, 2011, 1:08am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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Pretty good.  Good usage of the ghost along with creepy imagery and effective storytelling.  The problem I had is that the first half is significantly slower than the second to the point where it seems like it's going in a completely different direction and then radically changes course.  Threw me off for a second.

Maybe I missed something but wouldn't the card with just a fingerprint on it be a little suspicious?  What did I miss here?

But this was a good read.

Nice job.


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Posted: October 20th, 2011, 1:33pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Well, the good news is that it's not bad.  It has the makings of something pretty good, but the execution is off.

The writing itself, isn't bad either, but it's filled with so many mistakes, it appears this was thrown together in a mad rush by a good writer. Sad to see so many typos, awkward writing, misspellings, incorrect word useage, etc.  Really dragged the read down.

What's with the Slugs?  Your use of parentheses is incorrect.  Some use these when noting whether or not a car is moving or stationary in an INT. CAR scene, but that's about it.

You had incorrect dialogue boxes with character's speech, before they were intro'd.  I don't think the Realtor was ever properly intro'd, and not naming him was also a mistake.  The whole thing with the business card and thumb print was odd, as well.

Things really turned on a dime on page 7, and things got wierd and hard to follow.  Too much story for 12 pages and too much time spent (first 6 pages) getting to the "meat" of the script.  The ending also seemed tacked on.

But for all the problems, this still showed some promise and is easily one of the better entries - but does it really meet the qualifications of the challenge?  Is it Gothic?  Is it Horror?  Is there a misunderstood ghost?  I'd lean towards "no" on all accounts, but again, there's something here that the vast majority of scripts were missing.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 21st, 2011, 12:28pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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

Bowden, Alberta
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This is a good story. I liked the use of visuals like the business card with nothing on it. One thing I would recommend with this style of story and the way I feel it coming through...

On Page 9

>Positioned around the table, a large gathering of decayed corpses. Each feast upon large portions of human entrails.

I think we've went with what felt to me a general audience kind of ghost story to heavy gore.

I think my using more subtle influence, you could still show heightening fear without resorting to that.

A very nice job here.  


A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Posted: October 21st, 2011, 10:07pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Liked it. Ryan mentioned the conversation being long at the beginning. He might have a point, but I thought the conversation was good. Sounded natural, appropriately creepy. I'd keep it.

I might come back to this when I have more time, if the reader reviewed my script.
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Posted: October 22nd, 2011, 12:32am Report to Moderator
Old Timer


About a thousand years from now.
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Locations & Sets -   EXT & INT neo-gothic house w/ flood-able basement, EXT creek/small river bed, EXT light business district
Actors  -  KAREN (30), man & girl (use girl for V.O.), REALTOR (40), rotted hands & corpses extras x 3, paramedics x 3 (double as corpses!), DAN (45)
Costumes  -  jacket, dated suit, paramedic uniforms x 3
Props  -  real estate open house sign, photo of man and girl painting house, glasses, briefcase w/ documents, business card w/ thumbprint, key on key ring, front door w/ skull carving and brass knocker, house dust and cob webs, oak table and chairs, dozens of wedding rings, bedroom lighting, children's paintings x12, 3liters dripping blood, break away floorboards, pile O' entrails, wooden beam, break away plank,  inverted and submerged SUV (obviously IRL this is a partial build, likely fiberglass), floating kid corpse, body bags x 2, baby doll, umbrella, newsprint obit
Audio FX -  brass knock on door, coins down stairwell
Visual FX  -  storm clouds swirling overhead, extra protection for stunt, car vs semi truck crash w/ road debris
Other -  car, paint can w/ brushes x 2, paint brush, MUA for rotted hands,, police car and paramedic van, vehicle side camera mount
Comments  -  Very nice story. Tops. "Ghosts just misunderstood" theme not strictly adhered to, but forgivable. The intestine eating may kick this up to an R rating. That upside down truck and flooding a "basement" are real budget killers on this one. Consider something less expensive.

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Posted: October 23rd, 2011, 12:36pm Report to Moderator

Dreamer of dreams.

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I found this one to be really interesting and a joy to read. I found it, in parts, to be one of the screenplays I had the easiest time visualizing, although I don't necessarily agree with the random cellar gore. It seems that if you're going to use gore, you should commit and not just have it passively for a few seconds, and a little bit of blood.

It seems like the sort of thing which would be much more frightening filmed, and I really did enjoy the ending. It wasn't the most jaw-dropping twist ever, but it wasn't a total cliche and was good for tying the story up neatly.

Overall, nice effort!
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Posted: October 24th, 2011, 2:53pm Report to Moderator

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Enjoyed this one quite a lot.
Things became a little strained when Karen starts to find the little girl but you had to pick up the pace and I'm sure with more time on your side you could either trim the opening or just extend the story some more.

Although this does seem to follow standard haunted house procedure, it was fun to read, good work!

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Posted: October 26th, 2011, 11:43pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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The dialogue was definitely the highlight here.  Nothing stale.  It sounded natural, not expository.  I don't think the actors would mind having to tackle those lines at all.

The set up, I feel, was also good.  But then, when the supernatural things started happening, I kind of checked out.  Not checked out like stopped reading, mind you.  I mean that I continued reading, but just to get to the ending (that I knew was going to be no surprise to me.)  I wasn't too involved in the story after the supernatural stuff came out of nowhere, eventhough I was expecting it.  It was too much of a jerk.

But the dialogue remained consistent throughout.

It was good all in all.  Just a little uneven.

- Mark

Private Message YIM Reply: 22 - 24
Posted: October 29th, 2011, 9:19pm Report to Moderator
God of the SimplyScriptsVerse

Buy the ticket, take the ride

That's me in the corner
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Nearly always reliable with horror, this one from Balt is the first post-reveal OWC that I gravitated towards -- trapped at home on this snowy evening.

I have read no previous comments.

On page 1, the dialogue from the Realtor should be O.S., I think.  And it is unrealistic that Karen would not comment on the unusual business card -- though I suspect you were forced to delete a few things due to page limitations.

Most of the dialogue flows pretty well, but once the Realtor disappeared (for a while), I had kind of a hard time following Karenís journey through the house.

She moved from room to room to room and encountered strange events a little too fast.  I would lose track of where she was, and failed to grasp the significance of some of the ghostly happenings -- the wedding rings, for example.

And I kind of knew where this was going, suspecting it was similar to another tale of yours ("Faceless", or something like that).  Not that it is a bad ending -- or even predictable, really -- it is just that I kind of know where you like to take stories like this, I suppose.

Ultimately, what kept this from working completely for me, I think, was how abruptly you disposed of Karen, and also that Karen was pretty much responsible for her own demise.

If I could recommend anything for this one, I would say that Karen should be ripped from this world by forces beyond her control.  That just makes more sense to me.

All in all, the skeleton for this story is certainly in place, but I suspect you had a lot more to say with this one and most of the weakness in this story spring from the page limitations.  I would check this out again if you were to rework it.

Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Posted: October 30th, 2011, 12:10am Report to Moderator
Guest User

Been out much of the day -- Big Halloween parade!  My daughter was Dora, I was Jason and my wife was Mrs. Piggy.  It was a lot of fun, had a ton of picture opts on my costume from random strangers.  (not a cheap knock off Jason costume to be sure)

Anyways, few things to note here...

When the criteria was released I was drumming up ideas and doing Google searches for Gothic Horror.  Why?  Cos' I certainly knew very little about it -- and it shows within the script overall.

A lot of things perplexed me the week this was to be written, things I'm not going to get into here -- but when I sat down to write this script it was around 4:30 the Friday it was due.  I ended up writing a 23 page script on Nitro Pro 6 on an HP-mini... I spent roughly 5 hours writing it and 2 hours editing it down to 12 pages.  Wasn't ideal.  I remember sending it to Don at 2 min before the deadline.  That's how close it was.

To shed light on the whole story I had written:

-- Karen was involved in a car wreck 2 years prior that killed her husband and her daughter.  She's been tormented by the event ever since.

-- Karen and her husband were to buy this house, the Winslow house, as their 1st big investment, but tragedy struck and well... he and the daughter died.

-- Karen, in a moving on process, decides to undertake the house by herself.  The Realtor was actually the ghost who governed the house...

-- Dan was the Realtor she was suppose to meet, but he got tied up.  In conversation, lost in this draft, he calls while she's waiting and says he was running late and that he'd send another agent to unlock the house.  That is why the ghost says "Must be" when faced with the question "You must be the Realtor Dan spoke of".

-- There are way more scenes inside the house that piece the overall picture together, and paints the back story in a more clear plausible way.

-- The zombies around the table were actually eating unborn babies, but I omitted it in this draft cos' it wasn't going to make sense as you wouldn't have known Karen had a miscarriage when she had the wreck.

-- The house itself is evil --The Realtor was not.  The house reflects all the bad that lives or torments a person and puts it on exhibit for them to see.  The house had already gotten to Karen and thus she died on account of it, rather than herself.  Also of note, the only ones who can live among the house are the dead.

--  The ending was certainly rushed.  Like the very end, end... I've since been re-working the script, adding back in the pages and trimming it up a bit.  I've cleaned up all the formatting errors using actual software and am 80% happy with what I came up with in the span of just hours it took me to write the whole thing.  

And ultimately that's why I love these OWC... they motivate you into coming up with things you'd never normally even consider doing.  Even if they're sloppy, which this script is, the idea, the rough outline, the blueprint, is still there to build upon like I've done.

I might not always be around, but I'll always come around for a OWC and over stay my welcome if it gets me thinking enough.

Again, thank you all for the reads and feedback.  Overall I'm very happy with how it turned out.

P.S. The door knocker would work cos' the Vaile Mansion in Independence has one very similar to how  I described it.  

Revision History (1 edits)
Baltis.  -  October 30th, 2011, 12:35am
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