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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2014 - One Week Challenge  ›  Ch-Ch-Changes - OWC Moderators: Mr. Blonde, dabrast
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  Author    Ch-Ch-Changes - OWC  (currently 3075 views)
CoopBazinga
Posted: January 14th, 2014, 2:54am Report to Moderator
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Like the title - sounds comedic but the logline tells me otherwise.

Ray Magini - clever - the Simpsons already did this.

CASTLE - like the television series.

"He's sweating from running up the stairs, but not out of breath." Now I see what you meant when you described him as fit... important to get those little details in.

"He's not sure he has the right room." Try to be more visual.

The writing is so awkward on the opening page.

Couldn't the agent be called Putin after his name is revealed? Could save some confusion with the second agent.

"dressed in 1960s clothing." Who would have thought... they wear 60s attire in 1963. Thanks for clearing that up.

"His (dress) attracts some looks from the cops." I should imagine it does! I wonder if the dress has flowers on?

No need for the note... unless it's important that he speaks with an accent.

"A cop comes up, HOUSTON." Is this a joke?! Houston in Dallas... I must admit to getting some giggles out of this one now.

"The Bartender clocks him with the butt of the shotgun." Why? He put his hands up in surrender - Dimitri isn't very bright is he? Why get involved in a scuffle when he's his country's last hope.

"Dimitri looks at him to confirm it is him." Didn't he just do this? Guess Castle had to be really close.

"But something about Dimitri's tone stops him." Huh?

"you are the only important person in this room." Don't be so coy Dimitri - he's the most important person in the world!

How come the detective didn't go in for the interview? He was supposed to, right?

See, when Dimitri tells Castle about a possibly assassination, this should be changing the future because he should report this to the secret service and then they would either cancel the visit, or at least put someone on the book depository - as far as I know, they take threats against the president pretty serious, or maybe this was a time when they didn't believe this sort of thing could happen.

So the whole speech about not being able to kill Castle was wrong because he dies in the end anyway and everything turned out hunky dory.

Well, at least it wasn't a Disney ending but damn was it demoralizing. I'm afraid to say that this one has lots of issues going on and a lot of it just doesn't make sense to me. The writing doesn't help, as it's so awkward in places and actually makes some lines come off as funny. The slugs also need to be looked at... they're not great.

I'll tell you the main problem here IMO - your protag Dimitri is just so passive, he does nothing! Wakes up, some guy drives him to the government building, he's told what he has to do and the he gets himself arrested immediately (the only active thing he does, but with such stupidity it's funny) He then drones on to Castle instead of actually doing anything until looking despondent in a cell. Not good.

This has some potential though... firstly, get Dimitri out of that flowery dress and then take away his idiocy, make him more decisive. He should know alot about Castle, it should be his target so instead of walking in a crowded bar of cops, he should be waiting outside his home. This obviously goes wrong, and he's arrested but he's not discouraged because he has the advantage - 50 years of knowledge they don't. So after Castle completely ignores his pleas, instead of sitting on his ass, he breaks out and guess what... yes, he becomes that man on the grassy knoll and the conspiracy starts.

So Dimitri would then become active and solving problems rather than sitting around doing nothing. Just an idea really, it's your story so it's up to you what you do.

There's too many problems with this one at the moment but with a re-write there could be something good here.

Congrats on completing the OWC.

Steve

P.S Also want to say that this premise is similar to an episode of one my favourite shows Red Dwarf - the episode entitled "Tikka to Ride"
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irish eyes
Posted: January 14th, 2014, 12:17pm Report to Moderator
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Title from a David Bowie song... strange considering the premise.

I thought it read pretty cleanly and a nice take on the... what if ?

I don't really know why Jackie had to die, maybe kill the driver or the other guy on the grassy knoll.

The suicide at the end was a little dark and abrupt, but I thought it was nice that he listen to crazed lunatic/time traveller predict the future and blame Castle for all that will go wrong in life... no pressure, maybe suicide was a good option

Overall I liked it

Mark


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EWall433
Posted: January 15th, 2014, 12:08am Report to Moderator
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This was pretty good entry, but I agree with others who said you  gave up the game too early by revealing that Jackie Kennedy was killed. As soon as I saw that I knew what had to be changed. Although I like that we started in the alternate history and worked our way back, I think it’d be a real kicker of a twist if you could trick us into thinking we were in the ‘real’ history all along.

My other problem was that Dimitri needs to be more convincing than he is. He’s basically telling him, “There’s an assassin, I know cause I’m from the future, don’t stop him. Trust me.” There’s nothing convincing about that argument. Maybe you should bring this out of the interrogation room. Have him meet Castle at his home (give Castle a family or something, it’ll make the ending hit harder) and give him a way to prove to Castle that he’s from the future. It could make those 5 pages of exposition and convincing more interesting.

Overall though I like the direction this chose and can tell the alt history was thought through. Some said you made some big leaps, but if you go and fill the gaps, that’ll just be more exposition. It worked for me.

Congrats on completing the OWC

PS - Does it make me demented that I imagined the chorus of that Bowie song kicking in right at the end credits after Castle offs himself?  
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Last Fountain
Posted: January 16th, 2014, 9:13pm Report to Moderator
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Great hook. Interesting alternative history. Strong candidate for top 5.

The introduction certainly got my attention. It was interesting that Nixon played a more pivotal role with Russia than you'd initially think. I would imagine that JFK would be better at everyhing than Nixon. But I digress, after all, I'm Canadian.

I also like how your alternative history wasn't focused on America, but rather the outcome in Russia. And the nuking of China. These elements and the details told to the cop by the traveller are so interesting. It would be nice to see them in flashback or through a history class from the alternate future. Especially since the scale of this story is global. With such dramatic repercussions it woukd be nice to SEE them. Then again it's a fine line of when to let the audience imagine. Good work cuz you got me thinking on it. Haha.

I liked the urgency of the short. If he fails there's no time to travel again. Nuclear war is eminent. Europe is next. This gives some pretty high stakes for his mission. I was disappointed that we didn't see the machine though. Or future tech. However, I liked the idea of the morgue-like room for travel. The dark imagery lended itself to the dangers of the mission's failure. There was a more subtle hint I appreciated about the current state of Russia. The primitive computer technology. Is this because of trade sanctions with other countries?

The dark ending could me drawn out more with heavier emotions. Maybe if we knew the future life he was denied it would carry more weight. Like he kills himself and never gets to see some sort of happy future?  Another possible weakness is the bland dialogue. If it was a bit snappier or more languid and melancholic this short would really sing (for me).

Well thought out and elaborate alternate history drives this urgent and contemplative take on the JFK assassination.
&
Does what great time travel stories should do: pose an interesting and heavy consequence WHAT IF scenario. AND one that we all relate to and have thought before.


SLIP/THROUGH - scifi noir (feature)
HOLY 3D CHRISTMAS! - fantasy (shorf)

BORED? Check out my movie news for movie nerds BLOG.
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rendevous
Posted: January 16th, 2014, 10:20pm Report to Moderator
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The Bowie song title made think this might be a comedy. I don't know why that is. Anyway, I'm glad it isn't.

The only one so far that went for a JFK story. I'm looking forward to this. I watched Parklands last night so I've actually done some prep.

Interesting story choice at the start of page two. And now we're off to Russia.

There's two things I'll mention about the writing. Firstly, it's a bit bare, by that I mean scarce on detail.

As I read I'm wondering about unmentioned stuff and how something looks. Normally I'll skip format points and leave it to those who can't let it lie, but that INT/EXT, or I/E business for a car doesn't go down at all well at this end.

I liked the little Putin reference. Good touch.

I'm seeing a lot of bolded text in scripts. Maybe, like...ellipsis... I missed the memo. Hey, anyone can write scripts anyway they like. But bolding stuff makes it seem that the writer thinks its' more important than the other stuff. I've seen people do it with headings but with other stuff it does seem unnecessary.

ANyways, gripes aside, I'm quite enjoying this story. About half way through I find I'm pretty keen to find out what's gonna happen. And that feeling is rather pleasant, so well done on that.

Hmm. I'm not sure about Dmitri's chat with the cop. This line didn't help "You must be fucking me."
I may be alone or lonely on this as I don't read other's comments, but it always sounds a bit weird to me. A more famous example would be in Scarface when the big drug lord says to Tony "Don't ever fuck me, Tony." Even these days, when I see it, I find myself hoping Al Pacino will adopt a camp voice from a 1970s Carry On film and say in reply "You should be so lucky, big boy."

Anyway, back to the plot...

Never thought I'd read a plug for Nixon. That's a bit of stretch. But I see what you were saying. I wasn't quite convinced but there's a lot of thought and effort gone in to conceive the idea.

I was always more for the school of thought that if JFK and RFK lived, they would have been very likely to get into serious problems with their, erm, after dark activities, which were astonishing. They didn't call the man Jack the Zipper for nothing.
Oh, and naturally I disagree about LHO. I'm more for the Bill Hicks view of the sniper's nest on the 5th floor of the book depository being extremely historically accurate. Because Oswald ain't there...

The bit that let it down for me was the exposition between Dimitri and the cop. It was too long and I doubt it would be enough to persuade him. I disagree with some choices but nevertheless, I did enjoy a lot of this.


Out Of Character - updated


New Used Car

Green

Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

Other scripts here
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Gum
Posted: January 17th, 2014, 12:25am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from realxwriter
Your mastery of the craft is quite obvious. Respect. I wouldn't be surprised if you're already a produced or a paid writer at least. I would be surprised if you're not.


Stab in the dark here. Are you the writer of this script? If not, then that is an amazing assumption my friend.

Revision History (1 edits)
Gum  -  January 17th, 2014, 9:29pm
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Gum
Posted: January 17th, 2014, 1:02am Report to Moderator
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All kidding aside (from my previous post), I did finish reading this, and quite enjoyed it.

The JFK murder is so enigmatic and full of media spins, that you could of went a hundred different directions and still came out with a story that could work, especially when something so convoluted as 'Time Travel' is involved.

If Dimitri is telling Castle he has a chance to save the future, vis-à-vis, by not stopping the murder, then why wouldn't he offer up another option to Dimitri? As in have an entire unit of officers case the depository beforehand? Catching the perp and not having any murders at all?

I know Dimitri goes on to say;

"It will be Nixon, the
great anti-Communist, who will
intercede to stop the conflict
between Russia and China."

But, if Kennedy lives, he'll let a nuclear war break out by not intercepting? I don't know, politics are a very difficult thing to forecast because the powers that be, are changing post every day. It's these shadow forces that are actually at work, including the one that Dimitri himself is involved with, that are the ones pulling the puppet strings behind the curtain.

This was well thought out enough though, and it made for an interesting read. Congrats for getting a script in to the OWC!
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c m hall
Posted: January 18th, 2014, 11:44am Report to Moderator
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This script has many clever moments and there is intensity in the storyline.  I recommend more precision in the descriptions of the war scenes, their impact seems lost in the details.  Still, this could be an interesting short film, the most important scene, for me, is the ending -- I don't think the liquor bottles are necessary, I suspect that Castle would not wait long enough to drink them.  
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James McClung
Posted: January 18th, 2014, 11:12pm Report to Moderator
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I think the JFK angle is pretty stale and there's no spin on it here that I think makes it any less so. I did however appreciate the repercussions of his living you were able to come up with. It made sense, for the most part, and sufficiently upped the stakes for the story. I guess in that sense, it works. Just not my thing.

Nevertheless, there's a myriad of issues here that need to be addressed. First and foremost, the script is incredibly dense and slow and there's no one reason for this. Both the action AND the dialogue is incredibly overwritten and sort of a chore to read through, especially with how many important details there are, which can't easily be skimmed over. There are however many details that are unimportant, which can be cut/condensed, and your use of passive voice makes the descriptions even longer. All this needs to be addressed.

The characters are flat and the dialogue is way too expository. It's all just information being fed to the audience. I mean, the situation is dramatic but the delivery is just too cold and to the point. These issues also need to be addressed.

I didn't care for your I/E. slugs. I see what you were trying to do here but it's weird. Definitely jarring when the first one appears. I'd go with an establishing shot of the EXT. before moving into the car or if that's too much, just say where they're driving and leave it at that. This I/E. business just isn't necessary or efficient.

I know you're trying to hide Oswald's identity but I really don't care for MAN as a character name. You could just as easily gone with something like SNIPER or ASSASSIN.

Also, what's with Dimitri punching out the cop? Did he do that to get to Castle faster? If so, why even ask to see him? Why didn't he just punch the guy out and go straight to jail. Awkward, as is the use of "flattens." I'd look into this and see if there isn't a better way to spin it all.

I liked the ending but I'd cut the suicide and just have him cry. Much more poignant that way. Everyone and his cat has a script where someone commits suicide at the end. Come on now.

Finally, what's with the title? I mean, it's not bad, per se. But it does seem kind of random. Maybe I'm missing something here.

Overall, I think there's a reasonably good story here, high stakes, and some attention to detail that benefits the story. But it's extremely overblown at this point and is a slog to get through. Definitely needs work, I'm afraid.


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SteveUK
Posted: January 19th, 2014, 12:23pm Report to Moderator
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This was reasonably good and I liked the story overall, but it had a lot of issues that need ironing out. Firstly, I'm not a fan of the title, especially as it doesn't really fit the tone of story.

There were quite a few typos and grammatical errors throughout, but that's forgivable in a OWC script. What isn't forgivable though are the badly worded action lines - a lot of the descriptions read very awkwardly and need re-wording.

The dialogue seemed to veer from good to bad, and then back to good again, but for the most part there was way too much exposition used in the conversations.

When Dimitri is first introduced, his name should be in caps. Also, there's no real description of him either. He's the main character in the story and all we're told about him is that he's clothed and unshaven.

Why can't the time travel procedure be repeated until next year? As this is a major factor in the story (this is their one shot to get it right) this needs to be explained. Why can't they just do it again tomorrow?

You have a note that 'As Dimitri is now speaking English, he has an accent' - I wasn't aware that he wasn't speaking English previously! It would be better delete the note and just use a parenthical with his dialogue - (in English, accented). You'll also need to make it clear that he's speaking in Russian at the beginning. If I were you though, I'd skip this and just try to make it obvious in your action lines - If you want the reader to know that Dimitri is speaking with an accent, just have another character react to it.

I didn't get why Dimitri would risk the whole operation by going into the cop bar and starting a fight? The fate of the world is in his hands and his best plan is to get arrested for beating up a cop and then hopefully get to tell Castle about the future? I also didn't think Castle was at all convinced by Dimitri's story (I wouldn't be), so why would he let the assassination happen? I think you need to find a better way of Dimitri getting to Castle, and a more believable way of him convincing Castle he's telling the truth.

The ending was pretty dark but I liked it. I wonder if it might be better without the gunshot though. Show Castle with the gun, suicidal and then cut to black, leaving us guessing as to whether he killed himself or not. Just an idea.
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StevenClark
Posted: January 20th, 2014, 3:54pm Report to Moderator
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Writer,

This read a bit disjointed for me and a little sloppy. Some of your action sentences could have been joined together, limiting your page count. The story wasnt bad, but the ending left me cold. Not sure why he'd off himself here if he'd gotten done what he came to do.

A tidy up is in order. Sorry for sounding harsh, friend. I guess this just wasnt for me

Congrats on entering the challenge!

Steve


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PrussianMosby
Posted: January 20th, 2014, 5:32pm Report to Moderator
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Hello.

Ok. It's clever constructed. You followed a straight line and trusted your concept.
That decision didn't fail IMO.
It isn't enough to blow me out of the socks, but it's a stable story and it has an ironic touch.

Nice side note with Putin. Poor Catle. Always Castle

So, the Russians have a time machine today
A little too much introduction of the KGB people, or better said, a too boring intro. A few characters could be cut.
Maybe there's more tension inside. Nevertheless, solid stuff.


In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

Those Infinite Wolves  (8p - psychological horror)

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DV44
Posted: January 20th, 2014, 6:16pm Report to Moderator
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Have to agree with others - It would have been great to show Kennedy shot & killed as the newspaper headliner leaving the reader to think JFK had still died. I wasn't thrilled that the best way for Dimitri to convince Castle about the up coming assassination was to talk to him at a bar. I would think he's drunk or crazy, cut him off from having another drink and throw his butt out the door. A little harsh but Coop brought up an interesting take. Maybe Dimitri could have been waiting at Castles' house to tell him about the event. Just a thought. Anyways, I enjoyed the story. You put in a lot of research and it showed! Great job.

Congrats on completing the OWC.
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: January 27th, 2014, 4:25pm Report to Moderator
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Ch-ch-changes

I liked the title of this, thought it was going to be something totally different.  I wasn't getting into the writing (missing subjects & verbs, submissive verbs, present participles).  I'm a big fan of breaking rules, but clarity rules all.  You should always write a clause with complete structure to anchor a passage.  Things like Dimitri's introduction were clunky.

Page 2,  Dimitri nods. Gets off the...

I've seen folks use sentences without subjects, but the way you wrote this is incorrect.  Use a full serialized sentence to tie the subject to every verb.  It reads awkward and interrupts the flow.

Slugs were not totally incorrect, but they were generic compared to what they could've been.  You even used "Lone Star" in the first passage at the bar, most would think it's lazy.

Not to say this script didn't get moving, it did.  The dialogue was strong, but I wasn't sold on Dimitri's thrust for change.  Along with some other stories I've read so far, there's a thematic pattern of perception vs. consequence with some of heavy hitters from history.  I think some tuning could make this a lot better than it is now.

Johnny

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