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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2014 - One Week Challenge  ›  Saving Lives - OWC Moderators: Mr. Blonde, dabrast
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  Author    Saving Lives - OWC  (currently 3975 views)
Posted: January 11th, 2014, 6:15pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Saving Lives by 0 - Short - A man travels back in time to save siblings he never knew he had. - pdf, format

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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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Posted: January 11th, 2014, 10:04pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Down Under
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Starting the reads with this one.

I liked this, especially the ending!  Good concept of the time device. Nice choice of the mission in time to save ancestors. The descriptions on the host were good, a little too wordy in the action but nothing that spoiled the read. But I'm betting some people might have a rant about it, lol.

Overall, a neat little story. The writer was in control of his plot and saw it through well. I know all too well how the logistics of time travel can be convoluted when writing it.

Good job!

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Posted: January 11th, 2014, 10:24pm Report to Moderator
OWC Moderator

Cast Your Fate To The Wind

Upstate NY
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Hey Writer,

This certainly was an ambitious effort on your part. But tackling the sinking of the Titanic is something, I think anyway, that is way overplayed. By saying that I mean you could have left out the descriptions of the ship and its sinking. Been there, done that already.

While this wasnt a really bad script, it misses the mark on several fronts. It's too long, first off. Could have trimmed at least two pages. Been seeing that so far with most of what I've read. And, well, it's just too simple of a tale. Not that that's a bad thing. It aids in understanding your story, but doesn't do much for it. The time machine you use, I believe, is some sort of crystal? I don't know, it all just seems too simple for me to really take seriously.

If you had trimmed the fat here, you could have focused on more important things like the relationship between Michael and his mother. If you got rid of that overlong montage you could have done that.

I did like the way michaels mountain climbing skills came into play aboard the Titanic. Good stuff there.

Anyway, a decent tale, fits the parameters of the challenge, but sort of fell flat for me. But congrats on getting this in. It seemslike you put a good deal of effort into this.


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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 12:23am Report to Moderator

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Talking to himself doesn't work, the reader obviously knows he's gone into the past. In fact, 99% of all dialogue of a character talking to themselves does not sound good at all so it's always best to avoid it.

Really, reading further, most of the dialogue is OTN and needs a massive rework. But that's pretty common for all OWC entries so I'll let it slide. Even the VOs sound stilted.

Not bad, enjoyable for what it is but the dialogue really brings this down, too much exposition and it all feels so forced. "I did this, then I do that, and then this happens" and so on and so forth, very repetitive stuff. Not a bad effort, just needs a good rewrite to shine.
Private Message Reply: 3 - 29
Posted: January 12th, 2014, 8:03am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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This was a nice little tale. As a whole., I liked it.

I was going to agree with others on the dialogue, but as I read on and realized the dates and what time frames everything was in, I came to thinking that this is probably closer to the way they would have spoken. Maybe, maybe not. I don't know.

I liked the use of the time device. I did have a similar thing in mind with that and didn't have time to submit it, so good on you. I think it works.

You also had an urgency with the whole Titanic set up, which was good, made me want to read on.

Good job

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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 3:34pm Report to Moderator

I wish my brain was half as wise as my ass.

Asheville, NC
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I knew someone was going to write about the Titanic.

The writing wasn't as smooth as it could be. A few examples from page 1:
Pg. 1
The early morning sun rises over the towering peaks.
MICHAEL DOYER, 28, who has a body like a
Taking in the view, Michael takes a drink(s) from his canteen. (taken/takes�repetitive)
A HUMMING sound echoes from (we know humming is a sound � maybe describe it�is it loud? deep? steady?)
Michael glances back, to see(s) a small opening enough for himself to squeeze through. (we know it�s for him)
The sun peaks through the newly man made hole(man? we know he made it we just saw that)
The HUMMING sound
----Watch the word "the" and there are quite a few "repetitions" throughout this screenplay.
Pg. 2 �
Above on the mountain, it's himself climbing (awkward phrasing)
seem to bleed white.�I have no idea what you mean here.
Michael's face is a look of confusion. Caroline faces him. -- this reads awkward and 2 faces is repetitive.
---Many of the same writing issues throughout. Possibly just do to the time constraints. Just slows the reader down. Dialog bogged down in places as well.

Well, I said I knew someone would write about the Titanic and the problem with choosing this subject is, it's been done to death. Some of what I was reading, I felt like I've seen before. It went on very long and I have to admit I got bored. Then came the VO at the end. Yikes. Just too much. It felt forced and my eyes glazed over, sorry to say. But this shows a very strong effort and displays some writing skills so congrats on completing something for this OWC.

If someone is trying to bring you down, it just means you are above them."

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
mmmarnie  -  January 15th, 2014, 10:34am
Site Private Message Reply: 5 - 29
Posted: January 12th, 2014, 3:51pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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MICHAEL DOYER, 28, who has a body like a finely-carved
statue, is a good way up the jagged wall.

Drop the 'who has'... it's novelistic and unnecessary wordage.


He clears away small rocks and opens a hole big enough for
himself to squeeze through.

Drop the 'for himself'.


Mostly dark. The sun peaks through the newly man made hole
but not enough light to expose the entire area.

You tell us the same thing twice. Better to lose the 'Mostly dark', as it doesn't say much. The second sentence is more visual... only drop the 'newly man-made' part. It's also peeks not peaks.


The HUMMING sound grows stronger.

Try, The humming intensifies, or something similar.


Curiosity gets the best of Michael. He looks around for
anything to smash through the wall. Finds a rock on the
ground and with one swing, breaks through the dirt wall
uncovering a purple stone the size of his palm.

The first sentence is merely telling us something the character will do afterwards anyway. It's pretty obvious from his actions.


And just like that, he's gone. Vanished from sight.

Again the same thing twice. This also reads like a line from a children's book. Also the line that sees me leave this story.

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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 4:03am Report to Moderator

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The BACK TO SCENE made an appearance... a lot... took me out of the story, a lot.

Overall, I love this idea, though... could have been executed better, but I liked it.  

Good effort.

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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 4:34am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Wow, youve taken on the Titanic. Thats a bold move but I think youve done it justice.

Im not a fan of the setup, the beginning seems a bit clumsy and the camera shots were a distraction but once you get to the Californian things really start to get interesting. The action is understandable and exciting. Youve obviously done your homework on this.

I would suggest starting with him landing on the Californian and explaining how he got there with some quick flashbacks. You want to captivate the audience early on and I struggled through the first few pages.

Similarly with the long VO explaining how everyone lived happily ever after, a bit of show and tell would have sufficed but I love how Michael then starts to enjoy himself and conquers Everest first lol!

A really good entry and my favourite of the ones Ive read so far.


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 6:03am Report to Moderator

London, UK
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I really enjoyed this one.

You took a simple, and somewhat cliched, idea of going back in time to save your relatives from some kind of disaster, but managed to produce an enjoyable little story.

I enjoyed how Michael came about the time travelling device; that was one of the more unusual ways that I have read. I wasn't a massive fan of the scene with Michael in the hospital with his mum, because I thought that the dialogue needed work, then I didn't like his VO when he was getting ready to time travel, but once they got onto the ship, I thought that this was great.

I thought that the script could have been a little shorter though, considering how simple the story actually was. But if you see my page specific notes below, you will see that I wasn't a massive fan of the VO. So if you trim some of that, you will lose at least half a page. I also thought that you could have ended his time travelling after he saves his brother and sister; as that was his goal, after all. I didn't really see any need for him to then go below deck to save the others.

So ending that part of the script there would also trim a page or so off this.

Below are a few more page specific notes:

Page 1- I'm never a fan when "POV" is used, simply because I feel writing "Michael looks at a tiny hole in the wall, from which a purple glow emanates" works just as well, whilst using up less space.

Page 2- I let some of the other talking-to-himself go, but this line read too on the nose for me: "I'm ten minutes... in the past?"

Page 3- Some of the dialogue between Michael and his mum read a bit unnatural. I think that it was because it sounded so formal?

Page 4- I would cut out the VO at the top of the page, as I don't feel that it's necessary. Same with the whole VO here, actually. The only information from these VO's which I feel is important is that Michael has been experimenting with time travel for 6 months already. But maybe you could show us this in some other way? Maybe he could consult his journal, which shows that this will be, say, the seventeenth time he travels?

Page 8- Axe the VO

Page 9- Solid pay off with Michael's climbing abilities.

Page 10- Haha, brilliant. Send 'em overboard!

Page 13- I wasn't a huge fan of this final VO either, as it just read a little too clumsy for my liking. I think a montage would have worked better, with Michael narrating some of the events. But regardless, I would trim it down to its bare bones, keeping only the essential information.

Page 14- Solid ending, with the whole Mount Everest thing.

But these issues are some of the more minor ones that I have had with the entries so far. The concept and story was solid, but I just felt that the structure could have been tightened slightly, and the dialogue improved.

Great effort here considering the time-frame. Really enjoyed this one.

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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 7:16am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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This is a script I bailed at page 1. I respect Toby's opinion on story so I thought I'd give this another go.

I need to read something that flows. Grammatical errors, typo's etc, all disturb flow. I find myself reading a single action line two or three times, turning it around so that it reads better. So i get to page two of this script and I find the same grammar problems as page 1.



The purple stream shoots down to the base of the mountain.
Michael appears, utterly shocked by what just happen.

Drop the 'to'. Also, where exactly does Michael materialise? Is he at the bottom of the mountain with the purple stream? You also don't need to write the words 'by what just happen.' Nor 'utterly' come to think of it.


How in god's green earth...?

He peers up. Something catches his eye.

Above on the mountain, it's himself climbing to reach the
ledge he so frantically tried to achieve just moments ago.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Just takes me too long. What I will have to do here, as it is so badly written, is try to ignore all of those bad action lines and doubtless dialogue in an attempt to fathom wtf everyone else is seeing.


I'm ten minutes... in the past?

A true face-palm moment, I kid you not. Reminds me of something written inside a thought-bubble from a graphic novel.


About an hour. I didn't want to
interrupt your sleep. Seemed
peace... well, that is until the
nightmares kicked in... 

This piece of dialogue is hilarious.

I really can't stop with this script. The dialogue is unnatural and the writing talent on display here is minimal. What possible story could I be missing? Are we still in the season of good will? I thought that ended January 6th.

OK... a positive. Your VO works on page 4... but it doesn't work in his bedroom because there is too much of it. Leave it so I headed home, then show him packing his clothes, also show us a shot of a passport. Job done. Think visually. If you can show it visually, avoid it in dialogue.

Again the VO fails, where he tells us he's been travelling for 6 months. This is a visual medium. Stop thinking you can cheat.


And I doubt they will. Not with the
chance to break the speed record in
their grasp... Southampton to New
York in 7 days. My god, I never
thought I would see the day...

This made me chuckle.


Michael takes out his handgun, points it at Louis.

Than we're going to have a problem.

Kill the dialogue here.


SCREAMS fill the night.

About time. Only took till page 8 for some action.

OK... I've never seen the Titanic films and I don't really know much about it... but if the violin player's name is right then you've probably done a fair amount of research for this story. Well done on that. The story itself goes on for way too long. Too much pointless VO. Unnatural dialogue and bad grammar in the action lines don't help.

I suppose though that the idea is sound. However the execution is extremely weak.

Private Message Reply: 10 - 29
Posted: January 13th, 2014, 8:45am Report to Moderator
Guest User

Hey.  I think this particular script had strong points (but a few areas that could be tightened up, too.)

I enjoyed the story, and in alot of ways, that's the most important part.  

There were a few typos throughout the story (for instance, 'breathe' on the first page.) And the bottom margins looked...uh, way off.

I actually think that the brief narration on p. 4 took away from the story.  The exposition *was* somewhat on the nose, and I honestly feel that the emotion could have been conveyed better by simply having reactions from Michael, and a few lines of dialogue from Caroline.  Also - and this is an only child speaking here - why would Michael care about the lives of two siblings that he'd never even met that he'd go back in time and risk his life?  Perhaps if Caroline was so distraught that he did it specifically for her sake...

One definitely positive-this is actually the first script in the OWC where the character could be claimed to have Cassandra Complex, at least for a few seconds (IE: someone - the Captain - thought him crazy.)

All in all, a fun story.  The ending's a little light, given the tone of the rest.  But it's not a deal breaker for me.  


--Wonka (J)
e-mail Reply: 11 - 29
Posted: January 13th, 2014, 6:29pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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One of my last few, so no more "As I go" stuff...I'll try and be rather detailed.

Page 1 - Looks like some serious research went into this, which I always appreciate.  Writing looks pretty decent, but there is some overwriting, some repetitive writing, some typos, etc.

Actually, there's no reason to start with your opening Slug - just go rigth into your 2nd one, as it's more descriptive anyways and saves you several lines.

Passages could be broken up better, but not too badly done.

Page 2 - The Slugs on Page 1 and Page 2 should not be the same, as they're not remotely the same place - on the mountain and at its base.  It's unclear where exactly he is when he reappears at the base - I'd rethink this and rewrite it for clarity and visualness.

Characters talking out loud to themself usually doesn't work...especially on the page.

"Above on the mountain, it's himself climbing to reach the ledge he so frantically tried to achieve just moments ago." - First of all, I'd insert a comma after "Above", as the long sentence is easier to read.  It's also worded rather awkwardly.  More importantly, this isn't a good visual sentence, as we have no idea how far up he was or how big this "mountain" is.  You don't want to lose your readers by not writing visually, and this is important here, IMO.

OK, so 10 minutes earlier, he was at the base?  If that's true, the answer to my question above is "not very far up", as if he's climbing alone, he's not gong to make much progress in only 10 minutes on a Nepalese mountain. I'd rethink this entire part, making sure it makes sense and your readers are clear exactly where we are, etc.

"An old, white bricked building. Adequate." - I really despise these kinds of descriptions.  You've got 2 fragments here and neither one really matters, does it?  Basically, you're signalling an Establishing Shot and that's cool, but write it in a more reader friendly way.

The 2 description lines underneath this new Slug are both wastes and unnecessary. Again, if you feel the need to include a description line, write something that either matters, is interesting, or at least, well written.

The dialogue exchange does not sound natural between Michael and "Mother" - even him calling her "Mother" seems so formal, especialy when he repeats it several times...BUT, considering this is 1946, maybe the formality is intended and maybe, it's actually correct.

Page 4 - The V.O. comes out of nowhere and for me, is a big mistake.  You're also missing an apostraphe in "mother's".

So, something just came to me and I want to ask a question.  We're in 1946, and WW2 just ended the prior year.  Michael is young at 28 - what in the world does he do that he can be off by himself climbing a mountain in Nepal less than a year after WW2 ended?  You know what I'm saying?

Page 5 - I like how you described the actual time travel - good attention to detail and thought here.  Well done.

"7" - "seven" - spell it out.

I love your attention to detail and obvious research but I have to tell you I don't buy him being able to know exactly where this ship is at the moment he "drops" onboard.  No biggie, just sayin'...

Page 6 - You've been calling him Captain Lord, now all of a sudden, he's Stanley?  I don't get it.  Stick with 1 name in your descriptions and let your characters call other characters whatever they feel like.

"Focuses on..." - Doesn't read well as a fragment - write out a complete sentence and you'll be amazed how much better your script will read.

Page 7 - "crews" - "crew's"

"their" - "they're"

And now, on the last line, you call him, "Lord".  You have to be 100% consistent.

Page 8 - Can't say I really like the passage under the new Slug - RMS TITANIC.  It's a much different voice you're using here and it seems out of place.

Page  9 - "His days of mountain climbing..." - total aside here that is so unnecessary and out of place.

"For a brief moment the thought of dying has exited their minds." - Another pointless and rather painful aside.

At the bottom of Page 9, there's too much going on, IMO.  New characters being intro'd quickly while the Titanic sinks is a tough thing to write...and read.

Page 10 - "Turns to Emily smiling. Tips his hat." - Another subjectless fragment that doesn't read well.  It's just a bad habit to get into, so my advice is never to do it.

Page 11 - "there" - "their"

Page 12 - I'm not a fan of this long montage here.  Actually, I think it takes alot away, as it's just not necessary at this point.  We've all seen this so many times (most likely). My advice would be to completely get rid of it.

Page 13 - Not sure I quite understand the "YEARS LATER" SUPER.  Is it years later than the Titanic scenes or years later after he found the stone?  I'd rethink this, as it's important.

I'd insert "the" in front of "Titanic" in his V.O..  It sounds so much better.

I've said all along I wasn't a fan of the V.O.'s, but at this point, I am actualy warming up to them and I appreciate the info you're giving me here.

Page 14 - And, damnit, I also have to say I LOVE the ending!

You've done something here that's very, very difficult in creating a character and his exploits, thrown them into a real life situation that eveyone is familiar with, and done it in an exciting and even heart warming way that had me smiling and shockingly, a little emotional, for some reason.  Really, really damn good effort here.

The writing's not fantastic, but it's serviceable.  The story rocks on numerous levels.  It's well thought out, well researched, and most of all, well put together.

Clean up your writing and get to work on a feature, as you have the stuff it takes to move peeps with your writing.

KICK ASS JOB!!!  Easily my favorite and most likely, a winner here in this very difficult OWC.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Private Message Reply: 12 - 29
Posted: January 14th, 2014, 12:15am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Just so You Know I was a bit coincerned with the non0-corier bold 18 point font on the title page. There's a spelling error on p2 that is actually part of uneeded prose ("of what just happen")  but what I'm starting to dislike a lot in the OWC is the voice overs. To add insult to injury, many of them are overwritten. Let's have a look..

Quoted Text
And that's when she told me. The
news was indeed horrible, much more
than I had imagined. I didn't know
how to react. Angry? Scared?
Depressed? But I wasn't about to
sit back and do nothing. Time was
ticking on my mothers life. There
was only one thing to do. I had to
go back in time... and save my

Well, mother did just tell him the big secret. So all you need is...

Quoted Text
There was only one thing to do. I had to
go back in time... and save my

If that. But that last part says everything. All the rest we already seen, know or don't give two hoots about. He doesn't know how to feel. Then - I had to go back in time... Seems he knows exactly how he feels. So I don't need to know it. The last line or so gets to the point. Direct action and not heavy handed. I don't want to be told what characters are thinking let alone what they don't know what to think.

Another problem is that it IS a family secret. That I don't get. His mom was on the Titanic! You would think at this age he might know something about it. Right?

By the way. We see in the next scene Michael getting a jacket and a gun, so that V.O. telling us what we can clearly see isn't needed either. One thing : I would have liked you to add old photos of the children. How does Micheal know who to look for? You can argue he sees his mother in her youth, but it isn't a slam-dunk that those are his long lost siblings when he first sees them. (Note: how many people were on the Titanic?)

And why not just go to the Titanic itself to begin with and hold Cpn Smith hostage, telling him to direct the ship to go turn well before they collide with the iceberg?

Now that we got all that nonsense out of the way.,..
Brilliant subject! History suggests had the Californian acted more promptly, at least three hundred passengers would have been saved at worst. One thing I would have added to the script was that in this new alternate change, fate did not judge The Californian as it sunk itself in WW1.

However- your character should also be aware that in his actions, he prevented future safety measures regarding ship to ship communications. And while he could not possibly know the future, we also wouldn't get an Oscar winning film from James Cameron in 1997  

And yes, The Californian and the aftermath of the Titanic sinking would make an interesting film.

Overall, Vos aside, I think this one of the better entries and the best I read thus far. On a shortlist for the voting fotr the moment.

"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: January 14th, 2014, 6:53pm Report to Moderator

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Titanic? Had a feeling someone was going to write about it. Have to agree with some of the other reviewers, the dialogue is OTN at times but it didn't steer me away from reading all the way through and some of the action lines could be condensed or even eliminated altogether too.

You seem to put a lot of research into the story which is nice. I liked how you used the SS Californian to help rescue passengers from the Titanic. Kudos on that. The ending was good but a serious rewrite could really flesh out the story and shine.

Congrats on completing the OWC.
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