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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 3969 views)
Posted: January 14th, 2014, 11:13pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Perth, Australia
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Where's the colon after fade in? Right, that's it... I'm out! Of course I'm only joking, I wouldn't be that petty...

Inconsistent straight off the bat - day in slug but morning in the action. Shift that morning into the slug and you could do away with "early morning" Yes, I'm still being quite petty aren't I...

Micheal's one fit guy and possible made of marble according to his description.

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

You could do away with this dialogue, you've already done a good job getting this info across visually - don't spoil it with cringe worthy dialogue.

You seem to like doing establishing shots -- you have to ask yourself whether they're are necessary. For example, you just told me about an old white brick building, but it doesn't actually tell me anything. If there was a sign that said "Saving Lives Hospital" then I know it's a hospital but otherwise, it's superfluous.

"carpet" In a hospital room?

Michael (seems) forgiving. Seems?

Now I'm not the voice over police, personally I don't mind them but I have to admit that I didn't like Micheal's here -- it's rather cringe worthy, but at least he's being active so that's good. I would recommend toning down the voice overs - try to get this info across another way.

A lot of BACK TO SCENE'S going on -- too much IMO, try to pull back on P.O.V's and INSERTS -- not always necessary.

Well, I liked this one more than I thought I was going to. The first few pages I thought were poor, but this does rescue itself with an action-packed second half and I have to admit that the ending was great -- Liked how he's using the time device to his own advantage.

There are issues, I think you could cut a lot of the Titanic scenes and its sinking, I'm pretty sure that most peeps know how the story goes - concentrate on Michael and his search for his family, the rest is understood. The dialogue as well, especially the voice overs and that's what really hurt this one overall, but hey, these sort of kinks can be sorted out in a re-write and then I think you'll have a nice little tale here.

Another possible avenue would be to add more depth to the Michael character, why does he want to rescue his lost brother and sister other than the obvious -- for his mother, yes, but what if it's also something for himself. A lonely child who always wanted brothers and sisters or a larger family.

The writing was a little clumsy at first, a few typos spread around but it got better as it went on so good job. You could cut on down on the transitions as they take a lot of space but maybe that's preference on my part.

An entertaining story that's little let down by the dialogue -- good effort though. (it's in my top 5 at the moment.)

Congrats on completing the OWC.

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Posted: January 16th, 2014, 1:03pm Report to Moderator
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VOs shouldn’t come out of the middle of nowhere at the most convenient time possible. If you’re going to use it at all, it should be established at the beginning. The audience needs to know up front what ‘narrative mode’ they are experiencing your story from. Here it’s clearly just a short cut to get to the plot and so it feels off (plus what did it actually explain? Not much)

I’m not sure why the stone needed to be established in the opening. It’s not like the machine itself makes much sense either.

I’m not sure the Captain of a ship would buy into the idea of celebratory flares. Does he think the captain of the Titanic is an idiot? (Never mind. Looked into it and Captain Lord Stanley was indeed a jerk-a**).

Unfortunately this is another entry that suffered from the protagonist’s goals being pretty murky. He says he’s going to save his family, but who are they?  I think we should’ve at least known that Peter and Emily would be the ones he was trying to save (also, would their identities be apparent onscreen?).

The stuff on the ship is pretty well done, but I didn’t like what bookended this story.  This could use a much stronger set-up. I found the writing fairly solid though, and this was an enjoyable entry for me.

Congrats on completing the OWC.
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Posted: January 16th, 2014, 1:50pm Report to Moderator
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Thought-provoking.  I like that you used the SS Californian to rescue survivors on Titanic, not that I knew what it was until I read up on Titanic's sinking like 2 minutes ago, lol.

You put some time into constructing this story, which is to be commended - I barely do research myself, so kudos for that.  

Characters were great, I could feel why Michael wanted to do the things he did.  The time travel device also raises some questions, which are out of your control - WHERE DID IT COME FROM?  IS IT ALIEN?

I always like unfolding new ways of time manipulation in reads.  Memories were the last one, a polished purple stone now, I'm looking forward to the next.

This is one that sticks out for me the most amongst the others I've read, mainly because of the location being so historic.  

Nice job completing this OWC with a risque script in relation to Titanic.

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Posted: January 17th, 2014, 6:33am Report to Moderator
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This was a pretty good idea that was unfortunately let down by its execution. I liked the premise and you've structured the story well, but a lot of the action lines were either poorly worded or overwritten. Try to be more sparse with your descriptions and just tell us what we need to know.

The dialogue was also pretty awkward at times and there was way too much exposition in the voice over, try to cut it back as much as you can. You also need to set up the voice over near the start - maybe have Michael set up the story while he's climbing the mountain. As it is, the voice over just appears from nowhere in the middle of a scene on page 4 and it really threw me off. Another thing that bugged me - who is Michael telling this story to in his voice over? Is he just recounting it to himself? Maybe have michael writing it down in a journal near the end before he goes to Mount Everest - this would give a logical explanation for the use of the voice over.

I also felt the Titanic scene went on way too long. In my opinion you could delete the whole montage of the Titanic sinking and the passengers escaping without losing anything from your story. Just having John save his family and then watching them being rowed away to safety with the other passengers would be enough.

You've clearly done your research and it shows in the story, but this still needs a lot of work in my opinion. However, it's most definitely worth putting the effort into rewriting into this - you have a really good story that I was able to enjoy despite the issues I had with the writing. And I really liked the way you tied the whole thing up in your ending.
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James McClung
Posted: January 17th, 2014, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Washington, D.C.
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Best concept I've read so far. Not necessarily the best script. Nevertheless, I think Titanic was an interesting choice for a historical event to travel back to. A significant one, certainly, but not necessarily obvious.

I think the choice to put Michael on the SS Californian and not the Titanic (and furthermore, to have him reflect on this choice) was a stroke of brilliance. It's not an obvious choice by any means and definitely complicates the story and character's motives, not to mention expands the historical context for people who might not necessarily be up to snuff on the Titanic's more complete history.

I also appreciate the fact that you kept the story intimate. Michael goes back to save his siblings. Saving the lives of the other passengers was a feat in and of itself and expands the scope of the story but I like that it wasn't the main goal. It remains Michael's story throughout.

Still, there's some issues. Does Michael just stumble across this purple stone or was he actively searching for it? What's up with that?

More pressing is the dialogue. VERY expository. Definitely doesn't sound as natural as it should. Also, the V.O. took away from the story for me A LOT. I mean, there's maybe a handful of insights that benefited from it but for the most part, this is absolutely not the way V.O. is supposed to be used. Basically Michael saying everything he's thinking and in some instances, what could easily be inferred by what's going on visually. Definitely the chief issue to work on for me.

That said, there is definitely a really strong story at the heart of this. It just needs to lose some fat. Good job on this.

Private Message Reply: 19 - 29
irish eyes
Posted: January 17th, 2014, 6:23pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

There`s too much blood in my alcohol

Upstate New York
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Ok last one... I think

Pretty good story overall, although there seems to be a lot of going back in time to save your siblings stories in this OWC.

The time machine itself... a purple stone? which apparently can send him anywhere in time. I guess not from this world, but was never explained.

I liked the concept of his family aboard the titanic and it was nice to see the Irish surviving from below decks

Overall it flowed very easily and had a nice ending... the purple stone must be like a "flux capacitor"

good job on entering


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Posted: January 18th, 2014, 3:10am Report to Moderator
Old Timer


Over there.
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The BACK TO SCENEs do grate and take you out of the story.
Typos don't help either. Still, noones prefect.

'it's himself climbing' - For a moment there I thought I was in rural Ireland.

INSERT Photograph of a field in Ireland with farmers and sheep. In the feckin' rain.


'An old, white bricked building. Adequate.' - Adequate? Doesn't help much.

I may be in an over critcal mood. It does happen occasionally. The dialogue on p3 and 4 was what put me off reviewing this a few days ago. It's too on the nose and expositional. Still, onward. I've read worse.

'Lord downplays the situation.' - It's phrases such as this really put me off a screenplay. I've no doubt he does but it'd be far more entertaining to show us how this looks rather than just tell.

I imagine quite a lot of research went into this and a few of the story choices were unexpected and clever. I didn't like the dialogue though. If that was improved this could be very good.

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Site Private Message Reply: 21 - 29
Mr. Blonde
Posted: January 18th, 2014, 10:22pm Report to Moderator
Board Moderator

What good are choices if they're all bad?

Nowhere special.
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I didn't find anything particular to write about with this one. The dialogue before he time travels was kind of rough then the sequence where he travels back in time seemed like you just re-watched "Titanic", although you made some alterations (by the way, they've determined that the back of the ship didn't lift way into the air, it was only about 17 degrees before bending). Then, the ending seemed out of place. Did he actually become the world's greatest mountain climber, or did he just teleport in time to the top of Everest? Either way, I think I had more negative feelings about this than positive, but I didn't hate it. It was just underwhelming.


Private Message Reply: 22 - 29
Posted: January 18th, 2014, 10:57pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Private Message Reply: 23 - 29
Last Fountain
Posted: January 18th, 2014, 11:04pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Good premise. Could use more development. Epic action set piece.

The bookends are really nice touches, framing a massive time travel fantasy.  It was really interesting to set this in the past and then travel further into the past. The opening images are quite strong. Mountain climbing in Nepal would make for great visuals. The hook is firmly planted.

I have to say the bait wasn't so tasty. I mean the time machine. He finds a jeweled stone in a crack of the mountain. The technology is so bland for what follows. You take us to such a great destination. The titanic. A most infamous moment in history. So make this machine epic too. Or at least the discovery of it. Maybe he stumbles upon it at the mountain top. Or in some hidden overgrown area. Something more grand than a crack.

I like how he only goes back 10 minutes. I like that he has to create a machine and test it to go back further. But I think this could be better developed too. Maybe a cliche montage would work here. We could see him travel further and further. Building the machine, piece by piece. And a voice over explaining the science, and testing, but also his motivations.

The scale of the jump is epic indeed. The titanic stuff would be great to watch. Especially from a different point of view. I feel that he pulls off his mission too easily. Maybe show more struggle boarding the ship. And more climbing skills. Maybe more intensity getting the kids to safety. Demonstrate his grip strength or something. I feel like the huge action set piece is rather safe. More danger for the traveller would help. Especially with the melodrama of the happy ending. It might be more interesting if the time line gets altered some how in a more intriguing way. Maybe some negative consequence.

I enjoyed the final chapter on Everest. I'd like to think he uses the device to challenge himself and he actually climbed the mountain. It might be nice to have some narration explaining how he uses the device or keeps it from getting into the wrong hands.I just really enjoyed the idea behind this short and the noble motivation of the main character,  so I'm critical on the impact and weight of some choices.

I think this could be really great if you further develop the discovery,  the technology,  and the obstacles on the titanic.

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Site Private Message Reply: 24 - 29
Posted: January 20th, 2014, 9:48pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I see some first act problems, especially in case of establishment.

On the mountain top, a man/woman would lie on the ground, perplex, and quail if something like that would happen. Okay, it's film, but a bit more reflection would be good.

The hospital scene doesn't work for me. There's no need the mother mentions two dead siblings. Which mother would send such a goodbye-package from the deathbed?
The dialogue tries to inject the believability into the script. Right when I ask myself: why didn't the mother told Michael earlier about the siblings, Michael asks: Why didn't you mention this to me before?

Ok. I accept that he modified the stone. Ocean. From here on it's getting better. Dialogue, good tension. Fine emotional interactions. Titanic. I like the things you plotted yourself and not the stuff from the movie., especially with the gate. And how does Michael get there?

Okay in third the establishing problem comes back as he justifies what he did, why not, and what if.

The Voice over are much too long for the pictures shown, there's just sparse action happening.
Funny pointe. You deliver the play without many problems; you really have put a lot of precise stuff from the Titanic inside. Looks like you had some fun with that stuff; I prefer your own creation. I liked the captain and all that.

Private Message Reply: 25 - 29
Reef Dreamer
Posted: January 21st, 2014, 5:15pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

The effects of writing again....

The Island of Jersey
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Saving lives

Good logline, especially when the story plays out.

I liked the idea of going back to the titanic. That was a surprise, although I wondered why we start in a mountain in 1946.

The SS California - I checked it up, very good choice. But then I didn't like the outcome.

To be honest, I couldnt understand why you did a montage of the titanic sinking, just like it was played out in the blockbuster, I couldn't work that out. Didn't seem to add.

Ok, you changed the real future, and that's different to most scripts, I just wanst sold on it. But well done for trying.

In short, a decent idea of coming back for family you didn't know. Good idea of the SS California. But how about, in the reality before his travel they died in the recovery because of an accident due to too people many on board and it cap sized, or caught fire, or they were knocked over board. He saves them, by stopping the boat turn around, instead  sends messages to other boots, not realising they weren't close enough. The titanic sinks, many die that didn't before.

He saves his family, then rots in hell with the image. Just an idea.

Having said all that, well researched, decent potential.

My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
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Private Message Reply: 26 - 29
Posted: January 22nd, 2014, 5:41pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Let The Sky Fall

Various, exotic.
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Well, it's not brilliantly written, but not badly conceived either. I did like the start, on a mountain-side, only if it was unique. Then on to the mother, and that was okay, but I started losing it a little bit when he packed a handgun, and I didn't really know what he was setting out to acheive? Maybe some hint is needed from the mother? Maybe not.

Overall, I liked it - it had a good story-feel to it. There was lots of missed appostophies here and there, but was ultimaltely a feel-good take on events, and I like that it ended on the mountain again.

Not 100% sure the Titanic figures re. people who got rescued - maybe you could have gone for the everyone-died-at-first angle, and then have the actual numbers as a result of what Michael did.

Good piece of work though.
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Posted: January 22nd, 2014, 11:49pm Report to Moderator
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This was a clever concept, an easy read, and was evidently well researched.

A few underlying issues beg me to ask of Michael's true objective and his primary reason of motivation to attempt a journey of this magnitude. First and foremost; what is the prime catalyst for saving the lives of people he didn't even know? As well, understanding the mission he was about to take would be life threatening to himself?

Then there was an indication that time was not on his side, for his mother was dying. I believe this is debatable, simply because he's in possession of a 'Time Travelling' device.

Then somewhere along the lines the M.O. changed to involve Michael commandeering the SS Californian to rescue the passengers from the sinking Titanic. Whereas, he might have adjusted his initial journey to ensure his relatives never boarded the Titanic in the first place.

Then, if he really wanted to be heroic, try 'Tooth and Nail' to ensure that the captains of each vessel in question headed his warnings of what lies ahead. If that didn't work, then commandeer the Titanic to have the crew adjust their bearings.

Of course, if you took my advice, there wouldn't be much a story here, but I enjoyed reading this script, and contemplating what basic human condition compelled you, as a writer, to go the avenue you did. This was a good entry for the OWC!

Revision History (1 edits)
Gum  -  January 23rd, 2014, 12:34am
Private Message Reply: 28 - 29
Posted: January 23rd, 2014, 12:58pm Report to Moderator

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First off, I want to thank Don for posting the script. You do an amazing job. Love the site. Secondly, I want to thank Sean for hosting the OWC. A tough challenge but yet a fun one. Awesome job, bro.

I'm a little embarrassed by all the errors I had throughout. I've never tried to write (V.O.) & Montages' before and now I see why. The VO's came off a bit cheesy & too late into the story. Anyone who saw The Titanic movie from James Cameron probably felt I was reliving the scenes of the ship going down in the montage. Quite a few peeps mentioned that they would have liked to not have seen the montage as it took away from the story and looking back at it, I agree. The dialogue was my biggest downfall. No excuses at all, I just suck at it and it's something I have to improve on. Too much OTN throughout.

On to the story itself, the plot was simple, a man (Michael) finds a purple stone buried behind a dirt wall and soon after he's teleported down to the base of the mountain (ten minutes in the past). It's there he realizes he can transport anywhere, anytime. After he hears about the siblings he never knew he had from his dying mother he decided his goal was to save them + hundreds of others who perished that night. So I sent him on the Californian, which he overtook, and directed him towards the Titanic saving just about everyone on board. The ending, I left open for anyone to interpret. Did Michael actually climb Mt Everest? or did he just transport to the top? That's up the reader to decide. lol.

A Big thanks to everyone who took the time to read it! Means a lot, great advice & info I can use to help my writing move forward. You guys ROCK!!!!

- Dirk
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