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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2014 - One Week Challenge  ›  Known But To God - OWC Moderators: Mr. Blonde, dabrast
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  Author    Known But To God - OWC  (currently 3650 views)
Posted: January 11th, 2014, 7:34pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Known But To God by 0 - Short - A group of Marines, on their way to a secret holding facility, encounter problems with their captive, a high-value Iranian terrorist. - pdf, format

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Posted: January 11th, 2014, 8:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hmmmm.  I enjoyed this one.  It's simple, with clean writing. (There's one sentence ending in "encircle" that needs a period.    )

If I wanted to nitpick, I'd argue that there's an issue with the fact that the reason for the time-travel element isn't even hinted at.  

And - technically - it doesn't fit the guidelines too closely: Devon can't really be argued to have Cassandra complex, and his actions don't truly impact the future in any significant way.

That said, it was still a fun, clean read.  Kudos.  Almost like a Twilight Zone episode.  

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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 2:22am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Perth, Australia
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Oh, how I wanted to love this because the story is right up my alley and itís definitely the most action-packed one Iíve read so far.

But things kept niggling at me all the way through from the dialogue to character decisions. And the time travel aspect seems to come from nowhere, and just kind of happened without much effect on the characters really, other than his obvious (spoiler) demise at the end which I will admit is quite harrowing.

I guess my main beef was Payam Ė what was his plan again? So, he stuffed an EMP device into his stomach with the knowledge that the marines were comingÖ why do it four and half days ahead of time and not the day before? Maybe heís on a diet? And what was his intention, to blow up the plane? Why not stick a slab of C-4 in his stomach and take down a whole base or something?

Other side notes Ė Jimmy Barnes Ė brilliant, a real working class man (check out youtube)

Whatís the deal with Stevens and Wade? They just took off without their buddies; I donít wanna be in a bad situation with those guys.

Itís a fast read so good job there but I didnít care much for the dialogue Ė hey, you canít win them all.

It sounds like I hated this but I just want to be clear that I didnít Ė I just think it could have been a lot better and I wish the plot was better fitted around the characters.

Otherwise, nice work and congrats on completing the OWC.

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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 3:05am Report to Moderator
Been Around

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Not sure if I like the sudden rambo approach of Devon after finding out he time travelled.

Finished. Was this based on a true story? Since I remember reading something similar.

Not a bad script, writing was good for the most part, dialogue wasn't bad either. My biggest problem was how long you take to set up the story and then suddenly scrap it and move to a whole new sequence. A lot of pages are wasted in the plane when the focus of the story is when he travels back. Nothing really mattered before he time travels and the story would've had a stronger impact if you got to the French soldiers earlier. Good effort though, it was a nice ride.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: January 12th, 2014, 10:11am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Part time writer

The Island of Jersey
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Know but to god

Logline is fine but interestingly I don't see a time travel angle....we shall see

They are flying back to the states but he talks about leaving the desert in a couple of weeks?? As I assume this is the terrorist the conversations seems a little strange, but it may be explained
The conversation with the terrorist was a tad confusing
Time travel seemed to come out of nowhere

Ok, his needs some work, but the idea of a solder in the wrong war, having no identity, fighting for good and only know to god has some potential

The terrorist is a weak link. He has no background, we know nothing about him, why he's there etc, or indeed what he was talking about, then he does something we don't understand and dies in the plane, we assume. Needs to be more woven in, IMO, for a short

All the best

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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 10:44am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Congratulations on completing the Jan OWC!

I was intrigued by the whole setup with the terrorist, it really had me going but it ended flat for me. It had elements of the Joker from Dark Knight with the bomb but I couldn't see why Payam went to all that trouble and sacrifice just to kill a few marines. If he was after a high profile target or if it was part of a bigger plan then maybe.

Then the time and position jump that wasn't explained. And they all just died in the end for no reason. It would have be nice if Devon could have used his futuristic tech to help the French survive against impossible odds or something like that but it would work as a Twilight Zone'ish story and it was nicely written.

For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 1:20pm Report to Moderator

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Loved the writing but you have two major problems. Loose ends, bad structure.

Why the villain got himself captured to send a couple of marines back in time?

The structure problem is more critical. Devon realized he had just time-traveled on page 10. That's 3rd act territory. I wouldn't mind if it was, like the others mentioned, a twilight zone-ish story, but you didn't give us time to enjoy the mystery. The set up with Payam was too long and too dramatic (Not that I didn't enjoy it) trim it down a bit. Give room to the actual plot to breathe.

Please rewrite this script, and I have a few suggestions to get you going.

Payam is actually not just your out-of-the-mill terrorist. He's a nuclear physicist. After capturing him, Devon thought the nightmare of terrorists having a nuclear head in their hands is over. But Payam has a much more sinister plan.

After payam pressing the detonator, he survives. When Devon lands and realizes that he's in 1917, he find himself fighting Germans.

After surviving the Germans attack, Devon discovers Payam real intention which is  giving the nuclear bomb technology to the German. Devon starts on an epic, suicidal journey to save the world from such a terrible fate.

We get to see the grave of the unknown soldier in the ending knowing how Devon sacrifice saved the world as we know it.

Good luck with the rewrite

El. Psy. Congroo.
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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 5:18pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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I enjoyed the first four pages, the dialog is especially which was pretty good throughout, but I started to realize the pacing would be off by the length of the opening scene...and it was. The time travel transition was very abrupt and not explained, just seemed thrown in there. I never did connect to Jimmy. We were watching him but I wasn't feeling him and even though this is full of action, I should care about what happens to him. I think the difference between an okay action film and a great one is making us connect to the characters.

Best part...the dialog. You have a real gift for it.

Your writing is lean but left me completely disconnected. Sure, I breezed through it but I didn't feel anything.

The story itself was abrupt and somewhat unclear but has possibilities.

Congrats on completing this OWC.

ZERO tolerance for RUDE people.

Revision History (1 edits)
mmmarnie  -  January 12th, 2014, 5:43pm
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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 5:33pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

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I like how the dialogue is quick back and forth banter, instead of big blocks of boring talky exposition.

However the closer I got to the end of this the more I was scratching my head.

Didn't really like much about this.

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Posted: January 12th, 2014, 5:40pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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with the smile of a winner.

Yuk. Just don't like this line. Cheese.

Yeah, up to page 3 and it's pure exposition. I'm out.

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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 7:48am Report to Moderator

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At the end of this, like many others, I was scratching my head.

Why did everything happen the way it did? What was the purpose of it all and how did the time travel bit impact on the future?

You have a nice little story that might indeed be a great idea for a feature, but didn't really stick to the guidelines of the OWC challenge, IMO.

Good luck with it though. I think you could definitely do something else with it.

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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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OK, last few for more "As I go" comments...

I read this in full and then read the comments.

I was enjoying this early and thought you did a good job writing and setting up something that I really had no clue where would go, but when it went where you took it, I was left scratching my nutsack, wondering what the fuck?

IMO, this does not fit the parmaters of the challenge at all. Also, it really doesn't offer much of anything, which is a shame, as it started out with such potential.

Even the dialogue was well done and each character had character, only to be completely wasted with a nothing story that ended up meaning pretty much nothing.

Not sure what else to say, other than congrats on entering this tough challenge.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: January 13th, 2014, 6:57pm Report to Moderator
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There is one side of a coin where overall, the script is better than average and would get a thumbs up for me. The setup in the first half of this is well done in spite of the trope where the bad guy "wants to get caught" to access the situation and play mind games with his captors. I'm also not a fan of the "Just then" stuff I see from time to time in scripts. Two words anyone can chop out, because the majority of action happens as it happens. Still, all that aside, it's one of the better scripts in the OWC...which leads us to that other side of the coin.

The entire setup that got me hooked was thrown under the bus. Ran over several times. Where did it go? It's almost as if the short script was already written in advance, and a minor tweak or two and abracadbra it's a time travel story that barely squeezes by the challenge itself. It's like it belongs in another script.

It wouldn't be the first time someone pulled a stunt like this. If this is the case, then you should make like an ostrich and stick your head in the sand. The out of left field time-travel bit negates an otherwise good short script.  In addition, then this wasn't written in a week or so...just tweaked to skate by the req' of the OWC.

So...good writing....bad form.

"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
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Posted: January 14th, 2014, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Let The Sky Fall

Various, exotic.
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Nothing that I can really say other than echoing most of the comments that are here already. Good set-up, wasteful ending.
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irish eyes
Posted: January 14th, 2014, 11:17pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

There`s too much blood in my alcohol

Upstate New York
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Not much to do with a time travel machine and it all happened so quick, jumped out of a plane and landed back in time, killed by Germans ??? as Janet pointed out... very Twilight Zone.

It was creative and read pretty quick, with some good action.

Good job on entering


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