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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    April, 2009 One Week Challenge  ›  OWC - Picnic Snitch
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  Author    OWC - Picnic Snitch  (currently 3017 views)
Don
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 9:42am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Picnic Snitch by Genghis Khan - Short, Drama - Two teenagers learn that the secrets of teenagers are the worst kept secrets at a family picnic. (8 pgs,pdf) - pdf, format


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Grandma Bear
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Just read this.

I thought it was pretty good, but could have been a little better. It just seemed to me that a 17 year old boy skipping work to go hang out with his girlfriend wasn't really much of a secret to hide. I never really felt any sort of tension or danger or anything. I think this would work better if the stakes were higher.

The writing itself was fine.

You followed the theme and genre.  


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Lakewood
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 11:56am Report to Moderator
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Overall, harmless enough.  Damning with faint praise, right?  You had your story and you told it.  It's a sort of day-in-the-life progression and things just happen.

You need to watch out for the use of "is" and other passive verbs.  This script is more like you watching the story unfolding and transcribing versus having your characters act.

There is also a sort of choppiness to the dialogue.  It stops and starts without much natural flow.  You also burden characters with dialogue that informs the audience but makes the characters look like idiots.  When Gary is talking with Dawn you have GARY: "You know I only live a few houses down from Dan’s house? Right?"  C'mon, Dawn lives in a small town and dates his best friend.  Of course she knows.  Why would he say it?

The most important scene in the script is the final looming comeuppance scene and you need to do a better job visually of telling the location of the car.  In the scene before, you have Gary get in the car and talk to Dan.  It's an isolating scene and you need to show them watching the picnic through the smears of footprints or something.  Impending doom is what you want not Dan in a bubble away from it all.
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Zombie Sean
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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This one was pretty good, but I have to agree, the secret is a little harmless, but I think it's because we haven't seen the conclusion yet. It sort of just ended, and I think there needs to be a better pay-off. Yeah, it's a funny ending, but since the genre was drama, I think we need to see what happens when they actually get to the picnic.

Sean


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JamminGirl
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 1:57pm Report to Moderator
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It's nice. Simple. I like it.

One note though, what's the point of mentioning hair color?


Family Picnic 10 pages.

After the Trade 3 pages

by T. Jasmine Hylton
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Dreamscale
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 6:47pm Report to Moderator
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I didn't like it...BUT...I didn't hate it either.  The writing is pretty weak, with lots and lots of passive verbiage, tons of completely unnecessary descriptions of literally every single character, and completely un-natural dialogue.

At least it made sense, told a story, was slightly amusing and entertaining, and for the most part, followed the guideleines, although as others have said, the secret part was very weak.

Not bad overall, though.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.

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Dreamscale  -  April 13th, 2009, 4:25pm
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Astrid
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 7:17pm Report to Moderator
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This is okay. It could be better tho if Dawn wasn't described as Dan's "sometimes" girlfriend. If she's just a sometimes girlfriend, who cares if Dan cheats on her?
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mcornetto
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 7:40pm Report to Moderator
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This one really didn't engage me. The secret really wasn't much of one at all and there were way to many character to have any kind of relationship with any one of them.  I not sure what to suggest here but I think that first off, it needs a bit more story.
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Sham
Posted: April 12th, 2009, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from mcornetto
This one really didn't engage me. The secret really wasn't much of one at all and there were way to many character to have any kind of relationship with any one of them.  I not sure what to suggest here but I think that first off, it needs a bit more story.

Agreed.

I don't have much to add as far as constructive criticism goes.

Your writing is okay, despite several "is [verb]ing" instead of the correct "[verb]s".

I was never really invested in the story or the characters because things just seemed to happen without a twist, consequence, or reward. I love scripts where it feels like I've dropped in on the lives of some people, but these scripts really need to tell a story, too. A guy skipping work to cheat on his girlfriend is a good start for one, but it just feels like a trailer. What next?


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BryMo
Posted: April 12th, 2009, 2:20pm Report to Moderator
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There were a few verb confusions i noticed reading. Also, while these guys can sometimes have good lines, they also read somewhat choppy. But that could all change if the right person were cast.

As for the story itself i didn't hate it, but also didn't think its was noteworthy. Not much happened, it was just a moment. And it just ended. Like nothing.

Anyway it wasn't so bad. I liked it, just found a few issues.

Good job.


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Murphy
Posted: April 12th, 2009, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
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Not much of a story to be honest, not much of a secret which really did not help. I honestly cannot say the writing was that great, the dialogue was just too much. Very on the nose, far too much being said and none if it came across as being natural at all. It made it difficult to read If I was to be really honest.

I am sorry if all this is a bit negative, you really need to work on your dialogue, you could easily go through this script and remove at least half of the words that are spoken and still get the story across the same.

There are too many characters too, it does not help. You could have easily have lost the scene where Gary goes to work. That would have helped simplify things a little, just show him pulling up in front of the store and that is enough. You did not need to take us inside.  A good exercise to do when you are working on your drafts and re-writes is to go through your script and delete anything that does not move the story forward, you sometimes have to be harsh but trust me it makes a huge difference to your finished script.

The most important thing however is to leave something for your audiences imagination, make us have to do some work to "get it". When things are explained like this in every detail, every word spoken and every moment shown onscreen then it can get a little boring to read.

You obviously can write though, and entering challenges like this is a great way of improving your writing.
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JonnyBoy
Posted: April 13th, 2009, 8:42am Report to Moderator
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Meeting the competition criteria: okay, ANOTHER script where the writer's gone with a backyard BBQ instead of a picnic. I'm sure they're not the same! I actually looked up the Wikipedia entry for 'picnic', which defines it as "a pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors, ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape such as a park". You can't have an excursion in a backyard. There are family present and a secret is revealed, but there's not a great deal of drama here - 5/10
Characters: Dan and Gary just felt like the same person with different names. Megan was a cliche cheerleader, Dawn boring enough for me to understand why Dan's not wild about her. The best character was Vance - 5/10
Dialogue: fine, servicable, but no particularly stand-out moments - 5/10
Story: this was sort of like a very condensed version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but without the charm. It was, I'm sorry to say, a little dull. The ending really was just a fade out, too; nothing really happened. I was waiting for the confrontation between Dan and Dawn, but you never gave it to me - 5/10
Writing/format: all fine, as far as I can see. The writing's okay, but not amazing. It's fine, though - 5/10

TOTAL: 25/50

5/10 in every category. Pretty much sums it up: this was fine, just not great.


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Blakkwolfe
Posted: April 13th, 2009, 7:47pm Report to Moderator
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Not bad, but not a whole lot of dramatic tension building either; A little Too much information in the opening slug-line..."INT. NONDESCRIPT TEENAGER’S BEDROOM – MID-MORNING – SUMMER-DAY"

Why not a specific small town in Wisconsin? Why does it matter that its in Wisconsin? Small town gives the film-maker alot more options; the same with making it a period piece- It'd be more costly to set this in 1974 in dress, style (Not the Gremlin-You can still pick one up for $6 or $7 bucks)...

The character descriptions "DIANE (40s, chain smoker, loud)," are formatted oddly...Also, you want to show, not tell...Show Diane chain smoking, etc... Liked the image of Vince in the Head Shop..."Vinyl Records"...Ah, memories...

Sets up more of teenage coming-of-age type comedy than drama cause of the lack of conflict between the characters..."Dawn and Diane are mad"...That's it...No tears, no vengence for cheating, no guilt and remorse for not being pretty enough or that Megan steals all the boys...

Footprints on the window is a nice touch, though...


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theMADhatter
Posted: April 13th, 2009, 8:11pm Report to Moderator
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I felt this one came short in a few areas. I felt this was only part of the story, though it could be thought of a sleeper. The conclusion never came, though it was hinted upon. This kind of irritated me. We all know what will happen but I think we want to see it.

And I didn't see the drama. I don't know, I almost saw this as more of a sitcom episode. Add in the picnic conclusion and a wrap-up and it is one.

And I agree with above, the characters narrated backstory when they should hint at it. "You know I live two houses down, right?" could've been "I'll swing by on my way home".

Also, too many characters, I agree. I had some trouble following.

Overall, good writing and visuals (the footprints) and dialogue. Good, but not great.

-kjb.



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jayrex
Posted: April 15th, 2009, 5:32pm Report to Moderator
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I wasn't drawn into this story.  Not a fun read.  A he said she said script.  It's like watching a daytime tv show. Not for me.

Overall, a picnic features without much of a secret.  Could be better.


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Brian M
Posted: April 17th, 2009, 5:58pm Report to Moderator
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Dialogue was a problem for me, a big problem. I had some trouble reading as not much was happening. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't enough to keep my full attention for more than a few minutes at a time.

Drama? Maybe not but still a good effort.
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scmower
Posted: April 17th, 2009, 6:30pm Report to Moderator
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It wasn't too bad. But it did have it's flaws. There's no real payoff at the end, especially after Stu smiles. I expected some kind of confrontation between the three, but nothing. The whole thing had a comedic feeling to it for me somehow. Especially during the making out scene. I expected some kind of comedic ending where they all get their own back on Dan.

Anyway, not bad, just needs more practice.


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grademan
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 7:33pm Report to Moderator
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My name is Gary Rademan and I wrote this, my first, script. I’ve belonged to the site for about one month now. I must say, I appreciated all the time put into reviews of my work and have reviewed other unproduced scripts a number of times. This script is a slice of my adolescence which is why I thought it was an awesome OWC entry. However my re-reading of the script, your reviews and ratings (25/50) are less awesome but nonetheless spot on. I shall do better. Thank you.
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