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The opening to this one was fantastic. Totally took me by surprise - very amusing.
The rest is just a bit muddled, I think. It may well be that I am missing something, but the ending just fell flat. Bob suspected for 16 years that Billy was not his child? Upon learning the truth, he punches Henry and strolls back to be seemingly contented:
BOB Yeah, but they damn sure make us even.
The way in which Billy raised the issue at the picnic felt a little unnatural, as did his decision to investigate.
For large parts, the dialogue was good and helped to advance the story, but I just felt the structure let you down.
I would like to see a rewrite, 'cos as I say, the opening was very amusing.
I have to agree with Andrew. The opening drew me in but the rest let me down. I didn't buy that Bob could remember about the window after sixteen years, it's not like that was the only time he done it with her, hell, he said he's screwed her enough over the years. Why remember that time so vividly?
I think it would be better if you showed Bob being suspicious towards Henry, prove that he's suspected him all those years, instead of just having him come out that his son looks like Henry. It felt a bit random.
The ending didn't satisfy me. He's not even. No where near. Henry just admiting everything like it wasn't a big thing didn't feel right. Maybe Bob could hit Henry before he even gets a chance to answer his question or something.
First OWC entry I've read, and sorry to say this, but I didn't really like it. There were problems with writing. Firstly, you introduce the Man (in capital letters, which means that he appears on screen), but yet his first piece of dialogue is O.S.? You then have the Man in capitals again next time we see him. Hmm...
This line doesn't make sense either; "HENRY, 25, tall, well built, has dressed like a cat burglar." What does "has dressed" mean in this context? Also, I know that Henry is the Man, but you never explicitly tell us that he is. For all I know, the Man and Henry could be together in the same scene. You never tell us otherwise.
Man, the dialogue between Joy and Billy is pretty awful. It feels totally forced and un-natural.
Damn, the picnic dialogue is even worse...
A pet peeve of mine - I hate it when parents call their children "son" in movies. For me, it feels toally un-natural. I don't know if it's a UK thing, but no parent I know calls their children "son"... They use their first names.
How the hell would Bob remember that 16 years ago his wife opened a window? C'mon dude...
Lazy use of a montage, man.
I actually laughed when Bob knocked out Henry. I have a feeling I shouldn't of though.
Wow, that ending sucked. I felt cheated. What was the message of this short? I couldn't even try to comprehend one.
Sorry, but I really didn't enjoy this short. No offence to whoever wrote it. I think the premise was one of the biggest problems... Even if everything else was perfect (dialogue, formatting, etc.) I still wouldn't have enjoyed this one too much.
I think that this probably a miss, which is a shame because it is nicely written and you had a great set-up. I just found it all a little too unbelievable, not the story of course, but the reactions from the characters. Billy just thinking this out of the blue and the way he questioned it, Bob's reaction was certainly strange. He really thinks that hitting Henry a couple of times is enough to make it even? What about Sarah? If that was my wife I am pretty sure she would have been out the door pretty quickly, probably the car door, at speed! haha, okay, not really.
I think the set-up was well done, showing the conception and then moving forward 16 years was great and it worked well. The writing was decent enough just the story seemed a little to hard to swallow.
Such a great start, then it hits rock bottom as soon as the story jumps forward sixteen years. I was more intrigued by the wife's affair than Billy's search for his biological parents.
Both montages were really, really bad. The whole time I was reading it, I kept hearing the Benny Hill theme in my head.
The only character I remotely appreciated was Henry. I loved this little bit:
ALISON Itís nothing. Probably the neighbors or something.
HENRY Iím the neighbor! Thatís Bob!
Otherwise, the story took a nosedive as soon as it got going. Toby_E has offered some great criticism, more than I ever could, so paying attention to his advice will definitely help you if you ever decide to rewrite this.
Good start. Cats out the bag as soon as Billy and Joy start talking. Tension is there during the picnic. Mom not wanting all this, she knows where it's going. Then the punch out...didn't work for me. If the kid looked that much different that everyone else notices, then this would have started long before 16 years old.
Meeting the competition criteria: this is the good news. Family, picnic, secret, drama. Nowt wrong there - 10/10 Characters: pretty dull, I'm afraid. Not a great deal of depth to any of them. Henry had the most about them, but the rest were just names acting out parts - the confused child, the girlfriend, the angry husband. They needed more character - 4/10 Dialogue: I really don't want to come across as mean (ESPECIALLY not in the current climate), but this was, at times, painfully bad. Don't get me wrong, there were good moments - Henry's line "I'm the neighbor! That's Bob!" made me laugh out loud - but the scene between Joy and Billy in the computer room was horrible. It wasn't so mucn on the nose as broken nose. The picnic scene wasn't much better, I'm afraid - 3/10 Story: the start was great, but from then on things declined. I don't think Bob would settle for just hitting Henry twice, and then declare the matter closed. He's found out that his wife cheated on him, and his son isn't his son! And he just goes back to watching TV?! Sorry, don't buy it. Don't buy a lot of things about this, actually - 3/10 Writing/format: format was generally okay, but parts of the actual writing were just odd. The idea of Bob standing up from the picnic rug and immediately beginning to pace back and forth made me laugh at its ridiculousness - 4/10
This is, I think, actually, a good story. It's just written in a way that gets in the way. For me, the dialogue was the biggest problem. I don't know any 15 year olds who use the words whilst or dispute. Maybe you do. Idk. If I said anything more I'd just be repeating what's already been said.
The story here wasn't bad, the first half was interesting, but some of the dialogue just felt really really off, and how Bob was able to remember a night 16 years ago didn't feel right, nothing really special happened that night other than hearing footsteps....this guy must have the memory of an elephant. This did fit the theme and genre and it did have an interesting story so good job there, it was really just the dialogue that hurt this one the most.
I'm thinking that men keep perpetuating this notion that women cheat in the same way they do. Just have sex with the neighbor for the heck of it. Not beleiveable.
Sorry but can't agree with you there. The fact is that women are capable of cheating just as much as men do, there's no gender-specific gene that makes someone more predisposed to cheating. Just look at how many paternity cases you see these days if you want evidence of that. In this specific story the couple were having trouble conceiving so that may be one reason she cheated on her husband.