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Special by H - Short - When a depressed ex Marine is forced to take a special young boy on a mountain trek, he must deal with a life threatening challenge thrown up by the the kid's unique talent. - pdf, format
Strange you'd start off with that exact description, I suppose it's fine but definitely not how you want to start off a script.
A nice script grounded in (mostly) reality. I liked this, some great character work and solid tension. There was a good flow to the script, the ending got a little bit muddled but besides that, this wasn't too bad at all. Good job for a week's worth.
So far, I think this script really brought the setting front and center more than the rest. It was well written and the characters were solid. In fact, this is a good example of how characters should develop. For instance, when Duke seen the way Joel handled the bear, the plot didn't just keep moving. The writer took that extra line to break Duke's shell and give a bit of respect to Joel.
Good tension and visual for the bear encounter, it showed how connected Duke was to his environment and also revealed that he isn't always in control of it. The end felt a little tacked on, but its minor considering it was brought forward earlier in the story that shit happens out there. And the bear became an ally at the end.
There was a few cheese/light moments here and there, and the evil plan was kind of cliche, but it was a fun read. Good one for sure.
First one for me, First off, great open, with two words you set the surroundings. The story itself worked quite well, I didn't know what was going on a first but things made sense at the end. Joel's gift is certainly something unique. I liked the set up, how things reveal themselves slowly, that is something I know I need to work on. This seemed to fit the challenge quite well. I also liked that it took place in B.C
All in all a very good entry, if the others are as good as this one it will be one heck of a turn out. Great work.
BC. Yeeah! Better not get any BC details wrong, I got my eye on you
Well I'm gonna go for it, just because I said I was gonna be nitpicky on BC stuff -- not sure about the grizzly heading towards the human, then turning around. Grizzlies tend to know when you're near, so they're not usually headed anywhere near you. This would fit with me better if the grizzly was just walking by, ie past them. Bears are bashful. But, dramatic license, probably.
There weren't Canadian forces in Iraq, unless Duke was in the Gulf War. This would fit his age; though, re-reading, I guess he's American, because we don't have Marines...
"Got it!" On page 7, is this Joel discovering what his power is for the first time? Not clear if he knew this before or not, to me.
Female grizzlies are not vicious, except where their offspring are concerned. Not sure if Duke's supposed to be right, here, or not. It reads like he is supposed to be right.
Yeah this was a solid one. Nothing original, really...kind of an early 80s paranoia piece. Really appreciated the slow build, though, and the time taken with the characters. This would pay off big with the produced flick. The image of the bins is truly horrific and the whole story fits with our fearful conception of mysterious, evil weapons developers.
The Announcer VO for the wrap-up might be a bit, um, quick'n'tidy, but I'm sure the ending of this would have taken its time if the challenge allowed it the space. The pacing up to the end was pretty darn good, so this is a small complaint.
A few errors here and there - maybe due to the deadline? For example: 'a dog gasps'? 'whines' would fit better I reckon and I feel the Announcer's 'voice' could do with a bit of a revamp but I'm being picky.
Overall this one's pretty impressive. Fits most of the criteria too. Nice use of the Pacific Northwest locale, well rounded story, suspense, and some proper characterisaton too.
Are there 2 different Recovery Centers? First, I see Silver Cloud on page 1, then on page 2, I see Blue Waterfall. I'm confused.
I'm also confused on Page 2 with the "INT" Slug of the Blue Waterfall place. Sure doesn't seem like an INT scene. And then, we go to a Mini Slug of "PHIL'S OFFICE", which is INT, but you don't want to use Mini's when you shift between INT and EXT scenes.
On Page 3, you once again use a Mini when your scene is switching from EXT to INT. This appears to be something you need to look into, as it shouldn't be done this way.
And you do it again on page 4, as you switch scenes again, now to an EXT scene. Listen, using a full Slug does not take up any additional space and it's a matter of adding a few words - which you need to do. It's lazy and a really bad habit to get into trying to use Mini Slugs all the time.
OH BOY!!!! So, now you use another Mini of "LATER" on Page 4, but you're in a completely new setting, which requires a new full Slug. We were last in the Woodland Car Park - now we're at a waterfall. You need to look at this with a serious eye and try to understand what's wrong and why.
BTW - you've done a very good job describing the settings and you're incorpating the Pacific Northwest into your script very well!
Be careful of using the Mini Slug "LATER" - even when it's appropriate, as it can be difficult for a reader to follow when you don't give solid visual clues as to it actually being "later".
I like the grizzly bear scene. My entry that wasn't submitted actually had a similar child, in that he was an animal whisperer.
Page 5 - "All three sit around a campfire eating food. Cindy takes the plates and heads inside." - OK, check this out. Your 2nd sentence here does not take place in the same time as the first sentence - they're eating food, THEN, Cyndi gets up and takes the plates inside, meaning, these 2 sentence should not be lumped together within the same passage. You see what I mean? First the eat, then, when they're done, Cyndi gets up and clears the plates, etc. You should keep this in mind all the time and look for similar issues within all your passages. It's a great way to practice and get your passages down tight.
Page 6 - I don't personally like your new Slug here - "MOUNTAINS". Maybe "MOUNTAIN TRAIL" or the like? Mountains is way too broad.
"Duke frequently stops..." - Actually, this would be a montage or series of shots.
Last 2 passages on Page 6 and first on page 7 are all very awkwardly written.
Page 7 - "Three solemn faces sit around a small timber table, eating supper." - This is rather awkwardly phrased with the nouns being "faces". Faces don't "sit". Maybe picky, but trying to help every way I can.
Page 8 - You've done it again - another Mini from an INT setting to an EXT setting. You can't do this...or better put, you shouldn't do this.
A "torch" came out of his backpack?
"FENCE" - Another incorrect Mini here. Let's think about it - time has obviously passed since the last (Mini) Slug, right? Whenever times passes, you want to let your readers know by using a time element in your newest Slug. Using a Mini here does not work and never will.
"Duke just about controls himself." - Very awkward.
Page 10 - do binoculars work at night? Not sure, just asking.
"BINOCULARS POV - Duke spies large radio antennae, satellite dishes and then, around a corner, a two man security patrol." - Incorrectly formatted and written. If you're going to use a POV, write exactly what is being seen through that POV - nothing else. Also, when you go into a POV, you need to "RETURN TO SCENE" when it's over.
Page 10 - Another incorrect Mini Slug - "BIN". Let's see if you properly leave this new setting - and, no, you didn't, which hopefully now makes sense why I said this was incorrect. You have to use a new Slug every single time you change locations - EVERY SINGLE TIME!
I'm assuming "torch" and "torchlight" mean something different where you live? Is it a British thing?
"WOODS" - Another Mini used incorrectly, because time has passed and you can't capture that with a Mini.
Page 11 - Things are breaking down here. Very hard to visualize the action and passing of time, as well as proximity of areas, etc. A Jeep gets to the cabin before either Joel or Duke do? I take it there's a road up here in the mountains? These peeps who built this facility are kind of stupid, if that's the case.
Page 12 - Your use of double dashes here isn't correct, IMO. It actually makes the read more difficult and doesn't offer anything positive that I can see.
The bear attack needs to be rewritten.
Not sure what the "ANNOUNCER" thing is all about, where's it's coming from, or really why it's here - I think you ran out of pages and had to shoehorn this in.
The Jeep (You need to Cap the J, as it's an actual brand) goes up the mountain? Aren't they trying to escape?
Ummm...the end doesn't work for me at all. I realize you ran out of space and may have been up against the deadline, time-wise, but the ending definitely needs some work.
Good effort, here! I don't see the R rating, and I really don't think the child made a miraculous discovery, but overall, you did alot of things right here, and that's always what counts.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Well that was "special". Sorry, I had to go there. I really liked it. Loved the slow build up of Duke and Joel's characters interacting with one another. Great job there. The dialogue flowed nicely throughout. The end felt a bit rushed with the announcer but it didn't hurt the story to any degree.
Overall, one of my favorites so far. Congrats on finishing the OWC.
Of the scripts I've read so far, I liked this one the best. Best use of the location, good tension, good action, good characters, good plot. It felt like you maybe could've cut to the chase a little sooner, though. Overall, a pleasing read.
"I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Max'."
Good opening, lots of characterization, good setup of the tone. You don't need that one line of dialogue, it's already in the subtext, but it's forgiveable.
Duke is well-developed as a character. Solid introduction, consistent, depth revealed as the story progresses. Great job on him. Not as much work done on Cindy, she starts off with promise but ends up being pretty generic. Joel is the opposite, we get very little about him at the start and more is revealed, which feels right for this. Good job overall.
The grizzly bear appearance threw me, it's just not realistic for Duke to wait and see what happens when Joel is facing a bear. He's supposed to be the expert but he didn't even say a word to Joel about what to do.
Wire cutters in a backwoods guide's bag? A bit of a stretch without some explanation, better if it's a multi-tool or some other way to get inside the compound.
The ending is abrupt, and the announcer sticks out like a sore thumb to wrap things up in a very meta sort of way. I expect it's due to the page restriction because the pace was really good up until then. Still, it's unsatisfying after what's otherwise an engaging read.
Duke's contemplating suicide in the opening doesn't have any bearing on the rest of the story, which is either a missed opportunity or it's the wrong choice to start with. If you start with something like that, deliver on it, it's too big a loose thread to leave untied.
Great tension, the right tone, solid writing, a complete story, good characterization, great pacing, and it meets the challenge requirements. This one's at the top of my list so far. Great job!