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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    July 2013 One Week Challenge  ›  The Breath of The Past - OWC Moderators: Dreamscale
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Don
Posted: July 14th, 2013, 3:39pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Breath of The Past by R - Short, Adventure - A young girl working on her father's archaeological dig in Washington state comes face to face with history itself   11 pages - pdf, format


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Heretic
Posted: July 14th, 2013, 8:30pm Report to Moderator
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As I go:

This is the tiniest of quibbles, in one sense, but I'll go for it. In David's first line, he says "who's finally woken," which struck me as suggesting something about his character -- he speaks "well," like a highly educated person who takes some enjoyment from speaking in a manner befitting their education. So it bumped me ever so slightly, on page 2, when he said "get some food off Smithy," because I didn't expect that lazy sort of vernacular from him.

Random thought: would it be more dynamic to start this flick in the trailer with Elly, maybe brushing her teeth or whatever, and then have her walk out and reveal the expansive hustle and bustle of the camp?

I find Elly talking to herself to be a little weird. Excessively adult. Maybe it's the phrasing -- "Bones, yes." I don't think so, though; it's just really unmotivated. She's sitting there eating, and then just suddenly starts explaining her own thoughts to herself out loud?

The pacing of this script is good.

Definitely not digging any of Elly's dialogue to herself. I sympathize, though, with the need for something...

For example, her big line on page 5 could just be:

"ELLY
Paleo...Indians?

She pinches herself."

Love that she pinches herself, by the way.

The David/Curtis dialogue when the see the cat is notta so good. Lacks urgency.

Do not buy at all that neither the Paleoamericans nor the diggers try to communicate with each other. This moment seems to miss a lot of the sense of wonder it should have. Fuck Tanya and her arm...there are a bunch of people here from thousands of years ago!

Great ending gag.

Thoughts:

I liked the story, but I do think that the moment of contact between the people of two different eras could have been huge and instead was more or less ignored. As well, lots of the dialogue here was extremely questionable, for me, beginning with but not limited to Elly talking to herself. I did like the relationship between Elly and her father at the beginning, though, and she was endearingly dedicated to her work, definitely.

I think there's a lot of room here to cut down dialogue and build up the key moment that I'm so set on. It could be like the end of Close Encounters, really. But I really like the end of this one. And, pleasantly different from lots of the others.


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irish eyes
Posted: July 14th, 2013, 8:43pm Report to Moderator
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page 1

the people already digging.... Missing an "are"

Oh, lordy. Was that a...a sabretoothed cat?... not realistic dialogue if I just saw a sabretoothed tiger jump through a mystical portal.

Indians? But...primitive ones.
Paleo-Indians? I don't know what
is going on here.
(beat)
Maybe I'm dreaming this? Maybe
I'll wake up soon and be sitting
over there having my rest..... same again, she seems to take it all in stride

ELLY
Daddy! I just...what's happening?
They came from nowhere.... she knows what's happening, she was gonna warn them..

CURTIS
God, are we talking some kind of
'lost world' scenario here?
That's not even w_        I guess you mean dashes -- as in interrupting speech

Not really for me, it was ok.

The dialogue was pretty unrealistic and some descriptions/actions were poor... but remember it is an OWC so mistakes happen and so do rewrites.

either way congrats on entering

Mark


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 3:06am Report to Moderator
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The breadth of the past

Title - not sure what to make of that

Later sees, to be double spaced, you only need a single
Did ellie really say 'oh Lordy' to a sabre toothed cat?
P7 the portal has opened and out comes the cat - no reson gives no foreshadowing that I could see

I liked the idea of the past connecting with a dig, that fits, but it seemed to arise for no reason (eg legend, find) and the ending was a little placid. The water rushing a them is a cliff hanger but I'm not sure we are invested enough.

Needs a little focus for me.


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nawazm11
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 3:16am Report to Moderator
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Page 4 - Do people even talk to themselves to reveal what they've learnt? Wow.

Page 5 - "Oh, lordy. Was that a...a sabretoothed cat?" I for one would shit my pants if I saw a tiger jumping out of a portal, let alone a saber toothed cat. Her reaction seems strangely calm.

"Indians? But...primitive ones.
Paleo-Indians? I don't know what
is going on here."   Neither do I! It sounds like a line out of a cartoon targeted at 3 year olds. I get the feeling you might've been in a rush since most of the dialogue doesn't work at all.

And the new few lines of dialogue don't help either...

Finished.

Well, the story's not as poor as some of the other entries but unfortunately, the dialogue is. Needs a huge clean up, almost 50% of the lines feel like they're taken out of The Room. It's a shame too because I can see a lot of research went into this. And I like the ending, I think it works perfectly. There were just some pacing issues, the characters could use a little more flare and the dialogue was horrendous but besides that, this was sound.

Grade: C
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LC
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 5:58am Report to Moderator
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Ok, I won't mention the line of dialogue that's already been mentioned, but I ain't just going with the crowd here - had it lined up to comment on and then saw it already had been noted...so a few awkward lines of dialogue but overall I think you handled this story quite deftly, especially the action sequences - they're not easy to write.

Very nice overall and a quick easy read, interesting locale, and a quite different 'adventure' story. Well done.

Libby


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 6:55am Report to Moderator
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The archaeological dig was the idea I thought everyone would come up with. There isn’t a problem with that though as long as you come up with a good twist on the concept and execute it well and this is a decent effort but needs work in my opinion.

I instantly liked David and Elly. You managed to convey an intelligent child, her father and the love they have in a very short space of time and it felt very natural.

I think you are being a bit too precise in your action E.G. “It's about a hundred and
fifty yards from the main site, with a few trees in between” – Do you really need to be so specific? If not, simplify, make it more generic.

You also describe things we can’t see like, “She stands up, hoping to catch a breeze from somewhere” or use descriptions more suited for a novel like “It looks shockingly bright red against the tan of the dirt.” You can trim the superfluous and leave those elements for the actors, Director and cinematographer to play around with.

As it is your action sections can read too long. You should keep them three to four lines at the most to make it easier to read and help set the pacing. Saying that the fight scene was good, I had no trouble visualising the action, it just needs tightening.

Elly’s initial reaction to the creature and people emerging from the time portal is odd to say the least. She does a running commentary for us and it felt like it was being done just for us. It felt forced and unnatural.

The ending though. Sigh, everyone dies. We know they can’t run away from what’s coming, maybe have them find a way to power it off before the water reaches them? Or have them stand behind the portal trying to shut it off while the water is streaming through. The visuals on that would be superb! Then they shut it off and find something or someone is left behind, trapped in our time. Just an idea!

But this is good! Just needs some work.


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Eoin
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 6:59am Report to Moderator
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This was a creative effort, that was hampered by OTT dialouge. This could easily be corrected in another pass. Relevant information was revealed as exposition, which could have been shown in a more organic fashion.

Some of it seemed cheesy for the sake of it, not sure if that was intentional or not.

Elly, an interesting character - her dialouge COULD be believable IF she had Aspergers etc, maybe this is an angle worth exploring.

The start needs to be stronger.

A very quick read that met most of the criteria.

Eoin
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pale yellow
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 7:43am Report to Moderator
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I wasn't really into this concept. I think it could've been better if there was more conflict between the people at the dig and the Indians. The dialogue in this needs work in my opinion, and you could trim a lot of this down.

Good job completing the  OWC.


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Dreamscale
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 4:53pm Report to Moderator
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OK, this review will be a bit different, because I happen to know who the writer is and although I always try not to let that influence my thoughts, it often does.

I've read through the feedback and am surprised how varied it is. Usually, feedback is pretty constant - either good or bad, but here it seems to be both.  I actually understand why on this entry, as there are some very good things and some...let's say, not so good things.

I'm going to throw some thoughts out in no particular order, some being positives and some not so positive.

I haven't been to Newman Lake, but I did look it up and see that it's not very remote, and peeps actually live in the area on a permanent basis - which is an issue for me, as it just doesn't seem like a place where an archeological dig would be going on, although I could be very wrong in this assessment.

The spacing of the actual SUPER appears to be wrong - too many lines above and below, make it stand out oddly.

I really like both Elly and her Dad. Both seem to have real character and I always appreciate that and I rarely see it in scripts.  Good job!

Like others, I have many issues with the dialogue.  Elly's talking to herself is a major problem and some of the actual conversations are indeed way on the old nose to the point where some feel like comedy or pisstake.  Just way too much exposition given out in dialogue.  I know, it can be tough to get certain points across that you want to be clear, but there are ways around this and I know this script would really benefit from some thinking and time to alleviate this issue.

There are several instances where you use the Mini Slug "LATER" incorrectly, because you use it, then you also use a Slug right underneath it.

I am totally impressed with the level of research that went into this.  It totally shows, is totally appreciated, and really elevates the script, because it rings true in many ways.

I'm not as impressed with the level of description given to the actual area this takes place in.  Maybe just a few lines in total here and there would really make this sing and pop, visually.

Another thing about the dialogue is the use of ellipses.  Don't get me wrong...I enjoy them in their place and use them quite often, but I think you went a little overboard here.  I think if you reread this a few times, you'll see what I'm saying.

I think you wasted some valuable space by writing about things that have no purpose.  You did cram alot in here, but the "good stuff" feels rushed, and that's probably because you ran out of room or time, although you did have an extra page to go still.  Stuff like the food and water when David leaves Elly at the 2nd dig site.  All in all, I bet this inclusion cost you some 10 lines at least, and there's no reason for it being in here.  Some other unimportant things in here as well - I think your 11 pages could easily be rewritten at about 9, meaning, I think you had an additional 3 pages to add, if you wanted to.

I really like the concept, but as written, it comes out of nowhere and for me, that's an issue.  You could actually take care of this rather easily with a few lines of dialogue that something odd had been discovered, or have Elly do something to make it happen.  What?  Not sure, but I think you need some kind of cause/reason for the time portal.

The big action scenes are OK, but they left me wanting more - more action, more death, more possibilities for such an amazing discovery with the Indians.

I really liked the stuff about the geo-sensors stuff.  Again, it showed great research and attention to detail.  maybe more of this kind of stuff wold help explain exactly what's going on and possibly why.

I really enjoyed the finale reveal, but as said above and by others, the dialogue that leads up to it, kind of ruins the power and potential.

Finally, and this is just a thought, considering the size of the portal, the flood would only be able to spew out the portal's size of water, meaning, although it would definitely be a big problem, it wouldn't be like a flood is hitting all at once, know what I'm saying.  I think it would actually work better if the flood hits while everyone is asleep.

Al in all, though, I definitely liked this one, and the main reasons are twofold - I'll remember the characters and I'll remember the story, as both are unique.

Great effort!



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DV44
Posted: July 15th, 2013, 6:23pm Report to Moderator
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I thought it was great that you used a dig site for the story. It was nice to see something other than the woods for your OWC as so many others have choose to use that location to death, including yours truly.  I liked the time portal idea but I feel you failed to capture more with it. I would have loved to see more with the Indians and David's group.

The dialogue was hit and miss for me. Felt a tad forced by Elly at times. The story itself was fun and I digged it. Pretty cool. Just need a good rewrite.

Congrats on finishing the OWC.

- Dirk
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stevemiles
Posted: July 16th, 2013, 3:51pm Report to Moderator
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Interesting location, definitely stands out.

Seemed like a wasted opportunity not to have Elly turn up something in the dig preempting the portal’s discovery.  Why not link the two together, rather than having this doorway to the past just appear?  Or have I missed something here?

I did wonder if this could have worked without the Sabre-tooth and instead just have the Paleo-Indians come through the portal as they try to escape the flood.  A bewildered exchange between everyone and then they take off into the forest...  Just a thought.  

Surprised they analysed the rock first, then went to find the portal...

The execution wasn’t quite there for me. But it did meet the criteria of the challenge which is more than I can probably say for mine.

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


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hawkeye
Posted: July 16th, 2013, 4:19pm Report to Moderator
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For me, this one really had potential.  A time portal appears at a dig site that unleashes prehistoric animals and Indians 13,000 years old.  Interesting concept.  Unfortunately, I feel like the others, the dialogue was a bit of a drag.  Seemed to need more of a sense of urgency.  This was more like an after-school special.

I think there needed to be more of a set-up on how the time portal appeared.  Was it because Elly dug something up, or disturbed something?  It just seemed odd that it suddenly showed up, but I might have missed something.

Some of the formatting was a little weird.  You had something happening, then you'd triple space and type "LATER" and then triple space again.  You do the same thing with your SUPER.  No need to do that.  Your slugs should tell the time frame, and if you do have a SUPER, you shouldn't triple space afterwards.

The reactions--not just by Elly, but by everyone--to the Indians and the tiger, were baffling.  That was a shit your pants moment, and they all treated it like a mountain lion had raced through the camp (albeit a killer mountain lion).

The finale really was foreshadowed at least twice and again, David's reaction is like: you know what?  We had better run fast.  Need more of a freak out moment from him.

Overall a decent effort, but the dialogue needs some work.  Congrats on getting this done!

Grade: C+

Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Angry Bear
Posted: July 17th, 2013, 9:30pm Report to Moderator
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A lot of extra spacing there on the first page…

Elly sounds older than 10 to me.

Also, when you write Elly LAUGHS, it gives the impression that she laughs heartedly. That sort of seems out of place. Does she chuckle? Maybe another word for LAUGHS would work better?

Page 2.  I have to tell you that I totally hate when kids come across as smartasses that know more than the adults. IMHO, Elly does not only not sound like a 10 year old, she sounds like a smartass/bitch too. I'm sort of disliking her to be honest. IMHO, kids come off as more believable and likable if they ask smart questions than rattle off smart answers as if they were idiot savants.

On page 4 now and Elly has been a lot more likable than she was in the very beginning. At least now, she seems like the right age.

She stands up hoping to catch a breeze? Tell us what we see, not what the character thinks.

Funny, as I was reading about the portal, Stargate is on the TV in the background!!!

Page 5.  Not real crazy about Elly talking to herself here.

Page 6. Some of those descriptions could be tightened up so we the readers can feel the action and terror.

Page 7. One of my pet peeves. A WOMEN!!!!!  Women is plural. Woman is singular!

Try to tighten some of the action descriptions here. The writing is blocky and slows the read when action needs to read faster and not slower in order for the reader to feel it.

Try to keep action paragraphs to no more than 4 lines. You want this to read quick and action packed. Keep the slower pace to more dramatic and romance type scenes.

Page 8. Who is Tanya? Did I miss something?

Page 11.  Hahahaha! You even mention Stargate!!! How weird is that?????

I liked this one. I did have some issues with it, but I liked the story over all. Tighten up your over writing and make Elly less of a cliche commercial kid where she knows better than all the adults and you're good! \\Well done!!  


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pwhitcroft
Posted: July 17th, 2013, 10:09pm Report to Moderator
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I like the mythology of this. It is a cool variation on the time portal thing. Also, there’s something easy to like about the lead girl and her enthusiasm.

At the same time though, this gets slowed down quite a bit by heavy blocks of exposition and some clunky dialogue. Also, the description gets a bit thick in places.


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