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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    The Quickie Challenge  ›  Holy Roller - QC Moderators: MarkItZero
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Don
Posted: August 20th, 2017, 11:15pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Holy Roller by John Staats writing as Rollin' Bones - Short, Drama - A Catholic Priest pushes the limits at the Craps table. His prayer before each roll may be more than just a plea for Heavenly intervention. 4 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  September 24th, 2017, 9:55am
Revised draft
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Cooper
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 12:41am Report to Moderator
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Never played craps but an interesting story for sure. Took me a second to realize what the ending meant. I might have capitalized the RED DICE or maybe said red dice identical to the ones used in the casino.  With that said, I didn't see the twist coming, which is good.


Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.
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grademan
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 2:17am Report to Moderator
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I thought he was playing craps with 3 dice when the guy said 6-6-6. But I see why he said that.

SPOILER: I mistakenly suspected the priest was a fake. I didn't quite understand the end. Was he referring to the bigger pile of money he left behind?

Kudos on how you worked the dice into the story.
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Cooper
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 2:19am Report to Moderator
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SPOILER

Guess the ending confused me too. I thought it was confirmed that he was a fake and he lost money so they wouldn't catch on.


Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.
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Warren
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 3:18am Report to Moderator
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Hi,


Quoted Text
and he's on a run.


This is unfilmable.


Quoted Text
but no one ever accepts.


We have no way of knowing this. All we can see is this guy not taking the tip.

The writing is pretty good other than what I mentioned, but the issues aren't war winners.

I really didn't understand the ending. I'm hoping someone can clarify it for me.


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khamanna
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 5:07am Report to Moderator
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I suppose the ending was supposed to reveal us what the story's about.
He says "they did not suspect a thing" but I did not understand what he's talking about.
And the ending is big in this.
The game did not do it for me, as it's actually not about the game. It's about the thing two Fathers plotted. But I do not know what they plotted.
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 5:12am Report to Moderator
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Some unfilmable elements and strange descriptions (his prayer of prosperity so earnest that his interlaced fingers are clenched white for example)  give this a clumsy start but the rest was solid.

I don't really buy it though. I think casinos are far too experienced to let a priest's collar distract away from loaded dice, but it met all the criteria and was nicely written.

-Mark


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ajr
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 5:48am Report to Moderator
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Nicely written, a good commentary on how priests are trustworthy and therefore would be given latitude.

Seems to me the plot is that he uses his own dice? Not a big Vegas guy myself so I'm wondering how the eye in the sky wouldn't spot him making the switch, especially if, as it seems, it's a routine for him.


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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 9:28am Report to Moderator
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Took a double-take at the end, and a love for anything involving a casino, but this really landed for me.

The idea of a holy man using illegitimate means to rip off Sin City in the ultimate middle finger to the devil using a little taste of "an eye for an eye" kind of justice, good versus evil where things aren't all black and white, but one blob of gray.

The Priest is obviously a good man, he offers tips and refuses tips given to him, and if I followed right a lot of other people made a lot of money off his fake dice as well.

Perfecto!
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JEStaats
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 10:39am Report to Moderator
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I like the logline; let's see where it goes.

Alright, I've been known to spend a few nights of my life on the gaming floor. Not lost here. I've seen runs before and think it's filmable. I get a good feel for being at the table watching this. Cool slang.

Hmmm... it didn't register when he pulled the dice out of his pocket but now makes sense. Switches dice when he pulls out the rosary at the table? Open ended whether these two are real Priests or con men.

I like this. Meets the challenge. Nice work.
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MarkItZero
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 1:35pm Report to Moderator
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Hmm, I liked it. I think I got the ending. It made me want to know more about these people and what their overall plans are. I don't mean that in a bad way of it feeling unfinished. It left me wanting more, in a good way.  


That rug really tied the room together.
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stevie
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 4:29pm Report to Moderator
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Hmm, I suppose the dice are at the church for a tiny bit at the end so I will let that go.

Well written and moved along nicely but it still isn't crystal clear what the go is as other reviews have mentioned. Thats the prob with 3 pagers - and the challenge as a writer - in that you have to create this mini story, top and tail it etc. Anyway it was good

The title was great. Also instantly made me think of the Beatles song 'Come Together', lol!


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hawkeye
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 6:35pm Report to Moderator
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As a seasoned craps player (and when I say seasoned, I mean I've been taken to the cleaners by the casinos on many an occasion), I can testify to the fact that there is no way he would ever get away with using fake or loaded dice for reasons I won't bore you with.  So the ending fell a bit flat with me.  Otherwise, it's pretty solid writing. Not a bad effort.

Best of luck,
Gary


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Angry Bear
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 6:45pm Report to Moderator
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I take it neither man is a real FATHER of the church. Just scammers.

I suspected the Father at the casino was a fake one, but didn't expect him to have a partner. So, good twist I guess. My issue here is that there really wasn't anyone to cheer for here. I didn't like him when I thought he was a fake and by the time we find out he's a scammer with the other Father, there simply wasn't anyone to feel anything about other than greed, which isn't a good feeling.

So, not bad, but left me feel empty.


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pale yellow
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 7:17pm Report to Moderator
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Like the title and logline on this.

I dunno why but I LOVE VO over a black screen. Maybe I'm weird but I love it.

And OMG  the writer can really write some dialogue. GREAT dialogue here.

May have used another slug for Clergy Office ...even if mini slug.

Ok this was really cute. I love it. Good job writer and I loved the dialogue.


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Michael
Posted: August 21st, 2017, 7:47pm Report to Moderator
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Good one, I liked it. Sounds like my preacher Father Mulkayhe.
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Dustin
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 4:55am Report to Moderator
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I liked the start but was waiting for a punchline that never came.


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StevenClark
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 10:27am Report to Moderator
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Last clue... Or is it?

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Writer,

Very good! Loved the flow of this, the dialogue. Not sure if he was using loaded dice or not, but I'm supposing he was.  Maybe could have used a better closing line, but yours worked fine. I see Gary
Mentioned about how he'd never get away using loaded dice, and that's probably true. But, in a story like this, reality doesn't bother me much. This works.

Steve


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 10:56am Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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There was a lot of emphasis on the game in this and I don't have a clue about most kinds of gambling so I didn't get it.

Mostly, I was confused by what was up with the Father. Why he'd do such a thing.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Stumpzian
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 11:20am Report to Moderator
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Pretty good story.

A few items to mention:
1. I'd introduce him as Father Dave right away and drop the "Man." And do you really need the opening voiceover?
2. When he leaves the casino, it's night. When he gets to the church, it's twilight. Other way around?
3. I was skeptical that he could get away with this, but maybe the Casino guy was in on it. After all, he said, "See you Sunday." I doubt it, though.

Henry



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Dreamscale
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 11:47am Report to Moderator
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Why wait so long to properly intro Father Dave?  Absolutely no reason and it's not the way to get started.  Also, and again, why in the world is his physical description given so late?  You have to understand that this is the very first thing we would see, so yuo have to write it that way.

Writing is a bit overdone early on.  Writing is OK, but awkward at times.  Dialogue is well done and obviously fitted in here for the overall theme, which I appreciate.

Was waiting for some kind of payoff that never came.

To think a "con" this simple would work in modern day Vegas is crazy...as it wouldn't...not a once, let alone all the time.

It ain't bad by any means, but it's just not something worth remembering.

***




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DanC
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 2:07pm Report to Moderator
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I agree with the others.  There is no way that anyone can con the Vegas casinos.  Perhaps a local one, but, not a Vegas one.

I agree with Jeff, you took far too long to show us who this man is.  Get to the story quicker.

Pretty decent and was a good use of dice.

I thought I was gonna ding you for not having dice at the church, but, you did.  

I've been to Vegas many times, but, have never played Craps.  Too scared I guess.  Poker is my addiction.  Not that I get to play a lot...

But, the whole con thing seemed not possible.  That said, I could see this as a 1 hr episode of CSI or some other crime show...

Oh, not sure what the confusion is.  IMO, these are real priests who are cheating at Craps.  They take turns going.

Also, not sure you know how hard it is to palm the dice and get different dice on the table.  Perhaps if you made the one priest a one-time magician or something...

All in all, this was pretty good.

Dan


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PrussianMosby
Posted: August 22nd, 2017, 10:58pm Report to Moderator
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Confusing introduction of Man/Father Dave, completely unnecessary imo. The story unfortunately passed by without me perceiving any emotional connection or feeling entertained.

At the ending, I miss a clear conclusion who exactly Ross is and what his role was in the casino. I guess it's the croupier but you could work with more clarity there. In the script I couldn't identify with the protagonist, which was the main problem I believe.



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Heretic
Posted: August 23rd, 2017, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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Count me up as one more who found the method of cheating a bit of a stretch, but I liked the story. heyDaddy above has done a good job of explaining what could be so satisfying about this story -- if this gets a rewrite, I'd suggest trying to play up those elements, the small bits of interaction between the protag and everyone in the Vegas environment that hint at what exactly it is that the protag's pulling off.

I like this one. Built our suspicions well and a fine little left turn at the end.


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Abe from LA
Posted: August 27th, 2017, 10:52pm Report to Moderator
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HOLY ROLLER

An interesting tale that begs for the writer to chime in. I was down on this one, initially. But traced back to see if it really works.

I noticed how this writer slips in little hints as to what is (might be) going on. It's like being in the presence of an underrated magician.  I misjudged some of the details.

— The Croupier is all smiles and appears to be on his side as well."
—  The red dice are in the same hand as Father Dave's rosary.
— 6-6-6, winner six.  Something Satanic here? Or just a metaphor for the sins of cheating? Or maybe the sins of greed on the part of these gamblers.

After Padre wins 5 consecutive times:

"Father Dave retrieves all his winnings except for a short stack to cover his original bet."
Well played, writer. Dave is hiding his winnings in the huge losses of others.

As Stumpzian Dave suggested, I thought that the Croupier was also in on the scam. Maybe so. Not sure. Or the Croupier might just be saying "See you Sunday, " as in see you in church.
The only losers at the table are gamblers who got suckered by Father Dave's heavenly luck.
But are they really losers?  When people see poor Father Dave lose, hell, they likely feel more sorry for him than themselves.  Why it doesn't feel like gambling; It's more like giving $$ to the church, than losing to the casino.
St. Ambrose of Redemption - Dave's church.
Redemption or Irony?

Father Dave is not a character you would root for, but he's damn interesting.
Of course, all that I'm saying is probably a load of craps.

In conclusion, I think there's a fascinating underbelly to this script. There are subtleties here that are working subliminally. Sorry, writer. I should have given you more points in the voting. But if you like, I could send you a contribution.
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JEStaats
Posted: August 31st, 2017, 1:59pm Report to Moderator
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Kinda surprised this didn't do better but I'll do a postmortem anyway. The three-page limit was a killer for me. As it is, I had to edit out over half a page. I think with another page or two, I could've really done something with this. I was originally going to have a church custodian impersonating the Clergy at the crap table but couldn't fit it in. I really like the suggestion of having the croupier in on it. I also toyed with the title 'Idle Hands' that would elude to the Clergy just being bored (I know a few Clergy) and that they do this for excitement.

As for it not being possible in a real casino...really? And Oceans 11 or other heist movie is? I hope it wasn't marked down for that. I think some readers that don't know craps just kinda blew this off too, maybe? The dialog was slang that you would hear at a crap game, so that might have thrown people off too.

Abe from LA and Hey Daddy were closest to being spot-on with this.

Thanks for all the reads and suggestions. I'm going to try and get something more from this.
~John
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JakeJon
Posted: September 25th, 2017, 10:19am Report to Moderator
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Hey, Roller Bones,
I love how an "oxymoronic" title, logline, 4 page short can reel them in.  Easy to read, fun, heart warming, a twist etc.  

As stated by others, needs some   "casino" clean-up.  Red dice ain't happening.    Also,  after he hits the hard Six:   On his next "come out roll" he would have been hoping and "praying"  for a Seven or Eleven to win again.   He would have crapped out with  snake eyes or box cars.  So he actually won again.  Just nits here.

The story works for me.   Too short, though.  Turn it into a feature.  Ya know, keep the dice rolling.


JJ
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JEStaats
Posted: September 27th, 2017, 5:51pm Report to Moderator
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JJ - Thanks for the comments. Although I've spent many hours (days?) on the casino floor, I'm not a craps player. It scares me. I'll work on those nits.

Also had a brainstorm on making this a feature now that I set it in 1960. We'll see where it goes from here.

Thanks again,
John
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