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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    The 2019 Writers' Tournament  ›  Off Grid - WT5 - Audio Produced Moderators: Mr. Blonde
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  Author    Off Grid - WT5 - Audio Produced  (currently 1942 views)
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 7:30pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Off Grid by John Staats (JEStaats)  writing as A Prime Customer - Short, Sci Fi - When it's either Prime or premium for basic services. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work


Listen to Off Grid on The Anthology Zone.

Visit for what is new on the site.

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

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  November 26th, 2020, 9:09am
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Gary in Houston
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 8:07pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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First one out of the blocks, and not a bad start.  Well-written, but I found myself thinking in spots -- where is the sci-fi?  But sci-fi is not just about space ships and outer space type stuff, it's also about futuristic scenarios and man versus machine situations.

The back and forth between Bryson (Jesus Christ?) and the Amazon representative was humorous, and you set things up well for the ending. But I guess I was left wondering why Bryson took the actions he did at the end with the drones.  After all, they were there to help him, and he treats the drones like crap.  It's just a bit over the top for me.  

Still, you sustained the story through that point, so great job there.

Best of luck and congrats on finishing the challenge!


An utterly mediocre writer who somehow still falls bass ackwards into getting some of his scripts produced.
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Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 8:28pm Report to Moderator

The Great Southern Land
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I loved this.

A couple of picky- pickies:
This could be phrased better  -
Bryson returns to the open back and looks towards the
direction he was driving. Nothing.


He gets up and leans in the back
hatch of the vehicle.

Should be ' into' imho.
Into indicates movement or some type of action that is taking place.


You depict technology and Big Brother gone mad very well. Bryson hates technology, hates talking to and dealing with robots instead of humans,  He's 'old school'. He shoots the drones but gets what he needs from them anyway - first-aid. One could argue 'don't bite the hand that feeds you' - it might not turn out so well next time, but for the purpose of send-up and depicting a future with the potential dangers of automation and getting rid of humans, I think it hits the mark. I was wondering how you were going to pull it all together at the end but you did so beautifully. Terrific satire. Exceptionally well conceived and written. Great humour.

Nothing else to say, except I'm envious.

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Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 9:28am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Don't get it right. Get it written.

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This one is pretty well written. Liked the Bryson character, definitely can connect with his frustration with automated calling services.

The story itself kinda fall flat at the end, for me anyways. It needs something extra. A little more punch. As it is now, it's just too thin.

You got the handsaw, but I'm not sure a couple of drones count for Sci-Fi. I'll let it slide though.

Good effort.

An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 11:50am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Cut to three weeks earlier

London, UK
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Not only sci-fi but a comedy too.  Well at least humorous.  I enjoyed this one.  The future of Amazon owning what must seem like everything. Good to see you’ve used drones.  Sci-fi but also relevant.  This one meets the criteria for sure.  Decent story.  And a potential warning of our future.

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Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 12:48pm Report to Moderator

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Great piece of satire with good humor. It meets the criteria perfectly. I loved the ending. The only thing I wish is, if you have shown the negative side of machines/technology, it would have given a better reason for our protagonist to behave the way he is behaving. But, excellent short.
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 2:39pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Shakespeare's county
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Not too bad at all

A good reflection of where it appears consumerism is going and an enjoyable ride. There is room for improvement in the story, but given the time limit, a solid entry.

It's worth revisiting after this is done and I can see this one being made easily.

Good work writer

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Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 6:22pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Two uses of word asphalt in first para, one isn't really needed...

Rest of it is great, really enjoyed the read and the loved Bryson.

Good job writer!

Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays -
Available Feature screenplays -
Screenwriting articles -
IMDB Link -
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Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 8:12pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

A man who has taught his mind to misbehave

Sydney, Australia
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Hi writer,

Quoted Text
impressive soliloquy of choice profanity.

I like it

Quoted Text

Is this laughing? It feels out of place.

Just realised that all your (O.S.) needs to be (V.O.). Off screen means the person is in the scene but not on the screen, that is not correct for this instance.

So we have almost two pages of phone conversation, I'd inject a bit more action to make it more visual. Something as simple as making him pace, or scratch his head.

Quoted Text
Time passes and the sun is now high overhead.

How much time? How long are we watching time pass? May be better to indicate this with MOMENTS LATER or LATER.

Quoted Text
I'm just old school.

I get how this ties into what he said earlier, I’m not sure how it ties the story together though. Why is he old school because he destroys the drone? Or is it tied into him resisting? That needs to be developed a bit more to make sense.

I like this world, probably not too dissimilar to what the future will look like, Amazon will soon run the world.

Good writing on display for the most part. Couple things I mentioned that I think need changing. The dialogue is good and the criteria has been met.

All the best.

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Posted: July 4th, 2019, 11:37am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Much to like in this one. The social commentary is excellent. Loved it.

I wasn't as enamored with the back and forth phone conversation with the "agent". I get what you're going for, and you go there, but I think a bit more smoothing/punching up here would help. You obviously know what you're doing, so it probably wouldn't take you very long to make this section even stronger than it is.

Given more time and space to write, I also hope you'll expand the ending just a tad... maybe draw it out just a bit more (not much). Show him pulling on his mask. Give us a moment to say, "what the hell is he doing?" Then pay if off.

Finally, shooting down the drone doesn't solve his broken down car problem. Though, one thought: now that you're free of the parameters, consider ditching the whole broken down car thing altogether. Story goes like this: Man gets hurt. Man needs medical supplies. Man sets ambush for drones. So, basically exactly what you have without the car breaking down. Only difference is that the entire thing is a deliberate setting of a trap, instead of his improvising when his car breaks down.

Thanks for sharing. Fun read.

60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature
The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature
Wait Till Next Year - Disney-style family sports comedy/Feature

Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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Posted: July 4th, 2019, 3:12pm Report to Moderator

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This is an unwarranted attack on our master, but I’ll pretend not to be offended. The first thing to note is that the handsaw doesn’t actually do anything except lie on the Tesla’s hood. However, a future in which Amazon takes over everything is science fiction. For now.

In by-gone days, Bryson would’ve been comfortable hauling a burro loaded down with mining gear. Which leads to the question “What is Bryson doing out here in the middle of nowhere?” The gear the Tesla is carrying could tell us something about his life.

I liked the interaction with the Amazon customer reps, but perhaps Bryson could have been doing something at the same time he’s talking—maybe unpacking stuff and setting up a camp. As it is, there’s a two-page static scene.

The ending fits in perfectly with Bryson’s character, but pissing off Amazon the way he does is a sure way to bring down justifiable retribution from above.
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Posted: July 5th, 2019, 12:58am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

No sh*t, there I was....

Tucson, AZ
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Yeah, I like this. It might have worked a little better to have a short montage instead of just saying "Time passes". Maybe have Bryson doing push ups in the middle of the street, reading a book, burning scorpions with a magnifying glass?

Broken down car: check. Handsaw: Not an active participant but I guess the whole story revolved around the object, so check.

Great character and dialog. Good stuff.
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Posted: July 5th, 2019, 10:40am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Southern California
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Parameters met, and IMO in a very imaginative way.

For three days of effort and the limits of the OWC, this was especially superb work.

My Scripts can all be seen here:
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Posted: July 6th, 2019, 11:30am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Between Chair and Keyboard
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Jesus H. Christ, SAME in a slugline?
Love the dialogue in this one. Captures the hell of voice response units perfectly.
You know, the dispatcher knows where the drones were lost, and that car isn't going anywhere.

Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilots:
"Kord" (Fantasy)
"Mal Suerte" (Superhero)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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Posted: July 7th, 2019, 2:25pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Vancouver, BC
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Nice little dystopian satire. Or perhaps a glimpse of things to come.

I like the use of "old school" for this rebel. And the irony of being so reliant on technology even as he's sticking it to the system.

It was a little too tongue-in-cheek for my taste, but that's me. The dialogue was stiff at times, a bit try-hard especially around getting the Jesus H. Christ joke to play.

I like it. Well done.

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