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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Drama Scripts  ›  Death Chamber: The Escape Moderators: bert
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  Author    Death Chamber: The Escape  (currently 1340 views)
Posted: January 20th, 2015, 6:03pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Death Chamber: The Escape by Caryl Thomas - Drama, Mystery, Suspense - Driven by guilt that his mother kept him and gave away his twin brother, a family man, Carl Thompson, knows he has to save Johnathan, when he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He devised an elaborate plan to help him escape the death chamber. Can he achieve the impossible? 97 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: January 20th, 2015, 11:53pm Report to Moderator
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Southern California
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There are a lot of things that are going to scare readers off before they even get to the title page.

  • Your logline is confusing to say the least.  It should read something like this, I think:  "Separated at birth, family man Carl Thompson feels compelled to save the life of his twin brother, Johnathan, a death row inmate."
  • Lose the scene numbering.  It's not important unless you're shooting the script.
  • An 8 line block of text will have people running for the hills before they even read a word on the page.
  • You need to work on your grammar.  "walk" should be "walks".
  • This is just a pet peeve of mine:  Why are all black people "African American"?  What about the black guy who was born in Ireland?  Is he African Irish?  What about black guy born in Africa?  Is he just African?  What about all the white Africans in South Africa?  What if a white guy who was born in South Africa moves to America?  Is he African American?
  • I thought it was Johnathan who was on death row.  Why is everyone calling him Carl?

Well that's enough for now.  I'll chime in more if you're around.

Congratulations on completing a feature.


Read my scripts here:
THE BRIDGE 8pg-Horror
SCHEISSE 6pg-Horror/Comedy
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Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:19am Report to Moderator

London, Ontario
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Hello Caryl,

I decided to give your script a read, it's been like 4 years since I've been on this site (can't believe I remembered my password and username haha) so I'll try and give you the best review I can and perhaps some pointers if need be.

I will leave stuff like format alone for the most part, I'm not sure if remember them all correctly or not so I'd rather not give you false information.

Your logline/premise too long, try to shorten it up

Error Page 2 - "Carl, you have a chance to say a few your last words"

Page 3 (She kisses Carl so tenderly that the few seconds it lasted seemed like eternity to his lips.) There is no way to show Carl's thoughts and feelings to the audience,  try to describe through action what he feels.

Page 4 Not sure if this is serious or not, but Carl handing her coffee after she comes in out of breath? Seems strange to me, maybe a glass or bottle of water?

Page 7 This I know to be wrong, your scene heading is at the bottom of the page, then continues on the next page.

Page 9 Stewart's last dialogue has a position error at the end.

...and the female worker's line  " I'm glad that's all all it was.

The honey and baby dialogue seems a bit too repetitive for me, they don't seem like a real couple when it's said that much.

Page 25 - the detective suddenly asking about her husband jogging in the area is very odd, what evidence did he have? Does he know him or his brother? Why would he ask Jo-Anne that?

Page 28 Chuck's line made me laugh to be honest, it sounds sarcastic, to me it just doesn't work, it's too compassionate so much so that it seems like he is laughing in Carl's face, his line would be good for a grandmother, not an inmate,

(Carl's excitement abruptly fades as he remembers he's on death row) Wow, such a severe sentence for one convicted of murder?

The Innocent's project scene can be cut, nothing important is said or done in that scene, best to just have Carl open the letter up in the next scene.

Page 40  Unless dialogue from Alice is missing, how did Johnathan know about his twin brother?

Page 41 Johnathan's comment, start off by saying now isn't the time to think of forgiveness, then goes on to......think of forgiveness. Either have him cut to the problem at hand or talk about his ability to forgive his mother.

Page 48 John's dialogue way too long

Page 57 Detective Sony " they might have been murdered because there is blood
everywhere" A detective certainly won't say this, he is basically giving out all the information of a crime scene to someone who isn't part of the investigative team.

Wow the police are brutal in this story, doesn't matter if you are convicted of killing one person  or  a family, you'll end on death row.

You can cut the whole courtroom scene for John, nothing happens in it that we don't already know and it doesn't add to the story it just takes up space.

How did Wendy Williams know about how they conceived, we don't even know, did Jo-Anne and Carl plan this? You'll need to iron this out a lot sooner than this, cause right now like this it just seems like you added the pregnancy in after you put Carl in jail.

Now I believe that Carl's friend John is the one responsible, but I'll keep an open mind on that.

Page 66 collapses spelt wrong

Page 84 Docks should be ducks?

How did that whole get in the roof? Why didn't the guards or maintenance raw of the prison repair it. It's inhabitable even for those on death row.

How was Carl not wearing a prison uniform? What was he wearing?

Finished it and I am the hell did John escape? Did he bust out a whole somewhere too? Did his family come out and fess up, which wouldn't be good, faking your own death and the murder of your wife and kids won't go over well with the law, specially seeing how brutal they are with sentences

The premise  has a serious error in it, it says that Carl is the one who has to save John, but in the script it's the other way around.

I felt the dialogue certainly needs touch ups, a lot of it just seems unrealistic, sometimes too much, other times awkward like when John pretending to be Carl says " Can you bend your ear toward me"

The story needs touch ups too, like how the twins knew that Joe didn't take his medicine need to be elaborated on, scenes like the courtroom and the innocents program need to be removed cause they don't have any real importance.

The cut ins and outs of Carl being in jail I believe can done better, it was just really strange getting into the story, place, and time and then BAM  he's in jail.

About Chuck at the end, seems like a fairy-tale one, we don't know or care enough about him so why should Stewart?  

Lastly, his tie at the crime scene is such an odd thing to place there.

It's a good premise and interesting storyline, just needs more work.

(((SPOILER )))
Oh, and try ot to make it so predictable, I called John being the one setting Carl up well before I reached the end.

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Lightfoot  -  January 21st, 2015, 12:29am
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