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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Family Scripts  ›  Christmasville Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: November 17th, 2018, 3:26pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Christmasville by Steven Clark - Family - An out-of-work dad finds himself spirited away to Santa's workshop in "Christmasville" to help a crew of elves build toys in the days leading up to Christmas. 84 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: November 18th, 2018, 5:46pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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This is a typical feel good Hallmark type of story that is mostly done well.

I did feel that Tabitha's response when the subject of Emily's death came up wasn't strong enough in the sad sense. I think maybe it would have been better for her to leave the scene, and then pick up again later with her apologizing for storming out-- something like that. As it stands, she doesn't seem rattled at all.

Pg  22 Butter Finger becomes Bus Driver

Pg 26 I felt Butter Finger's dialogue was weak with "There'll be time for that soldier..." Maybe instead, Butter Finger could request in a bit of a pleading way, that Dale be patient.

Page 28 seemed strange that Tabitha would call the P.O. Rick, but he called her Ma'am. If it's a small town, people would probably refer to each other by first name basis.

To be honest, some of this kind of thing can be a bit sickly sweet, but that's the way it is with these types of shows. Is there anything that can be done to make these people a little more real? Take away some of that sticky syrupy vibe? It's good, but I'm just wondering about that because it's the only thing in it that bothers me.

I'm really thinking hard on this and you know...

I think you should lose the whole Emily died thing!!!!

Do we have to go there? Isn't life freaking hard enough?! If we're wanting to sell a Christmas show, that's "feel good", I think it needs to be on point for that.

A better angle I think, would be to have Emily in a coma, and a Christmas miracle occurs. This at least gives us hope. After all, Christmas is already one of the saddest times of year. Let's give the audience that-- hope.

So I think my issue is with tone. It's off balance. And there's no comedy in it. When Gayle messes up the cookies, that's an opportunity for comedy.

I hope this helps.

This is a really good script. I would just seriously consider bending it in a more happy direction.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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StevenClark
Posted: November 20th, 2018, 9:34am Report to Moderator
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Sandra,

Thanks for reading! Yes this was written with the Hallmark Channel in mind. Iíve sent it off to a few prodcoís associated with Hallmark, and it got a few reads, but it didnít fit the Hallmark requirement of having a female lead. Who knows, maybe if I switched the leadís gender ó but unless Iím asked to do so I wonít.

So, the syrupy characterizations and dialogue will stay.

As far as Emily goes ó Hallmark doesnít like dealing with death as it is. Nothing depressing. So, Emily being in a coma wouldnít go over well. Quite honestly, changing that at this point would require me basically rewriting the entire thing! Iím not about that. Iím five drafts in as it is. Gotta move on at some point!

The comedy here is pretty dry, Iíll give you that. The cookie scene is a good spot for that, and I think there is comedy there, though itís more of a playful kind. That entire subplot was leading up to one line, where Gayle screams  ó ďI made them!Ē So maybe there is more room for comedy here and there, but Iím happy with it as is. Like I said, unless Iím directed to do otherwise.

The entire script is based on this guy trying to get over the guilt he feels and move on with his life, so I did try bending the tone away from that. In the end it has a happy ending so I donít feel how Emily in a coma would add to the happiness! Anyway, I respect your opinion.

And I did change a couple things based on your review ó the typo on 22. Thanks! And the ďsoldierĒ line on 26. Great pick ups.

Thanks again.

Steve




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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: November 20th, 2018, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Hi Steve,

I can really appreciate the fact that a person has to move on, or else just change projects for awhile. I get really sick of some of the stuff I'm working on and I hate the idea of just trying to shoe-horn stuff in. Things need to arise organically I think, even if the writer sells it off and magic happens on the set.

But back to this script, I was talking with my daughter and she hadn't even read it, but knew exactly what I was talking about just by the title.

I can say though, I loved pretty well everything even the syrupy-ness ... Sorry, for once I'm having difficulty knowing how to use my words.  

You, I can see are an expert; so you know all about tone. And if the tone is that "light" kind of thing like in Jingle All The Way, we can go along for the ride no matter how silly it is and we love it!

And, you did such a super job making a good ending, but I feel, (as someone who has lost many family members) wouldn't want to go and see a movie that looks so entertaining, but then (because of my own ineptness- maybe didn't read about it and the movie cover looked all bright and shiny) (I think I just broke a record in parenthesis!)... Would feel broken, truly, broken.

And as I was thinking on this, I also thought, you could, not that you want to, but if you really really super really wanted to tell the story of the Father's guilt, and really go into that serious space, you could, (I said that already) Gosh darn parenthesis! ... And ellipses!!!i ...

Package "that" story in a completely different genre. And still keep Christmassville, but have Father go missing for a different reason. Maybe as a hero, trying to find a missing dog or something. I don't know. But then you could get two movies for the price of one!  

I know this is asking too much, but I'm just on a tangent.

Much success with this!!! I'm still very happy to have read such a strong piece of work and to be able to offer feedback.

Please keep me posted on the action-paction as it moves along.  

Sandra



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pale yellow
Posted: November 20th, 2018, 8:15pm Report to Moderator
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Love this title and love the logline... really catchy title.


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LC
Posted: November 20th, 2018, 11:29pm Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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It's a terrific script.

Did I read: fifth draft?

Stevo, I hope you didn't change too much.


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StevenClark
Posted: November 22nd, 2018, 9:14am Report to Moderator
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Sandra,

Thanks! Iíll keep you all posted if anything happens. Now itís just sending out a lot of queries and keeping your fingers crossed. Please let me know if youíd like anything read. I appreciate you taking the time to read mine.

Dena,

Thanks for the kind comments!

Libby,

Hey there. No, there are no major changes. However, I did manage to shave off 11 pages from the one you read. 5 pages were deletions, the other six were due to me rewriting this in Final Draftójust switching software condensed it, which I thought was pretty cool.

Steve


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khamanna
Posted: November 22nd, 2018, 1:55pm Report to Moderator
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I remember this one, Steven! It was a strong screenplay back then, but like the first draft or second. Congrats on moving forward with it, even if a little bit. And much luck to you with it!
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StevenClark
Posted: November 23rd, 2018, 8:43am Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Kham. Itís cleaned and polished. Probably still not perfect, but when the only changes you find yourself making are mostly word substitutions then itís time to take the leash off.

Steve


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