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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  All Highways Lead Downtown - OWC
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  Author    All Highways Lead Downtown - OWC  (currently 4062 views)
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 1:21am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Being “almost” on the brink of extinction is the sort of line I write all the time but it doesn't make sense.

I'd say this story is a bit of a stretch on the prison cell theme.

It starts off intriguing but does not really resolve.


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Posted: February 24th, 2008, 6:04am Report to Moderator

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I disagree with what the writer did here completely. There was no prison cell. There was a metaphor symbolizing it, which is cool, but there was no prison cell.

It is a well-written piece with a nice post-apocalyptic feel to it and the acid rain was a nice touch, but I don't think that what was done here was fair at all.

If a producer came up to you and asked for a script featuring a prison cell and you came up with this, he would say "fuck you" and go away. Later on you would find out that he could only film on a handful of locations and the prison cell was one of them. And thus, you would feel like an idiot.

Using metaphors is all right--it makes both the writer and the reader think. However, the OWC is an excercise meant to help us find out how well we can write under limits. And you overstepped the limits here.

Good script--but it didn't fit the challenge. I understand the writer was trying to be unique, but I didn't buy it at all.

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Posted: February 25th, 2008, 10:40am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

My UZI Weighs A Ton

Northern Hemisphere
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While this script certainly stretched the theme to its fullest, it wasn't a bad idea.

But it was executed very poorly.

The characters all seemed like they were produced at the same LEGO-factory. To me, they came across as the same character with three different names, nothing set them apart. They talked like three stiffs from a 1950s sci-fi flick.

Oh, look. A mutated dog.

A mutated dog, eh? Well, that's peculiar.

As a result I felt they offered me nothing and frankly I couldn't have cared less about what happened to them. This script was heavy on exposition-dialogue that never relayed any of the emotions these characters obviously must have felt after a - what I presume - must have been a long stay in the bomb shelter.

Doc's so-called "Hero-moment" was destroyed by wooden dialogue plus the fact that the talked for what felt like an hour before actually running from the dogs. After that it just turned into an typical action flick with dogs to the left, right, front and rear.

Cry havok, and let slip the dogs of war.

Nah, this didn't work for me at all.

Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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Posted: February 25th, 2008, 1:40pm Report to Moderator

Florida, USA
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First, Sir Mick, you're not supposed to put your name on it, but being a knight of the Realm and all, I suppose it can be overlooked...Real loose interpretation of the theme...The bomb shelter prison i can see, but other references are a bit too metaphorical...Felt the genre more sci-fi/action than drama...However, for what it was, I liked the story very much...The action and pacing was good and I liked the mutated dogs, the visual descriptions of a devastated San Diego...It's a little convenient to have the skyscraper collapse just when the dogs are closing in, but it works for the short...Agree that the acid rain should have had more deadly effects..(It can make the paint on street signs melt, but it only slightly annoys the people? Pain, agony as they run to the bridge...They are barely hanging on when suddenly...4 legged freaks show up...Would have added to the intensity....Regardless, if it was two years, the rain would have eaten away the signs entirely by then)...I don't know how you managed to not have radiation scarred zombies roaming around, but I'm confident they'll show up before they hit the 5...

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently - Dove Chocolate Wrapper

Revision History (1 edits)
Blakkwolfe  -  February 25th, 2008, 1:57pm
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James R
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 3:31pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Supper time!

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Everyone loves a post-apocalyptic tale, but it's hard to make it a drama when there are mutated creatures chasing them down and buildings collapsing. The acid rain issue has been addressed, so let me get to my usual typos, grammar and WTFs.

pp. 3 "Almost to the brink of extinction" "Almost" Need to say "Almost extinct" or "At the brink of extinction" but the combo you have doesn't work. It's almost close.

pp. 7 Wouldn't they know where the highway leads? The joke about LA proves that they know the area. They wouldn't need it spelled out like that. Maybe Doc can just tell them to make their way to Sacramento, Portland, Canada, wherever.

pp. 7 Another one of the dogs barks.

pp. 8 Need a period after Canada.

Why are the dogs all flopped in the building? Are they tired?

The couple comes face to face with a dog and they outrun it because of a loud noise? Don't dogs have better reflexes than that?

I don't think a collapsing building creates a mushroom cloud, the dust spreads outward (I have to be picky).

Overall a good idea, and I think it fit the theme (even though it was stated too much). But the drama just wasn't felt. Give the characters a little more conflict, some inner struggles, etc.


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The boy who could fly
Posted: February 28th, 2008, 7:04am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

British Columbia, Canada
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Yo Mick, loved you in FreeJack

I thin this was a very clever way to incorporate the theme into your story and I think that it fits quite well.  The idea was very cool and in a way reminded me of Escape form new york/L.A.  I pictured Doc like Doc from Back to the future for some reason, any time someone is named doc that is my first image.  I wish there were more than just mutant dogs out there, maybe people or even kitties, that would have been neat. Good action and it moved pretty well.  Once in a while the dialogue seemed kinda forced though.  All in all I thought it was pretty cool and it was a most original way to use the theme.

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Abe from LA
Posted: March 2nd, 2008, 9:42am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Downey, California
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My feeling on this one runs similar to other readers.
I think it stretched the theme to the point where this story could fit any number of themes.
Some of the dialogue made me cringe because they are expositional.  Check out the first words Lori spits out: "It's been two years."
They know it's two years.  Oh well...
The characters (hermits?) seem like human leftovers with their rotten teeth and frizzy hair.  I think you might have pushed it too far in their descriptions.  Frizzy hair, ok, rotten teeth, nah.
I would have liked to see a better way to kick-start the story.  Perhaps they send a gopher outside and two days later, the gopher returns with good news.
Or maybe they hear something moving around outside.  

Anyway, I liked the action on a very superficial level. Somewhat entertaining.  It could have been better with more fleshing out of the individuals and the dialogue needs a transfusion.
The acid rain was cool, but I think they need to be near the overpass for me to buy the effect.  Otherwise, their skin should be as bad off as the sign.
I'm not sure why there are only mutant dogs.  No other species?  How about a mutant man?  It doesn't have to be a zombie.  Just something for the mutant dogs to chow on.  Otherwise, they'd eat each other.
Doc making the ultimate sacrifice was so unemotional, that I had to read it twice to see if he did get eaten.
While you might have slyly or cleverly worked your story to fit the OWC theme, I think you really failed the acid test on the drama.  Doc's death is my case in point.
And with all those dogs, why would they go after one morsel of food?
I think all 3 of them would go down as puppy chow.  As soon as Ty and Lori hoof it to safety, some of those dogs would be on them in seconds.
Hey, they've been cooped up in a bomb shelter.  They've got to be out of shape.  Probably undernourished.  I'm not even sure they could run far, if at all.

The building thing could have been a good idea, but in this story it doesn't work.
Unfortunately the ending was a no ending.  Just a couple of wisecrack comments and then the fade out.
I wanted to like this story.  It has some potential, but it's too big for a short.
Rework it and follow the consensus.  Good luck.
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Posted: March 2nd, 2008, 11:28am Report to Moderator

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  Another good read.
  I was stopped at;
Remains of small sailboats, cars, and army vehicles can be
seen at the bottom of the shallow bay. Some of their tails
stick out of the water as the hermits work around them.

and paused.
  Tails? Typo for sails? parts of the vehicles?

Remains of small sailboats, cars, and army vehicles can be
seen at the bottom of the shallow bay. Rusted bodies breaking
just above the water as the hermits work around them.

  ..or something better.

  Well done.
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Posted: March 2nd, 2008, 2:50pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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I liked this one a lot as well. Very interetesting premise that really takes full advantage of the theme. Drmama didn't seem to be a big part of it, but it was definetly there.

Some of the dialog is a little hammy, but it wasn't enough to take me out of the story.

Quick question, why are only the dogs mutated?

Overall, I liked it a lot. To me, it was a fun read.

I'll give it a B-

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Posted: March 2nd, 2008, 3:38pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer


New York
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The story was interesting and simple but it did not stay within the theme. That's a big downer. But congrats on thinking outside of the box. However, it seemed that you dragged that scene bit when the three characters meet the mutated dogs for a while. It should have just started out then and there. Character-wise, I let you pass. I kind of went into the flow of things especially for a short like this.

Hope this helps,
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Posted: March 8th, 2008, 4:38am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

British Columbia, Canada
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Hey Greg.  A nuclear fallout story.  Interesting take on the prison cell theme.  Glad to see the survivors are planning to head up to Canada.  When I was young, I used to reassure myself that if the U.S. got bombed, all of us up here in Canada would be safe.

A few things:

Referring to them as hermits seems almost comical.  Maybe it's just me.  'Survivors' might be a better term.

After Doc's death there is a very abrupt transition to Ty and Lori.  In fact, it's only inferred that he died in the attack.  I might give a little more description here.

All in all though, this was pretty good.  I know this is an old addage but it had the feel of being a smaller part of something much bigger.


"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein
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Posted: March 13th, 2008, 4:05pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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Hey everybody, a few days late here, but thanks everyone for reading.  

I already made my metaphorical spiel in another thread, so I'll just let that go.  I actually had a lot of fun writing this.  Maybe it'll be longer one day, who knows.

Thanks again!

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Posted: March 14th, 2008, 8:14am Report to Moderator

San Francisco, CA
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I don't remember if I mentioned this, but I like the "hermit" description. It gives me an automatic visual, whether its correct or not, and that's what we should be going for. One word or phrase that gives us a visual.
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Posted: March 15th, 2008, 1:18pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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Thanks Austin, before I forgot.  Addressing the hermits:

1. a person who has withdrawn to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion.
2. any person living in seclusion; recluse.

further down the page is the one I like best:

A person who has withdrawn from society and lives a solitary existence; a recluse.

or this, my personal favorite:

A spiced cookie made with molasses, raisins, and nuts.

Since the story opened with them basically secluded, "survivor" seemed odd to have in since the reader will likely go "wtf? survived what?"  So I used hermit in that opening scene and stuck with it.

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