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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  Rydale's Prison - OWC
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  Author    Rydale's Prison - OWC  (currently 6347 views)
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 6:23pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Rydale's Prison by Philip Whitcroft (pwhitcroft) - Short, Drama - An over crowded prison opens up a disused room with a dark history. - pdf, format

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

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  March 8th, 2008, 4:04pm
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Posted: February 25th, 2008, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Ahh.  I'm 98% sure whose wonderful descriptions those are.  I'm sure you're prepared to get nailed by some people saying it might be too wordy for their tastes.  You know my feelings, though.  If it's not who I think it is, then I like how your descriptions read.  Scripts should be told with pictures, and you paint some great imagery.  My 2% doubt is because of a slight, very slight formatting thing that I don't think I ever noticed in their scripts before.  I might have to go back over a couple of them and see if it's the same in those ones, too.

The story's great and definitely a unique and original tale that still adheres to the theme and genre.  Definitely my favorite and the frontrunner in my opinion so far.  My only nitpicks are with some of the dialogue.  A lot of the dialogue is good and interesting and tells a great story, but some of it left a strange taste in my mouth.

JIM - Dear God they are opening it up!  (A little too melodramatic, perhaps?)

SEYMOURE - ...And his children was all the same...  (That line's fine.  It goes along with his age and the improper grammar seems in line with his character.  But then, his next line of dialogue...)
SEYMOURE - There was but one ray of joy amongst...  (All of a sudden, he took a proper English course.  He can't use was and were properly, yet he uses amongst?)

Those are a few examples and I know are very, very minor, but I did say they were only nitpicks.  I'm just saying the only, ONLY thing you might want to take a second look at is some of the dialogue.

That said, I can't wait to see if this one's going to get topped.

- Mark

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Pete B. Lane
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 8:19pm Report to Moderator

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Comments as I go:

"...and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others."

~You should probably be clearer about how he knows or, more importantly, how we know he's not welcome.

"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."

~Another "show, don't tell" situation. We need to know his reaction to this feeling, not just the feeling.

"...with the room dimly lit by moonlight from outside." As opposed to moonlight from inside? lol

"Francis thinks he has successfully shut down the subject. Seymour is too mouthy to let that happen."

~I hate to harp on this kind of thing but we need more showing, less telling.

~When Danny is told of Clarissa's fate: I find it unlikely, even as tragic as the circumstances were, that Danny would be "white as a sheet" upon hearing it.

~A little later Danny cries in his room - why? He's just been told a story, nothing really odd has happened to him yet. It seems like a very childish reaction to what, at this point, is nothing.

~It's lightning, not lightening.

Okay, I like the build-up of the story, but I found the ending very unsatisfying - and not just because it wasn't what I expected. Actually, I didn't understand it - but that could just be me.

This is an intriguing idea that uses the setting and genre well but fails to offer an effective conclusion, IMO. It's fairly well-written but there is some awkward phrasing here and there that is distracting.

A good effort overall - I grade it a B-.

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Pete B. Lane  -  February 25th, 2008, 9:44pm
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Posted: February 25th, 2008, 8:53pm Report to Moderator

Buy the ticket, take the ride

That's me in the corner
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Another good one.  The type of story I enjoy best.  There will indeed be those telling you that your prose is too flowery.  Ignore them.  This gothic tale, reminiscent of Poe, demands such technique.

Calling the flashlights "torches" exposes the fact that this is not an American author.  I, too, have my suspicions as to who this might be.

I wish you had not called it "the stately home of the Rydale family."  All I could think of was "stately Wayne manor", for those who get the joke.

The slow sense of dread is marvelously built upon a meager 12 pages, and the expository backstory -- a necessary evil -- was delivered as painlessly as possible.

My complaint here -- the story is weakened by the epilogue.  Danny�s discovery, followed by the gunshot.  You should have ended there.

I am virtually certain this will be amongst my top five.

OWC Score:  98%

Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!

Revision History (1 edits)
bert  -  February 26th, 2008, 1:25pm
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Zombie Sean
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 10:27pm Report to Moderator
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A boozer, a user, and a two-time loser

Anywhere there's a zombie...
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Quoted Text
Okay, I like the build-up of the story, but I found the ending very unsatisfying - and not just because it wasn't what I expected. Actually, I didn't understand it - but that could just be me.

Don't worry, Pete. I didn't understand the ending either. I read it over and over and still didn't get what was so shocking. I got a little confused about it. Buried a room? Can you do that?

The descriptions were long and wordy, nonetheless, but yet, it did help me create an image in my head. Though, there were a few things that were unnecessary (liked telling us how Danny felt).

Interesting premise. Like a...castle prison, right? That's what it sounds like.



Come and Find Me - Short, Drama (April 2022 OWC)
Bad Dreams - Short, Horror
Swan Song - Short, Drama (Sept 2021 OWC)
The Dead Body - Feature, Horror
Don't Go In The Shed - Short, Horror
Private Message Reply: 4 - 27
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 11:22pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

Florida, USA
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I liked it...Dark, spooky and mysterious...To borrow Berts comment, Gothic is a good word...The descriptions were a bit wordy, but I didn't mind reading them...Some of these I've read so far plod along like a horse trudging through concrete, but this moved nicely from point A to Point B...I was disappointed to see Danny get shot in the end (as the dogs and shooters don't care.) I like the fact too that this was written from a Non-American perspective; it gives the short a color and flavor that is a nice change. Liked the elderly storytellers, too.

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently - Dove Chocolate Wrapper
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Posted: February 26th, 2008, 12:03am Report to Moderator

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Always appreciate when a script is as interesting in the action as the dialog. The thing has to be read and suffers when the action is too mechanical.

On a couple of notes from above;

"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."
"Francis thinks he has successfully shut down the subject. Seymour is too mouthy to let that happen."

My opinion is these are both Valid. Both give subtle direction, (without straying into stepping on the directors toes) to the character and provide detail on how the character is existing (bad word) in the scene, the moment. Both can be conveyed visually and add to the scene. Both convey intent.

"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."
This provides information an actor can use and show as opposed to something like;
"..and Danny is suddenly reminded of the clown at his sixth birthday."
The former gives the character something specific to convey. The latter is open to interpretation (Happy? he likes clowns, scared? he hates clowns, creeped out? The clown  was behind the bushes and.... never mind)
Beating this dead horse into cat food.

The comment;
"...and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others."
~You should probably be clearer about how he knows or, more importantly, how we know he's not welcome.

  This seems clear. The Director can choose how to convey this and to go further steps into the "Don't be the director" argument.

  Not intending to hammer on Pete as the rest of his comments I agree with (which provides Pete with the validation he needs to go on living or simply the needed push to add me to his twit filter).

  As for the script (finally
  It was a good read. It was interesting and I wasn't rushed to finish or pulled out by something odd. It is very visual and it would be interesting to find out how it translates to being simply read.

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Pete B. Lane
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 12:54am Report to Moderator

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Quoted from cybercelt
My opinion is these are both Valid. Both give subtle direction, ...

That's true, but a bit too subtle for my taste.

Quoted Text
"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."
This provides information an actor can use and show...

Does it really though? Frankly, I've never had a chill down my spine so I wouldn't know how to react to that line. To me it's just one of those hackneyed terms that people don't question because they've heard 10,000x. But hey, I'm probably the odd one here.

Quoted Text
"...and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others."

This seems clear. The Director can choose how to convey this and to go further steps into the "Don't be the director" argument.

I see your point, and don't completely disagree. Of course the director would figure this out, but just a little more information from the writer would set the scene a little better, I think. If there had been just one more line (perhaps suggesting how other prisoners react to him as he approaches their tables) I wouldn't have mentioned it.

Quoted Text
Not intending to hammer on Pete as the rest of his comments I agree with (which provides Pete with the validation he needs to go on living or simply the needed push to add me to his twit filter).

Or a third option - which is the one I'm going with.

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Posted: February 26th, 2008, 1:12am Report to Moderator

British Columbia, Canada
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Like the others I enjoyed the moody atmosphere your created.  The descriptives weren't too wordy - you may have straddled the line a time or two but didn't cross it.  I do think that the lack of dialogue for certain portions does have a way of magnifying this facet more than it normally would.  

I'm not sure a prisoner would be so terrified of ghosts, even in an old gothic prison like this one.  Personally I'd welcome a ghost or two to keep me company (it's those communal showers I'd have nightmares about).  Despite this I bought into the story.  The ending, although doesn't tie everything up in a neat bowe is still dramatic enough and tense enough to justify what came before.


"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein
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Posted: February 26th, 2008, 4:07am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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This one was pretty good, though it’s more of a thriller/mystery story and not a drama. But that’s a minor quibble. Good descriptions (a little wordy in places, but it was well-written) and some nice spooky scenes.

My major complaint is the opening. The story just begins, there’s no sense of establishing a mood or tone. The beginning is so sudden, it’s kind of jarring to have so much exposition thirty seconds into a script. But then again, with such limited time, I don’t know what else you could have done.

Anyway, that’s really it. I like it, despite the fact that it doesn’t fit into the genre, but it has an interesting twist on the prison cell theme and some pretty creepy moments. All in all, it was a good effort. Well done.

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Posted: February 26th, 2008, 8:19am Report to Moderator
January Project Group


New York
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Wow. Very original. Enjoyed the tale. My only complaint, the struture of the tale seemed more apporaiate as a feature. I would like to see this tunred into a feature since it has a lot of potential. Good job.  

Hope this helps,

Just Murdered by Sean Elwood (Zombie Sean) and Gabriel Moronta (Mr. Ripley) - (Dark Comedy, Horror) All is fair in love and war. A hopeless romantic gay man resorts to bloodshed to win the coveted position of Bridesmaid. 99 pages.
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Posted: February 26th, 2008, 8:53am Report to Moderator

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I read this story last night. The things I remember most about this story were:

The characters and the dialogue. Impressive.
The suspense. Loved the build up.

Reformat it and one would never know this was written as a screenplay. It reads more like a novel.
Around page six I lost interest with all the descriptions, but I kept on to see what was going to happen.

Anyway, good job. I liked the story.
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James R
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 12:32pm Report to Moderator

Supper time!

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I guess all I need to say is that Dining was spelled wrong on the last page in the scene heading.

I really liked this one. Very spooky. And I understand that a 19-year-old who is in prison (likely) for the first time and hears a ghost story from some old guys would be white as a sheet. I would be.

Great job.


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Posted: February 26th, 2008, 1:21pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

Newcastle, England
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Loved the story. Excellent build ups and imagery.

Have to agree with Chism about it not really being a drama (but then again 'drama' is probably the most loose of genres).

Also have to agree with fredigy that it reads more like a novel.

I'll leave it up to others to decide about those two complaints though as I said I loved the story and the way you told it.

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Souter Fell
Posted: February 27th, 2008, 8:04am Report to Moderator

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Really, really good.

As far as claims that it's not drama, drama is conflict. I even consulted my Screenwriter's Bible prior to this OWC and drama ins't even listed as a genre. This story was very dramatic, even melo-dramatic sometimes.

Again, for those who thought that narratives were to long and floaty, read an instruction manual then. Most of it gets its point across and it's enjoyable for people that actually like to read and not just skip though dialogue.

Since a lot has already been pointed out, let me point out a little thing. You put the guard next to Danny when walking to the Rydale section. In this scene, they are the only two that matter even though more people are there. You centralize the story. Good job.

My only gripe is that Danny really has no character. He's a newbie but he has no voice. He doesn't seem especially timid nor does he put up a tough front. The whole dining hall reads more like a school cafeteria then a prison. I'd like to see a little more flesh on Danny. I'm not saying introduce this whole "what did he do" angle, but add at least another dimension to him.

Good show.

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Posted: February 27th, 2008, 2:44pm Report to Moderator
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Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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This was good, but I wasn't blown away.

Ok, let me just make sure that I didn't miss anything here, because it's sometimes easy to miss fine details in shorts.  So this prison used to be a mansion, right?  And now they're opening up the rooms and using them as cells, right?  Well, that's interesting, I guess.  Is that realistic, though?  Correct me if I'm wrong here.

I liked the storytellers and I liked the back story.  The mood escalates from page 1 where it was like, "I suck I'm in jail" to "I really, really suck and I hate this place" on the final page.  Yeah, not the best analogy, but you get it.  Having Danny get shot at the end I think actually was a nice little wrap-up since they were warned that the shooters won't give a shit about them.

Overall I'd say you did a good job.

Be excellent to each other
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Posted: February 27th, 2008, 3:06pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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I with everyone else.

A very good entry. Well written and the dialogue flowed well. The premise was interesting and original, and the pacing in my opinion was perfect. I never felt like the story was dragging.

Good use of the genre and theme. I'd say this is one of the best oones that I've read.

I'll give it a A.


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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Abe from LA
Posted: February 27th, 2008, 4:12pm Report to Moderator

Downey, California
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Excellent telling of a remote, foreign prison with a dark past.
The descriptions are plentiful and the imagery drips in atmosphere.
I would liked to have seen the 3 old duffers ease into the prison's boggy past, however; if one of the guys asked Danny why he was there, it would have told us a bit about our main character.  The conversation could be light or semi-superficial at first, then wind down into the dark telling of legend.
Maybe it should be that Danny has to work at extracting information about the "Rydale Offices."
Sort of a curiosity killed the cat angle.
That scene with the guards removing panels of the barricade, I like where the scene goes.  I think it could have been written a bit different and be more effective.  But it still worked.
I think you overdid the "tell" parts sprinkled throughout many scenes, much of which could be dropped and not impact your story.
You need to do an EXT. for that scene with Danny bailing out of the room, into the rain.
I would even cap the word GUNSHOT.
Well, truthfully, I can't say I quite understood the ending.  What impact would it have if Danny knew that the safe room had "been pulled down" by Rydale?  Seymour comments: "I guess we should have told him.."  Afterall, Danny had no choice in which room he was assigned.  Not like he could check out and move.

I have no problem with Danny biting a bullet at the end...  it seemed in keeping with the haunting aspect of the legend.  That he actually adds to the mysterious lore.

Instead of the 3 old guys kind of wrapping up what happened to Danny, what if  a new inmate comes to the prison and they start their story telling all over again?  I can hear the old guys telling the next inmate, "... the last guy who had Rydale's office saw something spooky and died trying to escape."

All in all, this story had a cold, creepy feel to it and I love the imagery.  Far and away the most unique OWC tale that I've read so far.    Thumbs Up.
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James McClung
Posted: February 29th, 2008, 11:31pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Washington, D.C.
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Figured I'd backtrack a little bit seeing as there's been a lot of talk about this script in particular being good.

There's definitely some horror overtones here. It's got the vibe of late 19th/early 20th century horror literature about it. Poe and Lovecraft had a lot of stories about disturbingly dysfunctional families. I liked seeing some of that here. Nevertheless, I think this was definitely a drama. More history than horror in the end.

I can buy this prison being converted from an old mansion, even without much renovation, but for a prison, this place felt way disorganized. Prisoners are practically told to make themselves at home, even if the place isn't anywhere near hospitable. I think tighter security would've made things a little more sinister and claustrophobic. Also, near the middle, I think there was a little too much talk. There's a lot of history that needs to be told here, that's fair enough, but I do think some visuals could've accompanied the dialogue.

Other than that, I liked this one a lot. One of the best I've read. Stand out entry, for sure.

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Posted: March 2nd, 2008, 7:30pm Report to Moderator
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Like Repetition this felt more like a horror than a drama, but you did stick to the theme. I really enjoyed reading about the history of Rydale's Prison and Clarissa's story was very chilling. As Greg said, the ending was wrapped up nicely and you did a good job of foreshadowing it early on.

Well done.
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Posted: March 3rd, 2008, 5:29am Report to Moderator
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First off I am definitely of the opinion that Drama is not a genre, Surely everything is a Drama? Comedy, Horror, Action, everything in fact. Drama is just a live or filmed performance of a written work, it could be any genre and still is Drama.

Anyway, onto the review. I need to review this in two parts, the writing and the story...

The writing was really good, your descriptions are wonderful and really brought this place to life. You set a good tone to the story and made it a place I could easily visualize. The dialogue to a degree was decent, the old men seemed to have voices of their own and when they spoke I could tell the different between them. I think however that Danny needed some work, he never came across as being as 'real' as the old men did, you really need to try and give him some character. One trick that people seem to use is give him a something physical, like a scar or a limp, anything that can be used for a basis of character.

As Pete picked up on there are quite a few times when you chose to show rather than tell us something. But on the whole some really decent writing here, you did a good job.

Now the story! Sorry but I do not buy it at all, not one bit. I am amazed at all the great buzz that this story seems to have generated because I just cannot believe a word of it. Now it must be said that I do not enjoy action, daft horror and silly RomComs that expect me to leave my brain in the foyer with my coat. But many many people do not have an issue with this and just want to be entertained for 90 minutes regardless of how unbelievable the story is. So this is probably as much me as it is the story and hey you have had some great reviews so far so what does it matter what I think.

But there is so much here that required the suspension of my belief that I just could not enjoy it at all..

* Stately home being used as a maximum security prison?  Sorry, No.
* People put into century old office with windows that open and no lock on door? Sorry, No.
* Young kid in prison being scared by a story about a girl being locked in a room? Sorry, No.
* Guards in England shooting a kid who climbed out of an unlocked window? Really, no way.

None of it made any sense! This kid had to have been a hardened criminal, They don't bother putting you in jail in England unless it is your 87th offence or you have murdered someone. And for this to be the kind of prison they have on Prison Break where snipers are trained on the excercise yard 24 hours a day then it needs to be the most maximum security prison in England and there is just no way they would have a wing with open windows and no locks on the doors. This was a pretty good ghost story like the ones we would tell round a camp fire, but by setting in a prison and making the premise just not believable i feel you ruined it.

I am sorry but really this story just makes no sense from start to finish and I just could not enjoy it very much despite how really well it was written.

Sorry dude/dudette whomever you are.
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Posted: March 3rd, 2008, 2:04pm Report to Moderator
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This script read more like a feature-length script that was overly condensed.  Adding another eighty or ninety pages to it would result in a very good story.

I thought the dialog was a little forced and on-the-nose.  Lines like:

Quoted Text
Hello, young man.  You're welcome to sit with us until you figure out where you really belong.  I'm Francis.


Quoted Text
We don't let prisoners pick and choose their cells.  Any that asks to do so takes up their request with the Governor!

I don't think anyone talks like this.

Giving the inmates rooms that haven't been cleared out is is very unrealistic.  Why wouldn't these rooms be cleared out way ahead of time?  By not doing so, the guards are giving the convicts possible weapons.

Another problem I had dealt with the genre of this story.  It was clearly horror which is a Bozo no-no for this OWC.

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Posted: March 4th, 2008, 3:06am Report to Moderator
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It wasn't bad. It certainly had plenty of atmosphere, was well written, and it made the brief.  I thought a bit more could have happened to build up the last scene but that is a function of length, you only have so many pages.  

My biggest issue with this was Danny.  I thought his character was a bit underdeveloped. You could have given him a bit more umph, he's too passive.

Anyway, well done, I would give this an OPTION
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Posted: March 4th, 2008, 4:32pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

The bleak North East, England
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This ones confusing, it set in England but not sure it's written by an Englishman?  Too many things that don't fit, guards don't have guns in England and the watch towers don't ring true.  Not sure about opening up rooms that haven't been used before, especially ones that have no security.

The door scratching and the like reminded me of 'The Haunting'.

There's some good descriptions but it feels a bit like a novel with lines like 'a few miles away a strom brewing'.

I agree that this needs to be made longer to make more sense.  The limit has condesnsed the story too much.

A good read but too many things that wouldn't happen to make this great.  If this setting was in America it would be a bit more believable.  Things like this wouldn't happen in England, even in North Yorkshire lol, I know our prisons are full but we're not that bad lol!

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Posted: March 8th, 2008, 1:36pm Report to Moderator

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I really appreciate all the comments here. I'm quite new to the screenwriting thing so I'm feeling good about how this went. This is only the second script I've written and I think it shows that drafting and redrafting the other one has taught me a lot.

When I first wrote this literally the first thing I said about it was "It turned out a bit campfire scary story". Then I thought I'm not writing anything else now and nothing actually ghostly or mystical happens in it so I'll go with it anyway. I completely understand the comments about the genre.

I also knew that it stretches plausibility in a few places. In my head I pictured Danny as a petty thief/burglar and the prison as not being maximum security. This is not consistent with the shooters on the outer walls but it was a problem I could live with for a story.

Stately homes (the very big old mansions) in Britain have historically been used for all kinds of purposes. Also in Britain it is almost normal and a point of pride for things to be done haphazardly so I think I can get away with those elements.

Rewrite notes:
- Set the story during the war in 1942 when normal standards could plausibly not apply.
- Add in an indication that when Danny is "white as a sheet" he is thinking about having been woken up the previous night by rattling and scraping at the safe room door.  
- Clarify that at the end Jim does not understand what he was told by the shepherd.
- A scene at the beginning showing the new prisoners arriving and entering the prison, including some character background for Danny.
- I thought about visual flashbacks over the top of the old men talking when I had the first draft. But at that point I already had 12 pages and I didn't think I'd be able to do it properly. I'm still undecided about what I'd do without the length restriction because I like letting the old men have their moment and tell the story.
- At the moment I’m struggling to see how this could work as a feature. There isn’t enough in it. I’ve had a few thoughts about what it might look like but I don’t have anything yet that I think will work.

On the dialog:
- I stayed away from excessive Yorkshire dialect because I guessed it would be distracting. There are a few hints of it. I'm from southern England so I'd probably mess up Yorkshire dialect anyway. I now live near Pittsburgh so I know a torch in the dialog has to be a flashlight in the action.
- In America "amongst" is viewed as an elitist word. It is far more commonly used in England but I probably shouldn't use it.

My behind the scenes explanation to a producer/director would be - After Clarissa dies Rydale is distraught with grief and has her portrait painted as a memorial. He then discovers that the servants were told to stay out of that part of the house by his children while he was away. Rydale realizes his children let Clarissa die because they thought she might get all of his money. Disgusted and enraged he has the safe room moved brick by brick out to an underground location (as a tomb) on the Moors. He then gets his children into it and seals it off. Of course he is not going to publicize this so only the residual hints of what happened remain. I could work some more of this into the script but for a short I think leaving it unexplained is the easy way to go.

GM, I agree with much of your comments on things being implausible. But since I saw your comment I've been trying to think of a movie that you couldn't pick out elements and say "Sorry, No". I can't think of even one movie that would pass your "Sorry, No" Test. Some suspension of disbelief is required to buy into any story. I'm not saying my script could not be better. I'm saying you've set the bar almost impossibly high.

Thanks again for all your comments. Thanks also to the organizers because I would never have written anything like this if it wasn't for the OWC and it was a lot of fun.


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Posted: March 16th, 2008, 7:51pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

Buenos Aires - Argentina
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Hey, congratulations on the win. I finally got to read this one. Got some comments.

I really like the concept here. The over crowed prison. Guards having to improvise and put prisoners in rooms with dark secrets. Pretty cool.

And this prison’s back story is quite interesting. I specially liked the irony in Rydale’s tragedy. It’s the measures he takes to protect what he loves that end up killing something else he loves as much. This plot point has an urban legend feel.

A couple of nitpicks/suggestions:

* I’d suggest making your main character a little more active. Not easy to do this when your character is in prison, I know. But I would like this story better if the protagonist’s actions had more weight in driving the story forward. For the most part he’s just a listener/observer.

* “He slowly steps forward and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others.”

This description, IMHO, condenses too much action. Seems more like an abstract idea than a concrete visual. I’d suggest being more specific (i.e. Danny makes a move towards one table, its occupants glare, he turns and heads the other way, etc.)

* “Francis decides to explain what they are talking about.”

I’d lose this sentence since Francis’ immediate explanation makes it redundant.

*One of the main problems in prisons is that inmates manage to build weapons out of anything. Putting prisoners in “cells” that have windows and glass is a little too risky; I think the guards should take some preventive measures regarding this matter.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this one. Pretty creative for a one week effort. Good job.

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Posted: March 16th, 2008, 9:12pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from pwhitcroft

GM, I agree with much of your comments on things being implausible. But since I saw your comment I've been trying to think of a movie that you couldn't pick out elements and say "Sorry, No". I can't think of even one movie that would pass your "Sorry, No" Test. Some suspension of disbelief is required to buy into any story. I'm not saying my script could not be better. I'm saying you've set the bar almost impossibly high. Philip

Hi Phillip, I would have to say I do not agree with you here. I can understand where you are coming from but firmly believe that any movie that requires suspension of believe to watch is ultimately a badly written movie. At worst a movie that deploys an element that just is not possible in todays real world should get a response like "Well, not sure I can buy that totally but you made an effort to convince me so go on then.." If you get what I mean?

Example - Superman, a flying alien who looks like a man. Now you would expect a large suspension of believe to be needed to buy into the whole idea, but you don't because the writers of superman put great pains into building a plausible back story. Superman is risky because it is set in the real world, but they made it believable because nothing happens that cannot happen in the real world, the whole backstory while relying on something that just sounds so silly and unrealistic works because it is made plausible. Lord of the Rings is completely plausible, even with dragons and wizards because it only exists in a made-up land. There is no reference to the real world that would require any suspension of belief at all. Blade Runner is set in the future and therefore anything goes as long as you can explain plausibly how our world could lead to that world.

We only have these issues when a script is set in our own "real world" and yet contains elements of fantasy, or distorted truth. It is not enough to just say "in the world of this movie people have 3 arms" when the movie is clearly set in the "real world". But if you set it 100 years in the future and made it clear that in 2009 there was a nuclear war and all babies born after it were born with 3 arms, it suddenly becomes plausible.

Rydales Prison was set in the "real world", you made sure it was set in the north of England and it appeared to be set in our time. So the fact you did all of this means you have to try and stick to the constraints of our "real world". But your story is totally unbelievable when this is taken into consideration, prisons in England just are not like that, there are no guns. The whole idea about treating prisoners this way and leaving them alone in an unlocked wing just is not possible. This does not require suspension of belief because you have given us nothing that cannot be believed. But you could have done, This could be set in another time. Maybe 20 years in the future when Britain is under a dictatorship and military rule. Half the population are in prison for protesting against the government and space and manpower is at a premium.  Or set it in the past and they are prisoners of war.

So anyway I have gone on enough but just wanted you to understand what I meant by not buying into this story at all. You can do anything you want in a script, no matter how unbelievable it may at first seem.  A writers job is to make it believable, choosing to set any story with a fantasy element in the real world is tough, your biggest job is to make it seem real and make sure there is at least half an answer for any question the viewer might ask.

But like I did say, this was an extremely well written script. Only your second script? Then I am jealous, you are a very good writer. It was only the story I had an issue with, and to be fair many of the readers here from other countries, especially the US would have much less of an issue with it as you have set in in a world that is not that familiar to them and therefore they could imagine the same rules as their world come into play.

I look foward to reading your next one and hope you never thought I was having a go with my criticisms.

Cheers Gary

e-mail Reply: 26 - 27
Posted: April 17th, 2008, 4:43pm Report to Moderator

Normal, IL
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I truly enjoyed this one. Excellent story.
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