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All I can teach is how to make drinks and break up fights! Here, I am the student, and a VERY appreciative one. Bert, Dream, Phil, Pia, and yes you, Sandra, are the masters, I am the apprentice.
Definitely listen to the other names you mentioned. Bert recommended a script once called "Killing on Carnival Row". It's one that I emulate. The good ones make it seem so easy. Hope to do the same some day.
BTW, this story here, Them That's Dead, I can't wait to find out who the writer is so I can read more work, which I will definitely look up. Really curious to see how non-pirate voices are done by him/her. Probably has a tremendous range for character voices.
Bert, I think you like that "inferno" line more than I do.
It's true, and I have no idea why.
Popping in before bed I find that the names have been revealed. A few surprises to be had.
The response to this was very gratifying, and I sincerely thank those that took the time to give me their thoughts.
Those who know me around here also know that I have not been very prolific these past few years, as the demands of a new job leave me precious few hours for what essentially amounts to a very time-consuming hobby. To put something new out there and find that I can still please most readers is a really nice bonus.
So, a few self-indulgent notes on the story for those who actually care to read such things.
Story: Not sure why several suggested this might be some sort of retrofit, but it was not. The original list from Rick contained "necromancy", and the story sprang from there, as I had always wanted to use that topic, believe it or not. The only thing I had beforehand was the unused character of Shark Tooth, who I have carried in my pocket for several years now. When I started composing this story, it was actually Shark Tooth searching for the treasure with Rhiannon, but that just wasn't working. It was a few days later, when it occurred to me to put Shark Tooth in that grave, that the story actually started to take form. I still find him the most compelling character in this story, without a single line of dialogue.
Dialogue: I do not have a gift for dialogue like some around here do. I struggle with it more than any other aspect, but I am proud in a silly way of what ended up on the page here. It was the most fun I have ever had doing dialogue, and those who point out that it was almost played for laughs are not too far off the mark, truth be told. My personal favorite passage is when Rhiannon confronts Gulley with his murder of Shark Tooth. That was supposed to be a MAJOR turning point in the story, and I struggled for a good day and a half to decide how Gulley would respond. Eventually, it was the character of Gulley himself that led me to the most logical conclusion: "I don't really give a shite" is what he told me. After that, his response came to mind almost immediately, and it wasn't a turning point at all.
Characters: Some people seemed confused about the motivations for this trio, but it is really very simple at its heart. All three characters are just waiting for their opportunity to screw over the other two. It is that simple, and when viewed through that prism, I think everything makes sense. The reason Brocc concealed his identity is that he was not ready to reveal himself until he had the fortune. He was just a kid, who really had nothing, and he needed Gulley for the time being. But once Brocc had his hands on the gold, he could get his own boat and do pirate things or whatever. I gave Brocc some dialogue explaining that, but it played out entirely too chatty -- particularly for a character who had been mute for most of the story -- so I cut it out.
I think those who were confused might have been reading too much into this. Some readers get that this story was never meant to deliver some sort of message.
Half-way through this script I knew I was not writing filet mignon here, and I just went with it. This is more like a Pop Tart. But ain't nothing wrong with Pop Tarts, really. I like Pop Tarts.
I will come back to this later and cherry-pick my way through a few specific comments that need to be addressed, but I wanted to give a big thanks to Don, Rick, and even Pia, for pulling this all together in most splendid fashion. This was more fun than I have had writing in quite a while.
I had been reading the scripts late at night and was getting tired. Reading shorts is in some ways easier than reading a feature, but when you read a whole bunch at once, you're getting a lot of characters in a short time, and a wide range of writing styles. With my eyes half closed, I brought the lap top to bed and decided I would do one more story, thinking there was no way I would get through it.
For some reason, the voices from these characters were really amusing and very clear in my head. Surprisingly I found myself not only finishing but wide awake and ready for more. Very hard for a writer to achieve that. This writer raised the bar for shorts here.
I actually did see this OWC when the theme and genre was released, but got too busy with work and couldn't get a story done in time, so now I'm going through a couple of the stories to see how other people did with the ideas. I planned on checking out yours anyway, (as you may recall I love your descriptions of scenes), then I saw yours took home the WCA statue. (Writer's Choice Award.) Just as good as an Oscar, isn't it?
Well, as always, your descriptions didn't disappoint and the story was very clear, visual, and atmospheric.
The characters, I believe, were pretty general, which I think is normal for a pirate story. I think it'll be hard for anybody who writes a pirate story to get away from the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' characteristics, unless maybe if it's a modern pirate story, where the pirates are more guerilla warfare than swashbuckling.
The dialogue was very good and very well written and I can clearly see you enjoyed working with the dialogue in this one. Maybe came up with one or two more insults than was necessary between Gullley (p.s. - that's how you spelled his name on the opening page) and Rhiannon, but that's not a big gripe at all. Lol, and at first, and it was really hard to get out of my head, even after you said she was an old crone, I pictured Rihanna playing the part of Rhiannon.
I don't really understand some other comments that I've read about people not knowing who to root for. I thought it was a no-brainer that Brocc was the only likable one out of the three. But I also agree with something that I think Sandra had said, about maybe giving a clue early on about Brocc, or maybe some sort of foreshadowing about him. Perhaps have him yawn while digging up the body and being very careful to hide his yawn. Maybe something small like that to add another level to the story.
Well, I think this story stuck to the theme and genre pretty well. Reanimating a dead body sounds pretty horrific to me. Well, maybe reanimating isn't the write word there, but I think you know what I mean. All in all, like pretty much everybody else, I really liked the story, which was very atmospheric as I think just about everything I've read from you is.
On a similar note, I did a little bit of research and saw you posted a new version of 'The Farm' since the last time I read it. I'll be checking it out again, trying to get in the business of working on full length screenplays again, it just might be the thing to inspire me.
Anyhow, it's nice seeing something from you and I'll be talking to you later.
Great to see you back around -- ducking in and out -- or whatever it is you do.
I haven't even caught up with everybody else's comments -- but I wanted to drop a quick thanks in case you disappear again.
The WCA (a fine name, btw) is not quite an Oscar yet haha. I guess we'll just have to give it time.
"Rhiannon" is a song that came on Pandora while I was considering character names, and it seemed like a sign, so I stuck with it.
I do like the idea of hinting at Brocc's true identity a bit more, but I probably am not going to mess with this one too much for right now, as I am trying to do some work on "The Farm", off and on. And I am not so sure there is a new version there for you, either -- you might want to double-check that.
Thanks again, Mark. Will be looking for something from you soon, right?
...but, I don't think it really does fit the challenge.
These were the hardest to refrain from responding to, as necromancy was specifically mentioned on Rick's list, and I even put it in the logline to avoid any confusion about where I was going. That legend was really the only reason I participated at all, as the other myths would have taken too much time to research.
For me they would, anyway, as I tend to way over-analyze stuff like that.
Okay, so I'm really late to the party on this one, but I wanted to read something by Bert, so here goes:
The writing is very impressive, and I know you've all noted that here. What impressed me most about it was how very visual it was, and how it put not only the pictures of the craggy cliffs and green smoke in my head, but the characters' images as well. Not since Screenrider's "American Soil" or Alffy's "The Chocolatier" has a short script left such vivid images in my mind, so great job, Bert.
I don't have a problem with how you write your narratives - sure, they're a tad flowery, but that's called finding your voice, not writing unfilmables. Again, great job. And the dialogue was brilliant - you nailed "pirate speak", my friend...
I skimmed the comments and it seemed that some took issue with the basicness of the story - I guess that's true? I also don't think it bothered me because I had such a great time reading it. I also think that a filmed version of this would be so striking that the audience would forget that it's essentially (SPOILERS - REALLY THOUGH, SPOILERS? IS THERE SOMEONE WHO HASN'T READ THIS YET?)............... a buried treasure story with a bit of a twist ending...
If I was forced to make a suggestion? Maybe add a twist to the twist. Only Brocc was interested in the treasure, so Rhiannon was essentially impassive - i.e., she didn't have a horse in the race. Mabye make Gulley "level 1" in this case - he's concerned about treasure, and so is Brocc, on the surface. But what if there is a book of secrets, or spells, that Brocc is really after? So he can have the same powers as Rhiannon? And that's something Rhiannon hoped would stay buried? Just a thought.
Great job Bert and it was a treat to read something of yours -
Only Brocc was interested in the treasure, so Rhiannon was essentially impassive - i.e., she didn't have a horse in the race.
You didn't get that she was after it, too? That all three were ready to screw over the other two? Maybe I need to examine that and see where I missed the opportunity to clarify, as I kind of get the impression now that a few people missed it.
Thanks for the bump, though. All things considered, I am still pretty pleased with this one.
Some cool visuals and black magic tricks, skilful set ups/pay offs, and fun twists and turns.
My only macro comment would be: I wasn't rooting for anyone to get the treasure and I was involved on a more intelectual level than on an emotional level. But, to be fair, I did enjoy watching these bastards betray each other. So, it still worked. A cool cautionary tale about disturbing the dead.
The dialogue seemed a bit over-the-top at first, but then I understood that this was an intentional stylistic choice and got used to it. Not my favorite type of speech, but it remained consistent and fit the story well.