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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February 2011 One Week Challenge  ›  Scottish Lullaby - Feb 2011 OWC Moderators: Angry Bear
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  Author    Scottish Lullaby - Feb 2011 OWC  (currently 5071 views)
rc1107
Posted: March 29th, 2011, 10:10am Report to Moderator
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Hey again, leitskev,

Right away I'm going to come out and say that I have no idea why people (the large majority at that), are even arguing that this isn't a horror.  There's stuff from other worlds, tense scenes of strange things happening, a druid witch, a kid talking to himself, a mother drowning her son as a sacrifice.

So, because there aren't any gorgeous annoying ass teenagers staying at a cabin on spring break listening to shitty ass 'emo music' getting disemboweled, this all of a sudden isn't a horror?

Don't listen to that.  This has all the classic horror elements.  Yeah, this was a toned down story with a more dramatic approach (which I applaud), but all the elements were there to make this a horror.

All in all, I thought this was a pretty decent story, especially knowing that it was part of an OWC, so I know time was constrained for you.  (I'm not going to lie, though.  Because it was rushed, there are certain parts of the story that could be greatly improved to make the story come across a lot clearer.)  But that aside, the script had its good parts and its bad parts.

I liked bringing in the doctor to talk with the parents.  It was a good, strange little introduction to Kyle that gives us the creeps as we meet him walking by himself.  I didn't like how polite everybody was in that first scene, though.  Especially Mr. Crocket.  This comes off as a low-class family in Factoryville, but all of a sudden he uses proper upper Englishman manners.  "Of course.  Come in, please."

I really liked the tone throughout the whole story.  Creepy and depressing.  Doesn't get much better in my opinion.

Then, actually bringing Dougal into the dinner was a very good eerie moment.  Made me intrigued what was going to happen next.

When did Grand Da all of a sudden come into the room, though.  He's been (O.S.) the entire story, then, without saying he walks in, the (O.S.)'s are all of a sudden gone.

On Pg. 8, there's a slug that isn't capitalized.

Well, the end was a little confusing.  I had to go back and read it twice to really get the drift of what was going on.  I think just because it was a little rushed, there were some more things you wanted to put into it to clarify things a little more.  I got a good sense of what was going on, but not a great sense.

But anyway, like I said, for being written in less than seven days, this was pretty good.  I think one reason I liked it so much was because of the atmosphere and the setting.  Very good incorporating that feeling into the reader's mind.

Good job in general on this.

- Mark


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leitskev
Posted: March 29th, 2011, 10:56am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Mark.

Gran Da did not come into the room, I must have neglected to add the VO. Oops!

You bring up some points that are interesting to me as general topics, not just as they pertain to this story. First, is the dialogue of the parents being too polite. One reason I did that was that they are meeting an educated person from the school.

But there is another reason, one that I have discussed generally with others, and that is that I did not feel comfortable trying to create a working class Scottish voice. Having never been to the UK let alone Glasgow, I figured if I tried it would sound really bogus. The strategy I adopted was to keep the language as simple as possible, and allow that if anyone filmed this, the actors would perhaps authenticate the dialogue a little. Does that make sense as a general strategy with foreign voices?

Not too long ago someone sent me a script they were working on with a scene in London. The British accents were either too authentic or too fake. All I knew was that I barely understood what they were saying.

The other general issue you raised is that most people reading this story, even the ones that really liked it, had trouble figuring out what was going on. And that's ok, because I wanted it to be cryptic. While I have specific reasons for the things that are happening in the story, I think its possible with scripts that others can have different interpretations of what is going on. Who knows, maybe there is something subconscious in a story that connects.

But that said, I think I should shy away from making stories this cryptic. The stories I am currently working on have a level of being cryptic, where if one goes back and rereads they will find new things, but where the main plot will be clear enough by the end that rereading...or rewatching...will not be necessary.

Thanks man!
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LC
Posted: April 1st, 2011, 7:15pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rc1107
Hey again, leitskev,

Right away I'm going to come out and say that I have no idea why people (the large majority at that), are even arguing that this isn't a horror.  There's stuff from other worlds, tense scenes of strange things happening, a druid witch, a kid talking to himself, a mother drowning her son as a sacrifice.

- Mark


Yep, I'm with Mark on this. I said it before and I'll say it again, this is horror (imh)... and Rick saw fit to grade it No 2 and a finalist, didn't he? So, just because no-one's jumping out of the window with their intestines wrapped around their waist or hanging upside down in a shower stall with blood draining from their body, don't mean it ain't horror.

Some people confusing 'horror genre' with being 'horrified' methinks. Each to their own.

I say again, well done Leitskev... This one's got class.







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James McClung
Posted: April 25th, 2011, 12:52am Report to Moderator
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Hi Kevin. I said I'd read this so here's my thoughts. I've opted not to read through four pages of reviews so my apologies if I come off as redundant.

Anyway... eh. I didn't care for it.

Part of that is a matter of personal taste. I don't like "creepy" kids, especially ones with imaginary friends. More often than not, they're corny as cliche to boot. I can't say yours was particularly annoying but he's pivotal to the story yet really didn't do anything for me.

You did actually show the imaginary friend. This was something of a nice touch. I don't see it done often so I'll throw you a bone for that.

Personal taste aside, I thought you really over-foreshadowed here. "Sacrifice at the bogs." One time and you pretty much give your ending away. Perhaps not the exact circumstances but your ending. Enough to expunge some tension. The fact that the "bogs" and "sacrifice" are harped on so extensively does away with tension even further and leaves a redundancy to the story. The opening dialogue with the doctor felt overly expository in a similar fashion.

Now establishing exposition and foreshadowing is hard to do without being too obvious or contrary-wise, too subtle. I wouldn't say you've done a poor job with your script but I'm of the opinion writers need to step things up, have high standards and spend time fine tuning. Again. It gets harder when you raise the bar but you still got to shoot as high as you can. It's not good enough just to write for the sake of a simple-minded audience. Not to me, anyway.

The end had a darkness and a subtlety to it which I quite liked but I don't think there was enough of a build to really make it work. The lack of overtly supernatural presence to drive it home was partly to blame, I'd say. This is one of the few scripts where I couldn't weed out which myth you went with.

Anyway, there it is. Not a bad effort, I suppose, and perhaps a little unfair of me to come down so hard on a week's worth of effort. Just the same, I felt this could've been better.


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leitskev
Posted: April 25th, 2011, 5:21am Report to Moderator
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Hey James. Thanks for the read and the review. An interesting point you bring up is the level of foreshadowing, and it's an issue I am still trying to resolve generally when it comes to writing. This script went through two rewrites. In each one I felt compelled, based on feedback, to add foreshadowing. The problem was this was just to cryptic.

I just completed  feature where I have a little of the same problem. When I gave it to a couple of people to read, they struggled with the ending, so now I've just added more clues. But hard to tell if hitting too hard on the head now.

As for anticipating the end here, I would ask you this: did you really anticipate his mother would sacrifice him? The idea that the boy is intended for sacrifice meant to be obvious, that's where the tension is supposed to come from. But the possibility that the mother will save him, that she might substitute herself, is what is held out there, and then the fact she kills him herself is the twist.

But also keep in mind, it's not really meant as a twisty story. The idea is that the real sacrifice is in fact the mother, so it's more thematic. The mother made a deal with the old gods to further her own ambition. Some small moral sacrifice was demanded, but, compromised, she was on the path to the ultimate destruction of her soul, which happens when she kills her beloved son. The boy dies; but she is destroyed.

Thanks for the read James, sorry it didn't work for you. This was actually my first short, so hopefully later efforts will work better!
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James McClung
Posted: April 25th, 2011, 12:19pm Report to Moderator
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I did not anticipate that the mother would sacrifice him. Like I said, there was a darkness to that which stood out. I think I would've responded better to it had I been more invested in the story.

For a first short, it's not a bad effort. I'll take a look at your companion piece for this as well.


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Nomad
Posted: July 9th, 2011, 1:20pm Report to Moderator
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Decent read.  There were some formatting errors and the dialogue seemed unnatural at times.
I'm not sure what Dougal was all about.  I didn't feel for Kyle at all.  
This could have been a lot better with a couple tweaks here and there.


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leitskev
Posted: July 9th, 2011, 2:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Nomad, thanks for digging this out of the dustbin. I see it's your first post, hopefully you stick around. I'll be sure to look at your work if you post anything.

This was my first short, and the feedback began a big learning process for me. I've had a lot to learn on format, screen writing, and dialogue, and SS is the place to do it, especially if you read and contribute.

This story was too cryptic, and I've been learning to avoid doing that as well. It worked for some people very well, others not at all. The learning process continues, but in many ways for me, it started with this story.
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