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Apparently the Sith are the monsters of choice for this OWC. This script started out well with the image of the four vampire sisters, each one with the different hair color. But, then it became more of a standard shocker as the disbelieving patrons of the pub are forced to confront the evil.
Slug lines are your friends. Why do you have such an aversion to them? Starting on page 2, you throw your slug lines out the window and simply use "Bus", "Road" and "Pub." You can't do that. Each time you switch locales, you need a new slug. This made for a very confusing and distracting read, and I almost gave up.
The action in the pub was pretty cool. Do the Sith actually have a weakness for iron or was that part made up?
A lot of the dialogue had an over the top sound to it, as the above poster noted.
Unusual, atmospheric ending, as Sean wades into the waters.
This had a rushed feel to it, like you didn't have time to find glaring technical mistakes or polish your dialogue. I think with a little work this could make a cool little story.
Bloodstorm * I liked it * Opening image was cool as was the closing image * the battle in the pub was well done * the enemy was vanquished a tad too easily * Duncan was Mr. Exposition * the only line of dialogue that really bugged me was “do not hesitate to use weapons” * logic check – if the wife was a sith, couldn’t she have killed the bar patrons or at least opened the door? * a draft or three away from a solid story
Good on you, at least yours felt like it was specifically written for this OWC. I didn't really get why we needed several pages with Kenny and the bus. Seems an unnecessary expenditure for a short film budget. Using mini slugs to establish entirely new scenes made for a schizophrenic read. The action was pretty detailed, had an Evil Deadish claustrophobic feel at times. The attack itself seemed random, lacking real character centric goals. I really liked the opening scene a lot, got me excited for the story.
LATEST NEWS CineVita Films is producing a short based on my new feature!
Pg 3 - Where the H did Duncan (sittin' over his pint at the bar) come from off screen talking about "They will rise again"? Izzat supposed to be a voice over?
You're using underscores ( _ ) where you should be using double dashes ( -- ) to indicate interruptions in dialog.
Eh... That was okay. A little forced and disjointed.
The bus thing adds a tremendous amount of expense for no payoff. Too many characters, even for me. The animosity between Alex and Duncan seem odd for a proprietor to be so foul with a regular. Now, if Duncan was a minister or father in his little B&W get-up that'd go a long way with his pontifications. And everyone seemed to rally together over here-say and wet girls in the rain.
Strangers thrown together for a desperate stand is a little cliche-ish. BREAKFAST CLUB meets Van Helsing.
I appreciated the artsy approach of this story. A little too jumpy, but compared to the other scripts I've read this one stands out as being one of the more creative stories. I thought the title was kinda cool until I googled it and found out it's been used in another horror movie. Aside from that, good effort.
Some nice imagery and atmosphere here. I liked the set up, but have to say the quick flip-flops from inside and outside the pub made it tad haphazard. Had to go back and re-read a couple of times. The VO moments confused me a bit as well.
Your slugs aren't double spaced. I also don't like going from in the pub to the road without INT/EXT. It made for a difficult read. I couldn't grasp where we were. Last I checked, this was a rule that was pretty concrete. Mini slugs are only appropriate in one local with different rooms. Then again, Everybody's breaking the rules these days. Done about format.
Overall I really liked this one. Had a nice eerie overtone. Perfect for the challenge. We've seen these bar battles several times, but i never get sick of them.
I thought the way this was being told, that Kenny was a ghost. When he says to alex that his cousin sent him, he was going to tell him he'd been dead for a year.
Any way, I thought Donna turning into one of them wasn't well enough explained as to why it happened. But, thats my only gripe.
Ok, the title scream ScyFy channel Saturday special. This isn't a compliment.
You open with bland descriptions an then pow with golden rain? That's not even visual. I would work on these descriptions. Check out the screenplays of writers you respect and mimic them until you get your own voice.
Your scene headings are all wonkey. Check a guide.
Sorry, but this lost my attention. I can't really put my finger on why though.
I think the writer worked out some good concepts for his creatures. The challenge we all have as story tellers is how to introduce those aspects. In the case of a script, it has to be primarily through dialogue, and that can be tough. I thought the dialogue flowed pretty good, except when it was introducing these concept specifics, which came off as unnatural in the language. But I would not be discouraged by that. It's why we're here, trying to learn stuff like that.
The challenge idea is that we have to write something in a week about a topic not quite of our choosing. With those limitations, the writer did a pretty good job creating a story.
I have said in other posts, that in my personal opinion, for a horror story to work, it has to either seem at least somehow plausible if you suspend disbelief; or if it does not, you should go completely the other way. If it's over the top, make it WAY over the top, and make it funny. Like a lot of stories, this one is down the middle, and in my opinion should try to either be a little more plausible, or go the other way and become more over the top.
I suspect that many, many horror movies that have been produced and succeeded started out with the same problem, being kind of in the middle. As the writing process proceeds they evolve in one direction or the other. There are characters and concepts here that could evolve. It depends on the preference of the writer, but feedback might influence that process, so the challenge is cool for that.
Pretty good effort overall here, and a starting point to work with. Congrats!
Well...for starters, the logline attracted me here..but not in a good way, as it's obviously missing a word. Hopefully, it was either a time constraint thing or maybe the great Don somehow fucked it up.
I was expecting a shitfest, but after the first scene, I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.
All in all, this is one of the best ones I've read so far, in terms of scope, story, and authenticity. I have a feeling time did play a role in parts not being what they could have been.
Let's get into it...
I've read the feedback and although I agree that the entire bus scene and Kenny character adds alot of expense for little payoff, it also adds alot to the overall flavor here. This isn't low budget, IMO, and it's probably a 15 minute short, done the right way, but kudos to the writer for going for it anyway.
Characters were hit and miss with me. Dialogue was also hit and miss, although it's obvious the writer is either Scottish, or did some research, and you know that's always a BIG plus in my book. At times, each character had good, solid moments and dialogue, but at others, it seemed like an American, or maybe Aussie slang crept in.
I've read the feedback about the bar scene being cliche, and maybe it is, but fuck it, who cares, it's well done visually. It's just not written well...maybe rushed. On page 10, the prose changes and is way too thick and detailed. Tough to get through and really grasp. Probably my 2md biggest beef here.
#1 beef is the use of Mini Slugs where they shouldn't be used. No reason for this at all. Makes the read confusing. Slows it down instead of speeding it up like the writer probably was hoping for. Needs to be cleaned up ASAP!!!! Shame on you!!!
The deal with the American's wife turning into a Sith wasn't clear enough for me. I got it that she was killed in the pub and then turned and there was something early on about only women would turn, but personally, I didn't think it was necessary and actually wish it wasn't there.
IMO, this probably should be a 15 page script or so the way it sits. Nothing wrong with that, but for this challenge, it seems too big, but in the same breath, I'll say Kudos for going for it and actually making this fit into 11 pages.
Great research or general knowledge of Scotland. Great story. Too big in terms of budget, most likely, and too many characters and things going on for 10-12 pages.
Easily one of my faves, though. Congrats on a very solid OWC entry.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Fun script. Kind of a mini From Dusk til Dawn scenario. The script shows signs of having been rushed, such as the mini sluglines and a few typos here and there.
Some of the descriptions left me a tad baffled, like the part about 'laughter like golden rain' ...I don't know what that means personally.
I thought the parts with the bus driver went on longer than they needed to.
The ending left me confused (may have missed something during my read), but it was my interpretation that Sean willingly went into the loch with the Sith Queen, but then that raised the question of why was he fighting the Sith in the pub at all if he seems to be connected to them in some way (their lord as the Queen says)?
Hello. I'm getting around on scripts which I haven't commented on yet. Some things I put aside and questioned if it was worth commenting on, regardless of quality. Some I even re-read.
Each of the four has a different hair color - black, blonde, fiery red and brunette.
I'd go with auburn or albino. Brunette is black, isn't it?
Because of the lack of white space in between scenes, it appears too easy to forget slug locations. For example, INT. PUB -LATE AFTERNOON is fine; but BUS by itself isn't. It should be INT. BUS -SAME because otherwise, the BUS is in the pub because you used it as a SUB-SLUG. It is like you are in a HOUSE (main location) and a scene happens in KITCHEN and the next in the BEDROOM. It is part of the same main location. The bus is outside of the pub; it isn't the same location.
You then switch back to PUB; but then we also go OUTSIDE or to the ROAD. EXT. PUB or EXT. ROAD or EXT. BUS would be best. This happens so much it's almost hard to follow where the action takes place.
Yes, it has a Dusk Til Dawn feel. So what? I seen a hundred horror movies and one and chances are there will be a hundred and one more with varied quality with this kind of setup. With the slug problem I was losing interest in this with each page; it felt rushed.
The beginning just too straight forward, almost easy for me. They rise - and that's how we learn about them. Kenny walks towards them and gets in trouble. --I actually started thinking it's about Kenny. When Duncan came into play. He told us everything and his tellings were a bit on the nose. They rose and wanted to take over the town and kill all. Then there's a fight And they loose It's just too simple, I think. Written very well, almost poetic and that's what I liked the most here.
Too many characters for me put a damper on the action, but this wasn't bad.
The opening left a lot to be desired. The pub patrons also just came off as too average to me, especially since there's a bunch of them in such a short amount of pages. It was a bit of a challenge for me to differentiate to be honest with you.
I liked the mythological stuff with the women/siths. That was well done.
I just kinda wish this was tightened up and got more to the point quicker. Otherwise, not bad. Nice job.
This was a nice little short here, your ending was just okay for me... I thought the bar scene was pretty good. Don't know if you'll go back and re-write this one, but I hope you do. For a week, good job.
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
(-) What we have here is a well written, bit too descriptive script. I use to write scripts packed full of details that didn't matter. I'd have these absurd asides and clever ways of saying a 4 letter word, the whole gig.
After having some of those scripts critiqued professionally -- Getting back some pages chalk full of red marks and a butt hurt ass wallet I learned quickly it's in and out. It's saying the most basic, most visual piece of the puzzle and moving on.
You write extremely well -- But there are too many novel-like details in this script for me to really get a good rhythm going. It's good, don't get me wrong.
"Behind them, the oily waters of a large lake chop in the breeze. The four stand perfectly still, their LAUGHTER like golden rain."
"The sky overheard is packed with low, bruised cloud"
Just seems a bit too informative. Also of note overHEAD is spelled wrong. You have to take out the "R". I know it's a simple mistake, so I just wanted to point it out if nobody else had.
Then there is the instance of this
"A well-weathered but neat establishment."
How about, and I'm not telling you; just suggesting to you "An authentically weathered establishment."
I only say this because "BUT" inside action bricks make my nuts shrivel up a bit.
(+) I love how you introduce people into your scripts. It's very fluid and clean. There is almost no better way to do it than how you do it. You give us the indicator, the person and the light details -- You then move on. Bang up job throughout.
(on page 2 you have 2 dashes in dialogue which make no sense to me) <-- I don't know if they're suppose to be there or not, but if not remove them. It's a small nothing of a problem, rather a pest if anything.
(-) I hate reading tightly formatted scripts -- I get that Trottier did it, and that's tops. It is. But he's really not very relevant today. A spacious script is a much easier, less daunting read.
I cannot stress spacing 1x after your FADE IN: & 1x after a scene has ended or you use a cut to or start a new scene. Some people will say "Hey, if the script reads go for it!" But to so many people I've talked to over the years, they see tight scripts as cluttered scripts. They see them as "The scripts trying to say too much in as little time as possible".
(+) I'm as white of a Jew as you can possibly get. I don't know the dialect of how many Europeans speak or slang or any of that. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you nailed a lot of how "I" perceive Scotts and Brits and whatnot to talk -- Not by much fist hand experience, rather exposure. So a win column check by default. It sounds authentic enough for me to believe in.
(-) There is a bit on page 4, pretty much all of page 4 and then again on 5 and maybe page 6 too -- Where you are using the location as a static slug. These work often and I'm using them today in my own scripts, but I think how you're doing them could be tweaked just a bit.
Reason being ... When I read
It is you jumping out of location and taking us to another location all together. This would always be better handled with a slug and a scene change. Now if you are in the scene, the same scene, you can use those more effectively. This is just a suggestion.
(+) The story here, for 12 pages, is a work... It's got some substance, maybe not a MUST SEE, MEGA BLOCKBUSTER, but I could see it being something you'd see here or there. It's not got the appeal to be on an anthology "Creepshow" or "Tales From The Crypt" type gig, but if longer and tuned up it could become something more than just an OWC script. The sets are what killed this one -- The castle ruins and all that. Yeah, pretty unfilmable on a minuscule budget.
Of note, I kept envisioning Jeff in this script. Maybe it's because Jeff was in the script??
Very strong entry aside from all the criteria ins and outs. I won't say it's worth revisiting in a longer version, but it could benefit from more pages and time. Easily.
Though this had a pretty eerie feel to it and you dun good at telling a serious story stevie, I think it seemed too serious, overly serious, and you really needed to lighten it up a bit. There's no reason you can't tell a serious story with a lighter touch.
Because it was so serious I had a difficult time relating to it. If it wasn't your script I would have put it down at the point where their laughter was like golden rain. If not there then after the first page.
Also there was a lot of exposition here. If you had shown us the story rather than treating it as a lecture on the Baobhan Sith it could have been so much more exciting. You could have played up on the Aussie encountering a mystical creature. Think how brilliant that could be. We both know Aussies aren't a superstitious lot.
Between the exposition and the seriousness I really had trouble feeling involved in the story. Sorry. I think you need to rethink what story you are telling and how you are telling it. As a mattter of fact instead of telling it to us make us live it.
Bus could become a taxi (aka ANY car). You eliminate the cost, still get all the effects you were going for, plus it gives you more of a cramped, claustrophobic feel than the openess of a bus.
Duncan's dialogue needs to be more realistic. As it is, he sounds like he's reading the "rules" of the creatures off of a checklist. Why do the creatures attack this particular pub? Was this just the first building they happened to pass after coming from wence they came or was there a reason? I thought it might be that they were after Sean, but they didn't seem to know or care who he was.
This was a good read, made for a nice survivalist horror piece. The ending feels tacked on (maybe rushed due to time and page constraints) and doesn't seem to mesh with the rest of the story. I think it needs more explanation somehow.
Thanks to all who read this, and thanks for some really good ideas, if I re-write it (i'm not a big re-writer, have only done it once, but we'll see what happens)
Some BG into Bloodstorm: i was excited about the challenge requirements and wanted to do something Scottish, to tie in with one of my ancestry lines. The Baobhan Sith stood out immediately - seductive hornbag vampires luring in Scotland - full on shit!! (Actually, I only just realised Sith is an anagram of shit...and Lucas must've stolen the name for Star Wars too?)
Originally i was gonna set it along the West Highland Way and the Sith were 4 gorgeous backpackers. They were gonna seduce and dance with guys at a pub then start killing them. I might use this still, as an alternate version, but I wanted to involve my ancestral home at Invergarry.
The first draft I left gaps for the exposition and the ending, then filled in later. I wanted to have Kenny call Alex on his mobile, to report the 'accident' and the crew in the pub would hear his death over the phone loudspeaker. But I prefereed the quick cuts in that scene, flipping back and forth. I knew I'd cop flak about the 'mini slugs' - though some readers didn't even mention it- i was just trying for some freshness in my writing. I've been putting in some unfilmables laterly, instead of the same boring stuff. If this scene came over hard to read, I apologise - I was looking at it if it was filmed and it would be quick cuts between the locations. I spent a lot of time writing this scene, it was like a jigsaw puzzle at times.
Duncan does exposite a bit too much - that was filled in later. I would like to have expanded on his battle with the Sith when he was a kid - a flashback - but the page count was getting up. The action scenes got out of control a bit, simply because I'm not that expereinced with writing them!!! I tried to make the Sith these cool deatched sort of nasties.
A few people have thought that Donna was a Sith the whole time, but she only gets turned when hit by Raven. I didn't want to telegraph it so it wouldnt spoil the bit where she kils Dunc. Ditto, with Sean not been revealed as a McDonell till near the end.
The ending? Yeah, I was gonna just have Sean and Jeff stagger out of the pub, with an aerial shot. but I wanted to show the old castle so Sean heads there. It was meant to be this dreamy link to his past - Dunc mentions earlier that the Glengarry lords paid homage to the Sith; maybe I should have written consorted with or even interbred!!
Sean was gonna hear the voice and a hand would pull him into the loch but it sounded odd. So I went with the Sith Queen embracing him back - actually it was all vague to me so I left it??!! Sorry!
The title? Last second job as i submitted it! Spent a day thinking of something cool and short. I even checked out a fantasy name generator. One came up that I liked - 'Memory's Women' - which I liked but my wife said it was stupid!! Should've nabbed it!!
Ok, better go. I had planned to write more but didn't want to bore you all! Here's a pic of the old castle at Loch Oich at Invergarry, my ancestral home. Our motto is the Raven on the Rock, the castle was called 'The Raven's Rock.
If I haven't reviewed anyone's script - I did most of them - feel free to PM me and i will
Cheers stevie - Steve McDonell, 19th Lord of Glengarry
PS - I'm wearing a t-shirt form Gettysburg battlefield which I left in the bed and breakfast we stayed in here - fucking spewing!!
The problem with this script, IMHO, is that it was rushed. If you took another week or two, Stevie, and wrote another draft, you would have a good story on your hands.
The descriptions could be tightened up. You have a lot of orphans, here, which could be eliminated. Your first scene's description:
In a clearing, four YOUNG WOMEN stand in a circle. They wear white dresses, and slowly bring their hands up, touching to form a peak.
Each of the four has a different hair color - black, blonde, fiery red and brunette.
Behind them, the oily waters of a large lake chop in the breeze. The four stand perfectly still, their LAUGHTER like golden rain.
Could be cut down to:
FOUR BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMEN stand in a circle, near a loch. Their flowing white gowns flutter in the wind. They raise their hands in unison and gently laugh.
Hair color isn't important, here. Sure, it makes a nice visual. But it's not needed.
Whenever you have a paragraph of description or dialogue, and the last line consists of only a word or two on the page, find some words to get rid of. Examples from the first page alone:
In the fourth paragraph, you use up an entire line on the page with the word shoulder. If you delete the opening words Then, one by one, the orphan disappears.
The last paragraph on page one (where Sean leaves the bus), an entire line is wasted on a 49ers cap. If you delete the words medium-sized (an unnecessary description for the backpack), the orphan disappears.
If you tighten up the script, you can probably take two pages out of this script.
Pages two through five were a bit disorienting for me. You bounced around way to much here. Completely unnecessary! Oh, and use full headers. It makes for an easier read.
The story, itself, came off as a basic vampire tale. If not for Duncan's on-the-nose explanation of things, this story could have easily been set anywhere in the world. This isn't a bad thing, mind you. You told us who the Baobhan Sith were, instead of showing us.
I had a problem with Sean's backstory. It was too much of a plot device.
Your storytelling was good, though. I did like that, over all. You got a lot of story into twelve pages and it was nicely paced. Cut back on the characters next time. You had, like, a dozen of them in this story.
Hi Phil. Thanks for the read and valuable comments!
Yeah, it was a bit rushed this. Some parts i wrote later, slotting them in - this is why Duncan's exposition sits a little uneasy in there.
I like your points about cutting some wrods to reduce the lines - I nearly did erase the full description of Sean(who is actually me at a younger age, hence the 49ers cap) and see now I should've. The Sith's hair colour I was using as a future guide to who was who - only Raven was going to speak, I didn't want to have SITH 1 or 2 in the script, and i didn't want to give them proper names either. So the hair was my way of tracking them.
Yeah, the non-slug scenes - as I explained futher up the thread, I was going for how it look in a film - trying to be arty as well - and used them to show the quick cuts and make it more sort of effective.
Sean's backstory? Yeah, i was trying to keep it hidden till the end, so the way the Sith would be defeated wasn't revealed. I thought it and Donna's turning would have more impact that way.
Rick, in your last comment, is that what you mean in reply to Phil? You are referring to the non-slugs?
Not sure why I missed this one, Stevie, though I did start losing track of what I had read late in the game. Perhaps it might have been that video game title you selected for this piece.
For me, I liked the way you cut around early in this story -- with quick snatches of scenes that contributed to the whole. I was not confused at all, and thought you handled it with a lot of skill, actually.
Once in the bar, I found Jeff and Donna mostly annoying, and while I know you did not have much space for character building, it might have been nice to give them an extra layer as opposed to just whining about stuff. Duncan was mostly enjoyable, though I agree with the others that you have him deliver a bit too much exposition. If you had the space to give him a flashback, that probably would have been cool, and then you could have been showing us things instead of having Duncan drone on about them in a monologue.
I did get a little confused during the big fight scene, and lost track of just how many Sith were actually left running around. You might consider some mini-slugs there -- using the character names -- to help break up those paragraphs into discrete chunks of action. And for me, I think you do need to at least hint at something happening to Donna in order to support what happens later.
And I have to admit that I totally did not get how Sean's ancestry had anything to do with this, but perhaps I missed something, or it is a regional thing I do not understand. But that is another aspect you could easily clarify given more space.
The final image is also a bit unclear, as he falls into an embrace of velvet flesh and "the waters take him." What does that stuff even mean? There you are trying too hard to be fancy and you fail to give us anything visual that we can actually use.
I liked this, and while you have a nice actioner that makes very good use of the myths, you have also got lots to build upon here should you ever decide to return for a rewrite. You should make a note to return to it sometime when you are not writing on something else.
Apologies guys. My net has been down for a week and I'm doing this from the library. Will be back on deck asap
Cheers for the read Bert and helpful comments
When I can write properly on my keyboard will answer in more detail
Yeah, my net came bacl on all of a sudden - no reasoning behind it. I'm changing providers as the service in my area with wireless is shit anyway.
Some answers for your review bert: I'm glad you saw what I was trying for with the quick cuts. I really wanted to make it a unique sort of scene and had to really work it all out before I wrote it. I would've loved to show a flashback with Dunc's experiences as a boy fighting the Sith, but as you say, it would've added too many pages to what was already fairly long. I'mm loathe to re-write this inot something longer, as I feel it moves away from the initial inspiration and corridor of the challenge. If someone wanted to film it, then of course I would make changes.
The ending? And the link between Sean and the Sith. There's nonne really, only in him being descended from the Glengarry McDonells. I was trying to be a bit fancy, in having this ethereal, vague moody ending - I was hinting that perhaps it was Sean's destiny to 'come home' and be taken back by the Sith. To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure myself when i wrote it - at the time it read bettter than the alternate which would be Sean and Jeff staggering out into the sunlight from the pub, while the camera rose up and back!!
Anyway I might go back to it one day. Thanks again for the read!!