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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February 2011 One Week Challenge  ›  The God Stick - Feb 2011 OWC Moderators: Angry Bear
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  Author    The God Stick - Feb 2011 OWC  (currently 4854 views)
Ryan1
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 6:17pm Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Thanks for taking a look-see.  Haven't seen you around for a while.  All of these scripts in the OWC are essentially first drafts and in need of tweaking.  I'm probably going to do a rewrite based on all the feedback and submit it in a couple weeks.  I have no plans to expand this, at least not right now.

After hearing how much everyone agreed with the idea of making the God Stick the shillelagh, I think that I'll incorporate that in the next draft.  It'll just be a little thicker than your average cane, is all.  

Not quite as sure about  having Sean know beforehand about the witch.  Although, the reasons for him not knowing need to be clearer.  I said in another post, if an old man starts talking about witches coming out of the ground, you tend to think that granpops is losing his marbles.  

Sorry you didn't like the flashback.  Because of the need to tell the backstory, this script had more exposition than I really wanted.  The flashback was put in there so it wasn't just all the old man talking and there were some visuals to go with his story.

Thanks again for the read

Ryan

  
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shootingduck
Posted: March 8th, 2011, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this script very much, my favorite so far of the 20 or so that I've read.  I agree with the others' views in most regards.  Except that I think instead of losing the flashbacks, maybe they need to be more detailed.  I got what your intention was when I was reading...  break up the action of the two guys walking through the woods with some interesting visuals to add to the story.  I think more detailed flashbacks might be one way to go to avoid having grandpa just tell the story in dialogue.  Definitely don't lose the flashbacks because then all you've got is a two guys talking by a tree followed by an action packed 2 page fight scene that would seem way out of place.  Excellent job on this script, I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for an upload of the rewrite.
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dogglebe
Posted: March 13th, 2011, 10:39am Report to Moderator
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I think that this one is my favorite, so far.  It had the feel of a folk tale, rather than a movie script.  Others have said that they had minor problems with it, too small to mention.  I'll mention my minor problem:

You split up your flashback, on pp three and four.  I would keep it as one flashback.

Good read!


Phil
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wonkavite
Posted: March 13th, 2011, 12:50pm Report to Moderator
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Yes, I've already weighed in this one - but have to heartily agree.  The God Stick by far one of the best scripts in this OWC - possibly my favorite, and definitely in the top four (IMHO.)  

Re-read it last night, and I see absolutely no missteps in this one.  Clean, beautiful writing with snappy banter and smooth transitions and likable characters.  (Definitely do make the God Stick the Shillelagh - that streamlines the story even further.)

With all due respect to the other scripts - *this* is one that I definitely would have pegged for the winner!
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Ryan1
Posted: March 13th, 2011, 5:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from dogglebe
I think that this one is my favorite, so far.  It had the feel of a folk tale, rather than a movie script.  Others have said that they had minor problems with it, too small to mention.  I'll mention my minor problem:

You split up your flashback, on pp three and four.  I would keep it as one flashback.

Good read!


Phil


Thanks for reading, Phil.  I can see your point with the flashback.  But, as I saw it, there were two distinct images I wanted to convey.  The shot of the witch leading the little kid up the hill.  Then, the priest readying for battle with the witch.  The two flashbacks happened at different times, which is why I broke them up.  Plus, I wanted to break it up so there wasn't a page and a half of straight VO.

Glad you liked it.

Ryan
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Ryan1
Posted: March 13th, 2011, 5:31pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from wonkavite
Yes, I've already weighed in this one - but have to heartily agree.  The God Stick by far one of the best scripts in this OWC - possibly my favorite, and definitely in the top four (IMHO.)  

Re-read it last night, and I see absolutely no missteps in this one.  Clean, beautiful writing with snappy banter and smooth transitions and likable characters.  (Definitely do make the God Stick the Shillelagh - that streamlines the story even further.)

With all due respect to the other scripts - *this* is one that I definitely would have pegged for the winner!


Thanks for the vote, Wonk.  Seems like a consenus turning the shillelagh into the God Stick.  Will make it happen in the rewrite.

Ryan
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wonkavite
Posted: March 17th, 2011, 7:15am Report to Moderator
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Hey Ryan -

Do you have a list of other stuff you've written?  I'm curious to sample the rest..!

Cheers,

-WV
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Ryan1
Posted: December 1st, 2011, 3:55pm Report to Moderator
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Finally got back to this one and revised it.  New version up now.  I used several of the notes I received and I think the piece is stronger for it.
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Eoin
Posted: December 1st, 2011, 4:40pm Report to Moderator
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Had to give this another read.

As always, format spot on. It's a very easy read. Zips along without a problem.

Nit picky stuff, being Irish you understand N17, good research, but it's not a motorway, it's a national road. Motorway are marked with an M, like M50 etc.

A Shilleagh is made from dried out Blackthorn. It's a hardy dense wood. I'll forgive the oak though. I'd like to a short scene where the priest fashions this weapon. Afterall, he knows about the witch and makes a decision to face her. Seems last minute to grab a piece of oak that's lying around.

The cottage would probably be made of limestone.

Overall, my nitpicking aside, a cracking read, top notch.

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 4:32am Report to Moderator
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Hey Ryan,

Saw this re posted. I wasn't around for that OWC so thought I would have a look. I can't compare with the original did you change much?

Nice easy writing with a good flow to it. The use of "boyo" did jump out at me, not that I know the Irish use of language that well, but I have always associated that phrase with the welsh.

I did note in the thread a suggestion to make the shillelagh the stick so clearly it wasn't before. I have to say it feels natural to have it this way. Although, I have to be honest, I didn't know what this was until I goggled it!

It was interesting to note that the mythical element was placed in a real life scenario. For me this had two effects. The first was to enhance the connection with the story, it was easy to understand. But, because it was this way, I then started to question the reality of having a reappearing spirit/demon in a certain barn, on a certain day, that a certain family fights to keep controlled. Interesting how they worked against each other, for me.

Otherwise a very good story, well told, and deserving of the praise it received.

All the best.


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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Ryan1
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 6:29am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading the new version, Eoin and Reef.  Especially good to get critiques on this one from your side of the pond.  I had read about blackthorne being the most common wood used for the sticks, but the article I read also said oak was occasionally used.  I think I went with oak because it's so well known and also synonymous with strength.

Reef, this one does require a certain suspension of disbelief.  The family knows the God Stick is the only weapon that works against the witch and they are the only ones who can wield it.  It's one of those horror ideas you just kind of have to go with.  
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leitskev
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 9:38am Report to Moderator
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Hey Ryan

Just read the rewrite. I have said both publicly and privately many times you are the best screen writer I've encountered. It's always easy to get through your pages.

But this story still doesn't work for me, and the reasons haven't changed. Adam, the grandfather, has had 6 months to warn or prepare Sean for this encounter. Instead, he just walks him to the cabin with a quick explanation and throws him in and locks the door...and watches from the window! What kind of grandfather is that? Just imagine how this would play out in film. Unless it's comedy, picture the actors trying to play this with a straight face as the grandfather shoves him in with the stick and says "go git her!"

Here's the best I can think of to help as a justification for getting him in the cabin to fight the witch. I start with this question, and maybe it's addressed in the script, I forget: since the job of fighting the witch is hereditary, wasn't the job once the grandfather's? If so, here's my scenario:

(1) fighting the witch somehow compromises one over time. Maybe she tempts one with sinful thoughts. Something. Because there has to be a powerful reason Kevin does not want his son to carry on the tradition. AND, while we're on the subject, since the stakes related to killing the witch are so high, what is Kevin's plan for dealing with the witch if he doesn't want his son to? He must have something in mind.
(2) when Kevin dies unexpectedly, whatever his plan for the witch was goes unfulfilled. But it was his wish that Sean not be involved, so the grandfather is forced to once again take up the stick, as he did before Kevin took the job. But, realizing he is old and weak, he brings Sean as a precaution.
(3) so it is Sean looking from outside through the window as the grandfather prepares to battle the witch. Sean is skeptical until he sees the witch appear, at which point he has to break into the cabin to help his grandfather.
(4) He gets inside just in time to take up the godstick and manages to defeat the witch.

And this leaves room for a twist, possibly involving the reason Kevin did not want Sean involved. Maybe involving the temptation brought about by the powerful weapon, or from ideas implanted by the witch. Maybe Sean refuses to return the stick to his grandfather. Maybe Christian faith had been what protected this line of witch fighters, but today's generation, being weak in faith, left Sean vulnerable. Which would give you a theme.

Or...like I said, this really could be made hilarious if you went the comedy route. Imagine the grandfather laughing his ass off as Sean fights the witch. Maybe the witch tries to tempt Sean sexually with her vericose veined and scaly legs. You could really make this funny.

Just ideas.
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Eoin
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 10:05am Report to Moderator
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All of those are valid points Kevin, in a certain context. Stories can take many 'what if' routes and even evolve into completely different stories altogether. When you watch any film or short, there will always be 'blanks' that the viewer will either conciously or sub conciously fill in themselves, be it questions about backstory or questions concerning plot. If the gap is too wide to bridge, then you're left with a plot hole. I don't think that is the case here.

For me, this doesn't play out as a comedy, even though one could twist any serious horror in that vein, if they wished. When I read this with a 'directors eye' I have already blocked most of the shots and images and put locations in place. This to me is a 'throwing someone in at the deep end' type of story. If something in real life has a touch of the extraordinary, it doesn't matter how much you explain or prepare someone for it, their mind just simply can't grasp it or refuses to believe it.

Adam has had to go through this ordeal himself and watch Kevin do likewise, so I trust that he knows the best way is not to explain things, just show his grandson. His strong 'faith' and experience tells him that this is the right way to do it and I suspect, the way he was indoctrined himself.

Adam taking the risk of going in himself is far too great, given that if he were defeated, the witch would escape and Sean would have no time to react.

Eoin
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leitskev
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 11:18am Report to Moderator
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It's definitely not comedy as it is. In an early post in this thread, I discussed my thoughts on horror. For horror to be effectively scary, it has to be in some way plausible. Now that does not mean one has to believe in powerful witches in order to find this plausible. As an audience, we WANT the story to be plausible. So we are willing to try to contort our minds to try to find ways to say, "well, yeah, maybe". But any given story is only granted so many of those contortions.

Here, we first have to convince ourselves that there is a witch with almost apocalyptic power. This is perhaps an instance of raising the stakes too high. Because the battle with this witch takes place once a year, and has been ongoing for 200 years. So the witch is 0 and 200. Even Ryan's Dolphin's are better than that!

If we manage to convince ourselves of the plausibility of a yearly battle with an apocalyptic witch, then we can start to enjoy the story. However, everything else that follows better be pretty believable, because the first contortion has been a tough one. What I mean by believable is within the context of the tale. So, for example, a magical stick that is used to fight a witch IS believable, because it's consistent with a story involving faith and powerful witches.

But when we come to the part of the grandfather pushing in the kid and locking the door without preparation we are once again asking the audience to really try to find a way for that to be plausible. Why can't they both fight the witch? Why wasn't he prepared?Maybe one can really stretch their mind and come up with answers, but we've already taking mind stretching to the limit. It's just really, really hard to imagine a grandfather doing this. Unless the grandfather is cackling like a crazy old goat. Which he isn't.

I don't know. I seem to be in the minority on this, so maybe it's me. But I think there is another factor in play. Ryan is such a good writer, that whatever story he creates feels like a really good read. His writing almost bewitches us. So a story that might not be the most sensible can still feel like a really good tale...to a reader. I wish I had that talent.  If this story were in any lesser hands, I really don't think it would have been so popular. Or maybe I really am just crazy and it's just a great story! That's starting to seem more and more plausible to me.

Thanks Eoin!

Hey, Eoin, do you watch Boardwalk Empire? They have an Irish guy on there now. His accent seems all over the map. He's a good actor, I like his character, it's just the accent seems to move around from scene to scene.
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Eoin
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 11:53am Report to Moderator
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Would you believe, I have never seen a single episode of Boardwalk Empire. Friends of mine have told me what it's about and I have seen ads while surfing the net on MSN, Yahoo and Google. I even like the lead actor. I just don't get that much time to watch TV and when I do I usually put on Discovery or a film I want to watch. Must make a point about having a look though.

It's very rare that an actor gets an Irish accent right, mainly because, for such a small country, there is a huge diversity in the way people sound, speak and turns of phrase used. Then you have an expectation of what an Irish accent 'should' sound like by audiences and voice coaches who teach it. If it's any consulation, I'm pretty sure I make a decent stab at one

Conversely, Michael Fassbender, who is Irish (of German origin) has a very good ear for accents, but lets his accent slip when playing Magneto in X Men first class. Suprised the director, crew or continuity didn't spot it, or even the final edit, where it could have been fixed. It works both ways I guess.
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