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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 4845 views)
Don
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 11:57am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The God Stick by Ryan Lee (ryan1) - Short - A young man and his grandfather venture into an Irish forest, where the grandfather explains a grim family burden. 10 pages

A February 2011 One Week Challenge script. - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Don  -  November 22nd, 2011, 7:02pm
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: February 27th, 2011, 11:49pm Report to Moderator
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The God Stick is a completely solid piece of work. It's suitable for children, I think. And I believe it would make a nice Halloween entry.

Very lovely. Polished. Nice to see such a fine piece of work in only a week.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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screenrider
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 12:08am Report to Moderator
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This was a breath of fresh air.   Fun.  Straight forward.   Qick read.   It would've been nice to have a twist at the end, but then again it didn't really need one.    Not much else to say.

Good job.
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mcornetto
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 1:02am Report to Moderator
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Wow! That was quite good.  It's going to be really difficult to top that one.  There were minor niggling things I'd suggest to change but it really doesn't need them.  

Production of this wouldn't be costly but there would be one spot that would be rather tricky.  I don't think there would be much trouble with making it believable either.      
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greg
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 1:46am Report to Moderator
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Pacing and all that technical crap was terrific.  

The flashbacks didn't really do anything for me, but overall I thought this was good.  That's all I'm gonna say.

Greg


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wannabe
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 2:25am Report to Moderator
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This was written very well.  The story was cool and I liked the relationship between Sean and his Grand da.  That was the best part IMO.  Really good dialog and good use of the VO over the flashbacks.  Great work!!
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Eoin
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 4:17am Report to Moderator
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Not a bad piece of writing. You did some solid research which embued the writing with a sense of the authetic. If I was nit picking I'd say the family name should be O' Rourke and that nobody uses boyo, except American shows making a stab at 'tura lura, be God and be gora, Top O the Morning to ya laddy' Irish. I was a little disappointed you didn't make the shillelagh the Grandfather had  the cudgel, because that's exactly what it is, more so than a supposed walking stick. It would also have been a passing of the guard moment, something special the family do. It would also explain why the grandfather never leaves it out of sight. Leaving the God Stick in the cabin just seemed a bit unbelievable, especially given it's importance. I'm not going to go into why the priest had extra marital affairs! Overall, great job, a nice read with well thought characters and plot. Great work on completing the OWC.
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Pard
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 4:53am Report to Moderator
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This was a fun and entertaining script. Well written.  A great short for the halloween season.  Reminded me of when Ash fights that witch women in the pit at the start of Army of Darkness.

As Eoin pointed out I thought that the Grandfather's walking stick would be the weapon, and wasn't really sure why they'd leave the God Stick in the cabin.

Overall though nice job!
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bert
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 8:52am Report to Moderator
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This one is enjoyable.  Kind of unrealistic how Adam throws Sean into the midst of a screw-job like that, but it is also kind of funny, and serves as part of this story's charm, I suppose.

That the shillelagh itself is not the God Stick is a lost opportunity.

The last bits of dialogue end the story well on an appropriate note.

A well-done entry.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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khamanna
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 10:15am Report to Moderator
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This was wonderful.

Up until the ending - I was waiting for more than Sean killing Sorcha. I thought there's a twist waiting to explode on me.

But the Sorcha story and how they have to defeat her every year is great. Would make a great halloween entry.
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RayW
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 10:42am Report to Moderator
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Hi, Albert

Excellent story.
I've the same grievances as the others, which are pretty minor.
Ends rather short, not abrupt, just short.
Otherwise, you did very well on this.

Nice dialog and action/fight choreography (Lord, I hate doing those.)

Congratulations.



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grademan
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:17am Report to Moderator
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The God Stick * loved it! * all that in nine pages in one week?! * creative and well written * speak softly and carry a big stick
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leitskev
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:26am Report to Moderator
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Very well written. I sensed a family bond between grandfather and the young man. The dialogue was generally good, but sometimes did not seem quite natural, easily fixed on rewrites.

Questions on the story: did the father die fighting the witch? This was implied, but he died in April, not on Samhain. Maybe his heart was just weak from years of battle.

It seems strange to me that the grandfather was going to just bring him to the fight with no training or preparation. Also, why can't the family get help with the witch? Are they the only ones who can wield the Godstick, and if so, why?

I think in horror you can go one of two ways. One way is the scary spooky way, where you want to frighten your audience, even if just for a moment, or at least creep them out. To do this, the story needs to in some way seem plausible. There has to be a part of the viewer's mind that says "well, maybe." Think of when you were a kid, listening to someone tell a spooky tale. The ones that impacted you were the ones that when you heard them made you think, "well, maybe that could happen."

Adults want to do the same thing. Maybe it reminds them of their childhood, I don't know. But they want to suspend disbelief for just a moment. They know the story is not true, that it could not be true, but they want some part of their mind to say, "well, maybe it could be true."  For that to happen, as much of the story has to seem plausible as is possible, and still seem scary of course. Hard to do.

The second way to go with horror is to take the attitude that there is no way to make this seem plausible, so let's run in the other direction, make it really over the top not believable. For that to have entertainment value it has to be a comedy. For example think of zombie movies.

I think with this story you are down the middle and need to go more in one direction or the other. You could really turn this into a comedy if you wanted. All the props are there, and the writing talent certainly is up to the task.

Or, if you wanted to go the scary route, here's some ideas. As I said, I can't picture Grandpa just thrusting this on his grandson without preparation. UNLESS he had never intended this for him, but circumstances suddenly force him to. Maybe Kevin, the father, had always insisted that the son never face this. Maybe the son is a gentle soul, not a fighter by nature. Or maybe fighting the witch compromises one somehow, and like Michael Corleone, the father did not want this for the son.

But something changes and forces the grandfather to place the burden on the grandson. Some other plan for dealing with the witch falls through. As it is now, the way the grandfather does this, Sean should beat him with the Godstick!

I think the comedy route could be a great way to go with this. The characters are strong enough and ripe for this use, especially grandfather. You would have action for strong visuals.  You are already playing up Irish stereotypes, you could expand on it. Bring in a pint of whiskey, make the characters a little more argumentative, usual formula.

Was generally a good read, those are my thoughts, but what the F do I know, hope it helped in some way!
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:34am Report to Moderator
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Pros

Potentially excellent story.

Good atmosphere and location. Got that mythological vibe.

Cons

Agree with those who said the God Stick should have been the stick the Grandpa was carrying...easy fix.

A lot of the story is told in dialogue...something I've mentioned more than once in reviews.

Agree with Bert about the fact he's unprepared...seems unrealistic.

Think there could be a wider scope played out here than just the singular entity.

Also think a further twist is needed.

Altogether, a very good effort.
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leitskev
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:38am Report to Moderator
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I just read the other posts. I agree with Bert, making the shillelagh would be a great idea.

When I read the entries to the challenge, I don't read other posts until after mine. I am sensing a little bit of a pattern where my opinions seem to run different than the others, so unless what I have suggested strikes a particular note with you, go with the majority. I watch ESPN and the news most of the time, only see movies occasionally. These guys are probably a better gauge of what works. I am happy to discuss any of these ideas if you ever wish to. Congrats on your work, which seems to be very well received.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:46am Report to Moderator
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A little too straightforward, but it plays out pretty well.
I was bummed that Grandpa's stick didn't come into play at all.
I dislike missed callbacks and pay offs like that.
Seems foolish to leave the God Stick where anyone can steal it.
For seven pages of exposition, it actually was a fluid read.
Pretty dickish to just throw the grandson in there unprepared.
If you want the comedy route, they should have gotten liquored up before the battle.
A few drinks after a tearful trip to the graveyard makes perfect sense.
Being the best way to get the grandson to believe was tale is a few pints.
Exposition is best delivered while distracting the audience with another element.
Some banter about the "new boy" from the Sorcha would have been nice too.
Biggest missed opportunity for cool title, "Sixty Seconds to Hell".
I want a write a script just so I can call it that, total drive-in genius.
Even though the narrative underachieves,  it's solid and reasonable to film. Kudos.

E.D.


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Revision History (1 edits)
Electric Dreamer  -  February 28th, 2011, 12:40pm
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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 12:31pm Report to Moderator
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I agree with the posters that say it flowed well. Enjoyable story and some decent visuals. and like I say of everyone who entered a story here, congrates!


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GM
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 1:06pm Report to Moderator
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It flowed well. But I think it might need a bit more expansion. For instance, Sean will not willing accept this task especially how he was introduced to it.

Gabe
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stevie
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 3:55pm Report to Moderator
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Yeah, another one that is stronger for having a UK writer(I guess?) who really gets into the mythical being.

Nice little 'family' type story with a dash of possible horror - certainly action. The best for me so far.


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jwent6688
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 5:23pm Report to Moderator
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Yep, this is definitely one of the better entries. Well told, fine writing. I enjoyed it.

My gripes would only be ones that have already been mentioned. Seems too much is at stake here for Adam to just toss Sean to the wolves. Maybe he could recall his farther telling him something he was always supposed to remember. Adam repeats his line before he locks him in.

Definitely one of the better stories. Felt very realistic. Someone did research.

Good job writing a script for a week.

James


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c m hall
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 7:36pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed reading this and like the ending very much.  Sorcha is presented as sort of a one note monster, I guess some are.
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wonkavite
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 8:14pm Report to Moderator
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Probably my favorite of the 3rd batch lot (at least of those I've read.)  It's pretty straightforward - there's no twist (and believe me, I was expecting one.)  But the story was a fun read, good characters, and a touch of humor.  And it was quite Celtic, so it fit Rick's criteria quite well.

Cheers.

-WV
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pwhitcroft
Posted: March 1st, 2011, 9:27am Report to Moderator
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This is a strong complete story that works really well for me. I particularly like the story telling aspect of it, which in many scripts is a bad thing, but in this one it fits well.

These are notes I made as I read:

Pg 1 – The first page has me interested, but not excited.

Pg 2 – Your story has gotten going well and you’ve set up some mystery.

Pg 4 – I like the flashbacks.

Pg 7 – Nice tension and ambiguity.

Pg 8 – Good battle.

Pg 9 – And a clean wrap up. I was braced for a twist, but I'm glad there wasn't a silly one. If you could give the ending a little more punch it probably wouldn't hurt.


Philip


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keaton01
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Nitpicky Notes:
- No page number on first page is needed.
- Left justify your copyright.
- Transitions, like 'END FLASHBACK' should be right justified.
- No need for 'the end'

Beside the nitpicky notes above I didn't find any other technical faults. I liked your writing style. The actions was good. I didn't like how the story unfolded, especially with the great deal of exposition. It's a tricky juggle between telling a good story and making it clear what's going on. It certainly would be a challenging low budget short, but doable. Keep honing it.


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Dreamscale
Posted: March 4th, 2011, 2:01pm Report to Moderator
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Why is this wallowing near the bottom of Page 2?  Easily one of the top 5, if not top 3 scripts here.

Well written, although I can tell it was rushed.

Good research on Ireland as well as the dialect.  Makes for a much more convincing read.  Dialogue, although better than most, at times is easy to spot that an American wrote this.  It kind of goes in and out of being authentic and phony.  Dialogue and dialect is very tough to get right, and almost impossible in a week's time.

A few mistakes here and there, but it's an OWC, so no big deal.

I actually liked the story, but feel there are better ways of getting the exposition out than in just dialogue.  Also think there's a better way for Sean to get initiated.

Totally agree that the Shillelagh needs to be the God Stick.

The fight scene, although decently done is a problem for me.  There was some awkward stuff with the old guy outside the window that didn't read well or work, IMO.  But, the biggest issue is that I think the scene itself will play out goofy, as opposed to scary.  I think it needs to be rethought, as scenes like this usually turn out not working like you'd expect...of hope.

Great effort here!  Always nice to see a well written script every once in a awhile.


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wannabe
Posted: March 5th, 2011, 4:28pm Report to Moderator
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This was one of my top 3 picks.  With a rewrite to fill some holes this could be an awesome addition to you sample writing arsenol.    Congrats on a great script.
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_ghostwriters
Posted: March 5th, 2011, 11:35pm Report to Moderator
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Now I'll finish up my reads...

Good one Ryan, as usual you know how to tell a story and this was know different, it unfolded rather nicely.  Simple and too the point.  Definitely one of the top-notched ones.

Ghost


A-CAROLING FOR CHRISTMAS

GHOSTS OF APPALOOSA

RISE OF THE AMAZONS

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Ryan1
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this.  This script came together surprisingly easy, as past OWCs have usually been down to the wire.  

Based on the totality of reviews, one of the "sticking points" seems to be that the shillelagh should be the God Stick.  In hindsight, this now makes a certain amount of sense to me.  But, as I was writing it, I had it in my head that the stick had to be more substantial and thicker like a baseball bat to get the job done.  More witch-crushing power.  I do regret having the stick stored in a trunk, though.  It should have been kept in hidden panel within a wall or something.  It's just that I envisioned this cottage to be so far out in the wilderness that its nearly impossible to find unless you're really looking for it.  But, in the rewrite, I might go back and work a backstory of how the Godstick is kept by the elder patriarch of a family.

Some people mentioned they didn't buy how the old man threw the kid into the witch thunderdome without any training.  Once again, I had a notion in my head that maybe didn't come across on the page.  Because the father died unexpectedly of a heart attack(not killed by the witch, as some assumed), he didn't have a chance to train and indoctrinate his son into the legacy.  And, if Grandda' had tried to tell Sean about a witch erupting from the ground, Sean would have thought the geezer was going senile.  In the rewrite, I'll go back and fix this with a line or two.  The thing is, if the kid was expecting the witch to pop out of the ground, there would have been no shock value for him.

Leitskev wrote:

"But something changes and forces the grandfather to place the burden on the grandson. Some other plan for dealing with the witch falls through. As it is now, the way the grandfather does this, Sean should beat him with the Godstick!"

This is what I meant.  The father died unexpectedly, and now the burden lies on Sean's shoulders.  Grandda is too old to be in there when the witch appears, so he had to put Sean in there and let him experience it for himself.  

Some people say it needed a twist at the end and I would disagree with this.  The only twist is that Sean realizes he's going to have to go through this every Samhain for decades to come.  This is a pretty straight forward tale and I just didn't want to tack on the obligatory horror twist.

So, that's about it.  Had fun writing it.  Glad to see most people liked it.

Ryan





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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 1:12am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Ryan1
Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this.  This script came together surprisingly easy, as past OWCs have usually been down to the wire.  

Based on the totality of reviews, one of the "sticking points" seems to be that the shillelagh should be the God Stick.  In hindsight, this now makes a certain amount of sense to me.  But, as I was writing it, I had it in my head that the stick had to be more substantial and thicker like a baseball bat to get the job done.  More witch-crushing power.  I do regret having the stick stored in a trunk, though.  It should have been kept in hidden panel within a wall or something.  It's just that I envisioned this cottage to be so far out in the wilderness that its nearly impossible to find unless you're really looking for it.  But, in the rewrite, I might go back and work a backstory of how the Godstick is kept by the elder patriarch of a family.

Some people mentioned they didn't buy how the old man threw the kid into the witch thunderdome without any training.  Once again, I had a notion in my head that maybe didn't come across on the page.  Because the father died unexpectedly of a heart attack(not killed by the witch, as some assumed), he didn't have a chance to train and indoctrinate his son into the legacy.  And, if Grandda' had tried to tell Sean about a witch erupting from the ground, Sean would have thought the geezer was going senile.  In the rewrite, I'll go back and fix this with a line or two.  The thing is, if the kid was expecting the witch to pop out of the ground, there would have been no shock value for him.

Leitskev wrote:

"But something changes and forces the grandfather to place the burden on the grandson. Some other plan for dealing with the witch falls through. As it is now, the way the grandfather does this, Sean should beat him with the Godstick!"

This is what I meant.  The father died unexpectedly, and now the burden lies on Sean's shoulders.  Grandda is too old to be in there when the witch appears, so he had to put Sean in there and let him experience it for himself.  

Some people say it needed a twist at the end and I would disagree with this.  The only twist is that Sean realizes he's going to have to go through this every Samhain for decades to come.  This is a pretty straight forward tale and I just didn't want to tack on the obligatory horror twist.

So, that's about it.  Had fun writing it.  Glad to see most people liked it.

Ryan

If everyone doesn't already know my stupid scripts by SGA (Sandra's Give Away), now for sure they will with this comment:

I feel so strongly that there is this blood type that creates within us certain desires that we can quench, we can even be strong enough to ignore, but these desires are part of our program and there's no way in Hell that we can get rid of them. An instance:

You LOVE ice cream!!!! Is there any way you're going to get rid of that desire? The only way on our level of existence to (kinduv eliminate a desire)  is by replacing it with "another different desire".  Truth is, the first desire is never eliminated. It just becomes somewhat of a false cause.

Anyways, point:

"The God Stick" in The God Stick was the source of power in defeating Sorcha. ...

Or was it?

I'm searching within your script for that beautiful nugget.

Does "The Power" exist within us all? If it does, then how does The God Stick factor into the equation?

I'm reminded of my dad. He taught me to ride a two-wheeler regular bike. As I attempted to ride it, he held on from behind. Then, he let go...

But I didn't know...

And all of a sudden it felt a bit weird. And so...

I turned around to look at him...

Only to see he wasn't there!!!

***Many of you probably had similar experiences. The point being;

You never knew you were "without" until you felt you needed something outside of you.

In the case of my bicycle riding attempts, it's the need for my dad.

In the case of The God Stick, it's the need of __________.

How wonderful it would be to see this script rise to where we are asking ourselves:

Who does our young protagonist need?

Sandra








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rc1107
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 4:44pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Ryan,

Gotta say right off the bat, I love the title for 'The God Stick'.  Lol.  Your title is actually the reason why it's one of the first OWC's I'm reading.  It just sounds so cool.  'The Lord's Stick' would also make a pretty eye-catching title, but 'The God Stick' is just as powerful.

As for the story, it's good, but I think it's one of those that would be a lot better if it was expanded.  I know, I know, there's probably a lot of people who probably say every short would be better expanded, but I think it's especially true in this story's case.  There might not be enough here to make it a full blown feature, but I think expanding it would keep the atmosphere a little more realistic.  I think the main problem with the story, which a lot of people have said, was that the grandfather just throws the kid, who I'm not going to lie, but sounds like a nancyboy in the first place, into the room and leaves him to die.  If the father had passed in April, then the grandfather would have had six months to properly train the young man and give him time to absorb the story, plus it would have built up the suspense on the approaching Samhein, and whether the tale of the witch was really going to happen or not.

Of course, I understand that you had to keep this story under 12 pages, so I guess you should only be listening to me if you plan on expanding it or not.  I think it would make a great atmospheric story on a larger scale, and give you time to smooth out those rough patches.

Another rough patch I'm speaking about is the Flashbacks.  In an expanded story, you can tell the story of the priest and the witch and not even in Flashback form.  You can have it as the beginning of the story, then go from there.  Throwing it in here in this short form, it really shows that the story was rushed.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it was good for what it was, but I think it could be even better if it's tweaked in just a few places.

And yes, I think it would be a very good idea to make the grandfather's walking stick the God stick.  Yes, it might be a little bit thinner than the one you had envisioned the grandson using on the witch, but when it all comes down to it, a stick's a stick and someone can still be bludgeoned with it.

Anyhow, very good job and I did enjoy it alot.

-  Mark


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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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leitskev
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When my relatives used visit, I could hardly understand them sometimes, especially if they had a few. Not only was the brogue strong, but they spoke extremely fast. They are mostly from Mount Collins in Limerick, a little place.

My grandfather, who came here when he was 16, kept the accent until he died at 90. But I could understand him no problem. He actually grew up a short distance away in Cork. We found out some of the tale when he died.

There were 13 kids on the family farm. My grandfather was the youngest male, though he had 2 younger sisters. When he was about 3 or 4, the nanny in charge of raising the little ones went crazy and tried to drown my grandfather in the river. After that, they decided they just couldn't handle all the kids on the farm. They sent my grandfather to live on the farm of an Aunt and Uncle a few miles away in Cork. Though it wasn't far, he grew up not knowing his siblings. He didn't become acquainted with them again until many years later when he had been in the US for years, though they then became close.

Hard world they lived in.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 2:32pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Ryan,

Always glad to pony up a revisit on your material.
I love the N17 Motorway reference.
Someone's been doing their homework.
I"m going through the same process for a new story.
Dissecting NYC and WMD assembly protocols for an action/thriller.
Part of why I dig "travelogue" scripts is the fun of the research!

The tale is very well told, sparse exposition.
Just enough flashback visuals not quite veer into redundancy.

The God Stick reveal is tenfold stronger now after Adam's impassioned words.
Visceral image of one generation giving the stick to another.
The stick change is so much better now.
It builds the anticipation to the climax much smoother, IMO.

I think it still needs one last turn of the screw from Sorcha.
I still maintain she needs a line about the family to enrage Sean.
Something about "the new welp this time".
A crass remark about how the "last one" was a fun to watch deteriorate over the years.
Something personal about Sean's dad like that while he's "on the ropes".
That rage sparks his reversal and eventual destruction of Sorcha.
Which, BTW, is a great name and I liked her in that "other script" too.

Fine work!

Regards,
E.D.


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Ryan1
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Thanks for this giving this a reread, Kev and Brett.  Your comments are appreciated.  Except for this one.


Quoted from leitskev
So the witch is 0 and 200. Even Ryan's Dolphin's are better than that!


Damn you to Sorcha's hell pit.  And the notion of the Colts running the table in reverse and getting Andrew Luck...guuuh.  Best not to think about it.

Now, as far as the grandfather not preparing Sean and just throwing him into the cottage for his throwdown, the way I saw it, it's not something that old Adam could  convince Sean was real without him seeing and experiencing it.  I mean, if an old man tells you this ancient witch is going to burst forth from the earth, you're probably going to think the old coot has lost his marbles.  Adam was too old and feeble to be in there with Sean, so, as he saw it, this was the only solution.  Not a perfect solution, by any means, but I suppose he felt the Roarke genes and the God Stick were enough to give Sean a fighting chance.  The sudden death of Sean's father forced this awkward situation where Sean was not properly prepared, so Adam had to make the best of it.

And as far as being 0-200, I guess Sorcha is at a serious disadvantage.  She's only got 60 seconds to make her escape, and these Roarke men got fightin' in their blood, as well as a sacred, almost invincible weapon.  So, yeah, she's got her work cut out for her.  Maybe there's been times in the past where she beat down the Roarke she was fighting, and nearly made it out of the cottage, only to sucked back into the pit at the last second.  One of the things I liked about idea behind the story was that this was merely the latest chapter in an ongoing family saga that will continue throughout the years.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Ryan1
Thanks for this giving this a reread, Kev and Brett.  Your comments are appreciated.  Except for this one.

Now, as far as the grandfather not preparing Sean and just throwing him into the cottage for his throwdown, the way I saw it, it's not something that old Adam could  convince Sean was real without him seeing and experiencing it.


Whatever tweaks you did this draft neutralized those concerns this time around.
I forgot to mention that earlier. And I should have.

ANd I wish the Fins all the luck in the world.
I love seeing underdogs prevailed, especially when they can't catch the Pats.

Comments are so valuable to me in so many intangible ways.
For instance, I was replying to your thoughts on Clone Wife today.
And that combined with something Mark said gave me a new inspiration.

Then WHAM-O! New Clone Wife ending!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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leitskev
Posted: December 2nd, 2011, 9:42pm Report to Moderator
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Brett, I posted a suggestion for a new ending to Clone a while back. I guess you didn't like it, since no response. Funny thing was, I actually got a PM regarding it from someone I had never spoken to before. He called the suggestion "genius". Those words don't often attach themselves to anything related to me. So I've become friendly with the guy, we've reviewed each other's work. He's a pretty good writer.

Ryan, Dolphins haven't quit. I respect that. Not easy to hang tough in the NFL when there's nothing to play for. The Colts are not going to use that pick. They will trade it. Manning is coming back. Unless the Colts release him, in which case you guys can sign him. He's do a 26 million bonus in March, so he really might get released.

As far as the story, not sure if I made sense, but what I'm saying is that there's a lot of large leaps of faith you have to make to buy into things. Let me express a general point.

We all know that stakes are huge in film. For them to be effective, they also have to be believable to some extent. So sometimes we don't want the stakes to be calamity and destruction of the free world. It subtracts from the believability of things.

Even accepting all of these things, it does seem at the very least the grandfather would stay in with Sean and direct him against the witch. But the problem is cumulative. There are just too many times the audience is asked to suspend disbelief. But it seems to not have been a problem with most here.
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Ryan1
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I think the Colts just can't pass up on Luck.  He's viewed as this commodity that only comes up every ten years or so, and it's already been shown the Colts have no backup if Manning gets hurt.  The Manning trade is probably a little closer to reality.  Best case for the fins, they fire Sparano and grab either Gruden or Cowher, secure Manning in a trade and possibly grab Matt Barkley in the draft.


Quoted from leitskev

Even accepting all of these things, it does seem at the very least the grandfather would stay in with Sean and direct him against the witch. But the problem is cumulative. There are just too many times the audience is asked to suspend disbelief. But it seems to not have been a problem with most here.


The problem I have with Adam being in there with Sorcha obviously is that he's just too old and feeble and Sorcha could use the old man's presence against Sean.  As in, hurting him badly, distracting Sean long enough to make her escape.
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