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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February 2011 One Week Challenge  ›  The Spirit of Ben MacDui - Feb 2011 OWC Moderators: Grandma Bear
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  Author    The Spirit of Ben MacDui - Feb 2011 OWC  (currently 3012 views)
Don
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 11:58am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Spirit of Ben MacDui by John C. Woods - Short - Spending their wedding anniversary on a hiking and mountaineering holiday in Scotland, the Lassiter's come face-to-face with a creature of myth and legend.

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


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leitskev
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 12:04am Report to Moderator
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Seems like this was very quickly done. Easy to read, but;

SPOILER

--> not much revealed about creature that is like bigfoot but speaks Gaelic;
--> or what happened to husband

We were allowed 10 pages, maybe add a few pages of work. The writing is fine. But there's not much story. I kind of want to know about the creature.
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Ryan1
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 12:04am Report to Moderator
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This is the second script I've read using the Fear Liath creature.  And, just like the other script, this one makes scant use of the monster.  The people never really come face to face with the big guy, as the logline states.  He follows them, then paces outside the cave.  So I don't think the monster was effectively used at all.

Liz offs herself awfully quickly.  I mean, her husband just ran out to grab a bag and she makes the decision right there?  We don't know what happened to John, so he could still be alive.  At only 6 pages, you still had plenty of story to tell.  I'm guessing you may have been in a rush to meet the deadline, because this story really felt incomplete.
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screenrider
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 1:06am Report to Moderator
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A snowcapped version of Open Water.   I've always been somewhat intrigued by the myth of Sasquatch so I had high expectations when I started reading this.   Kinda turned into a big let down as you never showed us the monster.    This could be a cool story if fleshed out, IMO.   You had plenty of opportunities, but apparently ran out of time or ideas.   SPOILER - I didn't buy Liz killing herself like that.    Straight forward story.  I kinda liked it.    Good effort.

  
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Eoin
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 5:06am Report to Moderator
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The writing here was competent. The tone and atmosphere were good at the start, but started to fade around page 4. Liz hurting her leg that badly on a snow covered mountain pot hole? Not so sure. The tough tomboy in and out of conciousness, for an injury like that? I put a crack on my shin bone and had a lump the size of an apple on it when a piece of 2 inch re bar smacked against it, but apart from about 3 minutes of expletives I carried on working. Some of the Dialouge was over cooked.

John: There's the water in there and the first aid pack. - doesn't sound natural.

If John calls Liz honey one more time, I'll feed him to the Fear Liath myself.

This could have been a real good peice, but the end was just a big no no. Why did Liz kill herself???? Something pacing outside a cave? She has a husband and two children. He's an inqusitive Fear Liath. If I was John,I'd have just given him a banana from the rucksack, patted his big fury head and even asked him to take a few photographs of him and Liz against the backdrop of the mountains. good job on completing the OWC.
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Pard
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 5:38am Report to Moderator
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There was a good idea here, but I felt it was played short of its potential.  I was left feeling like the story had more to give.
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khamanna
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 10:44am Report to Moderator
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I wish you explained what happened to John and why Liz killed herself. It ended too abrupt for me.
I also don't know how she got to the cave, I thought she was on the mountain. --almost like you didn't have time to work on the ending.

A bit too easy - he follows them, they die.

The first 5 pages were good, but I wish there was more of a story.
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grademan
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:44am Report to Moderator
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The Spirit of Ben MacDul * logline should be “almost face to face”  but hey it’s low budget? but that would be the money shot * a good idea in need of better execution * the tension building was good * “don’t look” was my fav line * the bit with the photo of the kids was good if a bit contrived * how does one look beautiful and a tomboy? * I know it’s hard to fill 10 pages but your story could have used the unused pages *
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RayW
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 11:56am Report to Moderator
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Hi, John

Pg 4 - Awfully convenient cave when being aggressively pursued by the fear liath.
Hmm...

Okay.
You don't have children, do you?
I'd attack King Kong with harsh language and handfuls of snow to get back to my babies.

Six pages.
Not bad.
Your format's good.
Keep at your story writing.

GL!



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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 12:42pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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I was thinking, I sure wouldn't want to be Liz. Alone in a frozen cave, a broken leg, the monster outside...

You definitely created the feel there for me. You might play up the choice she had to end her life. Her husband doesn't come back, she's hungry, shaking etc... That would be the truth of the matter. One knows one is doomed and they just can't handle the pain.

Good job on this.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Leon
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 1:12pm Report to Moderator
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Hi. There was a stark eeriness to this story that i liked,

SPOILER SPACE


The way the monster was never shown, only their horrific reactions to it.  How Jacob leaves and is left unresolved.  How she takes her own life rather than face the monster outside.  It felt very real.
However ultimately i feel she takes her life far to quickly.  It ends abruptly, it could have a longer slower finish, built up the feeling of isolation and fear before her end.


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dn061903
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 1:48pm Report to Moderator
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This one fell flat for me.  I just couldn't get into it.  There was no sense exactly what the monster was.  

It was short and a quick read, but it didn't seem like a full story.
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c m hall
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 2:01pm Report to Moderator
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Good pace to the story, I wanted to know what was going to happen next -- but didn't really care much about the characters.  This script seems like the opening to a longer, more interesting work that I hope you're working on.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 4:27pm Report to Moderator
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Distinct lack of money shots in this one, almost seemingly intentional.
No monster reveal, no clue to John's fate and random suicide with no set up.
We spend the majority of our time with superfluous dialogue.
I liked your anniversary mountain climb set up.
Why you chose to tease the reader for the remainder of the script is a mystery.
You have a pretty decent style, hopefully we'll see some storytelling next time.

E.D.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 4:34pm Report to Moderator
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Pros

Good tone and atmosphere at the start. Thought you captured the breathless feelings of the Mountain well early on.

Liked the initial descent into fear of Liz.

Cons

Story rapidly petered out into nothing.

Like others I'm a bit disappointed not to see more of Fear Liath. Not only is he huge and terrifying, he's got the weird psychological horror to him. He's made for these kind of scripts. I'd like to see what you could do with a bit more time spent developing the story.

I can certainly tell that you COULD write a really good story on this topic if you tried again.

EDIT: Reading the review back to myself, it seems slightly harsher than I intended. I think an extension to the story and a few more scenes and maybe an unexpected turn of events and this could be a very nice piece of work.

Revision History (1 edits)
Scar Tissue Films  -  March 1st, 2011, 3:09am
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jwent6688
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
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I like how this was told. The unseen things always add to the creepiness factor. Its very well written IMO.

I do think Liz needs to be put under the gun more. Maybe she hears the monster kill John outside the cave. Its too tight for it to get in after her. But it tries. The monster stands gaurd at the cave entrance waiting for her. She knows shes doomed.
I would've like that better. More tension in it at least

Overall, I still liked this though.

Good job writing a script in a week.

James


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B.C.
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 5:12pm Report to Moderator
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Really liked this one, my fave out of the four I have read thus far. Really well paced, characters nice and believable. Less is more technique used very effectively.

SPOILERS ABOUND!!!!!

I liked the ending. Your slugs tell us that time has passed as when we go back to the final scene we are in the cave at night, so we can gather enough time has passed for her to come to her decision. I didnt think the ending was abrupt - but as mentioned above maybe we could have more tension just before it to re-inforce its final smack in the face.

Maybe at the start you could have the pair in a more tired, weather beaten state of frustration - start it tense rather than them being happy & sedate? I've never been up a mountain but guessing in these conditions it isnt a walk in the park? Maybe that would be more effective - have them already on the road to ruin before the beastie arrives?

Enjoyed. Nice work.
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wonkavite
Posted: February 28th, 2011, 7:51pm Report to Moderator
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*Spoilers*

Clean writing, interesting characters, nice (and very low budget) story.  

My only issue with it is the ending...  There just didn't seem to be a payoff.  You don't know for sure what happened to John (though it's strongly implied).  And you never see MacDui.  So when Liz decides to suicide, it's too much, too early.  We need more meat in the story for that kind of ending.  Add more scenes!
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pwhitcroft
Posted: March 1st, 2011, 9:51am Report to Moderator
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The location, relationship, and tension within this work well. For me I’d prefer a reworking of the resolution of the story.

These are notes I made as I read without looking at the other comments:

Pg 1 – “to help –“ – I’ve got no problem with this continuation format. It can help things flow well. In this case though the following sentence doesn’t feel like a smooth flow on from this.

“raises the flask to her mouth” – This is an example of overly detailed description. If it says “Liz drinks as...” we’ll know she’s raised her flask.

Pg 2 – “There appears to be” – Most of the time in screenwriting some either is or it isn’t.

It seems like you are going for establishing some tension at the top of this page, but at the moment it is done a bit nebulously. I wonder if you could show something more clearly foreshadowing trouble.

Pg 3 – Good tense stuff.

Pg 6 – This was going well for me up till she ends it. It feels like a soft cut out from the story.


Philip


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keaton01
Posted: March 1st, 2011, 8:54pm Report to Moderator
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Damn it! This started out so good and just died. I think maybe you had this idea and rolled with it, but didn't know how it was going to end or ran out of time. Either way expand this, give us a proper ending.


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Dreamscale
Posted: March 1st, 2011, 10:33pm Report to Moderator
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Doesn't work for me.  Doesn't come off as at all visual or realistic in terms of the setting and situation.

Dialogue doesn't come off as real.  Actions don't come off as real.

Potential is there, but it seems like a HUGE rush job at the last second and had to be cut back to meet the deadline. If that's the case, I understand...I really do.

Congrats on entering this OWC.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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greg
Posted: March 5th, 2011, 1:20am Report to Moderator
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Good premise, would be really good fleshed out, but as of now it just doesn't go anywhere.  

I like the fact that we didn't see what this thing was.  I guess I would have liked to know but I won't hold that against you.  The main issue is that you created this intense conflict here...and that was it.  Guy leaves, doesn't come back, girl kills herself.  Not what I was hoping for.

It read fast and as I said -- it's the foundation of something really good.  

Nice work.

Greg


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stebrown
Posted: March 6th, 2011, 3:32am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for all the reads and comments.

I planned all along to not really show the Monster, which appears to have been a mistake based on the comments. My thinking was to keep this really low budget and I also preferred the psychological stuff that I read about this particular myth - I just couldn't really find good enough ways to 'show' the fear and dread that the monster created, especially with the suicide.

Was good to get some writing done though, so thanks to Pia and Rick for setting up the challenge.

Ste


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: March 6th, 2011, 3:03pm Report to Moderator
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You don't necessarily need to show the monster itself, but I think you at least need more events...whether they are supernatural or just natural.

You definitely should revisit this.
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shootingduck
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I personally liked the idea of NOT showing the monster.  What the audience imagines will be far scarier to them than anything you could actually show on screen... provided the actors' reactions and emotions are properly evoked.

I agree with everyone that said the ending came about too quickly.  It felt like there was a lot of wasted potential in the scenes in the cave.  I don't even think that you need to "explain" what happens to the husband.  The dread on the wife's face could say it all.  I also found myself wishing you'd spent more time in the cave exploring the characters and their connection.  I know he was going for the bag to help her, but I still felt he left her side too quickly and too easily.  There was actually an element of your story that I liked up until I just typed my last sentence...  

When he leaves her, he says "I love you," almost like he's acknowledging that he probably won't make it back.  Like I said, I liked that while I was reading, but after the fact I realize that it's actually a flaw in the logic of your script.  If that is the case, I'd think that'd be motive for him NOT to go after the bag.  An experienced mountain climber would know that someone with this type of injury wouldn't stand a chance alone in those conditions, regardless of whether there's a monster lurking around.  He would know that there's no way she could survive on her own, so if he risks his life and loses his life going after the bag, he's essentially killing her.

Jwent had some good ideas about how to build the tension, having the monster try to get in, hearing horrific noises (perhaps her hubby's death, unless you still wanted to leave that open-ended) from outside the cave.  I thought the pacing was a good start and I thought/wished you were gonna build from there, but it just didn't go anywhere.  I'm not a parent, but I'd think that looking at the pictures of her kids would more likely make her want to fight rather than give up.
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dogglebe
Posted: March 11th, 2011, 10:18am Report to Moderator
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While I thought the writing was very clean and tight, I was not happy with the story.  The whole thing was a chase scene (a slow-moving chase scene, but a chase scene none the less).  I was hoping to at least get an idea of what was chasing them.


SPOILER SPACE

Liz kills herself at the end?  I don't get it.  I got the impression that she and John were weekend warriors and thrill seekers.  Suicide isn't in their vocabulary.  I don't even know why she did it; it would be one thing if she saw John get killed or something.


To summarize:  good story telling; bad story.

Hope this helps.


Phil
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