All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
I knew the eye thing seemed familiar to me...The Red Dragon!
I've seen that one -- good movie -- don't remember the eye thing -- but I believe you.
A recent horror movie ("Hide and Seek" maybe?) had it, too.
Anyway, I kind of knew I wasn't "inventing" that when I wrote the story -- but I still think I am the first to incorporate a plot point that centers around actually finding the eyes that had been removed.
Until somebody is kind enough to point out that having been done, too. (Please don't...)
And still, a fair percentage of readers do not catch the significance of that moment anyway -- my fault there, I suppose -- it's something I still need to work on and clarify.
Can’t really call yourself a “simplyscripter” if you haven’t reviewed “The Farm”. Am I right or am I right?
Since I’m about to bust you on some things, I think it’s fair I mention the strengths of your work as well. I liked the atmosphere, the tone, the visuals, the setting; excellent for the story you wanted to tell.
This haunted farm had a well thought out story, and I liked the way this information was revealed. Never too much, never too soon; kept me interested and wanting to know more. The mystery angle of this tale worked quite well for the most part.
The horror angle worked well too. Many creepy moments. Greg listening behind the door and the voices knowing instantly he’s listening, the kids watching Mary El in the bathroom, angel waging a finger to Greg, were my favourites.
You’ve got a hook right there in the first pages, where the hook should be. You open with a quite creepy scene in which we’re introduced to your most intriguing character; definitely wants to make you turn the pages to learn what happened to these people and what is happening to this girl.
Well, now it’s time to get nasty and tell you what didn’t work (at least for me).
Most of the set up was flawless but I think that by the end of the first act, this family, or at least Mary El (which I consider the protagonist), should have a dramatic goal. I felt like they didn’t. I’m talking about a clear and defined goal, difficult to achieve, with enough legs to keep the character motivated till the resolution of the main conflict. Let me explain myself.
By page 13, the family acknowledges that they can’t just take the girl and return home, and they’ll have to deal with “jacket weather for a while” to quote Greg. Good, now they’re “trapped” in the farm. But what are they going to do in there?
In “Saw” the characters must escape Jigsaw’s trap before they die. In “Seven”, the detectives must find a serial killer. In “The Ring”, Naomi Watts must save her son’s life who will die in seven days. If you look at the second act of all these movies, you’ll see that in each scene the protagonist is struggling to achieve a clearly defined dramatic goal, early established in the script.
After Mary El’s family decide to stay in the farm, they don’t have a dramatic goal which they could *actively* pursue. You do hint a goal: “Then we give her some time. We were foolish to think she’d just accept this. We have to earn that kind of trust.” (Mary El, p.10)
Waiting for Angel to calm down is too passive for a goal; try to build a logline around that. Earning a kid’s trust is too vague, it could work as a subplot (like it did in “The Sixth Sense”) but you need something more specific, more dramatic. Even Ty agrees with me: “There’s nothing to do here” (p.19)
Look at the scenes that follow the family’s decision to stay at the farm. They aren’t actively pursuing a goal (like they should be doing at this point in the script), they’re just wondering around. Mary El looks at some paintings, Ty and Greg at some records. It’s ok to have them find things that reveal the back story of this farm, but you should also give your protagonist a goal.
Mary El’s goal to gain Angel’s trust was an interesting one, I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep it. I’m only saying you should think of another, one strong enough to look good on your logline and drive your protagonist’s actions for the rest of the script.
Speaking of the logline: “A troubled family must unite to save a young niece from the sinister forces that inhabit a snowbound northern farm.”
Saving a young niece sounds good for a goal. But Angel doesn’t seem to need any help. She’s the creepiest character and has supernatural abilities. Even in the scene where she’s supposed to be in more danger, she seems calm and winks at Ty. And during the most part of the script, Angel isn’t in real danger.
Because the lack of a dramatic goal, I had some problems with your second act. Mind you, I did enjoy some of those scenes (I already mentioned the tone, atmosphere, creepy moments, knowing more about the farm, etc), but I’ll isolate only the negative aspects and focus on them, in order to try to explain why I didn’t like some bits.
Your character’s actions seem random and unfocused, and the events that happen during the second act seem disjointed, disconnected from each other.
Take a look at The Exorcist. Many different events happening during the second act (the protagonist visits doctors, a priest, etc) but there is something that gives unity to all this events. In each scene, the possessed child’s mother is trying to find a cure for her demonic child. She has a goal (save her child) so she acts in every scene in order to achieve that goal.
Since your characters don’t have an active goal, they can’t act. They can only react. And to make them react, you (the writer) have to come up with *different* plot devices through out the second act (i.e. Ty shoots the bear and Mary El tells Greg to go outside to check for racoons, the storm that make the windmill falls, Ty loosing his gameboy, etc.)
Since these scenes don’t come from the same source (dramatic goal) they seem disconnected. And since you don’t have that dramatic goal (the main source of character actions in a plot-driven script), sometimes you have to rely on coincidence to keep the story moving (i.e. Greg accidentally leaving the door open, so Angel escapes later). In The Exorcist, the protagonist doesn’t ask for a priest’s help by chance, she does because doctors failed to cure her child. Medicine is useless so she turns to religion. It’s “causality” more than “coincidence” that links one scene with the next.
When the Windmill falls (p.41) I thought that maybe your characters could have some extra motivation from there on (find how to get out from the farm) but the escape angle is immediately left aside by Greg’s joke (“Nah. I think we’ll stick around”). And it isn’t till p.64 that Mary El asks Yoder about a phone, and they change subject immediately.
The third act does look a little bit messy. Everyone seems to be attacking everyone, running from one place to another, with shotguns passing between hands.
But the problem doesn’t lie in the third act itself; the problem here is the same one that you’ve been dragging since the end of the first act. In the third act, the protagonist either achieves his goal or he doesn’t, but we don’t have a clearly defined goal here. Look at “Jaws” third act, the protagonist either kills the shark or becomes its lunch; can’t get anymore focused than that.
Well, nothing more important to add. Let’s move to the small stuff.
The bottom margins of your pages seem too small, and I mean small enough for a jerk like me to notice. Were the margins screwed up when submitting the script or you altered them?
Some additional notes I made along the way:
P.1 Don’t tell us how the pivot looks on the summer. Just describe how it looks right now; the audience is only going to see that.
While it may not seem important (at least for me doesn’t make a big difference) writing in other than present tense is frowned upon. For reasons that someone who isn’t a native speaker cannot fully understand, present tense is considered more direct, more visual.
“She is heading” should be = “She heads”
You’ve got lot of these, but they should be easy to fix.
You can clearly establish the transition you want without the “DISSOLVE TO”. Despite the slugline in between, the director will notice that the scene begins with a similar image to the one that ended the previous scene. He will get the hint about the match dissolve you want here; you don’t need to drag away the reader from the story with technical terms. Furthermore, the director could choose a match cut or an ordinary cut. I personally like the transition you used, but we know this is the director’s call right?
I had some problems with the “INT. CAR – DAY” scene. Because it’s 100% static description, it doesn’t feel like a scene from a movie. Try to picture this scene in your mind: a static shot of Greg, then Mary El, then Ty, then Mary El, and then the travel debris inside the car. Nothing happens! The mental movie your script projects on my mind comes to a pause; characters freeze.
Try to merge this scene with the next car scene at the beginning of page 3; that one looks more cinematic, people are doing things. And describe your characters from the first moment you mention them. Have in mind that the audience is going to know how they look from the moment they see them. Images give information faster than words, I know, but try to keep up. An example:
“This carnage takes place on a Gameboy screen, and TY (13), tousle-haired with a disarming wise ass grin, is intensely focused on the game.”
“Greg repeats his question with a notch more aggression”
It’s clear he does in his dialogue line that follows, so I’d say this action line is redundant.
The Art Room should be always called as such in the sluglines. The description goes below. Avoid description in slugs, keep them simple.
P.19 “Bird’s eye view” “From above” and “panoramic view” refer to the same idea, keep only one of them to tighten the description.
P.43 “There is a door set into a nearby wall. It is closed.”
Very nitpicky, I know, but may I suggest “There is a closed door set into a nearby wall.” Think visually. The audience notices that the door is closed from the moment they see it. I don’t see why the reader can’t have the same privilege.
P.44 All screams are loud, loose the “LOUDLY”.
P.55 Ty’s “Angel! Yes!” seems too cruel for a joke, since Angel seems to be in real danger (at least until she winks to him).
P.87 Shouldn’t Greg tell Mary El to grab the shotgun nearby instead of telling her to go?
P.99 We find a lot about Yoder because of “new evidence” (syringe) that the officer brings in. Why didn’t he bring this earlier? Find a reason (if there is one, I missed it, I apologize) and work on that angle. If not, a big piece of this puzzle seems to come out of nowhere.
Don’t remember what page but… Mary El replacing Angel’s dark eyes with the blue ones… Does it symbolize that she’s reaching/finding the “Angel” hidden inside the dead girl Sarah?
Well, now I’m done. I hope some these comments may be of help.
Quoted from bluecat feedback: She doesn't have to have a little girl for the audience to feel closure. In fact her acceptance of her situation would be satisfying and bittersweet.
Quoted from bluecat feedback: As the villain and antagonist of the story, Yoder shows up a bit late.
those are at least 2 things i'm not completly agree with this feedback... there is nothing wrong if the vilain appears a bit late in the horror... or Mary El to have a little girl... that's it what i wanted to say. unfortunatly in feedbacks i'm not as good as Mr.Z. i wish he had read and made his feedback on my script too...
Wow. This most current draft has really been blessed (or gobsmacked take your pick) by some of the most solid feedback I have seen on this site -- for any script -- and I do glance at pretty much all the feedback out there.
So, where the hell were you guys while I was writing the last draft??
Thank you, Z, for your usual great work. I appreciate how you build a very eloquent case to support your points, and you've got some great points here.
Waiting for Angel to calm down is too passive for a goal; try to build a logline around that.
Now there is a damn fine point. I might argue that in "The Others", the Nicole Kidman character was a "reacting" protagonist without clearly-defined goals, but that would fail to make your point any less valid.
I do agree with you that the momentum of this story could be improved by incorporating a little urgency with a clear purpose.
And I now think it could come from Greg -- the weakest of the three -- who kind of floats through the story without much to guide him. He will have a subplot now. Something involving the entire family, and his past history with his brother, who will now be estranged as opposed to fondly-remembered. Some of these thoughts came from Abe, and I am still hammering out a few details.
The smaller points you have given are so noted. Thanks for those as well. I'll comment quickly on the "late evidence". The Sheriff does mention that he has just come from Yoder's house, where we assume he has been gathering evidence. But it is a "blink-and-you-miss-it" kind of thing that could be clarified.
Same thing with the eyes. Feedback tells me that it clearly needs a fix. It is our clue that Sarah resides within Angel's body. Mary El only knows that "they're wrong."
So I am really itching to rip this story apart and put it back together. Right now I am working on a dissertation that greedily devours most of my writing time and energy -- but yeah, there is another draft for this one in the future -- and it will probably be the biggest overhaul yet.
I don't think I read this script completely last year, so I did so now. Rather than go over your formatting problems (which I'm sure you're aware of by now), I'm just going to go over a couple of things with the story.
AND THUS BEGINS THE SPOILERS....
IIRC, I mentioned last time that you need a better reason for the family to stay on the farm, rather than Mary El's insistence. Even after reading everything, I still no understand it. I think I suggested that they lost their own home and needed a place to stay. Something to consider.
You have to elaborate a little more on Mary El losing the baby. You casually glanced over this.
You should do a little more of the ghosts actually haunting the. Do it subtly after first. Moving a coffee cup. The fireplace flaring up. Things that'll creep you out but not horrify you.
...you need a better reason for the family to stay on the farm, rather than Mary El's insistence.
Yeah -- I remember this criticism from before.
I know you are a New York man -- but if you've never traveled to some of the hardcore rural areas out there -- say, North Dakota farm country -- I assure you there are very isolated regions with such limited access to social services that this scenario is a realistic one.
Having said that, however, I still concede your point.
As I mentioned up top to Z, Greg will now have something he must resolve at this farm -- an additional reason to stay. And this subplot will create a few more instances for early episodes of "haunting".
Thanks for your thoughts, Phil. Always appreciated.
[Edit: If you are still looking Datha, why not convert that file to PDF or something? The Adobe website gives you five free ones, and a few threads in "Screenwriting Class" give you a few more options for free conversions over the internet.]
[2nd Edit: Hey, that's pretty funny Z! And it kind of reads that way too now that I look at it again.]
The below is my opinion. It could be completely wrong. Use what you can and ignore the rest.
Remember I like the script, I think it can be better. Some ideas and thoughts to consider below.
CHARACTERS: The characters are well drawn and act each in their own individual way. Well done.
However, don't forget to tell us how how the characters are when you introduce them. This helps us picture them in their head. I did I miss Mary El, Greg, Ty's age, etc.
Every now and then the characters don't stay true to themselves. They seem to act against the persona that was established. Or their actions seem out of place, for the way most of us would add if faced with a similar situation.
PLOT/STORY: Generally is flows well, the beats are all there. This could be an exceptional script with a good rewrite. And fairly inexpensive to shoot with its limited characters and farm location.
Watch that things happen in the script, feel natural and genuine. There are times when moments, dialog or actions feel contrived. Something the writer needs to happen to move the story forward and not a natural, progressive, flow from one believable moment to the next. For instance, just about everything that happens with Yoder feels contrived, he tells them what they need to know, arrives when he needs to arrive and confronts them at the end of the script.
I'd increase the tension between Greg and Mary El, show their marriage is right at the edge of being over. And, have Ty also feel the tension between his parents. Perhaps, Greg wants to adopt a baby from China, but Mary El refuses she wants a child of her own blood. (Angel would count then, she is a blood relative.)
I seriously suggest making Yoder responsible for the fire that killed his siblings. The ghostly children are interesting, I'd use them more in the second act. Right now they are introduced in the first act and virtually disappears until the third act. You've done a great done of introducing them, they are well used in the third act, so use them in the second act to help point Greg and Mary El in the direction they need to know to figure out what is going on.
For instance, maybe Mary El takes a nap and she has a dream, or she thinks its a dream and the oldest son, the one who finds Mary El attractive kisses her, touches her. He tells her things, about how he died before he could taste and touch a woman, before he became a man. Then Ty or Greg come in and Mary El “wakes up” and the eldest boy disappears.
DIALOGUE: Usually the dialog works. It feels a bit long sometimes, when a person speaks. Maybe cut a sentence or word here or there to improve the pace. It not that it sounds on the nose, but sometimes it doesn't feel quite genuine. A bit of a rewrite will fix this easily.
Watch the telling us the information you need us to know. You can write, your scene description tells me that. Try hinting a bit more with your dialog, instead of giving us the whole picture.
Ty's dialog doesn't feel right for a teen or a child, although I am not exactly sure how old he is. It sounds to adult.
ORIGINALITY: It's a wonderful story. It just needs some work on smoothing out what happens and why.
CINMATIC QUALITY: With a good rewrite it would be a good, independent film. A creepy ghost story hasn't been done in a while.
SCENE DESCRIPTION/STRUCTURE: You have a nice way of describing your scenes. I can picture them in my head. It reads well, good, vivid description.
However, I keep wanting to pull out the is and ing words. This is something I struggle with. Is and ing words sound more passive. When you write a sentence, a few below on page 3, without is or ing words they sound more active.
Sometimes the script feels overwritten, telling me things I can't see on the screen. For instance page 5, She (Angel) clearly displeased by his presence. How does she indicate her displeasure? Does she frown, cross her arms and stare at him defiantly? Show us what she does to indicate her displeasure, the actions.
QUALITY OF WRITING: Good. I'd work on taking out the ing/is words. And rewrite the dialog, cutting some of it. Otherwise, story reads well.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: All the ingredients are there. Everything you need to tell a good story. The elements don't quite gel at the moment. It's like you have this jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces don't fit smoothly together.
My biggest complaint is it feels overwritten, particularly the dialog. You've got an interesting story and a good rewrite will fix the instances where you went on a little to long.
Good luck with the rewrite.
THOUGHTS THAT PASSED THROUGH MY HEAD DURING FIRST READ
2 She heads towards a nearby farmhouse.
3 pokes to watch him twirl, nice visual moment
3 This carnage takes place on a Gameboy, Tyler focused intently on the game. He sits in the back of the automobile. (way to write without ing or is words.)
3 Ty, a tousel-hair kid, with a disarming, wise-ass grin he inherited from his father. Mary El, a mellow beauty with intelligent features, suggesting she can see through either grin of father or son. (less ing/is workds)
6 Mary El “Why is the window open?” feels on the nose. Maybe “You must be cold, sweetie.”
7 Everyone can see Angel stares at Gaskins. If Greg is a relative of Angel, I'd expect him to admonish her to behave. If not he might say “Kid's don't like you?”
7 Can't see “She (Mary El) cannot believe the child before her is capable of such an act.” I'd cut it or rewrite it so Mary El does some action to show the inner emotion she can't see. Maybe she hugs Angel to show she's on her side.
14 They watch Sheriff Gaskins pull away (less ing words).
14 How does Ty show us he's board. Does his shoulders slump?
17 Nice moment with the record albums.
18 I'd cut Alona's “I had to meet you line” Sounds out of place.
22 He is saddened as he realizes it belonged to Dan. Can't see that on screen, I'd cut it.
25 How old is Ty? He doesn't talk like any child or teenager I know. Maybe I'd rewrite his dialog as “It's a she. Found her locked up in the shed. You don't like the eau of death smell?” I'd take out the next dialog by Ty and Mary El and just skip to “Jesus, Ty. That's disgusting.”
26 instead of saying starving cat, you might try, rail-thin cat.
26 How does Angel know Mary El's child is dead? And why doesn't Mary El think thats strange?
28 For Ty maybe “Fish-head? That's retarded.” then a bit later Ty “Bite me, lousy traitor.”
29 Got me with the scary teddy bear.
30 Does Ty have any marks on him from the teddy bear attack? I think this is important info to know.
31 Neither Mary El or Greg noticed a lump in a bed?
31 Going from Ty can't sleep with us to Angel spoke to me feels to abrupt, it's a jump that makes no sense.
33 Mary El speech about I never knew that their was pain like that, feels overlong to me.
33 Bit confused Ty went to sleeping in his parents bed, to sleeping in his bed. Did Greg move him? Might want to show this if he did, so this moment doesn't feel abrupt.
34 I don't like Ty's line, “Why did you put me back in my room?” Sounds on the nose. Maybe “I can't sleep.”
35 Night moment and visual with the shotgun.
40 It's late a night, their's giggling, he's been hit my a rock, I'd think Greg be going from annoyed to a wee bit concerned, maybe even scared. If he acts scared, we might be scared with him.
47 How is Greg's impatience showing.
48 Yoder heart the gunshots, but Mary El who was closer than Yoder, did not hear the gunshots? I'm confused.
49 Angel just happens to have a snowglobe in her hand? I'd introduce this at the start of the scene and say Angel is asleep with a snowglobe in her hand.
53 I can't believe Greg or Mary El haven't tried to reason with Angel to get her to leave the house now that there is no electricity. You'd think they would at least give it a shot.
53 Now I'm confused why would the mailwoman drop off a letter addresssed to Greg and Mary El. She should only be dropping off mail address to Dan and his family. So this scene with the junk mail is very confusing. Don't know if it works, but could the letter be addressed to Dan and come from the lawyer's office? That would make sense with the scene and information presented so far. (Read a little later in the script, I didn't think Mary El and Greg had been at the farmhouse long enough to get mail.)
54 I'd rewrite to line just to say Mary El does not look up from the letter. The rest is information we can't see on screen.
56 Like the Angel yes/no dialog.
57 cut mostly like he has not idea.
63 Ty's dialog about not wanting his help feels on the nose and over long. I'd just have him Ty put a dish on a table, say “fine” and stomp off.
67 The whole reveal about the land being Yoder's feel contrived the way it is presented. Maybe when Mary El and Greg are cleaning out the house they find the original bill of sale and find that is was previously owned by Yoder.
70 I'd change this flashback, make Yoder older, so he can do something to cause the fire. A childish prank. Somehow he is at fault. But, just to have them killed by an act of nature feels flat. A person needs to be responsible, someone you can blame, someone you can get revenge on. This I think would add more impact and depth to the story.
Then have Yoder be one of those old crazy coots, people find strange. Maybe have the sheriff mention Yoder as a neighbor, when Mary El asks if anybody leaves nearby. Yoder just keeps to himself. Then Yoder comes to visit to see if they need any help after the storm and the loss of power. And then I think I would have Angel, walk over to Yoder's place and give him the snow-globe. (This is your story, write it the way you want, I'm just tossing out possible alternatives. Feel free to ignore them.)
71 Another suggestion have the Sheriff stop by and check and see if they are okay. If Mary El had discovered the graveyard by then, then it would be completely natural for her to ask the Sheriff who the graves belong to. And he could give the answer, or even she could ask Yoder. Right now, for me, the way this information is presented is not working. It does not feel like a natural or genuine reveal.
72 What did Yoder think Dan was going to do when he bought the land? Just sit there? People buy land to make themselves a home. Might work if Yoder thought the children would only haunt him, after all he survived. It would make sense if Yoder thought this, or wanted to believe it so much.
77 How did Yoder get upstairs? He stops by the house, he's talking to Greg and Mary El and then he's upstairs? I just don't see Greg and Mary El letting this weird guy walk around the house by himself. Might make more sense if Yoder sneaks into the house to hurt Angel, if properly set-up.
78 I'm just sure this whole sequence works for me. First we have all those dead, ghostly children introduced so well, but we haven't really seen much of them in a while. Then we have the flashback scene of Yoder hitting Angel with his ski-pole. And now we have Yoder's attack on Angel.
I think this could be better set-up. Does Yoder think Angel has been infected with the spirit of one of the dead children? And why would Yoder want to hurt Angel on the night the family was killed? What happened to the ghostly children? They must want something, want do they want?
Yoder is basically telling Greg and Mary El what is happening. They need to figure out for themselves what is going on. They are the heroes, let them be the detective and piece by piece figure out what is going on and how to fix it. It seems to easy in some ways, I'd rather have Greg and Mary El struggle to find the answers to what is going on.
80 The line where Yoder has been lying to the girl should be cut, you can't see it on screen.
81 I'd change the earlier scene a bit. Have Angel say something like he's going to hurt me, so we understand it's a possible future outcome. Although I don't know that we need the scene where Angel shows Ty Yoder hurting her with the ski pole.
91 Awfully convenient for Gaskins to show up now. He hasn't been by since act one. To make this moment work, I'd have Gaskins drop by a few times to make sure the family is doing okay.
Random thought: What if Angel is real life, did something, found something that belonged to Sarah and that is how she became infected? Might show this moment, where she finds the teddy bear, this adorable, cuddly teddy bear, and then her eyes change color. Where she finds the teddy bear, I am not sure, but it might make for a good scene, the first one for the script. Maybe Yoder lived in the house, for a very long time, and then he needed to sell the place, sell it to Dan and his family because he needed the money. So the farmer, his wife and the children lived in that house. The teddy bear could be found in the attic or in the barn. But someplace odd would work best, someplace you'd never expect to find a teddy bear.
100 Okay, this could be better set-up. Why does Yoder want to kill Dan and his family. How would Angel know Yoder was coming for her? Did the dead children tell her? This feels all a little too contrived and Ty's just telling us what happened. Gaskins figured it out. That's not very satisfying. I want Greg and Mary El to figure out what happened the night Dan was killed, and who did it and why.
105 I'd cut the line where Angel says don't hate Sarah and Mary El says I know. I'd skip to Angel saying I'm cold.
108 It seems just a little too happy for Mary El to get the baby she wants to have. I'd prefer if she had ot accept she's not going to have a baby, so either she accepts her family as is or adopts.
Responses here are specific to Wildgrace. [A new kid putting out some really terrific reviews on the horror boards -- welcome aboard -- and thanks for looking at this one!]
I was glad you seemed happy with the family characters for the most part. I struggled with them for a while. But your criticisms of Yoder are quite fair. In the original draft, Yoder was supposed to be kind of insane. Much like you suggested. I lost that in later drafts, but I am considering a return to that with my approach to the next draft. That might help smooth out some of the problems with his motivations. I tried not to give too much of the exposition to Yoder, but you might be right about that as well -- about making Greg and Mary El work a little harder from some of those facts.
I also hear you with the "ing" verbs. I've gotten hardcore about killing those lately, but not since the last draft of this story. It's got a firm spot on the to-do list.
I've taken note of the little stuff you put out there for me -- no need to respond to everything -- but I plucked out a couple of things I did want to address:
* I do like your idea for a little more interaction between Mary El and the ghost son. That "relationship" was always one of the creepier aspects here, and it might be nice to play that up a bit more. I hesitate to give any of these ghost children a "voice", but it could be an easy device to help fill in a little backstory, couldn't it? * How come they never try to reason with Angel, asking her to leave? How come they never even give it a shot? Damn good question, and one I need to consider. * I also agree with the mail being a little confusing. It has often been misinterpreted or missed completely, and could probably be handled smoother. But I really want to keep the character of Alona. I am so fond of that conversation. When Angel is looking down from her window -- I don't know -- I can just see it and I know it would work great. * Here is one where I disagree with you, though. When Greg finds the hat: "He is saddened as he realizes it belonged to Dan." I think that can be seen on the screen. You are giving a cue to the actor here, and I think it is OK to write it that way. You are giving subtle directions as opposed to explicit ones, giving the actor a little freedom to play it as they choose. Not being argumentative here -- just putting that out there as another option to consider when writing. * And lots of people get muddled in that third act. It is contrived haha. The point is that Yoder killed everybody that night, including Angel. And he buried her in Sarah's grave, and it was then that Sarah took over. The story opens that next morning, with Angel/Sarah walking through the snow. And it is Sarah -- not Angel -- waiting for the showdown with Yoder for the whole story. And that is why Yoder is so freaked out to see her. All the stuff going on in the third act is one of the principle criticisms this story gets, and tying everything up is a bit of a struggle. Comments telling me exactly where you aren't following along are some of the most helpful of all, so in particular, thanks for that.
And finally, I will agree with you about overwriting -- a bit. I cannot seem to kick the habit completely, and if you hang around these boards a bit, you will find there is an ongoing debate (never to be resolved, perhaps) about just how much is too much.
In the end, though, I suspect that ultimately it's the story that really counts. So thanks again for looking at this one -- and I will try to return the favor -- because good comments always make me curious to see what you've got going on yourself.
Finally had a chace to read The Farm. It lived up to its reputation. Great script, with all the essentials. It has good characters, good plot, and good horror. What I like about this as a horror is that it actually is saying something; whereas, others are more of a body count. This is definately on my top 5's for this site. It's a shame a script like this hasn't been picked up, or at least put into development by a studio or producer.
Bert, keep up the good work. With a little more attention from outside sources this will definately be requested by filmmakers. I'd like to get your opinion about one of my scripts.
Hey, thanks Luke. This was a nice surprise to find this morning. I’m glad it’s up there at the top of your charts, but in all fairness, there are plenty of dynamite scripts around here if you go looking. Try this thread and you’ll find a “best of SimplyScripts” recommended by the members themselves. Lots of good stuff there.
Glad you appreciated the minimal bloodshed. I was shooting for an accessible PG-13 with this one -- tossed in amongst all the slashers -- and it eventually found an audience. It took a little drum-beating, though.
It's a shame a script like this hasn't been picked up...
Well, it’s had some nibbles – it’s being nibbled on now, in fact – but patience and cautious optimism are about all we realistically allow ourselves around here haha.
I haven’t had time to read to many features lately, but I’ll try to have a look at Burial Grounds when I can. That one looks most to be my speed amongst your stuff. I’ve read the opening, actually, and can tell you are a competent storyteller in your own right. So I'll get to it -- you'll just need some patience and cautious optimism...
Thanks again for the look, the bump, and a chance to comment.
Hey just literally finished reading your script there and overall was very well done. I mean you captured throughout what the audience want to see. Only a few things i have to critisize. Firstly- Ty and Greg talk like they are buddies and Greg is the same age. This being when they find the records. I actually had to look back to see if that was really his father.
Secondly - Although the script worked really well this YODER character annoyed the shit out of me - probably the impression- ,but it was annoyin the fact he was normal one second and not the next.
Thirdly - The bear. What genuinelly freaked me out was the whole children watching thing. Worked tremendously well but when this bear was introduced, the element of scaryness was taken away from me. Just came across as a bit silly.
I will say this, to say you can write is an understatement and this was "a script". With a few polishes it would be perfect. Was a good read indeed, Robert "the writer of Goose" lmao..