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Your script shows tremendous improvement since the first draft I read over a year or so ago. Losing the cuss words gives it a higher, stronger tone.
For the most part I agree with many of the excellent suggestions made here. However, I don't see anyplace where your diaglog is too long. People often talk quite naturally in long barrages. Some characters are the wordy type. I saw no "on the nose" dialog, either. Some people talk that way, too.
I'd rather see a few "ings" than repeated "He said, "She did"... on and on with no variation. Kind of blah to read on a full script.
I had the impression while reading, that Yoder should definitely have caused the fires. Maybe he resented his kin because of a twisted jealousy and possessivness/greed. The "crazy old man" seems to suit him well.
Maybe the teddy bear could be found by Angel in the cornfield. Keep the cornfield spooked up all along, as evil ground.
Since you have an upbeat ending, DO show Gaskins recovered from his leg injuries. This poor fellow has already been stabbed by a pencil. He needs a break!
Hey, thanks guys. A two-fer! What a nice surprise.
Robert: Greg and Ty are supposed to sound like buddies -- isolating Mary El even more than she is. Kind of a guys vs. girls thing. I've got some ideas for Yoder. He is a tricky one to get a handle on. I know what I want, but it's hard to get him just right. And the bear. I tried to play this story straight -- with few laughs -- but you are right that if a director wanted to go a little silly with the bear that might work, too. Interesting take on that. Thanks for looking. I'll try to return the favor -- as long as nobody gets eaten by a bird haha.
Monette: I agree with the cursing. Somebody I trust told me that PG-13 was the way to go, and I, too, think the story reads better for it. I'm glad the dialogue didn't make you cringe. I struggle with dialogue more than anything else. And thank you for your additional ideas to think on.
Quoted from Monette
DO show Gaskins recovered from his leg injuries.
I think Monette is the only one who knows that the very, very first (unposted) draft had Gaskins at the end, graveside, in a wheelchair. But I just felt the cheese factor was unbearably high.
Is there anybody else out there that agrees with Monette? Should Gaskins be there?
A quick PM would be appreciated if you actually care one way or the other. Please don't make a new post just to answer this one question, though.
I finally read "The Farm". As for Breanne's script I read it with passion. The story is well developped in M. Night Shyamalan's style (this is a compliment) I loved the atmosphere. I could reaaly feel the quietness, the loneliness and the cold of the snowy countryside. Anyway, it could be too easy with just compliments.
Be sure the script can be understood abroad. I had to make research to find out who was Ben Cartwight (Bonanza is a very old series. I remember having seeing it on French TV 30 years ago. Here everybody has forget the main character's hero).
When Ty shoots at the bear and blasts the window, his parents' reaction ar too mild. (remember he's 13. When my son is 13 I sure will yell at him if one day he steals my gun and shoots in the middle of the night)
Forget about Mary El's lost baby subplot. IMHO it's useless.
Greg's character needs to be accentuated. He's too "set back" (?) Mary El is visibly the one who command in the family.
The bear... Well. It made me think of Chucky meeting the Poltergeist's clown. His death, once again, reminded me (I don't know why!) the "death" od the Terminator in the first opus. It was a bit cliché. I knew it was gonna happens. But I loved Angel's line to Ty: "Can't you read?"
At the end, don't reveal too quickly Angel's secret. Make the family back one year later on the graves and we see May El pregnant. It's just a suggestion.
Well, Bert. Thank you for that excellent moment. Hope It'll help.
This board is weird. Scripts, scripts everywhere no to read them. Except "the Farm", I couldn't help notice the amount of reviews mustard with this Horror. So I had to take a peak, only at the first ten pages and the opening is great I must say. I've read several scripts here and yours has kept me from remembering I'm reading words and something visual is happening.
I've stopped while i was ahead to ask with all these reviews is this still the first draft or re-write? I mean, there can only be some many re-writes before you stay with a story (i think), is this it?
And how much "marketing", lol, went into this before you posted the script how did you get the "buzz" to get some many readers.
I think we know who's Top of the Box Office around here, each review is a 10 million (lol) and you have how many 13 so thats $130 Million dollars at the BO, congratuatlations. You guys should do something like that, make thing interesting around here get people reading, I know you and a few other names I always see have alot of clout of course things would have to be more organized. And awards Best Male/female character, best script of each genre, and of course best screenplay... I could go on, but maybe too much, too soon but I got the ideas if your intrested i would really like to see something like this happen.
...how much "marketing" went into this...how did you get the "buzz"...
I read a shitload of scripts, from a variety of authors, and left them honest reviews. Maybe 50% of them gave me some payback on my own story.
That, and I like to think the script doesn’t suck too bad. And, of course, it helps that it is a horror script.
I still like to read when I can find the time -- which hasn’t been much lately -- and won’t be for another few months. But I’ve learned more from critiquing scripts than any book I’ve read on screenwriting. I’m not just blowing sunshine, either. I really mean it.
...awards for Best Male/female character, best script of each genre, and of course best screenplay...
It sounds fun at first -- and “awards” have been tried before -- but it always ends…poorly.
You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that egos get in the way pretty quick, so Don kind of frowns on that kind of stuff. And I pretty much agree with him there.
Thanks for lookin’, I.J. -- and should you find yourself in the mood to continue, I hope you like it alright -- anything good or bad that you feel after reading is always appreciated -- even on the long-ass threads!
OK. I’ve been a busy little be, but I’ve gotten around to reading your script and try hard as I might I tried to hold my judgments till the end of the entire story but I admit I was a little confused good thing I didn’t jump to the conclusion you didn’t know what you where doing cause by the end everything was pretty much answered for me. I do however have a few questions that also think you should incorporate in answering with the context of the story if you plan on a rewrite.
Story/Plot: I was game at first with the pacing of the story with Angel and her progression in showing response to Mary El; I thought she would of progress slower before actual talking to Mary El though. Then you through in the Teddy Bear “beat” and I think it was step back from what I prefer with a mystic type atmosphere with the horror’s of what’s going on which I thought you were accomplishing with Angel beginning to make gestures for the better. I don’t think I liked any of the Bear sequences and even for an independent film I think it would be hard make a Teddy Bear scary and/or believable so. The best horror scene to me was the flashback, great job on that I was so happy when I start reading it; I was thinking “yes” this is what I want. When the mother holding the babies and you never cutback to see the kids screaming, but instead show the mother frantic while they scream, once again good job. Like I said before I had question and as I understood it that baby in the flashback was Yoder meaning he was kin to the children burning, right? So why do they come after him in the end? Now Angel’s parents were the one Yoder was directly responsible for their death they should have been the one hell bent. Sarah is the one that used Angel as a medium right, is killing Yoder the reason Sarah did that, do Sarah use Angel to keep her spirit alive cause Angel does return in the end before dying. But I really don’t understand why Sarah was after Yoder you have to answer that for me if nothing else.
Character: When Yoder came into the story with that name and those stories all could think was the old guy from Pet Sematary. I found Mary El a tad to stuck up, I got the feeling you did that kind of intentionally but she’s the main character and even when she was trying to have a moment, had an argument I didn’t care and wasn’t rooting for her. Another thing odd to me was how Greg was not the main character of at least a bigger part I mean sure his name pops up a lot, but he lost his brother and its his niece not Mary El he seems kind of I wouldn’t even say “distant”, but “bland”. The premise says a “troubled family” I thought that was in the context like the marriage was suffering a little and in some instant it seemed you wanted to do that when Greg and Mary El bicker of dishes. I thought I would see a marriage in trouble in the beginning and then a mended one by the ordeal with Angel. I say rid of that Bear stuff and either come with something else to frighten the audience of focus on the Family more with the extra pages.
Action/Writing: You wrote this like a novel and I’m sure some ones already told you; maybe you even did it on purpose. The problem with this is you may think you getting your point across, but you’re NOT!!! You’re only getting your point across to the reader but screenplays are for moving mediums, film. Getting the characters head is a lot easier to get you’re point across about how the character feels and how we the audience should feel, but you’re cheating yourself from actually coming up with something perhaps unique by using gestures and actions that portray a certain feeling amongst people and I’ve seen this bug-a-boo in more then a couple scripts on this site and I truly believe its one of things that can really separate writers. And you got in the character’s head time and time again I can one, two tops and their better be a reason for it. But its way to intrusive you were telling a lot of the story, asking questions to the audience. Another thing I didn’t like was the dialogue especially coming from TY. When he threatens Angel knife on his hip sometimes I forget how old he is he acts and sounds a lot younger then what he is and grabbing a shotgun to kill a teddy bear he’s 13 you put him against a teddy bear can you picture that on screen just doesn’t look right.
But again I did like the flashback a lot. I hated the whole teddy bear thing. I didn’t understand the Sarah vengeance on Yoder.
Question if I may can I get three of your favorite Horror films.
Thanks, I.J. I wasn’t sure if you were coming back to this one, but I’m glad you did. The questions that you ask are all fair -- they are right on, actually -- and will need to be addressed on rewrite. Particularly in regards to the motives of Yoder and the children. They are not coming through clearly, and the story suffers for it.
Part of the reworking at this early, tentative stage will likely have Angel as Mary El’s niece rather than Greg’s, which will strengthen her arc without requiring much more of Greg. At it’s heart, this is Mary El’s story, so this change makes alot of sense.
One thing I took from your comments -- intended or not -- is making Angel a more “active participant” in her possession. That might lend additional layers to her character while firming up the reasons for her vendetta against Yoder. A good thought, that one. I’ll have to think on it. Thanks for that.
You might be pleased to learn that the bear will probably be going away for the most part. Your instincts here were good. He might still be present in a less animated form, but by and large he will likely be traded off for a larger presence by the children themselves.
You wrote this like a novel and I’m sure some ones already told you...
Oh, yeah. I’ve heard it. You should have seen the first draft haha. It’s always a struggle to find that balance between stifling your own voice and strict adherence to the old “show don’t tell” mantra. It comes down to the tastes of the reader as to how much excess flourish they will tolerate.
I’m getting better at using less, but I will always contend there is a little wiggle room for the author to play -- within reason. Most readers are writers, too, and few will fault you for a little of that. I've read scripts that feel as if they were written by robot, and it isn't a style I prefer.
Thank you again for your comments. Particularly in regards to Angel. They were actually more helpful than you might have suspected.
Question if I may can I get three of your favorite Horror films.
Hmm. I've never really thought about it -- and you'd think I would have, too. The Exorcist, for sure. Then maybe Kubrick’s Shining. And for an oddball pick, I really like Phantasm, even with (or maybe because of) all its flaws.
This is a well told story! Excellent from top to bottom. Even so, I do have a few comments.
First, I'll say this, I put this story off, setting it aside several times. I did this because it's in the Horror section -- not my genre. That said, I expected all the usual, boring, motifs. But this story transcends the usual. While it has its share of horror elements, "fright and fear," it also tells the story of a family. One that's believable. One that we quickly connect with. In other words, unlike many characters in horror flicks -- these ones we care about.
As much as I enjoyed this story, I do have a few comments:
--- First, I wonder why Greg and his family hadn't ever met Angel? Greg, obviously, is a busy man. Still, this, I think, should be explained. If only briefly. Perhaps it was. If I missed it, forgive me.
--- I was surprised that Mary El would Describe Fish-Head as being "our" cat, meaning everyones'. Mary El, I think, would be sensitive to the fact that Angel just lost all that she had, and might want something to hold on to, something that's her's and her's alone. This, of course, is a minor nit, as all my comments are.
BTW, I love the name Fish-Head. For some reason, when I read it, I cracked up laughing. My laughter, though, did not take me out of the story.
--- The bear. I didn't like him. This is personal, though. The story, up to this point, was very believable, real. The bear, being an animated object, took me, albeit only for a minute, out of the story. I'm able to suspend logic and reason, but there is something about an animated stuffed animal that I don't like. Again, this is personal and I wouldn't suggest that you change it.
Also, I should mention, I was surprised that Ty, after having tangled with the bear, didn't immeadiately tell his parents.
--- On page 35 you write: "looses a round from the weapon" The word looses doesn't, imo, carry the kinda connotation that is necessary to the scene. BLASTS! FIRES! Anything but "looses."
--- Had to look up Ben Cartwright.
--- On page 44, you write: the father intrudes... he listens now.... etc. These lines seemed kinda cheesy. Not a big deal.
--- On page 73, When asked why he (Ty) should look out the window, Angel responds by saying, "It's a secret." I doubt if her answer would prompt Ty to the window. He seems a bit more sophisticated. I just think Ty's response should better reflect his age. He still, of course, has to get to the window.
--- On page 78, you ask the reader, "she has to now, doesn't she?" Most of your asides were, I think, helpful to the story. This one, though, imo, is awful. I felt as if the author was talking to me. If I wanted to engage in a conversation with the author, I'd PM him.
--- On page 86, Greg drops his gun very quickly -- maybe too quickly. He knows Yoder is intent on killing Angel. That said, it seems he should hold out, if only a little longer. In other words, there should, I think, be a moment of hesitation in what he does.
--- on page 91, I'm treated to a bit of an education: "Scrambling for purchase..." Learned a new way of using the word "purchase." Thanks!
--- on page 94, Ty says, "That looks really painful, sir." Sir? He's looking at a man in a combine. That said, pleasantries seem out of place.
--- on page 96, Angel describes herself as "Sarah!" I don't like the exclamation point. It gives the line a kinda cheesy feel and isn't in keeping with Angel's usual demeanor.
--- I wrote all the above while reading, as I went along. My next comment was: Just thinking.... it appears there were several days, when the mail piled up, that Angel was alone....why didn't Yoder kill her then? I then read just a little bit further and had to write -- lol ... you got me! He did kill her!
GREAT STORY! I can easily imagine this on the big screen, nits and all.
I’ve defended that bear for so long -- maybe that is just my B-movie sentiments talking -- but it may be time to admit defeat. I’ve recently come to realize how he doesn’t quite fit with what this story is trying to be. At least, not in his current, animated form, which many readers interpret as pure cheese as opposed to something frightening. He can still be scary -- and perhaps even scarier -- without necessarily running around and snarling, and this is the avenue I think I will pursue.
pg 1. Introduce ANGEL, right when you say young girl. This is Angel line is unecessary.
I'm really supprised almost every script I have read with potential ( good author) They used alot of INGS words. Scripts are supposed to be in ACTIVE form. Removing all INGS from verb words where it doesnt make bad grammar sentence.
pg2. Its the woman for the photograph." Since you have give this woman a distinct name, this line is unecessary, along with " but no longer smiling" Who would think someone from a pic would be continually smiling from a picture in bed?
pg 3 "Just call him Ty"? This should not be in the description. This is a TELL not SHOW. Show in us dialogue he goe by Ty not tyler. Cuz of this point. Why even name him Tyler?
Oh no... I'm seeing alot of telling. When you write, ask yourself. Can the audience really see this..." Wise-ass grin tha h inherits from father" to " "features, suggesting she can see through any grin, father or son"
pg 4. Lower CASE Gaskin's second intro.
bert you are really killing here. Maybe I was exspecting to much... It is not professional to have scene heading " Same field where we first me Angel" Then " We'll call this angel's field in description. This scene can clearly be identied with just " "The tracks once in the field have been long snowed over", If this was entered into a contest or submitted into companies, after this point It would be tossed it into the trash. Not cuz of the story. Just becuz of these rookie mistakes. So they are to assume the story is filled with problems aswell if writing has a problem, do you get what Im saying? Im just trying to help. Nothing personal or trying to put your work down. People appreciate honest feedback. And thats me.
pg 7. Huldah " she was here with those bodies FOR three days."
pg 8 Mary " OK? Okay
Really strikes me odd That this script has been up here for almost 2 years and all these writing errors within the first 10 pages... Something isn't right! =\
Hey JD. Thanks for your comments on this one. While I appreciate your calling out a few early things, my odd response to you is that you are right and you are wrong.
I do have some things in this script that are, technically, incorrect. You are absolutely right to call me on them.
I do take small liberties with the rules of formatting from time to time -- but you know what -- you are allowed to do that -- provided you can back it up with your story and a good grasp of formatting everywhere else.
If you know the rules, you can occasionally break them, and It can help set your work apart. Just don't forget that initial caveat.
Do not let people tell you otherwise, J.D. I am not being argumentative here, but rather instructive. Follow the rules, but don't turn into a format robot, either, you know?
As for the show-don’t-tell mantra, again, you are right. But my understanding is you can do it early to help set the tone, and you will only find this in the early pages.
I do take small liberties with the rules of formatting from time to time -- but you know what -- you are allowed to do that -- provided you can back it up with your story and a good grasp of formatting everywhere else. If you know the rules, you can occasionally break them, and It can help set your work apart. Just don't forget that initial caveat.
Yes I know but I wont. Breaking the rules more imply for "in the door" writers, us amateurs gotta make sure any contest reader or reader for a company doesn't have a reason to trash our work befre getting to the root of the entire story. They have alot to read and a few rules breakins from the start gives them the OK to go on to next script.
Do not let people tell you otherwise, J.D. I am not being argumentative here, but rather instructive. Follow the rules, but don't turn into a format robot, either, you know?
I agree, but in your scenes, you could easily incorperate something indentifying to the reader knows this is the field Angel walks in. Lke "Angels nakek feet step in te snow past a big yellow tracker" Just short and crude, but then when you go back" The snow tracks have long covered and the tracker with more snow"
See how I get there with out breaking? and Im not roboting format?
...sorry if it seems i'm being a ass. Im turely not . Just trying to hep without any sugar coating
Not at all, J.D. That is what it's all about. It's too bad more members don't realize how little value there is in "sugar coating" -- just empty calories.
For the whole "staying at the farm" thing, your complaint sounds alot like Phil's, so you are in good company. Hopefully, this will be fixed on rewrite when the Erecksons become Mary El's relatives as opposed to Greg's. We'll see.
.... you find it OK to call out camera directions for the scene? "Birds eyes view, we float.." I find that no different from we see...
Good eye, J.D. You win the prize haha. As far as I know, that is the only "we" you will find in the entire feature. That is the one instance where I hated every different way of phrasing that shot...so I let myself have one.
And I know the whole 'eyes' thing has been done, but I eventually end up doing something fairly 'new' with them (I hope).
In my opinion, while the eyes cut out thing has been done before, there is a solid reason why the eyes are cut out of the pictures. I think the reasoning behind cutting out the eyes is solid enough to allow the cut outs.
I deleted and modified, my posts so it all can be combined so i dont clog it. So here is everything i had to say about The Farm
I have noticed your bottom margin is off. Its not at 1 inch, which makes your script shorter and actually is longer then 108 pages.
Just something minor, the whole eyes cut out thing has been in A LOT of movies 1st cliche I have spotted.
Also. I think we need alil more reason of staying at this house then just because Angel doesn't want to leave. I know you try to justify it, but it just isn't enough for meï¿½ They drove out just to pick her up and just the Mary El is compelled to stay in the house? For what to bond? They could do what they are already doing on the trip back home. I know the story is to be placed at this farm. I just need more of a greater legit reason for staying. Maybe husband has some work he could do, or would like to enjoy some on going peace out there since they live in city. Or maybe He thinks Ty could see how he grew up out in country, and convinces Ty they could do somethings out there they couldn't do in the city. Just so both agree to stay and not just for the crazy sake mom doesnï¿½t wanna take angel away yet. I hope you are getting what I mean...
Bottom of page 20, you find it OK to call out camera directions for the scene? "Birds eyes view, we float.." I find that no different from we see, we here
Page 28. Really odd this kid Ty, is allowed to have a BUTTER FLY knife. Clearly his maturity level is not fit for such a blade. Perhaps a small pocket knife be more believable
This kid should be freaked out, screaming after he just killed the bear, cuz by what you say he has marks to prove his fight with the teddy bear. Not just crawl and fall asleep in there bedâ€¦ Not buying it. I know you tie back with this on page 36. but this reactions here should have happened after the 1st incident, which would promp them Not to return him into the bedroom and the disbelief which forces him to take matters for his self. I believe that would ring more true then this currect time line.
pg 38. 3rd we Ive found " We follow her gaze" and 2nd was page 26. "as we never seen her before" I dont know if this one counts but again no we's
I like the snows balls, great thing to use for scary children behavior that isnâ€™t there. Bravo
Pg 41" alight" a light Pg 42" You can drive Ty into town" This whole dialogue by Mary seems forced. And she would have heard the big crash from the power lines to the windmill smashin the car. You might come back and say " the wind muffled it" but, anywho has lost electricity looks out a side to see if surrounding things have lost power aswell, plus she was already at the window last b4 the power went out and would have seen what was happening, thus moved to get the candles after power dropped.
pg 46 " we will never see him smile" 4th. Simply" He never smiles" also you are telling here about Ben to YODER refference and not showing
pg 55 I would think by now they would make some mention about what the plan to do about the flattened car and leaving... pg55. Not to say this is a rip, but it feels similar to Amityville horror, when young girl is on the roof and the mother screams and tries to rescue her. And you also have that close call rescue by the father... lol the cat, i like you keep throwing some stuff out there 59 and this cliche just came to me, with the teddy bear. Was in amity ville as well." I buried her with that" but you do nice twist with it running around and biting! pg 64. I think you need to revise the paragraphending with blood and.. holes?pg 66" we are following" 5th we? pg 67 "as we continue" " we are now in" im loosing count (not really) pg 72" I'm not buying suddenly mom and ty are going crazy... pg 74. and 3 we's I like the setup with the holey nightgown and the pay off pg79" why are u asking questions in descriptions?! I thought early was mistaks but you did it again 79, another telling." yoder had been lying" 101 another we hear
I like how the hands come out and pulls him down. I have tough time believing Amry is so bent on angel " Why cant you just be my lil girl" I know she lost a daughter but this is kinda insane like...
Now finished with the story, I question the whole motive of the bear and its realavince in which the reality you setup.
The sons are accounted for. Sarah is in Angel. So what is making this bear come alive and why does it try and kill Ty? I know he nlock him but, is that god enough reason for him to try and kill Ty? They is no clear reason this bear should be like chucky. It is good that it is here but the reasning behind it comes flat at the end, unexplained.
I do must say, was a good good horror script, would be great to me if you didnt have all thise rookie things in it. The questions and telling, and camera angles. Removing those and turning sentences into active form. You will have a SOLID script to enter into contests.
Also you need to make more clear of why Yoder killed his Angel's parents. Yes you hinted it was once he owned the land. But how did he plan to go about and reclaim it? once they r dead, he would have to buy it! And doing that how does he have the money to buy it?
Dialogue was good, but some point out of places, needed less talking. Did Gaskins die? That was left open, i believe.
I'm also having hard time with character developement. ONLY one the changes is Mary El, due to the crazieness that incurd for wanting Angel. father and son same throughout
Script was well paced, no real dull moments and had great "chill/jumping" scenes that will do well in the movies. I do see this has being in big screen. If I didnt mention before, did well with unfolding the info so everyting made sense. I really started to question that holw coming back to life after Yoder said building there and what not brought them back. I like you explanition atthe end which took away my doubt.
Alot of thought went into this and it shows. Good job.