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What you need to do is walk around that farm where your story is set, and think about your story while you are there. Look for real-life details to incorporate, and that will help it to feel grounded. That is what I did, anyway. Wander into those woods where you heard the child -- at night, if you can -- and use whatever you find there.
LOL. That's funny because we all do things like that in real life. Writers do for the most part but when people read or watch characters do that, they are automatically called stupid characters. Or it is blammed on bad writting.
Anyhow, I read your script a LONG time ago and really liked it. This updated version is even better. I don't know if I can say anything that hasn't already been said 500 times besides you should keep the psycho bear in the script. It was great!
Anyhow, I don't think it would be stupid to have both versions on here. But you should just go with your instincts. Some of the best movies/scripts would have been crap if everyone listened to all the feedback they are given. But, alas... it's your call.
Hey, Zack. Yes, I saw the original, and thanks for that. The repost was also appreciated. A shame so many reviews were lost in "The Meltdown." It will take the boards a while to recover from that, I think.
It is funny (though maybe not haha funny) that you mentioned "The Messengers", earlier in a PM, and again now. There sure was a lot there that felt shockingly familiar, especially to me, knowing this script as I do. I was pretty pissed at those guys at the time, but thankfully, I think that film will fade from memory pretty quickly.
I am glad you found the family dynamics to be authentic. That is one of the most difficult aspects, and while some readers have issues with one character or another, for the families I have known or lived with, I like to think most of this stuff could be pretty true.
Anyway, thanks for letting me know you liked it, and if any of it helps you along the path with a feature of your own, well that would be pretty cool, too.
I've updated my board, and will pass some thoughts about "The Farm".
From an experiment I tried at Triggerstreet back in 2006, I soon saw that about 70% really liked "Quebecca's Crossroads" the way I wrote it. The other per cent just "didn't get it" and never would.
Based on that and more, I'd say you've made sufficient improvements in your script. It's time to take a stand and finalize. You like the bear, and you CAN make him terrifying. Put him in the final script, and let the chips fall. He's been with it since the beginning, so he's a subconscious fixture in its creation. One of the scariest concepts is finding ordinary "safe" things go awry. The movie "Poltergeist" is along those lines.
The biggest objection seems to be that people think the attack will look silly on screen. This could be avoided by just having the bear's presence always cause oppressive negativity to fall over the people, like arguments, accusations, etc. Closeups of the shadowed bear face could look quite sinister. This is more mysterious, causing tension that he MIGHT attack. It's more subtle if he isn't shown attacking, just an increasing cause of emotional chaos. He can even cause them to see him look bigger--optical distortions. One of them can finally grasp his evil influence, and burn him.
It needs to be made very clear why this happens, why he's a cursed object. If you get that point over, he can add another layer of creepiness to the scenes.
This way, you only have to rewrite the bear pages, leave the rest as is.
I havenít read too many feature scripts on this website, so I thought Iíd look at my favorite genre and see which screenplay had the biggest appeal, good or bad. I donít have any idea what anyone else thinks about your script, so if I repeat something, bare with me.
First, let me say your style of writing is absolutely breathtaking. Every sentence, whether palpable or subtle, feels like it has a purpose here. Your pacing is near flawless, and the characters work well with each other as they are extremely well-written. You have a variety of personalities that never meld and are always familiar. That is the single best thing about The Farm. Itís a character piece disguised as a horror movie. It feels like weíve dropped in on a family instead of a story, and I found that compelling.
My main complaint with your script is the motivation. Why on earth would this family stay on the farm after all of these creepy things have happened? Any sensible human being would have already called for hotel reservations and left the property. The fact that they decide to stay simply because the wife refuses to leave is ludicrous to me. And even though itís not a chief conflict in your script, it has enough impact on its own to make your smart characters stupid and your disquieting story desperate. I read it and felt distracted because once this was addressed, I didnít find the script scary anymore.
The story itself is simple enough, and I noticed a few recognizable genre conventions: the living toy; the reclusive girl; the laughing children. I didnít think it was clichť, however, because the child-influenced story required it. Everything felt like it was in the right place without calling attention to itself, although the bear was certainly a genuine surprise.
Itís interesting to me that out of all the horror scripts here, itís the subtle, nuanced ghost story making a name for itself. When you think of horror, you think of skeletons, blood and guts, pointless nudity, and chainsaw-wielding madmen. Itís nice to see the quiet one being heard above the rest, and deservedly so. Good work.
I found it worked better for me to cut off the feedback after a certain level was reached. It tends to get addictive, and start becoming a thing in itself. This takes away time for marketing the script.
Having said that, I admit I haven't done a thing to market any of mine for over a year, 'cause I'm focusing elsewhere right now.
My main complaint with your script is the motivation. Why on earth would this family stay on the farm after all of these creepy things have happened?
I was aware of that problem in films like this -- and really, aside from Ty's episodes -- none of the supernatural stuff kicks in until after the windmill has destroyed the car, trapping them there. They do want to leave, but cannot. And it was Angel that dictated Mary El's decision to stay in the first place.
I thought it was strong enough, but I guess I can give those aspects another look, too.
It is nice to see the quiet one being heard above the rest...
I think so, too, and I just wrote the type of film I enjoy the most. There is only so much you can do with a mad slasher, you know?
Thanks again, Sham. I do not think I have checked out any of your stuff yet. I will have to rectify that soon. And thank you, Monette, for your additional bear thoughts. If nothing else, people may check out the rewrite just to find out what has happened to him haha.
Just read this on a sunny Sunday afternoon here in Blighty and thanks for an entertaining couple of hours.
There's a lot that I thought was excellent about this so I'll say the one thing I found a problem with first;
A lot of your action seemed to be passive and although it wasn't a major problem for me I was just wondering why you did it like that? Lots of "...ings" dotting about, but like I say I'm more just curious about why you did that.
On with the things I liked;
The beginning was very visual and immediately I could picture where this was taken place. In my opinion the best horror films take place in one arena -- The Shining, The Thing, Alien(s) etc. It just seems to add to the whole isolation and feeling of being trapped. As soon as the car and power was wiped out I had to smile, knowing that this was really going to get good. Also, I liked how you introduced the family through Ty's gameboy screen. That seemed to flow really well.
The characters were all really well developed although I was a little confused about who the two nurses were at the start. Why wouldn't Angel be taken away?
My favourite character was Ty (he seemed to be the comic relief, aswell as a number of other functions). He also had my favourite line of dialogue--
Going on about the cat, Lucifer, eating her kittens
"I like her. She's a bad-ass." I laughed out loud at that, which I think is good to have at least one line like that in a horror.
I absolute love the way you've wrote this and it was genuinely a joy to read.
'Could we hear, we imagine she would be screaming.... Could we hear, she would most certainly be screaming'
Sorry to paraphrase that but I had to put the script down after reading that page and have a think. That maybe goes against some things I've read here and in books but it was just an excellent piece of writing. That's maybe one of those things that was getting discussed in the 'breaking the rules' article.
Gotta take my hat off to you fella for this, an excellent script. Good luck in selling this because I'd love to see it on screen.
a major problem for meÖLots of "...ings" dotting aboutÖI'm more just curious about why you did that.
This script was one of the first things I wrote, Ste, and what you are talking about addresses one of the lessons I have since learned from hanging out on these boards. It was not a stylistic choice to do that -- it was a mistake -- and I will be on the lookout for those during the next draft.
That maybe goes against some things I've read here and in books but it was just an excellent piece of writing. That's maybe one of those things that was getting discussed in the 'breaking the rules' article.
I suspect that segment you are talking about would count as breaking some rules amongst the hardcore formatting police.
But I have since abandoned that squad, based on some of the recent conversations on these boards. I have come to believe there is room for bent rules if you are doing it for a specific purpose and effect -- and if you otherwise show that you at least have a clue about the way things ought to be. The segment you liked will probably remain much as it is.
And thanks for pointing out something so specific that you liked. It is a confidence booster haha. With all the fresh reads on this, I am starting to get fired up for the rewrite I have tentatively penciled-in for this summer. I appreciate you taking the time to drop some thoughts.
And another vote for the bear haha! What the fuck am I gonna do with him?
Thank you, Fish, for taking a moment to let me know you liked it. That is gratifying enough in and of itself.
I am particularly glad you enjoyed Angel's character. With summer coming up, the long overdue rewrite on this will soon be in the works, and it should be fun to spend some time with her again. We'll see how that goes.