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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  The Farm Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Farm  (currently 27081 views)
nick_nail
Posted: July 22nd, 2008, 7:08am Report to Moderator
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Hi Bert
Finished your script last night. Bad move on my part as I was at home alone on a rainy east coast night and it scared me s-less! I love to see a good horror in this vain, so much horror lately has been revolving around gore and huge body counts. This was just good old fashion creep with realistic dialouge and one spooky ass teddy bear (you must keep the bear). I also like the fact that Greg and Mary El seemed to be having a slight marital conflict. It adds to the drama. I loved Ty. He reminds me of me 10 years ago. De-sensitized by movies and video games but still a vulnerable kid i loved it when he took the shotgun to the bear! Looking forward to reading more of your work.
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bert
Posted: July 22nd, 2008, 2:18pm Report to Moderator
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Hello, nick.  Thanks for taking a look -- and sorry about thinking you were somebody else haha.


Quoted from nick_nail
...one spooky ass teddy bear...


I am glad to hear the bear worked for you -- that is certainly not the case with every reader -- and it sounds like you know exactly the type of kid I had in mind for Ty.

Welcome onto the boards, nick, and thanks for taking the time to share some thoughts.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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sniper
Posted: July 22nd, 2008, 3:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert,

Any news on the new draft?

Cheers
Rob


Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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bert
Posted: July 22nd, 2008, 7:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from sniper
Hey Bert,

Any news on the new draft?


Yeah, my boss is a lying SOB.  Summer was supposed to slow down, but it's been one project after another.  I've hardly done squat on the rewrite.

So thanks for asking haha.

Actually, I am working with a little feedback from unnamed, interested parties, and do have some notes from them that I am incorporating.  Fortunately, there is no great rush.

It will be darker, and the end will be different.  And oddly, they said absolutely nothing about the bear.  So he stays -- for now, anyway.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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slabstaa
Posted: October 11th, 2008, 1:51am Report to Moderator
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Hey bert, just wanna say a lesser writer could've botched an idea like this, but you were the man for this and did a fine job.  The ending was very touching and emotional-- brought a smile to my face.

You have a way with words and descriptions some times that I wish I had.  

I'm able to picture the scene in my head.  Character dialogue and interactions are good too, especially between Greg and Ty (love the part with Greg telling Ty he hogs up the bed/extra ammo scene).

You didn't go crazy with chunks of gore, but you don't need that when everything is genuinely creepy and downright scary.  I like Lucifer/Fish Head's introduction.  How does a cat survive with no food?  That bit was great.  Disgusting, yes...but bad-ass indeed haha.  Definitely keep that in fo sure.  Spooky pet semetary stuff.  Another scene with Angel on the windmill had me thinking Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

Maybe tighten things up toward the end.  I thought all the action was dragging on for far too long.  Actually, it felt forever to be honest.  - 15 to 10 pages or so and this would be good.

Overall I liked it.  The family is very real and that's the most important thing here, at least in my eyes.  We are really with this fam.

Good stuff.  
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bert
Posted: October 13th, 2008, 7:38am Report to Moderator
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Thank you once more, slabstaa, for looking this over.  I really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this one -- and your rescuing it from page 2 of the Horror board haha.

You really must give me a shout once you have posted something of your own.

I was pleased to read that you liked the interaction between Greg and Ty.  I think those work well for the most part, too.

The cat will remain in the rewrites for sure, but once buried, she will not be returning as a resurrected beast.  I have finally convinced myself that is taking things too far.


Quoted from slabstaa
Maybe tighten things up toward the end.  I thought all the action was dragging on for far too long.  Actually, it felt forever to be honest.  - 15 to 10 pages or so and this would be good.


Yeah, I really cannot argue with you there.  I see it, too, and I agree.  What I am trying to do now is restructure things so once they make it out to the graveyard, that is pretty much it, and things will play out from that point.

Less running around from place to place and cutting from character to character all over the farm.  I think it will help.  Weíll see.


Quoted from slabstaa
The family is very real and that's the most important thing here


I am glad you took that away from the story, as that was really the intent here.  It is always gratifying to read comments of that sort.

And thanks again for the looks.  Very nice to find on a dreary Monday morning.  And best of luck on your own works -- I am eager to read something of your own.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Andrew
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 4:01pm Report to Moderator
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Bert,

Here I am digging up your work again! I scanned the comments without delving into plot details, and noticed there was a comment about drafts, so hopefully this is your most recent draft. Irrespective, I will comment.

Well, as you know, I think you're a great writer, but did this need to be here:


Quoted Text

At the center is a pivot, and during the summer it prowls
this field on fat tires, generating huge, concentric crop
circles.


I know it helps the setting of the scene/plotting the imagery in the mind of the reader, but can it be translated to the screen?

Very eerie opening. Gave me a chill. Angel poking the body of Dan was a nice way to communicate the oddities - I assume - are to follow.

Nice segue with the swaying body of Dan and the Game Boy.

Btw, I hope the comment-as-I-go approach is useful!

This is such a nice way to put across the scene:


Quoted Text

SHERIFF HENRY GASKINS leads the family towards the house,
following the slushy path that constitutes a walkway.
Well into his fifties, GASKINS carries himself as if he has
been the sheriff around here forever.


So simple, yet so effective. In the space of 4 sentences, you've managed to plant the Sheriff and the environment in my mind with real clarity.

As of page 8, there is a strong direction here. Angel has been established as clearly troublesome, and her attack on Gaskins is compelling. The descriptions of the 'holes' felt suspiciously vampire-like, to me, but then, I tend to overthink these things.

The - on the surface for the new arrivals - completely irrational Angel is evoking 'The Exorcist', for me. Was this an intention?

Well, you are reinforcing this idea I have of you as a superb writer, Bert. Really crisp, clean style evidenced again.

Mary El is being established as the committed, family-type - I wonder if that will be her downfall..

And Dan was Greg's brother! Interesting display of devotion from Mary El - I wonder if there's a hidden meaning to this. Affairs, maybe? I'm musing out loud, or at least 'on page'

Example of my suspicions:


Quoted Text

What
do you think he would do for you?
Greg pauses at this last outburst, wounded.


That's a pretty scathing thing to say - mmmm. Nice use - if appropriate - of layering your character.

A thing I have wrestled with when writing, is how to bridge the gap between what is 'show', and what is 'tell'. The following example is able to 'show', but, in a sense, it's also 'tells' - that said, I think it reads superbly, and is definitely 'showing':


Quoted Text

Ty wanders over to the window, a veteran of too many family
quarrels.


I mean, on the one hand, we have his action, and the the bit about being a veteran is cannily telling us - as readers - what is going on in his mind, but in an easy to relate way for an actor. Nice touch.

I don't know how you imagine 'The Farm' to be, but I envisage a very bleak and largely bereft of a soundtrack-type film - kind of how 'There Will Be Blood' was, or something in that vein.

You get marks for dropping in my all-time favourite Beatles' album:


Quoted Text

Greg then gazes in horror at the green apple on the label
of the LP.
GREG
You little brat! This is
Abbey Road!


That is just such a majestic record - the true pinnacle of the Beatles. It was like they came together, and when almost completely dead, they revived with an elegance that has not since been captured on record. GREAT album. I guess this also has resonance due to it more or less - aside from a couple of re-recordings of 'Let It Be' - representing the official death of the band, but harks back to a former beauty now forever stifled. An index of Angel and her family? I digress.

This is very visual, and would be quite frightening, I imagine:


Quoted Text

But something is wrong with these pictures.
In every photo of Angel, the eyes have been sliced out.
17.
INT. ANGELíS ROOM - DAY
Angel opens her eyes, roused from her sleep by the MUSIC.


Haha, the spider got a setup and payoff!

You write so vividly, Bert. In such a subtle way - with the window opening - you are creating a character, in Angel, who is very unnerving. She's making me shift in my chair!

Haha, this is a lovely way of showing how a Dad knows his word is about to be overridden by Mum:


Quoted Text

Dad said I couldnít.
GREG
So what are you asking her for?


Mary El's devotion is leading me to the conclusion she's Angel's real mother - be interesting to see if that's true, 'cos it would lead to a plethora of possible explanations. I notice that Alona alluded to a potentially supernatural explanation re: the house not being welcoming, but I would be much more satisfied with a 'real' explanation at this point. That being said, I am only 22 pages in, so plenty of time for me to change my mind.

Mmmmm:


Quoted Text

MARY EL
I like your room. Thereís a room
like this in our house, too. Itís
pretty, like this one, but itís
pink. With so many toys. It was
supposed to be a happy room. But
it isnít. Itís a sad room because
there isnít anybody in it.


An aborted child, perhaps? There's definitely something lurking beneath the surface here. Was this room intended for Angel? I notice it's "pink", so assume that's for good reason.


Quoted Text

MARY EL
Itís sad to lose someone, isnít
it?


Maybe a miscarriage then.

This - below - is a really nice touch. Angel does have some warmth:


Quoted Text

With Mary El gone, Angel turns to survey this new addition
to her room.
She smiles as she takes a bite of cookie.


Haha:


Quoted Text

Mary El is repulsed and drops the cat.
MARY EL
Jesus, Ty! Thatís disgusting.
TY
I like her. Sheís a bad-ass.


Not sure I like this, it feels 'too much', y'know:


Quoted Text

EXT. ANGELíS FIELD - SUNSET
As evening falls, a red sunset tints the snow-covered
landscape a color not unlike that of blood.


It just feels too obvious, when everything else has been done with a deft touch.

Page 25: Ahhh, so it was a miscarriage.

Haha, very good:


Quoted Text

Ty enters wearing what must be dead Uncle Danís long
underwear. He looks quite ridiculous.
TY
You canít be serious.


Ok, so, on page 28, I really like this so far. My only real complaint is that it feels too 'complete'. You've, quite masterfully, set the scene, but when Ty does what he does prodding under the bed, it almost feels in too much detail, like there isn't much room for creative interpretation - if that makes any sense? I mean, that's no bad thing, I guess, but just wonder what the implications are for filming. I don't know, I am probably just looking for weaknesses, 'cos the script to this point has been superbly crafted.

Interesting use of the bear!! Chucky, move over, bit*h.

That, paired with the children in the bathroom points where this script is going. Interesting to see what happens, 'cos I hope it doesn't start to drift into cliche town.

However, you've really created some spooky kids; the pubescent older child acts as you would suspect - regards the shower and Mary El - but this is twinged with his assumed fate.

In a way, that scene reminds me of - what was, for me, a powerful scene - 'The Haunting in Connecticut', when the young chap is watching the TV, and when he switches it off, a figure is silhouetted in the screen. This was such a simple, but effective tactic. It scared me more than anything else, 'cos it's the most likley to happen in real-life, and thus it has a natural quality, which is what your older boy did with his teenage eyes.

I guess I was on the right track with the mothering instinct of Mary El, but now it's explicit that she and Greg have had problems in the past. Greg feels like a weak-willed man, is this intentional? He's kinda just so - for want of a better expression - wimpy.

I like the build-up here. The older boy and bear are certainly emerging characters. There is a growing sense of 'The Haunting in Connecticut', however - I won't go into this too much in case you haven't seen it, but I wonder if you're going into the same territory.

This is really great writing:


Quoted Text

The voices are coming from behind this door.
Greg considers the log, then takes it with him as he steps
to this door. Closer now, the voices begin to take form.
ANGEL (O.S.)
Why do you harm this family?
The voices that reply are childrenís voices -- hissing
whispers that answer in rapid succession.
VOICE 1 (O.S.)
The boy hates you...
VOICE 2 (O.S.)
The father intrudes...
VOICE 3 (O.S.)
He will interfere...
44.
Angel cuts them off.
ANGEL (O.S.)
The father knows nothing.
Greg leans in closer to the door, straining to hear.
Now another voice, this one close, from just behind the
door.
VOICE 4 (O.S.)
He listens now...
Gregís eyes grow wide.


Terrific stuff.

More to follow.

Andrew


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Andrew
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
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Part 2!

Ahh, I don't know, Angel's reaction towards Greg re: the finger wagging, when Mary El picks her up feels a little odd - there feels like a real oscillation in her actions, and I wonder if it's simply character inconsistency?

Also, Greg is - presumably - a sane man, but would he tolerate this? Or, as mentioned before, is he deliberately 'wimpish' to facilitate these events?

Ben Yoder? Hmmm, Star Wars influenced?

Ahhh, Bert, did you have to:


Quoted Text

YODER
You folks should never have
come here.


A writer of your calibre is above that line!

Ooooo, grisly ending for Fish-Head - isn't there an unspoken rule about not killing animals, though? Nice kill, all the same.

Angel definitely feels a little inconsistent after her winking at Ty. One minute she's the victim, the next she's seemingly perpetrating some ill-will on the family. Perhaps this is going to come to fruition as to why, but at the moment, this feels like a real weakness. I suspect she may be partially possessed, which would justify the uneven behaviour, but if not, I think that needs to be addressed. However, I read on...

Great analogy here to describe the scene:


Quoted Text

From here, the house and barn appear as tiny models that
one might rearrange with fine tweezers.


This is a lovely bit of imagery/action:


Quoted Text

The remaining SIX CHILDREN we recognize from Mary Elís
shower. There is the little boy with his teddy bear. And
the eldest son. And the lone, dark-eyed daughter.
Another CRACK.
Yoder looks behind him. His coffee cup has shattered where
he left it. Coffee drips from the table to the floor.
And another CRACK. Yoder turns. This time it is a mirror.
Yoder shoots a worried look over to a shelf containing a
bottle of bourbon.
He is crestfallen as this SHATTERS, too.
He looks back down at the photograph.
The photograph has changed. All of the children are now
looking directly at Yoder.
The lone daughter slowly raises her arm, pointing with an
accusatory finger.
Yoder flings the photograph away as if it were a viper.


Page 74: Ahhh, an interesting set of developments. On the one hand, we have Yoder saying one thing, and we're seeing something seemingly different. Pretty much throughout, you've managed to keep my guessing, so I am unsure as what to expect. Part of me expects Yoder to be some odd murderous-type, but part of me suspects that Angel is manipulating events. Mmm, let's see..

Ok, interesting set of events unfolding, and we're building up to resolution time..

Page 82: It's quite possible I am being dense, but the significance of the eyes is beyond me at the minute, Hopefully it will be come clearer.

Fish-Head proving the old cat adage true, it would seem! I wonder if she is coming back again..

My comments are becoming less frequent as I wade through these final pages. It's all revealing itself now.

Page 102: Yoder's disappearance was very 'Ghost'. Love that film.

Ok, so, I am complete.

First off, you write so crisply and clear, Bert. This was a pleasure to read.

I liked this, but I didn't love it. The ending was unsatisfying 'cos we had Yoder 'getting his', but the lead up to this was too flimsy, for me. The lines felt too blurred, and the rationale for Yoder's killing wasn't clear/substantial enough. I get the fact that Angel was 'possessed', and Yoder was responsible for killing the family, but why? There is a brief acknowledgment of this:


Quoted Text

ANGEL (V.O.)
It was shame. And greed.
And the blood that followed.


But I just don't see anything substantial within the script to bring this notion alive. I may have missed something?

I don't know, I just feel things may have become a little too convoluted by the end. We had a couple of different storylines that - for me - never quite felt fused together. It's just a little empty as a feeling - the end, that is.

The setup and writing - as I say - was superb, but the story feels like it hasn't reached a complete circle.

I would love to hear your intentions re: the complete story, 'cos it's quite possible I have missed some crucial elements.

Andrew


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bert
Posted: June 21st, 2009, 5:20pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Andrew
Here I am digging up your work again!


Well, I am afraid people usually need to forage around deep on the boards for my stuff, as I have not been terribly productive for a while.  Heck -- took me nearly a week to find time for a response here.  Thank you for your thoughts on this one, Andrew.


Quoted from Andrew
...but did (the description of the irrigation system) need to be here?


No, it is probably not vital.  But I did want to clarify what sort it was, as there are many.  I am of the opinion that it may help to play with such descriptive passages early on -- when you are trying to establish a tone -- but less so as the story progresses.


Quoted from Andrew
And Dan was Greg's brother! I wonder if there's a hidden meaning to this. Affairs, maybe?


Ha...what an interesting angle.  Actually, subsequent drafts will rearrange the family dynamics to that Mary El is the actual relative.  An easy fix that strengthens both her inclination to stay and Greg's inclination to leave.


Quoted from Andrew
You get marks for dropping in my all-time favourite Beatle's album


Mine, too.  But rather than looking for deeper meaning, I have to admit that the decision was more a function of the dialogue --- the line, "You little brat!  This is [insert album here]!"  Of all the candidates I considered, Abbey Road simply fit best.


Quoted from Andrew
Haha, this is a lovely way of showing how a Dad knows his word is about to be overridden by Mum


That, there, is dialogue lifted from my own real life.  You should every day pay attention, looking for things you can use later.


Quoted from Andrew
Greg feels like a weak-willed man, is this intentional? He's kinda just so - for want of a better expression - wimpy.


I also feel that he is the weakest link, but then, it is almost inevitable that one character ends up overshadowed by the others. He is supposed to be a bit self-centered, a bit immature, kind of grown-up reflection of Ty.  Not sure how well that comes across, really.


Quoted from Andrew
...isn't there an unspoken rule about not killing animals, though?


Kids, I think.  And killing dogs seems to get people up in arms.  Cats?  Not so much, it would seem.  Who knows?


Quoted from Andrew
I liked this, but I didn't love it. The lines felt too blurred, and the rationale for Yoder's killing wasn't clear/substantial enoughÖthings may have become a little too convoluted by the endÖthe story feels like it hasn't reached a complete circle.


Ah, the third act.  I freely acknowledge that it is a bit muddled -- a common problem for many scripts.

The keys that often get missed -- and it is my fault, not yours -- are the motives of Yoder.  The land must remain uninhabited, lest the children return.  That is Yoder's problem with the first family, which drives him to action.  It is quite a bit of backstory I tried to deliver without being explicit, and it does not seem to be coming through.  At least, not completely.  Then, later, Yoder is horrified to find Angel still alive -- and he is the only one who recognizes her true nature.

To Yoder, Angel must die.  That is his overriding desire in the current story, and he really means the other family no harm. But once he shoots Greg -- though it was not intentional -- Yoder thinks he needs to kill everyone. It is not like he has some master plan for killing everyone -- leave alone what he intends to do afterwards -- but he is supposed to be a little unbalanced anyway.

And with all the running around and shooting in the third act -- many have found it too busy, and would opt for something more quiet -- it kind of distracts from those main points.  I continue to work on mending those problems.

Thank you for taking the time to drop some thoughts, likes, and dislikes -- particularly on a feature length.  That is no small chore, and is always very much appreciated by any author.  The offer to look over your MP submission (whenever) still stands, for sure.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Hi Bert,
I have been scanning through scripts to read for the past couple of days. After hitting many terrible one's and giving up, I decided to pay attention to the one's that seem to have the most comments. That seemed to have payed off, as I ran into "The Farm". It was the first script that grabbed me from the get go and kept me reading. I actually had no idea that it was written by you until I had finished it and decided that this was one I'd like to give some feedback on to start with. I went back to the forums tonight and started looking through other people's comments and only then realized that Robert Newcomer was "Bert". How's that for random?

I'll start by saying you're a very good writer. The formatting and pacing are spot on. You set the mood perfectly with your great descriptions and this was a fun, eerie read. More importantly, you're dialogue is convincing and your characters have depth.

You seem to have gotten lot's of feedback, which I didn't read all of, so this might have been addressed somewhere along the way. I did find that I was confused by the stories climax when I read it last night. So tonight I started again at page 60 and read through the end, to see if it was just because it was late when I read it. I still have a couple of lingering questions. Perhaps in answering these questions, you might find ways of making these more clear in the script itself.

Why does the bear attack Ty?
After learning the true motives of the ghosts it seems out of place for that bear to try to kill Ty in a combine. Am I missing something about the bear in particular. Does it (or whatever possessed it) have other more sinister motives than the ghosts of the children? Don't get me wrong, I really dig the bear and it contributes to some of the cooler scenes, but I don't get why it tried to kill Ty.

How does the irrigation machine fire to life with the power lines all downed?
That seems far fetched and cheapens the impact of the ending, IMHO. Seems like all that really need to happen is for the snowmobile to crash into the water pipe to cause the same kind of water eruption you want to take out your bad guy.
(PS. The snow globe foreshadowing was really cool!)

The sheriff showing up at the end seems very random. It took me a while to get why he was there. I'm assuming that it had something to do with him discovering the nature of the syringe and coming to face the old man, but it isn't really setup that well. The entire syringe thing feels a bit tacked on. It might help if it is setup somehow throughout the early part of the movie, so that when it does show up it feels like its wrapping up a mystery. You have lots of cool creepy scenes in the beginning and I'm wondering if there isn't a way to bring the concept of the syringe in earlier. Even if its just scenes showing it somehow in strange creepy fashions. It would make that part feel less tacked on to me.

Tied into this, is the approaching headlights that signifies that other people are coming to their aid at the end. Who are these people and why, in the middle of nowhere, would they all be coming to this farm at night? If you were to cut that out completely, and just let the family stand along together at the end, it would feel more realistic. Unless these people are somehow tied to the story and have a reason for randomly coming to their aid. Since we never see them arrive, I don't think we need to have anyone show up at all that night, but the sheriff.

Other than those questions, I really liked the story and loved the writing. Hope this helps.

Congrats on a nice, well written script. Good luck with it!

B


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Baltis.
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Quoted from fusilierb

I have been scanning through scripts to read for the past couple of days. After hitting many terrible one's and giving up, I decided to pay attention to the one's that seem to have the most comments.


Some of the best movies in the world are movies you've probably never heard of. Infact, I bet the top 5 movies on my mind right now you've never heard of , and the only way you would is if I gave you their names and you did a fast IMDB search for them.

With that said, Bert is an amazingly talented writer and his body of work speaks for itself... I don't however agree with "more reads = better script"  A lot of times, believe it or not, more reads = shitty script and an influx of writers wanting to help the person out.  Of course, that's not the case here... as you can see the script is written with a sharp perspective, but a lot of times the page count ticks high because of flaws and debate.

I'd rather have no reads and a kick ass script than a million reads and a shitty script. Word of mouth becomes your crowning achievement.

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Quoted from Baltis.


Some of the best movies in the world are movies you've probably never heard of. Infact, I bet the top 5 movies on my mind right now you've never heard of , and the only way you would is if I gave you their names and you did a fast IMDB search for them.

With that said, Bert is an amazingly talented writer and his body of work speaks for itself... I don't however agree with "more reads = better script"  A lot of times, believe it or not, more reads = shitty script and an influx of writers wanting to help the person out.  Of course, that's not the case here... as you can see the script is written with a sharp perspective, but a lot of times the page count ticks high because of flaws and debate.

I'd rather have no reads and a kick ass script than a million reads and a shitty script. Word of mouth becomes your crowning achievement.



Didn't mean to imply that more reads meant BETTER scripts. I just found these boards a couple of days ago and there are a LOT of scripts here. Just going down the list was not really exposing me to a lot of fantastic reads. But the ones that were "hot" did seem to get me to better material. This won't be a habit. Once I've had some time to sort through these boards, I'll spend more time checking em all out. Or at least starting to read them all.

B


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 13th, 2009, 5:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Bert,

Finally got around to reading this. Should have read it a long time ago.

I'm not really going to review it as such, as everything that is there has been discussed at length.

I will say that it is an excellent script and really shows that you do have the ability to write.

I'm not sure what is happening with the script, as I remember you mentioning that it was in production. So comments now may be a little redundant.

However, I think you've almost written a truly great script, it just doesn't quite hold together the whole way.  It's hard to put my finger on it beyond what others have said (I would lose the bear personally ).

Some general thoughts. The kids are underused in the script. The burnt little spooky kids are gold. They don't do enough. They should have more of a specific goal and more of a presence at all times.

Yoder is a bit of a side issue. Not really evil enough to take up so much of the film. I can see where you were going with it, but there's a much stronger story just underneath the fabric somewhere. One that is more in keeping with the mysterious atmosphere you've created.

Maybe if you strenghtened Yoder's guilt it would be better. Why not have him being the deliberate cause of the fire that killed his siblings (he was the youngest and he'd never inherit the farm, so he set the fields alight). I'm not sure though. Part of me wants to tell you to get rid of Yoder altogether and find something deeper. Find a theme that is much more intrinsic to the humanity that's in the script where you talk about love and loss. It's almost there. I just can't get it.

I don't know, it's very hard for me to say what I'm feeling.

It's like you've got 65% of it perfect, the creepy house, the kids, the atmosphere, but then you've gone in the wrong direction by making it too action packed. It's still very good and maintains interest, but if you went down the mystery route and stuck to the real chilling haunting feel you could get something really special.

It needs to be emotionally and spiritually bigger, rather than more action packed. A mystery that builds in tension through all the little things like the eyes being cut out until the revelation at the end which will be the opposite of what we expect.

What a useless load of horseshit that was. >

What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is that the weakness in it at the moment stems from the reason why the kids come back. Find the strongest, most powerful reason for them coming back and then you've cracked it. This reason for coming back also should provide your script with its unique selling point, something that it lacks at the moment. It's a really well written, creepy tale, but it doesn't scream buy me as it stands and it should, because it's good enough.


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Scar Tissue Films  -  August 13th, 2009, 5:59pm
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Posted: August 13th, 2009, 7:36pm Report to Moderator
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Man, a lot of activity on this today.  I usually do not split my posts, but I will probably do so in this case.

Let's start with an easy one:


Quoted from Balt
Bert is an amazingly talented writer and his body of work speaks for itself...


Well, you didn't think I was gonna let a shout-out from Balt go unacknowledged, did you?  Those don't come cheap.

I really appreciate that, Balt -- and I am not ashamed to say that I am amongst those eagerly awaiting the arrival of the fabled "Frost Bite", as you are none too shabby yourself, sir.

Now, with that shameless ego stroking out of the way, let's take a look at what Bryan has to say.

First off, thank you for the look.  It was an unexpected surprise, and while I have been too busy to read much lately, I will try to find some down time for "Rougarou" sometime in the next couple of weeks if I can.


Quoted from Bryan
Why does the bear attack Ty?


If the new draft ever sees the light of day here on these boards, you will find the role of the bear diminished.  He is still there as a malevolent presence, but just as a spooky thing.  He will not have claws, and he will not attack Ty.

This is partly because I ultimately had to concede that it was over the top, and partly because I did not have a good answer to this question haha.


Quoted from Bryan
How does the irrigation machine fire to life with the power lines all downed?


That is just a ghostly thing.  Fact is, the pumps need to be running for the water to shoot out of the pipe -- but now it occurs to me that maybe not everybody knows that.

Your idea there might be a good one that could work perfectly fine in "movie world".  Never really thought of it that way.


Quoted from Bryan
The sheriff showing up at the end seems very random.


Yeah, I cut some things that maybe should have stayed.  Some investigative work, toxicology reports, and finding the syringe at Yoder's house.  That kind of stuff.

I was worried that it was all too CSI, but am considering putting some of that stuff back in if I can keep the scenes short.

With the headlights, Ty does mention that police were called on the radio.  A small detail that you understandably missed with all the stuff going on in the third act, which is admittedly a bit bloated right now.

I am really glad you liked it, and yes, your comments were helpful.  I honestly believe that every set of eyes only makes a script stronger.

I also want to add a bit to what Balt was saying about scripts with a large number of posts.  That is one way to look for scripts, but he is right that it can still be hit-or-miss a lot of times.

One thread I like to hype from time to time -- as it is often overlooked (maybe people will notice the bold font) -- is called "Simply Recommended Scripts", where the members have listed some of their favorite works on the board.

There is not much of the newer stuff on that thread -- people should feel free to add some of their recent favorites -- but you will find most of the works on that thread to be pretty decent:

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-knowyou/m-1141227828/

Thanks again, Bryan.  And thank you, too, Dec -- what a pleasant surprise.

I am still digesting some of your comments for a response later -- but damned if you don't sound exactly like the guy who ultimately came through with the option. You frickin' directors can be a real headache, you know that?


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!

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bert  -  August 13th, 2009, 7:48pm
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Hey, Dec.  Finally getting a chance to put some thoughts together on your comments.

As I mentioned earlier, it was kind of a shock to read comments from somebody on your side of the production fence -- as I could virtually superimpose your stuff over the emails from my own option guy.  It was downright eerie at times.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
The kids are underused in the script. They don't do enough. They should have more of a specific goal and more of a presence at all times.


"More kids" is one of our primary chores with a new draft.  Interestingly (I hope), one of the key instances he latched onto was the angle between Mary El and the Eldest Son -- and he is right that this never really plays out.  We are going to try to milk that aspect a bit more, and give it a payoff.

As for a specific goal, that is going to be tied in closer to Yoder.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
Yoder is a bit of a side issue. Not really evil enough to take up so much of the film. Part of me wants to...get rid of Yoder altogether.


Again, this is the exact same conversation I have already had.  I had to fight a bit to keep Yoder, actually.  Even though he does not show up until the latter half of the film.  Almost precisely at the midpoint, actually.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
Maybe if you strengthened Yoder's guilt it would be better...


And therein lies the compromise.  Without going too far into it, Yoder will be the oldest of these children at the time of the fire -- not an infant -- and that is going to fix a few lingering problems.

As you suggest, the solution is "much more intrinsic to the humanity that's in the script" --which just happens to be a piece of phrasing that I particularly liked.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
...you've gone in the wrong direction by making it too action packed. It's still very good and maintains interest, but if you went down the mystery route and stuck to the real chilling haunting feel you could get something really special.  It needs to be emotionally and spiritually bigger, rather than more action packed. A mystery that builds in tension through all the little things like the eyes being cut out until the revelation at the end which will be the opposite of what we expect.



Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
What a useless load of horseshit that was.


Funny.  But I suspect you know good and well that it isn't.

I really appreciate your time and your thoughts, Dec, and they are far from redundant.  If anything, they help me to confirm in my own mind that we must be on the right track -- or at least close to it -- and for that I thank you again.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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