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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 27810 views)
RJ
Posted: July 31st, 2012, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Now I'm the one that's sorry for the late reply, sorry, pop my head in all the time, but don't have a lot of time to comment usually.

Glad to see that you're keeping Teddy - yay   (the story wouldn't be the same without him)

The League Undisclosed is my baby, but I've done a major re-write on it and the mid part of the story plays out a little differently. I'm hoping to post it when I can, so it might be worth waiting till then - I'm hoping this version is the finished one.

Renee

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: August 20th, 2013, 9:28am Report to Moderator
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Hi Bert

Decided to take this be on holiday to read. That's the kinda guy I am...weird, I accept.

I didn't take notes and to be honest with feedback from the likes of Atlas pretty much everything has been said. In fact it is a good education to read the script and then go through all those comments.

It was a decent read but I would agree with being a tad lost on the motivations. I suppose that is good in one sense as you want to draw readers in with the why did that happen? What do they want? Who is she etc? But at the same time there seem opportunities for making this clear, and then reversing what we knew to add tension and dynamic flow.

I suppose Yoder is the key charcter for me to be enhanced.  I had a moment of reflection about Yoder and came up with this idea, which I offer.

Maybe he could have lost the farm, been forced to sell, because he failed at farming and turned to alcohol. He carries the scar of separating the family, leaving the graves behind, perhaps beholden to his father to never let them down...a curse.

I accept there is some reference at the moment to ownership and value but not much and not tied into Yoders motivations, if read it correctly.

He's now dry but 'seeing things' and ' hearing voices' and obessesed with getting it back, hence the killing. He doesn't have money so how can he do it? We wouldn't know that at first.

Accordingly he is presented as hard working, got himself together style of rural man. Look after the family whilst they are sorting things out. He would probably be strange from minute one so we are given the choice of is he a protector or not.

His true self, weird side, could then be revealed to the audience at an early stage, say mid point or early second act, to help escalate the tension. We would then be left with the question of are the spirits/girl on Yoders side or not and how that links in. Has he summoned them? probably what you want the audience to think, but only to discover they reject his violence and cherish the play and fun they lost - they were fun loving children after all trapped in childhood.

Perhaps there is the opportunity for more attention on Ty, and Yoders anger that another child lives there - extra motivation. We could then be wondering if this boy's life is at risk around every corner and Is Yoder doing the children's bidding and ridding them of this unwanted child? Angel could play into this.

Not sure how Angel fits with my random idea but again there maybe a chance for him to think she is friendly at first, a spirit on his side, but that changes.

Clearly this doesn't sit with the script as is and are just a couple of ideas to bat around.

All the best


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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Guest
Posted: August 20th, 2013, 12:37pm Report to Moderator
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Great to see this up on the portal again.

I read this a few years ago and loved it

New members should check it out.
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rolo
Posted: August 20th, 2013, 8:12pm Report to Moderator
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This one's on my list. Hope to read it over the weekend.
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bert
Posted: August 25th, 2013, 12:49pm Report to Moderator
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Wow...a read on my relic.  Thanks, Reef.  Not often I spy this one on the portal these days.  Apologies for the delayed response.  Busy week.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
...to be honest with feedback from the likes of Atlas pretty much everything has been said. In fact it is a good education to read the script and then go through all those comments.


I know, right?  There has been a lot of talk about the value of coverage these days, but looking at a thread like this -- you really can’t put a price on it.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
It was a decent read but I would agree with being a tad lost on the motivations…But at the same time there seem opportunities for making this clear, and then reversing what we knew to add tension and dynamic flow.


I agree that motivations are a weakness here, and your thoughts about Yoder are good.  Whenever it is that a new draft emerges, Yoder will be the oldest of the children, and more culpable in the deaths of his siblings, which opens up a few new avenues.

You offer a couple of good ones to think on, so thanks.  Some of it is an odd fit, but sometimes good things come from examining the story through a slightly different prism.

Thanks again for the read and some good input!


Quoted from Guest
Great to see this up on the portal again.  I read this a few years ago and loved it


Thank you, Reap.  You seem to know your way around the horror genre, so that is very gratifying to hear.


Quoted from rolo
This one's on my list. Hope to read it over the weekend.


Well, I hope it doesn’t disappoint.  I have learned a lot since drafting this many years ago -- even I can spot weaknesses, so do not feel like you need to hold back if something bugs you.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Posted: August 26th, 2013, 1:29am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert


Thank you, Reap.  You seem to know your way around the horror genre, so that is very gratifying to hear.


I'm a big horror buff, you got that right.  

By the way, what's the story with The Farm?  You doing anything new with it?
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rolo
Posted: August 28th, 2013, 10:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert -
You told me not to hold back, so here goes: This is the biggest pile of crap I've ever had the misfortune to read! Ha! Ha! Only joking! (sorry, I couldn't resist!)

reaper recommended ‘the farm’ to me along with a few others scripts on here. And I have to say, the guy's got good taste!

That said, I did have some issues with the script (mostly in the third act) and had to read it twice to try and understand it better, not sure if I succeeded completely, so apologies if some of my notes don't appear to make sense? Also, I did skim a few of the comments posted and I guess you've probably heard some of what I have to say already?

The notes may appear somewhat random; I've been thinking about the script and wondering how to organize my thoughts accordingly. I think Jeff (Dreamscale) had a similar problem with my own script; "Offline". LOL.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
You have a nice, clean, writing style that is visual, yet never novelistic. Good job!

Page 1 – I sensed immediately that Angel was dead. A barefooted child, knee deep in snow, showing no apparent signs of discomfort and bearing the name ‘Angel’ made it fairly obvious.  That said, if it were to be filmed as is, the audience would have no idea her name is Angel, and so may not be quite as savvy?

Some of your slugs are a mess! These ones in particular:

EXT. THE SAME FIELD WHERE WE FIRST MET ANGEL – DAY
PAINTING SUPPLIES IN A DARKENED ROOM – DAY
EXT. FARMHOUSE – GREG – NIGHT

Page 13 - EXT. FARMHOUSE WINDOW - DAY

Greg, Mary El, and Ty are all at the window now -- the same window through which Greg and Ty observed the abrupt
departure of Huldah and June.

The slug suggests that they are on the outside looking in – but unless I misread it? They were actually on the inside looking out?

Page 24 – Lucifer seems an odd choice of name for a female cat. Even though she did eat her own kittens!

CHARACTERS
Most of the characters were generally well drawn. I never had a problem with Mary El’s attitude towards Angel – given that she had recently lost her own daughter, I felt her emotional attachment to Angel was pretty believable under the circumstances!

My favorite character was Ty! He had heaps of attitude and personality and behaved like a kid his age would behave given the situation. Good job!

That said, there was one incidence where his character lacked consistency for me. And that was when he “gingerly” accepts Gaskins gun. Remember, this is the same kid, who earlier helped himself to Dan’s rifle in order to blast the evil teddy bear. So wouldn’t Ty be eager to accept Gaskins gun? Possibly even demand it?

Teddy Bear – I had a tough time accepting him as scary. Teddy bears are generally cute, fuzzy, fluffy little things. A demonic one was a tough sell for me – sorry!

That said, I found Angel to be the most problematic character. (more on her later!)

DIALOG

The dialog was good and one of the script’s biggest strengths. It felt naturalistic, real and above all, believable. My only real gripe with it was some of Greg’s dialog:

Page 81 –
The door suddenly EXPLODES outward, smashing into the
opposite wall. The padlock and hinges fly like shrapnel.

INT. KITCHEN
All four of them turn their eyes towards the ceiling, then eye each other nervously.

                                                                        GREG
                                                    What do you think that was?

The door explodes and this is his reaction?!

Similarly, his line on Page 86 to Yoder: “That’s a tetanus shot, asshole!” is oddly comedic and, given what has just happened to him and his family, somewhat bizarre!

CONFUSION

As hinted earlier, I felt the third act in particular, was rather confusing at times. For example, if I understand it right? Angel was always dead and possessed by Sarah. Yet, she is referred to as Angel throughout. Never as Angel/Sarah or Angel (Sarah) even after the reveal that she is in fact Sarah? Man, that confused the crap out of me!

Another problem I had in the third act, was with some of the scenes. When Angel ‘shows’ Ty how she is killed by Yoder we think it’s a premonition of sorts. I never had a problem with that scene because Angel has already indicated to Ty through her dialog that she is about to show him something. Later on, however, we have this on Page 84.

Yoder is at one of the headstones, hacking at the frozen ground with a pickaxe, preparing a shallow grave.

Followed by this on Page 85:

Yoder is gone. The gravesite is undisturbed, resting beneath a blanket of snow.

So if I understand it correctly. None of the stuff that took place between the two action blocks really happened?! It was a premonition or something? Either way, I found it both confusing and jarring and it took me out of the story.

THIRD ACT AGONY

As mentioned I think the story starts to fall apart in the third act. For me there are a number of reasons why this is. The narrative loses focus and is trying to accomplish too much. Consequently, there is no clear throughline.

THE TERRIBLE TWOS

You seem to like two of everything in this script! For me, the following observations are the reasons why the third act collapses under its own weight!

First off, you have at least two separate antagonists! One human as in Yoder and one supernatural as in Sarah/Teddy/Five Yoder sons. I think you need to decide on one or the other. Together, they just don’t work!

Angel/Sarah – If I understand this correctly? One dead girl (Sarah) possesses the body of another dead girl (Angel). That frankly, makes little sense to me! I think this is what the late Blake Snyder of ‘Save The Cat’ fame would describe as: “Double Mumbo Jumbo”!

I think Sarah could possess Angel if she were still alive for sure – but not if she is dead. That’s just too weird imo and stretches believability to breaking point!

The two almost simultaneous action scenes between Gaskins and Yoder and Ty and Teddy turn the story into more of an action fest than a supernatural horror story. Ty and Teddy works fine – it has a supernatural bent. However, Gaskins and Yoder is one too many imo.

Also, why is Teddy attacking Ty? Because he opened the box? If so, it seems rather a weak motive!

SOME SUGGESTIONS/WHAT IF’S/BRAINSTORMING

Teddy Bear – The story’s set on a farm so why not have Teddy be a scarecrow doll instead? Scarecrow’s are often perceived as a totem of death and would be far scarier than a sweet teddy!

Angel – What if she isn’t dead? Maybe when the Ereckson’s arrive she’s hiding. (something I think Atlas suggested?). Gaskins thinks she's run away, but she’s terrified and in fear of her life, because, as the Ereckson’s later discover, the supernatural forces will do anything to keep her there.

The fire that killed the Yoder children wasn’t started by a freak of nature. Its source was evil!
One of the Yoder kids (probably the oldest) has a real nasty streak and it was him trying to burn the younger child’s scarecrow doll with a match that set the field on fire and killed them all.

Since Angel and her folks arrived, what had been a barren strip of land for sixty years or more had suddenly become fertile again and had produced a bumper crop two years straight! Largely, as a result of the energy/lifeforce Angel gives off. This energy is what attracts the Yoder sons to her. The eldest (evil) Yoder uses Angel to control his siblings. They want to leave the farm and go into the light so they can be reunited with their beloved parents. But the eldest Yoder want to control their spirits for ever. Refuses to let them or Angel leave!

It would have a definite Poltergeist vibe for sure, but crucially, would still be that all important: “The same but different”!

Apologies for rambling! LOL. Just wanted to give you a little food for thought and hopefully spark something and get your mind racing on possible story alternatives!

SUMMARY

Given everything I’ve said, you might think I hate ‘the farm’ On the contrary, I found it to be a good script and an entertaining read! Good job, Bert!

Take care

Gary (rolo)








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bert
Posted: September 5th, 2013, 2:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Guest
By the way, what's the story with The Farm?  You doing anything new with it?


I certainly plan to one of these days, but I will need a rare, uninterrupted block of time to work on it.  I am a slow writer, unfortunately, and need the to time to immerse myself into a project.  I envy those that can write an hour here and an hour there and bust stuff out, but I have accepted that I am just not one of those guys.

That, and mountains of insight from guys like rolo make it both easier and harder to decide on what avenues to pursue when building up the story.

Do you have anything on the boards, Reap?  I am curious.  I poked around a bit on the boards, but found nothing.


Quoted from rolo
This is the biggest pile of crap I've ever had the misfortune to read!

Not the first time I have heard those sentiments.  When onboarding feedback, it is important to remember that you can never please everyone.


Quoted from rolo
You have a nice, clean, writing style that is visual, yet never novelistic.


And that right there is one of the most common complaints I receive haha.  Some people like it (thanks) and others...not so much.


Quoted from rolo
I sensed immediately that Angel was dead…the name Angel made it fairly obvious.

Yeah, it was kind of meant to be that way.  Not so much a reveal for later, but just putting the reader on notice that things are not normal here.


Quoted from rolo
Some of your slugs are a mess!


Agreed.  You should have seen the first draft.  We keep learning all the time.


Quoted from rolo
My favorite character was Ty!


Me, too.  It occurred to me recently how outdated some of his gaming devices have become.  A Gameboy?  Amazing how quickly technology can date a script these days.  Your point about the gun is a good one, and duly noted.


Quoted from rolo
Teddy Bear – I had a tough time accepting him as scary.


Lots of disagreement on that one, and I think most of the problem is how I handle it.  It just goes too far, and I need to scale it back, lest it come off as laughable as opposed to frightening.


Quoted from rolo
"That's a tetanus shot, asshole!" is oddly comedic and, given what has just happened to him and his family, somewhat bizarre!


Haha...I had forgotten that line.  I honestly have no idea if I will preserve that line or not.


Quoted from rolo
As mentioned I think the story starts to fall apart in the third act. For me there are a number of reasons why this is. The narrative loses focus and is trying to accomplish too much.


Your interpretations prior to this statement are correct, and frankly, I totally agree with what you are saying here, too.  I particularly appreciate your pointing out specific instances of confusion.

What I need here, I think, is a quieter conclusion.  As you point out, it almost devolves into an action scenario, and I hope to scale things back a bit.  For me, the third act departs from the tone I set out to create in the earlier acts, and the story suffers.

Your brainstorming session that follows is great, and stirs some excellent thoughts into the melting pot.  They have earned a copy/paste into the big folder.  Your thoughts on both the scarecrow and Angel are particularly intriguing to consider.

Thanks so much for chiming in with your own take on this script.  I really enjoyed reading through your notes that were both amusing and insightful – and sometimes both at once.

I do try to return favors on the boards as best I can, time permitting.  I have noticed Offline getting some attention, but it also looks as if a new draft is pending.  I will be on the lookout.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Posted: September 5th, 2013, 3:03pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert

Do you have anything on the boards, Reap?  I am curious.  I poked around a bit on the boards, but found nothing.



You read something of mine a few years ago, Bert.

Remember The Big Fade?

Haha, it's been drastically rewritten since.  When I get it how I want it, I'll post it on the board for everybody.

I have had Don delete the original thread a few months back.

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bert
Posted: September 5th, 2013, 3:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Guest
You read something of mine a few years ago, Bert.

Remember The Big Fade?


Oh, dude -- that was years ago!  You must write as slow as me!

It's a curse, man.

You must have changed your user name at some point, but yeah, I remember that one.  A young, tough guys kinda' story.  I recall liking it, but good luck with the new draft!



Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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rolo
Posted: September 9th, 2013, 6:19am Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert -

Glad you found my notes of some use!

"What I need here, I think, is a quieter conclusion.  As you point out, it almost devolves into an action scenario, and I hope to scale things back a bit.  For me, the third act departs from the tone I set out to create in the earlier acts, and the story suffers."

I'm not sure if you need a quieter conclusion. I think your instincts to crank things up in the third act were spot on. However, I'd certainly scale back the physical action in favor of more supernatural type action. And by that, I mean telekinesis should be the biggest weapon in your armory. Having the antagonist/evil force use household items and farming implements such as a pitchfork etc to hurt Angel and the others would make for a far scarier and ultimately more satisfying conclusion.

I do agree that there was a noticeable shift in tone in the third act. If you could keep the tone of the first two acts and heighten it somewhat during the third act, I think it would make the story stronger.

Not sure if any of this helps? Either way, I hope you find the time to rewrite The Farm at some point. I think the story deserves it!

Good luck!

rolo
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