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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 28084 views)
Don
Posted: April 30th, 2005, 11:03am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Farm, The by Robert Newcomer (Bert) - Horror, Supernatural Thriller - A troubled family must unite to save a young niece from the sinister forces that inhabit a snowbound northern farm.  107 pages, pdf, format




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Revision History (5 edits; 1 reasons shown)
bert  -  December 26th, 2017, 4:12pm
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bert
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What readers have been saying about...





Quoted from Scoob
What I most appreciated...was the mood and atmosphere you had in this.


Quoted from Old Time Wesley
...the story is actually good compared to others in this genre...it would peak the interest of people who buy scripts...


Quoted from Cindy Keller
...pretty bad a**...on the creepometer scale I'd give it an 8, possibly a 9.


Quoted from Dr. Mabuse
You've proven that you don't need a body count to create good horror...this is horror in the more traditional sense.


Quoted from Balt
I'd go see this movie...I would...It's not like 97% of the horror scripts here. It's different. It's strange...and it's got a great vibe to it.


Quoted from Oney.Mendoza
...this is a very strong story and script you have here. One of the best.


Quoted from George Willson
The plot was well thought out...not too many horror scripts end on a note of hope as this does. It's a refreshing change.


Quoted from Breanne Mattson
This was a ride...way above average in a genre where that's extremely difficult to do.


Quoted from Ian
Suspenseful, scary and original. That's what everyone's aiming for but very few manage it!


Quoted from Andrew Romance
...this is not your average scary script. It has something different. Something called potential...


Quoted from Greg
A solid piece of writing, sharp dialogue, clear descriptions, and a rather touching storyline.


Quoted from Mike Shelton
...this was a dynamite script...truly a pleasure to read...


Quoted from Chris
...whilst reading the script somebody suddenly walked into the room and it scared the hell out of me, such was the tension I felt...


Quoted from tomson
Beautifully written and well plotted...


Quoted from Abe from LA
King-esque in atmosphere and dripping with creepiness...


Quoted from ABennettWriter
I loved it! I thought it was creepy, and funny, and suspenseful, and scary and everything else.


Quoted from BlueCat Screenplay Feedback
...a terrifying and chilling ghost story...the author has masterfully created an eerie and supernatural atmosphere in every line and on every page...


Why not see for yourself....


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!

Revision History (26 edits; 1 reasons shown)
bert  -  December 26th, 2017, 4:10pm
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Old Time Wesley
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Spoilers beyond, so please don't read on.










Hope this helps.

First off this is my kind of formatting except you didn't put the cut to space between the end of a scene and a new scene heading, it meshes together but with a space in there it would be the same way I do ha-ha.

Did you notice that there is 1 too many spaces between your ext and the headings? This happens on each scene heading. So, when Angel enters the farmhouse you should give a little description of the inside just because as a film you're expected to give us visuals. You did it beautifully in the first scene but than she enters the farmhouse but what does the inside look like before we get to her bedroom?

You've kinda written this as a shooting draft telling us about new angles and stuff on each character. Than going from a tight angle to a wide one, feels to much like a shooting draft at those times and takes the reader (Me) out of the experience. If a book writer tells us about angles it would take you out of the experience and if a film tells us when it's going to a new angle before it does we are taken out of the experience.

The way Greg talks with Ty is not fatherly, it's almost as if two buddies were together talking, you know?

The whole Greg and Mary losing a child earlier that year is a dead sub plot or whatever it's there for, take that out because it just brings down the overall quality of the screenplay by saying to us you watch to many horror films.

She plods over to the coffee maker, pours in the water, and flips it on.  Then she flips the switch again.  That's right.  No power.  Shit.  
The last few lines from that right to the end is not needed, it makes no sense to tell us the obvious.

This is Ben Yoder, but his few acquaintances simply call him YODER.  We sense dementia in him -- an odd brew of creeping senility and deeper, more unsettling, deficits.
This also tells too much in an action description and not through actions. You have to describe him, not tell us his tendencies, show them.

Yoder never took his skis when he left but had them outside, you left out a detail. And he isn't like you described, he seemed pretty normal to me.

You must really want to emphasize the stuff that's happening, just write it stop adding in this extra stuff that is really annoying like AT US! Or HOLY SH*T it's becoming annoying as I read on. The script is good enough without them, they hurt it.

You and your angles, if this is meant to be a directors cut and you want to direct it don't post it. Post the screenplay version not the directors shooting draft. I know I said this up further but it's really getting on my nerves.

I believe you should shorten this down, it is at times slow and boring and if it were cut to around 80 - 90 pages it would be a lot better. You have to stay on plot and when they stop to enjoy the fruits of their labor every so often it slows it down. I feel that at this length the script doesn't move, it stalls and that's not good.

It is a young girl's nightgown.  But filthy.  And there is something else.  The back of the gown is stiff with dried blood and...are those holes?
You're asking questions in your own script? We can't actually see it so if they are holes tell us and if they're not than they're not.

She slowly turns to face us, as if she had known we were there all along. -  I believe that should be him meaning Ty not us because we're not in the room and neither is a camera... Yet.

When Yoder tells his story of the farm I think the word you're looking for is drought not draught. Draught means something totally different.

How can he bury someone in the winter, the ground would be so frozen it would be impossible. A demonic cat? I mean it was good until that; couldn't you have just used ghosts or something believable?

I think it's a very ambitious script that means well but with all the director and camera angles and it being to long it hurts itself. I really enjoyed the story but you need to shorten it considerably because for the genre it is in it has to be shorter to be really good.

The ending was a little too much, shorten it, make it a little bit clearer. All in all it was a very good script and the story is actually good compared to others in this genre. I hope you got that I really enjoyed it and if it was modified and shortened it would peak the interest of people who buy scripts.


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George Willson
Posted: May 14th, 2005, 9:47pm Report to Moderator
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I also try to avoid previous reviews before reading so I don't get spoiled either, so pardon again any repeats.

SPOILER ALERT!!!






Overall, I found this to be a very good read. The plot was well thought out, and the twist on the true purpose of the spirits was nice. Not too many horror scripts end on a note of hope as this does. It's a refreshing change. I felt the anguish of Angel's loss, and smiled at the secret. That's a mark of some good character setup.

And now, the unpleasant part.

You went and pissed off the director. Two major problems at this point are too many camera directions and too many “we see’s”. Since we write spec scripts, this are incorrect to use since it takes the reader out of the story and just fills up space. I went through 3 pages pointing out this and that before noticing the whole script does this, so I just blanket comment from the beginning.

Also remember to show, not tell, things that characters do or think. When you read through your descriptions (which is good to do apart from the dialogue sometimes), try to picture them in your head. If you can’t picture it, don’t write it. This was done a lot with the character descriptions when they first appear. He goes by Ty and describing Yoder's personality. These are things that should just be shown as the story progresses.

You also have a tendency to tell what a character is thinking or feeling at a particular moment as well. These also need to be changed to show what a character DOES in reaction to how they feel.

Other things:

Pg 7: Um, where did Angel get a canister of mace?

I don’t understand Mary El’s attitude with the nurses. They’ve been with her. They know what she’s capable of. Mary El has never met this child and just learned she stabbed the sheriff clean through with a pencil. There is a courseness to her character near the beginning that wears off as we go on, but the courseness never really makes sense to me. But maybe I misses it.

Pg 12: Gaskins: “But for the time we them.” I think we’re missing something here.

Pg 20: Ty: “They will probably send me to see the guidance counselor” Kids don’t get sent to a guidance counselor for not turning in an essay. Maybe more info is needed here.

Pg 22: How does Angel “survey” this new addition? The word kind of indicates interest, or she could just look at it with disinterest. Need to show what Angel is doing.

Pg 46: She flips the switch on and off. I think we got the idea without “hearing” Mary El’s thoughts.

Pg 47: Ben Yoder is obviously a farmer. How can we see this? We also never see of hear of his few acquaintances, so he might want to communicate this piece of info of how his friends refer to him. Show, not tell.

Pg 52/3: Maybe raccoons aren't the best story for Greg to have told Yoder, but this is really too much info about raccoon hibernation habits.

Pg 58: Profanity in descriptions again. I can picture it, but not sure how it relates to the story. I mean did he land in consecrated excrement or what?

Pg 58: He never told her about the windmill on top of the car that pulled down the power lines that knocked out the power? You’ve got to be kidding. That discussion would HAVE to have come up at some point, if for no other reason than “what happened to the power?” No, you don’t have characters chat about stuff the audience knows unless there’s something to add, but I just assumed he told her right after he comes back in and says they’ll stick around and find it hard to believe he didn’t.

Pg 86: “They used to say Sarah’s eyes were dark as molasses” This is a nice bit of info, but Ty said at the beginning that you can’t see the portrait unless you are going downstairs, but Greg is leading Yoder upstairs.

Pg 107: Typo - As Angle watches…

After finishing it all and understanding the reason the spirits came back, I don't understand the teddy bear. The others behaved as they probably should given who their target really is. The teddy bear, though, had a contract out on Ty or something. It makes for some creepy stuff, admittedly, but when all is said and done, I don't understand why the bear is demon-possessed.

Now, I looked back over what Wesley said and...I think he has a point about the cat. I'll admit it does kind of fit because the girl was reanimated by the spirit of Sarah, but who reanimated the cat? The teddy bear?

And whatever this subplot was about losing a baby last year, it was apparently so essential, I missed it...

All said, I liked it, and it has a lot of great potential. You have a well thought out backstory, the characters tend to stay within their boundaries and do what they're supposed to do. It ends very nicely and makes a lot of sense.


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bert
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I usually like to just take in comments without defending myself, but I have to ask about your "Page 20" comment.  That's like, my favorite line!  The point is that the CONTENT of the essay would be so disturbing.

Was it that unclear, or just not that funny?

I like that you skipped the previous post from Wes, because both of you tapped me about the lost baby sub-plot.  That is supposed to why she is so drawn to Angel, despite all the weirdness.  Between you and Wes, it is really obvious to me that particular point is just not getting through.  That type of feedback is particularly valuable.  Thanks for the read.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!

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bert  -  May 15th, 2005, 12:53am
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Oney.Mendoza
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Bert,

         I haven't read any previous posts/reviews so if I repeat something just bare with me.

         =SPOILERS THROUGHOUT - SPOILERS THROUGHOUT=

The opening; Angel finding Dan and Erica's bodies was a creepy opening but that didn't interest me. I started getting interested in the script when the family first noticed that Angel's eyes were cut out in photos, but thats my personal opinion.

I understand from the message you sent me is that you're planning on a rewrite and you want suggestions. I'll give you something at the end of this saying if I liked it or not, but for now here's some suggestions to help you out:

Characters; Greg, the one major thing that annoyed me in the beginning pages of him is that he's supposed to be the Dad, instead he acts like a child(sometimes younger than Ty). He should be more tougher and have better dialogue to work with. Mary El, I believe her occupation is a caterer? That doesn't work because she seems way to intelligent and smart, at least that's written through the dialogue. So, I suggest you turn her into a psychologist or even a teacher, because that would work well in her patience with Ty and Angel. Now, Ty...well, first thing you should do is change his age. I believe he's 12? That also doesn't work because he is way too sophisticated and edgy to even be considered 12. Make him about 16/17 years old? That would be more realistic.

Plot; Good and solid. I believe you should toy with the whole ghost children presence mainly in the beginning and have shadows, doors slamming, creaking noises, ghostly faces, scary nightmares, only to move the story faster, because it does take a while for anything to really become entertaining.

Pacing; you have a lot of description and mostly thats good...sometimes it's bad. I didn't find the descriptions annoying until the "windmill" scene located around p. 46-ish? I'm not quite sure but it's where Angel is climbing to the top. That was a perfect scene with suspense and action, but the descriptions and having to read everything sort of slowed the scene down, it should be quick to the point and fun. Also, same with the "hopper" scene, great scene and action, but the descriptions are a bit much. Once again, descriptions are good but don't over-do it.

p.77 where Ty see's Angel/Yoder in the field(premonition scene?) is great and creepy. I suggest you add just a little more tension between the two, like a door closing or something.

p.94 Great! The bear was back! I liked that, I understand it was one of the child's toys. Maybe you should add some bit of info explaining if the cat/bear were possessed by the children or something.

Having Angel hold the shotgun at the end was good, but don't you think it was on-screen it would be a little awkward and unbelievable watching a young girl control a gun?

I liked the flashback scene, it was well-needed. I'm glad you didn't use it as a dream sequence or having a ghost share to a character what happened.

Hope these suggestions help you. I liked this script, it had a good blend of suspense and action. Just mainly work on your characters, then it would be perfect. I really hope you rewrite this, it's good. You have good material especially explaining why the farm is haunted and you answered questions in the end that I was wondering for a long time. Great stuff, one of the better supernatural thrillers on this website, it was a fun read. Good luck with any future writings.

-ONEY


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bert
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Thank you for your time and comments, Oney.  It really helps.

You are not the first one to tag me on my overlong descriptions.  Sometimes I just can't help myself, but that will be the major goal for my summer rewrite.

The skeleton of the story will remain intact, but I plan to trim this by 10-15 pages if I can.  (It should be pretty painful...)

Can I ask you something specific?  Now that you have read it through?

Although he is too polite to say it directly, I suspect Wesley hates my demon-cat.  What is your vote on the possessed cat?  Stay or go?


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Oney.Mendoza
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Bert,

   Um, the cat was "okay"...if you never had the cat appear again in the script it would be fine. But, if you want to keep it in I suggest you give MORE detail. I just really didn't get a sense what this freaky cat-thing looked like. Ask more people before you decide to take it out, I personally don't mind the cat though, but obviously...others do.

-ONEY


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George Willson
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The only issue I have with the cat is why was it reanimated. I follow everything else (although the bear is weird), but the cat really wasn't part of the dead kids. It was the cat of the family who was killed. I think it's a potential plot hole that needs to be cleaned up to work. If you can give it a solid, plot-building explanation, cool. If not, why is it there?


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bert
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Sometimes it's too tempting (and you see it all the time) to take liberties with the fact that you are writing a ghost story.  Who needs an explanation?  It's ghosts!  If it's creepy, toss it in and logic be dam*ed.

In fact, I DO know why the cat is there, but clearing it up only makes things looonger...not shorter.

Would a short scene of the cat being buried in the graveyard be enough to fill this hole?  


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dogglebe
Posted: May 24th, 2005, 12:11pm Report to Moderator
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As I told you  in my e-mail, Bert, you are incorrectly describing people and actions.  You describe Ty, Mary El and Greg in ways that can't be recorded by the camera.  How can we see that Ty inherited his grin from his father?  Or how Mary El can see through these grins?  

How does Ty get frustrated with the game (page 3)?  Does he curse at it?  Throw it to the floor?  Punch the back of his mother's seat?

How do we recognize the farmhouse?  It's the first time you mention it?

You do this through out the script.

Moving on....

I found Mary El's immediate defense of Angel to be very forced and phony.  She's willing to jeopardize her catering business (and her marriage) to take care of her.  The kid needs help and not the kind that an aunt can give.  I'm surprised that the state didn't take her away, no matter how much of a fight she'd put up.  They wouldn't send two nurses over.

You kind of forget that it's wintertime and freezing out a couple of times.  The first was with the spider.  They hibernate in the winter.  The second time is when Ty finds the dead animals in the shed.  You wouldn't smell them in freezing weather.  Frozen things don't give off an odor.

While I haven't read the entire script, I would recommend you change the scenario so Mom, Dad and Ty are encouraged to stay at the farm permanently.  Perhaps they live in a trailer, or a small apartment in the bad part of some town or city.  Make the farm a nice place to live (at first).

You did write one or two things that I liked.  The opening sequence told a lot.  The part where Angel poked her hanging father.  The twirling part was a nice simple touch that showed good imagery.


Phil
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Michael Myers
Posted: June 10th, 2005, 11:49pm Report to Moderator
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Very Freaky man... one of the best wierdest scripts ever!


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COMPLETE: "Rose Haven"
WRITING: Modern Western
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bert
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Wow.  Thanks.


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MonetteBooks
Posted: June 13th, 2005, 11:22am Report to Moderator
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Bert: I finished your script, and truly enjoyed it. Our scripts shared similarities in tone and imagery,--winter, snow globes, gnarled trees, fire, other-worldly children, etc. Your scene with the combine was fascinating. Your setting is great. You might want to call it "Ereckson Farm" to sound less generic. You don't want it lost under so many farm titles out there in Scriptland. Speaking of names, is there a special reason for using Mary El? It reads a bit clumsy. Consider something more vivid to the character.

I liked the possessed bear and cat. Tying them in more specifically with the children would be even better. You did the ghost children exceptionally well. I liked Greg and Ty. Angel and the weird farmer were quite scary.

Your dialogue rings true, and the story's far superior to most horror films.
Good work!  
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CindyLKeller
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Hey Bert,
Pretty cool script.
I do have some suggestions though.
The mace part. Why not use hairspray? It would still burn, and be something that she could have gotten ahold of easily.
The cat is cool in the script, but if you want to get this produced, a performing cat could cost quite a bit of money and time to use. So you might want to think that part out.
The first time we go into the farm house we see a photo. If we see the photo, you should describe what Dan and Erica look like.

Most of what I have to offer here is with your camera angles. I'll give you a few examples.

I don't like to use P.O.V
Here's some examples:

In the car, after Greg wipes the windshield. I'd just write is as:

Greg wipes a spot on the windshield.

A windmill is up ahead.
Or something similar to that.

I have a few more, too. It's taken me some time to get this. I have a few more examples. Write what you see.

This is how I would alter the wording in this one scene.

BEDROOM

Angel stands in the doorway - half-in, half-out.

On the bed, a lump, the size of a body. It's covered with a bedspread.

Angel approaches the bed, pulls back the bedspread.

It's Erica, the woman in the photograph. Dead.

Angel registers no emotion at all as she re-covers Erica's face.


Another one

BATHROOM
Angel finds Dan hanging by a noose.  

Another one when Mary El steps on the Christmas bulb...

A red Christmas ornament, squashed and shattered beneath her foot.

That gives the camera direction without taking away the director's job. I hope it helps.


I liked the story. There were some spooky moments.

Cindy




 


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ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
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bert
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Thank you for the encouragement & advice Monette & Cindy.  It's always fun to check on your stuff and find something new waiting there!

Monette:  I knew a Mary El in high school, and she inhabits this character.  It is short for Mary Elizabeth.  Conjuring her up helped me to move the dialogue and action for this character.

Cindy:  The mace is on the nurse's keys.  Angel stole them.  It is a small point, but other readers have missed this, too, and I am not sure how to fix it.  Hmm...


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MonetteBooks
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Been meaning to say I admire your generous spirit in responding to people's comments so objectively. It's hard work, all this script writing, revising, etc. Certainly can be frustrating trying to fine-tune everthing, that's for sure.

If the Mary El name works for you, stick with it. I thought it might be short for Mary Ellen.

I used alot of your suggestions in revising my script, & uploaded new version of "The Winter Boy". They keep showing old version, saying site hasn't been updated yet.

About the mace: That point didn't bother me, but maybe you could show Angel stealing it. Or have a character say she did.
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CindyLKeller
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Bert,
I did miss the part about the keys. Maybe have them clank together at some point.
I had a cat in one of the first versions of Halloween Games. A producer was the one who told me how much money it would cost to use one, and told me I should dump it, so I did, and he still wasn't interested. Said I had too many locations. So I've been through maybe 1,000 rewrites (well, it seems like it anyway).  

I really enjoyed your script. Dialogue and story were good, and different. Good luck with it.

Cindy  


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TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy
ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
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Stoop
Posted: June 18th, 2005, 5:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hello,

    Wow, this was a different kind of story. You had many elements in this to make this enjoyable. I see this being a future cult film just because of its weirdness. I liked it though. The characters were likable and the atmosphere stayed creepy from the very beginning. I was very impressed by your format of the script, many complain, but its always better to have "directions" and "descriptions" than less. I guess whatever mood you're in at the time of reading this depends whether or not you find the cat/bear effective. I found it somewhat frightening and chilling(especially because when I was a young child I thought mine were the devil!!!). Well...I hope you rewrite this like you plan because I would like to see another version. I would suggest something...but everything has been said already. Good job.

-Chelsea-
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bert
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Thanks!  I am really glad you liked it.  I have high hopes for this one once I have tightened things up a bit.  I have a cat now, and even as an adult I think he may be the devil.  Or at least a minion or something.  Actually, it is my own cat that you find in this story...


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Martin
Posted: June 20th, 2005, 12:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Bert, I heard a lot of hype about this script so I thought I'd give it a read.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS











Having read through the other reviews I had to scrap half of mine because my thoughts seem to echo what others have said before. Mostly the camera directions, describing what can't be seen, the mace coming out of nowhere, the whole frozen thing etc

All these things aside I thought this was a fantastic script. From the outset the atmosphere was very creepy. I love the way you describe the setting, you use some great imagery which really helps you picture the scene. For the first 30-40 pages I was really reminded of The Shining what with the remote location, the snow, the creepy child etc.

Contrary to what others have said, I actually like the conversational style of your writing. Although sometimes you describe things that aren't on screen, you succeed in helping us visualize the way the characters act. I've read a lot of produced scripts that have a similar style and I think it's okay as long as you don't go overboard.

Overall the story is great and kept me hooked throughout although the end of act 2 seemed to drag on slightly. Act 3 was great but again you could make it shorter.

As for the cat, I think it was okay until the end when I got a little confused. Were its eyes beaming blue and green? I couldnt really picture it.

I liked the teddy bear and his little battles with Ty, very creepy.

I thought the characters were well developed, particularly Ty, but I did wonder about his age at times.

Anyway, not much else to say except I really liked it. This is one of the best scripts I've read on this site. Good job!
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bert
Posted: June 20th, 2005, 3:30pm Report to Moderator
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Req...thanks so much.  Finding this just makes my day, you know?

While you might have thought your comments on act 2 and act 3 were tossed off, I really appreciate them.  It helps confirm some comments by others (and my own suspicions...), and helps me decide where trims need to be made.

I don't worry about repeating the comments of others when looking at stories -- hearing things more than once lets you know they might really have a point.

Thanks again, man.  And I'll be sure to take a look at your birds story (the title escapes me now, but I recall it was a little strange...) when it goes up!


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CurseScripts
Posted: July 31st, 2005, 6:17pm Report to Moderator
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I've just begun to read this.

From what I've read (Two ages) and from what I;ve read, seems pretty good > Angel is so cool!!!

I'll keep posting.
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CindyLKeller
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Hi Bert,
I just saw that the rewrite of The Farm is up.
I'll give it a read my next day off (tomorrow).


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Martin
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Hey Bert, I've been looking forward to this one. I just opened it up and already it looks much better. I'll read it just as as soon as I can
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bert
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Wow.  I can't believe you guys beat me to this!  I haven't even changed my signature yet.  Here is a quick rundown of some changes -- with SPOILERS (which you actually should read if you are kind and patient enough to actually have a second look at this.  That is generous above and beyond...).

* Camera Angles:  Gone.  All of them.  I'll give a dollar to anybody who can find one.
*  It's been trimmed.  It's now at 103 pages, down from 112.
*  Multiple dialogue changes scattered throughout, some are subtle, but a few have undergone major overhauls, such as near the end of Act 2.
*  Many trims of the descriptions, trying to avoid the "show don't tell".  However, very early in the piece, some of these are justified.  You are setting the tone, and you are trying to convey the "type" of characters you envision.  You stop doing this after a few pages, but right up front, it is acceptable.  That is my understanding of this, and I'm sticking to it.
*  About the character of Mary El:  The miscarriage subplot remains, but I have tried to make its effects on Mary El more explicit.  All the criticism of her made me crazy -- in fact, George said, "There is a coarseness to her that wears off as we go on..."  That was supposed to be a character arc, darn it.  And nobody got it.  Anyways, she is supposed to begin harsh, even irrational to a point, but become sympathetic as we come to understand the source of her behavior -- WHY she is drawn to Angel, despite all the weirdness.
*  Ty is a bit older, 13 now.  I figured you guys were right that he should be a little older -- but just a little.
*  A description of the apparition watching Mary El sleep -- I am pleased with this one.
*  Oney suggested having the door shut when Ty confronts Angel.  I liked that, and took it.  Thanks Oney.
*  There is a new scene where the cat is buried in the graveyard.  Instead of just "showing up", the cat now emerges from its burial site.
*  The language has been toned down to a PG-13.  Somebody whose judgement I trust (who should actually KNOW) assured me that this was a good idea -- note to the rest of you guys, OK?
*  I lost the "dementia" angle for Yoder, it's more implied now.  Wesley said, "he seems pretty normal to me.", and I really couldn't respond to that.  So he is just a creepy old guy, and if you want to make him crazy, go right ahead.
*  Some winter things:  Burying people?  Fine, give them a pickaxe with the shovel.  I always thought that one was kind of picky though -- I mean, people still die in winter, and they still get buried, right?  And for the animal shed, I just put in an electric heater that dies when the power goes.  Easy fixes, both of those.
*  The gun that the children must handle has been changed from a shotgun to a rifle -- specifically, something called a "varmint rifle".  They are typically old-style, smaller rifles for killing small prey, not much bigger than a good-size BB gun.  It is more realistic that a child could handle such a weapon.  I actually had a six-year-old handle a similar (unloaded!) weapon, and it looked pretty cool.

And a bunch of other little stuff that fails to come to mind right now.

I hope this version works as well as I think it does.  Please let me know what doesn't.





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bert  -  August 17th, 2005, 11:30am
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Antemasque
Posted: August 17th, 2005, 12:13pm Report to Moderator
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While reading this many thoughts came to my head. Like who, what, where, when and why? But as i read more i noticed who gives a fuck about that, this is a good script so far and i like it for what it is.

I never got the chance to read your version with all the mistakes so i don't know how bad it is and since i don't read  the reviews till i'm done with the script i can't get a hint on it.

Okay now to the script. I hate pdf format so your lucky i am reading this haha.

I like your introduction and i found Angel very sinister as i was reading. I don't like your use of the word crap that you had in the beginning. On screen when someone screams CRAP, what kinda reaction do you think you would get?

Your settings in these pages are done great and i can get a good feel of where the people stand. The dialouge is good and everything has been going smoothly until... we meet Gaskins. As i read his dialouge i thought uhhh? I didn't like his character at all.

More into the story and i noticed this is not your average scary script. It had something different. Something called potential and i like that. The dialouge here and there in your script i thought could of been better.

Mostly the dialouge that comes from (let me look at your script for that names haha) Gaskins, Alona and Mary El. But Mary El later in the script. The first 30 or so pages i thought Mary had good dialouge. Bbut later in the script i started not to like it.

I am not going to use spoilers but the ending was alright. It had its ups and downs haha. Like i really liked it but at the same time i did not like it. Maybe i was looking for a more sinister ending or whatever.

But for what it was it was great. Definitly one of the best's i read and a few changes and it could be better then best. I hope to read more from you soon.

8/10

Andrew

And i gave you 4 out of 5 stars on the star rating.

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Antemasque  -  August 17th, 2005, 12:15pm
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Oney.Mendoza
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Bert,

Wow. Even though I liked your original very much, this surpasses it. You have perfected the pacing of the script and it reads very smoothly. The one thing that I am so glad you've fixed is the character of Greg. He doesn't seem like another child to Mary El.

Once again, I think the setting and location of the Ereckson farm gives a very moody atmosphere to it.

Yoder, boy is he one darn creepy man. He sort of reminds me of that scary-ass dude from the Poltergeist II/III. Ugh...it's bringing back nightmarish visions! LOL.

I do believe this is a very strong story and script you have here. One of the best.

-ONEY


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I never read the original version so I am going into this not really knowing what to expect.


MAYBE

SOME

SPOILERS!



OK Im going thorugh "The Farm" and it seems to start well, I like the descriptions you are giving. It sets a nice mood and atmosphere and I can picture what you are saying.
I see you put up the screen heading "the same field we met angel".  Then one line below, you mention that this is now to be called "Angels Field"
Maybe it would be better if you reversed this and made it Angels Field as the screen heading and then described that this is the same field. No big deal or anything, just a suggestion.
The painting is a nice touch, I liked this part. You can only see it when you are up on the stairs. ANd the fact the eyes have been removed is slightly odd!
Like the spider bit, i know its only a small part but you described it well.
Page 20 you mention how we float and see a panoramic view of the place. I think you said you wanted to delete all camera mentions so I brought this up. I dont have a problem with it myself.
So far it is written really well, and Im definitly getting the mood and atmosphere that I think you wanted to put across. Angel and her eyes being scratched out on nearly every picture is a cool idea and it is obviously leading somewhere.
When Mary El asks Angel if she is hungry or not, you put "apparently not". I know this explains she has declined, but what is her reaction? Is it a look of anger, a frown?A kind smile and a shake of the head? What is the expression that tells us "apparently not".
I like the shed scene, even though it a small part again I like you mention that there is an orange heater light giving off an eerie glow to the dead animals. Can see it more clearly this way.
The cat convo is quite funny. "I like her, she's a bad ass". lol.
Again, I really like your descriptions that set the mood.

Back to the cat... lol. Fish-Head. I kind of like that name for some reason, but prefer Lucifer. Anyhow, back to the script.
Ty has now killed a teddy bear, lol. Well, that was quite bizarre. So this is now an Amityville type film. Kind of. Scene was written well, and carried off well.
Now the shower scene that immidielty follows is great. I have only read the first few parts but the children apprearing from nowhere would be so effective. I like it.

P33 - Ty looses a round. Is this loses as in dropped or? A gun shot is heard so he must have fired a round. I dont think Looses is the right word, FIRES a round might be better.
Greg seems not to beleive his son for some reason. I know he wanted to go to sleep but damn! Now they want to make popcorn since they are up. Well, fair enough.That could ease the kid into relaxation I guess from the bear attack.
I liked the snowball incident, thought you wrote this well. The windmill has now fallen down. On to their car. That ends their escape route.

We have now been introduced to Yoder, and told we will never see him smile. Not sure why you decided to put this in as if he was going to smile then surely you would write that he was smiling. In any case, I can assume he is either grumpy or the following situations will make him not best pleased.

The raccoon thing was quite amusing but why they seemed so concerened about covering up last nights incident was odd. And letting a complete stranger talk to a little girl on his own was baffling.

Nice scene with the whole Angel chasing FishHead cat scenario although the popping eyeball made me smile. The whole scene was well done and made for some action to happen with Greg saving Angel. This must be about the half way stage now and things are starting to happen. Right now, Im not sure what will happen next but Im pretty sure ghosts are connected with the whole deal. Lets see.

M view at the moment is it is ok. .It is a bit slow.  I like Greg, he seems to be the hero here but I cant really name another person I enjoy.

I like the part with Yoder and the changing picture. Written well and is now giving us the something I needed to keep my interest going. This scene is good.

Mary El and co. are at a graveyard one moment then the next time we see them, its as if the scene has not happened. They buried the cat and found the tombstones relating to Yoder but noone talks about it.

After all that has gone on so far, I am left wondering why they dont just leave?

Yoder is now explaining the history of the farm, and I do like the description and the way you write this. It does come across in a very small bit like Children of the Corn, but thats probably because its set in a corn field and you have flames rise up from the ground. Thats pretty much where them similarities end!
The rest of this flashback is good, very strong and well written.

And onto the finale,  which was good and had its moments. The cat coming back was quite cool.

This is very much like anAmityville film, at least it reminded me of the sequals. Although this was better then any Amityville sequal, it had a lot in common with it. I guess thats just my reaction to a haunted building.  

I do like the fact you spend some time bothering to describe mood and atmosphere. I am the same as you on this. I love all that and you did a great job on this.

The characters, Im not sure on. Greg was probably the best in my opinion, and probably Yoder was my second lol. He was different and interesting whilst the rest were pretty plain and ordinary. Which is good because I dont think you need anyone different in this apart from Yoder. ANd Angel of course lol
I think this is a good haunted house, or farm in this case, movie and I think you succeed in what you aimed for. It has its moments, and it moves at a decent speed.
What I most appreciated probably was the mood and atmosphere you had in this. You set up some nice scenes and using a farm at Xmas time...I cant think of that being done before.
Overall, it is solid and entertaining. I look forward to seeing some more stuff from you in the future! Good job!




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Martin
Posted: August 18th, 2005, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert,

I'm at work so I've only got through the first 40 pages or so. So far, it's a big improvement. You've tightened things up without losing any of the atmosphere. It reads a lot quicker without the camera directions.

INT. FARMHOUSE

Angel enters.

In a script containing so much vivid, elegantly written description, this one sticks sticks out like a sore thumb. I know it's a quick transition to the bedroom but a brief description of the farmhouse interior would be nice.

Is the videogame image new? I don't remember actually seeing the game in the last draft. It's a nice transition but to me it screams MATCH CUT rather than DISSOLVE. (Wait! does that count as direction??? somebody owes me a dollar)

EXT. THE SAME FIELD WHERE WE FIRST MET ANGEL- DAY
It's been said before but this a real awkward scene heading. Just have EXT. ANGEL'S FIELD- DAY and then explain in the description that it's where we first met her.

Pages 5 and 6. Greg asking "Why is she looking at you like that?" and "it's kind of weird". I think this was in the original draft and I didn't mention it but this dialogue feels off to me. I know why it's there but they've just met Angel and he's talking like she's not there. Mary El should at least say something to Greg to signal that he's being rude or insensitive. Perhaps consider having Greg and Mary El introduce themselves to Angel first and then show Angel react when Gaskins enters. Just a thought. As a whole, the scene works extremely well.

Mary El's character in the early exchanges seems much better. I'm not sure what exactly you changed but it's definitely better.

The backstory with Mary El losing a child seems have improved.

The shower scene is really creepy, don't know if this went through a rewrite but works great.

I still love the Ty - teddy bear thing. Awesome.

I'm gonna have to stop here cos I have work to do. I'll review the rest later.

So far, as your signature says, "tighter, scarier, better". It's great to see you've incorporated a lot of the feedback from these boards. It's made it a much tighter script.


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CindyLKeller
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Bert,
I can see you've been working.  This draft read a lot smoother, and there's an eerie feel throughout the entire script that keeps you there reading it.  

There is one thing that bothers me, though. Their meeting with Yoder. When they open up the door and ask if they can help him and he says no. Yoder still doesn't mention the windmill that's toppled over on top of their car... I think he should at least mention it or the wind from the night before.

Otherwise, pretty bad a**.  You've done a very good job with the characters. They all  seemed so real, even the darned teddy bear (I have a fear of dolls). Each character had their own purpose, and speech patterns. I can tell a lot of work went into this script. It shows.

On the creepometer scale I'd give it an 8, possibly a 9.

The poster is pretty cool, too.


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Martin
Posted: August 22nd, 2005, 7:08am Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert,

As promised, here is my continued review.

pg. 41. Greg returns from outside. He mentions the snowball fight but not the windmill or the destroyed car. I get the feeling this is deliberate- maybe he doesn't want to worry her. What bugs me is that Mary El makes no mention of the power going out either.

Yoder arrives and still no mention of the windmill. If I was Greg, I'd be screwing at this point, no power, no phone, no car, but still nobody's mentioned it.

When Mary-El sees Angel on the windmill you say it's the first time she's seen how precarious it is. Unless I missed something, it's the first time she's seen it since it fell

Right, all finished. I realise that the windmill thing is my only criticism.

The ending reads much much better than before. I think you have the pacing just right.

Not much else to say about this, great work. The thing I like most  is the attention to detail. There are so many little details which add up to a very creepy experience. You've proven that you don't need a body count to create good horror. This is horror in the more traditional sense. I'm still reminded of The Shining when I read it and I mean that as a major compliment.

I reckon with a little more tweaking here and there, you could be on to a winner. Good luck and I look forward to reading more of your work.
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bert
Posted: August 22nd, 2005, 8:51am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read, Mr. Spieler.

Your points about the windmill and the power are good ones, and some other readers have touched on this as well.

What I was thinking at the time is that readers and viewers already know these events have occurred, so having the characters rehash these events through on-screen conversations seemed to be unnecessary, and added no information that was new.

I mean, we assume they would have had these conversations, but when I tried to incorporate something like that, it always came out redundant, and there really wasn't much drama involved.

I may have to return to this point and consider it anew.  Thanks again for your thoughts.  


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George Willson
Posted: August 22nd, 2005, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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I think with the whole windmill thing, we don't need a rehash; we just need acknowledgment. Some kind of exchange between the characters that lets us know the subject has been breached and discussed. Visually, you could just start out the next scene with the group standing on the porch staring at the mess. Mary El shakes her head and goes back in to continue breakfast or whatever. It would take probably 3 or 4 lines of description at the most and no dialogue, but we'll at least know that Mary El knows what we know about the fall of the windmill.


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Martin
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Yeah, George is right. You don't need a bunch of dialogue repeating what we've seen so something visual like he suggested would clear all this up. Also, when Yoder arrives and mentions that he heard shooting last night, it seems natural that he'd mention the windmill too.
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George Willson
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It would also seem natural for them to not want to talk about it and quickly change the subject. After all, who wants to dwell of the sudden crushing of their only vehicle?

Self-gratifying modification: Wow...I just hit 700 posts...



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George Willson  -  August 22nd, 2005, 12:20pm
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James McClung
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This seems like a pretty polished piece of work. Very few problems. It seems the other users caught most of them a draft or two back. Nevertheless, I won't leave you with nothing:

1. Mary El seems very detached from the rest of the family. She seems to care more about Angel than she does them and is generally unsympathetic to any of their plights with moving to the farm (this is best summed up on page 19 I believe where Ty states that there's nothing to do and she replies with "That's the spirit.") I would think she'd make more of an effort to help her family cope with the current condition. This comment also ties into my second comment.

2. There seems to be traces of a subplot about Mary El losing a child throughout the script. Either expand upon it (it would better justify Mary El's attachment to Angel) or take it out completely.

3. On page 45, Yoder's first appearance, Mary El tells Greg not to be rude and invite Yoder into the house while on page 17, Alona's first appearance, Mary El has a chat with Alona through an open window. It must be freezing outside. It rings false that Mary El would not invite Alona, a much friendlier seeming person than Yoder, inside.

All in all, this was quite a good read. I particularly liked the teddy bear and the possessed cat. Good work.


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bert
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Thank you, James.  The character of Mary El has been a real endurance test for me.  She is supposed to change over the course of this story, so striking the right tone throughout has been a real struggle.  Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get it right, you know?

Right now I am working this over again -- *sigh* -- yes, again, but this time concentrating on just her and nothing else.  You gave me some good stuff to think on as I do this.

And as for the lost child...well, I finally figured out the right way to work this in once and for all.  Very creepy and very satisfying.  This has already been incorporated into the next draft, and I am very pleased with it.

Oh, BTW; there is a little button on the top right for deleting mistaken posts.


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bert  -  September 13th, 2005, 1:38pm
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Balt
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--------------------------------------------

Ok so here goes... I wanna thank you for taking the time, first and foremost, to read a couple of my works posted here. I really enjoyed reading your feedback on them both. However, they aren't final drafts but you did see a few mistakes in them that I didn't catch on my final drafts, thank you for that. I've sense went back and changed the content.

Anyways, on with the on, your screenplay is supurb in format. It's actually one of the best I've ever read. You have a good eye for detail. Little things like at the 1st when you were describing the snowy farm layout and how you had the ice looking like fangs. That's a very detailed description and it just read so well. I was almost ready to put on a long sleeve shirt.

I love the way you open this movie up. It's very ominous, very creepy and leaves you wondering what really did happen here. It actually made me want to finish it more so than your well written characters, which I'm gonna get into in a few. I simply thought your hook worked wonders. It hooked me into wanting to find out just what you were thinking when you wrote this.

I love, again, how you described something. That being the windmill... It was laid out very well.

When introduced to Ty and Greg and Mary El... I thought the dialouge could've been tightend up a bit. Even though there really wasn't much said, you still said enough to know that there wasn't really much to say. You said CRAP 2 times within' a blink of an eye. I dunno... It's not a big big deal, but I just kinda had to read that scene 2 times to see if it gels well. It works, but maybe you don't need the breaks in there with her turning around to the Ty. I dunno... I just read it again and it isn't bad, I like the flow of it, actually. I can see this in motion, in an actual movie. So keep it.

One thing I noticed. You do the elipse a lot too, I'm a big fan of the elipse, aswell, but aren't you supposed to space after it? I alwasy have been told to space after the elipse. You don't do it, so I'm just wondering on this one. It's not a very big hang up or anything I'd just kinda like to know for my own sanity

I loved the pencil excahnge. LOL! I just think it was funny when he's like... "YOU CAN DO THAT?" LOL!  

I can tell you've used a lot of directions... This bothers me and doesn't, ya know? It bothers me cause sometimes I feel like I need to use them but then read I can't use them... It's a double sided sword.

I noticed that towards the middle, I dunno exactly where but I kinda picked up on the way GREG and his son are communicating differently than they did at the 1st... It's almost as if their roles have been switched to kinda seeing eye to eye pals or something... I dunno. I don't think this is bad, however, cause I know a lot of people who talk to their dads this way... I was one of them.

I've seen 2 parts where you ask a question to us the reader...

I love your character build ups... They are amazing. I really felt like an  extension of your movie here.  At times I didn't want to stop reading... I do have to admit there was a time around 40 to like 49 maybe...??? It kinda drug for about 10 pages. It wasn't all together bad, just nothing really going on...

How old was TY? He seemed much younger at the start of this thing... by the end of it he seems to be an adult... but being attacked by bears and having everyone around you flipped out weird could probably do that to you. LOL!

The whole last scene, although very long at times... I thought it was brilliant! I loved the whole action scene you laid out for us. It was intense and flowed very well. I'd go see this movie. I would. That's a pay off in its self... To have someone say... someone you don't know mind you, say... I'd go see your movie... That's a huge thing.

Bert... You write amazing. You craft a story with great detail. You are a screenwriter. You are. You have what it takes and that is varried idea's in your head you form together with characters, plots, ups and downs, twist and turns... That's a movie.

Now there are a few problems with it... I'm guessing everyone else has already told you about some of them, so I won't go into too much detail on them. I've not read anyone's responces or replys as to not spoil my time with your script so I'll point out a few more.

The CAT... it was random. I don't know why, but it seemed thrown in there.
You over use camera directions, I said this before.
Ty acts more like a adult at times.
The pacing of the story was good but I can't imagine it have a 3 act structure. I think this is a good thing in a lot of ways, though.
I really couldn't say where it was going at times... again this is also a good/bad thing. I like the feel of it.

In the end, this was your 1st script you posted I believe... and I'm impressed a great deal. It's not like 97% of the horror scripts here. It's different. It's strange at times and it's got a great vibe to it. I almost got this shinning vibe while reading it. It reminded me of Amityville and the shinning with a little bit of night of the grizzly and even Blood Harvest... A very diverse flick you've created here.

I give it 4.75 out of 5: I think most anyone who's thinking about writing a thriller/horror screenplay shuld check this one out. It's not typical and it's not run of the mill stuff. This is the kinda script quality we should have and hold to the site. If your screenplay doesn't fit a certain mold then it can't be posted. Simple as that.

I get tired of going thru hundereds of bad scripts only to find a good one once in a blue moon.

Anyways, I'm going on and on here. This was a fantastic script, hindered only by a few hang ups and dry spots along the way... nothing no screenplay doesn't have. I actually thank you for pointing me in the direction of your script cause I actually learned a bit from it and your writing style.

Balt~
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bert
Posted: September 20th, 2005, 12:18pm Report to Moderator
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Whew…I am so glad you liked this.  I always wanted somebody with some hardcore horror chops to take a stab at it.  I am glad it passed the test, for the most part.  A few brief responses to Madman’s comments for those that might be following the evolution of this story:

*  Ellipses:  David Mamet uses an obscene amount of ellipses in his dialogue.  He does not use any spaces, before or after, and I figure he oughta’ know.
*  A draggy spot?  Thanks.  I’ll check it out for sure.
*  Ty becoming more mature?  Sure.  That is his own, tiny character arc.
*  The cat:  Damn.  You don’t like it either, huh?  Neither does Wesley.  I am going to have to take a hard look at my use of this animal.
*  No 3-act structure?  Tut-tut.  Their discovery of the mutilated portrait ends act 1, and Angel’s escape from her room sets act 3 into motion.  

Thanks again for the comments, man, and some things I need to revisit.  I, too, hope we can keep the momentum building on giving thoughtful reviews.  This board would be so much stronger – to everyone’s benefit – if more people would get involved.


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Heretic
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SPOILERS regarding 80s horror films..and the script, too.

Hey Bert,

I emailed you my review.  I'm just glancing at the above comments as I write this (I hadn't read any before I read the script) and I just want to say that personally, for me, the cat works fine.  I equate it to the finale of Re-animator, when Dr. Hill's organs begin attacking Herbert West in an unprecedentedly weird moment that is totally unexplained.  If the film's working at that point, and your finale's really going all out, so it should be, I think people will be to caught up to do anything but go...wow!  Look at that cat, did you see that thing?

Doesn't bother me.  But hey.  


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greg
Posted: September 23rd, 2005, 1:41am Report to Moderator
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Bert-

I thought I'd take a look at one of the primiere pieces on the site and wow!  Very impressive!  The very first sequence with Angel running was a solid way to set up the story.  The first 10 pages had their lagging points to introduce the characters, but what can ya do?

What really worked for this screenplay were the visuals and sounds that you weave into each scene, some more than others.  The laughing of the children, the roaring of the bear, all creepily effective and if made into a feature film would be sure to get the adrenaline running.

The characters, specifically Mary El and Ty, I found to be very intriguing people and felt you did an excellent job in excelling their characters.  Greg had his moments but there were times where he seemed dull, just not bringing the significance as the rest of his family did.

The flashback sequenceswhere you dissolved from the night to Yoder's infant day played out very well, as did incorporating the burned children into several sequences--very creepy.  

Overall: A solid piece of writing, sharp dialogue, clear descriptions, and a rather touching storyline.  This goes as one of my favorites on the site along with Andy's "House of Fun."  A true piece of work, Bert!  I wish you lots of luck with this in the future!


Be excellent to each other

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bert
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Quoted from Balt
It's not like 97% of the horror scripts here.  Balt~



There is a new draft up (thanks, Don).  The quote above, from Baltis, is one of my favorites thus far -- think about who this quote is coming from for a minute…

If you’ve already read this, please don’t feel like you need to do so again.  It makes me feel guilty, and besides, I am going to spoil it for you below anyway, so just read that if you are interested.

But if you haven’t read this yet...well, you should, darn it.  If all you read are Freddy and Jason fan-fics, Scream 13, or whatever -- do yourselves a favor and broaden your horizons a bit.

This is an original work, and I think it has evolved into a damn fine script with the help of this little community here.  Big shout-outs to Heretic and George Willson for their thoughts, and a broader thanks to all of those who spend a few moments here caring about work apart from their own.  You know who you are.

This draft expands the character of Mary El, and as a result, it ends up expanding on Angel, as well.  She has a little more to do and say, and I think we like her better as a result.  There are lots and lots of little changes scattered throughout, but here I'll run through some of the largest changes:

SPOILERS:  SOME NEW THINGS:

*  Pg 21-23:  The first time Mary El goes to Angel’s room.  Before, she just dropped off the dreamcatcher and left without a word.  Now, she spends some time engaging Angel in a one-sided conversation -- trying to draw the girl out, and dropping hints about her past tragedy.  Not the most exciting scene in the world, but necessary to strengthen the bond between these two, instead of Mary El just “dumping Angel in her room” all the time, as some readers pointed out.
*  Pg 25:  The changes mentioned above have a direct effect on the “bath scene” -- now, instead of asking about her parents, Angel asks Mary El directly about her dead daughter.  Not only is this scene even creepier than it was before, but it makes better sense in context with the larger story, and it helps to establish this subplot.
*  Pg 45:  Mary El observes the wrecked windmill.  Real quick.  No dialogue.  Probably just as George and Martin had envisioned it.
*  Pg 46:  Yoder acknowledges the windmill now, too, as Cindy had suggested.
*  Pg 60:  Angel helps to repair her own portrait this time.  Another “found” opportunity for Mary El and Angel to interact without adding undue length.  (This new draft is only 4 pages longer, BTW).
*  Pg 86:  The return of the cat.  I have added a tense exchange between Angel and Yoder, immediately prior to the cat’s return, that will hopefully make the resurrection a bit more palatable for those who did not care for it.  But plenty of readers liked it.  No real consensus ever emerged about this damn cat, but since virtually every reader commented on it, I decided it must be making some kind of impact, and kept it.


So...thanks again to everyone who helped improve this story over the course of these past few months.  This draft is so much better than what I had originally posted (way back when) that I can hardly believe it.


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George Willson
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I would say at this point, reading through some of the more recent reviews, the point that impresses me the most is that Balt was not scathing in his review. I mean, when Balt says, I read your---, you cringe in fear. However, he liked it, which says A LOT about this script that I've read twice so far on different occasions. I'll have to catch the new version as well, of course.


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Curse
Posted: November 24th, 2005, 7:16pm Report to Moderator
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The Farm is a supernatural thriller/horror written by Robert Glenn Newcomer.

1. One of my greatest concerns was the grammar, spelling and style, which in this script, is brilliant. The author seemed to have checked all this in great detail. Also, the style of the writer was very impressing to me. 10/10

2. The detail was very descriptive, which is a Number 1 in my books. The description and detail in this script was beautiful. Clearly written, so the reader could understand everything. "A vast, snow-covered field. The morning sun is blinding as it glints off this stark, white ocean of fresh powder. The horizon seems miles away." Wonderful. 10/10

3. The storyline was also good. This story goes on without drifting of on another subject. It sticks to the story straight on through the whole thing. 10/10

4. The formatting was great. Everything was layed out correctly, and in a style of proper screenwriting. 10/10

5. The characters emotions and dialouge was lovely. You could feel everything. The age differance of each dialouge was excellent.

MARY EL
(darkens a bit)
I will delegate, Greg. I will
assign tasks to my staff and
they will deal with it. Because
I have a family emergency.

10/10

6. I found myself quite confused at the end. I think that there was a tiny bit TOO much action going on there. I should point out that I didn't really understand all about the irrigation myself. That's why I must give 9/10

7. The page length was of feature-length, and did not go over 120-pages. This is great, as it doesn't make the reader have to go on and on. It did not drag at all. 10/10

So, mostly everything was great. Genuinely scary with great suspence. A brilliant thriller. That's what this was. Bert, I think that your style of writing is superb, it really lets you feel and imagine what's actually going on.  I just think, (in my own personal opinion), that you can go a bit over the top with all this multi-action going on. I think you should keep it to the middle, and not make it all so much.  This was a great read. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Curse!




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Shelton
Posted: November 25th, 2005, 5:06pm Report to Moderator
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Bert,

I just finishesd reading this, and I have to say I'm very impressed.  You have a nice group of diverse characters here (My personal favorite being the Teddy Bear), and your descriptions were so spot on that I didn't have to reread anything due to confusion.  Some itemized things that I really enjoyed.


Yoder with the snow globe - A nice brief scene that comes comes back into play at the end of the script.

The Fish-Head electrocution scene.  I could perfectly picture the cat being fried, with all of the howling and what not, so much so that I was actually laughing at it.  I know this wasn't your intention, but it just triggered the scene from Christmas Vacation for me.


A couple of suggestions:

Yoder's story of the field fire and Ty's discovery are both flashbacks, and your transition to both of them was done well enough in descriptions to establish that, but they may be easier to identify with a FLASHBACK in the scene heading.

Pg. 98 - Loosing an arc of blood.  Should be losing.

Pg. 103 - ANGLE'S GRAVE - Just transposed letters.

Pg. 104 - Streams of blood wend their way.......wind.

Not too bad considering it took me 98 pages to find anything, and even these are only a matter of a letter.


On the whole, this was a dynamite script, and it was truly a pleasure to read.  

Job well done.


Mike


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bert
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Thanks, Mike (and Curse!, of course).  A couple of quick responses:


Quoted from Shelton
I could perfectly picture the cat being fried...so much so that I was actually laughing at it.  I know this wasn't your intention...


Don't be so sure.  Personally, I was giggling as I wrote it.


Quoted from Shelton
ANGLE'S GRAVE - Just transposed letters.


Damn!  Another one?  I thought I had all of these fished out.

The first version had dozens -- dozens -- of these.  And the spell check doesn't catch them.  I will never again use a character named Angel.

I appreciate the read, and am glad you liked it.



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George Willson
Posted: December 26th, 2005, 6:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, did you know the script is gone? I just tried clicking on it for primarily nefarious purposes and discovered thge link is dead. Any thoughts on this?


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Breanne Mattson
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I downloaded it earlier today with no problem.


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bert
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Quoted from Breanne Mattson
I downloaded it earlier today with no problem.


Oh, goody  .  Please let me know what you think, Brea (that is, if you intend to read it, of course).  Only a few "new eyes" have looked at this most recent version.

And George...I know what you are up to...I'll wait and see, but veto power remains in full effect!



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sfpunk
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Hey Bert,
I havn't finished reading this one (page 64) but so far so good. I didn't read any of the previous drafts so I didn't get to see how much more descriptive stuff you had in it but it all seems fine so far. You do write a lot more descriptive stuff than some writers do (including myself) but it all works in the context of your script in fact it may even enhance it because of the way the script is paced. I have not found anything that can't be shown by the camera so it seems that you have removed all those extra parts due to the previous readers comments. The script so far has had it's creepy moments and the pacing is exactly what I expect and enjoy in my horror movies. You spend a long time making sure the setting is perfect and you let out new information a little bit at a time. Considering I am up to page 64 I am amazed that I havn't found any dialogue that sticks out like a sore thumb. You do a very nice job of keeping your characters seperate. One thing I read on some script check list thing was that any line should be able to be traced back to it's speaker and I think you do that very well. I also could picture perfectly a few of the 'jump' scenes that are typical in horror movies such as when they are watching TV and the storm warning comes on. I liked all those little touches.

So I guess all I have to say so far is good job. What I've read up to page 64 has intriguied me enough to want to found out how the story ends and there have been no roadblocks or red flags so far that have stopped me from reading on. I would finish it now but it is late and I have to get up early so as hard as it is to put down this script  down I have to for now. I will be sure to let you know what I think of the second half of the script but yeah, good job at the moment. It looks like you realy take into consideration peoples comments and it seems to have improved your scripts as I am hard pressed to find any faults.


My Scripts
'Trail Of Ashes' - (Drama/Horror)

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Breanne Mattson
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Man, dang it, Burt! This is why I hate horror. I’m a single woman living alone! I work all day and the only time I have to read is late at night. I had to put this darn script down last night. It’s going to take forever to read it.


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Breanne Mattson
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Hey, on the off chance that last post could have been misunderstood, I meant to say that I had to put the script down on account of it was giving me the creeps (which is good…I think).

Anyway, I’ll finish as soon as I can.


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bert
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I'll welcome your comments, Brea, no matter how long it takes.  Aside from Cindy, you are the only girl who has checked this out.

I am keenly interested in comments from the "feminine perspective", as this piece is, at it's heart, Mary El's story.  I didn't conceive it that way originally, but that's how it evolved during the writing process.

It may be just me, but I think it's much harder for guys to write female characters than the other way around.  You girls are so da*n complicated, and if Mary El emerges as a believable character to a female reader, that makes me pretty happy.  Please jump on anything that rings false.

And sfpunk, thanks for your comments, too.  I find dialogue ten times harder than descriptions.  Maybe more.  I really appreciate your thoughts in regards to that.  I look forward to checking out your thriller down the road -- but just so you know -- if there are no jackhammers, I will be pretty disappointed  

Now I just have to go figure out what the hell is so wrong with page 64!


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tomson
Posted: December 29th, 2005, 7:33pm Report to Moderator
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Read your script while pretending to be productive at work today. You’re obviously a writer. Beautifully written and well plotted. Maybe a little too wordy for a screenplay though.

After having read quite a few of your comments on this site I expected it to be very professional and it was. I almost got exited when I found a typo on page 103.

ANGEL (V.O.)
And he was wrong about many
things. It was the not the
sowing of earth that beckoned
us. It was not a seeding.

At least I think that is a typo. I could be wrong, English is my second language.

SPOILERS:

Mary El refers to Huldah and June as horrible trolls. They didn’t come across as that bad in your description of them.

I have met women with less social grace than Huldah in my life, but never ever would they call another woman b****. Especially not during a friendly game of Yahtzee. Maybe in a catfight.

I thought Greg seemed like a very nice person. Maybe a little “soft in his shorts” so it bothered me a little bit when Mary El talks down to him like a kid. That also makes her look a bit like a B, but that’s hard not to do when you’re trying to give women stronger rolls.

All in all it was a good read even though supernatural stuff don’t do anything for me, but we all have different things that scare us.

P.S Now there are three “girls” that have read your script.

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bert
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Hey, another girl!  They are too few on these boards if you ask me.  And a Gator, yet!  (Chomp-Chomp, baby!  Thems my boys  )

Regarding the "girl-factor", I think you are the first to comment on the very minor character of Huldah, and you make a fair point.

In my "mind's ear" her lines are gruff and aggressive, meant to be delivered as such.  But looking back, maybe they don't "read" that way.  At least, not enough.  But her liberal use of the b-word is one part of what makes her such a troll.

Thank you for your comments, tomson, and for *sigh* yet another thing to reconsider.  



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tomson
Posted: December 30th, 2005, 12:20am Report to Moderator
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Saw the FSU thing and couldn't resist.

By the way, Ty's comments about the record player cracked me up. When our kids found ours they had no idea what it was until the youngest one said " I know what that is. It's a giant CD player they had in the olden days".

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Hey Bert, I'm gonna finish reading from page 82. It IS AWESOME...
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Breanne Mattson
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Quoted from bert
It may be just me, but I think it's much harder for guys to write female characters than the other way around.  You girls are so da*n complicated, and if Mary El emerges as a believable character to a female reader, that makes me pretty happy.  Please jump on anything that rings false.


Bert,

Hey, I don’t know if women are more complicated or just more open with our emotions. That works both ways, though. I find writing male characters difficult sometimes because men oftentimes aren’t very open with their feelings so they’re often difficult to gauge. I really have to dig to develop a male character without idealizing him.

I haven’t been able to read much yet. I agree with Tomson on that Greg is a bit of a pushover. However, there are a lot of real guys like that so it’s not unrealistic.

I usually prefer to read something in its entirety before commenting so I’ll save the rest. Sorry for the back and forth thing. (The bright side is it keeps bumping your script--wee!)

I will finish it this weekend.


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I dub this one of the greats here on SimplyScripts. I finished it in one day surprisingly...

This is my feedback.

Your characters were so believable. Every single event that took place could be heard and seen in my mind. In fact last night I had a dream of those green eyes looking at me from dark places.

The cat... The cat... Lol... Do not get all ticked off at me, but the whole cat coming up from the grave is kind of like Stephen King's novel. The children as well. But I don't think this is an ancient burial ground or however you spell it.

I wish I could have read the first draft to see how this started, and formed into a great script.

Greg was annoying at times because of his constant use of the word "like". As this movie kept rolling in my head he seemed like Andy in the 40 Year Old Virgin. I don't want to catch crap for that, but it's how it sounds to me.

Anyways. I love it! I wish there was a sequal to it.

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bert
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Quoted from BigBadBrian
... Do not get all ticked off at me...I don't want to catch crap for that, but it's how it sounds to me...


B.B.B.:  First off, there is never a need for these kind of disclaimers.  It is always a boost when people read your work -- especially if they offer opinions of any sort.  You'll find that out when your own work goes up  

And I am supposed to "get ticked" because you invoke the name of S. King?  While discussing my work?  Believe me...no offense taken.  There isn't a horror writer today that has escaped his influence.

I'm really glad you liked it, but I know how I feel when I see such "high praise" on other threads, so I feel compelled to point out that there is lots of stuff around here that is just as good.  I won't name specific authors, but I suspect I don't have to.

Seek out their work, too, and you will improve.  Reading helps your writing every bit as much as more writing, I think.  And so does writing feedback -- expressing your opinions on what you've read.

That's why I read so many scripts -- you can be more objective with the works of others.  It helps you learn what works, and what doesn't.  It's very easy to spot the good and the bad in someone else's work.  Not so easy in your own.

I'll send you a quick P.M. on how I format.  


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Breanne Mattson
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SPOILERS - Oh yeah!

Bert,

This was a ride. It also reminded me of Stephen King a little, as an earlier poster noted, for a couple of reasons. The family in the middle of nowhere in the snow with ghostly children around did evoke thoughts of “The Shining” and yes, the cat reminded me of “Pet Cemetery.”

Description is excellent. Very well done there overall. You do something I love to see and hate when other writers don’t do it. You use -- duh di di duh duh….synonyms! That’s right. Not the same descriptive words over and over again. You are a man who has picked up a (Breanne covers her mouth to softly whisper so as not to be overheard)…dictionary…more than a few times. That is something that’s always refreshing to see. Thank you. You mixed and matched and found a little poetry occasionally. -- Yeehaaaaw!

I only had one complaint about the description: there are some unnecessary little touches you put on them occasionally. I wouldn’t stop this altogether because it really kind of gives you your own style. I would make sure they’re befitting for the particular story, though. Lines like “Ty has killed a teddy bear” are cute but it follows a horror scene and tends to make light of it. I realize that line wouldn’t be shown on film but words like that undermine the horrific sense of the whole story.

I’m confused about a few things:

1) The father was found hanging. The mother was in bed. I understand that the murders were supposed to look like suicide. The father hanging made sense as looking that way. But how did the mother’s murder appear to be suicide?

2) Why didn’t Angel/Sarah tell the police what happened? Why did she act as though she were evil?

3) Why did Angel stab the Sheriff if he was trying to help her?

4) Why did the children pummel Greg with snowballs and a rock when he had done nothing to them?

5) Why did the bear/youngest son torture Ty? Oh, and by the way, the stuffed bear - is nothing sacred? Now you want to give little kids nightmares of their cuddly nighttime pals? -- haha

I ask these things because, in the end, the children turned out to be benign. The words of Sarah at the end seemed inconsistent with her behavior (and the other children’s behavior) throughout the story. They were “awakened” because of Yoder’s greed and Sarah basically said they had no problems with Dan and his family. Why then did they do so many threatening, menacing things to the Ereckson family?

A few other things:

One complaint; the “we-sees” where we do this or we see that. It really only serves to remind the reader that she’s reading a script and not voyeuristically watching events in someone’s life. It’s tantamount to a character talking directly to the camera. I mean, it’s okay and all. Not too big of a deal but it does kind of undermine the readers ability to suspend disbelief.

The oldest son looks at her a bit differently? The lone daughter’s eyes seem very familiar. How? I think it would be better just to say the oldest son looks at her sexually or the daughter’s look is similar to the way Angel looked at the Sheriff. Again, however, this portrays them as evil.

About Ty in his parent’s bed; Greg asks El, “did you sanction this?” Is he being sarcastic because she’s kind of bossy? That’s the only way I think this line would sound realistic.

Page 40 - She draws back with a start? Page 64 - she starts as the door slams. I’m not sure what you mean by “start(s).” There’s I think a couple of other examples where a character just starts. Do you mean this as in they made a sudden move, as in like a flinch? Or is this some writing trick I don’t know about? There’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, start is a verb like any other verb. At first read, however, it seems like an error. When someone starts, people are just accustomed to think “starts what?”

Overall, it was really good. At the end, for a minute there, I kind of thought that maybe it had an end too many. There were fights left and right. I started losing track of who had what gun and who went where. The driveway, the house, the barn, the cat came back to life, who was chasing who?, who was jumping on whom? It was action packed but it started to get a bit confusing. I was beginning to wonder if Indiana Jones wasn’t going to swing in on a whip and save the day -- haha.

Then you finished off with my favorite - some good old fashioned heart-wrenching emotion. The best part for me was the mother El and the thread of having lost a child. I wish this thread had been developed a little more. I wish she had opened up more about this event in her life. I wish she and Greg had had a little more intimacy in some of their exchanges. It would have really helped to pull the heart strings at the end. The scene with El and the now de-possessed Angel was moving. I felt it. I think you could have hit me harder though with just a couple of short but profound scenes with El earlier. This would have gone a long way toward cementing the bond between El and Angel. Maybe it’s a woman thing but there ya go with that.

Man, this is long. Sorry. Overall, it was definitely a good read and I really enjoyed it. As I said earlier, I’m not a huge horror fan. The only way horror movies are going to draw someone like me is with something more than slashing women and teens. Honestly, I wouldn’t have read if I hadn’t already read your writing and knew there would be more than the same ole-same ole. I wasn’t disappointed. This is way above average in a genre where that’s extremely difficult to do. Good work.

Breanne


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Breanne Mattson
Posted: January 4th, 2006, 3:17am Report to Moderator
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SPOILERS

Hey Bert,

I almost forgot. You asked about the believability of the female characters. Since El was the only female character that wasn’t possessed or dead, I’ll comment on her.

I actually thought she was pretty believable, way more so than most female characters written by male writers. The only thing I can think of is: If I was preparing dinner and an old guy started telling me a story about how a bunch of kids were killed, I’d stop preparing dinner. For that kind of drama, oh yeah. I wouldn’t want to miss a second of that story. If my noodles were boiling over, I’d have to say to the old man, “Oh, hold on! I’ll be right back! Don’t say anything else until I get back!”

Uh, uh. No way would I want to miss that story.


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bert
Posted: January 4th, 2006, 4:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Breanne Mattson
Man, this is long. Sorry.


Sorry for what?  You rock, Brea.

The casual reader probably skips these long posts, but you can bet the author reads them.

Every single word.

I need to reflect on some of the things you've written before I respond.

Thanks again.


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bert
Posted: January 5th, 2006, 4:53pm Report to Moderator
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[Replies here are specific to Brea's comments with, like, huge spoilers]

I was very happy to find this piece kind of "rediscovered" lately, but it also serves to point out how none of these stories is ever really "finished".  A mixed blessing.  I'll try not to ramble.

*  It is the empty medicine containers, and the scattered pills, that imply the mother's mode of suicide.
*  Why did the kids torment the Ericksons?  I've heard this one before (off the boards -- you are the first one here), and it really sucks because I thought I'd fixed it.  When Greg hears the whispered voices in the bathroom (pgs. 43-44), the children imply animosity towards Greg and Ty, and hint at some larger purpose for their presence.  This was an extension of an existing scene designed to address that question.  Note that Mary El, Angel's only real "ally" (of sorts) is never in any real peril.  I wouldn't call the children "benign", but why not have them appear somewhat malevolent?  Heck, in these kind of films I think kids looks scary when they are just standing around doing nothing.
*  What, exactly, would Angel have told the Sheriff?  She is "back" for a specific purpose -- Yoder -- and will not be deterred.  She did not perceive the Sheriff's actions as "helpful" at all, and desired no outside assistance.  That's how I conceived it, anyway.  I am still attempting to return to this point (and the previous one) objectively (not so easy to do!) based upon your comments.
*  You don't think "sanctioned" sounds real?  I used that exact phrase with my own wife under similar circumstances while writing this -- and took it.
*  If you don't understand "starts", it is probably safe to assume that lots of people don't get that.  I will definately evaluate this, and can probably change most of them into some form of "startled".

So, this is the kind of stuff that really helps.  Alot.  I am done responding, but will continue thinking about some of your points.  Thanks again, Brea, for your thoughtful assessment of this work.  


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Breanne Mattson
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Hey Bert,

Yeah, benign may have been too extreme of a word. After all, a kid who stabs people with pencils or kids who pull people (albeit evil people) down to their deaths can hardly be called benign.

I understand about the mother’s suicide now and, quite frankly, I’m embarrassed I missed that.

I noticed Mary El was “safe” and assumed it had something to do with Angel/Sarah. By the way, some of the more tender scenes with Angel (taking the cookie, etc.) were quite touching.

The reason I mentioned Angel and the Sheriff was because I had assumed that Angel perceived him to be an enemy. I just wasn’t sure why. It didn’t seem that Angel or Sarah either one had any reason to view him that way. The poor sheriff got stabbed and shoved in farm equipment and all he did was try and help. That’s the price of being a supporting character in a horror story I suppose.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with using the word sanction. I’ve just never heard anyone say something like that. But it’s fine. It’s far better than using some cliché. It just sounded so legal or political to me. I keep up with politics so I guess it just made me think of economic sanctions or something so it’s me who needs to expand my mind, I suppose.

The same with starts. It’s fine. Just unconventional. I like unconventional. My only concern was clarity. I think unconventional is only good as long as the point is clearly communicated. I got it. It just took a minute because it was so out of the ordinary.

I think you’re a very talented writer Bert and I don’t want to stress (well I wouldn’t exactly say) negatives. You have a great flow. You’re very versatile with your vocabulary and you’re very smooth in your word choice. The scenes are kept short and meaningful and tie into the story. In other words, there’s very little fat. It was solid.

Don’t take this the wrong way because I’m not trying to bump you up above where you are at this point but for what it’s worth, I think it’s one of the better horror stories I’ve read (even counting novels).


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Ian
Posted: January 19th, 2006, 9:15pm Report to Moderator
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Ok, so I am officially a terrible person lol. I told you I would read this MONTHS ago and I didn't do it. Well actually, I started to, then moved into my house at Uni and didn't have internet access for a couple of weeks which allowed me enough time to forget all about it. I looked back on some old post or PM where I said I would and felt pretty damn guilty, so I just read it in one two hour sitting, then read all your previous posts. Guilty feelings banished lol.

It's a really great script, and I'm afraid that, since I'm one of those *has to read it all before they can comment* people, I will probably forget to mention a lot of things I liked or thought could be altered, but I'll do my best.

SPOILERS***

The formatting is spot on, the descriptions are beautiful and vivid providing great visuals and atmosphere (I'm jealous as descriptions are my weak spot), and it seems to be clean in terms of grammatical errors etc.

Your plot lies nicely between the poles of originality and formula. I didn't feel like I'd read this story a thousand times before, and at the same time I felt (and enjoyed) some familiarity due its slow burning build up structure and its similarities between other horror films.  It prevents the reader from feeling lost and too far removed from what's going on. After all, people like classics like THE SHINING for a reason, so they almost expect to find similar elements in other films of the same genre, but at the same time they don't want a re-hash or a rip off. You borrow ghost children, cats, a snowbound location etc, and work them into something fresh. There really is a big difference between borrowing and stealing. Anyway, the story was tense and scary and had a really creepy feel the whole way through even when nothing particularly exciting was happening (thanks to your great descriptions).
I read this quite fast because I really wanted to find out what happened (obviously a sign of a good script), so the fact that I'm confused about a couple of things is probably my fault since no one else has mentioned them. Maybe you can clear them up for me anyway.
*Alona - She talks like she knows something, she delivers a dream catcher (who sent it and why?), the dream catcher sets on fire the door blows off its hinges...I have no idea what all of this is about.
*I got confused about this whole greed thing. Yoder wants the farm back and this is considered greedy by his siblings and therefore they come back to claim him? Or is that not right at all? I agree with whoever it was who said that the action at the end gets a little confusing, and maybe I got lost somewhere in there due to that and the speed at which I was reading.
*Did Gaskins die, lose his legs, or just receive repairable injuries? As a hero I think his fate should be more clear (unless I missed it).
I think those were the only things. Anyway, great story. I love the twist about Angel having actually been possessed by Sarah the whole time.

I liked your characters and the dialogue rang true pretty consistently, both in relation to each specific personality and in relation to how people in general speak in reality, except perhaps for the odd "you are" that should perhaps be "you're" for example. I have the opposite problem to you. I normally find dialogue to be quite easy if I know my characters well, and its describing visuals and action that I sometimes struggle with. Also, despite being male, I find women easier to write than men. Therefore I thought I could try and give some possible suggestions about how to develop Mary El, even though you were specifically asking for a female point of view. Here goes:
You could play up the similarities between Greg and Ty even more. Not only is their relationship quite amusing at times because of the dynamic they have, but it could also be the result of Mary El's reaction to her daughter's death. Rather than turning to them for support, maybe she distanced herself from them (explaining the lack of intimacy between her and Gregg her dismissive attitude towards Ty), which caused Greg and Ty to bond with each other and form their close relationship. Mary El now feels lonely and slightly jealous of their closeness, not only because Ty is closer to his father than her, but because they have a special Father/Son thing going on, and the chance of having that special Mother/Daughter thing has been taken away from her. This would also explain her attachment to Angel and the irrational way in which she sometimes behaves. This would add to all the characters, not just her. It would give Greg and Ty slightly larger arcs and Mary El some more definition. Through losing out on her relationships with her family, she has become the disciplinarian and sensible one of the two parents, a role she continues to assume well into the script, but not when Angel is concerned, making the effect Angel has on her even clearer. It's just an idea, but let me know what you think.

Now just some general comments and stuff I liked:
*The opening scene is a grabber. It pulls you right in and is very creepy.
*The double use of the word "cr*p" in the car. Some didn't like it, but I did because after Ty says it, Mary El is halfway through telling him off (at least I think she is...if not then make it so she is) when Greg uses the same word, cutting her off. This simple use of a couple of words told me that Ty gets his foul mouth from his father, Mary El is the disciplinary of the two parents, and the close relationship between Greg and Ty results in Mary El's authority being undermined (not only because she's cut off, but because she's cut off by Greg using the same word that Ty was in the middle of being told off for using! It's brilliant!). If this was intentional then hats off to you, and if it wasn't then tweak it so that it definitely comes off that way because intentional or not it's a great little moment, especially if you go with what I said about the characters.
*I have no problem with Hudlah saying "b*tch". Girls DO refer to each other as b's in friendly banter all the time, and it does add to the rough around the edges feel you want them to have. Maybe make them even more blunt and unfeeling to make them more like "trolls" so Mary El's statement is more justified.
*I don't know if you've changed it since people complained, but I totally got that the mace was on the key chain. Clear as day to me.
*Loved the photographs and portrait with the missing eyes.
*Ty's line about going to the guidance councillor was one of my favourites too, and it made total sense.
*The Teddy Bear works I think, but I do wonder if it could be pulled off visually without getting a few laughs. I'd maybe lose the snake tongue. I have no problems with the cat, and I loved the scene where it got electrocuted!
*The ghost children in the bathroom scene was really creepy. I think a little more build up would help though, with the bathroom starting off empty and then the ghosts appearing out of nowhere rather than being there as soon as the scene begins. Not that you can mention camera angles etc, but I envision something like the camera following her hand as it pokes out blindly from behind the shower curtain to retrieve a bottle of shampoo from a shelf or something. The camera goes back the other way as she pulls it behind the curtain, and we see the blurry image of her behind the curtain pouring some into her hand. Then the camera follows as she puts the bottle back on the shelf, only now, out of nowhere, there is a ghost child standing right next to it. Could be one hell of a jump! Obviously writing it without referring to the camera might be more tricky, but you could get a real fright out of this scene, and it wouldn't be a cheap jump gag either, as the chills and suspense would be maintained by what follows; the ghosts standing there and watching an oblivious Mary El as she showers, and some getting great pleasure out of it.
*I found the scene where Greg hears the whispering behind the door to be the scariest. When he realised they knew he was listening, I got a chill down my spine. Great stuff. The laughter and the snowball scene are also good.
*The discovery of the nightgown was a shock because it happened during such a mundane moment. Very clever. The revelation of how it got the holes in it/why Angel has marks on her back was chilling and shocking, and I loved the way Ty saw it from the window.
*The flashback of what became of the Yoder children was a great scene; it would be harrowing to watch. And the ghosts therefore being charred and burnt as a result is fantastic. Not only would they look even scarier, but they wouldn't look like your typical, pale ghost children that you see in every crappy attempt at a ghost story these days.
*The climax was action packed (although maybe too much so, got a little confused at some points), and the snow globe tie in and the flashback that reveals the big twist were great. Oh, and I liked the reason for the cut out eyes and Mary El's touching bit of good news from Angel.

I hope this review was helpful since it was a long time coming! I really enjoyed your script, it really is one of the best horror scripts on here and you should be very proud of it. Suspenseful, scary and original. That's what everyone's aiming for but very few manage it! Well done.

Ian



"Are you saying I'm crazy!?"
"Oh no, but I'm certainly thinking it loudly"

Revision History (1 edits)
Ian  -  January 19th, 2006, 9:25pm
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tomson
Posted: January 19th, 2006, 9:44pm Report to Moderator
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Great review!

I commented on Hulda and it was just that it was so early in the script and bugged me so much that I had to comment on it. I don't know what kind of women you know, but I don't know anyone that what do that. I know women that are bikers (real ones, not the middle aged suburbia types that want something cool in their lives) work on cars, former inmates, lesbian horse women (they can be rough) they would never say that to someone in a friendly situation. Anyway, I tend to get hung up on small details and I guess I did here.

I just thought that a better way to show how rough around the edges they were would be to show missing teeth, dirty hair in a ponytail with a rubber band, a tattoo or a pierced tongue or something.
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bert
Posted: January 19th, 2006, 11:16pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from tomson


Great review!  

...lesbian horse women


Couldn't agree with you more on that first one, Tomson.

And as for the second one -- I had to give a little "oh my god..." when I read your post....Huldah was modeled after a....well, you know.  How screwed up is that!!!  The ones I know sure toss that word around, but they're northern, not southern.  Maybe it's a manners thing?  Anyways, that does not mean I am discounting your opinion.  I am still considering a few things with regards to her character.

-----------------------------------------------------

Ian, please absolve yourself of any self-inflicted guilt.  When I saw your post I was like, "Oh, yeah...", and then your first paragraph cracked me up.

This is some great sh*t, man.  Really.  Absolution is yours haha.  As with Brea's post, this is much too good to respond to off the cuff.  I gotta reflect on some of this.

But finally....no gripes about the f***ing cat.

Thanks again, Ian.


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bert
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[Self-indulgant replies specific to comments from Ian:  Contains Spoilers]

Thanks again for your comments, Ian.  Quite a bit to think about.  My response is a bit delayed as I was reading about a gazillion short Westerns:

*  Alona:  She suspects things, but that's about it.  An off-boards reader also gave a big WTF to the dreamcatcher.  Still considering that one.
*  Gaskins:  I considered bringing him back in a wheelchair, graveside, at the very end.  But the cheese factor was too high.  He is kind of unresolved though, isn't he?
*  Yoder:  He is supposed to be unbalanced and irrational.  Earlier drafts had this, but now it's kind of been dropped.  Maybe I need to find a comfortable middle-ground for this.
*  The two cr*ps:  Yeah...I was trying to establish the family dynamics right up front, and real quick.  Not everybody got that, but it's nice to see that some people do.  Actually, my biggest concern about this scene was people thinking, "Oh...they really wrecked and died", which would screw up everything, but nobody has come away with that as far as I can tell (doesn't happen, btw, for those reading spoilers).
*  The shower scene:  The first draft laid it out just like you said, but with too many camera directions that are now deleted.  I really like your take on this -- which reminds of what this scene could be -- and I will try to return to that -- somehow -- without directing the camera.  But, yeah, it's pretty tricky.
*  The big paragraph about Mary El:  This is the biggest, most helpful thing I am taking away from your comments.  George and Heretic gave a similar take on their off-board comments, so the genesis of this must be there, but it is yet to be fully realized.  You lay out the argument pretty well, with some excellent thoughts to ponder regarding the individual arcs for these characters.

I really appreciate the treatment you gave this, Ian.  Excellent thoughts and comments.  I'll be sure to deliver some payback when "Hideout" hits the boards.


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Ian
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Aw dude, you remembered HIDEOUT! *tear rolls down cheek* lol. At the moment it's kind of stuck at the end of act 1 which I also think is too long (25 pages). It will hit the boards eventually, as will my REPRISAL and JUST BEFORE DAWN re-writes. However, I have no clue which will come first as I chop and change between which one I'm working on all the time. The re-writes are serious overhauls too, not just touch ups, so its like starting from scratch with ALL of them! I'm a painfully slow writer.

I'm glad my comments were of use, I often find that character stuff is the most useful because someone can suggest something that changes your whole perspective and suddenly you've found new layers to your characters. When do you think you'll be doing your fourth draft?


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FilmMaker06
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Can't say anything that hasn't already been said, so this'll be short.
I can't say anything about format, spelling, grammar, or anything like that because I'm weak in those areas.

I loved this! It's the first horror script I've ever read and it has inspired me to write my own. In fact, as soon as I finished this thing, I starting thinking of a story!

I know you said not to rush or anything, and I wasn't going to, I was just going to read a few pages now, a little more tomorrow, until I had read it all. But after I saw that I was already on page 20 after just a few minutes, I figured I may as well read the rest. It rocked! Keep up the good work!

-Me
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Quoted from FilmMaker06
...it has inspired me to write my own.


Well, that's a pretty nifty thing to hear from someone.  You be sure to let me know when your story comes out if I don't find it on my own.

I will certainly have to give that one a look....

Thanks for the read and your comments.


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Great script, it was tense and suspensful.  I could have done without all the camera movements, but besides that it was really well done.  good job.


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bert
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I could have done without all the camera movements...


Yes, there were many of these in early drafts -- as pointed out by reviews that you might have read -- but I honestly thought I had removed them all.

This is the kind of helpful feedback I could really use when it is time to prepare a new draft, Drexel.

Could you please point out a few of them for me -- three or four perhaps -- so I can address this problem?

Thanks!


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The boy who could fly
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I read this script a while back before i was joined up here, I should have re-read it, my bad, I'll give it another gander tonight, still it was a great script, a lot better than most on this site, plus I also wrote in too much camera stuff in my script that I am going to take out, mostly POV, so I'm not innocent in that regards.  keep up the good work.


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Bert,

I was somewhat thrown into the throngs of another one of those "Children of the Corn" movie series when I read this one. Being that I am not a big fan of the horror genre, reading this script made me glad I had the opportunity to review it. The hook in this one is the little girl "Angel" who drives the entire story with her ever so curious behavior. There are several places in the script that need improvement but overall it was a good read.

[SPOILER NOTES]

2. INT. BATHROOM - "She pokes him curiously with her finger, watching him twirl"....
Where is she poking him? ex. In the stomach, chest or thigh etc. - A specific location would not hurt here.

3. INT. CAR - "Greg wipes some condensation off the windshield with a balled fist, then peers through the hole he made"...What drives him to behave this way? Maybe he is being curious? Then a little emotion here would not hurt. ie. "curiously peers".

4. INT. FARMHOUSE - "Huldah lights a cigarette...She spots Gaskins at the window and waves him inside"....Once again, the audience needs some kind of emotion or urgency here to connect with Huldah and Gaskins. ie. "anxiously waves him inside".

5. INT. ANGEL'S ROOM -"A rap at the door. Angel does not turn around...." I would omit:
"The door soon creaks open (anyway)".

Suggest use of open door by Huldah in next sentence as she pokes her head into the room.

6. GREG - "You can do that?" ...Not exactly convinced here that a 6 year old is capable  of doing this. Please choose words that convey bewilderment or shock by Greg that a 6 year old could have done such an act.

7. [ACTION] Mary El is shocked at her frankness in front of Angel. Dialogue from MARY EL would be best here because of "Sometimes you can still smell them".  Mary El needs to be curious of Huldah's use of the word "them".

10. GASKINS - "Well...house calls from the type of doctor she needs..." - He's the Sheriff for god's sake. Why didn't he just restrain Angel and take her to the next major city's hospital? Explain.

12. GASKINS -"Listen. This is not a rich county..." - Here he makes the nurses and the county sound cheap and desperate to Greg and Mary El. It sort of sounds like they are wealthy.
I guess you were playing to their sense of humanitarianism, no need here...Please re-write, needs improvement!!!

13. GREG - "Looks like jacket weather..." - [ACTION] Just before this dialogue, I would put in some menacing rain clouds overhead just as a reference for TY to look at.

14. INT. A DARKENED ROOM
     [ACTION] “Mary El moves...”
      Is she moving slowly or quickly?

16. GREG - "I can’t believe..." TYPO (on to). Also needs an exclamation point at end of the sentence for character emphasis.

17. INT. ART ROOM
      “A Native American woman...” Need her approximate age and a description of her here. Needs Improvement.

19.  After ALONA (calls back) to Mary El there is no dialogue from Mary El in response. Needs Improvement!!!

24.  TY – “That’s Lucifer” …Improper use of English language because MARY EL asks “Who is this?” And how does TY know the cat’s name? Suggestion: [ACTION]-  Not seeing a collar or nametag on the cat, Ty makes up a name for the cat. He names her “Lucifer”.

      TY – “Do you know how… She ate her kittens” Needs an explanation in the form of  
                [ACTION].

27. INT. TY’S ROOM
       TYPO: MEWS  

32.  INT. TY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
“Ty starts awake…”- Missing “to”

  “Aw…hell, no” – Omit “hell” here because of Ty’s age.
Suggestion:  “Aw…no…Where did that bear go?

35.  INT. TY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
“Ty loads a fresh cartridge…” It’s here that I’m totally confused. Is Ty carrying a shotgun or a rifle? FYI: An ammo cartridge is loaded into a shotgun. Needs Improvement.

37.  MARY EL - “Just go”…Sounds like she doesn’t care about Greg getting hurt or killed. Too uncaring!!! Needs Improvement.

38.  EXT. FARMHOUSE - NIGHT
[ACTION]
“Greg trudges through the snow…--a flashlight in one hand, a rifle in the other”
It’s sort of an odd way to carry a rifle. Suggest: Greg carries the rifle a different way.

      INT. CLUSTER OF TREES
      [ACTION]
      “A SNOWBALL …”
      Greg needs to show some kind of emotion after getting hit because he is in unfamiliar surroundings.

41. AT THE KITCHEN TABLE
     [ACTION]
     “Mary El shushes him” Is she doing this slowly or just the opposite here?
      MARY EL
      “Do you want to drive Ty into town?”  - WHY SUGGEST THIS?
      The car is completely inoperable at this point!!! Needs Improvement.

46. When Greg meets Yoder for the first time neither he nor Mary El ask him for the use of his phone. COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC!!! Needs Improvement.

49.  [ACTION]
       “His own terrified eyes…”
       Suggestion:  “He gazes upon his own terrified eyes…”

50.  YODER
       “Raccoons…”  
        He needs to really sound like he is unconvinced here and/or angry.
       Suggest: “Raccoons…my ass!”

64. INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT
      
      MARY EL
      “Hello again. You left before I could ask if your telephone is working”
      
     NOW SHE ASKS FOR A PHONE!!!  SHE’S NOT THAT DUMB?
  
     This should have been done on page 46.
  
89. INT. BARN – NIGHT
      [ACTION]
      “The bear hooks with a claw” – Makes no sense here…CHANGE!!

In summary, I have made some suggestions that I perceive necessary to improve this script. I really liked Yoder’s family story. It helps to keep the audience interested and the story moving. My real concerns are the slow points that involve Gaskins inability to really act like a sheriff. He definitely needs to stand up to Yoder and Angel to show that  he’s in control.

Good Luck in rewriting this one!!!





    





        
                  




  

  

      




  


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coolb801  -  April 25th, 2006, 1:42pm
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bert
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Children of the Corn?!?  So -- a crappy movie swap, huh?  Is that how it works?  

At least I've seen it already haha.  [Note:  That's an inside joke, folks.]

Pretty good for an inaugural review, Byron.  Be sure to respond to George in your review exchange thread if you are interested (and you should be -- he's amongst the best -- no lie).

Several of your comments are spot-on -- things I intend to incorporate later -- but if you will permit me, it may be instructive (or self-indulgent -- take your pick -- it's a fine line) if I were to rebut a couple:

4) "anxiously" and 6) "bewildered" and 14) "quickly" or "slowly":  Two points here.  The first is to leave room for the actors to decide some of this stuff -- to interpret the character as they see fit.  This gets back to the parenthetical comment in "Suspect Zone".  There is no need to "direct" every single line of action or dialogue to the most minute level -- obsessing about this will lead to clutter and excess length.

Scripts should be built for speed, and broad descriptions are just fine.

Also, a quick word on "ly" verbs.  These are considered "weak", and while you can't always avoid them, you should try to minimize their use as much as you can.  A sentence with an "ly" verb can almost always be rephrased to make it stronger.  I'm still working on cutting these, too.  It's hard.

32)  "hell".  I'll keep that one, thanks, and language will still remain PG-13.  In fact, I got a 13-year-old, and there is nothing false about that line.

35)  shotgun -- rifle -- cartridge:  Thanks here.  I gotta go through and make sure all of this is consistent, don't I?

41)  She has no idea what has happened yet.  This makes Greg's response sarcastic, as intended.

89)  "Hooks" is a good "action verb".  And no "ly" on it, either.  You can't visualize that one, huh?  I'll think on that.  

Considering your final comments, you know, I've always felt that Gaskins was one of the weakest characters, too.  His role is limited, but yeah, he probably does deserve to be doctored up a little in the next draft.

Thanks for the read-through, Byron.  Your thoughts on this are appreciated.  You should try to hook up with George, too.  He's a clever guy.


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Abe from LA
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Bert,

My review(s) will be up by the day's end.
I'm really tearing into the story.
I like what I'm reading.
Lots of commentary coming.
Lots of ideas suggested.
You're a heckuva writer.
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Abe from LA
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Bert,

This will be the first of many, many mini-reviews of The Farm.  I’ll examine the opening scenes here.

What can I say, but you are a very good writer.  I’m a big fan of Salvage, you probably know that. The Farm is further evidence that you have the chops.

This story is like Pet Semetery meets The Shining.  King-esque in atmosphere and dripping with creepiness.

While I see the potential of The Farm, I think at times it reads flat.  I do think most, if not all, of the component parts are here to make it work.  

But it feels like you have taken these parts and assembled a Mr. Machine, rather than the preferred Frankenstein monster (pardon my metaphor, or was that a simile?).

I want this story to get up and breathe. To open its eyes.  To say, “I’m Alive.”

I will do you the good service of pointing out inconsistencies, as I see them, because I know you understand how to use criticism/advice to your advantage.  This is most commendable on your part.
  
Your combination of skill, being thick-skinned, with a strong desire to improve, are why I think you will succeed in this industry.

Opening Scene.

While you have a beautiful opening sequence, I think you can go further.  Really mix action with visuals.  A back-and-forth process.  As you’ve presented, I kind of get a split-screen image.  Beautiful imagery over here, little girl walking over there.  Sort of coming together, sort of not.

So, taking what you’ve already written (excuse my staccato-style descriptions; I’m writing fast), this is how I envision the scene if I were directing:

Set your landscape -----

A vast, snow-covered field
Morning sun glints
Horizon endless

FOOTSTEPS - OS
Crunching into snow

A little girl trudging through an ocean of fresh powder.
Her breath catching in the chilly air.
She treks past a mechanical beast -- an irrigation system.  Triangular sections.  Spanning half the field. Menacing.

The little girl is a tiny speck of life against this stark, barren landscape.

This is ANGEL

Six years old.
Her nightclothes wet and streaked with mud.
She’s barefoot, but in no apparent discomfort.  
In no particular hurry.

She forges on.

CREAKING sound overhead.
A mighty windmill.
Its red-and-white blades turn with the morning breeze.
Angel troops past and the CREAKING  recedes.

She looks ahead.
Treks toward something dark and foreboding.
Approaching...
An ominous structure,  two-stories high.
The FARM HOUSE.

Of course, you would have to flesh all this out to fit your style.

--  Contrast the little girl against the elements.  This is open country.  Vast and insulated.  Sounds carry.  Let’s hear the windmill turn.  Let’s hear the swing on that old oak tree.

Allow Angel to lead us to this gloomy farm.

To be continued.
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Abe from LA
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Round 2.

Where oh where is the description of the house?
Take a look at your first 5-10 pages and find where you first tell us that this is a two-story home.

Remember the nature of the beast.  In a story like this, the house is a character.  A presence. Milk it, Bert.

What is Angel’s motivation for entering the house, going to the bedroom and pulling the sheet on mom?  Poking dad, who is hanging in the bathroom?

Tell me it’s Not for the viewers’ sake.
  
It might be preferable to have her go in search of a pet.  She enters the house and calls out a name.  Fish-Head???? “I know you’re hiding from me.”  Then she goes upstairs to look.  Would this work?

Car Scene

You’re on the right track.  
Nice setup of the family dynamics.
Dad drives, trying to keep the car on
the road.  Trying to maintain control.
Ty playing a video game. Boys just want to have fun.  
Mary El “studying a book about death, grief, and children.”
Uh, Noooooo.
Much too academic.  
Better to have the book open, face down on her lap.  Mary El leaning back. Head against the rest.
She stares out the side window.
A forlorn and lost expression on her face.
Watches the world pass by.

I do like the double c**p lines and Mary El snaps back to the moment.  Ty has gotten away with one. Maybe Greg doesn’t.
Play off of Mary El’s eyes, expression.
Dad is easy-going, Mom the disciplinarian.

At the Farm

I can’t make up my mind if I want to hear Gaskins say something to the family as he leads them to the house.  Maybe a few words.  Your call.

First meeting with Angel

Drama, Bert, drama.

Bedroom door locked.  Padlocked.
June can’t find her keys.
Huldah nudges her aside and opens the lock with Her Keys.  
Mary El is incensed – locking up a little girl.  Unthinkable.
They enter the room.

Let me say, I don’t like Huldah’s dialogue here (the “you’ve got some visitors, baby… you really need to listen” line).  She sounds a little like Mary El.

How about some more gruff. Fitting of her looks and style.

Greg’s dialogue with Gaskins (the “hey, man…”) doesn’t sound like him either.  It sounds more like Ty.

Back to the scene. Here I think you underplay the drama.

--  I think what is slowing down this interplay between the characters is the weighty descriptions and the overdrawn dialogue on Pages 5-7.

Change your rhythm, Bert.
Shorter, punchier sentences.
Crisper dialogue.

Example: Gaskins does too much explaining.  Have him say a few lines, then Huldah interrupts. She explains a thing or two. Then Gaskins jumps back in and speaks.  Then Mary El accuses Gaskins of getting forceful.  Then he says No he wasn’t.  Then Huldah says Angel took her pencil. Then Gaskins says Angel stabbed him with that pencil.  Then he shows everybody his wound.  Then he says the pencil went clean through.  Then Huldah says Angel is a danger.  Then Mary El defends Angel.  Tensions rising.  Mary El and Huldah, maybe, have a tiff.  Gaskins explaining more to Greg.

Little dramas.
Divert everybody’s attention (theirs and ours).

Then Bam.
Angel springs to action.  
Charges Gaskins.
Fires mace into his face. He screams (Yes, Burt, he gets hit square). June rushes to his assistance.

Huldah throws a sheet around Angel. Her words sharp.

Greg manages to confiscate the can of mace.  Mary El is enraged. She berates Huldah.  They go at it with words.

Gaskins in agony. June rushes him to the bathroom.

You get what I’m saying.

This gives Angel an opportunity to break free.  To Run out of the room, into the house she knows better than anybody here.
Mary El gives chase.

Now we get a glimpse of the house. Dark corridors. Many rooms.  Eerie.

Mary El catches up with Angel.  They are alone now. There, there, Mommy’s here.  OK, Aunt Mary’s here.  Now her comforting words:

                              MARY EL
                                We are not going to take you
                                anywhere, OK?  We are not going
                                to make you do anything you do
                                not want to do.

Comforting.  Intimate.  Trust building between Mary El and Angel.
And Angel knows Mary El is her defender.

Allow the natural conflicts to unfold.
Exploit opportunities.
Cut some of the dialogue.  Or split it up.
More volley of dialogue between characters.
The more one person talks in this scene, the more you amp down the tension.

On Page 8, for example.  Mary El introduces herself and the family – this should be done earlier in the scene, I think.  She follows this rather lengthy dialogue with more dialogue about how they aren’t going to take Angel from her home. Blah blah.

You’ve just doused the fire.

Create and explore more options.  Find better ways or places to insert exposition.  Mix it up.

If you don’t like the padlock scene with June searching for her keys, you can stay with the scene of Angel looking out the window.  We hear this jangling, but never see the keys in her hands.

Then when she attacks, we again hear the familiar rattle of keys.  Now we connect.

I'm taking a break.
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bert
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Holy crow, Abe.  I pop back onto the boards for a second and find all of this going on.

“What the heck is this guy doing?” I think, “It looks like he wants to do the next draft himself…”

But once I had acclimated myself to the staccato, rapid-fire style of your posts, I did find some gems in there.

The padlocked door.  June can’t find her keys.  Of course.  And it makes these ladies appear even more like the trolls they are supposed to be, doesn't it?  And establish the windmill earlier?  Yes.  Perhaps.

It looks like you are going to town on this one -- above and beyond the call of duty -- but you sure have some unique takes on some of this stuff that have not yet been raised.  Some of them quite clever.

It’s appreciated, Abe, but please don’t wear yourself out here.  Save a little to spread around, you know?  And I suppose I’ll hold my questions until the end.


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Abe from LA
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Working on Round 3.

Forgive me if I come off sounding like I'm trying to rewrite your work.
Don't mean to do that.
I edit writers' (journalists) works for my community newspaper.
Often, I've got to go back and rewrite a lot.
Force of habit.

I'll watch that in the future.
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Ahhh....an editor...that explains it.

I believe it was Twain that said something like:  "There are few forces stronger than the urge to edit the work of others."

Might not have been Twain -- but it was a writer -- I remember that for sure.

O.K.  I'll shut up now.


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Abe from LA
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Round 3

I like the scene of Mary El in the art supply room.  Nice atmosphere.  A moment to reflect.

Because of her own demons, this might be a time for her to have a moment to Let Go. Lose her composure.  Win our hearts.  Maybe she see’s something in the room that says kids.  Little ones.

Dad and Ty living it up in the other room.
Very cool.
Finding old LPs. Nice touch.
Can you take this further?
I’d love to see them getting into some music. Bonding big time.
Dad maybe doing some dance from his high school days.  Ty doing air guitar.
Let them cut loose and have laughs.

By the way, I like it that dad comes off kinda like a bud to Ty.  I know of dads who are like that.  

When mom tells the boys to turn off the racket, well, we know her side and we know their side.

The Alona scene is good.
I see Dead People, no wait… I see actress Cherry Jones as Alona.  I like this lady.
Great visual here of the window upstairs opening and little Angel looking down.  Really like that effect.

And not to mention Alona’s cryptic last words.

The panoramic bird’s-eye-view of the farm is nice.  I’m one of those people who don’t fret too much over the use of Camera Angles, if used very sparingly and in the right spots.

Do Not Rewrite Bert’s work – Slap.
Do Not Rewrite Bert’s work – Slap, slap.
OK, Better.

Really, though, I am working on my werewolf short script.  Just letting all these ideas flow in as I tinker with your story.  

On P. 20, when Mary El’s makes that VO comment about staying away from anything dangerous… not so sure about that.  It sounds like it needs a sarcastic response from Greg.  But that would dilute the impact of her words.  I think this is OK.

Greg in the combine cab is nice and personal.  Finally, Greg reaches out.  Connects with his brother.

I have to take you to task on Ty’s findings in the shed.  A speed reader might not catch that scene.
Can you break it up a little.
Take more time as Ty passes each cage.
Maybe he even pokes a stick at one of the dead animals.
I’d like to see his expression.  Grossed out?  Fascinated?  Curious??

What is this weak mewing business?
The line just plains reads Weak.

Have him turn off the heater, which leads him to a new discovery.

Dead kitten bodies (maybe we don't see the kittens.  Just Ty's face as he reacts).

Ty brings the cat inside.  We don’t need that mewing from before.  He maybe should just show up with a cat.  He can recount his gruesome tale of how she ate her children.  Nice effect there, by the way.

P.21  How about if Mary El talks to the cat?  Instead of asking Ty ‘who is this?’ She asks, ‘And who are you?’
Her addressing the cat in this way says something about her personality.
And we further warm up to this woman.

P. 27
Opens the box with a butterfly knife?
There is a martial arts weapon called a butterfly knife.  I know that’s not what you mean.  How about a pocket knife or a Boy Scout’s knife, or a Swiss Army knife.  Something familiar maybe.  Just being knit-picky.

I don’t want Teddy to attack Ty at this point.  Ty sees the bear come to life. He’s creeped out.  Enough for now.

Nice scene with the dead kids showing up while Mary El is showering.  But what is their intent?  Knit-picky again.  They should be there to do more than just observe.
Eerie imagery, however.
I can see Mary El washing her hair, and like Marian in Psycho, we can suddenly see dark shadows behind the shower curtain.
Even from behind the children, we see their burned clothes. And Mary’s blurry image through the shower curtain.  
What fun a DP can have with this.

I’m thinking what if maybe Angel shows us.  When Mary El draws back the curtain, the kids are gone. But there’s Angel.
Maybe to turn away the ghosts from harming Mary El.  Maybe Angel is really Mary El’s protector.

Next scene: Bedroom.
Mary El  (I’ll just call her EL) has a reaction to sitting on Ty’s knife.  Then she strokes the boy’s hair.  I smell conflict of actions here.  Hmm.

Maybe El has to get the conversation turned to Angel and get into that a bit.  Her tone changes and Then she strokes Ty’s hair.

Greg reminisces about Dan.  Good that you set up the scene in the combine cab.  Now he's getting sentimental. Or remorseful, or something.
Did they grow up on a farm?
Greg says Dan was so proud of this place.
His dream since they were kids?
The family farm, right?
I kinda got the impression Greg was really foreign to this place.  He doesn’t react to the house as if it’s familiar.
Maybe it's just the way I read it.

Don’t know about that “Ah, hell no,” by Ty.
Maybe an “Oh s***.”

I think it would be better if Ty had left that knife stuck in the bear.
Have that scene firm in our minds.
Then when Ty awakens and doesn’t see the bear, it will be clear to us that the bear and the knife are gone.  Kind of ominous that the knife would disappear too, wouldn’t you say?

P. 32
The oldest boy ghost watches Mary El sleep.
Maybe it doesn’t need to be explained.
But why do the ghosts do this?  They have no intention of harming El, right?  What’s this staring about??  Makes me feel that it’s there to say, look here are ghosts?
Just me picking at a scab.

P. 32-33
I think Greg is doing too much explaining.  He is groggy, his words should be limited.
‘Can’t sleep with us… go back to bed.” Brief and unfocused.
Then Greg is snoring again.

P. 33
Why does Ty go back to his bedroom without switching on the lights?  It’s spooky in there, dude. He’s gotta see what he’s shooting at.

Kind of awkward to say the 'hand not manning the trigger.'  Just say with his free hand, he opens the door.

I think during this skirmish with Teddy, Ty gets bitten.  If he got bitten earlier, he would have said so.  Keep the drama here.  He fights with the bear, gets bitten and blows Teddy to smithereens.  When Greg and El don’t believe his story, he shows the bite/claw marks and the oozing blood.

P. 34
Aha, lights Do work.  Greg and El flip the switch.  

How about when Ty comes back to his room, with the rifle, he gropes around for the switch, can’t find it and then he hears Teddy stirring.  Now he has to keep both mitts on the gun, his eyes ahead and well, now I can buy him not turning on the lights.  But he’s gotta try.  Right??

P. 35
Don’t agree with Greg’s words.  “That’s convenient, now you can’t sleep in here.”  Come on, dad’s on Ty’s side.
He’s gotta give the kid the benefit of the doubt.
And Dad has to go to the window and look out.  Even if he doesn’t see anything.
Let me tell you, if I shot a gun, claimed that the creature was blown through the window, I think everybody in the room would be compelled to look out the window.

Bert.  What is wrong with Mary El????
Where is her maternal instinct??
Angel is in the bedroom, correct?
Gunfire.  Animal in the room.  Ty is bitten.  Window has a hole in it.
Mary El has Got to Comfort Angel.
No buts about it.
She has to protect her little Angel.
The girl has already been traumatized more than once.
Fix.

And fix Dad too.  Just doesn’t ring right that he comes off so flip, or so sarcastic.
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Abe from LA
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Round 4

Coffee break over.
Stretching done.

P. 38.   Good series of scenes with the children ghosts laughing and firing snow balls.  Not scary, but visual.
The whole windmill crash is great.
Yeah, I can see that big-time on the screen.

Shooting at children??
Sorry, Bert. That’s not good.
I don’t care whether Bert can see the kids or not.  Don’t shoot.  It tells me he’s not very responsible.  If it were Ty, yeah, I see that. But Greg is an adult.  What adult shoots at laughter, at air, when maybe, there’s a kid out there?  Scary thought.

P. 40   Don’t like it that Mary El says, her first words, the kid’s are sleeping.  That line just lays there, for me.  Better to start with the second line. “I heard a gunshot. Or what were you shooting at?’

Ah, come on.  P. 42.  Greg doesn’t say a word about the windmill demolishing the car? That’s dumb.

I know you don’t want him repeating what we just saw, but if he’s going to speak, then he’s just got to say something about that car.  Otherwise, he comes off as stupid as those kids who wander into the dark to be slaughtered by Jason.  Well, not that dumb.

And when Mary El says it’s Okay for Greg and Ty to stay in town… a perfect opportunity for him to mention the car.

If you’d rather not have Greg say anything about the car, then he shouldn’t say anything at all.  

Maybe he stumbles into the semi-dark house, ashen-faced, trance-like, bleeding from the head and just walks past Mary El.  Maybe he can’t muster any words to describe what he’s been through.  Maybe he’s got a bit of a concussion.

Perhaps Mary El goes out and sees the wreckage.  Then she comes back with that same look.

P. 42  Bottom of page.  Angel screams. Everybody awakens. Mary El says to Greg: What the hell were you doing?

What a thing to say.  Greg isn’t the type to do anything to the girl, right?

I would think El would say, “What happened?”  That’s not being accusatory.

Sometimes she talks to her family like they’re strangers.  Like she doesn’t know them.

Now this would be OK if El’s mind is getting warped.  If she is coming unglued.
If that’s the direction we’re headed, Bravo.  I’m seeing a female Jack Nicholson.  She is getting overly protective, intense and insensitive to Greg and Ty.

But I don't think that's where you're going.

**  Bert, where are the cell phones?
Everybody’s got a cell phone these days.
Even if they don’t pick up a signal, they’ve got to have cell phones. Ty has got to have a cell phone.

P. 46-48
Yoder appears at the door.
Don’t like this setup.
I think Greg is the friendly one, the one to invite him in.
Mary El should be the guarded one, cautious.  

Yoder isn’t particularly friendly.
Inquisitive maybe.
He said ‘I heard gunshots.’
There was only one gunshot, right?
He heard the gunshot, but Mary El didn’t hear the crash of the windmill??
Well, OK, howling wind. Gunfire is a sharper sound.  Maybe no complaints there.

I’m troubled that Mary El not only invited this guy inside, but allows him to sit near a sleeping Angel.  I don’t know.

As soon as he says ‘I come to see the girl,’ red flags go up in my mind.  And should go up in El’s mind, too.  Something too ominous in those words.

I think a better way to approach this is:

(no intension of rewriting, but…)

Have Greg outside. Maybe inspecting the damage to the car.  Yoder shows up.  Naturally they talk about the damage.  Maybe the fiece wind from the night before.  Yoder comes off as folksy. Wins Greg over.
Maybe Yoder says he knew Dan.  Another reason for the two men to connect.
Then Greg takes Yoder to the house.
Greg can introduce Yoder to Mary El.
Much friendlier.
Now he is welcomed into the house.

The snow globe.  Yeah. Like the scene.
Especially Yoder’s image in the ball.
Wow.
Hey, what is Yoder’s intention anyway?
What does he expect to find there at the Ereckson farm?
He obviously is there to see Angel, but why?
Or maybe, what is Angel’s intension toward Yoder?

Something’s amiss on P. 48.
Yoder spooked and hurrying away.  Then he stops, turns back to the shattered window and says, ‘raccoons.’  Huh?  This man is scared s***less.  He’s gotta keep going.

And to make that scene really feel off, Greg and Mary El on the same page, discuss why they goofed and said ‘raccoons.’  

Do they have super hearing? Did they hear Yoder question Greg's statement about  ‘raccoons’?

Better to have Yoder say ‘raccoons’ right after Greg tells him that’s what he scared off.
If you place his reaction earlier, then we know that Yoder’s not buying the story, and Greg and El also know this.

However, regarding this whole raccoon business, I say What the f***

Raccoons, rodents, bears, what difference does it make?
Greg doesn’t live there.
He might not know a raccoon from a pole cat, from a possum, a mink and a skunk.
Why are they fretting about that mistake?
Who is Yoder anyway.  It’s not like giving a statement to the police.  

One more thing – nobody asking  Yoder if he has a working phone?  A drivable vehicle??

Calm down, Abe. inhale. Exhale.

Ok.  Onward.

P. 51  --  Shed. Dead kittens in a cage.
Uh, not sure about this.
Are kittens kept in cages?
Is the cage locked?
Is Fish-Head possessed by a spirit?
Was she inside of the locked cage when Ty found her??  Can’t recall now.

Maybe Ty should help dad bag the dead animals.
Then they could speculate together.
Wow, that could be chilling exchange of ideas.

Dead snake in a terrarium.  I believe that's what they call the thing for snakes and reptiles.

P. 53-54

When Mary El and Ty check Angel’s room concerning the Gameboy, I think you have a natural segueway here for Mary to look out the window.  And see Angel down there near the wrecked car and live powerlines.

Because these are live wires, which has been there from the night before, all the more imperative that Greg and Mary El try to get help.  Again, they should have asked Yoder about a phone or car.

After Yoder freaks out, we understand why no help is coming.

Which brings up another point.  Wouldn’t Greg go get help.  Walk to Yoder’s farm.  Or somebody else’s farm.  He can’t just stay there under these circumstances.

Play all the cards.  Let’s see them (Greg) try every means to get help.

Maybe Nobody realizes the wires are live.
Maybe it’s assumed they aren’t.
Not until Fish-Head gets fried.

P. 53
Angel climbing the windmill reads passive.
You tell us she is 'well on her way up the thing.'
It seems like we’re seeing this from a distance.
Put us up close.
From Angel’s POV.  Let us see her trying to rescue Fish-Head.  Put us in the eye of the storm, so to speak.

I’m kind of in favor of dad not being around.  Perhaps off to get help, so we think.
Mary El is freaking out.
Ty is forced to climb the windmill to rescue Angel.
He's reluctant, but Mom insists.
He gets stuck up there.
Then, dad is there. In the combine.  Rescues everybody, except the cat.
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Abe from LA
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Round 5

P. 58
Greg and Ty trying to get the combine back in the barn.
Mary El cutting out new eyes for the painting.
And Where May I Ask is Angel?
You can’t leave this child alone, not after what she has just done.

Have Angel help Mary El cut the new eyes.

This scene, however, opens a great opportunity for Mary El and Angel to talk.  Talk as they do crafts.  Because it was Angel who cut out the eyes, right?

So Mary El will want to know why and help the child deal with her anxieties.
Afterall, El did tell Greg that she could reach the child.  Now’s her chance.  Reach out, El.

P. 59

Ah, a good time to clear the air?
Greg and Mary El must have a blow-out of an argument.  Well, I don’t know if here is the best place.
But they've got to argue and not just small talk.
Get to the meat of their fears, concerns.

The couple have got to get back in synch emotionally.  Prepare for what's coming.

P. 62

Thin ice here, Bert.  Don’t think Mary El will just welcome Yoder back into the house.  Didn’t he leave under strange circumstances?
I might buy it if Yoder was gracious and apologetic, and has brought a gift: a cake, a pie, something to eat.  A peace offering.

He’s got to earn their confidence before he starts blurting out warnings of them being in danger.  

Or, he's got to come on strong.  Maybe he's pakcin’ that shotgun.  He forces his way in.

One or the other.

At the bottom of the page, why are Mary El and Greg allowing Yoder to sit on this matter of the estate.  I wouldn’t allow him inside the house, let alone privy to business matters regarding the house.
Just my take on this matter.

Oh, now I read that the letter contains info. About Yoder owning that land. OK, that’s why nobody’s protesting his presence.  Make this apparent.  It’s kept in the dark and then sprung on us.  I kinda feel manipulated.

They've got to pump this man for information.

P. 64
Need a Flashback.  Make it clear.

P. 65
I like the look back in time.
The Yoder family.
How they died.  This is good.

P. 68
So the Yoder family once owned this land?
And the Yoder dad sold it to the Dan Ereckson??

P. 71
How did Angel get Ty’s knife from his back pocket?

P. 72
Don’t understand why Mary El is replacing the new eyes with the original eyes.  To me it’s irrelevant.  Angel’s psychological state is the issue here.

And what has happened now that Mary El asks “Where is Ty?”  Is there some realization on her part?
Does she think Ty is in danger?

When Greg and Mary El enter Angel’s room, do they see the ghost children there?  Who sees the children?

Mary El’s first words as they enter:
“Get away from her, Ty.”
She has switched gears, I think.  I would have thought she’d say, “Angel, please don’t do this.”  Instead, it’s get away from Her.

Mary El try has got to talk Angel out of this bad situation. Reason with her.
Tell her everything’s going to be Ok.
Maybe even get between Greg and Angel.
She’s been so loving of this child, and now, she says very little in this scene.

P. 74
I see at the bottom of the page, Mary El is back to offering Angel comfort.  What happened at the top of the page?  

Yoder comes unarmed?
He obviously knows the spirits are present.
Does he perceive Sarah/Angel to be a threat?

P. 75
I want to see Mary El lay it on the line with Angel. “What is happening here?”
“You know something, Angel. I want the truth.”  She should be more forceful.  Afterall, in a few seconds, she’s gonna lock this child in.  So why not get tough.

P 76
Bottom of the page. Mary El demands to know why Yoder is doing “this…s***.
What s*** specifically.
Maybe she should demand to know what the H*** is going on.

P 77
Sure took Yoder awhile to say it.  ‘That’s not Angel. That girl is a blasphemy.’
He Is afraid of the girl.
Yet, he comes unarmed?
Maybe he has a shotgun hidden outside.  By the door.
If so... he's got to have that shotgun when he enters Angel's room.
Consider that.

P 77
I do like the dreamcatcher bursting into flames.  The tendrils. Very creepy.

P 79
Yoder says his sister Sarah had eyes as brown as molasses.  Is he saying Sarah’s spirit inhabits Angel’s body?
Or is he just saying that to be saying it?

P 81
Ah, I see Yoder hid his shotgun.
But in the shed?
Not very accessible.
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Next to Last Round

Backtacking a bit –-

P 78

Bedroom door explodes

Greg and Yoder investigate.  Why are Mary El and Ty sitting in the kitchen?
I think they would be hanging back at the foot of the stairs, waiting with curiosity and concern.

My gut says Mary El won’t take no. She is going upstairs to check on Angel and god forbid anybody who blocks her path.

Bottom of p 79

Greg’s dialog. Sounds unsure… “I think we need to find her before he does.”
Needs to be way more forceful & urgent.

P 81

Need a better or longer transition scene between Yoder retrieving his gun in the shed and the family seeing him pick-axe a grave.

P 81

Yoder drops a bundle into the hole and starts filling the hole… uh, is this supposed to be Angel?

Yoder found her already?
How could the family see Angel’s face if she’s in  the hole?
They can’t be that close. This madman has a pickaxe.

P 81

I see now. Angel is projecting a vision.

∑ Did not mention this earlier, but why did Angel allow Ty to see the image of Yoder killing her in the field? Why not Mary El?

Yoder’s word suggest Sarah has been a restless spirit for a long time?  Maybe since her death?  Hmm… this could present troubles for you the writer.

Bert, if you’re suggesting that Sarah has only to life (in Angel’s body), then what good is shooting Angel?  It doesn’t skill the spirit of Sarah.  She could inhabit another warm body.

P 83

Why is Fish-Head returning to life?
Which spirit inhabits her body??

I don’t see that Fish-Head is chasing Ty, yet when Greg runs after Ty and trips, he lands near Fish-Head.  

I’m not seeing how this works.

Wait, now Fish-Head leaps at Yoder.
Uh, what’s going on?

Mary El yells run to Angel.
But why should Angel run?  She’s there for another purpose, right?

So Angel doesn’t run.  Mary El goes after Ty.  Doesn’t Mary El see that Angel is standing there?  Won’t she try to remove her from this tense scene, especially if Yoder is still alive.

Angel takes the rifle. OK.

P 85
Shed.  Mary El comes across a large control panel.  How are we supposed to visualize this?  Is the control panel a side of a wall.  Is it floating in space.  Tough to picture without more description.

Near the top is a an irrigation company logo, and a picture
of the rolling behemoth that straddles Angel’s field.

The above line is vague.  Still can’t get a grasp on what she’s seeing.

Where is the shed in relation to the barn?

P 85

I gotta tell you, Bert, that Ty is a total wimp.  He’s running into the barn to hide?
Can’t he run into the barn to retrieve a weapon? Or better yet, run into the barn to drive the combine??  But to hide.  Oh lord. I cannot route for a 13-year-old boy who is this gutless.  His family’s life is in the balance.

Maybe he’s chasing after Fish-Head. Or Angel. Or something.  Make this kid a bit more gallant.

Also, Ty running to hide has killed the tension.  Now if he had run to the barn to retrieve something, and we know dad is waiting for that something back at the grave site, then any delays Ty faces ratchets the intensity.


P 86
Tell us this is the Teddy bear.
I thought it was a different bear at first.

Now I want that bear and that combine to chew the s*** out of that wimp Ty.

Bert,  why is the bear up there in the loft?
Don’t say it.  Waiting for Ty??  Ugggh.
Better that bear lie in wait in his room.
But up in the hay loft of the barn, and then Ty just happens to pick that for a hiding spot?  Never.

OR, how about Ty goes into the barn to hide and he hears somebody (something) follow him into the barn?  He thinks the cat.  We know it wasn’t the cat.  Mom? No. Dad? No. So what followed him in??  Enquiring minds want to know.

What machinery was heard starting up?  This was a couple of pages back.  The bottom of P 84.

No mention of machinery rumbling in the barn.  No mention of machinery rumbling in the shed.  So, what gives?

The sound of the snowmobile perhaps?

If so, why doesn’t Ty run toward the snowmobile and Gaskins?  The barn is not that far away.

P 86
I see the combine has come to life. So that wasn’t this piece of machinery we heard 1 page earlier.

P 88
Ty clings to life at the rim of the hopper.  And here comes the struggle between Yoder and Gaskins.

Gaskins is getting mulched by the blades.  Where is Ty in relationship to this?  Perhaps his fingers are slipping, almost ready to give.  

This could be an exciting visual scene to film.  But on paper, I don’t see where Ty is and where Yoder is.

P 89

Angel sitting on the pipes.  
All of these farming equipment is hard to visualize.  I’m not familiar with it.  Taking your word for all of this.

Why is Angel swinging her feet?  Such nonchalance. No sense of urgency in her actions.

P 90
Two scenes with Greg entering Ty’s room.

Why is Greg searching for Ty?  That’s what mom set out to do.  With both of them searching for Ty, there is less drama.  Dad has got to be battling Yoder.  Otherwise, Yoder doesn’t seem like much of a threat.

P 91
Ty has never seen a syringe so big.  Does his eyes widen, what are we seeing to know this?

P 91
A dying or suffering Gaskins hands Ty a syringe, but I don’t think he would be playing Q&A: “Do you know what that is for?”
Just have Gaskins tell him.
Economy of words, plus maintain the sense of urgency
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Abe from LA
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Last Round.

P 93
What angle is Greg approaching Angel?
Because he gets shot.
Hmm.  This would be tough, because he would have to be in front of the rifle barrel.
Not to say this isn’t possible.
You know best.

It might work better if he knocks Mary El out of the way.  I take it Greg thinks she is the target.  This would make sense if it goes down like this.  And he goes down like that.

Ty in a snowmobile and with a gun.  Is this Gaskins’ gun?  Just curious.

P 94
Ty tells Yoder “they know what you did.”
The police, I presume and not the ghosts.

Getting confusing who has a gun and who doesn’t.  Ty takes a tumble and the gun goes flying.  Yoder still has his gun.

P 94
Now Mary El is holding Angel’s gun.

Best not to use shoot to describe a character looking at another character (shoots a look). Not when there is a gun trained on someone. Gets confusing.

P 95
If the cops know about Yoder, why did only Gaskins show up?  There should be several police units in to get this guy.  I think even in a small town.  They might be assisted by neighboring towns in capturing a homicidal killer.
How about Gaskins showing up with a couple of officers.  And Yoder kills the two officers.  That's more realistic.  Otherwise, Gaskins is in idiot.  Nobody goes out to arrest a killer without backup.

P 98

Snow and soil transformed into a soup of slush and mud.  Visually all of the morphing and transforming might look cool, but they’re hell on the reader.  Blink or skip a line and then it’s like Whoa, what’s this?

On the same note, I do like Yoder getting pulled down under and then the ground transforms into ice over him.  And there he is trying desperately to get out.  Very Nice.

Love the snow-globe reference here.

The Starts word isn’t universally used in this context.  Is it regional?  I’d go with the familiar startled.

P 99
Streams of blood “wend” their way… is that meant to be “wind”?

I did like the secret that Angel tells Mary El.  
Did not like Angel dying.  I feel it was a cheap death.
Of course, I guess she was already dead.
Well, more on this in my evaluation.
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Abe from LA
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Bert,

There are a lot of really nice things with The Farm.  There are also some confusing elements.
I’ll address the areas I think are problematic or potentially problematic.

First, I’m not a fan of the two dead bodies in the beginning and how they are presented.  Feels like a plant, a setup.

I’ve got the family figured, but I’m not so sure about Angel (Sarah), Yoder and the ghosts.

I think Angel should attack Huldah and not Gaskins.  Gaskins can help her cause.  Huldah is an obstacle.

Getting rid of the trolls opens the door for family to care for Angel.  She’s got to know this and act accordingly.  Stab the nurse and send her to the hospital.

Just noticed on P 99, Angel says to Mary El, “you tried to help me.” EL responds, “you don’t need any help.”  Angel: “no.”
Uh, this is wasted dialogue.  Everybody knows El tried to help Angel.

Let me see if I understand the story: These restless Yoder spirits have been driven to restlessness “by shame and greed.”  Then why do they attack or torment Greg and Ty?
Don’t these spirits know that one of their own is the greedy, evil person??
Spirits have to be smart.

Why don’t the spirits torment Yoder?
I mean really shake him up.
Don't they break things in his house?  Seems I remember such a scene.
He doesn't seem overly bothered, though.

I’m bugged by the snowball-throwing incident. The children’s laughter.  Not that’s it’s a bad scene on its own, but how does it fit with this story?  The ghosts seem malevolent.  Dangerous. Ominous for the sake of the movie, not true to their motivations.

Who owns the farm?
How does killing Dan and his wife help Yoder?  

Yoder is calculating enough to set up a double suicide, but so stupid he kills them with an injection. What gives? Like nobody would do an autopsy… It would work better for me if Yoder killed Dan and his family, then buried them.  Seems that would be in keeping with his character. Heck, he buries everything else.

The mystery would be, what happened to the Ereckson family.  Can't do autopsies if there ain't no bodies.

Likewise, it would work better for me if Angel wants to lead the family to Dan’s burial site.  Or to the truth.  That sounds reasonable.

But I don’t think that’s the story you want to tell.

As for the ghosts, it would be creepier to me if they were crying for help.  That they are tortured souls.  As is, I don’t know what their intentions are.  To torment the guys and observe Mary El?

I take it that Angel’s only power is to create a vision which reveals the past.  Correct?
Then why doesn’t Angel do the sensible thing and show the vision to Gaskins?  He's the law.

What’s up with this Teddy Bear?
This is what causes confusion.
It is evil.  Possessed?  Isn’t this the bear that belonged to one of the Yoder kids?  Maybe it should be Ben Yoder’s bear when he was a pup.  

Hmm, now I’m wondering why the real Angel’s spirit couldn’t inhabit her own body.  She was killed by Yoder.  She should be the ghost that seeks justice, or revenge.  That seems logical.  Angel’s soul is restless.  

Are we only seeing Sarah’s spirit in Angel?
Or are their duo spirits occupying the girl’s body?
Why does Angel’s spirit show up at the end?
This seems to be there to tug at our heart strings. Make us feel warm and fuzzy.
Explain things.
Well, I guess it works
Not logical, but a feel good scene.

Ah, Bert, you’re a clever devil.

I guess the story Ben tells on Page 64 is not true.  Did Ben burn down the family house, with all the trimmings, sorry, his siblings inside?
Now Sarah has reason to come back.
And the Yoder kids are most certainly restless.
They need to see Ben in the ground.  Dead and buried before they can rest in peace.

But hey, dude, where is the vision/replay of this murderous scene?  It’s not at the story’s end.
Gotta tie up the loose ends.

Oh yes, why are the eyes cut out of the painting?  I’ve seen this before in films.  Been there, done that.  So, does it serve a purpose?

How does Ben Yoder know that Angel (whom he killed) is seemingly alive and well?
He pays a visit to Greg and Mary El, with the intent of checking on Angel, right?
Did he see her outside??
This is farm country, so I don’t think anybody told him about Angel.
And how did Angel know to escape from her bed before Yoder arrives to kill her?
She must have witnessed the murder of her parents.
No biggee here, just wondering.

Shouldn’t we see a vision of Yoder killing Dan and his wife?  You showed us Yoder going after Angel.

Again, being knit-picky.

The final battle royale at the story’s end is a doozy.  It’s a bit hard to follow.  Are the children’s spirits turning on the machinery?  They can do this??  If so, they should be able to dispose of Ben.  Sorry to keep going back to this point.

And all those guns.  Hard to keep track of who is armed and who was armed.  Bet this plays better on the screen than it reads on paper.

Watch out for the over-describing of scenes.  It really bogs down the story.  You need to keep the pace of this thing humming.  Especially the action sequences.

Going back to P 57, that scene where Yoder hears the rumbling of the combine from his house, have him pull out a pair of binocs.  We should see him checking out the Ereckson farm.

On P 69, what does Yoder mean when he says that Greg’s kin 'done something awful that night, the worse they ever done.'  Is he referring to the so-called suicide? Or is he saying something else?

Does Yoder really believe if he kills Angel again, he kills the evil spirit that seems to be haunting the farm?

I could go on.  But you know your story.  Maybe there is some logical thread that sews up the story into a more logical package.  Remember.  The riddle should be solvable within the story.  Maybe on second or third viewing, I would  get it.  That’s pretty good on your part.  Can you pull that off?

Fix the illogical.  Stay consistent with your characters and their actions.

There has got to be something in that deed that reverts the farm back to the Yoder family.  Yoder has to know this, which is why he kills Dan and his family.  Yoder wants possession of the land.  I just can’t buy that he’s killing people just to put the so-called spirits to rest.
Because those spirits are restless due to his killing of the Erecksons.  They weren’t restless before that, right?
Is this a Catch-22?

Maybe go with Yoder having killed his own siblings.  Maybe he’s so wacked with dementia that he doesn’t remember it that way.  Then you Must show us the vision of him killing his brothers and sister.  That’s a real loose end.

If you fix this aspect of the story, I think it could work.  

There you have it.  Hope that helps.  If nothing else, I hope I’ve stimulated thought.  You were the first person on this board to kinda befriend me (after I reviewed Salvage) and so I’ve repaid you here with a back-breaking critique.  You won’t see anything like this again.  I’m off to do my own scripts now.

Best of luck. You are a good writer.  And this is a whale of a story in more ways than one, so says Capt. Ahab. Fix the problems and go sell this spooky beast.
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Abe from LA
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Oh yeah, forgot.  Have the children's ghosts do more eerie things. You know what I mean.  Cryptic things that are meant as warnings.  Utilize the house more for effects.
Maybe weird sobs or screams, or struggles.  Reenactment of people getting murdered.
they should do what ghosts do best.  Be scary.
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Abe from LA
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Jeez, Bert

Some newspaper guy I am
Must have scenes of Greg dealing with Dan's death
News stories
Police report
Police photos
Maybe a trip into town to see the bodies
Maybe when they first meet Angel, Greg is preoccupied with the bathroom spot where Dan allegedly hung himself
Maybe Greg presses Gaskins about the investigation
More than just sentimentality here
Greg would never commit suicide, nor his wife
Greg might suspect foul play
If you don't want to build too much around this, just have Greg say "I don't want to talk about it" to El
Maybe we learn more about Dan's death from Yoder
Greg would want Yoder around to fill in the blanks

Maybe a scene with Mary El doing laundry
Or changing the bed sheets
They're sleeping in the bed where the wife's body was found, right?
Maybe they don't even sleep in that bed
Or that bedroom
Kinda creepy since it happened not too long before

I think now it would be better to have Ty in on the conversation before he falls asleep in his parent's room.
Seems natural.
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bert
Posted: April 30th, 2006, 4:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Abe from LA
You won’t see anything like this again.


Heck...I've never seen anything like it before, either.

I'm overwhelmed, Abe -- swimming in new ideas -- and still struggling to digest the sheer volume of what you've put forth here.

Your earliest posts on these boards suggested that you consider yourself something of a novice.  That's bull.  Don't sell yourself short, Abe -- you know what you are doing, alright.

This reads more like an autopsy than a review -- seemingly every aspect has been plucked out, poked and prodded, examined -- and questioned.

There are things here that I absolutely intend to incorporate into the next draft -- I already know this with 100% certainty --

-- and there are other things here that I recognize as "jump-starts" -- new ways of looking at a scene through a different prism -- and the way that scene fits into the story as a whole -- and these will require a great deal more thought before I can decide exactly what I intend to do with them.

So I must thank you once again for what amounts to the best read-through I have ever received -- flat-out -- on these boards or elsewhere.

Now go get to work on something of your own.

I need a few days to think about all this.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Abe from LA
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OK, I will hit my script with a vengeance.

I'm glad I've got you thinking about things.  That's what it's all about.
Seeing new possibilities.  Find out what works... and what needs to be reworked.
You're an ace, Bert.
I expect to see you with that script sale, option, whatever soon.

Watch for my script.  It's coming on 6-6-06.  Nah, just kidding. Soon though.

Abe
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MacDuff
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Holy crap Abe.

This must be the most indepth review I have ever read, not just on these boards.

Wow. Pat yourself on the back.

Can't wait to start helping you with your script.


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Abe from LA
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Oh Cripes,

Went shopping today and was humming Green Acres
And then a flash crackled in my tiny dome
The Farm

Bert -- think about having Mary El kill the bear
She's been giving most of her attention to Angel
Maybe too much
Her reality sets in...  she could lose another child
Time to Save Ty


McDuff

Yahhh. I best work on my own.
Thanks for the offer of assistance.
Me script be needin' help
It's got monsters and stuff
I can only write between dawn and dusk
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George Willson
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Wow. I just had to add a wow. Abe, that's one incredible dissection. Lord knows you can't have the time to devote that to everyone, but if you do a few that way, you'll have more read requests than the White house gets mail. One thing's for sure. You've earned my respect. Way to make an impression within a hundred posts. I doubt many people have made such an overwhelmingly positive one so quickly.


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Abe from LA
Posted: May 1st, 2006, 3:47am Report to Moderator
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Thanks, George

Don't think I can do critiques like this all the time
But every now and again
While trying to figure out my own script, I might be able to dismantle somebody else's work
bert, did me a good turn early on and so I wanted to give the Farm an in-depth read
I want to see people succeed

I think bert's going to do it... later if not sooner
He'll hit it out of the park
If I can be a part of his and other writer's success, great
Because I know I'll get help when I need it

I tend to overedit
Don't mean to, but I do it without thinking
I'm just trying to get writers to think about their work in a new light
So I throw in everything, because we never know what's going to cause a spark

Thanks for the kind words.
I'm taking a break from reading to write something.
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Uberr
Posted: May 9th, 2006, 7:34pm Report to Moderator
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Wow sir, your opening has gotten me locked in already and let me tell you something. I hardly am convinced that a script is good in the beginning, because usually they start out slow.

But you my friend have struck me as a great writer. I'll give you my review sometime during this week.


WIP'S


Assembly Line- May 2006 or June 2006
Island- Summer 2006
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bert
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Since this has already been bumped up today, it seems like an opportune time to respond to the extensive breakdown I got from Abe last week.  I've been poring over all of this, plucking things out and twisting them around, and trying to decide how best to put these ideas out there.

There's plenty of gold buried in them thar posts.

To respond to all of it would be insane -- and really jam up this thread.  I'll confine myself to a single post.

There are tons of little things Abe pointed out that I am absolutely taking to heart, but what I'll do here is toss out some of the larger issues, and changes that I am absolutely certain will be incorporated into the next draft -- whenever that might be.

So, if reading through all of Abe's posts was too much for you, but you are still interested in some of the things he had to say, you can get that here (with minor spoilers):

*  Abe was the first to point out (I think) that the house itself was never really described.  It should be.  To give it more personality -- to treat it as a "character", of sorts.  I will do this.
*  When we first meet Angel, her door will be padlocked.  June will go to unlock it, but she will not be able to find her keys.  A great set-up for the payoff that comes later.
*  The above-mentioned scene, and the scene immediately following this, are pretty heavy in exposition.  I will try to break this up with some action.  Abe suggested the Angel break free, with a chase through the house.  Maybe.  The jury is still out on that, but it's under consideration.
*  During the "shower scene", it will just be the boys at first.  Abe suggests that Angel appear later in this scene, as a "protector" of sorts for Mary El.  This is a new theme I may try to incorporate into a couple of spots, actually.
*  After Ty blasts the bear out the window, Abe points out that this is a lost opportunity to have Mary El bond with Angel.  I'll take it.  This will also be a good opportunity to show Ty's growing jealousy.
*  Greg will trip in the graveyard, over the wires, and the gun will discharge.  Make it clear he is not actually shooting at the children.  Good point.
*  The thing with the eyes is still not clear enough, apparently.  I will just have to have Mary El explain to Greg explicitly why this is so upsetting.  Later, Angel will also be explicit with Mary El regarding this same issue.
*  Ty needs a better motive to go into the barn than to hide.  Something nober.
*  Gaskins will still arrive alone, but this will be justified.
*  There may be a scene where they go to view the bodies.  Not sure where, though.
*  Greg has never been to the farm, and has not seen his brother in years.  This is supposed to be a "fish out of water" story, but that's not coming through quite right either.  Not yet, anyway.  I will hint at some estrangement between Greg and his brother.  Some reason that Greg has never brought his family to visit him.  This is a new arc that will also be resolved (somehow) during the family's stay at this farm.

And there is lots of little stuff, too, of course.

Thanks again, Abe, for the absolutely marvelous breakdown you have provided.  You can be sure that everybody else is pretty jealous of all this -- while I am grateful.

You've sparked my interest in this story anew -- in a way no previous reader has.  I am actually looking forward to the opportunity to dip back into this one now -- anticipating the next rewrite as opposed to dreading it.  So thanks for that, too.

[Edit:  Thanks for looking Uberr!  Man, I almost forgot completely....where are my manners...?]


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!

Revision History (1 edits)
bert  -  May 9th, 2006, 11:23pm
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Herodreamer79
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i'll leave the technical page-by-page breakdown to the professionals....

this one i found creepy. usually i dont get creeped out by reading creepy scripts, but this was well done.

nice job bert


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James Fields
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*Gasp*

I started reading this script yesterday along with two others, and let me say this. I think that this script is perfect Bert. I'm astonished by how much the story kept my heart beating faster and faster until the ending.

You are an excellent writer, and I hope that you write another horror script like this one.

The format is right on, the dialogue between characters has no stops or awkward moments speachlessness. The description of everything was so good... You've inspired me Bert.

My favorite scene was the teddy bear thing. I sadly chuckled a little at that part.  

Wow!

5/5





Coming Soon:

I finally found the title for my short.

Acronym- You've been warned...

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bert
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Heh, heh...no script is "perfect"...but then, who am I to argue...?

Thanks alot, Sawyer.  Honestly.  Finding this kind of stuff makes anyone's day -- it's what we're hoping to find every single time we log in, you know?  It's very much appreciated.  And the bear is my favorite, too, actually.

My next feature is gonna be a horror, for sure -- once I've finally got "Starbuck" fleshed out to a full draft.  And I've already got the premise, too, but it's the kind that will take a little research.

And if you're feeling inspired -- well -- get to writing!!


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I didn't know there was a new version and I just sent out the old one to some agents today...   Oh well  


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Pard
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A great script here bert, very vivid and the atmophere you create with your writing is ace! This type of horror tale doesn't usually interest me, but my attention was held from start to finish. The script is formatted and written well, infact I took pointers from it and improved my own writing by reading it. For that reason alone everyone should give it a read.
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dogglebe
Posted: May 28th, 2006, 12:40pm Report to Moderator
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You don't know what you're talking about, newbie!  Stop writing here!!

Just kidding, S.T..  A lot of new people are afraid to afraid to post their comments in fear of disagreeing with us 'regulars.'  Write what you think and, if possible, include examples if you have a problem with someone's writing.  Don't read everyone else's reviews until after you post.  Then compare what you wrote with what others wrote.


Phil
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Kevin Eiford
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Hello, Bert. I'm Ernie...  

I have a short review for your great piece of work here. I'm not the greatest person who can review, but at least you'll get some input.

'The Farm' was definately one of the only scripts that actually gave me goosebumps. It was full of non-stop suspense, and horror mixed in with it. Your formatting was at formatting's best, which is a good things. Your grammar was almost perfect despite a few errors here and there.

Your characters were developed nicely, and I felt like I knew them all personally except for the teddy bear. I love when teddy bears turn into demons and stuff like that in movies.

This is overall a great script, I'm sorry I can't do a page by page review, but that's just difficult for me.

Do you have any work coming out soon?
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bert
Posted: May 31st, 2006, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Kevin.  I'll even let that crack about Ernie slide.  Bert is short for Robert, btw.

I'm glad to read that you liked the story -- and the characters -- and the bear (my favorite, too) -- and I format on plain old Word -- so you don't need an expensive and fancy program (just so ya' know).

My sig has a link to all of my work -- "Starbuck Starr" is my current work in progress -- but there are plenty of other great writers around here, too.  Nose around and you'll find them easily enough.

Thanks again for the look.


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Steve-Dave
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Hey Bert, thought I'd give this a read since I've heard good things. For the most part, I didn't think it was all that great, but a good read. There were things I liked and things I didn't.

The parts I liked were Ty, I thought his character was great. He has a very smart @$$ element that I can identify with very much, I also dug Mary El as well. I like the way you write dialogue and think that you should incorporate more of that into your writing. The bear I thought was an interesting addition, although I don't know how well it would play if it was a movie. Although Chucky worked, and he was a doll, so I guess the teddy ruxpin from hell would work too. And the part where lucifer ate her own young to stay alive I thought was splendedly creepy.

The biggest problem I had with the script was the whole scene where Greg investigates outside for the bear, it just seems very unnatural to me. If Yoder could hear all the noise from his place, but Mary El doesn't seem as concerned as she should be though. She hears gunshots, and the lights go out, and then a tower drops on the car (which she doesn't hear, yet she heard a gunshot?) And she's not concerned what he's shooting at or worried enough to step out of the house, it just doesn't seem real. then greg tries to save the car when a tower's about to fall on it??? And their conversation inside just seemed to casual as well once greg entered from outside. Because your writing is very good, and this scene just didn't measure up to the rest, I think you could do it a lot better. Also, the whole angle with yoder I didn't think was natural, when he was in their house trying to kill Angel. I mean, he just tried to kill her, and they just seem to have a very casual attitude to him. I would have just shot him right there, or at least kicked his @$$ if he's trying to strangle a little girl. And then he kept getting away, and even the sheriff couldn't get him, and he's an old guy, yet he's always throwing people off of him who try to tackle him??? There was just too much convenience. The motives were also at a loss on me, so not all that much made sense. I think there should have been more of a backstory to how the kids died, the lightning in the cornfield and burning is a cool idea, but serves no purpose I thought to explain why the kids are so malevolant. Now, if someone killed them, or set the corn on fire, I could see why they'd be pissed, but in a natural disaster death, I don't see why they're so malevolant. The whole "this will always be there property" angle just wasn't enough for me. I also don't get why they're so malevolant in particular to ty and greg and mary el, since mary el tried to help, and yoder was the one who conjured them out, why'd the bear go after ty then if yoder's the real bad guy and the spirits didn't kill the other family???? and then they're all friendly and helping them out by the end??? What was yoder's motive in the first place, or did I miss it? Was he just crazy from losing his family or what??? It was the displacement of motives that ruined a lot for me, cuz I didn't understand why anybody did or didn't do anything. I also think the whole eye and picture thing is old hat now, and too cliche by today's horror movie standards. The ring already covered it by having the faces crossed out in the pictures, and I think another movie already did something with the eyes as well. I think it was like Hide and Seek or Darkness or something like that were they did something with pictures, but I can't remember what exactly. But the writing is very good, the concepts, but the story I thought was lacking, especially in the third act. I thought the concept was good, just could have been executed better. but that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


"Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd" - George Carlin
"I have to sign before you shoot me?" - Navin Johnson
"It'll take time to restore chaos" - George W. Bush
"Harry, I love you!" - Ben Affleck
"What are you looking at, sugar t*ts?" - The man without a face
"Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death." - Exodus 31:15
"No one ever expects The Spanish Inquisition!" - The Spanish Inquisition
"Matt Damon" - Matt Damon
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bert
Posted: June 23rd, 2006, 6:57pm Report to Moderator
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This is so weird, Sry.....

I swear to you that I was kind of half-buzzing through "The Skeptic" just this afternoon -- not really taking any notes -- but just kind of reading -- and now I guess I have to finish it for real haha.

It's also kind of funny -- I remember thinking "Why does every horror movie seem to have this?" when I reached the part about the altered polaroid photos (with the white spots floating around Andy?) -- so yeah -- I don't remember what movie you are talking about either -- but I did see something pretty recently with the eyes cut out, and I was like, "Shite!!"  I hate it when that happens.

I'll delete this post and put up a more appropriate response to your comments sometime this weekend -- thanks, by the way -- but I couldn't help but comment as soon as I saw this -- and I'll try to finish up with The Skeptic before too terribly long.


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lol. Thanks Bert. Glad someone decided to read it. Hope you enjoy.


"Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd" - George Carlin
"I have to sign before you shoot me?" - Navin Johnson
"It'll take time to restore chaos" - George W. Bush
"Harry, I love you!" - Ben Affleck
"What are you looking at, sugar t*ts?" - The man without a face
"Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death." - Exodus 31:15
"No one ever expects The Spanish Inquisition!" - The Spanish Inquisition
"Matt Damon" - Matt Damon
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bert
Posted: June 25th, 2006, 2:31pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Sry.  Pardon the delayed response, but since I kind of went and committed myself to Skeptic, I wanted to wait until I was ready to post on that one before I posted here.  So I'll bump that one up ahead of this haha.  Fair is fair.

Thanks for taking the time to work your way through a feature-length, and also for having the guts to point out some of the stuff you didn't like.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting what people really think, or if this long thread just beats them into submission

You are not first reader that has found the motivations for some of the characters -- particularly Yoder -- to be a little murky.  As the writer, I know why they act as they do, but unfortunately, it is not my job to explain this in a post -- it is my job to explain it in the script!  So thanks for pointing out the things that aren't coming through in this story for you.  That helps a great deal.

I will be generating another draft of this story -- not sure when, exactly, but I am starting to reach that tipping point where I have enough feedback on this draft to justify starting another -- and I appreciate your taking the time to give me your thoughts.


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bert
Posted: July 6th, 2006, 11:06am Report to Moderator
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This is for people who might be interested.  I tossed this script into the BlueCat competition this year.  Not a finalist.  Would have been nice, but I wasn't really expecting it.  They had about 1700 scripts this year.

Anyways, they do give feedback.  If you are curious about the type of feedback you get from BlueCat, I thought I would toss it out there.

I found it to be completely fair, touching on many of the weaknesses that have already been recognized by readers here.  The comments are thoughtful, and this reviewer did pick up on many of the things I was trying to do with this story.

I would enter this contest again.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Farm
Archive #656


What did you like about this script?


This is a terrifying and chilling ghost story about a farm haunted
with the souls of the children burned alive. The mystery builds
steadily and it's suspenseful all the way through. The opening scene
with Angel in the barn, not only establishes her character, but also
sets the tone of the script. The author has masterfully created an
eerie and supernatural atmosphere in every line and on every page.

The family dynamic plays a huge part in this story. The
mother-daughter connection between Mary El and Angel are the backbone
of the narrative. Mary El's protectiveness of Angel, even from Ty and
Greg are intensified by the loss of her own daughter (a detail of back
story revealed in the middle of the script). At every point, it's that
bond that prevents Mary El and her family from leaving, despite the
warnings and ominous events.

The haunting images are a powerful part of the storytelling. The
photographs of Angel, the demonic teddy bear and the animals rotting
in their cages are all wonderful devices to terrify the characters and
the audience. The most effective of these images is the children.
Their motives are ambiguous and their presence is invasive, especially
as they manipulate the Ereckson family. Structurally, the scenes enter
and exit with perfect timing. There is no superfluous or expository
information and the pace and mood of the script is established
succinctly in every scene. The description and dialogue is neat and
fluid, giving the story a natural rhythm.

Each character speaks with a distinctive voice, their dialogue pulling
with the weight of their importance, but also their point of view.
Mary El is the main character and therefore has the final say on the
debates with her family. Ty speaks with the apathy and angst of a
burgeoning teenager and receives as much credibility. Even though
Angel says very little throughout the script, her words have an
authoritative and intimidating resonance, suggesting her foresight in
the events that unfold.

What do you think needs work?

There are so many interesting plot twists that the final one is a
letdown. The beginning of the story creates so much tension and
mystery that it loses steam by the third act. The story has been set
up wonderfully, but it needs more of a follow through. The final scene
is the most important part since it is what the audience is left with.
In this particular story, too much is resolved at once and it feels
contrived.

Angel's sacrifice and death are poignant, but the revelation of Mary
El's pregnancy is too easy. Mary El's grief for Angel offers some
resolution to her grief over her own child. Giving her what she wants
just contradicts that character development. She doesn't have to have
a little girl for the audience to feel closure. In fact her acceptance
of her situation would be satisfying and bittersweet.

The two Angels in the end are really confusing. Not only is this
little girl possessed by the ghost of one of Yoder's sisters, but she
appears in two different places at the same time. Everything makes
sense up until those last few scenes and then the story falls apart.
The story is intricate, but the ending doesn't have to be so
over-complicated. Simplicity might work better.

Greg's behavior is strange and inappropriate, especially in the
beginning of the script. He doesn't seem at all sad about his
brother's apparent suicide. He acts too cheerful and happy-go-lucky
for someone in this situation. This is true especially in scenes where
he is playing with the farm equipment or goofing off with Ty. Even
though he isn't the main character, he still needs some depth and
credibility.

As the villain and antagonist of the story, Yoder shows up a bit late.
He arrives halfway through the story, whereas every other character is
introduced in the first twenty pages or so. His conspicuous entrance
points to his guilt too early. As the main opponent, he should
interact with the family more.

Overall, the story is well-written and well-executed, but needs a
little more originality and uniqueness. As a well-worn genre, horror
needs extra care and attention to avoid the commonly beaten paths. The
characters and the story need to take the audience someplace they have
never been before.


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Scoob
Posted: July 7th, 2006, 8:47pm Report to Moderator
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Bert that is great, thanks for sharing.
It was certainly well detailed and is a great review, one you should be extremely proud of.

If "The Farm" never made it into that competition then I really am gobsmacked.
What the hell won it?




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bert
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Quoted from Scoob
What the hell won it?


Hey, Scoob.  You know, I've got a theory (perhaps you'll sympathize) that maybe us Horror writers already have one strike against us when we go into something like this.

Whether they admit it or not, I'll bet alot of the "serious" readers have an automatic bias when they pick up a script and see its a horror script.  Guess we gotta' work just that much harder, you think?

Anyways, you can find the semi-finalists (16 outta' 1700+) here, at this very intuitive link:

http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/

So yeah, I was pretty happy with the comments.  That's why I put them up, I guess.  I would be really curious to see some of the other feedback forms, though -- to see if they all got as many "ego-strokes" or if that was just for me.

I suppose I can pretend I'm special until I learn otherwise.

Another minor, interesting thing I noticed.  Out of all the semi-finalist titles, only one title begins with the word "The".  I wonder if that's a problem with mine.....


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Scoob
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Hey Bert,

Completly agree with you, I think the horror genre gets a lot of slack and its a shame. There is an art form in horror and when it is perfected, it is still treated like the shame of society to the so called big wigs.

I can see why a lot of people look at a script and see it labled a horror and think "Oh god, not another". But it is a shame horror films get labled as if they are all the same.

But yeah, I guess that makes us have to work harder at creating more exciting and original stories so thats not a bad thing in some respects. I know most people start off writing horror as it seems like its an easy thing to do. Thats fine, but I guess it devalues the genre at the same time.

I'll take a look at the link, cheers.

As for the "The" title thingy, I was thinking the same thing the other day when I was putting a title for one of my works in progress. I was calling it "The Dark Moon", but when I wrote it into my signature on this site I thought it sounded a little...off.
Little things like that may count I guess.

But heck, Bert, that is a great responce you got. Its a great script and like I said, it is a little odd it was not considered.



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Abe from LA
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Quoted from bert
Whether they admit it or not, I'll bet alot of the "serious" readers have an automatic bias when they pick up a script and see its a horror script.  Guess we gotta' work just that much harder, you think?


I think this is true, Bert.  I recall reading that one contest actually tries to match scripts of a particular genre (Horror, Sci-Fi, Historical) with readers of like tastes.  The contest organizers never said this, but I got the impression that those genres were susceptible to getting "raw deals."

Horror is probably notorious for bad script entries, which adds to the problem.  Lending credence to why readers have a bias against such themes.  That's a stigma that will always be there, unless you enter horror-themed contests.

Even in literature, before King, how many pure horror authors were respected?
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Oney.Mendoza
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Its amazing that its been well past a year since this was originally posted and its still being reviewed like crazy.

Read through it again recently, still love it.

-ONEY


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James Fields
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I read through this again a few nights ago. It's so flawless. This is one of Simply Scripts classics. I've noticed how new people to the site always seem to pick this one up first.

Like me...


Coming Soon:

I finally found the title for my short.

Acronym- You've been warned...

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Abe from LA
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Quoted from James Fields
I read through this again a few nights ago. It's so flawless.


If you think this is killer now, wait till Bert does his next rewrite.

The Farm will likely get optioned, if not sold.
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bert
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I've been trying to decide how to respond to that last batch of posts -- something clever or something related to some aspect of the script -- but nothing springs to mind.

I guess a simple "Thanks, guys" will have to suffice.  Sometimes small words of encouragement are just as valuable as feedback -- although in a slightly different way.  I appreciate it.


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Quoted from tomson
I knew the eye thing seemed familiar to me...The Red Dragon!


I've seen that one -- good movie -- don't remember the eye thing -- but I believe you.

A recent horror movie ("Hide and Seek" maybe?) had it, too.

Anyway, I kind of knew I wasn't "inventing" that when I wrote the story -- but I still think I am the first to incorporate a plot point that centers around actually finding the eyes that had been removed.

Until somebody is kind enough to point out that having been done, too.  (Please don't...)

And still, a fair percentage of readers do not catch the significance of that moment anyway -- my fault there, I suppose -- it's something I still need to work on and clarify.

[Edit:  I hope you slept well....]


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Mr.Z
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Can’t really call yourself a “simplyscripter” if you haven’t reviewed “The Farm”. Am I right or am I right?

Since I’m about to bust you on some things, I think it’s fair I mention the strengths of your work as well. I liked the atmosphere, the tone, the visuals, the setting; excellent for the story you wanted to tell.

This haunted farm had a well thought out story, and I liked the way this information was revealed. Never too much, never too soon; kept me interested and wanting to know more. The mystery angle of this tale worked quite well for the most part.

The horror angle worked well too. Many creepy moments. Greg listening behind the door and the voices knowing instantly he’s listening, the kids watching Mary El in the bathroom, angel waging a finger to Greg, were my favourites.

You’ve got a hook right there in the first pages, where the hook should be. You open with a quite creepy scene in which we’re introduced to your most intriguing character; definitely wants to make you turn the pages to learn what happened to these people and what is happening to this girl.

Well, now it’s time to get nasty and tell you what didn’t work (at least for me).

Most of the set up was flawless but I think that by the end of the first act, this family, or at least Mary El (which I consider the protagonist), should have a dramatic goal. I felt like they didn’t. I’m talking about a clear and defined goal, difficult to achieve, with enough legs to keep the character motivated till the resolution of the main conflict. Let me explain myself.

By page 13, the family acknowledges that they can’t just take the girl and return home, and they’ll have to deal with “jacket weather for a while” to quote Greg. Good, now they’re “trapped” in the farm. But what are they going to do in there?

In “Saw” the characters must escape Jigsaw’s trap before they die. In “Seven”, the detectives must find a serial killer. In “The Ring”, Naomi Watts must save her son’s life who will die in seven days. If you look at the second act of all these movies, you’ll see that in each scene the protagonist is struggling to achieve a clearly defined dramatic goal, early established in the script.

After Mary El’s family decide to stay in the farm, they don’t have a dramatic goal which they could *actively* pursue. You do hint a goal: “Then we give her some time. We were foolish to think she’d just accept this. We have to earn that kind of trust.” (Mary El, p.10)

Waiting for Angel to calm down is too passive for a goal; try to build a logline around that. Earning a kid’s trust is too vague, it could work as a subplot (like it did in “The Sixth Sense”) but you need something more specific, more dramatic. Even Ty agrees with me: “There’s nothing to do here” (p.19)

Look at the scenes that follow the family’s decision to stay at the farm. They aren’t actively pursuing a goal (like they should be doing at this point in the script), they’re just wondering around. Mary El looks at some paintings, Ty and Greg at some records. It’s ok to have them find things that reveal the back story of this farm, but you should also give your protagonist a goal.

Mary El’s goal to gain Angel’s trust was an interesting one, I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep it. I’m only saying you should think of another, one strong enough to look good on your logline and drive your protagonist’s actions for the rest of the script.

Speaking of the logline: “A troubled family must unite to save a young niece from the sinister forces that inhabit a snowbound northern farm.”

Saving a young niece sounds good for a goal. But Angel doesn’t seem to need any help. She’s the creepiest character and has supernatural abilities. Even in the scene where she’s supposed to be in more danger, she seems calm and winks at Ty. And during the most part of the script, Angel isn’t in real danger.

(MORE)


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(CONT'D)

Because the lack of a dramatic goal, I had some problems with your second act. Mind you, I did enjoy some of those scenes (I already mentioned the tone, atmosphere, creepy moments, knowing more about the farm, etc), but I’ll isolate only the negative aspects and focus on them, in order to try to explain why I didn’t like some bits.

Your character’s actions seem random and unfocused, and the events that happen during the second act seem disjointed, disconnected from each other.

Take a look at The Exorcist. Many different events happening during the second act (the protagonist visits doctors, a priest, etc) but there is something that gives unity to all this events. In each scene, the possessed child’s mother is trying to find a cure for her demonic child. She has a goal (save her child) so she acts in every scene in order to achieve that goal.

Since your characters don’t have an active goal, they can’t act. They can only react. And to make them react, you (the writer) have to come up with *different* plot devices through out the second act (i.e. Ty shoots the bear and Mary El tells Greg to go outside to check for racoons, the storm that make the windmill falls, Ty loosing his gameboy, etc.)

Since these scenes don’t come from the same source (dramatic goal) they seem disconnected. And since you don’t have that dramatic goal (the main source of character actions in a plot-driven script), sometimes you have to rely on coincidence to keep the story moving (i.e. Greg accidentally leaving the door open, so Angel escapes later). In The Exorcist, the protagonist doesn’t ask for a priest’s help by chance, she does because doctors failed to cure her child. Medicine is useless so she turns to religion. It’s “causality” more than “coincidence” that links one scene with the next.

When the Windmill falls (p.41) I thought that maybe your characters could have some extra motivation from there on (find how to get out from the farm) but the escape angle is immediately left aside by Greg’s joke (“Nah. I think we’ll stick around”). And it isn’t till p.64 that Mary El asks Yoder about a phone, and they change subject immediately.

The third act does look a little bit messy. Everyone seems to be attacking everyone, running from one place to another, with shotguns passing between hands.

But the problem doesn’t lie in the third act itself; the problem here is the same one that you’ve been dragging since the end of the first act. In the third act, the protagonist either achieves his goal or he doesn’t, but we don’t have a clearly defined goal here. Look at “Jaws” third act, the protagonist either kills the shark or becomes its lunch; can’t get anymore focused than that.

Well, nothing more important to add. Let’s move to the small stuff.

The bottom margins of your pages seem too small, and I mean small enough for a jerk like me to notice. Were the margins screwed up when submitting the script or you altered them?

Some additional notes I made along the way:


P.1 Don’t tell us how the pivot looks on the summer. Just describe how it looks right now; the audience is only going to see that.

While it may not seem important (at least for me doesn’t make a big difference) writing in other than present tense is frowned upon. For reasons that someone who isn’t a native speaker cannot fully understand, present tense is considered more direct, more visual.

“She is heading” should be = “She heads”

You’ve got lot of these, but they should be easy to fix.

P.2

You can clearly establish the transition you want without the “DISSOLVE TO”. Despite the slugline in between, the director will notice that the scene begins with a similar image to the one that ended the previous scene. He will get the hint about the match dissolve you want here; you don’t need to drag away the reader from the story with technical terms. Furthermore, the director could choose a match cut or an ordinary cut. I personally like the transition you used, but we know this is the director’s call right?

I had some problems with the “INT. CAR – DAY” scene. Because it’s 100% static description, it doesn’t feel like a scene from a movie. Try to picture this scene in your mind: a static shot of Greg, then Mary El, then Ty, then Mary El, and then the travel debris inside the car. Nothing happens! The mental movie your script projects on my mind comes to a pause; characters freeze.

Try to merge this scene with the next car scene at the beginning of page 3; that one looks more cinematic, people are doing things. And describe your characters from the first moment you mention them. Have in mind that the audience is going to know how they look from the moment they see them. Images give information faster than words, I know, but try to keep up. An example:

“This carnage takes place on a Gameboy screen, and TY (13), tousle-haired with a disarming wise ass grin, is intensely focused on the game.”


P.6

“Greg repeats his question with a notch more aggression”

It’s clear he does in his dialogue line that follows, so I’d say this action line is redundant.


P.14

The Art Room should be always called as such in the sluglines. The description goes below. Avoid description in slugs, keep them simple.

P.19 “Bird’s eye view” “From above” and “panoramic view” refer to the same idea, keep only one of them to tighten the description.

P.43 “There is a door set into a nearby wall. It is closed.”

Very nitpicky, I know, but may I suggest “There is a closed door set into a nearby wall.” Think visually. The audience notices that the door is closed from the moment they see it. I don’t see why the reader can’t have the same privilege.

P.44
All screams are loud, loose the “LOUDLY”.

P.55
Ty’s “Angel! Yes!” seems too cruel for a joke, since Angel seems to be in real danger (at least until she winks to him).

P.87
Shouldn’t Greg tell Mary El to grab the shotgun nearby instead of telling her to go?

P.99
We find a lot about Yoder because of “new evidence” (syringe) that the officer brings in. Why didn’t he bring this earlier? Find a reason (if there is one, I missed it, I apologize) and work on that angle. If not, a big piece of this puzzle seems to come out of nowhere.

Don’t remember what page but… Mary El replacing Angel’s dark eyes with the blue ones… Does it symbolize that she’s reaching/finding the “Angel” hidden inside the dead girl Sarah?

Well, now I’m done. I hope some these comments may be of help.




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Mr.Z  -  July 21st, 2006, 6:19pm
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datha
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Quoted from bluecat feedback:
She doesn't have to have
a little girl for the audience to feel closure. In fact her acceptance
of her situation would be satisfying and bittersweet.

and

Quoted from bluecat feedback:
As the villain and antagonist of the story, Yoder shows up a bit late.

those are at least 2 things i'm not completly agree with this feedback...
there is nothing wrong if the vilain appears a bit late in the horror... or Mary El to have a little girl...
that's it what i wanted to say. unfortunatly in feedbacks i'm not as good as Mr.Z. i wish he had read and made his feedback on my script too...
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bert
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Wow.  This most current draft has really been blessed (or gobsmacked      take your pick) by some of the most solid feedback I have seen on this site -- for any script -- and I do glance at pretty much all the feedback out there.

So, where the hell were you guys while I was writing the last draft??

Thank you, Z, for your usual great work.  I appreciate how you build a very eloquent case to support your points, and you've got some great points here.  

For me, this was the bucket of ice water.


Quoted from Mr.Z
Waiting for Angel to calm down is too passive for a goal; try to build a logline around that.


Now there is a damn fine point.  I might argue that in "The Others", the Nicole Kidman character was a "reacting" protagonist without clearly-defined goals, but that would fail to make your point any less valid.

I do agree with you that the momentum of this story could be improved by incorporating a little urgency with a clear purpose.

And I now think it could come from Greg -- the weakest of the three -- who kind of floats through the story without much to guide him.  He will have a subplot now.  Something involving the entire family, and his past history with his brother, who will now be estranged as opposed to fondly-remembered.  Some of these thoughts came from Abe, and I am still hammering out a few details.

The smaller points you have given are so noted.  Thanks for those as well.  I'll comment quickly on the "late evidence".  The Sheriff does mention that he has just come from Yoder's house, where we assume he has been gathering evidence.  But it is a "blink-and-you-miss-it" kind of thing that could be clarified.

Same thing with the eyes.  Feedback tells me that it clearly needs a fix. It is our clue that Sarah resides within Angel's body.  Mary El only knows that "they're wrong."

For this one, however, I now know what to do.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Datha:  You are the only one who has had some criticisms on that BlueCat feedback, and I appreciate it more than you might realize.

You hit on two of the main points that I took issue with myself -- the happy ending (this is a bad thing?) -- and Yoder showing up "late".

Yoder shows up exactly half-way through the story.  This was by design.  And the ending with Mary El will remain.  I disagreed with them completely on that point.

And it is really nice to hear that dissent coming from someone besides me.  Thank you.

And post your own feedback on your script, would you?  I am curious to compare.  I looked but could not find your title anywhere.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I am really itching to rip this story apart and put it back together.  Right now I am working on a dissertation that greedily devours most of my writing time and energy -- but yeah, there is another draft for this one in the future -- and it will probably be the biggest overhaul yet.


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You're welcome, Bert.


Quoted from bert
I appreciate how you build a very eloquent case

I laughed out loud when reading this, since actually I'm a lawyer. Guess I couldn't switch off the "lawyer mode" when writing the review, haha.

The idea about develping Greg's character and his relationship with his brother sounds very interesting; I hope it turns out well.

Good luck  



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Bert,

I don't think I read this script completely last year, so I did so now.  Rather than go over your formatting problems (which I'm sure you're aware of by now), I'm just going to go over a couple of things with the story.

AND THUS BEGINS THE SPOILERS....

IIRC, I mentioned last time that you need a better reason for the family to stay on the farm, rather than Mary El's insistence.  Even after reading everything, I still no understand it.  I think I suggested that they lost their own home and needed a place to stay.  Something to consider.

You have to elaborate a little more on Mary El losing the baby.  You casually glanced over this.

You should do a little more of the ghosts actually haunting the.  Do it subtly after first.  Moving a coffee cup.  The fireplace flaring up.  Things that'll creep you out but not horrify you.

Just some ideas.


Phil

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Mr.Z  -  December 24th, 2006, 12:42pm
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Quoted from dogglebe
...you need a better reason for the family to stay on the farm, rather than Mary El's insistence.


Yeah -- I remember this criticism from before.

I know you are a New York man -- but if you've never traveled to some of the hardcore rural areas out there -- say, North Dakota farm country -- I assure you there are very isolated regions with such limited access to social services that this scenario is a realistic one.

Having said that, however, I still concede your point.

As I mentioned up top to Z, Greg will now have something he must resolve at this farm -- an additional reason to stay.  And this subplot will create a few more instances for early episodes of "haunting".

Thanks for your thoughts, Phil.  Always appreciated.

[Edit:  If you are still looking Datha, why not convert that file to PDF or something?  The Adobe website gives you five free ones, and a few threads in "Screenwriting Class" give you a few more options for free conversions over the internet.]

[2nd Edit:  Hey, that's pretty funny Z!  And it kind of reads that way too now that I look at it again.]


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The below is my opinion. It could be completely wrong. Use what you can and ignore the rest.

Remember I like the script, I think it can be better. Some ideas and thoughts to consider below.

CHARACTERS: The characters are well drawn and act each in their own individual way. Well done.

However, don't forget to tell us how how the characters are when you introduce them. This helps us picture them in their head. I did I miss Mary El, Greg, Ty's age, etc.

Every now and then the characters don't stay true to themselves. They seem to act against the persona that was established. Or their actions seem out of place, for the way most of us would add if faced with a similar situation.

PLOT/STORY:  Generally is flows well, the beats are all there. This could be an exceptional script with a good rewrite. And fairly inexpensive to shoot with its limited characters and farm location.

Watch that things happen in the script, feel natural and genuine. There are times when moments, dialog or actions feel contrived. Something the writer needs to happen to move the story forward and not a natural, progressive, flow from one believable moment to the next. For instance, just about everything that happens with Yoder feels contrived, he tells them what they need to know, arrives when he needs to arrive and confronts them at the end of the script.

I'd increase the tension between Greg and Mary El, show their marriage is right at the edge of being over. And, have Ty also feel the tension between his parents.  Perhaps, Greg wants to adopt a baby from China, but Mary El refuses she wants a child of her own blood. (Angel would count then, she is a blood relative.)

I seriously suggest making Yoder responsible for the fire that killed his siblings. The ghostly children are interesting, I'd use them more in the second act. Right now they are introduced in the first act and virtually disappears until the third act. You've done a great done of introducing them, they are well used in the third act, so use them in the second act to help point Greg and Mary El in the direction they need to know to figure out what is going on.

For instance, maybe Mary El takes a nap and she has a dream, or she thinks its a dream and the oldest son, the one who finds Mary El attractive kisses her, touches her. He tells her things, about how he died before he could taste and touch a woman, before he became a man. Then Ty or Greg come in and Mary El “wakes up” and the eldest boy disappears.

DIALOGUE:  Usually the dialog works. It feels a bit long sometimes, when a person speaks. Maybe cut a sentence or word here or there to improve the pace.  It not that it sounds on the nose, but sometimes it doesn't feel quite genuine. A bit of a rewrite will fix this easily.  

Watch the telling us the information you need us to know. You can write, your scene description tells me that. Try hinting a bit more with your dialog, instead of giving us the whole picture.

Ty's dialog doesn't feel right for a teen or a child, although I am not exactly sure how old he is. It sounds to adult.

ORIGINALITY: It's a wonderful story. It just needs some work on smoothing out what happens and why.

CINMATIC QUALITY: With a good rewrite it would be a good, independent film. A creepy ghost story hasn't been done in a while.

SCENE DESCRIPTION/STRUCTURE: You have a nice way of describing your scenes. I can picture them in my head. It reads well, good, vivid description.

However, I keep wanting to pull out the is and ing words. This is something I struggle with. Is and ing words sound more passive. When you write a sentence, a few below on page 3, without is or ing words they sound more active.

Sometimes the script feels overwritten, telling me things I can't see on the screen. For instance page 5, She (Angel) clearly displeased by his presence. How does she indicate her displeasure? Does she frown, cross her arms and stare at him defiantly? Show us what she does to indicate her displeasure, the actions.

QUALITY OF WRITING:  Good. I'd work on taking out the ing/is words. And rewrite the dialog, cutting some of it. Otherwise, story reads well.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  All the ingredients are there. Everything you need to tell a good story. The elements don't quite gel at the moment. It's like you have this jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces don't fit smoothly together.

My biggest complaint is it feels overwritten, particularly the dialog. You've got an interesting story and a good rewrite will fix the instances where you went on a little to long.

Good luck with the rewrite.


THOUGHTS THAT PASSED THROUGH MY HEAD DURING FIRST READ

2 She heads towards a nearby farmhouse.

3 pokes to watch him twirl, nice visual moment

3 This carnage takes place on a Gameboy, Tyler focused intently on the game. He sits in the back of the  automobile. (way to write without ing or is words.)

3 Ty, a tousel-hair kid, with a disarming, wise-ass grin he inherited from his father. Mary El, a mellow beauty with intelligent features, suggesting she can see through either grin of father or son. (less ing/is workds)

6 Mary El “Why is the window open?” feels on the nose. Maybe “You must be cold, sweetie.”

7 Everyone can see Angel stares at Gaskins. If Greg is a relative of Angel, I'd expect him to admonish her to behave. If not he might say “Kid's don't like you?”

7 Can't see “She (Mary El) cannot believe the child before her is capable of such an act.” I'd cut it or rewrite it so Mary El does some action to show the inner emotion she can't see. Maybe she hugs Angel to show she's on her side.

14 They watch Sheriff Gaskins pull away (less ing words).

14 How does Ty show us he's board. Does his shoulders slump?

17 Nice moment with the record albums.

18 I'd cut Alona's “I had to meet you line” Sounds out of place.

22 He is saddened as he realizes it belonged to Dan. Can't see that on screen, I'd cut it.

25 How old is Ty? He doesn't talk like any child or teenager I know. Maybe I'd rewrite his dialog as “It's a she. Found her locked up in the shed. You don't like the eau of death smell?” I'd take out the next dialog by Ty and Mary El and just skip to “Jesus, Ty. That's disgusting.”

26 instead of saying starving cat, you might try, rail-thin cat.

26 How does Angel know Mary El's child is dead? And why doesn't Mary El think thats strange?

28 For Ty maybe “Fish-head? That's retarded.” then a bit later Ty “Bite me, lousy traitor.”

29 Got me with the scary teddy bear.

30 Does Ty have any marks on him from the teddy bear attack? I think this is important info to know.




Scripts
PumpkinCrow Revised Sept 29/06, horror/comedy, 92 pgs

Red Lipstick Revised October 12/06, drama, 7 pgs
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REVIEW CONTINUED

31 Neither Mary El or Greg noticed a lump in a bed?

31 Going from Ty can't sleep with us to Angel spoke to me feels to abrupt, it's a jump that makes no sense.

33 Mary El speech about I never knew that their was pain like that, feels overlong to me.

33 Bit confused Ty went to sleeping in his parents bed, to sleeping in his bed. Did Greg move him? Might want to show this if he did, so this moment doesn't feel abrupt.

34 I don't like Ty's line, “Why did you put me back in my room?” Sounds on the nose. Maybe “I can't sleep.”

35 Night moment and visual with the shotgun.

40 It's late a night, their's giggling, he's been hit my a rock, I'd think Greg be going from annoyed to a wee bit concerned, maybe even scared. If he acts scared, we might be scared with him.

47 How is Greg's impatience showing.

48 Yoder heart the gunshots, but Mary El who was closer than Yoder, did not hear the gunshots? I'm confused.

49 Angel just happens to have a snowglobe in her hand? I'd introduce this at the start of the scene and say Angel is asleep with a snowglobe in her hand.

53 I can't believe Greg or Mary El haven't tried to reason with Angel to get her to leave the house now that there is no electricity. You'd think they would at least give it a shot.

53 Now I'm confused why would the mailwoman drop off a letter addresssed to Greg and Mary El. She should only be dropping off mail address to Dan and his family. So this scene with the junk mail is very confusing. Don't know if it works, but could the letter be addressed to Dan and come from the lawyer's office?  That would make sense with the scene and information presented so far. (Read a little later in the script, I didn't think Mary El and Greg had been at the farmhouse long enough to get mail.)

54 I'd rewrite to line just to say Mary El does not look up from the letter. The rest is information we can't see on screen.

56 Like the Angel yes/no dialog.

57 cut mostly like he has not idea.

63 Ty's dialog about not wanting his help feels on the nose and over long. I'd just have him Ty put a dish on a table, say “fine” and stomp off.

67 The whole reveal about the land being Yoder's feel contrived the way it is presented. Maybe when Mary El and Greg are cleaning out the house they find the original bill of sale and find that is was previously owned by Yoder.  

70 I'd change this flashback, make Yoder older, so he can do something to cause the fire. A childish prank. Somehow he is at fault. But, just to have them killed by an act of nature feels flat. A person needs to be responsible, someone you can blame, someone you can get revenge on. This I think would add more impact and depth to the story.

Then have Yoder be one of those old crazy coots, people find strange. Maybe have the sheriff mention Yoder as a neighbor, when Mary El asks if anybody leaves nearby. Yoder just keeps to himself. Then Yoder comes to visit to see if they need any help after the storm and the loss of power. And then I think I would have Angel, walk over to Yoder's place and give him the snow-globe. (This is your story, write it the way you want, I'm just tossing out possible alternatives. Feel free to ignore them.)

71 Another suggestion have the Sheriff stop by and check and see if they are okay. If Mary El had discovered the graveyard by then, then it would be completely natural for her to ask the Sheriff who the graves belong to. And he could give the answer, or even she could ask Yoder. Right now, for me, the way this information is presented is not working. It does not feel like a natural or genuine reveal.

72 What did Yoder think Dan was going to do when he bought the land? Just sit there? People buy land to make themselves a home. Might work if Yoder thought the children would only haunt him, after all he survived. It would make sense if Yoder thought this, or wanted to believe it so much.

77 How did Yoder get upstairs? He stops by the house, he's talking to Greg and Mary El and then he's upstairs? I just don't see Greg and Mary El letting this weird guy walk around the house by himself. Might make more sense if Yoder sneaks into the house to hurt Angel, if properly set-up.

78 I'm just sure this whole sequence works for me. First we have all those dead, ghostly children introduced so well, but we haven't really seen much of them in a while. Then we have the flashback scene of Yoder hitting Angel with his ski-pole. And now we have Yoder's attack on Angel.

I think this could be better set-up. Does Yoder think Angel has been infected with the spirit of one of the dead children? And why would Yoder want to hurt Angel on the night the family was killed? What happened to the ghostly children? They must want something, want do they want?

Yoder is basically telling Greg and Mary El what is happening. They need to figure out for themselves what is going on. They are the heroes, let them be the detective and piece by piece figure out what is going on and how to fix it. It seems to easy in some ways, I'd rather have Greg and Mary El struggle to find the answers to what is going on.

80 The line where Yoder has been lying to the girl should be cut, you can't see it on screen.

81 I'd change the earlier scene a bit. Have Angel say something like he's going to hurt me, so we understand it's a possible future outcome. Although I don't know that we need the scene where Angel shows Ty Yoder hurting her with the ski pole.

91 Awfully convenient for Gaskins to show up now. He hasn't been by since act one. To make this moment work, I'd have Gaskins drop by a few times to make sure the family is doing okay.

Random thought: What if Angel is real life, did something, found something that belonged to Sarah and that is how she became infected? Might show this moment, where she finds the teddy bear, this adorable, cuddly teddy bear, and then her eyes change color. Where she finds the teddy bear, I am not sure, but it might make for a good scene, the first one for the script. Maybe Yoder lived in the house, for a very long time, and then he needed to sell the place, sell it to Dan and his family because he needed the money. So the farmer, his wife and the children lived in that house. The teddy bear could be found in the attic or in the barn. But someplace odd would work best, someplace you'd never expect to find a teddy bear.

100 Okay, this could be better set-up. Why does Yoder want to kill Dan and his family. How would Angel know Yoder was coming for her? Did the dead children tell her? This feels all a little too contrived and Ty's just telling us what happened. Gaskins figured it out. That's not very satisfying. I want Greg and Mary El to figure out what happened the night Dan was killed, and who did it and why.

105 I'd cut the line where Angel says don't hate Sarah and Mary El says I know. I'd skip to Angel saying I'm cold.

108 It seems just a little too happy for Mary El to get the baby she wants to have. I'd prefer if she had ot accept she's not going to have a baby, so either she accepts her family as is or adopts.


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PumpkinCrow Revised Sept 29/06, horror/comedy, 92 pgs

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bert
Posted: August 21st, 2006, 6:43pm Report to Moderator
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Responses here are specific to Wildgrace.  [A new kid putting out some really terrific reviews on the horror boards -- welcome aboard -- and thanks for looking at this one!]

I was glad you seemed happy with the family characters for the most part.  I struggled with them for a while.  But your criticisms of Yoder are quite fair.  In the original draft, Yoder was supposed to be kind of insane.  Much like you suggested.  I lost that in later drafts, but I am considering a return to that with my approach to the next draft.  That might help smooth out some of the problems with his motivations.  I tried not to give too much of the exposition to Yoder, but you might be right about that as well -- about making Greg and Mary El work a little harder from some of those facts.

I also hear you with the "ing" verbs.  I've gotten hardcore about killing those lately, but not since the last draft of this story.  It's got a firm spot on the to-do list.

I've taken note of the little stuff you put out there for me -- no need to respond to everything -- but I plucked out a couple of things I did want to address:

*  I do like your idea for a little more interaction between Mary El and the ghost son.  That "relationship" was always one of the creepier aspects here, and it might be nice to play that up a bit more.  I hesitate to give any of these ghost children a "voice", but it could be an easy device to help fill in a little backstory, couldn't it?
*  How come they never try to reason with Angel, asking her to leave?  How come they never even give it a shot?  Damn good question, and one I need to consider.
*  I also agree with the mail being a little confusing.  It has often been misinterpreted or missed completely, and could probably be handled smoother.  But I really want to keep the character of Alona.  I am so fond of that conversation.  When Angel is looking down from her window -- I don't know -- I can just see it and I know it would work great.
*  Here is one where I disagree with you, though.  When Greg finds the hat:  "He is saddened as he realizes it belonged to Dan."  I think that can be seen on the screen.  You are giving a cue to the actor here, and I think it is OK to write it that way.  You are giving subtle directions as opposed to explicit ones, giving the actor a little freedom to play it as they choose.  Not being argumentative here -- just putting that out there as another option to consider when writing.
*  And lots of people get muddled in that third act.  It is contrived haha.  The point is that Yoder killed everybody that night, including Angel.  And he buried her in Sarah's grave, and it was then that Sarah took over.  The story opens that next morning, with Angel/Sarah walking through the snow.  And it is Sarah -- not Angel -- waiting for the showdown with Yoder for the whole story.  And that is why Yoder is so freaked out to see her.  All the stuff going on in the third act is one of the principle criticisms this story gets, and tying everything up is a bit of a struggle.  Comments telling me exactly where you aren't following along are some of the most helpful of all, so in particular, thanks for that.

And finally, I will agree with you about overwriting -- a bit.  I cannot seem to kick the habit completely, and if you hang around these boards a bit, you will find there is an ongoing debate (never to be resolved, perhaps) about just how much is too much.

In the end, though, I suspect that ultimately it's the story that really counts.  So thanks again for looking at this one -- and I will try to return the favor -- because good comments always make me curious to see what you've got going on yourself.


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bert  -  August 21st, 2006, 6:59pm
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iamyourfather
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Finally had a chace to read The Farm. It lived up to its reputation. Great script, with all the essentials. It has good characters, good plot, and good horror. What I like about this as a horror is that it actually is saying something; whereas, others are more of a body count. This is definately on my top 5's for this site. It's a shame a script like this hasn't been picked up, or at least put into development by a studio or producer.

Bert, keep up the good work. With a little more attention from outside sources this will definately be requested by filmmakers. I'd like to get your opinion about one of my scripts.

Luke Bradshaw
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bert
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Hey, thanks Luke.  This was a nice surprise to find this morning.  I’m glad it’s up there at the top of your charts, but in all fairness, there are plenty of dynamite scripts around here if you go looking.  Try this thread and you’ll find a “best of SimplyScripts” recommended by the members themselves.  Lots of good stuff there.

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

Glad you appreciated the minimal bloodshed.  I was shooting for an accessible PG-13 with this one -- tossed in amongst all the slashers -- and it eventually found an audience.  It took a little drum-beating, though.


Quoted from iamyourfather
It's a shame a script like this hasn't been picked up...


Well, it’s had some nibbles – it’s being nibbled on now, in fact – but patience and cautious optimism are about all we realistically allow ourselves around here haha.

I haven’t had time to read to many features lately, but I’ll try to have a look at Burial Grounds when I can.  That one looks most to be my speed amongst your stuff.  I’ve read the opening, actually, and can tell you are a competent storyteller in your own right.  So I'll get to it -- you'll just need some patience and cautious optimism...

Thanks again for the look, the bump, and a chance to comment.


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RobertSpence
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Hey just literally finished reading your script there and overall was very well done. I mean you captured throughout what the audience want to see. Only a few things i have to critisize.
                        Firstly- Ty and Greg talk like they are buddies and Greg is the  
                                   same age. This being when they find the records. I  
                                  actually had to look back to see if that was really his father.
                      
                         Secondly - Although the script worked really well this YODER
                                        character annoyed the shit out of me - probably the
                                        impression- ,but it was annoyin the fact he was
                                        normal one second and not the next.

                          Thirdly -   The bear. What genuinelly freaked me out was the
                                         whole children watching thing. Worked tremendously
                                         well but when this bear was introduced, the element
                                         of scaryness was taken away from me. Just came
                                         across as a bit silly.

I will say this, to say you can write is an understatement and this was "a script". With a few polishes it would be perfect.
                                        Was a good read indeed, Robert "the writer of Goose"
                                                                                                  lmao..


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MonetteBooks
Posted: October 5th, 2006, 7:47pm Report to Moderator
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Bert,

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!
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bert
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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.


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michel
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Hi Bert,

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.

****************SPOILERS********************

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.

Michel (the nut)


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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.
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bert
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Hello I.J.

I drop back in to see how the OWE stories are doing and find this one bumped up again!  It always catches me by surprise that people are still looking.

I am glad you liked the opening.  I’m quite fond of those first few pages myself.  They do seem to grab like I'd hoped they would.

I thanked Michel by PM, but you’ve got some general questions that seem better suited for a public response.


Quoted from insideman_j
This board is weird.


No shit.


Quoted from insideman_j
...is this still the first draft or re-write?


This is a third draft up now.  And after a fairly long hiatus from this one, there is, in fact, a new draft in the works.  But at the very earliest stages right now.


Quoted from insideman_j
...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.


Quoted from insideman_j
...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!



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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.
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bert
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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.


Quoted from insideman_j
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.


Quoted from insideman_j
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.



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Seth
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This, of course, includes spoilers...

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.

Seth



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bert
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Hey, thank you, Seth.  You didn’t really have to read this -- but yeah, it always kind of makes your day to get a fresh read on something -- particularly a feature.  I appreciate it.

I’m looking at all of these comments, of course, but will respond to a couple of specific things, as I like to do that.


Quoted from Seth
I was surprised that Mary El would describe Fish-Head as being "our" cat…


It was supposed to be an inclusive thing, like, “she is part of the family now.”  But I do see your point, and you make sense.


Quoted from Seth
The bear.


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.


Quoted from Seth
…"she has to now, doesn't she?"…If I wanted to engage in a conversation with the author, I'd PM him.


That’s funny.  I’ll take another look at this one in context.  I love doing those asides – it’s a weakness -- but they are never even half as cute as you think they are, you know?


Quoted from Seth
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.


This comment is also new.  And good.  I see what you mean.  Again, I’ll have to go look at it in context.


Quoted from Seth
I can easily imagine this on the big screen, nits and all.


Well, hopefully the next revision will even get rid of the nits.  And every bit helps.  Thanks again for your help, Seth.


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JD_OK
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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! =\

Full review soon


Newton's Cradle - action/fantasy, 10th draft 109pgs pdf

IN QUEUE - Comedy - Coming soon!



Revision History (1 edits)
JD_OK  -  December 31st, 2006, 5:32pm
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bert
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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.


Quoted from JD_OK
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"


Sure, I would contend the camera can see this, and more importantly, so can casting.

But again, this is early information, when we first meet them.

And you are right on with the "–ing" stuff.  I have worked to improve that very bad habit, and this draft is before I really started cracking down on those.


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JD_OK
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Quoted from bert

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.


Quoted from bert

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?


Quoted from bert

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.


yea, if you are writing a book. I can be wrong absolutely. but doing this "telling" early isnt easily as forgiven if already deep into the story.


Quoted from bert

Sure, I would contend the camera can see this, and more importantly, so can casting.

But again, this is early information, when we first meet them.


I would think this information would be there after the script is no longer a SPEC script.


Quoted from bert

And you are right on with the "–ing" stuff.  I have worked to improve that very bad habit, and this draft is before I really started cracking down on those.


I do back this up in my story. I dont have any ING's in it where it doesnt make bad grammar. Might be a total of 4 in the whole 103 pages ;p

Also, again IM NOT trying to put anything down. i write the same for any script I read. So Im sorry if it seems i'm being a ass. Im turely not . Just trying to hep without any sugar coating


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IN QUEUE - Comedy - Coming soon!


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Quoted from JD_OK
...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.


Quoted from JD_OK
.... 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).


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George Willson
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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.


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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 me� 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 doesn�t 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

SPOILERS-******************************

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 bed… 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 isn’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.


Newton's Cradle - action/fantasy, 10th draft 109pgs pdf

IN QUEUE - Comedy - Coming soon!



Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
JD_OK  -  January 2nd, 2007, 2:30pm
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bert
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Hey, thanks for merging your posts like that, JD.

It has been a while since I read through this myself, and I was amused (and grateful, actually) that you took that “we” thing as a challenge of sorts, and pointed them all out.

I was very surprised to learn there were so many!  While there is a difference between “rookie mistakes” and a conscious decision to state things in a certain way -- still -- dang -- there really are more than there should be, aren’t there?  Yikes.


Quoted from JD_OK
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...


I noticed this, too, and was pissed when I saw that movie!  Of course, they didn’t “invent” that scene either, but still, it always stinks when a recent film uses a riff that you are using, doesn’t it?

The questions you pose as to motivations and so forth are good, and pointing out those weaknesses in the narrative will certainly help on rewrite.  Those type of comments, where something isn’t clear, are appreciated in particular, so thanks for that.


Quoted from JD_OK
Did Gaskins die?


No.  I mentioned earlier (somewhere) that Gaskins originally appeared graveside, in a wheelchair, at the very end.  But it felt so cheesy I cut him out.  Perhaps this question needs to be resolved another way.

Like I told you, I am looking forward to giving “Unholy Cry” a read when I can, but I’ve got some heavy responsibilities bearing down on me, and they’ll be there for a while.  When I do have time again to dissect a feature, that’ll be one of the first that gets a look.

Thanks again for the read through, J.D., and the remainder of your comments that, while I did not respond to them directly, I will continue to consider.



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Quoted from bert
Hey, thanks for merging your posts like that, JD.

It has been a while since I read through this myself, and I was amused (and grateful, actually) that you took that “we” thing as a challenge of sorts, and pointed them all out.


Welcome. It wasnt doing it to call you out, just showing mistakes cuz i would like someone to point out mine.


Quoted from bert

I was very surprised to learn there were so many!  While there is a difference between “rookie mistakes” and a conscious decision to state things in a certain way -- still -- dang -- there really are more than there should be, aren’t there?  Yikes.

hehe, one to many ;p


Quoted from bert


I noticed this, too, and was pissed when I saw that movie!  Of course, they didn’t “invent” that scene either, but still, it always stinks when a recent film uses a riff that you are using, doesn’t it?


You are right, I have fell victim to this aswell.

Quoted from bert


The questions you pose as to motivations and so forth are good, and pointing out those weaknesses in the narrative will certainly help on rewrite.  Those type of comments, where something isn’t clear, are appreciated in particular, so thanks for that.


Glad to help!

Quoted from bert

No.  I mentioned earlier (somewhere) that Gaskins originally appeared graveside, in a wheelchair, at the very end.  But it felt so cheesy I cut him out.  Perhaps this question needs to be resolved another way.


forgive me if I missed it


Quoted from bert

Like I told you, I am looking forward to giving “Unholy Cry” a read when I can, but I’ve got some heavy responsibilities bearing down on me, and they’ll be there for a while.  When I do have time again to dissect a feature, that’ll be one of the first that gets a look.

Thanks again for the read through, J.D., and the remainder of your comments that, while I did not respond to them directly, I will continue to consider.



Sounds good! Take care!


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wonkavite
Posted: January 21st, 2007, 7:20pm Report to Moderator
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WARNING: Spoilers

Just finished the Farm - my first full-length script review on SimplyScripts.

The story itself held me pretty well...until the last 1/3.  (Towards the end, the script seemed to become completely action oriented, resulting in a loss of *creepy atmosphere* - which was one of its' best qualities.)

Overall, a good script, with the following positives/negatives:

Negs: I do question how well a few of the elements would translate to screen (can you really pull off extended scenes of a killer teddy bear, without making them look cartoony?)

Positives: I really enjoyed the descriptions - well done, smooth...and very visual.  (Then again, you *never* disappoint on that, Bert!)

Also enjoyed the thread regarding why Mary El is so drawn to the girl (ie: the loss of her own daughter.)  Perhaps play up the obession a bit more, skewed slightly more to her being driven close to madness by the concept?  (Again, I think 'more creepy' is always better...and that would be right in line!)
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bert
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Hey, thank you Wonka.  The first one, too -- that’s neat.  

There are not too many girls around here, and I always appreciate it when a female looks at this and approves of Mary El’s storyline.  It does need a little work, sure, but thank you for sticking up for the “lost child” angle.  I still contend that will provide solid motivation when it finally gets tweaked in the right way.

And madness, you say?  Now there is an interesting thought.  Hadn’t really considered that.  But I will.  There is some good stuff to play with down that road.

And I will also let you know that your instincts are quite good.  The guy requesting a rewrite wants the bear toned down, and the action in the third act scaled back.  He wants something quieter.  And both of these are points you touched upon.  Go figure.  

So now you can take those good instincts of yours and get cracking on a feature of your own.  But beware of taking advice from stray dogs, if you know what I mean.  And thanks for that new angle to consider!  All of the best stuff for Mary El seems to come from girls, you know?

Thanks again, Wonka.


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I'll write a full review later.
I just wanted to say that this script was creepy. I didn't like the atmosphere of your script, It was creepy, which is a good thing. It'll make people uncomfortable. I hope my script will be good like yours. You're my idol!  


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Review:


Pg 2 – Great intro thus far, very vivid.
Pg 3 – Okay, dead bodies, creepy… again, imagery insanely good.
Pg 4 – I’m digging the family. Parents sound nice.
Pg 5, 6– Ooh, there going to the farm. This should be interesting. Huldah and June are two funny ladies.  
Pg 7 – Angel is giving me a weird vibe. Am I supposed to be getting that?
Pg 8 – She stabbed someone with a pencil? Whoa, that girl is freakin’ me out now. And “lol” to Ty’s line : Pencils…great… haha.
Pg 9 – Okay, wouldn’t child services have taken this little girl? They can’t leave her in the house just because she wants to stay? Who’s gonna feed her, take care of her? That’s child endangerment especially after her trauma. Can’t there be a better explanation for why she’s still there?
Pg 10 – Mary El relieving the nurses seems odd. You’d think she’d want them around especially with a kid who stabs people…
Pg 11 to 14 – Okay, the dad sounds like Ty every now and then. Spider scene was creepy. I like it.
Pg 15 – 17 : stuff with father and son is nice
Pg 20 – I like the character of Alona. Is the dream catcher supposed to mean this story will involve spirits of some kind? I mean I know it's mentioned but you never know with some stories. The twists come and come until you're so dizzy you puke.
Pg 23 – Sweet scene with the cookie. However, up to this point, Angel seems to be strange, lingering on evil, is this the vibe you’re going for? When she bites into the cook and smiles, is this a genuine smile or like an evil smile? I can’t read this character quite well.. I’m hoping my questions will be answered as I read along.
Pg 24- 25 – Lucifer the cat! Loved it, except, what’s up with eating her own kittens. That grossed me out. Like a lot. Haha.
Pg 26+ - Haha, fishead is funny.
Pg 29 – WTF? A demonic bear? That was totally and I mean totally unexpected. I kind of like it, if there is purpose to this..although, it seems kind of…I don’t know, out of place. Again, this may be explained later I guess…
Pg 30 – Dead kids! Ghosts! Melikes!.
Pg 32 – You know, it’s kind of weird that Mary El is the one who wants to keep Angel and Greg doesn’t when Greg is the blood relative…
Pg 33 – Okay, she lost a kid of her own. That makes more sense now. Will we get more information on what happened to Mary’s baby later on? Hope so.
Pg 36 – Bear attacking kind of freaky…
37-42: Great descriptions in these pages. Again, very vivid. And it’s getting creepy. I’m feeling a shinning vibe here. Haha. That’s a compliment!
Pg 43 – Ooh, that gave me the chills with the voices…
Pg 44 – Okay, that little girl is creeping me out again.
51- The globe thing with Yoder was good.
52-54 – Not much to say here because its all good stuff.


One thing I'm wondering  is why no one ever mentions the word murder? No one, not Mary El or Greg ask questions about who could have murdered Angel’s parents. That seems so strange. It’s like they just assumed they died of natural causes or something, which obviously they did not.

Pg 55 – The girl on the windmill reminded me of the Amytiville horror movie and kind of a scene from the omen…and some other movies.
Pg 57 – Aww, the cat died. That’s sad, I think…lol
Pg 58 – Okay is this gonna be like the movie the skeleton key?
Pg 60 – The photograph changing was SO creepy!
Pg 70-90: Whoa, there is jammed pack action here!
Pg 91- 108- The twists did keep on coming, but surprisingly, I enjoyed them!


Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was scary and suspenseful and the imagery was superb (fang/icicle thing amazing)! The characters were also unique and relatable. The only things I’d change, as mentioned above, would be a bit of Greg’s dialogue where he sounds too much like his son.

For instance, he says things using the word “like” which is very immature for an adult to be using. Example:

(pg 35)

GREG
You can’t sleep with us.
You are too big now. You
leave me, like, six inches.
And you hog the sheets.



Then we see ty using the same language. Example:

(Page 13)

TY
Well, I want to go home. Does
my vote count, like, at all?



Also, I’d try to show Greg and Mary El’s relationship in a better light. They seem a bit disconnected. I think they are a great family but their love needs to resonate a bit more.

This is a very detailed story which could get confusing or messy but this story is neither of those things and that is great.

The best part of this story was the introduction. It is amazing. I absolutely love it. The rest of the story doesn’t fall short either, but again, the intro is awesome. It really pumped me up and made me want to continue reading.

Overall

8/10 story plot
9.5/10 Writing style and overall format.
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George Willson
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Quoted from DDP
For instance, he says things using the word ?like? which is very immature for an adult to be using.


So at 31, am I too old to be talking like this? You don't reveal your age, DDP (although your intro post of just graduating college and getting a teaching certification would put you around 22, I'd guess), but I do want to comment on this bit of dialogue commentary. I not only pepper my every day speech with "like," but quite a few interjections ("cool", "you know") that someone has commented that they didn't think an adult would use. This individual was, of course, in his mid-teens, and had no idea what an adult talks like since they don't live in an adult world.

These two are father and son, which means that Ty picks up his speech patterns from his parents. So Ty using the same interjection as his father means that he probably picked it up from dad. Children speak like their parents, good or bad, and the corrolation you found only serves to emphasize that they live in the same auditory vicinity.

Sure, the comment wasn't mine to to reply to, but I thought I'd throw this out there.


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Yowza.  I should go on a break more often.  I haven't seen this much action on my little feature here for some time.

-------------------------------------------------------

Hi, Snake.  I thought you were dead    (Get it?)

Glad you are digging the story, but beware of false idols.  Until this story finds itself on a screen somewhere, I am no better or worse than any other schmuck around here.

---------------------------------------------------------

Hello, DDP.  Glad that moderator thing didn't turn into -- well...a "thing" haha.  Internet controversy can be tricky, particularly when you are trying to appear nothing more than benign.

Thank you for your thoughts here.  Echoing George a bit, it is kind of funny (maybe not "haha" funny, though) how some of your objections are actually intentional stuff.

Greg is meant to be a bit immature, and Ty -- a mini-Greg -- is meant to sound like his father.  ("...they live in the same auditory vicinity" as George puts it.  That guy cracks me up sometimes.)  And Greg and Mary El are supposed to have a certain degree of disconnect.  It's part of an arc they share, but one that I acknowledge could probably use more work.

So I only get a half-victory -- in that you are picking up on some deliberate character traits -- but you do not like them.  Points taken.
  
But I am so impressed on your picking up on those "likes".  Even I have never noticed that.

That kind of attention to detail certainly lends your comments additional relevance when you call certain aspects of this story into question.  Such as the issue of suicide versus murder.  Or the scenario surrounding Angel and leaving her there at the farm.  And you are not the first to suggest that Greg ought to be more of a parent.  Points taken again.  Thanks for those.

The intro is my favorite part, too, BTW.  It also helps to know that you didn't get muddled in the third act.  Lots of readers do, and I still suspect it needs a good shake-out to help clarify some things.

Thanks again.  You are putting up some good reads, DDP, so be sure to let people know when you muster up the gumption to submit something of your own!


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Quoted from George Willson


So at 31, am I too old to be talking like this? You don't reveal your age, DDP (although your intro post of just graduating college and getting a teaching certification would put you around 22, I'd guess), but I do want to comment on this bit of dialogue commentary. I not only pepper my every day speech with "like," but quite a few interjections ("cool", "you know") that someone has commented that they didn't think an adult would use. This individual was, of course, in his mid-teens, and had no idea what an adult talks like since they don't live in an adult world.




George, I knew someone would say something like this and I agree with you, some adults do talk like this. However, I was talking in a general terms. Most parents, at least those I've been around, and in most movies I have seen, the parents don't talk using "like" in their sentences, that just sounds funny to me. I guess we can have a different opinion on this one if it sounds natural to you. I have a friend who says "like" in practically every sentences and maybe this character just reminded me of her, who is always, like, so totally into using the word "like." Haha, yeah, I was trying to be funny there.



Quoted Text
These two are father and son, which means that Ty picks up his speech patterns from his parents. So Ty using the same interjection as his father means that he probably picked it up from dad. Children speak like their parents, good or bad, and the corrolation you found only serves to emphasize that they live in the same auditory vicinity.

Yeah, yeah, I understand that too. However, it seems funny that what Ty is picking up from his father is language that *I* think is mostly language used by adolescents or young adults. Children do speak like their parents and if this guy was cussing and his son was cussing the same, I'd understand. I guess my problem was that I've never heard a "parent" using like in their sentences so it stood out. And I don't mean just the word "like" I mean in sentences that sound like this: I was, like, so totally bored...that stands out. Not in a sentence *like* this one. See?


Quoted Text
Sure, the comment wasn't mine to to reply to, but I thought I'd throw this out there.

Oh, get out of here. You can reply to anything you want as long as you have something constructive to add, I always say.



Quoted Text

Hello, DDP.  Glad that moderator thing didn't turn into -- well...a "thing" haha.  Internet controversy can be tricky, particularly when you are trying to appear nothing more than benign.


Oh, right, that was you. Haha. Didn't notice, but yeah, I'm glad it didn't turn into something big too.



Quoted Text

Thank you for your thoughts here.  Echoing George a bit, it is kind of funny (maybe not "haha" funny, though) how some of your objections are actually intentional stuff.

Hmm...really, how so?


Quoted Text

Greg is meant to be a bit immature, and Ty -- a mini-Greg -- is meant to sound like his father.  ("...they live in the same auditory vicinity" as George puts it.  That guy cracks me up sometimes.)  And Greg and Mary El are supposed to have a certain degree of disconnect.  It's part of an arc they share, but one that I acknowledge could probably use more work.

Okay, but why is Greg meant to be immature? It's just that the story is so serious and Greg being immature just makes him stand out in a negative way, at least to me it did.  Mary El and Greg being distant, I undertand now after thinking it over. Maybe she is taking the loss of her baby more seriously than he is. Maybe she doesn't want to let it go and maybe he does. This can create a disconnet. I understand. Maybe you can elaborate more on the disruption that the loss of their baby created in their marriage. That would definitely help the character out. It would also make Greg more relatable.



Quoted Text

So I only get a half-victory -- in that you are picking up on some deliberate character traits -- but you do not like them.  Points taken.

Haha. No, I actually just don't like Greg all that much. Ty I love and can take him with his "likes". Mary El is very relatable and I can understand more now that I have gone through the story again. I just think that more information on the loss of her baby would be helpful.


Quoted Text
  
But I am so impressed on your picking up on those "likes".  Even I have never noticed that.

There was more, I think, and I guess they just popped out because, for me, that language isn't "normal" for a parent. But again, some people seem to think it is quite normal and that's fine. Either way, your story is good.



Quoted Text

That kind of attention to detail certainly lends your comments additional relevance when you call certain aspects of this story into question.  Such as the issue of suicide versus murder.  Or the scenario surrounding Angel and leaving her there at the farm.  And you are not the first to suggest that Greg ought to be more of a parent.  Points taken again.  Thanks for those.

Sorry if I was being repetative with my comments but I don't read the reviews of others before posting my own review. I hate spoilers. I like going into stories (scripts) without knowing what is going to happen. I find them more interesting that way.


Quoted Text

The intro is my favorite part, too, BTW.  It also helps to know that you didn't get muddled in the third act.  Lots of readers do, and I still suspect it needs a good shake-out to help clarify some things.

It is INSANELY good. Really. I love it. I'm curious to know if you write books because that intro NEEDS to be in a book. I kind of have a business background...I could give you tips on selling your own stuff (not scripts, but books) directly to your consumers. Lemme know!



Quoted Text

Thanks again.  You are putting up some good reads, DDP, so be sure to let people know when you muster up the gumption to submit something of your own!

Haha. I will. Believe it or not,  I still haven't written my first script yet. I started to write one, but then got kind of bored with it.

I have an idea for a new script, but I haven't put anything down on paper. I'm sort of waiting for the story to unravel first in my head before I start going at it.  If I start to write as soon as I get an idea, I usually burn out before I complete the story or get bored. This time, I'm trying a different technique, which is waiting a while before jotting stuff down.


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Quoted from DDP
Okay, but why is Greg meant to be immature?


I usually play “fantasy cast” when writing.  It's a technique that helps me with character actions and speech.

A few long-buried threads mention that Greg was played by Owen Wilson while writing.  I think if you put him with the dialogue it might make for a better fit.  And I think he says, “like”  


Quoted from DDP
I don't read the reviews of others before posting my own review.


Like Sry told you, repetitive is good.  You can give additional weight to the things you hear more than once.

And nobody expects you to read through this insanely long thread -- it’s longer than the script! -- but it’s GREAT for me when I go back for rewrites.  You can’t even buy the kind of feedback I’ve gotten here.

And that's why the first post in this thread is a "blurb" post.  A few of the longer threads have them now -- but I invented it  


Quoted from DDP
I'm curious to know if you write books…


Maybe someday.  Thanks for the offer.  A few people know that the bulk of my writing is actually in the biochemical field, and all my published work to date is in scientific journals.  And I’m an author on a book chapter, too.  But they are nothing anybody here would want to read.  Trust me haha.  


Quoted from DDP
If I start to write as soon as I get an idea, I usually burn out before I complete the story…


Do you know what a treatment is?  Check out George’s Screenwriting board if you don’t.  They are a fantastically useful tool, and a great way to get your story “out” on paper before you start the heavy lifting of writing a full script.

Thanks again, DDP.  I noticed you've put "Devil in D Minor" on your to read list.  Put that one at the top.  It's one of my favorites.  And for "Fempiror", try starting with the individual episodes instead of one of George's long-ass features.  They are only about 40 pages or so.



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Quoted from bert
And for "Fempiror", try starting with the individual episodes instead of one of George's long-ass features.  They are only about 40 pages or so.


Of course, the pilot is still a long ass feature, but just shorter than the other long ass features. But thanks for the recommend, Bert.


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The title is in lower case letters.... Any reason for that?

You're missing "- DAY" on some of your sluglines. I know you can get away with that some times but I just don't like it

Just read the first scene. Very chilling and quite poetic sort of writing.

You're great  with creating an image in the readers mind. I can see everything in this script happening in my head. Even with a chilling soundtrack 'cause you set the mood so well with no dialouge.

A thing which is great with the script is that there aren't many characters and nothing seems rushed. I have no problem following anything.

You seem to have a lot of character description on your paragraphs. In stead of showing it with dialouge and actions. I'm on page 13 and from what I've read so far I'd say this would make a helluva novel! If I were you, I'd re-write it into one. I'd definately read that and reccomend it to friends.

I really think you need to fix your sluglines. This thought came to my mind when I read page 14. Just my opinion.

Ty has killed a teddy bear. I think that's the most ridiculus, scariest and funniest thing, all at once, I've ever read.

"Look.... There's something in my closet, alright?" Hehehehehehe... That part on page 34 really made me laugh. Great twist to a cliche.

The next scene really made me laugh. Seen from the parent's point of view, how crazy is it to find your son in his room with a rifle trying to kill a teddy bear? Lol.

_____________________________________________________________
I took a brief time out of reading your script to watch the movie Magnolia which I hadn't gotten to seeing yet untill now. I must say, after watching such a beautiful character piece as that it's gonna be hard for your script to follow it. Therefore I can assure you that any statement about your script herefoth will be completely 100% honest no matter what. Once again: beautiful film. I'd reccomend watching Crash, Short Cuts and Magnolia all in the same day in that exact order. I'd be a great movie exprerience! On to reading your script again!
______________________________________________________________

A thing that's bothering me throughout the script is that the distance between the above action paragraph and the slugline underneath variates from one distance to two! Example page 45:

"Mary El gazes out a window at the broken remains of the car and  the windmill.

INT. KITCHEN"

And on page 41:

"The car is completely demolished. The power lines, now trapped between the windmill and the car, continue to spit menacingly at him.


INT. FARMHOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY"


That last example on page 41 is the correct one. The disance variates a bit too much and it's bothering me when I'm reading it. Go through your script and make sure all of the places have two distances inbetween the slugline and the above paragraph.

There seems to be a slight slip up on page 47. You only mention what Mary El is doing and where she is in the scene. I have no idea what Greg and Yoder are doing or where they're sitting. At first I didn't pick up on it but when I got to "Yoder turns around and draws a sharp breath, startled to discover Angel sleeping right next to him." Next to him? Where was he sitting in the first place? You need to fix this.

This was a very good sentence: "He is pale now, and breathing heavy, finally revealing the frailities of his true age." It helped me visualize Yoder and and his character and the scene a lot more. Good job!

page 70. "A babe not six months born." I think you were going for the word "baby" there.

You know what I just realized? This script reads like the remake of The Fog! With the ghosts and the flashback of the kids dying and then returning as ghosts! And the drifter coming back to her home town and her family and boyfriend, same as this family coming to their distant relatives to take care of Angel and then there wounds up to be ghosts on the premises. Was this an intentional connection?

"YODER
I say you lie.

Angel smiles.

ANGEL
They say you die."

Marvellous, just marvellous. Not tacky, corny or stale or anything, perfect timing, very good line! I officially respect you as a good writer, Bert.

page 105. "But they all know, even Mary El, that this is not true." A sentence like that really has no place either in spec or shooting scripts.

Wonderful, just wonderful. There are many things I could say about this script but I can't really write them down. If I could discuss it with you face to face though. Lol, but oh well... It was a great read. Good luck trying to sell it, I think it has a really good chance! This was a great way to spend my sunday Morning


When things go wrong I seem to be bad
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

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bert  -  January 28th, 2007, 6:11pm
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Yikes….we’re at 14 big pages now.  That’s just sick.  I should go through and clean this thread out sometime.

Thanks for looking Dan -- and a belated thanks to Snake -- I will get around to returning the favor as time permits -- though it may take a while.

If you are wondering what I edited in your post, Dan, it was just those long lines offsetting the mini review of Magnolia -- and odd feature in a review -- but I suppose I could be keeping worse company.

Anyways, it was scrunching up the board in a weird way.


Quoted from Alfred Hitchcock
The title is in lower case letters.... Any reason for that?


I think you are the first person to ask, which surprises me.  I had forgotten that.  No reason.  I just thought it looked creepier that way.


Quoted from Alfred Hitchcock
A thing that's bothering me throughout the script is that the distance between the above action paragraph and the slugline underneath variates from one distance to two!


I double-space when moving to a new scene.  It never occurred to me that it might be confusing, or even worse, annoying.  An interesting comment.  I will ask a few of our resident format junkies about that.


Quoted from Alfred Hitchcock
"A babe not six months born." I think you were going for the word "baby" there.


No, Yoder says “babe”.  They mean the same thing.


Quoted from Alfred Hitchcock
This script reads like the remake of The Fog!  Was this an intentional connection?


Hmm.  No, it wasn’t.  I haven’t seen it in years, and I’ve yet to see the remake.  I might have to give it a look.

And thanks for your additional comments -- even the stuff I do not respond to directly is still taken into consideration.  Best of luck with “Filmmaker”.  I look forward to checking it out.



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remake of the fog sucked. yes it did. Your script was great, loved it dude, keep it up.


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Coming Soon

Dino Crisis
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I've been glancing over scripts to check out format (trying to learn it and all) and I noticed that you have "ANGLE'S GRAVE" in page 103 instead of "ANGEL'S GRAVE". Not sure if its been pointed out to you already.
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First off, I have decided that 200 posts is just about as big as a thread ought to get.

Any new posts on here and I’ll go back and delete some of the chatter -- keep it at a nice, round 200 -- at least, until “Newton’s Cradle” catches up -- then I might let it build up again.

DDP:  There is an earlier discussion buried in this thread (you are forgiven for missing it haha) about the whole Angel/Angle thing.  The first draft, quite literally, had dozens of these typos.  And spell check doesn’t catch them.

I will never again use a character named Angel.

George pointed out the "find and replace" function -- but he also pointed out that in a script, replacing "angle" with "angel" might create a whole new batch of problems.

And thank you, Pia.  **blushes**  I am probably as surprised as anybody to reach 200 posts.  Just you wait until I finally get the time to put out some new stuff.  You guys ain’t seen nothing yet.


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Whoo-hoo!  The two hundredth post for this thread!!  Whoo-hoo!!

Bert, any word from our friend about production?


Phil
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You nuts.  Why did you go bumping this up again?


Quoted from tomson
I've already congratulated him once for hitting 200.  I guess it was deleted...


I thought you had deleted it during one of your recent "cleanouts."

If I'm gonna delete stuff to keep this thread at 200, you can't go deleting stuff and take back down to 199!  Grr...How frustrating.


Quoted from dogglebe
...any word from our friend about production?


No news, really.  Still waiting.  That's what we spend most of our time doing, eh?  


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bert  -  March 20th, 2007, 8:43am
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Finally got around to finishing this one.

I hope you won't hold it against me if I haven't read all 14 pages of comments. I'm bound to re-iterate what others have said, I'm sure.

We'll start with the good.

Great characters. Greg and Mary El especially. I love how Greg was such a teenager in many ways. I was expecting him to deliver a sarcastic "yes, mom!" to Mary El whenever she ordered him around. But he redeems himself and steps into character by the end, I think.

Gaskins was another character I could just see, hear and almost smell in my head. And generally everyone had very distinct dialogue so you knew exactly who was talking, even without reading their names.

I liked the mystery of Angel, especially in the beginning. There was a sinister nature to her, yet you sorta wanted her to be helped. That was a nice dichotomy.

I've already professed my affinity towards your style of writing, I think and this one is no different. You have a very distinct voice and it agrees with me.

However while the story is good, it's not great, IMO. You have spooky setting and a great premise, but I actually feel there are a few cop-outs in the story where you go for unadulterated action instead of feeding the creepy atmosphere. Especially towards the end. The fight-scene between the bear and Ty really took away from the story, I think. I found the whole thing a bit ridiculous, a teddybear coming to life. It was all very Child's Play and not very scary.

But I'm not a huge fan of the Poltergeist clown either.

And I think the story went from mildly unnerving to climatic stand-off between the good and the bad guys a bit too fast. I'd like to see the family be affected in a much more dramatic way before we flush the antagonist into the open. You could use Mary El's loss of her child in a much greater extent than you have, I think. Have her be obsessed with Angel, and draw away from Ty and Greg. You could do a lot with the theme of disintegration of the family, and how Mary El copes (or doesn't cope).

I really liked Yoder's death though. What a terrible way to go. Great stuff.

I did think it was odd how Greg didn't mention the fact that the windmill had just toppled over and crushed their only way out of there to Mary El. Or that that didn't concern them that much.

At first I thought the cutting out the eyes of the pictures was a typical horror cliché, but you made it work, when we discover why. that was a good pay-off.

I did find the entire "We're having a baby" ending a tad predictable. It was a bit to cute and convenient for me. I would rather have Mary El learn how to cope with the loss of her child instead of handing her a new one.

But all in all, I liked it. It was a well-crafted story that went by pretty fast.


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Hey, D.M.  Thank you for the look on my little story here.


Quoted from Death Monkey
I hope you won't hold it against me if I haven't read all 14 pages of comments.


Hah.  With very few exceptions, I suspect I am the only one who has read every comment on this thread.  This is the third draft, so the thread itself is roughly divided into thirds as well.

But try to imagine how insanely useful this thread can be when it comes time for another draft.  Just priceless.  You can’t buy that kind of help, and every comment is appreciated.

A couple of self-indulgent replies, if you will.


Quoted from Death Monkey
I actually feel there are a few cop-outs in the story…especially towards the end.


I have to agree that it does shift gears in the third act.  I like it, but it does muddle things a bit.

Nearly everyone who has expressed an interest in this script (they come and go -- sigh  -- it's all part of the game) has mentioned how it moves from horror to an almost-action-type conclusion.  The next draft, whenever it comes, will likely have something a little quieter, in terms of both story and budget, to bring things to a close.


Quoted from Death Monkey
…the bear…really took away from the story, I think.


My bear (which I love, dammit) does get decidedly mixed reviews, from effective to comical.  And I can concede how he might appear unintentionally silly.  

If I keep him, he will be scaled back.  I think he can still be a creepy element -- perhaps even creepier -- if he were to be less animated.


Quoted from Death Monkey
You could use Mary El's loss of her child in a much greater extent than you have, I think.


Yeah.  Still struggling with that aspect.  It's tougher for a guy, I think.  In the next draft, Angel will be related to Mary El, not Greg.  Somebody recommended that switch to help firm up Mary El's motives, and it seems so obvious I wonder how I missed it before.  We’ll see how that works out.


Quoted from Death Monkey
I did think it was odd how Greg didn't mention the fact that the windmill had just toppled over and crushed their only way out of there…


Dang.  If you were to read through this thread, you would likely be surprised at how many people latched onto that odd little aspect of the story.

I was using "screenplay logic", and I still think it is sound.  That is, we already know what happened, so why waste pages having Greg and Mary El rehash the event?

I did respond to those comments by inserting a blink-and-you-miss-it scene with Mary El gazing out a window at the wreckage, establishing that she is aware of all this, but perhaps that still is not enough.  


Quoted from Death Monkey
I did find the entire "We're having a baby" ending a tad predictable...cute and convenient.


I agree with all of that statement, but I still feel that the tone of this story demands that kind of closure from a commercial (Aaggh!  There’s that word!!) aspect.  I think it's what "most" people would want to happen.  I know it is a bit corny, but will try to make it less so.

Thanks again, D.M., for some things to think about.  I will be getting you some payback as time permits.


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It's funny at the same time as I was confounded by Greg's failing to mention the windmill to Mary El, I completely understood why you didn't do it, for the exact reason stated above.

I understand the argument, but I think a viewer would have suspend disbelief to some extent concernning characters in the current version of the scene. You're right - you shouldn't waste time  in having Greg barge in and go "honey, you'll never guess what happened!". What you could do, though, is cut in time. A nice little fade out and show some hours, days, whatever duration of time you want has passed and the issue has been discussed while we weren't there. But I think you kinda need to explain to the audience why the event is trivialized by the characters in the scene. I doubt an audience will accept 'screenplay logic'.

But I'm sure someone has mentioned this already, so I won't drill you any more about it.


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Quoted from J.D.
Good luck in the slam dance contest. I see you entered this great story!


Thanks for checking things out, J.D.  For now, it looks like a different guy with the same title.  But hey, good luck to you, too!


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
To be fair there are probably a lot of films called THE FARM.


Those were my thoughts, as well.  Though not as many as you might think if you run it through IMDB.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
My own mother wrote one about twenty years ago.


Cool trivia.  I like that.  Maybe you should read mine to make sure I didn’t rip her off...


Quoted from Pia
Of all the talk here lately about protecting our work against theft, I think this proves that the best defense against that is posting your script here and maybe many other places as well.


I like the way everybody here looks out for everybody else.  It is one of the greatest strengths of this site, I think.


Quoted from Pia
I know you like to keep this thread at 200 posts.


Indeed I do.







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dresseme
Posted: July 12th, 2007, 11:45am Report to Moderator
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I've been meaning to read this script for awhile, mainly due to the extremely positive feedback/number of views.

First off, the positives:

You're one hell of a writer.   Have you tried writing something other than screenplays, because I think you'd really do well with that.  (Not to imply you're not a good screenwriter)  Your descriptions are great, and I was really able to conjure up a mental image while making my way through this script.  And the best part about your descriptions was that they weren't TOO bogged down in wordy, convoluted passages.

Your characters.  Great set of characters.  Moreso the primary than secondary characters. (But I'll get to that later).  I really felt like I knew Gary, Mary El, & Ty.  I liked Mary El the best, but at times I thought she was a bit naive as to what was going on around her.

Your pacing was also a strong suit here. I never really felt all that bored, or that you lingered on something for too long.


That being said, I have my critiques:

I wasn't too thrilled with the story.  It seemed like something I had seen before.  Something to the equivalent of The Amityville Horror.  A family is terrorized in a house by ghosts, and as we go on we find out a backstory about the family that used to live there or some shady deed from the past.  Then comes the old man who knows all about what's going on (The Shining) to explain all the details.  I will give you credit, however, that I didn't see the twist coming with Yoder being the bad guy at the end.

As I said before, I loved your characters, but some of them really seemed like horror movie stereotypes; the old man who knows all, the wise native american (by the way, where did she go?), the sheriff.  Perhaps they seem like stereotypes because there's no way around writing them, but I felt like I had seen it all before.

A couple other things:

Why would they be so keen on letting Yoder (a man that they barely know) immediately see Angel? - p.48

I think you should explain Mary El's loss of a daughter earlier than you did.  It's hard to understand why she's giving Angel such lee-way and going to such great lengths to protect her.

And finally, why would the ghosts attack the family?  For example, the bear attacks Ty.  If the ghosts only attack evil (the blood, greed, etc thing), why would they want to hurt the family, or care if the family lives in the house?  

All in all, a good read with some amazing writing, but like I said, the story really fell flat for me.  I never felt like the characters were in any real danger (ex. the duel between Ty & the bear- I knew the bear was going in that machine).

But who knows, maybe I would just need to see it all in film form.  I read it's possible it could go into production.  Good luck.
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bert
Posted: July 13th, 2007, 1:38am Report to Moderator
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Thank you, Matt.  What a nice surprise.

I do not intend to knock your comparisons to Amityville or Shining.  The "family in a dangerous house" scenario is not exactly fresh, but you gotta admit that it ages well.  And those other guys didn’t exactly invent the scenario, either.

I think it is like horror movie comfort food -- like meatloaf.  Everybody knows what to expect, but everybody makes it a little differently, so there is still room for a few surprises.  I am actually flattered when Shining comparisons arise.  King is my man, and I always smile when his name comes up while discussing my work.

A few specifics.


Quoted from dresseme
Mary El…I thought she was a bit naive as to what was going on around her…it's hard to understand why she's giving Angel such lee-way…


I think you are right about her naiveté.  Sometimes she is smart, but I do not make her always smart, do I?  Man, her character has been a real struggle.  I had Ty "right" within minutes -- for the most part -- but Mary El continues to emerge, even now.

I suspect she will change again.


Quoted from dresseme
Why would the ghosts attack the family?


Why, indeed?  Fixing ghost questions is job one with the new draft.  Someone else off the boards pointed out to me that I need to set some ground-rules for these spirits and build up from there.  Good advice, that.

But your question above negates your next question below.


Quoted from dresseme
I never felt like the characters were in any real danger…


That’s just it.  They weren’t.  Not really.  See?  But they did torment Ty -- who hated Angel.

But it is not your fault that slipped past you.  That’s my fault.

For these types of stories, pointing out flaws in the logic -- or lapses in clarity -- are more helpful than just about anything else.

The time for a new draft is drawing near.  Thanks again for your thoughts.  


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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dresseme
Posted: July 13th, 2007, 8:29am Report to Moderator
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I'm glad that you're going to lay out some ground rules; I don't think ghost films do that very often.  And quite frankly, I usually get a little upset with the negative portrayal of ghosts.  That they're all out to hurt/scare us.  And for this story it seemed all the more upsetting because it was a bunch of kids who accidently died in a fire. (And that isn't explained until the end, so you're left wondering).

And I never thought that about Ty (that makes sense).  You should definitely make that more apparent.
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Mr.Ripley
Posted: August 21st, 2007, 7:29pm Report to Moderator
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I am pleased with myself to actually have finished this. I finished it today. This is one crossoff from my list.

I enjoyed the atmosphere. For some odd reason, I thought of Kubrik directing this but its prob becuase of the Shining. Your descriptions are very well done. I enjoyed those scenes that led the reader outside the farm house.

Mary el seemed as the only adult here. Greg seemed more as a child (saying brat and getting scared) until the ending where he saves Mary el's life. Ty was a bothersome child.

Here some things I found quite bothersome:

The two caretakers in the house Hudah and the other female that I cannot recall the name right now are found playing cards and then their hightailing out there. This sounds weird to me.  What about showing that their are afraid when they are spotted by Mary el?

The scene where Mary el jumps into bed with Greg and is poked, wouldn't Mary el ask about why ty is sleeping their bed?

The scene where Ty needs to handle the bear problem is funny. But I think if you delete the scene that shows Ty entering his room with the gun, and continue on greg and Mary el sleeping calmly until they hear the gunshot, that this would work much better. I think hearing it is better than wathcing it visually and cuts down space.

On pg. 92, where you Gashin scream help to Yoder who pushed him inside that grinder should be deleted. Yonder is not going to help him.

I think also it would be good to write flashback in the headings to help the reader distinguish between the present and past.

Other than that, I found the tale very entertaining. Hope these comments help.  

Gabe
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bert
Posted: August 25th, 2007, 9:58pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr.Ripley
I am pleased with myself to actually have finished this…one crossoff from my list.


Geez, Gabe.  You make it sound like a trip to the dentist or something   I know you didn’t mean it that way, though haha.  And thank you for your thoughts.  While taking everything on board for consideration, I do wanna' respond to a couple of specific things.


Quoted from Mr.Ripley
For some odd reason, I thought of Kubrik…prob becuase of the Shining.


No, I get that from time to time.  But I always take it as a good thing -- as that is the mood I was actually shooting for.


Quoted from Mr.Ripley
Greg seemed more as a child…until the ending…


That was his arc, Gabe -- how his character changed during the course of the story.  Send me a PM if you do not know what I mean by the term "arc".  It could be a little stronger, though, and I will try to do that.


Quoted from Mr.Ripley
But I think if you delete the scene that shows Ty entering his room with the gun, and continue on greg and Mary el sleeping calmly until they hear the gunshot, that this would work much better. I think hearing it is better than wathcing it visually and cuts down space.


Here is one where I think you might just be right.  I might scribble out this scene just as you’ve described and see how it works.

Thank you again, Gabe.  I really appreciate your taking the time to gander at a feature-length story.




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ABennettWriter
Posted: August 27th, 2007, 1:07am Report to Moderator
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Bert, I really, really, really wanted to read all 200 comments, but Jesus... that's a lot.

So, I'll just say that I loved it! I thought it was creepy, and funny, and suspenseful, and scary and everything else.

I'd definitely see this in theaters. I love ghost stories.
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bert
Posted: August 27th, 2007, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ABennettWriter
Bert, I really, really, really wanted to read all 200 comments, but Jesus... that's a lot.


Yeah, its kind of outta hand -- but for every new post I take away an old one -- cleaning out the chatter and leaving it at a nice, round 200.

By the time you read this, I will have chopped it back down.

All those posts are not required reading, of course -- I mean, they are for me -- and they are a tool for the author during rewrites.  Imagine having all that feedback when you start another draft.  It's priceless.


Quoted from ABennettWriter
...it was creepy, and funny, and suspenseful, and scary and everything else.


Hey, thanks!  That's pretty good -- definitely one for the "blurb" post at the front of the thread haha.  I am glad you saw the humor in it.  I am not sure everybody does.

Cheers, Steel.  I appreciate your checking it out.


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Toran
Posted: August 29th, 2007, 11:11pm Report to Moderator
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Considering that you really don't need a full review, because I probably won't say anything that hasn't been said before. So I'll make this short and simple:

I usually don't like Supernatural type films..but I have to say that I loved it. The atmosphere you created fits perfectly. I enjoyed reading this and this persuaded me to read ANY script that you write. Great job


What am I working on?!?
Splatter - Revisions
Bad Hare - Writing
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bert
Posted: August 30th, 2007, 7:26am Report to Moderator
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Thank you, Toran.  That is very kind of you.  I am about to board a plane to Philly and may not be around much for a few days, so I wanted to give a quick thank you now.

There is a link in my sig to some short horror that may amuse you if you don't have anything better to do.

Thanks again.  Gotta run.


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thegardenstate89
Posted: September 23rd, 2007, 7:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hey,

I was half way into your script over a year ago (I believe that I promised you a review back then), but I found myself very busy with school and since then have not particpated in this site until now.

I started your script over and I regret having taken so long to finally finish it. This is one great ghost story.

It's been awhile since I've read a script so I don't know if I could be any help pointing out the negatives. I did have few minor issues that tripped me up:

I didn't quite get why all of Angel's eyes were missing. I found the idea creepy but I might have missed the whole explanation as to why they were missing.

I also got the assumption that Yonder killed Angels parents over the land, but in the end his whole motive was still a little unclear to me. I connected the peices that the lawyers letters said it was worth a lot and that it was once his land, but for him not to come out and say it for himself in the end was what confused me.

When it is believed that Angels father commits a murder suicide. However Greg only discusses this once with Mary El and it is very brief. Maybe you choose this because it would slow down the pacing of the story. There is no inquiry into why he might have done such a thing.

I also had to google some of the farm terms you used but that stuff is completely alien to me.

The descriptions help make for a great atmosphere it's only fall but you painted a clear picture of winter in my head.

You've written quite a few scenes that have the potential to be very chilling when filmed. One of them being when Greg goes out to investigate the animal at night and the wind carries the sound of children laughing.
You shy away from excessive gore and violence which I loved. With the exception of the combine scene. But I think violence is more effective when it is used in a film very little.

I really liked the way the entire family interacted. Especially the relationship between Ty and his father. You wrote some very funny scenes that involved those two.

Your script reminded me very much like a Guillermo del Toro movie called "The devil's backbone" which I recommend you check out. It too is a ghost story in which things aren't always the way the appear.

I'm sorry it took over a year for me to get back to you. But I'm very glad I finally read it.
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bert
Posted: September 24th, 2007, 11:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hey there, Tony.  Geez, I thought we had seen the last of you.  Welcome back.  I understand about being busy, though.  I am just glad to learn that the first half of the script didn’t send you screaming off a cliff or something.


Quoted from thegardenstate89
I didn't quite get why all of Angel's eyes were missing.


The wrong-colored eyes would have given away her identity before she could complete her task.  But that could be clearer.  Lots of people stumble on that point.  You are spot-on with Yoder’s motives, as well.  That, too, is getting a tweak.


Quoted from thegardenstate89
Greg only discusses this once with Mary El and it is very brief…maybe you choose this because it would slow down the pacing of the story.


Yes, I agree.  And I am gonna swap this around so they are related to Mary El instead.  It helps to firm up her motives.


Quoted from thegardenstate89
I also had to google some of the farm terms you used but that stuff is completely alien to me.


That's cool that you look up stuff like that -- I do it, too -- and then call people on it if they get it wrong.  I trust you found everything to be in order, but I do know about farming.  I spent my summers growing up on the farm -- and in the farmhouse -- in this story.


Quoted from thegardenstate89
You shy away from excessive gore and violence which I loved.


At first I was afraid that would be a barrier to getting reads haha.


Quoted from thegardenstate89
Especially the relationship between Ty and his father.


My favorite relationship in this, too.  And it came the easiest, so I think it's right.


Quoted from thegardenstate89
Your script reminded me very much like a Guillermo del Toro movie called "The devil's backbone"


Hey, thanks.  That comparison is new, but I like it.  And I do know that one.  My favorite part is the big bomb that just sits out there in the yard for the whole story.  What a whacked out detail to include haha.

Thanks again, Tony.  I enjoyed your comments, and they helped lend confirmation to a few things I thought might need fixing.  Hope things slow down for you a little and we get to see you around.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Murphy
Posted: November 29th, 2007, 8:28pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Bert, had this one on my hard drive for a while waiting for the opportunity to read it and got the chance yesterday while on a flight. Reading some of your shorts i already knew you could write so was looking forward to reading a feature length.

It of course was a well written script with good dialogue and especially good character development. I very much liked the fact it was more of a psychological horror/thriller rather than a slasher movie, it reminded in some ways of M Night Shalalayalalamans Signs, More of an edgy thriller rather than full on horror.

I have not read any of the other comments on here (far too many to read) so i may be in a minority here but for me the one thing that spoiled it for me was the mad possessed teddy bear. It really felt out of place in this story and felt a little bit like you were playing to the crowd with that one if you get what i mean? Personally if this were my story i would drop it completely.

I am also unsure of the ending, i think i understand why and how this all happened but i was surprised to find out that Angel was dead already. In terms of selling this script would angel living at the end not help? Does she need to be dead for the story to work? Bear in mind i am talking about selling this script here as i certainly think you could do, it is far better than much of the crap that get turned into horror movies at the moment.

One area of your story that i feel is underdeveloped is the role of the cop (Gaskin was it not?).
Your story was unusual given that it takes place so shortly after the murders and there is an active police investigation going on (although this is unknown to the viewer), The climax seems to depend on us taking this for granted that Gaskin just happened to work out who the killer is and heads out to the farm in the nick of time.

Not sure if you are a fan of the Coen bothers? i am a big fan of their work and i was wondering whether you could use Gaskin's character in a similar way to how they use a random minor character in a script to hold it together?  Maybe have him narrate the opening i.e. "i was a cold winter morning when we found them bodies at the old farm...." and then set up a small sub-plot with him trying to figure out what happened, maybe he could show up at the farm after the first night to check up on them etc.. It would not be such a surprise when he works it out and shows up at the end. Of course he thinks its a straight forward murder and does not realise what else is going on. I think this would make for an interesting sub-plot and help drive the story through to its conclusion, i certainly think it would better used than the Teddy bear which i really did not like.

Anyway i am rambling now but that idea did strike me after reading last night. It is a great story and could certainly be polished up and really could see this being made So well done, i enjoy reading your scripts.

Thanks Murphy



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bert
Posted: December 2nd, 2007, 9:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, Murphy.  Thanks for taking time to actually pore over a feature-length and drop some thoughts.  Especially appreciated, that.


Quoted from Murphy
...one thing that spoiled it for me was the mad possessed teddy bear...and it felt a little bit like you were playing to the crowd...


No, I was playing to me.  It is what I would want to see.  

In my head, those scenes play out as terrifying -- but so many readers find it inappropriate, as you have -- or even worse, comical.

Everyone who has expressed an interest in this script -- they come and go -- **sighs** -- wants the bear toned down.

So your instincts there are good, Murph.  A rewrite will find the bear scaled back, with mere suggestions of menace as opposed to actually running around the room or whatever.


Quoted from Murphy
Your story was unusual given that it takes place so shortly after the murders and there is an active police investigation going on...


The time frame was supposed to lend the story a little urgency, but there is not a murder investigation.  It is supposed to look like suicide.

But so much of that is implied -- maybe a few scenes with Gaskins as "detective", uncovering the details, might help to clarify a story that is confusing to many readers.


Quoted from Murphy
Not sure if you are a fan of the Coen bothers?


Their films are a mixed bag, but "Blood Simple" is surely amongst my top 10 favorite movies.  I actually have a story in that style in my drawer of stuff that people may or may not see whenever haha.

I do not know if Gaskins would work in the exact way you've described -- I think the page count would shoot up big time -- but I also agree this story might benefit from a subplot as you described earlier.

There is a new version of this script scattered in notebooks and so forth.  I will get to it someday -- I say that about all my stuff haha --  and I'll see what I can do about adding an "investigation" subplot without going all CSI on the story.

Thank you again for your thoughts, Murphy.  I see your script is up now.

I will look tonight  


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sniper
Posted: January 10th, 2008, 10:46am Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert,

Just finished "The Farm" and here's my review. (I know I'm a little late for the dance so some of this might be a repeat of what other posters have mentioned.)

!!!SPOILERS!!!

I know you're a big SK fan and it shows - and I mean that in a good way.

First of all I would like to say that I really enjoyed this script. This was horror understated to near perfection. The build up was slow but not too slow and you avoided many - if not all - of the in-your-face/on-the-nose pitfalls. It really worked well with the creepy undercurrent of foreboding, which is just what these ghost stories call for - we know something is wrong, we just can't put a finger on what it is. The structure was very solid too, clean cuts between the first, second and third act. Well done.

Angel was a scene stealer. A very creepy little girl (on the surface at least). You used her well and her constant staring out of the window was puzzling but you tied that up real easy. Even though she didn't really do much, except for the staring, her presence always turned up the creepiness. I don't know why she had to do the whole balancing act though, seemed a little pointless.

One thing that bothered me (and this is not really a bad thing per se) but I couldn't make up my mind about who was scarier; Angel or Mary El. Obviously Angel represents the main "horror" elements in the story but Mary El's almost manic protection of the girl (even though it's obvious that something is wrong with her) was quite scary. Mary El is an excellently written character, but maybe you overstated it a bit. It got to a point that her treatment of Ty (her real child) actually made me feel somewhat angry at her (like Ty did) and as a consequence I wanted something bad to happen to her. If that's how you wanted her to come across then you managed it to perfection. However, if you want the reader to feel a bit more for her I suggest you turn down the "Angel-is-good" part of her and turn up the "dead-child" elements. I thought you only touched upon it and mostly through dialogue, and that's a shame cos' it could have set up the end better imo.

Ty is somewhat generic and that's perfectly fine in my book. He comes across believable but I would have like to have seen him be a little more sad than angry at the treatment he gets from especially Mary El.

Greg on the other hand could use a major tune up I think. He's a very dull and bland character and even when he's running around with a gun he's still dull and bland. He lacks personality and it becomes more evidently when in the same scene as Angel and Mary El, who are both real characters. Even though he hadn't seen his brother (or his sister-in-law) for quite some time, he should at the very least show some sorrow over the dead of his brother. I know you have the short scene where he finds the cap but it's just too little and too vague. He comes across like nothing really affects him and that's simply not believable.

On to Mr. Yoder, the bad guy (and I can't believe you didn't put a YODA joke in there somewhere - shame on you, Bert). Yeah, I guess he was an okay bad guy. His motive was simple - money/land (at least that's what I got from the third act). I also liked his back story.

The rest of the supporting cast was also well written, but the Native American postal lady was a bit too stereotypical. It seems that all Native Americans can smell evil - idunno, maybe they really are in touch with the spirit world, but she reminded me of Sonny Landham's character, Billy, from Predator: "There's something out there waiting for us - and it ain't no man".

The story in itself was good and engaging. I especially liked the first and the third act. The second act felt a bit longer than it actually was and I think it's mainly due to the fact the things going on as pretty generic of the genre. The power cut and the destroyed car (and no cell phone signal) was to be expected. I know that you need those elements (as they're vital to the story) they just didn't come in at the same level at the rest of the story. You have to raise your game in the second act, Bert. The end, though a bit mushy with Angel's/Sarah's death, actually worked quite well and I thought it was a real page-turner. Okay, it may have gotten a little too sweet when Angel tells Mary El that she will get pregnant (I actually got cavities in my teeth from reading that and I will send you the bill). One thing I didn't get though is why Gaskins shows up alone. Why didn't he ride in with the cavalry? And what was with the syringe? I never got that part.

The dialogue was top notch. Period.

We've already discussed some of the actual writing, Bert, so I'll only touch upon it. Leave the editing to the editors, don't write what can't be seen on screen, don't let your descriptions get too coy and, for God's sake man, drop the "IS". Your choice of prose is phenomenal but the way you structure your sentences destroys it all. The IS makes everything feel like you're watching still pictures and not a motion picture.

Anyway, that's it for me. All in all a very enjoyable read and I'll be looking forward to the next draft - so get cracking.


Cheers
Rob


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bert
Posted: January 11th, 2008, 10:43am Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Snipe (a new nickname I just made up).  I really enjoyed reading your comments -- and filing away some of these nuggets for my next spin on this.  


Quoted from Sniper
I couldn't make up my mind about who was scarier; Angel or Mary El …her almost manic protection of the girl…was quite scary.



Quoted from Sniper
Greg on the other hand could use a major tune up...


I like your additional thoughts on that aspect of her character.  To repeat something buried in this thread, the next draft will be arranged so that Mary El is the blood relative here, not Greg.  That scenario can easily incorporate some of what you are talking about, I think.  This rearrangement should hopefully firm up what Mary El is going through and her motives for it, and also give more room for friction with an even more resentful Greg.

I agree that Greg is a bit bland right now, and is probably the weakest link.  We also do not have a scene with just Greg and Angel, and I would like to have one.  That should help, too.


Quoted from Sniper
One thing I didn't get though is why Gaskins shows up alone.


We will see a little more of what Gaskins is doing, as far as police work, if I can accomplish that without going overboard and getting all distracted (as with the murder plot in "Think of me...).

I was trying to keep everything at one location -- the Farm -- but I've finally decided that trying to tell Gaskins' story without showing it explicitly -- or using bulky exposition to Yoder -- just doesn't make things clear enough.


Quoted from Sniper
And what was with the syringe?


You really didn't get that, huh?  Darn.  That is the murder weapon.  How Yoder killed them.  It is the evidence that Gaskins found that night at Yoder's, and hence, his rush to the farm, suspecting the worst.  Particularly when he finds Yoder prowling around with a shotgun.


Quoted from Sniper
I'll be looking forward to the next draft - so get cracking.


A new draft is one of my resolutions for the New Year.  Two of my resolutions are already in the crapper, so we’ll see how this one goes.

Thanks again for some good, thoughtful input on this draft of the story.


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sniper
Posted: January 11th, 2008, 11:52am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert
You really didn't get that, huh?  Darn.  That is the murder weapon.  How Yoder killed them.

I have to apologize here. When I read your comment above I was like, "duh, of course". I must have zoned out completly when I wrote the review cos' I remember that now. Sorry.

Btw.

When Yoder introduces himself to Greg and Mary El asks who it is, I would have wrote this:

-----

"Mary El pops over Greg’s shoulder.

MARY EL
Who is it?

GREG
(faux pleasant)
It’s our neighbor. Mr....Yoda?

YODER
Yo-Der."

-----

Just my poor attempt of a little humor.


Rob


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Ian
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Quoted from bert
We will see a little more of what Gaskins is doing, as far as police work, if I can accomplish that without going overboard and getting all distracted (as with the murder plot in "Think of me...).

I was trying to keep everything at one location -- the Farm -- but I've finally decided that trying to tell Gaskins' story without showing it explicitly -- or using bulky exposition to Yoder -- just doesn't make things clear enough.


Are you worried that breaking away from the farm location will hinder the atmosphere or suspense? Because I don't think you need to be. Yes, you're script is of the 'threatening location' variety like THE SHINING (as opposed to one about a supernatural force that follows people around like THE GRUDGE or FINAL DESTINATION where the writer has the freedom to create threat and a sense of danger no matter where the characters are), so I can understand if you're worried that cutting away from that location will kill that heightened, claustrophobic 'there's no escape!' vibe that isolated settings provide.
However, I think it's only a problem when the MAIN characters leave the location. The feeling that they're in terrible danger could be destroyed if one of the characters in peril were to leave the farm. The reader/viewer might go 'well if it's that easy to get the hell out of there, why don't they do just that?'. If you strand them there, they're still there, in danger, unable to escape, even when we're in Gaskins' office watching him mull something over at his desk. And because he isn't part of the main story, we don't associate him with the threatening location so seeing him safe and far away from the horror doesn't undermine the threat of the farm. In MISERY they cut to Sheriff's investigation on numerous occasions and the it didn't hurt the film at all. Even though we get to see a safe environment outside of Annie's house, we still know that Paul Sheldon is trapped there, unable escape into that environment because of his injuries.

For an example of what NOT to do, watch HELL NIGHT, a little known slasher flick starring Linda Blair which sees a handful of teens trapped with a killer in an gothic mansion surrounded by a high metal fence and a set of gates with spikes at the top. The perfect scenario in which to build up an increasingly claustrophobic feeling of dread... until one of them manages to climb over the gates to get help, is ignored by the police who think it's a fraternity prank, so with a stolen shotgun in tow goes BACK to the house and slips through a convenient gap in the fence that he didn't know was there before (and which the remaining stranded characters are STILL unaware of and remain so for the entire film). It's hard to take comments of 'there's no way out!' seriously after that.


"Are you saying I'm crazy!?"
"Oh no, but I'm certainly thinking it loudly"
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bert
Posted: January 12th, 2008, 3:44am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from sniper

GREG
It’s our neighbor. Mr....Yoda?


Hmmm.   I’ll think about it, but no promises on that one…


Quoted from Ian
Are you worried that breaking away from the farm location will hinder the atmosphere or suspense?


Hey, Ian.  How’s it going?  What I was really getting at with the single location thing was budget.  It is a nice tool for the pitch when you can say that all the filming takes place at one locale.


Quoted from Ian
...you're script is of the 'threatening location' variety like THE SHINING...


I get you, and thanks for bringing up Shining as an example, as that does help to clarify things a bit.  They do cut away occasionally to the caretaker in that film, don’t they?  Scatman, but I forget his movie name right now.  And it does not really slow the action or reduce the menace that I can recall.  His urgency may even ratchet things up a bit.

That is probably how much additional screentime Gaskins will have -- about as much as they give Scatman down in Miami or wherever he went.  Good thoughts there, Ian.   I think you are right on.


Quoted from Ian
...watch HELL NIGHT...


Hahaha....seen it.  And how dare you go dissing Linda Blair?  She was a cutie, man.  I might have to watch that one again...





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Quoted from bert
Hahaha....seen it.  And how dare you go dissing Linda Blair?  She was a cutie, man.  I might have to watch that one again...


No! I love HELL NIGHT actually, there were a handful of the HALLOWEEN/FRIDAY THE 13TH clones that were actually polished, well-crafted and decently acted and created genuine suspense. I think Hell Night is one of them, up there with MY BLOODY VALENTINE, PROM NIGHT, TERROR TRAIN, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (although that one had a diabolical ending lol). I wasn't dissing it really, and Linda Blair was a great final girl. That part where one of them leaves the house is the one thing that bothers me about it, killed the suspense a bit after building it so nicely. Actually, there is one other part that bothers me; when the British girl is drinking liquor from a hip flash and a frat guy says something like 'I see you're already down with the AMERICAN lifestyle'... Err... as if mate. .


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scotty
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I’ve read The Farm twice over the past year (not back-to-back, but about 5 months apart).  I wanted to comment, but I’m not sure what I can say that has not already been said many times before.  

-- I love the script.  Nice to see this type of horror script.

--The only thing I think might need more work is the dialogue.  It’s not bad, but like another poster said, it seemed overwritten.  I think you could be more economical with words and have the characters say the same thing with less.

--I think the dialogue holds the script back.  It keeps the story from flowing at times and keeps the tension from building (not that the tension does not build—it does—it would build tension even better with a good dialogue rewrite.  

Overall, I really liked the script and would love to see it made into a movie.  
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bert
Posted: January 19th, 2008, 4:04am Report to Moderator
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Thank you, scotty.  That's very kind of you, and welcome to the boards.


Quoted from scotty
Nice to see this type of horror script.


This is the kind of stuff I like best, too.  I wrote this for me as much as anyone.


Quoted from scotty
The...dialogue...it seemed overwritten.


Yes, I do that sometimes.  I use more contractions now, which helps more than I thought it would, actually.  I'll look for trims on rewrite.  I really do prefer the descriptive stuff over the dialogue, and sometimes it even seems clunky to me.  I envy those that can do it well.

Thank you again.  I appreciate your letting me know that you liked it.



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rc1107
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Quoted from rc1107 on the thread 'Server Problem with SS'
Yeah, I noticed it (server was down) about 7:30 this morning, about nine hours ago.  I was excited to read 'The Farm' this morning, but I don't feel like it anymore.  Guess that author loses out on a read.


That is actually true.  I was going to read it that morning.

All right, I browsed through a FEW of the thread pages and saw you posted a couple different drafts along the way, so I will just focus on what I think are the BIG problems that you still seem to have that were in the first few drafts you posted.

My big huge main niggle, which unfortunately, you seem dead-set on keeping in the story no matter what, is your Snuggles Gone Psycho.  Lol.  I literally visioned Snuggles, you know, the bear from fabric softener commercials, with a vendetta against Ty.  It reminded me a lot of the monkey that threatens to kill Chris in 'The Family Guy'.  I understand this is a supernatural script, but that was just too out there and really doesn't fit with the rest of the story.  It takes away from it, in fact.  At least the children had souls, so their ghosts are plausible.  Even the cat (yes, I have something to say about, that, too) was at least plausible, because it had died.  But the teddy bear was inanimate.  Hopefully, now that you got your fix with reanimating a bear in 'Think of Me...', you might consider removing Snuggles out of this one if you ever do want to do another rewrite.  I'm just saying.  It'd be a pretty frightening addition if it kept in tune with the rest of the story.  But it goes against the ending as it is right now.

All right, now the cat.  The cat, I thought, was a great element to add into the story.  (And I'm sure you already know I wallowed in the fact that she ate her babies to stay alive.  Thank you for satisfying my demented side today.)  And even the way you killed it was great and terrifying.  But it should have been left at that.  Everything else involving Fishface you could have saved if you ever get hired to write an installment of Pet Sematary.  And, once again, it goes against the grain of the ending of the story.

Isn't one of the points of the ending for all the horrible happenings was Yoder's greed?  Even if you keep the cat in, you have him attack Greg.  Based on the ending, shouldn't have Fishface attacked the shameful and greedy Yoder?

Which also made me think, why are the ghost children focusing on Greg, Mary El and Ty, if it's all about greed and shame.  Maybe if you have the family want to stay there, I could see the ghosts getting rattled.  I do remember Angel asking them why the ghosts were messing with the family, but I don't think you ever answered it.  Or if you did, I'm sorry.  I missed it.

Those are my main niggles.  I have a couple smaller ones that might be worth mentioning:

- No matter how nice Children's Services is, there's no way they'd let Angel stay there like that, especially with how aggressive she's being.  I think you should stress the point a lot more that the family's just staying there until they get the estate in order.  Once again, not that important, but I thought it enough to express it.

- I remember somebody nailing you on the first draft you posted that Greg was extremely immature.  Then, on the next draft, they said it was much better.  To me, he was still acting way way way too immature, definately like a father, no matter how in touch with his inner fifteen year-old is, shouldn't act.  And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't he a teacher?  However, I did like him whistling 'Green Acres' while he was checking out the combine.  But I think it went overboard when he obliviously started playing with the levers.  A lot of his dialogue seems off and pretty forced, too.  Especially when Mary El tells him and Ty to go stay in a hotel.  Then Greg, says very superhero Arnold Schwarzenegger-ishly 'Nah.  We'll stick around'.

- In fact, a lot of the dialogue, especially towards the end of act 2, seemed really off.  Which was really surprising because it was very good up until that point.  Here's a couple examples that didn't fly with me just to point out.

    -  After Angel throws the knife at Yoder's feet, Greg says 'Damn, girl.'  I kept on waiting for him to add 'You go on with your bad self.'  Then they hi-five and give each other some hip and jive and happenin' handshake.

    -  When Gaskins is gruesomely caught in the machine, Ty walks up to him and casually states 'That looks really painful, sir.'

    -  After Mary El shoots the rifle, but nothing happens.  Yoder says it's only meant for one shot, and Mary El, speaking to the person she just tried to kill, simply says 'Oh.'  I was waiting for her to add 'my bad.'

-Also, I made a note of it, but never marked the page and now I can't find it, but somewhere in the beginning, Greg says something like 'Haven't you felt something weird going on for the past few days.'  I might have missed something again, but I thought that was still their first night in the house.  That's something I'll have to pay attention to when I read this again, though.

Welp, everything else is little small things already mentioned (How the dead animals wouldn't rot in the cold winter, which I'm surprised you didn't think of, especially since you had the family burying meat in the snow when the electric went out).

And now the part you've been waiting for.  How I felt about the story.

Honestly, I didn't like it.  It was boring and the story went nowhere.  I give it one star out of five just because of Fishface eating her babies.  Sorry, but that's how I felt.

Did I scare you?  Because I'm only kidding.

It was definately an awesome story and even the points I've brought up don't come close to hurting how extremely well this was written and how good the story is.

One of the things I noticed while browsing the comments was your wordy descriptions.  Well, as far as I'm concerned, one of the purposes of a screenplay is to tell a story using pictures.  You do this extremely well.  You get the feeling and mood across to your readers superbly well, and it definately separates you from a lot of other writers I have read.  It makes it very easy to get a clear picture in my head of what is going on.  In fact, I only came across one description that I thought went overboard, and it was in the very beginning.

- 'At the center is a pivot, and during the summer it prowls this field on fat tires, generating huge, concentric crop circles.'  That's the only thing I felt stepped over the line.  And you even make up for it, though, with great imagery in the very next description:  'But it is sleeping now, and icicles dangle from its thick piping like glistening fangs, dripping as they are warmed by the approaching day.'

Even when you describe Ty with 'a disarming, wise-ass grin he inherited from his father.'  This makes sense because the father was right there in the car with him and we could compare it.  If we had never seen his father before, then it wouldn't have made sense.

I don't remember if I said anything in 'Some Place Nice and Dark', but if I didn't say it, I meant to.  You would make an excellent novelist or short story writer, with how well your descriptions are.

And I loved the atmosphere for this and the way you handled the supernatural element of things.  You did, for the most part, try and keep it grounded in reality, though.  Nothing came as a cheat.  Except for the damn bear.

Just to let you know, I've been working on a story that takes place on a farm and there are ghost children also.  If I do decide to finish writing it, just know I'm not trying to copy off of your idea.  I got the idea for mine awhile ago, when I was outside rounding the horses up to bring them in around midnight.  I swear to God I heard a child laughing somewhere in the woods.

The reason I brought that up (besides to stress I'm not ripping you off), is because I'm struggling really hard to keep the story grounded in real-life, and I commend you for succeeding very well at pulling it off.

All right, well, enough jerking you off now and time to get back to some writing of my own.

Excellent story once again.  All the hype I've heard about this story was worth it.

- Mark


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bert
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 11:03pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark.  As of about a week ago, I have officially set aside this summer for a new draft.  And you touch on many of the things that gotta change.



Quoted from rc1107
My big huge main niggle…is your Snuggles Gone Psycho.
  

I suppose I will never convince the rest of the world just how terrifying my demonic teddy bear can be.  Ever heard of "killing your darlings?"  Well, this darling is going under the knife.  I might still have a bear in some form -- but walking and leaping with claws and fangs?  No.


Quoted from rc1107
All right, now the cat.


Her name is Fish-Head.  And you get it wrong, like, 10 times.  Now you have to forgive every instance of Maledori.

The cat in the graveyard has been a problem since the very first draft.  The easiest solution may just be to kill that whole episode.  That may happen next draft.


Quoted from rc1107
Why are the ghost children focusing on Greg, Mary El and Ty?


Ty hates Angel/Sarah, and Greg gets too close to the truth (in the graveyard and the bathroom scenes).  And Mary El is never really in any danger at all, if you think about it.  All of this needs to be made clearer in the new draft, which will also have firmer ground rules for what these kids can and cannot do.  Menacing, scary stuff happens, for sure, but the only time there is any real danger, it will be from Yoder.

As to some of your dialogue niggles, I have to agree.  Taken out of context, they do kind of shrivel.  And I have always doubted that one line from Greg, from the first moment I wrote it.  


Quoted from rc1107
Did I scare you?


Haha.  You fucker.  I was sitting there going, "Now how can I politely thank this asshole for reading...?"  So yeah -- nice gotcha moment.  And thanks for the stuff after that.  I will not be pretentious enough to slap it in a quote box, but I appreciated the thoughts quite a bit.


Quoted from rc1107
I've been working on a story that takes place on a farm…when I was outside rounding the horses up to bring them in around midnight.  I swear to God I heard a child laughing somewhere in the woods.


So you have spent some time on a farm, too?  That is interesting.  This story takes place on a farm that actually exists, and most of the details, right down to the painted windmill, are true.

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.

Thanks again, Mark.  Much appreciated.


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bare_nerve
Posted: March 4th, 2008, 3:47pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert
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!
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bert
Posted: March 4th, 2008, 11:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bare_nerve
...we all do things like that in real life...but when people read or watch characters do that, they are automatically called stupid characters...or bad writing.


That's a really good observation, Randy.  Never really thought of it like that, but now that I have, I have to agree.  We do go and investigate those strange noises, don't we?


Quoted from bare_nerve
...you should keep the psycho bear in the script. It was great!


Aw, man...that makes my night!  I just wish you were not in the minority on that aspect  

That is one where I am really torn between trusting my instincts and trusting my feedback.

Maybe I should have Don post the next, eventual draft separately -- so I will have "bear" and "bear-free" versions.  But maybe that is just stupid.  I will have to think about it.

Thanks for you thoughts, Randy, particularly those about my bear...


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bert  -  March 5th, 2008, 12:05am
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bare_nerve
Posted: March 5th, 2008, 2:15am Report to Moderator
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You're more than welcome, Bert.

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.
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Zack
Posted: April 3rd, 2008, 9:12pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert, I really hope you read my first review(which was erased when the boards went down). If not, here's a quick re-cap.

I loved this script. It's one of the best scripts on the site and easily in my top five favorite list.

Format was top notch. I love the way you describe stuff, like you're painting images in my head.

The story was original and creepy. This is what "The Messengers" should have been.

The characters where the strongest part for me. The family's relationship seemed very authentic. Same goes for the dialog. Not once did I find a character speaking out of character.

I can't believe I didn't read this script sooner. This is a Simplyscripts Masterpeice! Great stuff Bert.

10 out of 10

P.S.- Did you read the Scarefest 2 PM I sent you?

~Zack~

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Zack  -  April 3rd, 2008, 9:27pm
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bert
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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.


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MonetteBooks
Posted: April 5th, 2008, 5:12pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, Bert. Long time me no write.

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.

Best of luck, with a vote for the bear,
Monette
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MonetteBooks
Posted: April 8th, 2008, 9:29pm Report to Moderator
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Further bear thoughts:

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.
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Sham
Posted: April 8th, 2008, 10:09pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, bert!

I haven’t read too many feature scripts on this website, so I thought I’d look at my favorite genre and see which screenplay had the biggest appeal, good or bad. I don’t 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. It’s a character piece disguised as a horror movie. It feels like we’ve 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 it’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t think it was cliché, 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.

It’s interesting to me that out of all the horror scripts here, it’s 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. It’s nice to see the quiet one being heard above the rest, and deservedly so. Good work.


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MonetteBooks
Posted: April 9th, 2008, 2:05pm Report to Moderator
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One final observation, then I'll shut up

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.
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bert
Posted: April 10th, 2008, 11:41am Report to Moderator
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Gosh, Sham --you got sandwiched in between Monette posts and I almost did not see you there!


Quoted from Sham
It feels like we’ve dropped in on a family instead of a story…


I worked so hard on them, that is great to hear.  What a splendid compliment.  Thanks especially for that.


Quoted from Sham
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.


Quoted from Sham
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.


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Hi Bert

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.

Ste


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stebrown
Posted: April 13th, 2008, 2:54pm Report to Moderator
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I've just had a read of some of the other comments and I say the bear should stay. Go with whatever you believe though.


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Thanks for the look, Ste.  What a nice surprise to get another read so quickly.  Usually I go a few months between looks -- not that I am complaining.  And I enjoyed reading your comments.


Quoted from stebrown
a major problem for me…Lots of "...ings" dotting about…I'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.


Quoted from stebrown
My favourite character was Ty


After Angel, he is my favorite, too.


Quoted from stebrown
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?



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Hey Bert,

I absolutely loved this. I would pay my well earned money to go see this if it was to be made. I taught the character Angel was A+, very creepy.

I can see a lot was sain to you about this so I just wanted to let you know that I am a big fan of this.


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bert
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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.


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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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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.


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Hey Bert,

Any news on the new draft?

Cheers
Rob


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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.


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slabstaa
Posted: October 11th, 2008, 3:51am 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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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.  We’ll 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.


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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. ANGEL’S 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 couldn’t.
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. There’s a room
like this in our house, too. It’s
pretty, like this one, but it’s
pink. With so many toys. It was
supposed to be a happy room. But
it isn’t. It’s a sad room because
there isn’t 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
It’s sad to lose someone, isn’t
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! That’s disgusting.
TY
I like her. She’s a bad-ass.


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


Quoted Text

EXT. ANGEL’S 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 Dan’s long
underwear. He looks quite ridiculous.
TY
You can’t 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 children’s 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...
Greg’s eyes grow wide.


Terrific stuff.

More to follow.

Andrew


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Andrew
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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 El’s
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
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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 enough…things may have become a little too convoluted by the end…the 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.


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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.
Posted: August 13th, 2009, 7:43am Report to Moderator
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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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fusilierb
Posted: August 13th, 2009, 7:58am Report to Moderator
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