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Desquamation by Mister Scream Bloody Murder - Adult, Short, Horror - A young socialite becomes obsessed with how to stop a growing sunburn on her arm. It gets worse when the skin peels sooner than expected. 8 pages - pdf, format
The writing itself is super solid - someone who knows what they're doing. The specific phobia used is an interesting one. The story itself, especially the ending, was not compelling.
So I'm digging it, this girl just transfixed by the burn. Now, what I don't understand is why it is growing in size - sun burns don't do that. So, some kind of special burn?? Doc didn't think so - got me confused. And the ending was just flat.
Struck me that we have a very talented writer who selected a cool phobia but just couldn't quite find the twist for the story. High marks for effort - the results, not as much.
How is Donna obsessed with her left arm? What is she doing that shows this?
‘Some youth is still on her side’ - I should hope so, she’s only in her late 20s.
I’m at a loss on what I was seeing with the pattern on Jeff’s pajamas.
I found myself questioning the logic of someone with a phobia of burns even attempting to sunbathe in the first place. Feels too forced. I'd think catching a burn by accident could have been a better approach.
Some good visuals and the dialogue held up but I thought this was building to something bigger - namely horror. Beyond the skin peeling scene it never came to anything more than a bad case of sunburn and a supportive fiance. I like that you put more focus on the phobia itself - the mention of support groups etc. but just as you got into the grisly side of things that expectation of something horrifying came to nothing. It’s like you didn’t quite know where to take it. Why did the ending focus on Jeff? Is he secretly not so supportive? Between the typos and the ending it feels like a rush to finish.
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I feel this one reads more as an obsession than a phobia. I know the brief was 'fight the phobia' but no one with a true phobia of burning is going to go out in the sun like this imh, no matter how much they've overcome or learned to live with their fear.
Some good 'body horror' here though which I think you should rewrite as a different 'short' idea. Lots of people are obsessed with the body beautiful and in particular equate it with a great suntan. I'd focus on that.
Throwing in the comments re the candle and the other character lighting up just seemed tacked on. I didn't sense her fear in that scene.
The final line with RIP just seemed odd and cast doubt on the boyfriend's character. It's just not something you'd say. More like 'sweet dreams'.
Anyway, there's a good germ of an idea here but more (like I suggested) along the lines of obsession.
P.S. The 20s line is weird, and the title is great. Deffo in line for a rewrite. Filmmakers love horror shorts.
Top of page 4: Mosquitoes, spiders, Wasn’t a burn. ?? Who's dialogue. I'm guessing Donna's.
NURSE Then they happened before today. How often do you tan? - this made no sense to me. Donna feels the burn of a little itty bit burn but hasn't felt one on her neck previously - I'm not afraid of burns, but damn, when I get sunburnt - I feel it every time, so I'm guessing someone with a phobia would fear they are burnt before it even happens and would definitely feel it if it did. Plus as others have said - wouldn't be doing something that could get her burnt in the first place.
By page 7 I wondering what the hell is going on.
Again - top of page 8 dialogue with no character.
Sorry to say, but the RIP bit of it didn't work for me, kind of like the story also. Seems very rushed and not properly thought out. Keep at it though.
Open it up, whatta we got? It's alright this, not going to win it for me, but alright.
As mentioned above, there's some typos and formatting issues which are in conflict with the style of writing. Possibly you ran out of time?
The story itself. People say "burn" a lot, an awful lot in a very short period of time, which was annoying. Overall it read well, and kept me involved. Well done on reigning in the page count, but you could have actually expanded a bit to explain what the hell was going on, leaving it hanging there didn't really work for me.
Anyway, the writing made this one for me. Thematically, is it a phobia or just a concern? I'll plop for phobia as I liked the writing style.
I dug the style you have. The eloquence in which you described things was nice to see. I write in plain terms, maybe too plain at times, so this was a welcomed change.
The dialogue was true to life, which is all that matters when it comes to dialogue really.
The story didn't grab me. You had a chance to go full on gross with this and get into some body-horror territory, but maybe that's my horror-centric mind taking over. I would have had her pick and pick until she got into the jelly-like layers, or maybe peel off jerky strips of skin.
The logine wasn't so great, and that's usually a key indicator as to how strong a story you have. If the logline doesn't make the reader want to read the script, it usually means you haven't enough story. In the end, this logline is the entire story! There's nothing more to it at all!
No problem with the writing and format, there's a few errors here and there; all small stuff. For me I was thrown right out of the story by the fact that someone with a phobia of burning....is sunbathing! Sure, I get she's self-obsessed, but if she's terrified of burns she'll get a fake tan. No way would she risk sunburn, no matter how much lotion she applies. I'd suggest changing it so she gets the burn some other way.
The obsession with the burn is great, really shows her struggling with the phobia. This is all fantastic psychological stuff. But then it just ends and it ends with an indication that this isn't a burn, not a suggestion of her phobia but it is real. Not only does this lessen the phobia aspect but it doesn't make sense. If this was some disease then why is the nurse and her boyfriend pretending it is nothing?
This ends so suddenly on page 8 it makes me think you were rushing or just didn't know where to go with it next. I think if you spent more time and fleshed it out more, this would be much better. Decent effort though, well done for entering.
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I thought you were building up to a horror piece. There's so much you could do with it. Your dialog is quite neat, Donna is a "perfect" character. I truely expected horrific ending to this. And maybe strands of skin means something more and it is horrific? You did label it as horror as well as drama.
It's not very dramatic so must be horror.
Anyway, I guess I'm missing something. I'll be waiting for your explanation then.
Good title, yo Logline is teasing in favor of the genre pretty well - there's just plot and movement missing. As is, both sentences are used for equal purpose only, style.
p3/p4 research how to handle dialogue at page breaks
top p4 completely repetitive dialogue we already understood her "dramatic situation" and phobia, at some point it's enough. Generally, there's not much happening and I ask myself how an independent audience, away from the phobia challenge, could engage here, thematically. I don't see it, honestly said.
It's too slow and thematically marginal. But who knows perhaps the second part will shoot this one out of orbit…
You're a good writer I believe. You can deal with characters, interaction, dialogue, formatting is tidy etc…, then… sorry to say but I don't think a sunburn phobia script is a topic that works with a public audience. I don't believe in it, too absurd.
As much as I feel with her, going through her personal nightmare, restarting the therapy soon, I just don't see a true point of identification…
Didn't read what the phobia was so was kinda lost, but after checking it all makes sense.
I agree with what others have said about Donna realizing it's a burn ... after that the story sinks a bit. Better to keep this from her for as long as possible I think, her reactions to not knowing what was on her arm was what made the story click for me, that should've been the focus.