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The Art of War by Nameless Jones - Short, Horror, Psychological - A late night Halloween party comes to an end, so the real fun can begin. Terror comes in grizzly fashion as the Deed's learn that secrets can lead to an early grave. - pdf format
logline - I'm rubbish at these but I suppose was thrown by the Deeds, thinking it referred to an act rather than people. just saying.
nice and simple. clean and fast to get through. I liked the writing.
would also be relatively low budget, or easy to film.
story wise it's fine, various things are set up in advance. I suppose I felt it could be a little deeper. Perhaps finding her in the basement after a party and not hearing the noises before did make me think
but you have pulled off a decent little script which adhered to the criteria
The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
It starts off slow and labored, the writing stiff and stilted. It gets better when the tension amps up and the action begins.
The action is minimal but effective. Most of the story comes through exposition, which is done pretty well. There are some false setups, but everything with a payoff does have a setup. Sarah's plan is nuts, but it doesn't stretch beyond belief, though the ducts seemed unnecessarily complicated. If she's in the basement, chances are sound will travel up the vents regardless, no need to literally hook her up to them.
There's no final twist, it plays out exactly as Sarah planned, and for this that works. Her commitment to her revenge is a powerful force that Sam has no hope against. It would have been nice to see him try something, anything, but like I said, it plays out exactly as planned and we're just along for the ride, witness to it.
The Art of War felt tacked on. I like the original title, "Don't Stick Your Dick In Crazy" (the filename).
The dialogue at the start is rough, it also gets better towards the end. Overall, not a bad entry, better than I expected when I started it.
The writing here is pretty rough. A lot of awkward phrasing, and some odd character introductions in the dialog. Made this one tough to get into.
Glad I made it to the end. Didn't see that coming at all. Do think Sarah should have immediately started running to the neighbors at the tail end though. But still, this one will stick with me. Good job.
The characters were good enough. Sarah was a hoot. Lol
Some good story-telling on display, but the writing itself could use a few more passes.
So, Sarah was aware of the screams the whole time. She was just lying. Not sure that meets the criteria.
Title page - Again, I am not a fan of the various names peeps use, but it is what it is, and what's with the file name of "Don't stick your dick in crazy"? WTF? Now, that's quite funny.
Time fore some compliments for a change. Slugs out of the gate are good, and finally I'm not reading about a SUBURBAN HOME. The descriptive passages about the residence are good...maybe too detailed, but not sure...let's see if any of this comes into play.
But, so far, we're off to a solid start, and I'm going to predict this is from a female writer.
Onto Page 2 and all is well, except for a little misshap on the Dialogue boxes for Frank/Man dressed as Pluto - if he's Frank, then label him as Frank right away and in all his Dialogue boxes.
Top of page 4 and I know this is well written by a good writer. The characterization, the dialogue, the writing, all very good, and I thank you for that!
"Its distant and barely audible..." - the only typo I've seen so far - "It's".
"Sarah is leaned..." - Very awkward.
Page 5 - "...placing his hand on the on the kitchen island..." - on the on the
So, let's stop for a second - we're on Page 5 now and nothing has happened, really. For sure, no horror, or really even a hint of horror, except for this scream "we" just heard. IMO, this is too late for the scream, and as for horror, it ain't at all so far...not even a little hint or deer dropping.
Page 6 - "Sam head snaps..." - Sam's
Page 7 - "Halloween decoration’s that can go on hiatus." - I don't understand. Is the apostrophe incorrect here?
Page 8 - "Her face is beaten and her mouth firmly gagged with a piece of cloth. Her shoulder length blonde hair is matted with blood and clung to the side of her face. A strange collar with a black box attached to it is securely tethered to her neck. " - So, this my 10th read and I haven't said a single word about orphans, but I have to here. You've got a 5 line passage and the 5th line is a lonely little orphan that doesn't need to be here. The writing is great throughout, but shows signs of being rushed now and this is a perfect example.
Page 9 - "She grabs a the shoulder of her Coca-Cola dress and tares the strap, exposing her bra." - And another rushed sentence that wasn't edited. - a - at, tare - tear.
Page 10 - "What did you think Sam..." - Every time, in dialogue, you have to set off names and anything used as a name by a comma(s).
Page 11 - "chucks" - Chunks
Page 12 - "exit" - exits
The end. Good! Very good. Best so far, by a country mile. Well conceived, well written, well planned out. Some mistakes here and there, showed up in the later pages, maybe due to time constraints, but who cares, as you're obviously a good writer.
Great job all the way around.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I don't know about the title. File says something else, but I like it less. I'm actually surprised you didn't go for the most obvious title. You know..."Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" But anyway, let's roll with what we have.
How do I know Sam and Sarah are "smart"? What makes them smart just by looking at them? I mean, they can't even get their costumes on right. And 'good looking' has always been an odd description. Good looking actors are not in short supply.
Why have the character slug as "Man Dressed As Pluto' when his name is Frank? Just intro him as FRANK. But...what's up with Sarah calling him 'a pig'? and then saying "My only request tonight was no inappropriate costumes." When I first read Pluto, I thought Disney. Now I'm thinking.. The Hills Have Eyes 'Pluto'? (Michael Berryman look?) But the comment is about CARL who we never met. And friends attending the party would know a host's wishes.
So, ultimately what we have here is crazy woman scorned. I think it needs a bit more fleshing out, I'm not sold on it. The script itself isn't bad...it's one of the better ones thus far. I just feel a little let down I guess.
Funny how you see things in others that you miss in your own writing sometimes ...
I thought this was definitely one of the better scripts.
However, for the tone you set, all the exposition at the end was a bit scooby doo or Bond Villain. And the shock-collar thing to make him hear screams didn't make sense. The wife would just tell him to take the decorations down and there you go. So ironically I think the whole thing would be better without what makes it hit the brief ... except they would both actually hear the scream I suppose - she's just pretending not to.
First one I've read, so don't know if it is going to be a theme, but this script is very similar to an idea I was working on (but didn't submit).
So I wonder if this will be a fairly common idea, as it felt like a natural plot line from the challenge parameters. I'll know if that's the case after reading more, of course!
Yours was better than what I was working on, however.
The execution is largely good, and the creaks in place are no doubt down to time restrictions.
For example, for me, the pacing accelerates from the point of the basement too rapidly. I had to go back and read a couple of times to get a real sense of what is going on.
If we strip it back to the outlining, the core plot points for that closing are:
1) He discovers Alice.
2) He discovers Sarah is responsible for this and plans to blame it on him.
I think that's a solid final act, but whilst I liked the general flow of the beginning, I don't really feel like we ever got a middle act to advance us to this closing, and the result is it feels a little rushed.
As for the core plot points mentioned above, here are a couple of issues I have with them.
1) I don't really feel the sense of shock at seeing Alice here. I think there needs to be some work done on that, and here you can payoff the Frank setup, which gets left as a hanging thread. I think you want to capitalise on that setup for the benefit of the story.
2) I don't really buy the knuckle injury from the saucepans. Not sure that would be sufficient for her cover up, i.e. his knuckle injuries surely would not account for her facial injuries, and when she has gone to all of the effort for a fairly elaborate operation, it feels a little unlikely she wouldn't have this covered more effectively. Also, I don't know if I bought her facial injuries being developed as quickly.
Just some random thoughts / ideas that may - or may not! - be of use to finish up.
When I was writing my own variation on this idea, I got bogged down as to whether or not to swap out the perpetrator. So in this idea, if you showed Sarah inflicting her own injuries as Sam discovers Alice (overlapping as Alice explains what has happened), we as an audience get to see the story unfold, and think we have got to the bottom of the mystery. However, this could be the moment you bring back Frank, and we now realise he plans to take them all out. Or something to deviate from what we thought was the conclusion. A sting in the tail. I feel like Frank needs to be used to better effect.
Anyway, that's just a quick idea. I liked what you did here, hence going a bit deeper into things I thought about it, and ideas on what you could do with it!
First off. I cannot say I don't know your work from a hole in the wall. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. So here’s my unbiased opinion.
It's very well written and I like the dialogue. There's none of your usual curve balls thrown in there anywhere. It’s pretty straight-forward, but here’s the catch, it works. Though, I thought the set-up went a tad long, which dragged your initial pacing.
“The Art Of War” Have you ever read the book?
Nothing more to offer (good read otherwise) than my disappointment about the script not reflecting the title. I did, had to, long story. Maybe I see things differently.
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
I told myself to stop reading....but can't help myself, sorry if my review turns out grumpy
Why do you cap character names in dialogue? especially ones who are not currently on screen. seems odd.
SARAH The basement freaks you out... (beat) You’ll be putting all your energy into not pissing yourself.
Lol - I like Sarah
high-intensity flashlight and it begins to strobe wildly in Sam’s face, causing him to recoil and grab at his head.
Kudos for bringing the epilepsy back into the story and making it relevant.
You should totally have gone with the original title lol
Damn - a woman scorned and all that. Finally a story with substance
Great writing, authentic characters with lovely dialogue - you know your stuff. Really liked the story (not that much horror though) Started slow but got there in the end
I guess I only have one gripe. If she was in the basement the whole time, rigged up and screaming, would she not have screamed during the party for the guests to hear? Seems a very odd time to go through with this plan
Writing was great, but had a few typos here and there.
How did no one else at the party hear Alice's screams .. how did the kids not hear them either? You can hear one another fairly well using the vents. My siblings and I used to do that, run to different parts of the house and talk into the vents to see if we can hear each other. Considering that Alice's head was hooked up to a duct tube makes it hard to believe that Sam was the only one to hear her.
That's the only negative I have to say about this.