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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2019 One Week Challenge  ›  What Was That - OWC Moderators: StevenClark
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  Author    What Was That - OWC  (currently 495 views)
Posted: October 11th, 2019, 10:44pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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What Was That by Robert A. Duke - Short, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural - A scream she heard in her suburban house leads a young woman and her partner to question her sanity, especially since she's recovering from emotional abuse. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Visit for what is new on the site.

You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 4:01am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Proud owner of a Simply Scripts face mask ...

The Island of Jersey
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Hello Robbie

logline - sanity and emotional abuse, fertile territory. probably could be re worded to make it crisper, but I can guarantee you, so could mine

names - best age them - also, I and I haven't read on, if they are not core it can sometimes be confusing to introduce them by name, never to reappear. ill see as I read on...

being honest, in the first few para's I don't know who's party it is, how old they are etc

Ash and Sid I assume are now the hosts - but the word 'Greets'  confused me as this wouldn't be a normal style to say goodbye. just saying. also at this stage I didn't know what sex they were - the names weren't obvious. ps - I wasn't sure for most of the script

          I told you it'd be a breeze. For
          the first time, we were actually
          I don't think I've ever been this
          happy in my life.

a bit on the nose - if you wish to show them happy best seek others ways

'I believe you when you said the was a monster' - who are they talking about?

list - at a party?

'Sid climbs down as quickly as possible' - from what?

'She yawns. Her eyelids droop...' - just after thunder??

'The Suspiria colors fade away in favor of natural tungsten' - can't say I understood that

ok finished

I guess you have probably only written a few scripts, but the basis is there

format wise and information - eg ages, sex etc - this is an easy tidy up but essential for the reader

story wise - I wasn't 100% sure, but I'm guessing this was the house where one of them was emotionally abused by a domineering grandmother who comes back to haunt them, take revenge for something etc

that in itself has potential

however, we could do with knowing more about the couple, a sense of what went wrong before and I prefer, but not every does, some reason behind this.

I perhaps felt that the 'I can hear sounds' was pushed a little too far and no real explanation for why they didn't see things either, but that does happen.

this could be a good opportunity to re write this one, to make the best it can as simple and easy to film, and in the process learn the methodology as you go

all the best

My scripts †HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.††Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link...
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Posted: October 12th, 2019, 2:03pm Report to Moderator

Tucson, AZ
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"I don't know how, but we did it. Our first Halloween since my grandmother died." I hope this plays into the story in some way....

Hmmm...some more rough dialogue going on here. Talking zodiac symbols and astrology but not really knowing who you're talking about. And what does this mean: "Sid takes down a ghost and a bat. She puts the bat in her right hand and points to a vampire with her left." And then they share a laugh. I don't get it.

A lot of odd back and forth banter.

Yum. I love a good Georgia peach.

Am I to assume that the witch/obese woman was her grandmother? There doesn't seem to be any recognition to that. Why does Sid apologize to Ash? Very strange ending. Too tongue in cheek.
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Posted: October 12th, 2019, 9:35pm Report to Moderator

I wish my brain was half as wise as my ass.

Asheville, NC
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Was the obese woman the grandmother?

The dialog needs some work. They say each other's names way too often. Count how man times you actually say someone's name when you're talking to them.

The story also needs some work. More clarity about the grandmother. And if the obese woman is the grandmother....more clarity about that.

ďIf someone is trying to bring you down, it just means you are above them."
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Posted: October 13th, 2019, 12:57am Report to Moderator

Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

The Great Southern Land
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ASH and SID greet them.
I think you mean see them off, or see them out.

Title missing a question mark?
The Georgia Peach line is inspired.

Mustard residence?

Unless they're children:
I checked off everyone on the list.

Who checks their guests off a list as they leave?

A flatulent witch?

A RUMBLING THUNDERCLAP, the kind you hear in horror movies.
There's a difference between a rumbling and a clap. I think you're confusing this with flatulence.

Okay, is it Sid or Ash washing off their makeup? I'm'a getting confused. Are these characters both women?

The entity disappears into dry ice
that forms from under and behind the bed.


I can surmise a few influences here, Scream being one of them.
Obviously meant to be tongue in cheek comedy-horror. The thing is the comedy needs to be gold and it falls a bit short for me.

The emotional abuse in the logline sets entirely the wrong tone, but...
Worth reading for the peach description.

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Posted: October 13th, 2019, 10:55am Report to Moderator

All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun

Tokyo, Japan
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Hello writer, so I went through this script and I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed, I didnít quite get the joke regarding the bat and ghost, I dunno maybe itís me.

I did like the characters, Ash and Sid really seem to care for each other and it comes across.

I also like peaches, Iím assuming the obese woman was the grandmother? It was a bit unclear. And so does one of them have psychic abilities to see events in dreams in real time?

I think the script needs some reworks, Iím not to sure about the tone,  horror comedy? But a good effort none the less, I know how difficult it can be to get a story out in a week under constraints, so good job on entering. Hope to see more from you in the future.
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Posted: October 13th, 2019, 3:55pm Report to Moderator

Los Angeles
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It wasnít until page 3 that I realized Sid and ASH were female. That should be clear right out of the box.

Compared to other submissions criticized for too much dialogue, this script suffered from too little dialogue. Thus the characters suffered from a lack of development. Clint Eastwoodís scripts could get away with this because character development wasnít essential to the story. Striking a balance takes practice.

I didnít get the bat, unless it was meant to telescope Ashís lingering hostility toward her grandmother.

Sid & Ash worked as a couple. But the screamís source was never really identified, unless the writer intended it to be all in her head.

Interrupting the potential ax murder by Sid worked for the horror. But donít most horror flics end with lingering fear that the horror isnít really over? In this script, they go off hand in hand into the sunset.
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Posted: October 13th, 2019, 6:59pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Southern California
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Sadly, the first one I couldn't finish.


Needs a question mark.

Quoted Text

Covered wall-to-wall with Halloween decorations: A HAPPY
HALLOWEEN banner, skeletons, witches, ghosts, vampires,
bats, spider webs, Michael Myers, Jason.

Not a good spot for INT/EXT the way you set it up. Would have been much clearer if you just started with EXT - gave us the decorations - then the front door opens.

Quoted Text
The last two guests, BILL and LYDIA, head out the open door.
They're costumed as a vampire and a witch, respectively.

ASH and SID greet them.

Greet them? Aren't they leaving?

Would be nice to know the genders upfront as I got confused as I read on.

This one wasn't for me I'm afraid.

My Scripts can all be seen here:
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Posted: October 14th, 2019, 11:27am Report to Moderator

Perspective without distortion.

Sherman Oaks, CA
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You've definitely got the Halloween OWC guidelines. Ash and Sid appear to be real. The only thing that gives me trouble is the buildup for the Witch Hag. Seems like it needs a little more development to make it believable. Otherwise, good try.
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Posted: October 14th, 2019, 11:53pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I have to admit, when I first started reading, I actually thought Ash was a guy. There have been costume parties where some guys (even straight ones) go a little drag, and Sid dressed as a guy (Frankenstien's Monster) enforced this, however, Ash had [" ripped shoulders"... Nope, Ash is short for Ashley. Ash is a lady. Turns out they are both lesbians, although if so I don't think you need a rainbow tattoo to show it. I will admit it's an inventive interpretation of the OWC guides, and therefore fair game.

However, aside from that brief confusion I run into this

INT/EXT  --no, it's either one or the other. It seems more fitting for EXT, since people are leaving and the two main characters are in the doorway.

Some OTN/forced exposition, With odd stuff ("a list")? Then we get to:

Quoted Text
Ash thinks for a beat.

Ugh. I'd just rather have a beat or a wrylie of (thinks)

"Funeral March for a Marionette." - the theme music for the classic TV series 'Alfred Hitchock presents' Hmmm...just before the scream. the way, you do know that 'cackling' can't be part of a scream, right?

Fart jokes.  
A lot of dialog that goes in circles. Some exploitation, very gratuitous at that, serves little purpose. Describing Ash's ass (Ash's ass, ha ha) in the process . does not add anything, but stops the flow to focus on that derriere. Who cares?

And then the script picks up a bit with the Old Witch Hag a little bit but by then I felt the wind had already been knocked out of the sails.

Not bad for a OWC effort. But it wasn't thrilling, and despite a brief but noticeable difference between this and the other scripts, it amounts to nothing. Very confusing.

"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
my scripts on ss :
The Art!

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
DarrenJamesSeeley  -  October 15th, 2019, 12:06am
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: October 15th, 2019, 3:53am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Shakespeare's county
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Dobry den!

Right now I am thinkin "can Frankenstein's monster be sexy?" When it comes to buying Halloween costumes, companies just seem to chuck the word "sexy" in front of anything.
example, I once saw a "sexy pizza" costumes....a sexy pizza costume!! who the F thought that was a good idea?  I digress...

A Twilight makeover? sparkly I'm guessing

Mmm, after my pizza train of thought, I have food on the brain - every time I read Dijon residence I just think of mustard.

Suddenly.... hello old friend.
Can't help thinking I know who's script this is

A fart joke?  

Quoted Text
Her buttocks resemble a nice, soft Georgia peach.

Lol! Have you ever heard the advice "Don't go food shopping whilst hungry"? - Well, in this case it's "Don't write horror whilst horny"

Quoted Text
Come on, Ash. Let's show this
prehistoric bitch how we do things
in the suburbs.

Eeek! This is making my eye's bleed lol personally I think this teeters too much without goin full on nuts! don't hold back, if that's the direction you are taking it then go bloody crazy.

I'm done. Comedy horror but not my sort of comedy so I couldn't enjoy that aspect of it - Would it be scary? hard to tell, words aren't scary but with the right effects, on-screen it could raise a few hairs. There is an actual story here, not just a "horror stuff happens just because" - there is reasoning. It's not explored much but it's there. Would this make a good B-movie? probably, but you would need to ramp up the ridiculousness.

Not going to go into detail as this reads like you know what you are doing but put in a last-minute entry.

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Matthew Taylor  -  October 15th, 2019, 6:09am
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Posted: October 15th, 2019, 5:59am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

A helluva long way from LA
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Quoted Text
Her buttocks resemble a nice, soft Georgia peach. Just above her posterior is a rainbow tattoo that matches Ash's.

Well, I believe a story can be more than the sum of its curvy parts.

You are no doubt a clever wordsmith but I feel you overplay detail. Sure it's a visual medium but I tend to get lost in some of your writing because often insignificant details are overplayed, and this becomes annoying...example :

The Suspiria colors fade away in favor of natural tungsten.
Had to look that up on wikipedia.  
A loud noise that resembles FLATULENCE.  This too.

I thought the dialogue was ok. There are a couple of clunkers in there, particularly: ďCome on, Ash. Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things in the suburbs.Ē Methinks it would probably be a real challenge for the actor to say with a straight face.  IMO.

I think you may be onto something with the storyline, but you lack clarity in parts.  Course my name's not Spielberg or anything, so I could be wrong...Best of luck! -Andrea

"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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Posted: October 15th, 2019, 9:51am Report to Moderator
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Cast Your Fate To The Wind

Upstate NY
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You kinda had me going up till the end. You have the makings of a good story with past trauma and such, and you had a couple pages to explore it but you didn't. So, a big splash without anything to back it up. Story logic, as Sid can't hear or see a thing, but then does at the end. just doesn't hold water with me. Decent effort that read well and was visual, but story and backstory is lacking.


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Posted: October 16th, 2019, 10:15am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Logline - Awkwardly written.

Title Page - It's fine, but if you are actually Robert A. Duke, that's a big mistake.  I googled the name and nothing came up that would lead me to believe this was some sort of ploy.

And here we go, right out of the gate, you begin with EXT/INT, missing the period on EXT.  Listen, I've tried to go over this so many times, but peeps just don't seem to get it.  EXT and INT are 2 completely different scenes and setups.

Why doesn't anyone have an age?  OK< there's Ash and Sid's age.  So these 2 are both chicks and they're lesbo?

Banter goes on too long on opening page and doesn't tell us dick about anyone.

So, this "DIJON RESIDENCE" is actually a little problem, since you didn't give us last names, we don't really know where we are - who's home this is - but than you for not using SUBURBAN HOME!!!  

Dialogue isn't good, isn't natural...also, very dull.

I really dislike the, "Did you hear that?"  "Hear what?"  ARGH!!

The dialogue exchanges don't work at all.  The entire setup isn't working.

Page 5 - "Sid climbs down as quickly as possible." - Climbs down from what?  Where is she? Did I miss something?

Oh we're in an INT/EXT WINDOW scene, huh?  They're outside and inside the window?  Very poor.

The old Witch Hag inside and outside the window.  Wonderful.

Page 6 - "The party lasted till almost midnight."  Sorry, but that's pretty cringe worthy dialogue there.

Page 7 - "Her eyes point toward the ceiling." - Very awkwardly phrased.

"Her buttocks resemble a nice, soft Georgia peach." - WTF?  Talk about unnecessary...

Majority of these Slugs should be Minis.

Page 8 and 9 - The action is here is ludicrous, goofy, poorly written and imagined.

Page 9 - "Come on, Ash. Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things in the suburbs." - WOW!  Really?  She really just said that?  So dumb...

"The Witch Hag is instantly beheaded, gushing blood like she's Old Faithful." - Is this for comedic relief?  It sure doesn't work as horror.

The end.  Uh, I don't get it, don't like it, and wish I had given up a long time ago.  Nothing works here at all for me.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: October 18th, 2019, 6:38am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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I was just recapping on the scripts so I could score them and realised I hadn't read this one.

I can't add much that hasn't been said. Although there are plenty of mistakes in the prose, it's actually much stronger than the dialogue. From nowhere they come out with stuff like this -

You know what it could be? P-T-S-D
flashbacks. Past trauma. I'm
worried about you, Ash.

People don't make wild diagnosis like this in such an immediate and flippant way. You can tell the writer is talking to the audience. I don't mind this so much in prose, because then you are talking to a reader. But you cannot do it in dialogue - that makes a bad film.

Work on your dialogue and just keep asking - if this were me or someone I know in this situation, would they say that?
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Grandma Bear
Posted: October 18th, 2019, 11:13am Report to Moderator
God of the SimplyScriptsVerse

The Swamp...
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Two pages in and we have a lot of chit chatting. No hint at any horror. I would suggest setting the mood already on page one.

Page 4.   A lot of dialogue that is just back and forth. Maybe add something more interesting. IMHO, this is fine in a feature, but in a short it's just fluff.  Adding to the page count.

Page 7.   Ash doesn't wake up when the witch hag cackles above her?

Finished. For me, there was too much stuff that really doesn't say anything. Doesn't add to theme, story or character for that matter. You need to think about what they are actually saying. What they are actually doing. Everything should reveal something of interest to the story. In a short you don't have a lot of time to do that, so it's really important here.

It was an easy read and the girls were kind of cute, but not much more than that.

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Posted: October 18th, 2019, 2:14pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Good story, but the ending is a little too neat. Is this the first run-in theyíve had with the grandmother since she died? You canít kill a ghost, so what if instead of a boy ringing their doorbell at the end, itís a trick-or-treater in costume who looks suspiciously like the ever-returning grandmother
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