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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2019 One Week Challenge  ›  Three Blocks - OWC Moderators: StevenClark
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  Author    Three Blocks - OWC  (currently 425 views)
Don
Posted: October 11th, 2019, 11:17pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Three Blocks by Anonymous - Short, Horror Psychological - Two newlyweds are forced to confront a deep-seated fear when a malicious entity closes in on their home.  - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Dreamscale
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 11:28am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Logline is decent.  Title Page is poor.

CUT TO: - A complete waste of space.  Irritating to see over and over.

"PUSH IN:" - Unnecessary.

Using ";" is a screenplay, to me at least, isn't the way to go.

"ANGLE ON WALL CLOCK" - Huh?  Where is this "wall clock"?  We're in an EXT scene here, remember.

Why in the world would a stainless steel trash bin be inside a house?

OK, we're 4 pages in and absolutely nothing has happened, other than a couple in their mid 30's are having a discussion about where they (in theory) just moved from and to).  Not the slightest hint of horror here.  It's inflated, it's dull, and I'm wondering if I'm going to continue.

BUT, don't get me wrong - the dialogue and characterization on display is not bad at all.  So, that's actually a compliment.

"cigarets" - spelled wrong.

The scream was supposed to come from within the house.  It doesn't seem to here, so IMO, that's a problem in terms of the challenge itself.

The end.  I don't get it.  There's some good horror imagery here.  There's a hint at a story.  There's semi-realistic characters.  But nothing comes together.  Nothing really makes much sense.

Alot of times peeps ask dumbass questions about things in scripts that are purposely left up to the readers' imagination, but this is different here.  There are questions...alot of questions, that really can't be answered, based on what we're given.  At least that's how I feel about this.

As for the parameters, I think you missed the scream part, and the challenge was so open and easy, that's an issue.

*



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.

Revision History (1 edits)
Dreamscale  -  October 12th, 2019, 12:04pm
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grademan
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 11:38am Report to Moderator
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This was written well enough. Got confusing in the last two pages. It could have been easier had the possessed Jamie been identified as a separate character such as JAMIE (POSSESSED). The 911 operator was a loose end and could have been omitted. The significance of a decrepit voice coming from Jamie with the eerie countdown was not explained so it felt like another loose end.

I get what the the horror of the story was moving to the burbs but it was difficult to pull that out of the story. It would certianly be easy to film.
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Anon
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 12:01pm Report to Moderator
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So I'm a page a page in and I breathe a sigh of relief. This person can write dialogue. A lot of scripts have fallen short here.

So first I thought it was two guys. With cross-gender names, you should make their sex clear from the start. But no worries, onwards. Could be that Jamie is more of a female name in the US.

Honestly I didn't understand the story at all. Sorry, but I enjoyed their chat at the beginning more than the horror stuff which didn't seem to have an explanation/payoff. A real hear-scratcher this one. I'd be interested to find out the writers intent/meaning when writers are revealed.
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Lightfoot
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 12:58pm Report to Moderator
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Written well. I was able to breeze over this fairly quickly.

I don't understand the whole 3 blocks thing you got going on though. After Shaun grabbed his gun and booked it outside I figured that there was something coming after him and that possessed Jamie was just toying with him until whatever it was got there. I didn't seem to add up to anything either. All that happens is the screams get closer with no explanation on who or what it is.

I think this needs to be fleshed out bit more. Probably could've cut the 911 bit and add in something that could answer some of the story's questions.
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currentcmine
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 7:04pm Report to Moderator
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It's a tender encounter between a couple in a relationship crisis. Shaun's been hiding his affair and Jamie's uncertain about Shaun's change of heart about living in suburbia and the future they could have. That's a nice touch. And to develop that storyline with a horror genre is cute. The scream, though, was supposed to come from inside the house. Some odd formatting from my point of view but a very good effort.
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eldave1
Posted: October 12th, 2019, 8:17pm Report to Moderator
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Overall, I didn't get it.

Dialogue - good - solid.

A lot of unneeded cut tos and thens.

Pacing was fine - kept me interested, but then --

I didn't really quite understand the story.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 13th, 2019, 11:02am Report to Moderator
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Hi

Logline - quite good. We have a set up, newlyweds, an issue - deep seated fear, and a catalyst the entity.

Let’s see..

PUSH IN - what’s that mean? Is that a new term
Oh an ‘cut to’ - that could get the blood pressure up in a few around here !

Continuous - I wouldn’t use this for a normal scene. I would use it more when working around different aspects of the same place, eg different groups at the same party
Shaun and Jamie - I didn’t know the sex of these and it wasn’t revealed until later

Ok finished

Did I miss what the three blocks referred to?

Actually, I quiet liked this and feel it has something. It’s not a polished piece yet, as none are, but the tension between moving home and location, a relationship with differing wishes , and a possible haunted house provides a triangular affect. Good potential.

Also it could be simple to film and have decent on screen tension

Where would I take this? Well, first would it remain a horror - I think you have choices here

I would want to know the ‘house’s’ wants - does it want people to leave, to discover, to be happy, to be Christian etc etc

Then make it clash.

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
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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: October 13th, 2019, 11:45am Report to Moderator
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Iget what you're trying to do visually, but there's an easier way to go about it. CUT TO's are fine but generally unnecessary.  The next scene generally would be an film edit. Having somany of them just winds up as filler.  There's also no need for the camera direction. You draw attention to this specific house anyway.  Then comes the ANGLE on the clock, which is part of the INTERIOR of the house, and...well...

VISUALLY what are you showing me? A ticking clock, possibly at a dutch angle (?) we hear it tick a few times. Yet you "cut to" Jamie who is standing below the clock Did you catch it? It's the same shot.  


Quoted Text
He spots the trash bag on the floor in the kitchen.
  That's not where he left it. On p2, you write :

Quoted Text
...places the bag on floor near the hallway leading
to the front door.


What happened to the hallway?

Is the scream outside? (p5) The OWC parameters" says the scream had to be inside the house.

Spelling error =  is cigaret

"Something's off" what is that, exactly?

"he calls out" He has a line of dialog, so that isn't needed.
The closet magically appears, as does Shaun's coat.

b-line = beeline

I'm seeing some more "thens"  Then isn't needed, it's redundant. Action happens as it unfolds.


Quoted Text
INT. BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS
Shaun bursts into the bedroom and makes a b-line for the
walk in closet.
CUT TO:
INT. CLOSET - CONTINUOUS
Shaun enters and kneels down in front of an electronic safe.
He enters in a code and the door unlatches. He pulls out a
handgun and swiftly exits.
CUT TO:
EXT. DRIVEWAY - CONTINUOUS


The BEDROOM isn't CONTINUOUS. You don't need CONTINUOUS for the walk in closet. And the DRIVEWAY is not CONTINUOUS.   Continuous (an editing choice) refers to action that moves from one location to another without any interruptions in time.  I wonder if that clock is still ticking during these scenes. It comes back at the end.

I think this would have been a lot better if there weren't so many continuity errors editing direction and camera direction. It also missed the mark for the OWC.





"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
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RolandJ
Posted: October 13th, 2019, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Let’s see. We have the EXORCIST voice from the possessed wife calling out the husband on his questionable reasons for agreeing to the marriage and relocation. Ok. But the dialogue earlier was good and set that up. But there was no payoff at the end?

The scream was generic and it’s location ambiguous. Was it coming from outside? The house? Where? Male? Female?

Unlike a lot of commenters in this OWC, I liked the dialogue early on. It lent character and identity to the couple without being overwritten.

I did not like the CUT TO, ANGLE ON, or PUSH IN.

This writer certainly has talent. A little more time spent developing some of the basics, and I think we’d be looking at a professional.
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mmmarnie
Posted: October 14th, 2019, 10:19am Report to Moderator
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I really liked the first few pages. I felt the dialog and set up of this couple was really good. But for me it got weird when Shaun saw Jamie. At first that was a terrifying visual...her head tilted, eyes rolled back. But the payoff of that just ended up being a scary voice continuing the convo they were having before he walked outside. Too much dialog...a talking head.

I guess Three Blocks means is something getting closer? But it already possessed her so that confused me. Wasn't sure what the clock signified.

And...scream was supposed to come from inside the house.

The first few pages though...you really had my attention.  I liked this couple and was interested.  Lose the camera direction because I was trying to picture that instead of concentrating 100% on the story. Sorry I was confused by this story, but I do really like your writing.


  
“If someone is trying to bring you down, it just means you are above them."
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Andrew
Posted: October 14th, 2019, 12:55pm Report to Moderator
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At first I thought it was just me, but I got confused with the couple at the beginning. I assumed Jamie was a man, and thus Shaun was as well. That's on me, because whilst I know Jamie can be a female name as well, I just read it as a man. And because there was no added information on them as characters to change that view, I just ran with the assumption.

So, with the assumption in mind, I  then got to this point:

"Shaun smiles.  She gives him a kiss, then rests her head on his shoulder. Shaun stares off for moment."

I read this as Shaun gives him a kiss, thus Shaun is a woman, which confuses me, and then I read this:

"Jamie notices the silence, looks up at him. Gives him a little nudge"

Then I'm thinking, wait, Shaun is a man? Is Shaun a man or woman? Is Jamie a man or a woman?

So then I had to go back and reread the whole thing for clarity. This then raised an issue on being economical and dead clear with description writing.

So while this reads 'better, i.e. more fluidly', and avoids repeating character names:

"Shaun smiles.  She gives him a kiss, then rests her head on his shoulder..."

I think this reads clearer, and just avoids even a smidgen of confusion:

"Shaun smiles.  Jamie gives him a kiss, rests her head on his shoulder..."

The point being it's better to be unequivocal, allowing the reader to focus solely on the story. Alsol, it does drive home the benefit of good character intros. I wouldn't have mentioned it (and rambled on) but having seen someone else do so, I thought I'd cover it.

Obviously this is just one small example, irrelevant on its own, (and certainly not indicative of the rest of the script) but it is illustrative of some of the description writing I'm seeing so far in the OWC.

Awkwardly phrased description writing leads to rereading chunks of text for clarification, obscuring the focus on story (which should be relentless), and heightening the risk of just dropping the script altogether.

The issue of stone cold clarity in description writing is something that is a very useful discussion, IMO. Especially when you consider the ease of flow with scripts for Hollywood, where the read just feels so easy re: description writing. I seldom have to go back and reread in those cases.

Anyway, on to the story!

I think you have the bare bones of something pretty good here. After my thoughts above, I did fear when I resumed after rereading I'd be in for a bumpy ride, but that wasn't the case at all. It was well written.

I think the issue you have is two-fold.

1) It doesn't feel right that Jamie would be aware of the possession. That felt odd to me, and it also made for a potentially quite syrupy ending. I feel his learning in this case carries more meaning if it doesn't happen with her subsequent knowledge.

2) The possession - presumably - was allegorical to his inner thoughts, but the metaphysics of it all never quite get established or resolved, which I do think will nix any real meaning of the allegory. The clock felt like a device to address this, but it never really feels clear as to what the significance of the clock is.

I think it's fine to leave questions hanging, but the way it is presented, I do feel it's incumbent on you to do more to indicate what the meaning may be.

You do build tension well, and you've got a real talent for building a feeling in your work. It's evocative, and there feels like some real thinking has gone in at the foundational level; I just think a rewrite will help unlock that for the reader a little better.


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_ghostwriters
Posted: October 15th, 2019, 5:17am Report to Moderator
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Not to piggyback on other's.  

Ugh. I kinda roll my eyes a bit at some of the technical intrusions.

I'll just say this...

This is a personal choice of ours but if I were you, I'd not write the script as if you're leading someone through the story, but rather give them what's there and let them discover it for themselves....if you get me?

The best of Irish luck with it -Andrea


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

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Matthew Taylor
Posted: October 15th, 2019, 9:10am Report to Moderator
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#When my heart stops let me go home,
Don't let the suburbs kill my heart and soul#

Why have you submitted a shooting script?

You obviously want to include them, but why? What does CUT TO add to the script that simply starting the next slug doesn't?

Irritating - focus on being a storyteller, not a director (Unless of course you want to be a director and are planning on shooting this yourself - in which case, carry on)

Why have they got a clock on the outside of their house?

oh, they don't it's in the kitchen - needs moving down to under the correct slug.

Another dull start with page after page of boring talk with nothing happening, no setup of the theme/genre....sigh....sorry to take it out on you - I beleive I have readers fatigue. If this was a movie it would have been turned off a long time ago - over 4 minutes in and nothing.

I believe the scream was supposed to come from within the house...


Quoted Text
still illuminated by street lamps


If you set something up, as you did with the streetlights - there's no need to reinforce that reality - we already know it to be the case. If it were to change, however, that's when you tell us.
Think of it like this, when you introduce a character and what they are wearing - later in the same scene you wouldn't clarify "Ben, still in his clothes, takes the bin out" would you

The conversation at the beginning played very little in the story and can be cut. The story makes no sense with zero explanation or sense. For me, this is a swing and a miss.

I feel I have been harsh on you, deffo readers fatigue. I wanted more and it never came.




Revision History (1 edits)
Matthew Taylor  -  October 15th, 2019, 9:27am
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StevenClark
Posted: October 15th, 2019, 11:22am Report to Moderator
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Writer,

Wow. Not sure what I just read but I liked it. Good dialogue, very descriptive but not overly so. Every movement had purpose - damn, just very well written imo. I could feel Shaun’s horror at the situation but I feel it could have been a lot scarier. His wife just turned into something, at least vocally, totally unrecognizable. That was scary, but a missed opportunity to make it even better.

So, was this his past talking? Her? Some other side of her? I always feel like I might have missed something in these stories. Hopefully you can clear up what this all means when the challenge is over. Still, thought this was really good!!

Steve


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