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Another batch of feedback..yay. Thanks for looking.
I did want to establish that there was just the slightest thing going on with Cara, although I didn't want to really beat the reader over the head with it. Just some subtle hints like the dropping of the cell number and the coy smile to set the tone so to speak. I figured if I didn't, the ultimate revelation would have seemed totally out of left field and unbelievable.
I think you may be thinking in line with Gabe regarding the end. He had an issue with the dialogue (song), and your issue is the result of the same problem. I hoped for it to come across that he had come to peace with things, accepting his fate, so to speak, and then the cut to the scene with a slow pan of the car, Alan, and then the tree. I really should have just written it how I saw it, camera angles be damned.
Speaking of damning, that's the reason for the links. Those versions of those songs were ideal to me, and I wanted them to come through in the story, with a little assistance of course.
I'm glad you liked it. Hopefully Bert and Michael pop in to see your comments on their work as well.
Glad you liked the opening. I thought it offered a little bit of a scare, while revealing Alan's problem.
When I first started thinking of what to write for this, I kept coming back to this idea of someone seeing all these things that reminded them of a lost loved one, but I didn't want them to be random things, I wanted them to be obvious and glaring. After that it was just coming up with the best set of initials to use, and a reason for the occurences to start happening. I have to admit that I was quite pleased with the result and how it all came together.
The links are for reference.
Cara's revelation is one of the lightest moments in the story, I agree. At first, she does come off as a little manipulative and looking to take advantage of Alan, but as she speaks you start to realize that she's in a pretty bad place herself, and really is hoping that her and Alan can be something for each other. After I finished writing and thought outside the scope of the story, I started to feel pretty bad for her myself. There she'd be, in the hospital and waiting for Alan to show up as he'd promised, and she'd be met with nothing more than a message that the tow truck driver had found him dead. Pretty sad, really. Now I'm bumming myself out.
The X is covering up his initials, just as he had done with Melanie's.
Better late than never… finally caught up with this one.
There’s a circle of hell when format violators like you will burn eternally while being smacked with thick versions of the Screenwriters Bible.
Seriously, I think it’s a worthy addition to the series, Mike. The tone remains pitch black. I like that.
The ending was dark and perfect. Loved how he scratched his initials and how he finally decided to join her.
Her message through the song lyrics was creepy and cool. The M-I (myocardial infarction) was even better, and definitely one of the highlights.
The premise was simple but it worked, and I liked the way it was presented. I think there’s a little room for improvement though.
Cara seemed a bit “unprofessional” hitting on Alan like that, although I can see that the plot required her to behave in that way. I wonder if, for this role, you could use one of the female attendees to the grief counselling, instead of the woman running things?
There’s some fat you could cut out of this one. Like, for example, when Cara says “I thought you and I could get a cup of coffee”, you could cut right away to both having the cup of coffee.
Lastly, good title.
Once again, Tanis was very well done. Loved her final reflections, comparing our memories to the knife.
Thanks for checking it out. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
I'm sure there are some who absolutely went off the wall when they saw the links, but oh well, I still stand by my reasoning for including them.
As far as Cara, I had wondered about her level of professionalism, and did toy with the idea of using a different type female character. In the end I thought it was better that Alan got the suggestion from someone "in the know" and to justify the other part of it with her own motivation. It's still a question of ethics, and she wanted to expedite his leaving the group to reach her goal.
Hey Mike, as promised, I read your Soul Shadows script today. Not sure how I missed this one, but it definitely wasn’t intentional. Sorry. So now you get a fresh review 7 months after the fact.
I really like your central idea here. Also love the title…it gives a great feel to the story. Also, love your use of music and exact songs (don’t like the use of the youtube url’s though at all…I think you just should have listed the song in your prose or had the DJ tell us what was playing). The music gave this a unique feel, like the title, and also somewhat of a classic vibe, based on the old, classic songs.
With a quick read, and not too much deep thought, I’d say this works very well overall, and definitely holds up as a strong Soul Shadows entry. I’ve digested this now for a few hours and there are definitely some issues, IMO. I also have several suggestions that I think would make this even a stronger piece. Of course, these are simply my opinions, so take them accordingly.
I like the opening scene, but I have some issues with it as well. The way it plays out, and the way Alan and Melanie act, it feels like first of all, it is from a past era, and secondly, like they are much younger than you state they are. I also don’t like that it turns out to be simply a daydream. So, my suggestions would be to have this be an actual flashback and have Alan and Melanie be much, much younger…like in their early teens. I don’t think it would hurt if the time period was in the 50’s or 60’s either, but then you’d have to set the present day scenes in the 70’s or 80‘s. If you want to keep it current, I’d say dress them up like normal people, or not address what they’re wearing at all. Finally, although I like the element of horror with Melanie’s drastically changed appearance, I also feel that it gives too much away, and I don’t think you really need that at this point in the script.
The next 6 pages are kind of slow, as in visually, they’re not very engaging. I like what you’re setting up here, but I think it’s too slow, with a lot of unnecessary information in your prose. I think you could easily cut this down by 2 pages and not only not lose anything, but also increase the pace and help the flow. I do like where we’re headed here, and at this point, I’m pretty sure I was right in what I was thinking, based on the opening. I also like Alan as a character.
The next scene is good, but overwritten a bit again. Love the visual with the wind whipping up and the apples tumbling down. I feel for Alan also, but wish he didn’t X out Mel’s name.
Here’s 1 of my biggest issues (and obviously, a really easy fix, IMO). Although I like the Mission Impossible thing here, it also doesn’t make a lot of sense. I got a “Number 23” vibe also, like a few others did. MI came out in 96, so we’re to believe that this billboard hasn’t been changed in 13 years? I don’t like that at all. I’d recommend using something else that has the M & I, and is more current and preferably real.
I also don’t think it makes sense that he freaks over this 1 thing so quickly. I’d recommend using a bunch more in quick succession, so that he’d definitely have reason to be freaked out. By doing this and focusing more on something interesting and scary, you could shorten the next 3-4 page interaction between Alan and Cara, which is slow and just recapping things that we already know.
OK, I really like the radio station call letter thing as well as the song, “Don’t sit under the Apple Tree”. Very cool, and frightening in an odd way. But, I doubt that they wouldn’t be familiar with the radio station…it’s programmed in his radio, and they appear to have lived here for quite awhile, so although it’s affective, I’d try and make it clear that they’re not surprised by this…freaked, sure, but it seems like they’ve never heard this before. Don’t get me wrong though, this scene does work quite well.
Things slow down again for 4 pages or so, and I’d recommend adding some more radio songs that relate and freak them out. The problem as it is now is that you’ve got just the two of them, sitting in a car talking, and we’ve already had a number of minutes of this same thing. I have absolutely nothing against talky scenes, but when there’s literally nothing happening around them, it’s going to be dull visually, and I think you could easily increase the onscreen ‘action” with some weird stuff happening, and their reactions.
Love the Myocardial Infarction stuff! Very well planned. I just think this scene, again, goes on too long with too much information that we don’t need to know or see. The interaction with the female paramedic and Alan needs to be shortened, as for me, it just doesn’t go anywhere and goes on far too long.
Once Alan is by himself, things really pick up again. Love the title song inclusion here and Mel’s appearance in the back of the car. It is definitely a powerful scene here and you pulled it off very well.
I think your ending is good, and actually quite shocking and surprising even. I didn’t see that coming. I feel a little badly though, as I liked Alan and hoped something else would happen, but I sure can’t fault you, as it was well done. And the final shot of the knife dissolving into the knife in Tanis’ place is very cool indeed.
So, Mike, I liked this for sure. I think it could be better with some more time and effort, but for what it is, I am impressed. It left a lasting impression on me, and that’s a sign of a well conceived idea and script.
Good work. Look forward to your new entry.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I think your comments were just in emails prior to it being posted.
Thanks for taking a look. I appreciate it. I won't do the quote thing because there's quite a bit there, but I'll answer each point as best as I can.
I've gone into detail regarding the inclusion of the YouTuibe links in previous posts, and my reason for them was mainly to give people an example of the EXACT songs I had in my head. I think with other versions it wouldn't have the same feeling, and there are some who probably weren't familiar with any them to begin with. Technically, it's a huge no-no, but one of the great things about the Soulshadows series is that you can let it fly a little.
Regarding your comments over length, they're probably warranted. There's a specific page range to deal with here, and going a little overboard in description and/or lengthening scenes a bit helps get to that point. You'll probably notice the same thing in my series II script. As far as rewriting it to trim it down, I haven't felt the urge or need to do that yet since this isn't exactly a script to be pushed out there.
Alan probably wishes he didn't X out Mel's name either.
I suppose I coudld change the billboard to MI3, which came out in 06, but I really liked the idea of this old, weathered billboard sitting out there. I think it gave a good feeling of just how off the beaten path this place is. It's pretty much deserted. So much so, that nobody feels the need to advertise anything out there anymore.
Did Alan come off as freaked out after the sign? I just went back and looked at the script (been awhile) and I didn't notice it so much. He's weirded out sure, but he doesn't really flip until the radio and the song. Speaking of the song, tyhe channel is found with the seek button, not the presets. Kind of phantom-like and random. haha.
True, that there's not much going on aroudn the car, but that scene is a buildup to Cara's entire motivation fro doing what she did. Could be trimmed, but it's back to the page number issue again.
I think a lot of people were shocked with the ending. It's not often you see things end like that, but for this story, I think it's the absolute best route to go. I think looking at it from a romantic point of view helps put it in a better context.
Thanks again for reading. I've always been a fan of the script myself. I just need to decide what I want to do with it now. Maybe we'll find someone to fund the entire series.
Near perfect. Even the youtube links didn't bug me, but it did take me awhile to catch on as to why they were there.
The only part I didn't like was the female therapist falling for her male patient. This scenario has been done to death, and I was actually disappointed that it was part of the story. I was hoping that you were trying to fool us. Now if the ghost had misintepreted Cara's intentions or Alan's dialogue, that would have worked for me.
Of course, if you could somehow had made it that it was all innocent and just a coincidence that sent Alan over the edge, I would have loved it.
But there would have been no way that I would have gone into a car with a man who "stabbed the air" with a Swiss army blade. I think that part needs to go out. Having Alan pick his teeth with it (though gross) would have been acceptable. In fact, having him do that shows that he is a bit odd and perhaps becoming unstable.
Seriously Bert? WE approach the alcove? WE hear music? Completely amateur.
Ha ha. Had to crack this open because I'm polishing up a script about this length. Never read anything by the legendary Shelton, Going to say straight off that you understand the mechanics of interesting conversation. This is a pretty dialogue heavey piece, but I'm halfway through and it never bored me for an instant.
The only flag that popped into my mind thus far was Cara agreeing to go see the tree with Alan. She seems to like him, but then he scares her with the knife. Was surprised when she decides to go. Won't judge it just yet, hoping you're foresahdowing Alan losing control.
Ha ha, never seen a youtube hyperlink in a script before. Not a Glenn Miller fan, but I get the point of that song.
Love Alan exposing Melanie's corpse face when he leans in to turn on the radio. Especially in the middle of the heart-felt conversation. The audience would never see it coming and would absolutely s*** their pants. It gave me chills picturing it on film...
Would have liked to see this end with Alan acknowledging his good byes to Melanie. then just driving off. His hanging at the end and another song seemed a bit of overkill. Other than that, I thought this was great. This would be so easy to film too. Can't believe it's not been picked up.
It maintained a nice dark overtone throughout. I wish I could've known how melanie died, but the fact that I never found out made this more interesting.
Tanis did a nice job as usual wrapping this up. The use of the old record player was a nice touch.
Sad to see nobody wants to take the helm on a new host for a series like this. Was just PM'ing Bert about it and he suggested I read this one. It was a pleasure.
Good job Mike, your legendary rep is well earned IMO...
Thanks for checking it out, James. I don't know about "legendary" status. In fact, it's quite odd to see one of my scripts in the portal anymore, but that's mainly because I don't converse as much as I used to. My hyperlinks and Bert's use of "we" are things that are pretty standard throughout this whole series. We all just threw convention to the wind.
I'm a pretty big fan of this story as far as my overall body of work goes, but I think I enjoyed the story from the second season a bit more. Of course, as easy as this one is to film, that one is damn near impossible. But it was fun.
...it's quite odd to see one of my scripts in the portal...I think I enjoyed the story from the second season a bit more.
It is a surprise to see one of these SoulShadow scripts back on the portal.
For the record, all I said were that Shelton's episodes were good examples -- and they are, but there are several good ones -- and also for the record, I agree that Shelton's from the second season is stronger (and more abitious).
Quoted from Mike
My hyperlinks and Bert's use of "we" are things that are pretty standard throughout this whole series. We all just threw convention to the wind.
Shelton is right there, but in further defense of the Tanis segments, she is always interacting directly with the viewer. Without any discernable "fourth wall", I took a few liberties to hopefully enhance the first-person perspective.
Shelton's hyperlinks are certainly over-the-top in terms of antics on the page, but part of the appeal of the SoulShadows series was the freedom for author experimentation. I got to test-drive lots of techniques doing Tanis -- and her "origins" episode has lots, too -- some that I think worked pretty well, others things not so much.
Sad to see nobody wants to take the helm on a new host for a series like this.
Rumblings for a third season? I've put Tanis to bed for the foreseeable future, but the opportunity is there if someone else were willing to take on the organization and heavy lifting (which I warn beforehand is more time-consuming than you expect).
I think there are lots of newer guys running around that might be interested were it given a new spin. I wouldn't want to run things, but I might play.