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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Series  ›  The Dead Rock - episode 4 of Horrific Tales ... Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 1:28pm Report to Moderator
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The Dead Rock by Zack Akers (Wraparound Story Written by Sean Chipman) - Short, Horror - A small-time punk rock band seeking a weekend of kicks encounter an unimaginable evil. Bloody chaos ensues. 45 pages

Episode Four of Horrific Tales of the Wickedly Macabre


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-------------
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- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Grandma Bear  -  October 14th, 2020, 3:34pm
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Zack
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 2:58pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for getting this one up so fast, Don. One small thing... There is no "C" in "Akers". No biggie.

Gonna just come out and say this is probably the most fun I've ever had writing. Really hope everyone enjoys the episode. And anyone who reads, please let me know what you'd like for me to read in return.
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Fais85
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 7:22am Report to Moderator
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Zack,

As mentioned in the logline, this is a typical slasher genre that you have mastered. This was a fast read. 46 pages passed very quickly.

While I liked Gary's character most as he had a very unique personality and voice, all other characters were kinda the same. Probably Jim was a little different. Try to work on that part, dude.

The transition between wrap around story and the actual story confused me. I thought you are carrying forward the story of the two dudes reaching the cemetery to rob that woman.


Quoted Text
His eyes are redder than the Devil's dick.




Quoted Text
Then, punk rock MUSIC echoes through the trees. Ben turns in the direction of the MUSIC, cocks his head to the side to hear better.

If Ben hears the music and knows that there is someone whom he can kill, why didn't he kill Jim earlier? I mean, I may be wrong but, judging by the interior of his cabin, he must be living there for a long time, playing his guitar or stereo system every night.


Quoted Text
BEN
Stupid Pig. These are my woods.

Ben stands up, pops both severed ears into his mouth, chews them up, then swallows them. He grins down at the horrified Gary.

BEN (CONT'D)
A little chewy.

BEN (CONT'D)
This is usually the part where I'd
tell you about how I plan on killing
you and such, but since you can't hear
so well anymore, I reckon that's about
pointless now.

Unless you are going for a comical tone, avoid this.


Quoted Text
JIM
There's no gas station out the way I
sent that Dumbass. I just had to get
that Loser out of here. He was buggin'
the fuck outta' me, ya' know?

If this dialogue had come earlier, even before when Ben attacks Gary, it could have much more impact. Here, it doesn't make any impact as Gary is already dead.

*****
Overall, I wasn't a fan of Ben's dialogues.

The story was cool. Well-written and clever use of similes throughout the script.

*****
@Sean - The wraparound story is getting stronger and stronger episode by episode. Really intrigued to read further.

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Zack
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 1:12pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Faisal. Thanks a ton for the read. Really appreciate it. So happy you enjoyed it.

"While I liked Gary's character most as he had a very unique personality and voice, all other characters were kinda the same. Probably Jim was a little different. Try to work on that part, dude."

Definitely my biggest issue as a writer, for sure. Glad to hear at least a couple of the characters stood out. I thought I did a decent job with Flash as well, even though she's not given much to do. Still, I need to improve in this department, for sure. Any suggestions?

"The transition between wrap around story and the actual story confused me. I thought you are carrying forward the story of the two dudes reaching the cemetery to rob that woman."

Not quite sure I follow you. Care to elaborate a bit?

"Unless you are going for a comical tone, avoid this."

Totally going for a comedic tone with this particular dialog. Maybe a miscalculation on my part.

"If this dialogue had come earlier, even before when Ben attacks Gary, it could have much more impact. Here, it doesn't make any impact as Gary is already dead."

I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree. I tried to imply Jim was fucking with Gary with his line "Fuckin' moron". Perhaps I was too subtle.

"Overall, I wasn't a fan of Ben's dialogues."

Yeah, I had a feeling that I may have gone a bit overboard with Ben's dialogue. Will address this with a rewrite.

"If Ben hears the music and knows that there is someone whom he can kill, why didn't he kill Jim earlier? I mean, I may be wrong but, judging by the interior of his cabin, he must be living there for a long time, playing his guitar or stereo system every night."

The woods are very big, and if it wasn't for the band jammin' outside, Ben may have never discovered the group at all. At least, that's what I meant to imply.

"The story was cool. Well-written and clever use of similes throughout the script."

Again, thanks for reading and I'm very happy you liked it. Always appreciate your reviews, Dude.








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Fais85
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 2:35pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Zack!


Quoted Text
Definitely my biggest issue as a writer, for sure. Glad to hear at least a couple of the characters stood out. I thought I did a decent job with Flash as well, even though she's not given much to do. Still, I need to improve in this department, for sure. Any suggestions?

You yourself can do that easily. For example, look at the character of Jim. He is an asshole but a genius musician. His every dialogue must reflect his personality. You can give him a sarcastic tone. That will suit him best according to his characterization.

You already did something similar with Gary. He is in awe of Jim. He is a fanboy and a little idiot too. See, how his every dialogue reflects his personality.

The same thing goes with every other character.


Quoted Text
Not quite sure I follow you. Care to elaborate a bit?

DRIVER
You don't believe me, do ya'?
PASSENGER
Nope.
DRIVER
What if I showed you?
The Passenger glances over at the Driver.
CUT TO:
BLACK
FADE IN:
EXT. WOODS - NIGHT
...
The BLINDING LIGHT of a lantern emerges from the woods as two
YOUNG MEN walk into view, duck under a low hanging branch as
they push further into the brush.

Here, I thought you are continuing the same story with driver and passenger. The two are now in the woods searching for that old hag's wealth.

It would have been cool if, after CUT TO BLACK, we are given TITLE and then FADE IN.

Does that make sense to you?


Quoted Text
Totally going for a comedic tone with this particular dialog. Maybe a miscalculation on my part.

Ah! Fine then.


Quoted Text
I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree. I tried to imply Jim was fucking with Gary with his line "Fuckin' moron". Perhaps I was too subtle.

Way too subtle, dude. Lol.


Quoted Text
Yeah, I had a feeling that I may have gone a bit overboard with Ben's dialogue. Will address this with a rewrite.

Cool.


Quoted Text
The woods are very big, and if it wasn't for the band jammin' outside, Ben may have never discovered the group at all. At least, that's what I meant to imply.

I am talking about the time even before the group has arrived. The previous night. Jim must be playing his guitar or sound system loud. That time Ben can hear that sound and attack Jim. No?

******

My pleasure, dude.  
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MarkItZero
Posted: October 16th, 2020, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, I enjoyed this for what it was. Fun little slasher flick. Some cool kills. I liked that Evil Dead POV thing at the beginning. But to take this up a notch I think you can be more purposeful and efficient establishing the band members dynamic.

I love how you build up mystique around Jim. Everyone has an opinion about him, he's somewhere between asshole and legend. So there's a certain anticipation meeting this character.

And Gary is almost perfect as the desperate suck up who idolizes him.

For everyone else, I'd try to be more deliberate in setting up a specific attitude towards Jim and then building steadily on that conflict throughout. One character could be resentful, jealous of him. One could be secretly in love with him. Another has an uncomfortable romantic history. Etc.

You already basically have that which is great. Tommy dislikes him, says things like "I still think the band is better off without him." Maddison and Jim have their history together. But it's a bit disjointed.

For example, Maddison laughs about Jim being an asshole, seems pretty carefree in the car, then she's suddenly nervous about meeting him.

Instead, you could have her be the only one to not laugh. She's visibly tense, and when someone asks if she's okay she shrugs it off.

And Tommy seems perfectly normal around Jim, no overt animosity. Instead, there could be moment right off the bat where they get into it trying to one up each other.

In terms of Jim's character, I'm fine with him being an asshole, but I still want him to be more charismatic. Something he does or says that's worldly, soulful. Maybe when they're all gathered round, Jim can play a slow solo song he wrote that has the whole group entranced. If you really wanted to tie it all together, maybe it's a song about a girl that broke his heart - and Maddison knows its about her.

So, overall, just needs to be more streamlined and focused. Even scenes that are fun hanging out scenes need to keep ratcheting up the tension/conflict until all hell breaks loose.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Zack
Posted: October 17th, 2020, 6:06pm Report to Moderator
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"Here, I thought you are continuing the same story with driver and passenger. The two are now in the woods searching for that old hag's wealth.

It would have been cool if, after CUT TO BLACK, we are given TITLE and then FADE IN.

Does that make sense to you?"

Yep, makes sense now. Thanks for the clarification. Goofy mistake on my part. lol

"I am talking about the time even before the group has arrived. The previous night. Jim must be playing his guitar or sound system loud. That time Ben can hear that sound and attack Jim. No?"

I see what you're saying, I'm just not sure I agree. I can see how you might come to that conclusion, though. My thinking is that these are very big woods and Ben was quite a bit a ways from Jim's cabin. Ben's likely been stalking the woods for the past day, and is only drawn to the cabin when he hears the band playing. I'll see if I can't adjust this a bit with the rewrite.

Thanks again for reading, Faisal.
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Zack
Posted: Yesterday, 11:25pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading, James.

"Hey, I enjoyed this for what it was. Fun little slasher flick. Some cool kills."

Thanks, Man. Happy you were able to enjoy it.

"But to take this up a notch I think you can be more purposeful and efficient establishing the band members dynamic."

Agree 100%. I did try to give each character their own thing, but I clearly need to do more.

"For everyone else, I'd try to be more deliberate in setting up a specific attitude towards Jim and then building steadily on that conflict throughout. One character could be resentful, jealous of him. One could be secretly in love with him. Another has an uncomfortable romantic history. Etc."

All good advice.

"For example, Maddison laughs about Jim being an asshole, seems pretty carefree in the car, then she's suddenly nervous about meeting him.

Instead, you could have her be the only one to not laugh. She's visibly tense, and when someone asks if she's okay she shrugs it off.

And Tommy seems perfectly normal around Jim, no overt animosity. Instead, there could be moment right off the bat where they get into it trying to one up each other."

All good stuff! I'll be utilizing all this with the rewrite. Thanks again for taking a look at this.



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Dreamscale
Posted: Today, 1:48pm Report to Moderator
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Zack, sorry for the delay, but I wanted to think about this before posting.  And, I'm glad I did, as I have more to say now.

There's alot to like here.  Your writing is SO MUCH BETTER than it was a while back.  I mean, seriously, you're really come a long way, Bro, and I'm proud of you.

There are still some hiccups her and there and you have some bad habits, but overall, your writing is pretty damn good.

However, you continue to write the same stories over and over, with slightly different Antags and Protags - the key being "slightly different".  Basically, they're pretty much one and the same, and that's where I think you should start to focus.  Try and get away from the setting of "WOODS".  Try and get away from Protags who are "young partiers".  Try and get away from Antags that are some sort of ancient evil demons. Try and change up your narrative away from "classic" slasher-type setups, that play through 1 kill after another.

All in all, I did like this for what it is, but then again, this is very much like many of your scripts, as well as like many movies we've all seen over and over.

I liked how Ben through out some evil 1 liners before killing, but I wish Ben had some sort of relationship with the Protags.  Without that, it just seems so random.

I also liked how you really tried to build some character into your Protags, as well as backstory.  It shows, and it works here.

But, at about 39 pages, this is too long for what it is.  Your intro is 10 1/2 pages, and although effective, just too long for a setup like this, because, again, we don't know anything about Ben and Ethan.  I'd say cut out half of the intro, and cut another 5 pages out of the meat of the story, as you definitely have filler here that would work better if it was leaner.

I like the end, but as in most finales, there are a number of things that are far fetched and not believable.

The wraparound story is not working for me at all, and I have no idea if it's just being written for each script, or if it was laid out ahead of time.  We shall see, I guess, but for me, it's not working at all.

I took some notes, but definitely not everything I came across.

Page 8 - "The WHISPERS EXPLODE INTO A CHOIR OF SCREAMS!" - Instead of "choir", how about "cacophony"?

Page 17 - "Prick's" - No apostrophe here - "Pricks"

Page 18 - "Flash's on bass guitar..." - "Flash is on bass guitar."

Page 19 - For me, it's unclear whether Ben is close to the cabin or not, but then you say that music starts up, so I'm more confused, because the music has been playing - it didn't just start up.  Maybe this scene is out of place?  Also, if it's the same music we're listening to at the cabin, you need to make that clear.

"...while Maddison and the other finish up the sing." - 2 things.  1st, "other" should be "others", but maybe more importantly, why are you signalling out Maddison, but not "the others"?  Seems odd, reads odd.

You're spelling Maddison with a single D - do a search and replace to make sure you have her name spelled the same throughout.

Pages 20-21 - Read these over a few times and see how many times you have characters' names in your prose, as in 1 character does this to that character, who looks at this character, who punches that character, etc, etc, etc.  Just too much, IMO.  Most likely it's the way it's worded, but it reads poorly here.

Page 23 - "...in the road" - "on the road".

Bro, please lose the exclamation points in your action lines - they have the opposite affect of what you're after.

Page 30 - "Cort can't take his eyes off the van, his mind racing a million miles an hour." - I'm sure this isn't the 1st time you've written a line like this, and I doubt it will be the last, but if you examine it closely, you'll see that it's you telling us something, that you should just be showing us.  Using words like "can't" in this way, is something we can't know or see, just like the unfilmable at the end of the sentence.  For me, these kinds of lines just never work.

Page 31 - the underwater scene may be "cool", but there's no way it could be filmed - it's night, there's no light, it's underwater in a lake.  I appreciate the kill, but no one would ever be able to see it.

Page 38 - 1st Slug - this should be a Mini here.

"Maddison kneels beside Jim, who coughs up more blood." - Although there's nothing "wrong" with this line, it's something I want to bring up, as you do it over and over again.  You continually write lines that have a character do something to another character, and then you use a comma to say what that character is doing.  You should look through this script and count the times you have lines like this.
For me, it makes for a longer read, because of the compound sentence.  Again, nothing wrong with writing like this, but don't do it again and again, and again.

Page 42 - Nice job by incorporating White Wedding lyrics here!  Very nice!

I like the finale, but wish someone could have survived.

Best of the bunch so far!



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