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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Dark'ning Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Dark'ning  (currently 4415 views)
nick_horror
Posted: February 6th, 2008, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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I have submitted the finalized version to this site that was approved for production by Autumn Spirit Productions.  So as soon as it is posted, I would love for all of you to reread it and tell me what you think of the changes.




My short fiction can be seen at:
http://www.angelfire.com/scary/nicksliteraryvault
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Murphy
Posted: February 6th, 2008, 5:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Nick, well done on getting this produced. I quite liked it, It seemed quite original which for a short horror must be fairly difficult to pull off, there are so many short horrors on here that follow similar themes and ideas. This worked and I can certainly see why it is being produced, 3 characters, 1 scene, not too expensive to shoot. If anyone wants to have their shorts produced I would guess that this is the way to go.

I will look out for the re-write before I make any more comments.

Cheers
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Zack
Posted: February 6th, 2008, 5:49pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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Hey Nick,

If you want more reads, you should read other peoples scripts as well.

~Zack~


MY RATING SYSTEM

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nick_horror
Posted: February 10th, 2008, 6:49pm Report to Moderator
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So here is what I changed in this draft:

-I altered some of the dialogue to make it flow; to better illustrate that the characters are separate people.

-I added a flashback scene in which we see Lindsay interacting with her girlfriends at a sleep over and we learn some about how the Dark'ning came; this then proceeds into a scene with Lindsay and Shawn where the Dark'ning attacks the two of them.

-I added a brief statement by Abernathy which kind of ties everything together at the end.

So what is the verdict now?




My short fiction can be seen at:
http://www.angelfire.com/scary/nicksliteraryvault
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Zack
Posted: February 10th, 2008, 6:57pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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So the Darkning is some kind of voodoo curse? Although I am glad you gave us an answer for the darkning, it seems very forced.

I can't say I really liked it anymore than the first time I read it. Actually, now I feel somewhat cheated. Sorry.

~Zack~


MY RATING SYSTEM

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nick_horror
Posted: February 10th, 2008, 8:29pm Report to Moderator
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Do you think you could elaborate a little more?  You say you feel cheated: why?  What is it about that part of the story that leaves you feeling empty?

And the Dark'ning isn't a voodoo curse, it is kind of my imagining of a tax or a toll that has to be paid for reading that spell and calling out to the Lovecraftian god Yogsothoth.  And, no, I'm not expecting anyone to really know that.  I just threw Yogsothoth's name in there as an homage to Lovecraft and as a little inside nod to those who do recognize the name.

Having just said that, I may let Abernathy give that as a passing theory.  I think I can imagine him thinking that this mysterious incident could be seen as a tax or toll for using the dark spell in that book.




My short fiction can be seen at:
http://www.angelfire.com/scary/nicksliteraryvault
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Zack
Posted: February 10th, 2008, 8:33pm Report to Moderator
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I guess the reason I feel cheated is because I really like the basic premise of the script, I just think you need a stronger origin for the darkning then some "spell". This is just my opinion though...

~Zack~


MY RATING SYSTEM

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mikep
Posted: February 11th, 2008, 8:16am Report to Moderator
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Hi Nick, I had read your first version of the script but put off posting my thoughts, and now reading your revision, I want to throw in my two cents worth.

I'm a sucker for well done Lovecraftain scripts, I've worked on my share in the past, and I loved the concept of the Dark'ning. Nice. I think Lindsay's comment " it was after Me, he just got in the way" is stand out stuff, and I think the key to a more satifying ending.

My thoughts are this - first, don't over-explain the dark'ning or it's origin. I'd remove the flashback with the spell reading, and just have Abernathy say something to the effect " i read the first statement you gave the officers who picked you up and it's just rambling, maybe you can help, you mentioned a Yog-Sototh, now what is that"  - Lindsay freezes and brushes it off ,"oh nothing, he misunderstood me, i didn't say that" -

The interrogation becomes more and more heated -I think the key to making a satisfying ending is to have Abernathy struck by the dark'ning - maybe it's offscreen as he berates and badgers Lindsay - camera is with Murphy in another room, he hears a noise, maybe like an animal growl combined with an electric sizzle, runs to the interrogation room and there's Lindsay - alone - blood and a rose where Abernathy stood - "see?" she says " it's after me....he got in the way" -   fade out -

Just a thought. I think OVER explaning is going in the wrong direction, as even for those who don't get the Lovecraft reference, it's still a paranormal event and adds a twist to the ending.

Mike


13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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nick_horror
Posted: February 11th, 2008, 11:59am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from mikep
Hi Nick, I had read your first version of the script but put off posting my thoughts, and now reading your revision, I want to throw in my two cents worth.

I'm a sucker for well done Lovecraftain scripts, I've worked on my share in the past, and I loved the concept of the Dark'ning. Nice. I think Lindsay's comment " it was after Me, he just got in the way" is stand out stuff, and I think the key to a more satifying ending.

My thoughts are this - first, don't over-explain the dark'ning or it's origin. I'd remove the flashback with the spell reading, and just have Abernathy say something to the effect " i read the first statement you gave the officers who picked you up and it's just rambling, maybe you can help, you mentioned a Yog-Sototh, now what is that"  - Lindsay freezes and brushes it off ,"oh nothing, he misunderstood me, i didn't say that" -

The interrogation becomes more and more heated -I think the key to making a satisfying ending is to have Abernathy struck by the dark'ning - maybe it's offscreen as he berates and badgers Lindsay - camera is with Murphy in another room, he hears a noise, maybe like an animal growl combined with an electric sizzle, runs to the interrogation room and there's Lindsay - alone - blood and a rose where Abernathy stood - "see?" she says " it's after me....he got in the way" -   fade out -

Just a thought. I think OVER explaning is going in the wrong direction, as even for those who don't get the Lovecraft reference, it's still a paranormal event and adds a twist to the ending.

Mike


Thanks, Mike.  That is very helpful; I may bring this up the next time I talk to the producer.

I suppose that hardest thing is having some people say that they were confused with the first draft; so when I give an explanation, they seem hesitant to except my explanation.  Which isn't their fault.  I know that you can't please everyone--just read the reviews for any major movie released...well, ever.  This goes double for the horror genre.  I find fault with almost every horror movie I've seen with a million ideas on how to improve the story.

The major issue with this piece is that it has to remain short.  I think (as does the producer) that it works as a brief glimpse at something unnatural--like walking through a Halloween horror house.  The scariest things are those which you did not see clearly.  Maybe this philosophy is why I liked "Cloverfield" so much, but many people did not.  But unlike someone else's story, I seem to be out of ideas on this one.  I played around in a draft with the Dark'ning going after Detectives Murphy, Abernathy, as well as some of the random offenders in the holding cells, but I deleted those ideas because it seemed to random and would cause me to go into too much explanation.  I find the...whatever it is...should just be a simple-minded thing with only its prey in its sights.  For that reason, and that it took Shawn by accident, Lindsay was the only victim I saw.  She read from the book and she escaped.

I hope this isn't sounding defensive; as I said, I know that no one will ever write a screenplay that everybody likes.  I just want to write one that I'm happy with.  And I will be the first to admit that I like this one, but I think it could be better.  I just don't know how.  Maybe if I leave it for a while something will come to me.  But I'm hesitant because of how much the producer wants to keep it simple and short.  That doesn't mean that I will quit messing with it since the production company is letting me keep all my rights, but for now, this is as good as it will get for me.




My short fiction can be seen at:
http://www.angelfire.com/scary/nicksliteraryvault
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mikep
Posted: February 11th, 2008, 2:14pm Report to Moderator
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No, not defensive at all Nick, no worries. You're right, you have to strike a balance between being happy with something that has your name on it and something that will appeal to an auidence. Just don't fall into the trap of over-explaining. In a short you really don't have time so that's a good thing.

Just remember, that is not dead which can eternal lie...


13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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nick_horror
Posted: February 11th, 2008, 3:04pm Report to Moderator
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In situations like this, I'm often reminded of something Stephen King wrote in his collection "Nightmares and Dreamscapes."  It was in the Author's Notes and it was about his story "The Moving Finger."  He said, and I paraphrase, that sometimes there is no explanation in horror.

I believe that; but I also believe that when your name is Stephen King, you can do and say what you want in your prose and people will think it is brilliant.

That is how this story first popped in my head.  I wanted something unexplainable to happen in a place where explanations are supposed to occur.  So, sometimes a girl reads from a book and unleashes a terrible curse upon herself, and sometimes a long, multi-jointed finger snakes its way up through some guy's drain.




My short fiction can be seen at:
http://www.angelfire.com/scary/nicksliteraryvault
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Dreamscale
Posted: February 11th, 2008, 8:08pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Nick, just read your script.  I've also read all the comments, including yours.

First of all, I really liked this.  Something about it just "works".  It's very simple yet it evokes a real fear, something sinister and ominous, yet "real".  Something that we don't understand, and haven't seen before.

I agree with what you (and your producer) said about keeping it short and not adding much to it.  It works the way it is for sure, but I do have a few ideas that just may help.

I agree with a few reviewers who said they felt let down by the ending.  I did as well.  It can be improved, and here's a way to do it.

I think that Murphy should get zapped by the Darkning while Abernathy "watches" through the 2 sided mirror.  That way, the mystery continues, and the story could end in a big question mark.  You could also leave it open for more of this to play out, depending on what kind of medium you are planning on putting this in.

I don't like the police men "cleaning up" the scene and making stuff up about what went down.  I'd leave Lindsey alive and if it comes up, able to carry on the story in any way you choose.

I also don't like the rose thing.  I'm assuming that the dead rose at the end is the same one that she must have picked up after her boyfriend disappeared.  She wouldn't still have this on her in an interrogation room, and I don't think it works the first time or the second time.

Finally, I'd play up the blood level that's left after the Darkning strikes.  I see it with much more gore...more than just a pool of blood...more like a mass of steaming blood and gore.  Something horrific!

Anyway, hope this helps. I think your original story idea is great, and you've written an intriguing and scary script out of it.  Great job!

Let me know what you think.

PS  How long is this "short" supposed to be and what format will it be on?


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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nick_horror
Posted: February 11th, 2008, 10:25pm Report to Moderator
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Dreamscale,  thank you for your comments.  Every little bit helps.

As I said, I have tried having the Dark'ning go after Murphy, but it just didn't work.  I'm not above revisiting that option in the future.

And just for clarification, Lindsay never picked up the rose when Shawn went missing.  She stepped on it, saw it, and fled.  The reason it appears at the end was my way of basically saying that this is the same thing that came after her the first time, because, let's face it, some viewers aren't all there and need to be slapped in the face.

As for the blood, well, I wanted this to be PG, I guess.  Also, I was very budget-conscious when I wrote it simply because it was going to be for just my friends and I to do as an afternoon project.  And that much blood would have been a bit problematic.  And in my original draft, that I never really finished, there was a clean up scene so that I could utilize the time it would have taken to clean up the blood in a productive manner.

I was told they are looking for this to be between ten and twenty minutes (max of thrity).  And as I understand it, the film will be available online as either a download or a DVD purchase.  They producer also wants to enter it into festivals, so you may be able to see it on screen sometime.  I doubt I will.




My short fiction can be seen at:
http://www.angelfire.com/scary/nicksliteraryvault
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rc1107
Posted: February 12th, 2008, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Nick,

I just want to start out by saying that I love the idea and concept of 'The Darkning'.  Definately very original (at least that I know of) and especially creative.  I like the three main characters a lot and got a very good gist of what they were about, so good job on that.

Somehow I missed it when you first posted this, so I can't compare that draft to this draft.

I browsed through a couple of other people's comments, from the first draft, and having read the second draft, there are still a few of the same problems.

My main problem was that the end was a little on the disappointing side.  Mainly because it was so predictable, which shouldn't happen with a phenomenon that is so mysterious.

One problem I had with the ending is the rose.  I understand how it works when Shawn was taken, because he was holding a rose.  But I don't understand how it reappears at the end when it takes Lindsay.  I noticed in one of your replies you stated that it is kind of a signature mark that the darkning leaves when it takes a victim.  If that is the case, you shouldn't have Shawn holding the rose when he's taken, because it just confuses the issue of whether it is a signature or not.

Another problem I had was when Lindsay was zip-tied in the interrogation room and she looks around and says 'I should be safe in here' or something like that.  How does she know where she'll be safe at if she doesn't even understand what is happening?  It comes off a little bit forced and gives away way too much about what is going to happen once she is left alone, which is the main problem with the ending, the predictability.

I was also confused a little bit by the message in Erica's  mom's spellbook.  How the dark spell had a note that said 'for Tom'.  Shouldn't the darkness have come after Tom, then, since the spell was meant for him?

I also believe you do give the detectives a little too much 'we-can-do-no-wrong-and-no-one-will-check-on-us' credibility in the cover-up.  You said the two are only partners, so they have supervisors that would be watching over all of them.  Especially in what seems like a small town.  A boy's disappearance would attract attention from the big wigs.  Even in a city, there'd be more than two people focused on the interview.

All this isn't to say the story is bad.  It is very good.  These are just a few things that I thought that took away from the overall experience of such a good concept for a story.  I really liked the writing.  The suspense and tension was there the whole way (minus the predictable ending).  I was intrigued and interested through the entire script.

I did notice a couple typo's, however:

Pg. 1 - 'noxious'.  Did you mean obnoxious?  Or did you mean nauseous?  Noxious is a word, but it doesn't fit the context in which you used it.  The color isn't harmful or injurious to somebody's health.

Pg. 1 - 'This is LINDSAY TOBIAS -- or what's left of her.'  -  (You might want to reword this.  It comes off like she's missing a limb or is decapitated in some way.  Simply saying she is weak or drained will get the same point across.)

Pg. 2 - 'She begins sob very lightly'.  -  (should be 'to sob')

Pg. 3 - 'He leans back and rest his hands...' - (should be 'rests his hands'.)

Pg. 4 - '...pot bell.'  -  (should be 'pot belly'.)

I know those aren't big mistakes at all, just little things that weaken somebody's writing and detract from the story.

As I mentioned before, I did in fact like this a lot, but, even like you had said, there are some things that can be done to make it even better than what it is.  I like how you want to keep working on this even after it is produced (congrats by the way), so I'm sure if you just keep pounding away at it, something will eventually pop in your head that works better than how it ends now.

- Mark


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