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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  12 Seconds Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 2:39pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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12 Seconds by Sean Chipman (Mr. Blonde) - Short, Psych. Thriller/Drama - Before a person dies, their life flashes in front of their eyes. But, what happens in the twelve seconds between when their body dies and when their brain dies? - pdf, format


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Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  April 7th, 2012, 8:55am
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cloroxmartini
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 3:37pm Report to Moderator
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Nicely written. I don't like the subject matter. Yeah, I read about this in the paper, see it on the news. It does happen, unfortunately, very unfortunately. So when you got to that part, I mentally said, screw this.
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 4:55pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you for the post, Clorox.

Have you written anything on here, so I could reciprocate with you? =)


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Ledbetter
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 8:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hey I wanted to chime in on your script.

First, the opening line VOICE (V.O) who is it? Usually a voice has been introduced so you have an idea of who is saying it throughout the script.

Second, your formatting is wrong. Everything is lining up to the left.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be very much dialog. Try on your rewrite to balance the action with the dialog.

The story seems to have great potential, it just needs to be polished up a bit.
Another thing, your slug lines need work. The standard to a slug line goes something like…
INT. HALLWAY –DAY

You want to tell us more about the people in the script as well.  Not just age. Try using lines like VINCENT (36) well built with a confident professional air.

Also, drop the (BEAT). They are discouraged in spec scripts. Instead trying inserting some action during that pause.

I hope some of this helps.
Shawn…..><
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 8:45pm Report to Moderator
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Cool. More helpful tips. Couple quibbles I have of my own.

A. The setup was correct. Trouble is, I had to transfer it from FD to Word and try to reset it there, so it lost the structure it had before.

B. The voice was the main character but the point of it is that in the end, it doesn't matter who it is speaking.

C. Yeah, it's a very limited dialogue story. I don't want to throw dialogue in "just 'cause" because it's easily the weakest aspect of my writing.

D. I'm pretty sure I did that with my slugline. I didn't do it on every slugline because I've read in several sources that as long as it takes place in the same area and same timeframe, not to re-add the slugline for the same area, every time.

E. This script was mostly a test for me to actually finish something, so I didn't bother with visual-based things because I don't need it filmed. I needed to prove to myself that I could finish something which I did. Getting helpful critiques from others on here is just a bonus, to me. =)

F. The (Beat) goes along with column C. It was there because it's a more action-based script than dialogue.

It was all very helpful, Shawn.

-Thanks.


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Andrew
Posted: September 21st, 2009, 9:06pm Report to Moderator
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Sean,

I was going to comment on the layout, but you've already alluded to it. The way this is presented, however, makes it a more difficult read than it needs to be. Also, the slugs require more clarity. It would seem that you are retaining an aura of mystique with your plot as it unfolds, and this would explain the scarcity of clear direction with the slugs, but that isn't the best way forward, IMO. This script should be your blueprint for filming, and it just feels a little convoluted. I know your main challenge here was to push something towards completion, however.

That said, your story was interesting. There felt a huge dose of 'Vanilla Sky' and 'Butterfly Effect' in here. Particularly the former, is that why our protagonist is called David? Probably not, but that's what I got in my head. The most touching of the scenes was between David and his daughter. The more volatile relationship was with his son. It almost felt like the more tender David was attempting to reconcile something innately wrong in his dealings with women via his daughter. Psychologists often allude to a correlation for mass murderers to have grown up with 'mother issues', and I wonder what your thinking was here.

Is David trying to fulfil the stereotype that the role of a man is to provide, and protect - his vision of Michelle self-harming and the subsequent guilt suggests he had failed, to his mind. Thus, he had further basis for temporary derangement - he failed as a man and all that encompasses the role. Reminds me of this story.

The underlying message was, however, a little vague. You didn't really tease out a cohesive social commentary, and yet the material is fertile ground for this. The idea of killing a family member can be dramatised a la 'The Amityville Horror' and used as a launchpad for something horrifying, which is fine. Your script felt like it had a message, but it was difficult to conclude what it was. Would be interested to hear what your intentions are here.

Andrew


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Coding Herman
Posted: September 21st, 2009, 9:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, I highly urge you to re-upload the script with the correct format because I was confused as to what is action and what is dialogue.

First and foremost, the story again is on the thin side. This is a 12-page script, which translates to a 12-minute short film. I think the audience would want more things to happen and more story in those 12 minutes. Because the way it is now, you only have David wondering in this home doing pretty much nothing (until the end). You can definitely take this down to 9 or 10 pages.

But I think the story has potential, it's just the execution needs a bit work. I would trim down a lot of the V.O. because they dissipate the action afterward. For example, isn't it more effective if you just showed that Heather is having sex with another man than just saying she's a whore beforehand?

On the other hand, I would replace the V.O. with actual dialogue between David and Heather. They only speak like once at the end. If they interact with each other in the beginning, I would care about them more.

I don't understand when you say it doesn't matter who is doing the V.O. when it is obviously David. You need someone to say it, maybe even a NARRATOR, but not just a VOICE.

I like how you kinda bookend the script with a scene that happens earlier. It gives us a feeling of connection, how everything ties together.


FEATURE:

Memwipe
- Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller (114 pages) - In a world where memories can be erased by request, a Memory Erasing Specialist desperately searches for the culprit when his wife becomes a target for erasure -- with his former colleagues hot on his trail.

Revision History (1 edits)
Coding Herman  -  September 21st, 2009, 9:36pm
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: September 21st, 2009, 9:57pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Andrew
That said, your story was interesting. There felt a huge dose of 'Vanilla Sky' and 'Butterfly Effect' in here. Particularly the former, is that why our protagonist is called David? Probably not, but that's what I got in my head. The most touching of the scenes was between David and his daughter. The more volatile relationship was with his son. It almost felt like the more tender David was attempting to reconcile something innately wrong in his dealings with women via his daughter. Psychologists often allude to a correlation for mass murderers to have grown up with 'mother issues', and I wonder what your thinking was here.


Actually, that is very interesting and it hadn't occured to me until just now that it is David in both this and Vanilla Sky. But, no, that's not the reason. As I upload more and more stories, you'll see that the main character has that name every time. It's actually the name I prefer to go by instead of my birth name. David Vincent Carlisle. If the main character in a story has a brother, they'll be named David and Vincent Carlisle.

I was thinking something along those lines, but not quite reconciling with his daughter to make up for his mistakes with women.


Quoted from Andrew
Is David trying to fulfil the stereotype that the role of a man is to provide, and protect - his vision of Michelle self-harming and the subsequent guilt suggests he had failed, to his mind. Thus, he had further basis for temporary derangement - he failed as a man and all that encompasses the role. Reminds me of this story.


This is one of those questions where I can't give you an answer and I will explain why in the end. =)


Quoted from Andrew
The underlying message was, however, a little vague. You didn't really tease out a cohesive social commentary, and yet the material is fertile ground for this. The idea of killing a family member can be dramatised a la 'The Amityville Horror' and used as a launchpad for something horrifying, which is fine. Your script felt like it had a message, but it was difficult to conclude what it was. Would be interested to hear what your intentions are here.

Andrew


I'll be honest. There was no intentional message to be had. The way it works is his family (and himself) was fucked up. None of them cared about the others. So, David (after killing himself) created a life when everyone was happy. Vincent was a straight A student, Michelle was popular and Heather loved him.

But, one thing, I left up to your own interpretation. When he was in the bathroom, he got a medication. If you were to go to Wikipedia and type in that medication, the story changes.

**SPOILERS**

See, he's crazy, but at the same time, you're not sure which life was the one he really had because he had the schizo pills, but he was also taking them regularly. So, either he had the good life but was fucked in the head, or he had the bad life and didn't want it anymore.

It's all in how you see it.

**END SPOILERS**

I hope that answered all your questions.

Thank you for reading. =)




Quoted from Coding Herman
Hi, I highly urge you to re-upload the script with the correct format because I was confused as to what is action and what is dialogue.


I'd really like to, but every PDF upload thing I tried didn't work, so I just transferred it from Final Draft into Word and did PDF from there. Sorry. =(


Quoted from Coding Herman
I think the story has potential but the execution needs a bit work. I would trim down a lot of the V.O. because they dissipate the action afterward. For example, isn't it more effective if you just showed that Heather is having sex with another man than just saying she's a whore beforehand?


I don't believe so because she's laying in bed with him there, all happy, while the entire time, he knows that she's not.

On other V.O.'s, I'll look into them as I do plan to have a couple of re-writes on this, after my next script.


Quoted from Coding Herman
On the other hand, I would replace the V.O. with actual dialogue between David and Heather. They only speak like once at the end. If they interact with each other in the beginning, I would care about them more.


I'll see if I can make it work. Dialogue is my weakest point and having it directly between them could work and it couldn't. I'll try a few options and see which works best. =)


Quoted from Coding Herman
I don't understand when you say it doesn't matter who is doing the V.O. when it is obviously David. You need someone to say it, maybe even a NARRATOR, but not just a VOICE.


I plan on fixing that one. =)


Quoted from Coding Herman
I like how you kinda bookend the script with a scene that happens earlier. It gives us a feeling of connection, how everything ties together.


Yeah. I don't think it could've ended any other way because based on what is actually happening, the story has to loop over onto itself.

Thank you for reading. =)

EDIT: I made a decent amount of changes to the formatting of the script, for when it comes back up.

Just a heads up for future reference.



Revision History (1 edits)
Mr. Blonde  -  September 21st, 2009, 10:26pm
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Colkurtz8
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Mr Blonde

I see you've gotten helpful tips and suggestion from those above so i'll just focus on story and avoid repitition. This was an interesting read, very dark, quite bleak but a compelling alternate reality piece nonetheless.

Its a fascinating theme you picked although I can see why some might be turned off by it, I liked it for the sheer bravery you took in exploring such a dark corner of the human subconscious. You provided a startling and unflinching insight into the insecurity, paranoia and downright confusion of a husband, father and individual slowly losing grip on reality and his mind.

I liked how you juxtaposed what he believed was going on and what was actually happening...or was it? Although I appreciated this technique it repeated itself maybe a tad too often over the 10 pages, by the time we got to the daughter it was becoming a formality but I guess this distorted perceptions of David had was the subject of the script.

I wondered about the son since you showed the wife and daughter in the normal non cheating/slitting wrists states, how come this didn't happen with Vincent?  David walks in, sees him doing coke, Vincent kicks him out...but David never goes back in to see if his eyes are decieving him or not, was there a significance to this? At the end when David is picking off his family one by one I thought something would hppen when he went into Vincent's room but it was treated like Vincent was a normal kid much like Michelle.

Ignoring the slightly confusing layout which needlessly clouded things and what was happening on screen, this was an engaging read, again I admire the murky depths you explored, not for eveyone but certainly a worthwhile read for me.

Also a decent visual director could do a lot with the split scenes of the David's tortured visions to give the script that depraved, macabre tone it pushes for.

Col.


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Mr. Blonde
Posted: September 25th, 2009, 2:21pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Colkurtz8
Mr Blonde

I see you've gotten helpful tips and suggestion from those above so i'll just focus on story and avoid repitition. This was an interesting read, very dark, quite bleak but a compelling alternate reality piece nonetheless.

Its a fascinating theme you picked although I can see why some might be turned off by it, I liked it for the sheer bravery you took in exploring such a dark corner of the human subconscious. You provided a startling and unflinching insight into the insecurity, paranoia and downright confusion of a husband, father and individual slowly losing grip on reality and his mind.

I liked how you juxtaposed what he believed was going on and what was actually happening...or was it? Although I appreciated this technique it repeated itself maybe a tad too often over the 10 pages, by the time we got to the daughter it was becoming a formality but I guess this distorted perceptions of David had was the subject of the script.

I wondered about the son since you showed the wife and daughter in the normal non cheating/slitting wrists states, how come this didn't happen with Vincent?  David walks in, sees him doing coke, Vincent kicks him out...but David never goes back in to see if his eyes are decieving him or not, was there a significance to this? At the end when David is picking off his family one by one I thought something would hppen when he went into Vincent's room but it was treated like Vincent was a normal kid much like Michelle.

Ignoring the slightly confusing layout which needlessly clouded things and what was happening on screen, this was an engaging read, again I admire the murky depths you explored, not for eveyone but certainly a worthwhile read for me.

Also a decent visual director could do a lot with the split scenes of the David's tortured visions to give the script that depraved, macabre tone it pushes for.

Col.


Thank you for the read. To answer your question about Vincent: it goes along with what you were saying about Michelle. It would be overly repetitious to show it again, also as Andrew Allen alluded to before, there's a small part of him where he's more emotionally attached to the women in his life. So, when it came to Vincent (who wasn't actually doing drugs when he shot him (none of the family was messed up when they all got shot), he didn't feel as close an attachment to his son, hence the reason why he didn't see two variations of him before leaving his room.

Hope that was clear and I hope to reciprocate with you again in the near future.


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James R
Posted: September 25th, 2009, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
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Dude, your logline hooked me. Very cool.

The idea for the story is an excellent one, but I started to get lost in some of the details. One of the things I have been working on recently is how much description to put into each scene's setting. In your script David goes into a bathroom with a jacuzzi and opens a pill bottle with the name Jason Houston on it. So in my head I think that I need to remember the jacuzzi and the name Jason Houston, neither of which had anything to do with the story. So these things just cluttered me up with things I didn't really need to remember. The description of the bathroom can be simpler and non-specific and who was Jason Houston?

I understood the alternate versions of his family members, but not why he killed them. There was obviously conflict in David's mind but I didn't understand why he wanted to kill them if he loved them. It felt unresolved.

The ending was extremely morbid, I wasn't quite expecting it despite the foreshadowing. A depressing tale to be sure.

Overall good writing.

James


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Mr. Blonde
Posted: September 25th, 2009, 4:09pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James R
So in my head I think that I need to remember the jacuzzi and the name Jason Houston, neither of which had anything to do with the story. So these things just cluttered me up with things I didn't really need to remember. The description of the bathroom can be simpler and non-specific and who was Jason Houston?

I understood the alternate versions of his family members, but not why he killed them. There was obviously conflict in David's mind but I didn't understand why he wanted to kill them if he loved them. It felt unresolved.

The ending was extremely morbid, I wasn't quite expecting it despite the foreshadowing. A depressing tale to be sure.

Overall good writing.

James


Thank you for the read, James. To explain:

Part 1: Jacuzzi. The house started as something big and luxurious. In the end, it was a shady apartment. Jacuzzi was there to show that it's not your normal 2-bedroom house.

Part 2: Jason Houston. Re-read the name of the prescription. Then, type the prescription into Wikipedia. Trust me, you'll understand.

Part 3: Killing. Depending on which version of his life, he was seeing, he wanted them dead because he loved them. Either they were all unhappy, so he killed them because in his mind, it would send them to Heaven. Or, they were happy and his mind was just completely fucked and he really did it for no reason.

Part 4: Ending. If you enjoyed the morbidness of it (as writing, not sick, twisted psycho-mumbo jumbo), then I succeeded, in a sense. If you didn't like it like that, sorry. =(

But, thank you for the read and thank you for your kind words.


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James R
Posted: September 25th, 2009, 4:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr. Blonde
Part 1: Jacuzzi. The house started as something big and luxurious. In the end, it was a shady apartment. Jacuzzi was there to show that it's not your normal 2-bedroom house.

I understand why it's in there, I just meant to comment that it may be unnecessary for the story. You can describe the bathroom as being expensively decorated, large, gaudy, IE something simpler and move on with the story. You know? Like I said, it's something I'm working on myself.


Quoted from Mr. Blonde
Part 2: Jason Houston. Re-read the name of the prescription. Then, type the prescription into Wikipedia. Trust me, you'll understand.

A little obscure for a short film, though. Or maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know about this, wouldn't be the first time.


Quoted from Mr. Blonde
Part 3: Killing. Depending on which version of his life, he was seeing, he wanted them dead because he loved them. Either they were all unhappy, so he killed them because in his mind, it would send them to Heaven. Or, they were happy and his mind was just completely f****d and he really did it for no reason.

Again, I understand this now, but it didn't show up in the script. Since you didn't have a concrete answer yourself, though, I assume you wanted this left up for interpretation.


Quoted from Mr. Blonde
Part 4: Ending. If you enjoyed the morbidness of it (as writing, not sick, twisted psycho-mumbo jumbo), then I succeeded, in a sense. If you didn't like it like that, sorry. =(

I liked the writing just fine, I tend to enjoy shorts like this on screen as well. Just throwing you my 2 cents.

James


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Mr. Blonde
Posted: September 25th, 2009, 4:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James R
I understand why it's in there, I just meant to comment that it may be unnecessary for the story. You can describe the bathroom as being expensively decorated, large, gaudy, IE something simpler and move on with the story. You know? Like I said, it's something I'm working on myself.


Yeah, description is my second worst aspect, so I know what it's like to be constantly working on it. =)


Quoted from James R
A little obscure for a short film, though. Or maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know about this, wouldn't be the first time.


It is very obscure. I threw it in as almost an easter egg.


Quoted from James R
Again, I understand this now, but it didn't show up in the script. Since you didn't have a concrete answer yourself, though, I assume you wanted this left up for interpretation.


I have a concrete answer for what happened. But, saying it gets rid of all potential interpretation.


Quoted from James R
I liked the writing just fine, I tend to enjoy shorts like this on screen as well. Just throwing you my 2 cents.

James


In that case, thank you again. =)


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jackx
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Seems like everyone else covered most of the issues.  I liked it a lot, I dont think you should clarify much about it.  It seems with these kind of things the more you edit them and try to add underlying sense, the less impact they have overall.  Keeping the story a little illogical makes it compelling.  
The one issue I had was the name on the medication.  I get that this is supposed to have some kind of impact, but since davids name is never referred to in dialogue then the audience will just assume david is jason.  seems kinda pointless.
I like the ambivalentness of which life is actually real.

I dont think there needs to be any more action in it, a good director with interesting visual techniques could definately keep this interesting.


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HARD CASE
            (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

APU
            (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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