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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Loss of Fear Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Loss of Fear  (currently 3674 views)
Don
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 12:13am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Loss of Fear by Craig Ramirez (craiger6) - Short, Thriller - Seeking solace from his fears, a timid young man finds salvation in the most unlikely of sources. 13 pages - pdf, format


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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  September 23rd, 2010, 4:46pm
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steven8
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 1:09am Report to Moderator
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What a creepy, creepy piece of work.  I loved it.  Mood, dialog, tension.  All right in there!  I've got goosebumps.  

This would be a perfect  piece for a revival of Creepshow!
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Craiger6
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 10:26am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven,

Thanks so much for the read and the nice words.  I was hesitant to put it out there as this was my first ever attempt.  Not sure where it came from, but I enjoyed writing it.  Please let me know if I can return the favor on the read.

Thanks again.

Craig


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craig cooper-flintstone
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 10:43am Report to Moderator
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Hey Craig,

I really really like this. It was very creepy and the tone of the whole piece worked very well.

I had no idea where the story was leading, and found it very intriguing to say the least.

I think there was a typo I came across- 'Red shudders and a black door', should that have been shutters?

Great work for your first attempt, very promising.

Craig


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Brian M
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 1:18pm Report to Moderator
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If this is your first attempt, it is very promising indeed. Very dark and creepy, kept me on edge right to the end.

However, I do think this script suffers from some over-descriptive action lines. A lot of them would be more at home in a novel, not a screenplay, where the action lines should be very simple and describe only things which are essential. For example, page one "They SNAP on ready to do battle against the encroaching darkness." That's a lot of words just to describe lights turning on. You could knock a page or two off this by trimming down such lines and still keep the dark and creepy feeling to the script.

A few typos and grammar issues like commas not being used where they should, but otherwise, I fairly enjoyed this. A very good effort for your first script. Well done!  
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Craiger6
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 1:58pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Brian,

Thanks for the read and the valuable feedback.

After reading some other scripts and comments I realized that I had fallen prey to novel writing as opposed to screenwriting.  I couldn't agree more and will take this into consideration while doing some more editing.  I think I sometimes fall in love with a few sentences and have trouble taking them out.  Alas, I'm no Hemmingway, so any and everything should be a candidate for the cutting room floor.  Anyway, thanks again for the feedback.

Craig,

Thanks again for the read and yes, you are right, should be "shutters".

Craig


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alffy
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 4:06pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Craig

This is beautifully written but at times a little over written.  This is an example;

At the end of the street stands a white house with red
shudders and a black door. On any other day the house would
be unassuming, pleasant even, but on this day the house
appears imposing.

You could simply have said 'At the end of the street stands a white house with red shutters and a black door'.

This however;

A large lawn lays hidden under a pristine coating of snow.

Is fine for me.  It says all you need to say but still sounds good.

I noticed two slugs/scene hearders the same, one after another.  As this is to show the passing of time I'd simply put LATER.

As for the story, well I thought it was well planned and the pacing was good.  I like the master passes the baton to the younger thing here.  There's definately an eerie feel to the whole piece and for that I applaude you.  This really was a good read, just watch the over writting.  Nothing much else negative to say, so I'll finish by saying that this was creepy and atmospheric and an enjoyable read.  Good work.


Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

You can find my scripts here
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Craiger6
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 4:29pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Alffy,

Thanks for the read and the feedback.  Your point is well taken.  In fact, the paragraph you cite is one that I actually struggled with and re-worked a few times.  In retrospect I should have gone for the short and sweet version.

With regard to the point you make about the slug/scene heading and LATER, I was confused as to whether LATER should always be used or only used when there is a significant lapse in time.  

For instance, if much of scene takes place in a general area like a basement, but the character is moving around, would it be LATER or CONTINUOUS perhaps?

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback and will make these changes.


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alffy
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Craiger6
For instance, if much of scene takes place in a general area like a basement, but the character is moving around, would it be LATER or CONTINUOUS perhaps?


Good question Craig...erm, I think this is your call as I've seen both used often.

I know it can be painful to delete a beautiful described scene but sometimes less is more.  As people always say, keep it short and sweet, and that way the action will flow.  I'm not saying you should cut them all, some of them are excellently written but remain short enough to leave alone.


Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

You can find my scripts here
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Inquiringmind
Posted: December 1st, 2009, 5:48pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Craiger6 you read my script so I read yours. I really liked this. The detail wasn't too abtrusive for me. I am a director and I loved the way you painted your scenery as if you had really been there. The dialogue is good and the characters interesting.




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jackx
Posted: December 7th, 2009, 8:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Craig, nice work.
Little heavy on the descriptive writing in the first couple paragraphs, re  ‘ready to battle with the darkness’, tree forcing its way up through sheer force of will.  This isn’t really the medium for that kinda writing, imo.
Good twist, didn't really overplay it which is key.
Not too sure about the Bundy quote at the end, seems kind of redundant to me at that point.
Also the first convo where the man is speaking in a fake stutter seems a little odd to me.  Does he speak the whole thing in a stutter or just that first line?  And the point is just that hes making fun of the kid right?  Not sure this will come across clearly.  Might be a little simpler to have him speak normally on the phone, then later when he's talking to the kid he affects a stutter to tease him.  
Good creepy piece though, serial killers passing the torch.
I think that's all the problems I could come up with.


Mine:
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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tonkatough
Posted: December 8th, 2009, 1:42am Report to Moderator
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I felt like I was reading a novel with the action, not a script. It is gorgeous writing but a bit heavy handed for scripts.

It's not a good idea to have every specific detail in your script for the simple reason that the director who films your script may not be able to physically provide what you have on paper.  Just a vauge idea is enough.  

Very clever plot structure with this one. Didn't know what the preist had to do with it at first, but you brought it all together nicely.

Also intrigued by the theme of get close to God through removing all your own fear by strike fear into fellow human being.

Killing another human is the ultimate power to give  a big boost to your ego and turn you into God cause you are in control of victim life. Or that how I understand it.  

I read and re-read your dialouge but can't for the life of me get who HE is? Is He the Devil?  But that don't make sense cause you write:  "just as they hate him when he lived, now they revere and worship him." Can't be God cause he never became past tense cause he is eternal.

Who is He?

A enjoyable story with a solid story structure.
  


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Colkurtz8
Posted: December 8th, 2009, 11:36am Report to Moderator
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Craig

A lot of interesting things going on with this script. You crafted a decent story, with a  nice twist. Some clever use of flashback too which resulted in the story slowly revealing itself to use, the terrible truth of it all, the part that James has played the grizzly events depicted and most disturbingly how he will perpetuate them.

What I responded to most was the quasi American gothic feel you gave this, principally via your prose. The snow falling, shadows cloaking every corner, the spooky house, the whole theme of the story and its characters made it feel like it could have easily been set  in the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s.

The downside of creating such a rich & vivid picture was that your descriptions, though assured and well written, were a bit weighty at time and could definitely be cut down some. As you saw from my “Golden Years…” script I too have the same inclination, which can sometime work and sometimes not. On one hand, the reader (once the writing is strong) will know exactly where they are, the locations, the mood, atmosphere, etc which is what you conveyed really well here but at the same time, the drawback is that you will over step the line and border on novel territory. As I’m sure you well know, writing a script (particularly a spec) demands functionality over aesthetics in its execution. The key is finding that ever elusive happy medium.

So although I love the setting you painted here and how it supplemented what was going on, a lot of the descriptive passages can be disposed of thus giving a smoother, cleaner read while still maintaining the key facets of the actual story itself.

That Father Richard was a sadistic motherfu?ker, who woulda’ thought? The sheer relish in which he talks about his “work” is truly insane but fascinating nonetheless. James comes across as more brainwashed or easily led then anything although I don’t doubt for a moment that he won’t carry out Father Richard’s legacy.

The whole “fear” reasoning behind his work was pure hokum but then again, you would assume that such are the thought processes of a serial killer. I’m sure I‘ve seen a show or two before where the killer worked off the exact same “logic”, so to speak, or at least something similar.

I mean, you articulated very eloquently, (again, it could be accused of being a little overly explicit or expository) you got plenty of power and meaning behind Father Richards closing sermon to his faithful disciple but it just felt like I had heard these psychotic ramblings before, you know. Was this influenced by anything in particular?

Overall, I really enjoyed the script, top writing, you definitely know your way around the creation of a solid, engaging story and that, I always say, is the most important thing. The economy of writing and adhering to what the technical side of scriptwriting entails will come in time as its more a case of learning it then having to posses a gift or talent to be able to do it or not. The creative spark is what’s crucial.

Good Work

Col.




Below are some notes I took while reading it, suggestions/reactions/questions/complements, etc

They SNAP on ready to do battle against the encroaching
darkness. -- Nice prose

"stair case" - Should be "stair-case" -

"A long winding stair case leads to unseen rooms upstairs" - Maybe shorten that to "A long winding stair case leads upstairs" as "unseen rooms" is redundant.

"(conversation ends)" - Not necessary, the absence of dialogue tells us this. You could just say in the next line of description that "Mr. Shipley hangs up" or whatever.

Since we listening to Mr. Shipley talk (O.S) from the Anteroom, are we to presume that James can hear him whisper, thus hearing what Shipley is saying?

JAMES
I’ll be fine Mr. Shipley, I just
wish they hadn’t sent him here.

-- Its just a personal thing with me, but I've never been too fond of underlining words. Although, I feel it serves its purpose here, it is something I've never done. However, as shown here, it can be effective when utilised properly. A matter of taste I guess.

"Gipper" - That's two references to Reagan Is there any particular reason for this?

JAMES
I guess you’re right Mr. Shipley

-- Insert a comma before addressing somebody "I guess you’re right, Mr. Shipley"

KATE SWAN (ON TV)
Well Aaron, the man known simply as
the Stalker was reportedly found
dead early this morning.

-- Would a dead body be brought to the funeral home that soon,? Especially given the nature of the death and the whole serial killer connection.

"They no longer look like branches at all."

"They look like wriggling arms fighting one another."

-- For pacing and phrasing reasons I wouldn't write these as two sentences. Maybe have them as one, running into each other --  "They no longer look like branches at all, as much wriggling arms fighting one another" or something like that. It’s an interesting visual, could look real creepy on screen with the help of some subtle camera work.

“I’d steeled my mind against any such” – I love the phrase “steeled my mind” permission to plagiarise, sir.

"pratfalls" -- I think "pitfalls" would be more suitable, “pratfalls” comes off  too jocular in tone, given the circumstances. No big deal.

“To be free is to know God, and to truly be free one must live without fear.” – Although I don’t affiliate myself with any organized religion, this was a powerful sentiment, well expressed, a standout line.

JAMES
(stutter is gone)
They think it’s all over. That
their fear is gone, when really its
just dormant. When I carry on, I
will satiate my fear with theirs.

-- This would be an example of what I mentioned earlier about over doing it. I like how the stutter is gone, reminds be of Keyser Soze/Verbal Kint shaking off is bogus limp at the end of “The Usual Suspects” but the line comes off over wrought and indulgent. Plus I think it would be just as powerful to have James work in silence, with the tear coming down his cheek. Maybe a short line to show his loss of stutter but nothing more, we know the game by now, the flashback told us everything.


Why do the lights go off? Is it a divine intervention to assist James in killing Shipley? That Father Richard knew he was gonna come back for the wallet. This is presuming of course that the posthumous, slashing man of the cloth was responsible for it. At least James seems to think so.

Great Ted Bundy quote at the end too, a very apt, closing text.


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Craiger6
Posted: December 8th, 2009, 5:45pm Report to Moderator
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Jackx, Tonka, Col., thanks so much for the reads and the valuable feedback.  You’ve all given me some valuable food for thought.

I think you all addressed the over writing/descriptive action sequences and I read you loud and clear as I kind of suspected this might be an issue after I submitted this.  I’m finishing up a new short and I think (hope) I’ve done a better job with this issue this time around.

Truth be told, this is something that I think a lot of newbies struggle with.  I know the “less is more” axiom applies to screenwriting, but at the same time, I can’t get over the concept that before anyone can even think of filming your short/feature, they have to be drawn in as a reader.  Perhaps I’m confusing the two concepts, so I’ll ask, is there a happy medium between the two types of writing styles?

Jack,

“Not too sure about the Bundy quote at the end, seems kind of redundant to me at that point.”

Truth be told, I kind of expected this to be a bone of contention with some people as I read on another site that the inclusion of quotes was a divisive issue with some people.  The impetus for this short came from a quote that I had read years ago from one of these crazy effers about how he lost all of his fear once he killed someone.  I was unable to find that particular quote but was still looking for something to bookend the first quote.  I came across this one and it kind of made my skin crawl.  I thought about cutting it, but so far I’ve gotten good feedback about it, but I will take it under advisement.

Point taken on the stutter – will work on that to make it clearer.

Tonka,

“Who is he?”

You make an excellent point and to be honest, I’m not sure I even thought of this.  I suppose I was thinking Jesus when I say that they hated him when he lived and now they revere him.  Would that preclude the use of capitalizing he?  I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my basterdized interpretation of the Holy Trinity.

Col.,

“Was this influenced by anything in particular?”

Just a quote regarding some of these themes that I remember reading from one of these crazies.  For the life of me I can’t seem to be able to find it.  Dear Lord please don’t let it all have been in my head!!!

“Since we listening to Mr. Shipley talk (O.S) from the Anteroom, are we to presume that James can hear him whisper, thus hearing what Shipley is saying?”

Yes, I wanted Shipley to be one of those people who says one thing to your face and an entirely different thing behind your back.  I think it also gives James some ammunition for the last scene.

“"Gipper" - That's two references to Reagan Is there any particular reason for this?”

No not particularly.  Just wanted to give the place a feel like it was stuck in the past and Reagan was the first POTUS I was ever conscious off.  Certainly no political ideology/statement involved.

“Its just a personal thing with me, but I've never been too fond of underlining words.”

Gotcha.  I see it here and there.  Thought it would give the reader some insight.

“Would a dead body be brought to the funeral home that soon,? Especially given the nature of the death and the whole serial killer connection.”

No, absolutely not.  Haha.  I received an early criticism from a friend of mine regarding this.  I guess in the spirit of keeping the short,  short I was asking for a bit of a leap of faith from the reader, but you are 100% correct.

“I love the phrase “steeled my mind” permission to plagiarise, sir”

Permission granted – have at it.

“the line comes off over wrought and indulgent.”

Point taken.  The more I read it I’m not sure it necessarily is something that James would say given what we’ve seen so far.  That said, I wanted to leave the impression that this was his coming out party so to speak.  Also, he hadn’t had much to stay previously.  But, I think you have a point and I will give that some consideration.

“Why do the lights go off?”

The lights originally go off because the writer wasn’t skilled enough to craft a creepy environment with them on.  Haha.  Sadly, I’m only half kidding, but they go off initially as a result of the storm.  Later on in the basement, when Shipley returns, it’s James who blows out the candles.

Apologies in advance for taking up so much space, but I really appreciate all of the comments and suggestions and rest assured they will all be taken into consideration.  Thanks guys, and it will be my pleasure to return the read.  Thanks again.

Craig


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Cam17
Posted: December 13th, 2009, 12:56am Report to Moderator
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Craig,

This was a good, atmospheric piece.  I like how you took the time to set the scene first.  There was a bit of overdescription here and there, but nothing too extreme.  I did catch one typo:

"Sitting at a kitchen table dressed in khakis and a starched
white button down shirt sits JAMES WADDLE (early 20’s), a
prim and proper young man who speaks with a stutter."

Having "sitting" and "sits" in the same sentence is awkward.  Always stick with the active tense.

I realize the flashbacks were essential to the story, but I almost wish you could have pared them down a bit.  This script seems to be more flashback than anything else.  I was hoping a bit more would actually happen at the funeral home in the here and now.  

But overall, I liked the story and the especially the setting.


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