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Quite enjoyed this piece. Carlton was strange, yet, how would we know how anyone would act at a time like that. So I found it refreshing and believable.
His wife and daughter not being around is a backstory i would have liked a smidge of info on. Why werent they there? Why didn't he seek them out, even if they're divorced? I would think he would want to see his daughter.
All in all, it was very dark. I liked it. Good job here.
Not bad, lots of white on the pages. Still some parts, you could cut down on the descriptions... i mean no need to tell everything... he opens the car door, sits, starts the car, puts it in reverse... backs up... you get the picture.
I thought the voiceovers worked fine. Some will complain, it's one of their pet peeves, but you know what... it's not their script.. it's yours.
I got a few chuckles out of this, actually. I do agree with jwent6688... about his wife and daughter.
All the chaos that surrounds him and all he wants is a good nights sleep. Interesting piece.
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
First, thank you for checking this out. I was toying with the idea of adding further backstory to elaborate on his wife and child. As a short, though, I didn't feel there was a smooth way to have gone into that without going cliche (flashback, dream, etc.) so I decided to leave it ambigious.
The idea was that his family mirrored the man on the highway in terms of not being able to handle the situation. I probably should have provided a bit more insight and I will certainly keep that in mind for future.
Ghostwriter & Clorox,
I have had some criticism about the majority of white on the pages. That is still an issue I am trying to correct. I guess there are worse habits to have when it comes to writing. Hopefully the next one I put up can come close to correcting this issue.
Again, thank you for taking the time to check this piece out.
"Why don't we just...wait here for a little while...see what happens?"
Just as a general principle, and take this with the grain of nube salt I offer, the first page of an eight page short should have something on it that makes me wanna turn to the next page. Although "low and slow" is not my cup O' tea, I still want... a white rabbit to go chasing - on the first page of a eight page short.
Page two: Bagged & tagged. I still want a smell of something. A whiff in the air. (Police sirens ain't it).
Maybe... have a suggestive news announcement fire off when his alarm turns on at 6:30?
And Where are your page numbers?
PDF page 4 The car enters the on ramp of the freeway. Various cars are turned over and on fire. Carlton slows the car to weave through the gauntlet of cars. Just to change it up some, try gauntlet of burning steel or burning steel labyrinth.
For the "Wallace" situation try having - Carlton V.O. "I think I know that man. What's his name... ?" - Wallace stands near a burning car (it's noisy) - Carlton rolling his window down "Hey... Hey!" - Wallace doesn't redily hear over the burning car next to him. - Carlton V.O. "Dammit. What's his name?" - Wallace, unable to hear him, lifts the pistol, blows his brains out. - Carlton speeds away... It establishes the pointlessness of weak social bonds. If you wanna be a real d!ck - have Wallace look at Carlton, wave "Hi!", then blow his own brains out anyway. Ha!
Pg 8 CARLTON (V.O.) Betty! That was her name! The door opens, he exits. CARLTON (V.O.) Thank god, that would have kept me up all night. LOL! I love the somber tone amidst social anarchy.
Fantastic. I really liked your approach of considering not the whacked-out, crazy, obvious sh!t, but of the weird little side stories that should be documented before they are lost forever. This is great.
Good job here. The writing, although sparse, could be tightened. You got the right approach but can improve it even more by restricting the use of "and" and cutting down on prepositions where you can in the prose. Up the momentum by shortening sentances, filling them with nouns & verbs.
Storywise, its not the most original concept ever. In fact, these apocalyptic tales are becoming as tiresomely ubiquitous as zombies and vampires these days. I enjoyed the slow opening but got that "here we go again" reaction when Carlton hit the streets & sees the people rioting & looting, the burnt out cars, etc.
However, to your credit, this had a somewhat unique or at least alternative take on the familiar terrain. Through Carlton we were served an enigmatic, passive character which isn't the norm for these type of stories. He gave a refreshingly different slant on things, meditative & philosophical which in turn raised this otherwise common story into a higher plain for me. It's almost impossible to write something wholly original these days so what makes or breaks a script is how the writer's treats the subject, their standpoint or perspective on the matters at hand. This is one such good example.
The voiceover was great, sparse and reflective without coming off as glib or over sentimentalised. On the contrary, it was quite bleak and level headed with the occasional moment of levity:
CARLTON (V.O.) Betty! That was her name! The door opens, he exits.
CARLTON (V.O.) Thank god, that would have kept me up all night.
That made me smile, a small consolation for poor old Carlton.
What summed this up for me and relates to my earlier point regarding the treatment of a theme were the lines:
CARLTON (V.O.) Iíve always wondered what would happen if I knew when the world would end...
Carlton makes his way into the kitchen.
KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS He opens the refrigerator, removes a gallon jug of water.
CARLTON (V.O.) Iím not a looter, so I wouldnít rob anybody...
He takes a long swig from the bottle.
CARLTON (V.O.) Never killed someone, and really have no desire to... The jug is left on the counter. He exits the kitchen.
BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS The door opens, Carlton enters and turns on the light. He sits on the bed.
CARLTON (V.O.) Iíve always been a straight arrow. Go to work, come home and repeat...
This is the core of Carlton's stance and in effect the entire piece. Why should he change now? Why degrade & dehumanise oneself just because the world is coming to an end? And as a result, Carlton becomes an observer, outside looking in thus taking us on an interesting journey and thought process I havenít seen before within this context.
Unfortunately, as much as I admire Carlton, I can't say I would be as calm and collected. You'd probably see me wheeling the pointless trolley full of home entertainment across the street or raiding Dunkin Donuts or something.
This is a solid read. Nice work. I like the way you zag when most tend to zig with this subject matter. Take the lots of white on the page as a compliment here. If anything, your action description is a little too dry and sedate. Much like Carlton, if that was intentional, it worked. The two page bathroom opener could with a a bit of a trim. Perhaps speed it up because Carlton is running late or something? Recalling Betty was the highlight of the story for me. I did keep thinking about his family. Where they alive? Divorced? Dead? I wanted to know and was kinda annoyed that's not touched upon. I sorta assume they must be dead of he's not seeking them out in the end?
All in all a very good effort, keep writing and posting!
LATEST NEWS CineVita Films is producing a short based on my new feature!
Thanks for checking this out. I appreciate the feedback, especially about ways to describe the freeway scene and the cars. If I were trying to tell a more whacked out story, I would use the idea of Wallace saying "Hi" before pulling the trigger!
Again, thanks for checking this and the positive input. I know the bathroom/opening probably should have moved a bit quicker. I tried to take a large scale idea (end of the world) and strip away the fluff and try to show an everyday man and his journey. Nothing spectacular, just one more day.
Though, Colonel, it may have been a bit more fun raiding Dunkin I suppose
"Why don't we just...wait here for a little while...see what happens?"
I enjoyed this one, as it seems the other reviewers have, so kudos for that. I thought, as Col. pointed out, that this was a very interesting take on something that we've seen before, but not necessarily through the eyes of this type of character.
I think this hit home for me because I've found myself thinking about those type of people (and we all know them) who live to work, and not necessarily the other way around. In that regard, I didn't find myself wondering too much about Carlton's family because even in the best of times, this guy probably had a better marriage to his job than his wife. Of course, the other way to look at it is that this is Carlton's coping mechanism, just the same as someone else looting, or blowing their brains out on the freeway. Either way, I like that you've decided to dig into the human psyche a bit.
As some others have mentioned, despite the circumstances, I found myself chuckling a couple fo times, because I felt you kept it relatable. I also find myself wanting to take a nap when I finally get to the office the same way Carlton did, and the touch with forgetting the "jumper's" name was nicely done. Especially for someone who sucks with names.
I guess my one small quibble would be that I feel that, if anything, this could use some more whitespace. While I thought this was very well written, and read quickly enough, I think you could probably do without a lot of the description you provided. As someone mentioned, I don't think you need to describe every little detail, even if it is done well. My suggestion would be to try and cut some of the stuff is superfluous and you can live without. This might afford you some space to explore some of the backstory that you otherwise wouldn't have given the space constraints.
After reading suggestions for cutting more details to create additional whitespace it has just occurred to me (largely because I'm a dim watt) why I sometimes put in more details than most want: It deliberately slows down the pace of the read, thus the feel of the overall work. (Sometimes it is just my visual diarrhea I cannot dismiss [or poo-poo! HA!]).
Sometimes I WANT the scenery to slow down. To allow ideas to marinate.
If I write Bob looks around the pantry at his pots. it reads different than Bob looks around the pantry at his shiny skillets, saucepans, double boilers, steamers and accoutrement. On the latter I'll get slammed. But can it serve a clandestine purpose? Or a covert purpose?
(That was a joke).
Cumulatively, across a few pages, as scene, sequence or an entire work, this "effect" can deliberately be employed to slow down a read as an intent of the writer. The writer has manipulated the reader.
Strip a story to it's bare and it has a different flavor. Possibly.
Do you feel this short would have benefitted from more description? Descriptions have been a challenge for me. As you stated, if there's too much description, you could get slammed for it. At least when writing this short, I felt the story should move quickly through his day. Let me know if this was directed at this story in general or my overall writing style.
"Why don't we just...wait here for a little while...see what happens?"
I am perpetually being slammed for writing too "novelly" and sometimes get hit on being too austere/dry. It's a contradiction I'm coming to terms with and have yet to find a satisfying solution to. I ask, but no one else seems to have a solution either. Just finger pointing and grunting. But I'm working on it. Basically, I'm a dirt eating pig. Take my POVs with pretty light consideration. Ghostwriter seems to have a pretty good handle on what's favorably "readable" and what is not. Shake his tree a little more. See what falls out.
No, I can't really say one way or the other if it would benefit or detract with more or less description. I think readers would be happier, but I don't know if that necessarily makes the story better. Since the issue for them is the "detail clogged" format is occluding the story then I guess it would empirically be better if pared down. I dunno.
The "situation" is kinda complex, as there are multiple elements to consider all at the same time. Like anyone else I direct a film in my head as I read along with what an author has written. However, I (very) easily maintain an "image buffer" that I can go back and modify/revise with subsequent information in some gawd awful, asynchronous fashion that most readers will absolutely not tolerate. If a reader has to stop, go back, re-read something a line or two back they get all huffy.
Readers and directors are not the same thing. Spec scripts are written for readers whom want the entertaining elements of a novel without the novel. "Yeah" it's stupid, but, whatever. Just deal with it.
Directors have to be natural born problem solvers (readers do not) so you can dump a huge description in on a reading director that a reader will not tolerate. Director doesn't care about all the extra BS in your screenplay. They might or might not use it - whatever. Who knows. Reader just wants the story, they want the "feeling" without all the description you can dream up of. Go figure.
Repeat after me: "I'm writing for readers, not directors. I'm writing for readers, not directors... "
I felt the story should move quickly through his day. Let me know if this was directed at this story in general or my overall writing style. Open this version in your editor, "save as" "IGtES - Lite", then bludgeon it with a chainsaw. Edit it down to an absurd amount. Bordering on ridiculous. Think of it as a B&W photo that you're knocking out all the grey "detail" from.
Then read them back to back. Although they will both tell the basic story, the detailed one will certainly have a different "flavor" than the spartan "Lite" version. I read the detail that you have in the posted version and am fine with it. It creates pacing. However, the "non-story moving" detail irritates readers. Remove the detail and the pace changes, thus the flavor.
I'd have to read probably a couple other of your works to get a feel for whether it was the story or the way it was told.