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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Public Access 129 Moderators: bert
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  Author    Public Access 129  (currently 2779 views)
Don
Posted: March 27th, 2011, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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Public Access 129 by Greg Baldwin - Short, Comedy, Horror - A public access TV show host is held captive on air by a psychotic prank caller.  17 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

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bert  -  March 27th, 2011, 4:49pm
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grademan
Posted: March 27th, 2011, 10:57am Report to Moderator
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Greg,

Good to see a new title from you!

PUBLIC ACCESS 129 * A call-in host strives to maintain calm when a prank caller makes a death threat *

Humorous but not a belly laugher * except for the hot dog line * Pray I don’t alter it further - Darth Vader? * Lou and Clyde have to at least touch lips! * liked how you described muting by pranksters *

Opening a bit lumpy - don’t need to know the wall is a “calm” blue * and I don’t need to know that the camera is “professional grade.” * X looked strange as a character name and I kept noticing it *

Logic check: wouldn’t Lou LaRue (a nod towards Johnny LaRue, John Candy’s alter ego on Second City?) and Clyde recognize X’s voice? And MaxLax sounds like Colon Blow and would do more than just a stomach gurgle or two * I wouldn’t be able to answer a phone if a chunk of my arm was missing *

X was a twisted individual * I would like to see more of him

Lou was delightful as the host however your description says nothing about his build * if he’s bigger than X I’d see a different conclusion to this *

Low cost on this one * wondered why you didn’t intercut with the callers? Or an audience? * intercutting would probably slow this down *

Overall, this is quirky ride that goes to unexpected places. I liked it.

Kudos

Gary
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greg
Posted: March 27th, 2011, 12:24pm Report to Moderator
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Could a mod please add 129 to the end of the title?  Thanks.

And thanks Don for posting this.

I wrote this with the intent of a single location-tiny production in mind.  

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the read.  


Quoted from grademan

Logic check: wouldn't Lou LaRue (a nod towards Johnny LaRue, John Candy's alter ego on Second City?) and Clyde recognize X's voice? And MaxLax sounds like Colon Blow and would do more than just a stomach gurgle or two * I wouldn't be able to answer a phone if a chunk of my arm was missing *


*Lou is actually a nod to someone else that I'm not going to put here immediately.
*As for recognizing the voice - not necessarily.  If you look up public access prank calls on YouTube (whether it's Howard Stern or someone else) these shows get bombarded with calls sometimes from just one or two people and the hosts never recognize them.  One of the back stories is that X would prank call Lou while he was the producer, but Lou would see that.  During a show where he's already being bombarded, maybe not so much.
*Chunk of hand.  Plus the adrenaline of the fight was dying down and it's just pushing a button.

Thanks again for the read, Gary!

Greg  



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greg  -  March 27th, 2011, 1:11pm
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khamanna
Posted: March 27th, 2011, 9:34pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Greg,
I liked it, It was very funny at places and the punchline in the end works very well I think.

I thought that it could be shorter, I personally would like it even more if it was because you would get to the punchline faster.
X wanting Lou to take laxative works but it could come with some funny explanation. I know you said X once took a girl on a date and ended up spending the evening in her bathroom but I think the explanation would work better if he tied it with Lou somehow.

On p5 Caroline says "Lou! Don't hang up!" - probably should be CAROLINE O.S.

On p14 - Lou says what X wanted to name the show and he used to prank call... - this is funny but I wonder if it could be visual. Not flashbacked but visual, maybe Lou could make a joke while on the air - he gets prank calls and he remembers his old producer... --just a suggestion.

I did enjoy it - very entertaining.
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GM
Posted: March 28th, 2011, 8:49am Report to Moderator
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Hey greg

Gave this a read. Very funny.

Some thoughts:

I'm in conflict to suggest to shorten this or keep it as is.

I like how it is and how the horror turns to comedy. But I think it could be shortened. How? I don't know. lol.  

Question: wouldn't Caroline call the police from her cell phone or couldn't lou call from the phone?
Also, wouldn't Caroline reveal X's identity over the phone to Lou?

Other than that, I enjoyed it. Funny read.

Hope this helps,
Gabe

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greg
Posted: March 28th, 2011, 3:48pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Khamanna,

Thanks a lot for the read.  I'm glad it was entertaining!


Quoted from khamanna

On p5 Caroline says "Lou! Don't hang up!" - probably should be CAROLINE O.S.

On p14 - Lou says what X wanted to name the show and he used to prank call... - this is funny but I wonder if it could be visual. Not flashbacked but visual, maybe Lou could make a joke while on the air - he gets prank calls and he remembers his old producer... --just a suggestion.


Ah, good find on the Caroline thing.  Fixed it.  And I was thinking of something like that early on, but I elected to keep X as mostly back story just to keep together the continuity.  But you're right -- that could be a very funny sequence.  Something to keep in mind.  

Hi Gabe, glad you enjoyed it!

Thanks for your read too.


Quoted from GM

Question: wouldn't Caroline call the police from her cell phone or couldn't lou call from the phone?
Also, wouldn't Caroline reveal X's identity over the phone to Lou?


She still would of had to step outside, otherwise her voice would be on the air in the background.  Lou could have, but by the time he realized that X was for real (when he takes Caroline hostage) he didn't have much leverage, cause she was at risk of getting hurt.  That and also a lot of public access hosts get such a vast variety of prank calls that you can't take them seriously until a nut like X comes along.  

And I think it just depends on the person in the situation if they would reveal the identity of their captor.  My figuring was the situation unfolded quickly, he's got a weapon, she's probably confused and scared -- you know what I mean?

Thanks again guys!  Much appreciated

Greg


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rc1107
Posted: March 30th, 2011, 10:37am Report to Moderator
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Hey Greg,

Usually whenever I see comedy/horror, I go into it lightheartedly and don't pay too much attention to logistics and all that and accept it for what it is.

I thought this was pretty funny, though.  I chuckled more than just a few times through it.

There is something that I think needs cleared up in the beginning that got me on the wrong track of the story, though.


Quoted from Lou's dialogue
the lovely Caroline who’s now
blushing. If you’ve been tuning in
the past few weeks you probably
know why,


The first time I read that, it read like Lou and Caroline are newlyweds and that's how she got the job.  I went through a lot of the story thinking that and got really confused when I came to the part where X says Lou's wife's name is Mary.  I was able to go figure out what was going on pretty fast, but it confused me enough I thought I should bring it up.

A couple times, I had trouble figuring out the setting.  I know it said T.V. studio, but Caroline goes outside and a minute later, literally, she's in X's house as a prisoner tied up?  (I'm guessing he has her at home.  He can still see the T.V. to see what's going on.)  Then, out of nowhere, X comes into the studio after just playing with Caroline's feet wherever he has her hostage?

I imagine there has to be other people around the studio doing other shows.  I don't know anything about public access, though.

That stuff aside, this was still a really funny read.  You got me to smile for the day

- Mark


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greg
Posted: March 30th, 2011, 4:43pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark thanks for the read!


Quoted from rc1107

The first time I read that, it read like Lou and Caroline are newlyweds and that's how she got the job.


That was actually an idea early on either having them as a couple or even have him having an affair with her, but it got too complicated.  But yeah, I see what you're saying.


Quoted from rc1107

A couple times, I had trouble figuring out the setting.  I know it said T.V. studio, but Caroline goes outside and a minute later, literally, she's in X's house as a prisoner tied up?  (I'm guessing he has her at home.  He can still see the T.V. to see what's going on.)  Then, out of nowhere, X comes into the studio after just playing with Caroline's feet wherever he has her hostage?

I imagine there has to be other people around the studio doing other shows.  I don't know anything about public access, though.


Public access generally operates out of some sort local community center that has a studio within it -- so basically it's a studio within a bigger building.  So that would be why Caroline is kidnapped so quickly -- because X is hanging out in a room probably right down the hall.   Sorry for the confusion.

Thanks again for the read! :)

Greg


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Dressel
Posted: March 30th, 2011, 5:42pm Report to Moderator
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Greg,

Sadly, this one didn't really do much for me.  The comedy just wasn't there, although it seemed to work for other people.  Also, it seemed to go on a bit long.

One question though: was it inspired by this:



It might not be, but it was the first thing I thought about when I started reading it; especially with your description of the host.

-Matt


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stebrown
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Hi Greg

Firstly, I thought this script was very well written and for 17 pages it was a very fast read. There wasn't really any laugh-out-loud moments for me but I was reading the majority of it with a smile on my face. I'm sure with the right actor to play Lou this would be funnier to watch rather than read though.

For me, the start of this goes on a little bit too long. I didn't read what genre this was before starting to read the script but thought this was going to be a straight-up comedy until it took a turn towards horror. Not sure if there's a way to do it, but hinting at the horror element earlier on could help the turn being a bit jarring.

An idea that came to me while reading was changing X to a rival Public Access channel or show? There's a ratings war (Lou has just overtaken X with 5 viewers?) and that's the motive for X's revenge mission.

Anyway, good fast read and funny story. Could maybe just be boosted up a bit in a rewrite.

Ste


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: March 31st, 2011, 11:31am Report to Moderator
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Hello Greg,

I thought I'd give this a look since you were soliciting for read exchanges.
Kudos for constructing a scenario that you shoud easily be able to film.
I was immediately reminded of a recent Korean film by your premise.
It's called, "Midnight FM" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_FM
A radio talk show host's family is threatened during her last broadcast.
The host is given tasks to complete or her children suffer the consequences.
But that's one a more cat and mouse type mini-quest thriller.

The humor here did not work for me, nor did any tension from the abduction.
I'm not a fan of random vulgar humor to begin with, not that I mind profanity.
I watched the link that Matt posted in the thread.
I didn't think that was all that funny either, until the "Cable Fix It" part came up.
I thought it was clever that they made fun of his other role.
And once I had that "in", the random profanity played funnier to me.
Perhaps something like that might make the humor more effective.
It suggests these cranks have an ongoing thing with the host.

I'd also think it was funnier if Lou was a jerk.
I'm looking for a reason to laugh beyond the sake of the sheer vulgarity.
But Lou seems like an okay guy, so it doesn't quite click for me.
Maybe give this line to Lou, then follow it with a protest from Caroline:
CLYDE
Dude, you were a public access
producer. All you did was push a
button to put us on or off the air.


I hope this helps, but I think this fundamental change might open up the story.
If you're still open for it, I'd like to read a new draft of a short I have in return.
You can find the link in my signature. Thanks for your time and effort in advance.

Keep writing and rewriting and best of luck with selling Scorsese Club!

Regards,
E.D.


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greg
Posted: March 31st, 2011, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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Matt,

Thanks for the read, dude.  Yeah, that's one video that inspired it - the other was this one:



Sorry it fell flat for you, but thanks for the read.


Ste and Brett,

Thanks for the reads!  Yeah, Brett, if that's not your kinda humor then this one would stand no chance.  I myself laugh every time I watch those videos.  

Thanks again for checking it out and I'll return the favor soon.

Greg


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bert
Posted: April 2nd, 2011, 1:18pm Report to Moderator
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Having a very low tolerance for politics, I was actually growing bored with this until the very bottom of page one -- which then jumps right out and grabs the reader.

I am not sure if it was intentional to have it fall at the bottom of the first page like that -- but you are encouraged to keep it right there where it is -- as it drew me forward to page 2 just as I was about to give up.

The next line that arrives "just in time" -- as my mind was starting to wander again -- is at the bottom of page 4.  I think you have too many crank calls before we finally get to the point here.  Tighten things up prior to this -- but again, at this point the story does pull the reader forward.

And this story eventually moves on to get a little too crude for my preferences, skewing particularly heavy towards the scatological end of the comedy spectrum.  That is not necessarily a weakness -- there are plenty that enjoy that -- but it does limit the audience a bit.  And that does not mean I think the laxative is a bad idea.  That is pretty funny in itself, but to me, the more you discuss it, the less funny it becomes.

The punch-line is decent, but it just seems like it takes too long to get there.  This has some amusing segments, but perhaps a little too much filler, and it could be that much stronger with a good trim.  The idea is sound, and I would call this a solid draft, but I do think 17 pages is too many for a story like this.  


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jnave
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Hi Greg,

This was a nice read.  It was well paced once it got past the intitial prank calling, which may have gone on a tad long.  

I didn't think it was all that funny, but the jokes kept it moving along through the action.  It's hard to do a horror/comedy in my opinion.  One side or another usually falls flat.  That said, I think it mostly worked.

It feels like it would do better making it more a horror than a horror/comedy, kind of like a short Saw or Scream type thing.  Of course, that would totally change where you were going with it, but it felt more like that to me as I got halfway or so through it.

Nice work.


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dogglebe
Posted: April 4th, 2011, 10:00am Report to Moderator
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I thought this was a good script at first.  But, at one point or another, you got lost with it.  Maybe it was about the time of the kiss; I'm not sure.  At one point, I was engrossed with it and then I wasn't.

You have to wonder, though, how Lou can keep his show when all he gets are prank calls.  Maybe you need to show some real calls; I got a little tired of the pranks.

I think that X's motivation behind all this was simply not enough.  Either you need to up his loss or make him crazier.

Hope this helps.


Phil
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