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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Rid of Guilt (alternative version) Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: April 9th, 2013, 2:50pm Report to Moderator
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Rid of Guilt by Howard Jenson (ColKurtz - Short, Drama -  One man's attempt to lift his burden. (12 pages) - pdf, format


Alternative to: http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1229379318/


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Colkurtz8
Posted: April 9th, 2013, 5:21pm Report to Moderator
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As ever, a big thanks to Don for posting this so quickly and generously adding the link to the original version, much appreciated.


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Forgive
Posted: April 9th, 2013, 6:10pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Col (didn't realize your name was Howard).

This was an interesting piece, even if it has been done before (by yourself, though I haven't read the first one).

By p.7, the game was up for me, even though others might have seen it sooner, so I was wondering if there was going to be anything added that was going to be a new twist on things - and I can see how you've played with things somewhat to achieve that. The end was very chop-and-change, and I'm not sure how that would pan out on film as it could come across as very confusing, but I think it complemented the script well, as things had a real feeling of speeding up after a slow (in a thoughtful way) start.

I did kind of wonder how Patrick would have known that Daniel was an Actuary -- or was that being put down to co-incidence? It didn't feel like it was written to co-incidence that Patrick was drawing Daniel's attention to Linda for his own guilt's sake, but in some distant hope that a replacement father & husband would be found, so it felt  little too 'cosy'.

Overall, I though that it was a well woven tale - IMO a couple of 'the's' could have been replaced with 'a's, but that aside it was well written and, I thought, well paced as I'm guessing you deliberately rammed things  together more toward the final section.

Simon
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trickyb
Posted: April 9th, 2013, 6:21pm Report to Moderator
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Wow, very well written, didn't quite know what was happening at first as it started a little slow, but I'm glad I read on, great little story.

SPOILER

For a moment you had me thinking he would screw up and Daniel was gunna be the one to fall.

Thanks for posting

Michael


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LC
Posted: April 9th, 2013, 8:05pm Report to Moderator
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I second the 'wow' factor on this one.

You really seem to have mastered the non-linear, time shifting elements in your story telling, as you've done with that other one   of which I'll be replying to your reply shortly.

I did a quick scan of the original (which I hadn't prev. read) and this current version is a vast improvement - too much exposition and a little wordy the first imh.

Nothing really to nitpick on this, so I won't. Great natural dialogue and well thought out images, and a complete story, to the point I could see this effortlessly playing out in my head while I read. Would need a deft hand at filming so I hope you find someone to do it justice.

A really touching (gulp) and well told story.
Terrific all round.


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Colkurtz8
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Simon

Thanks for the read and comments, man.


Quoted from Forgive

I did kind of wonder how Patrick would have known that Daniel was an Actuary -- or was that being put down to co-incidence?


- He doesn’t know that he is an actuary, he only knows what the profession entails. This is because the guy he killed was also in the same trade, if you will. A big coincidence for sure but I included more as a tie in to later on when Patrick asks about his odds of surviving.


Quoted from Forgive

It didn't feel like it was written to co-incidence that Patrick was drawing Daniel's attention to Linda for his own guilt's sake, but in some distant hope that a replacement father & husband would be found, so it felt  little too 'cosy'.


- No, that wasn’t my intention. The reason behind Patrick offloading on Daniel like that and using the ole “I knew this guy who…”to supplant himself is Patrick’s way of talking through the last moments, to confide to a complete stranger with the safety guise of replacing some guy with himself and gauging the reaction. If you notice during his confession the night before on the dictaphone he asks himself the question “ Is five years not enough...? Of course not.” yet says to Daniel “Five years...! That’s not justice, is it?” as if looking for vindication, a confirmation. His own guilt is too much anyway, he’s past the point of no return and this charade is just that, a charade, before he makes the leap.

Thanks again for the read, Simon.


Trickyb

Thanks for the taking the time, glad it worked for you.


Quoted from trickyb

For a moment you had me thinking he would screw up and Daniel was gunna be the one to fall.


- No, it was always going to be Patrick. Funny you thought that, it never occurred to me before and no one has ever said it but it could an interesting place to take it.

Alternative version to the Alternative version coming soon! To clog a script forum near you!

Cheers.


Libby

Thanks you for the kind remarks, glad you liked it.


Quoted from Libby

You really seem to have mastered the non-linear, time shifting elements in your story telling, as you've done with that other one of which I'll be replying to your reply shortly.


- It’s funny, I don’t play around with timelines that much yet you’ve read two from me so you must be thinking it’s my shtick. I do like to tell parallel situations though that link up ever so dramatically! There, that can be my shtick.


Quoted from Libby

I did a quick scan of the original (which I hadn't prev. read) and this current version is a vast improvement - too much exposition and a little wordy the first imh.


- The original was a little flat and straightforward but worked alright as a single location/two character (bar some extras) piece, I reckon. This is why I took a new approach with it, although it has been sitting around for awhile.


Quoted from Libby
Would need a deft hand at filming so I hope you find someone to do it justice..


- Yeah, I think it could be tricky to film, not so much the intertwining timelines but more the scene where Patrick jumps, which is inherent from the original version. To execute that effectively without it looking fake or hammy would make or break its success. I would just want to convey that Daniel has a grip on Patrick but loses it (to tie in to Patrick’s earlier jibe out his soft hands) and hopefully some clever editing will sort out the rest.

Thanks again for taking the time and no rush with the other reply.

Col.


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: April 10th, 2013, 7:53am Report to Moderator
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Hey Col, had a quick read, not much in the way of notes. I haven't  read the original so can't compare.

A well written, grim tale that I felt wasn't meant to be a great surprise, more of a case why will he do it, and how, followed by the what happens next.

Like others I enjoy the non linear scripts and they take some work to flow. Once or twice you lost me at the end when you flick forwards into the future, after the 'event', but in general I followed it quite easily.

I think you made the most out of Daniel, a comparision with the lost father, but I suppose he is a weak link being used for exposition and reaction. I just wondered whether you could have him introduced earlier in the scene say in the car park or ticket office, where Patrick over hears he is an actuary and changes course because of it. We then are curious as to why, they dont seem linked. At present it comes across as Patrick wants a chat before jumping, almost a little chirpy for someone on the road to death.

Finally, I like the idea of choice in scripts. What other choices could he have had? Speak to Linda ? Allow her choose the options, probably not. Maybe as the train arrives the choices could be clearer, Daniel expressing the obvious that seeing a sucide is hardly going to help the son - what will he do when a flaw is exposed in his plan?

Otherwise, sound work and an enjoyable read.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: April 10th, 2013, 10:51am Report to Moderator
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You're actually a Howard or that "G" name I've been using?
I'm confused. And potentially embarrassed.

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Dustin
Posted: April 10th, 2013, 12:38pm Report to Moderator
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NOTES ON RID OF GUILT

Page 2

He focuses his attention on Daniel momentarily before
staring straight ahead, inhales deeply.


No need for 'his attention' in the above sentence.


Page 3

PATRICK
Public transport, huh? Fuckin’
despise it. I used to drive
myself...till the car gave out.


The above dialogue is slightly off. You either need a comma. I used to drive, myself... or get rid of 'myself' altogether. Sorry about pointing that out, I just had to read it twice to get it.


Daniel affords him a phony, humouring smile. He looks away,
smile fades, eyebrows rise.



I know what you're conveying in the above sentence I just feel that instead of 'eyebrows rise' that you should use 'eyes roll' instead... but it's up to you. I got it, after all.


Very nicely done. I like the VO aspect and the way you have intermingled the scenes that, to me, work fine without flashback tags. I think something worth milking more may be the fact that Daniel is also an actuary... so by not being specific right away as to the crime the original actuary did the viewer may get the impression that Daniel is the wrong doer about to have justice served upon him. Then flip it to the suicide which is given away once you mention the car accident... as Daniel isn't affected at all by that. I enjoyed reading this, thanks for putting it up.


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KevinLenihan
Posted: April 10th, 2013, 4:36pm Report to Moderator
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Like Brett, I was worried about the G vs H thing a couple weeks ago. But I decided to leave it alone, as long as I had the right guy! For a couple of days I was worried I had got two people mixed up.

Glad you posted this, Colonel! Solid work.
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Colkurtz8
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Bill

Thanks for read an comments.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
A well written, grim tale that I felt wasn't meant to be a great surprise, more of a case why will he do it, and how, followed by the what happens next.


- Yeah, It was more about the process than the final act. A savvy reader will sense where this is ultimately going prior to when it happens on the page.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
I think you made the most out of Daniel, a comparision with the lost father, but I suppose he is a weak link being used for exposition and reaction.


- Yeah, for sure. He was Patrick's confidant in his last minutes, a person through which he essentially talks himself through the deed and as you say; it worked conveniently on an exposition level. I tried to give Daniel some character of his own, not to just be a blank canvas for Patrick to relay back-story. This is isn’t done through dialogue but more appearance and life trajectory, he is the complete antithesis of Patrick, someone at the other end of the spectrum in every possible way.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
I just wondered whether you could have him introduced earlier in the scene say in the car park or ticket office, where Patrick over hears he is an actuary and changes course because of it.


- Interesting suggestion although it would be very hard to include this nugget of specific information without it sounding clunky and unnatural.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
We then are curious as to why, they dont seem linked. At present it comes across as Patrick wants a chat before jumping, almost a little chirpy for someone on the road to death.


- I sometimes got this criticism in the original draft and my answer was always the same, see above. It’s a wholly cruel and inconsiderate act by Patrick to include Daniel in his swansong, which in itself is an even more cruel and selfish call for attention but this is a man whose given up hope, his state of mind is unstable, to say the least, he’s convinced himself he’s doing the honourable thing


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
Finally, I like the idea of choice in scripts. What other choices could he have had? Speak to Linda ? Allow her choose the options, probably not. Maybe as the train arrives the choices could be clearer, Daniel expressing the obvious that seeing a sucide is hardly going to help the son - what will he do when a flaw is exposed in his plan?.


- Great point, it could be written to go in a few different directions, all of them more positive and life affirming then the one I chose. I'm just a miserable basta?d.


Quoted from Reef Dreamer
Otherwise, sound work and an enjoyable read.


Thanks for taking the time to check it out, Bill. Cheers.


Dustin

Daniel
Thanks for taking the time, man.

Quoted from Dustin

Page 3

PATRICK
Public transport, huh? Fuckin’
despise it. I used to drive
myself...till the car gave out.

The above dialogue is slightly off. You either need a comma. I used to drive, myself... or get rid of 'myself' altogether. Sorry about pointing that out, I just had to read it twice to get it.


- I think it might be a vernacular thing. Where I'm from we would phrase it like that "I used to drive myself" I get what you're are saying though and no need to apologise, thanks for making me aware of it.


Quoted from Dustin
Very nicely done. I like the VO aspect and the way you have intermingled the scenes that, to me, work fine without flashback tags. I think something worth milking more may be the fact that Daniel is also an actuary... so by not being specific right away as to the crime the original actuary did the viewer may get the impression that Daniel is the wrong doer about to have justice served upon him. Then flip it to the suicide which is given away once you mention the car accident... as Daniel isn't affected at all by that. I enjoyed reading this, thanks for putting it up.


- Good suggestion, I wonder is there enough jiggery pokery going on with the story to add a red herring. It’s not really how I  want the audience to be thinking, it s more about Patrick's final journey and this would take the emphasis away from that on something that  is ultimately misleading. It's still in intriguing idea though if I were to take a different approach.

Thanks again for the read.

Simon/Brett/Kevin/anybody who‘s bothered

Howard Jensen is a pen name I use, inspired by the characters “Howard Beale” and “Arthur Jensen” from my second favourite film of all time, “Network”.

Sorry for any confusion caused, I’m a self conscious, pretentious wank.

Oh and to everybody who has taken the time to look at this, feel free to point me in the direction of one of yours on the boards or otherwise.


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Dustin
Posted: April 15th, 2013, 4:58am Report to Moderator
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Yeah, we say that too. I'm from Birmingham. What I mean is more to do with correct punctuation. I used to drive myself... is only really half a sentence... yet if you place a comma: I used to drive, myself... then that makes it read how you want it to.

Just a little thing, but with a comma then anybody will recognise that it is vernacular. Without it it looks like you've missed something off the end of the sentence.


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_ghostwriters
Posted: April 15th, 2013, 2:21pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Col,

Hope you get more reads, you deserve it.  I remember reading the original back than,  and my thoughts...  this was a joy to read, despite the sad tale.  The build-up was outstanding.  I thought it was a bit off when Patrick mentioned he killed her husband (in the original version)... in the grand scheme of things, did it work, absolutely, but I'm glad to see you took that out...  to me, it works better.

Why you decided to do an alternate, I don't know, but to be honest, the original was pretty darn good as it was... JMHO.   Dialogue, storeytelling was great.  Really, nobody can fault this... it's a great script, wouldn't take much money to film this.

Good Luck, Col

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rc1107
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Hey Col.  :-)  I'll just always call you Col. now just in case.


Quoted from LC
You really seem to have mastered the non-linear, time shifting elements in your story telling, as you've done with that other one   of which I'll be replying to your reply shortly.


I second this big time!  Hmm.  I wonder if Libby's talking about the one I just read a couple weeks ago?  Have you submitted 'Leave in the Past' to SS yet?  I'd love to see other people's thoughts on that one.

Anyway, great job regarding this one.  As always, you know what kind of stories I love and gravitate to and all of them I've read lately have been awesome in my opinion.

I really don't have anything negative to bring to the table on this one at all.  I loved the disjointed timelines and how they all came together, and I think it would work magnificent in film.  But, as brought up before, you'll need a more-than-competent director to pull it off.

I will say that having Daniel an actuary does raise a couple red flags in the story, though.  It made it sound like Patrick somehow brought Daniel in to meet Linda to take her husband's place.  Of course, at the end it's clear that's not the case, but the story could do without that coincidence to throw us off track.

I haven't read the original, (at least I don't think I did.  I should probably go check the thread before I say anything), but if I haven't, I'll give that a read, and I'm curious as to the next re-make you have in store for this one.

Great read, Col.

- Mark


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Colkurtz8
Posted: April 16th, 2013, 2:11am Report to Moderator
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Dustin


Quoted from Dustin
Yeah, we say that too. I'm from Birmingham. What I mean is more to do with correct punctuation. I used to drive myself... is only really half a sentence... yet if you place a comma: I used to drive, myself... then that makes it read how you want it to.

Just a little thing, but with a comma then anybody will recognise that it is vernacular. Without it it looks like you've missed something off the end of the sentence.


- Really. I always use ellipses (…) to break up dialogue when signifying a pause in the character’s delivery, and in the prose for certain sequences of actions. Your correct in saying that "I used to drive myself" is only half a sentence, I meant for "till the car gave out" to be the remainder of it. Personally, I don't see the need for a comma before "myself".

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


Ghostwriter

Thanks for the read and the kind remarks.

A writer friend of mine suggested expanding it. We both agreed that while the original draft worked well as a single location/few characters piece it was essentially straightforward, talking head-ish and full of exposition, innate to those types of scripts.

It was a matter of lengthening the timeline of events back to the night before and earlier that morning to provide some room for context and build-up while maintaining Patrick as the principal character. I pretty much revolved the story around the Dictaphone reveal, it’s a bit gimmicky I’ll admit but gives the story that extra dimension I hope, without that all this build-up would be unnecessary.

Thanks again for taking the time, point me in the direction of anything you want read.


Mark

Thanks for the read, man, glad you liked it.


Quoted from rc1107

I second this big time!  Hmm.  I wonder if Libby's talking about the one I just read a couple weeks ago?  Have you submitted 'Leave in the Past' to SS yet?  I'd love to see other people's thoughts on that one.


- Yeah same one, Libby generously provided excellent notes on it too. I haven't posted it yet, might do some time down the line.


Quoted from rc1107

I will say that having Daniel an actuary does raise a couple red flags in the story, though.  It made it sound like Patrick somehow brought Daniel in to meet Linda to take her husband's place.  Of course, at the end it's clear that's not the case, but the story could do without that coincidence to throw us off track.


- You're not the first to think that Patrick was grooming Daniel to be a surrogate father/husband, which is interesting as it was never my intention but I can totally see where you’re coming from. Yeah, I did take a leap of faith with that contrivance but hoped it was justified or paid off to some degree by Patrick asking Daniel his odds of survival as the train approaches. As I said here and on the original draft's forum too I think (although I don't remember getting much comments about this particular point), I included it in order to allow that line which I hoped would work as an unsettling tie in to the earlier reveal of the coincidence. Instead of having Daniel just explain the profession to Patrick (and us) Patrick cuts him off, already knows about it but doesn't elaborate on the morbid connection straight away. I hoped it would add to the tension as things build to a climax. It could just as easily be removed though.

Thanks again, let me know if you want anything read.

Cheers.

Col.



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Colkurtz8  -  April 16th, 2013, 2:26am
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