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Thanks for reading. I agree with your comments the same as I do with most of the comments. While we're all agreed it needs work, one thing that stands out for me is that most thought it was entertaining, to say the least. So I suppose that's a positive i can take from all this. Always moving forward.
Your little story touched me on some level. My dear old dad loved fishing. Many times we went out together fishing on the Great South Bay of Long Island. I'll treasure those memories.
Hey Steve - this is one of those scripts that I read, and then kept on coming back to, and that bugs me some. Part of me thought I don't really have anything to add to this, as you've got some pretty spot-on critiques on it. I hope you you don't feel too disconsolate about it - it's not so bad.
The only thing that I can really add is concerning story - in that it probably isn't so much a short. Like phil, heretic and others have said, it needs some development at the beginning - so is it a short story? Some stories can be told in short, other can't.
So often what works in film is a unique angle - so often we are told the same story, but with a different twist. The premise here works for me (as phil suggested, there's legs in it), but is the story given the breathing space it needs?
Working from heretic's "a working definition of drama as the clash of two parties with different goals" you can surmise that there are always two stories in one tale, but one side that we're going to take. That doesn't mean that we're only going to develop one side of the story - we're only going to side with one side of the story. So the antagonists' motivation must equal the protagonists' motivation.
Characters drive the story too. And therefore the 'who (& why)' (is doing something) matters as much as the 'what' (they are doing).
If the story genuinely deserves all of this (explanation) then you have to wonder if it can be told in short. If not - then maybe it deserves the length it needs.
Thanks for the input, man. Don't feel disconsolate at all. Quite the opposite, really. I'm happy this piece has gotten attention (although for the wrong reasons!), and I'm appreciative for all the great feedback I've gotten from you guys. Really. I'm more upset that my laptop has crashed and I'm not writing at the moment!
I think you're spot on about the length issue. When I wrote this it did have to fit in around the ten minute mark, so that was part of the problem there. The other problem was eliminating necessary exposition in order to get this story flowing better. I think the torture and mayhem that drives this piece would have been much more effective had we reason to root for Carol, gotten to know her and the situation a little better. Just didn't happen and I consider it a major oversight on my part.
But that's the way it goes sometimes. As opposed to revisiting this, I'll probably (hopefully) start work on something new. Again, thanks for your observations!
Not a bad effort at all. Some of the slugs were a bit confusing, but you made up for it throughout the story. The dialogue needs some work. The story was decent but it was difficult for me to pinpoint how I should receive what took place. The dollar bill wasn't a good symbol. It could've been a better catalyst for moving the story, it never felt relevant.
The characters were colorful, and you demonstrate a great awareness toward supporting visuals for the scene. Creepy, funny weirdness for me.
That really, in a nutshell, was what this was all about for me. No more, no less. Perhaps I focused too much on the action because I was having so much fun with it! But I'm glad you found a couple positive things in there. Writing wise, I think it has its moments, both good and bad.
Oh, and to give credit where credit is due: the line I used -- "Grandpa has a bulge in his pants the size of Florida." Funny line, yes, but borrowed. It's basically the same line Robin Williams utters to his love interest in The Fisher King. It's such a great line and I just couldn't resist.
You're symbols have always been your strong suit from the scripts I've read from you. I thought about the dollar as an alpha/omega considering lemonade is where it started, and now lemonade is where it ends.
But with these type of colorful characters, they always seems to bring symbols into a focal point through pretentious dialogue. Explaining why the symbol is just as important to themselves. This is just a few great lines away from checking into Quentin Tarantino mode.
I respect that you're not the kind of writer that is comfortable in one genre, and that you push the boundaries of streamlined ideas. But I think this script could've benefited from the techniques you applied in your other works.
Blood & Gore, what's not to like. I enjoyed the story for what is it. Reminded me a little bit of Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the creepy family but it fell flat for me in a couple of parts. Not to say I didn't like it but there's a few areas that need to be cleared up.
Page 6. Carol screams her head off when Severus gets her in a bear hug but Lindsay is totally oblivious to that and continues to drink Lemonade. I would think Lindsay would be able to hear Carol screaming especially since she's standing next to her. Maybe you could have Serverus cover Carol's mouth to help from Lindsay hearing her. Similar to the scene in the Hills have Eyes when one of the women had their mouths covered and getting raped so the other girl couldn't hear her.
Page 10. Brian is killed by Carol with the power drill right in front of Mommy & Severus but neither show any reaction to Brian's death. In fact, the next action line you have Severus push the Samurai sword into the couch killing Lindsay and still no mention of it. Even if Severus or Mommy were facing the opposite way from Carol & Brian, Brian's screams alone would cause attention. Maybe have Severus stab Lindsay first with the sword followed by Carol killing Brian prompting a reaction from Mommy which in turn Carol pushes her on the sword wounding her. Just a thought.
Carol must really want that dollar badly since she went back into the chaos and snatched it before leaving. A tad unbelievable that someone would do that after everything she just went through but Carol seems like the kind of person that is determined so i guess it works.
There's some things to work on but you're headed in the right direction. Love the visuals throughout. Great job and good luck on future projects.
This is just a few great lines away from checking into Quentin Tarantino mode.
Sounds maybe like you are indeed taking those crazy pills, John! Thanks for saying that, though. I understand what you're saying about symbols. I don't really go for that all the time. They just sort of pop up when I'm writing, but I was well aware of the lemonade situation. Now there's a title for ya! The dollar, as it stands now, can really be changed into anything I wanted at this point. It wasn't relevant as the story progressed, but it was why they were there in the first place. A lot of loose ends with this one, Johnny.
Thanks for the read.
Page 6. Carol screams her head off when Severus gets her in a bear hug but Lindsay is totally oblivious to that and continues to drink Lemonade.
Lindsay is oblivious because it is mentioned that once Brian waves the dollar in her face she gets kinda loopy, almost hypnotized by Brian's eyes...Something like that.
Page 10. Brian is killed by Carol with the power drill right in front of Mommy & Severus but neither show any reaction to Brian's death.
Well, Severus does react by stabbing Carol, not Lindsay, from behind with the sword. Mommy's reaction is a bit more delayed, but she does eventually react. But I totally understand what you're saying here, Dirk. And your confusion as to who is getting killed just further accentuates how unclear this piece can be at times! Also, at the end it is Lindsay who comes back for the dollar, not Carol! See what I mean? I actually just went back to make sure I was right about that, BTW.
In short, there was a lot going on here and it's obvious even I got sucked into my own vortex, if that makes sense.
But I'm glad you liked the visuals! And thanks again for the read.
Hey, Steven, I remember reading this a month or so ago, good to see you've posted it on here. For sure, the writing can be sharpened up, but it was better than the writing in a lot of the submissions I'd received. That being said, still needs a few rewrites. The type of horror that this story is was too similar to one of the submissions that did make the cut. I agree that the tone was inconsistent... probably set a bad example with Soda Machine. A lot of submissions tried out-weirding or out-doing the sick (and I'll be first to admit, tacky) sense of humor involved. But I wanted to mix things up a bit with the submissions. A few that initially made the cut probably won't make it in for some of the reasons that were mentioned in previous comments... the dollar theme felt kind of forced in, though I liked where you were going with it initially.
Overall, I thought your tale was sick and twisted enough, but it has been done before (Texas Chainsaw, Rob Zombie stuff, Saw, torture porn type stuff)... and just a tad misogynistic... felt bad for the girls, no redemption (from what I remember). Would have liked to see that weird family receive their comeuppance. I was surprised by the tale (in kind of a good way) due to the fact that the other stuff I've read by you is FAR more tame in subject matter.
Still accepting submissions, though I'm leaning towards writing most of the other tales in the anthology myself, though things have slowed down w/ the project due to other projects and other real life kind of stuff.
I was reading this yesterday at work. I must have been distracted because it appears I got Carol & Lindsay mixed up. Sorry for that.
Okay, so I went back and read the story again. Carol is the one who not only gets drilled in the head by the power tool but soon after dies from the sword. I guess my only question is how is Carol able to use the power drill after Severus used it on her just seconds earlier? I would think she would be paralized to a point where she wouldn't be able to think clearly therefore be able to think about using the power drill on Brian. Maybe I'm wrong on that.
Reread the scene where Brian looks deep into Lindsay's eyes. I understand reading it again that she's starting to go under but maybe a line from Brian could help.
"She's starting to feel the effects". Not great but it helps for people like me who tend to read faster than there brain can keep up. lol!
No worries, man. I think Carol suddenly springing to life to take care of Brian is more like creative license. I mean, of course she should probably be dead, or near dead. But perhaps a final burst of adrenaline kicked in! I look at horror where a lot of unexplainable things could happen, this being one of them.
So, let me know if I can return a read for you. A lot of people responded to this, so that goes the same for all. Feel free to pm me anytime.
You're right. I figured the Soda Machine was sort of the norm for the anthology, and tried to follow suit. That explains the craziness of this piece, and why it was unlike anything I'd written previously.
Its a sort of leather face family encounter. Once Carol and Lindsay get into has to deal with the excruciating phenomenon of that sadistic relatives. I thinks its some of the first scripts by Steve, when the writer looks for copy on his own way and interesting dialogues his way through the letters.
Hey man. A great BIG thanks for digging this one up from the depths. This may have been, like, the fifth or sixth script I've ever written. It shows, definitely.
This one will always be one of my favorites. not because it was that good, but for Coop's review of this. I laughed out loud reading it -- it truly is priceless. Other than that, not many others liked it, but I do agree that with a touch up this one might actually make a little sense. Regardless, it was fun to write and fun to re-read the script and the reviews.
Michael Kospiah, a very fine writer, had mentioned that he needed scripts for an anthology he was putting together. The only catch was it had to feature a dollar bill. Michael's script, The Soda Machine, was crazy. If you can find it I suggest you read it. With The Dollar Girl I was simply trying to out-crazy him.
A blast from the past I see. I musta missed it the first time around.
LINDSAY Look, we don't have to stay for dinner. You know I've been tracking this dollar bill for, like, seven years now and –
CAROL I know, I know. First dollar you ever made at that little lemonade stand when we were kids.
- Is there a way to make this less directly expositional? I’m sure you can drip feed us Lindsay’s motivations throughout the script which will, in turn, add to its mystery. Instead of just blatantly telling us up front like this.
- Does the “her” belong to Shush?
CAROL (sneers) No.
- Hmm, I wonder why Lindsay referred to her as her girlfriend then?
“Lindsay grabs Carol and they step in. In unison, they both rub their hands on the back of their jeans.”
- Odd reaction. Makes me think there is something else going on with these two…reading on…
CAROL (nudges Lindsay) Ask him about the dollar.
- Here is a good opportunity to drop in some of that plot/motive information I mentioned earlier.
“He snatches it away, then grabs her face and looks deep in her eyes.”
- Umm, no reaction from Carol here at Brian’s forwardness and handling of Lindsay? I get that the former is transfixed by the dollar but Carol shouldn’t be. Instead she just calmly states that they should leave.
- Ha, a jolting drop of the c-bomb. Wasn’t expecting that.
“He swipes a lemonade from off Mommy's tray and SMASHES the glass in her face.”
- Ok, this has taken a definite dark turn now. I thought, given all the obvious signposts and the Addams Family reference that they might look creepy but would turn out to be harmless, maybe even funny in a random sort of way but no, they are exactly as advertised.
“She comes out. Wears a black corset and a crazy grin. Hair done up. Smeared red lipstick across her face. Her droopy ass cheeks sway back and forth from under silk panties.”
- Haha, now there is a vision and a half!
“She sashays's to Grandpa. Throws a feather boa around his neck. She lets loose a greasy FART, then bumps Brian to the floor with a saggy butt cheek.”
- Yikes, Maybe we are swinging back into the weird but funny territory I anticipated earlier. Omit the possessive apostrophe in “sashays” too.
“He reappears. One hand holds a power drill. The other a large boring bit. He carefully fits it in, taps the trigger a couple times and smiles.”
- Oh Jesus. I really can’t get a bead on what you’re going for here at all, can I? It’s vacillating from over the top gothic, to weird, to violent, to bawdy humour, to goofy humour, then back to violence. That drill sequence is just downright naaasty.
“The WHIRRING of the power drill as it punctures through his chest.”
- Am I really going to question logic and physics here? I guess so. A power drill wouldn’t immediately perforate someone before they had a chance to react. Drilling someone only works if they are tied down/incapacitated. C’mon, that’s murderous psycho 101 stuff
Right so this went full crazy gore fest in its last third. It seemed like you were going all out to shock and offend, push the limits of taste and all that...and that’s fine. A lot of people dig that sort of provocation. I just wish there was more of a point to it all.
I don’t know what I was expecting but it got so bat shit bananas that I was expecting some twist or sleight of hand to undercut what had happened...but no, its seems all this really did occur.
Somehow this family got hold of this dollar and lured the girls there with the intent to murder them, oh and put on a geriatric burlesque show in the process for whatever reason, for kicks I guess.
I wondered how did they get possession of said dollar in the first place. Also, where is the proof that it was said dolla? Is there a marking on it or something that I missed.
Other than that, it’s a very contrived set up that doesn’t seem necessary since it’s not followed up on. All that transpires is an extended killing scene. I mean, there are a thousand more plausible ways you could have these innocent girls cross paths with these weirdos.
Anyway, mildly amusing, particularly perverse but all rather meaningless.