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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  You Reap What You John Doe Moderators: bert
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  Author    You Reap What You John Doe  (currently 1477 views)
Don
Posted: March 8th, 2015, 11:59am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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You Reap What You John Doe by Mark Renshaw - Short, Sci Fi, Fantasy - A small town sheriff takes on more than he bargained for when three John Does come back from the dead. One claims to have travelled from the future to save mankind, while the other two seem intent on stopping him at all costs.  18 pages - pdf, format


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StevenClark
Posted: March 15th, 2015, 2:28pm Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Hi. Can't believe you didn't get more reads on this. You're a regular here.

Anyway, I thought this was pretty good. Your writing style is pretty clean, and the action was done well. Fast paced and urgent. It went by pretty quick.

While this is an adventurous read, I think it loses something by the end. I won't give spoilers, but we've seen this type of "open ended" ending before. I felt rooked really, and I believe a story like this deserves better.

Did we learn exactly Why William was trying to save Jenna. Was that his daughter or something? I would have to go back and read again. I kinda lost focus towards that part, and don't really know whether that was my fault or yours.

I'd go back and try to trim this a little. That never hurts. Your dialogue was good, amusing at times, which is good for an actioner.

Enjoyable read for the most part and I think you got a good one here. Just some tweaking to do, IMO.

Steve


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: March 17th, 2015, 4:41am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from StevenClark

Mark,

Hi. Can't believe you didn't get more reads on this. You're a regular here.


I know! I was starting to think I'd upset people on these boards lol!


Quoted from StevenClark

While this is an adventurous read, I think it loses something by the end. I won't give spoilers, but we've seen this type of "open ended" ending before. I felt rooked really, and I believe a story like this deserves better.

Did we learn exactly Why William was trying to save Jenna. Was that his daughter or something? I would have to go back and read again. I kinda lost focus towards that part, and don't really know whether that was my fault or yours.



Thanks for the read and the comments. SPOILERS AHEAD - I do agree the ending needs work, in fact I think from the moment our John Doe exits the canefield and heads towards the hospital I started to struggle with this so any suggestions are welcome. The lady in question is his wife. He is the older version of the Doctor who did the tests and he's gone back in time to rectify a mistake that cost her her life. I think I need to make that more obvious.

Cheers,

Mark



For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Athenian
Posted: April 12th, 2015, 12:37pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Mark,

I've read all your three latest shorts, but decided to leave a comment on this one due to the -undeservingly- little attention it got.

This was interesting and entertaining from start to finish. Really liked it. It is true that you should make some things clearer. Like Steve, I wasn't sure about the relationship between William and Jenna. At first I thought he just used to be her doctor and felt guilty for the mistake that cost her life. Perhaps you could add a couple more clues (other than calling her with her nickname) indicating a more personal bond.

Another thing that I find confusing is the role of the Eternals. Is their mission to prevent people from changing the past? Perhaps I missed something, but some more information might be helpful.

Anyway, good work overall. A really enjoyable, action-packed script.

Manolis
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Iancou
Posted: April 12th, 2015, 1:57pm Report to Moderator
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Mark,

I enjoyed the read. It was quick paced and did not lag at any point. Now as far as the reason for John/William going back, I find it hard to believe it was because his future wife died from a mistake he made. It was a leap for me that a physician developed a timetravel machine, or such device, or highjacked one. So were the eternals really bad if they were trying to stop him from changing history? Also, how could he not change history regarding Jack and Rosco, but not Jenna? These aren't so much gaps or holes as simply unexplained and, with some clues, may allow the reader/audience fill the gaps themselves.

Ian


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13thChamber
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Reminded me of the terminator a lot. This was a quick read and had some good scenes in it (Roscoe breaking out the baton and saying "Let's dance". Reminded me a lot of Al Bundy's "Let's Rock" phrase). Some things could have been clearer, but overall a solid read. Keep it up.


13th
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MarkRenshaw
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Quoted from Athenian
Hi Mark,

I've read all your three latest shorts, but decided to leave a comment on this one due to the -undeservingly- little attention it got.
Manolis

Thanks Man(olis)   – I was beginning to think this was a dud due to the lack of responses so it’s good to see people are enjoying it, even if it does need more work.  

Quoted from Athenian
I wasn't sure about the relationship between William and Jenna. At first I thought he just used to be her doctor and felt guilty for the mistake that cost her life. Perhaps you could add a couple more clues (other than calling her with her nickname) indicating a more personal bond. Manolis

A few people have said that now which means I really must make this clearer it is his wife he is going back in time to save. I want the reveal to be a surprise but not so subtle as no-one gets it, yet at the same time I don’t want the guy to come straight out and use expositions. Tricky, I’ll have a think.

Quoted from Athenian

Another thing that I find confusing is the role of the Eternals. Is their mission to prevent people from changing the past? Perhaps I missed something, but some more information might be helpful.

There’s a fairly large backstory to this which I simply couldn’t fit in. Originally I had John explain pretty much everything to the Sheriff in the car but it went on for AGES and was so bad exposition I cut it all out. The Eternals are from some distant future and they turned up when mankind first started being successful with time travel. They took over and now rule with the whole planet under a kind of a super marshal law. The Eternals like the future just the way it is and they will do anything they can to stop the timeline being altered.

Quoted from Iancou
Mark,
I find it hard to believe it was because his future wife died from a mistake he made. It was a leap for me that a physician developed a timetravel machine, or such device, or highjacked one. So were the eternals really bad if they were trying to stop him from changing history? Also, how could he not change history regarding Jack and Rosco, but not Jenna? These aren't so much gaps or holes as simply unexplained and, with some clues, may allow the reader/audience fill the gaps themselves.
Ian

Hi Ian, thanks for the read and the review. Your point is something I had not considered, I didn’t think anyone would think John had invented time travel but now that you mention it, that could be a conclusion someone could draw from this.

There’s a backstory to this and it’s substantial, not something I could easily slot into this story without loads of exposition. I did try but it ended up in a long, boring and very obvious talk just for the audiences benefit between John and the Sheriff in the car.

It’s how to fill the gaps and give clues to the audience without it being obvious and not part of the natural story, that’s the tricky bit!

John didn’t invent time travel, he simply used it; illegally I may add. He high jacked it like you said. He saw an opportunity to go back in time and save the love of his life but the Eternals saw what he was doing and tried to stop him. The Eternals are from some distant future and they turned up when mankind first invented time travel and took over. They don’t want the timeline changing. Even though time travellers cannot directly alter the timeline they can discreetly change it via influence as John discovered.   John only goes back to save his wife but it seems has more of an effect than he intended as the two Eternals disappear from existence when he changes the timeline.


Quoted from 13thChamber
Reminded me of the terminator a lot. This was a quick read and had some good scenes in it (Roscoe breaking out the baton and saying "Let's dance". Reminded me a lot of Al Bundy's "Let's Rock" phrase). Some things could have been clearer, but overall a solid read. Keep it up.


Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. I certainly need to work on this some more but thanks to the comments it makes me believe it is worth doing another draft.

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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DanC
Posted: April 14th, 2015, 1:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Mark
    I'm reading your script right now.  My strength is breaking stuff apart, so, I'm both learning and hopefully, helping others too.

1.  Isn't your first sentence written in past tense?  Isn't that a no-no?

2.  Rosco Coltrane?  Dukes of Hazard fan?  No shame, that show was fun back then, and Catherine Bach in those Dazie Dukes, well, yeah....

3.  Be careful, you use a lot of terminator references, you don't want to get sued for not getting permission.

4.  So, John Doe tells them don't let them touch you, but, he's got at least one handcuffed to a radiator.  That's not good!!

5.  OMG, not project Honey Boo, that's too close to Honey Boo Boo and you don't want to be associated with that, do you????

6.  How does one pull their tongue out at them?

7.  Wait, you just changed the rules.  You had stated that the Eternals had to touch you.  But, they seem to send their touch long distance to the 3 big dudes?  I don't get it??

8.  At the end, you say "Williams body fades away"  it should be WILLIAM'S you need the ' in there.

9.  Not crazy about the end.

If it's true that he just wanted to save her, then why do the Eternals want her to die?  I need to know a lot more about the WHY's.  

Overall, it was good.  It was easy to follow and fun to read.  I think you broke your own rules at least once, but, that's what a rewrite is for.

I think you need to expand a lot of the story you state in your comments about the story.  I think you can tighten up your language on the piece too.

Best of luck
Dan


Please read my scripts:
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-series/m-1427564706/

I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

Thanks
Dan
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MarkRenshaw
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Quoted from DanC
Hi Mark
    I'm reading your script right now.  My strength is breaking stuff apart, so, I'm both learning and hopefully, helping others too.
Dan


Hi Dan. Honest feedback is priceless, I appreciate all of it.


Quoted from DanC

1.  Isn't your first sentence written in past tense?  Isn't that a no-no?
Dan


Ummm…maybe? Lol, I keep on doing that, I’ll fix it, cheers for pointing it out.


Quoted from DanC

2.  Rosco Coltrane?  Dukes of Hazard fan?  No shame, that show was fun back then, and Catherine Bach in those Dazie Dukes, well, yeah....

Dan

Correct! It’s weird, the actor who played that character died a few weeks after I wrote this script, maybe the Eternals finished him off? Also the coroner is based on Jack Klugman who played Quincy ME in the old TV show of the same name. If you are not familiar with the show it was like CSI way before CSI was first aired. Man I’m old!


Quoted from DanC

3.  Be careful, you use a lot of terminator references, you don't want to get sued for not getting permission.
Dan


This story is inevitably going to remind people of Terminator so I decided to acknowledge this. Referencing pop culture is not subject to copyright laws but I’ll have a look when I do the next draft and trim them (I’ll be) back.


Quoted from DanC

4.  So, John Doe tells them don't let them touch you, but, he's got at least one handcuffed to a radiator.  That's not good!!
Dan


Jack is handcuffed to the radiator so he doesn’t interfere, not an Eternal. John is winging it here on a very limited timeframe. He doesn’t really have a plan apart from getting to Mercy hospital any way he can and warning Jenna. He didn’t even plan on the Eternals finding out what he was up to and following him. The odds are completely against him. He’s laying all his cards on Rosco’s assistance figuring a Sherriff has more chance than a coroner.

Quoted from DanC


5.  OMG, not project Honey Boo, that's too close to Honey Boo Boo and you don't want to be associated with that, do you????
Dan


I had no idea about Honey Boo Boo. I’m from the UK, just Googled it and OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE? What a terrible TV show, I am definitely going to change the code words next draft!


Quoted from DanC

6.  How does one pull their tongue out at them?

Dan

Bit of UK slang there, I’ll change it to sticking their tongue out, blowing a raspberry; something like that.


Quoted from DanC

7.  Wait, you just changed the rules.  You had stated that the Eternals had to touch you.  But, they seem to send their touch long distance to the 3 big dudes?  I don't get it??
Dan


The Eternals want to stop John but they need to get by Rosco, Rosco says he won’t kill unarmed men but he will shoot them in the leg if they don’t surrender. The Eternals then distract Rosco briefly with the young lady who happens to walk past, while this happens three workers walk out of the reception and the Eternals touch them and order them to the restrain the Sherriff. Again this is just a delaying tactic. They can’t kill Rosco because that will change the timeline and they don’t want that, they just want him out of their way so they can stop John.
I did want the three workmen to be as just a surprise to the audience as they are to Rosco but maybe I need to specify they walk out of the building while he’s dealing with the lady. I hoped everyone could put two and two together here but perhaps I need to specify it.


Quoted from DanC

8.  At the end, you say "Williams body fades away"  it should be WILLIAM'S you need the ' in there.
Dan

Very true, thanks for spotting that.


Quoted from DanC

9.  Not crazy about the end.
If it's true that he just wanted to save her, then why do the Eternals want her to die?  I need to know a lot more about the WHY's.  
Dan


Fair enough.

I’ll just explain a few things about so bear with me. Whenever people discuss time travel they say “Well if time travel is possible, where are the time travellers?”.

I wanted to create a scenario which explained that. If time travel turns the traveller into what appears to be a temporary corpse, then  such attempts would end up in them becoming a John (or Jane) Doe for real while in such a vulnerable state. The few who did recover then find they can’t directly change the timeline and start to lose their future memories very quickly. Therefore they end up in a time where they don’t exist nor do they have any future knowledge to aid them. I imagine such people would be considered insane or end up living rough on the streets.

The problem with this scenario is John doesn’t have much time to explain things to the audience and this made writing this a challenge; I almost wrote myself into a corner. The way it is now, the audience are pretty much in the same seat as Rosco. They don’t know what the Eternals are, they just get the idea they are bad and John should be trusted, just as Rosco does. I do like this. I feel it adds to the tension and conflict in the story, whereas explaining everything may detract from that.

So the trick is to try and get some more of the backstory across without losing the great elements John’s predicament entails. Or do I leave the audience in the same boat as Rosco and that is enough? It is something I need to consider.

Regardless, you and the others who have commented have given me a lot to think about, for which I am truly grateful.

-Mark  


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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DanC
Posted: April 15th, 2015, 2:25pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark
    Those are good responses.  Hey a fellow Dukes fan.  Yeah, I heard he died.  YOU killed him!!

Nah, it was sad, but, people do die.  And I was a HUGE Quincey fan back in the day.  I was super excited when CSI started b/c it reminded me of Quincey.

Yep, we are old.  I remember a lot of TV shows ahead of their time.  Star Blazers, Prince Planet, Kolchak, the night stalker, Circle of Fear, and plenty of others.

Good to talk to a fellow "grandpa!!!"

You do know that if you write yourself into a corner, just change the corner a bit, right?  Give him a bit more time so that it's easier to follow.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the frantic pace that occurred.  But, don't let that stop you from making sure we know what is going on.

How many times have we seen 30 seconds take 5 minutes in a tv show or movie?  People do it all the time.

I should get royalties b/c I saved you the horror of being associated with HONEY BOO BOO.  Yeah, I figured you didn't know that show.  

I want it known that the ONLY reason I know of that show is b/c South Park spoofed it.  I have never and will never watch that crap.  

I do like some reality TV, like Face/Off - the show about makeup artists trying to break into hollywood.  The season just ended, and I gotta say, once again, the level of sportsmanship is second to none.  And that is the primary reason why I love this site.  All of the people I have chatted with have been awesome.

I guess where I had the 3 guys walking out from the hospital is different from where you did.   It could be me.  If no one else felt that way, then I'd ignore it.  I just felt they weren't that close to the Eternals.

The biggest issue that I think needs answered is WHY?  I can understand why William wants to save her.  Now, unless I understood it wrong, the entire part about the world dying b/c of the woman was a lie.  William wanted to save her b/c he misdiagnosed her.  At least that's what Rosco said.  

If that's the case, then why do the Eternals want her dead?  What makes her so special?  And if she is responsible for the death of most of the world, why do the Eternals want this to happen?

And why does the nickname hold such power as to reboot his brain?  I loved that aspect, that his brain keeps going backwards in time.  that was an awesome twist.  But, I need to know why these things work.  

And by the love of all that us holy or unholy or whatever floats your boat, DON'T CALL IT HONEY BOO!!  

Like  I said, it was good, and hectic, and I liked how you handled it, and I might even copy a bit from your style (not story) b/c you make it so easy to read.

Best of luck with it.

And I don't think it'd be that hard to shot either.

take care
Dan


Please read my scripts:
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-series/m-1427564706/

I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

Thanks
Dan
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MarkRenshaw
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Thanks Dan for all your responses. I'm generating plenty of ideas in my weird old brain for the next draft

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Mark

“Three JOHN DOES are lined up on steel tables. The middle
stiff is in his early sixties, the others mid twenties.”

- Great opening image, arresting.

It’s a personal style thing I know but I always have to wonder why writers don't put character ages in numbers instead of writing. It takes up less space and stands out more for the reader.

“for the fact their chests rise and descend slowly.”

- Ha, great touch. Creepy too.

JACK
You tell me, they are your John
Does. I was preparing to autopsy
grandpa Schwarzenegger when he
started doing that. The Agent
Smiths kicked in a few minutes
later.

- Good dialogue, I'm liking the sharp tone so far.

JACK
Only theory I have is that
lightening storm that they were
found in.

- I would drop the second “that”

JACK
Even that’s stretching the bullshit
factor to the maximum though.

- I'm glad Jack uttered this caveat because his previous speculating wasn't a very Medical Examiner(y) thing to say

JOHN
I’m a time traveller and I’m here
to save the future.

- Ha, I love how he says in the previous line that he "don't have time for niceties" and then proceeds to speak very plainly of what he is and the nature of his visit. Say what you want but the man is as good as his word! (with hindsight of course, he's clearly not )

“As if on cue the two other John Does rise up like vampires
after a daytime nap.”

- Good prose

“John drags Rosco out of the office into a...”

- Great opening scene overall. Yes, the zombie tropes are there as well as the overt Terminator and The Matrix references but it’s an interesting combination that gives it some degree of originality. Some funny moments in there too.

I like you resisted the temptation to have Rosco blast the eternal and Jack away. That would be the go-to dramatic bravura statement for most writers. Instead, Rosco is understandably unsure about these revelations John is throwing at him and, in reality, would be reluctant to take such drastic action as firing on someone. Plus, I appreciate that, in terms of story, you need at least one Eternal to survive.

However, that aside, wouldn't John insist that Rosco kill them while they have them contained in that room? One less thing to worry about, you know.  

“Rosco drives, John rides shotgun.”

- Or perhaps they have actually killed them. It’s just done off screen.

JOHN
Tonight she’s back
in with a fever and a genetically
modified virus that wipes out
ninety percent of mankind in less
than a year.

- Mmm, very 12 Monkeys-ish...not a bad thing.

ROSCO
What do you mean if you don’t make
it?

- Shouldn't Rosco also be worried that he's been asked to protect a girl with an extremely deadly and super contagious virus?

JOHN
My cells were in quantum flux.
They’ve stabilized now but my mind
is still unstable. I’m losing
future memories, I can feel it
happening. Very soon I’ll become
weird.

- Ha, I'm liking these rules-on-the-go, very Inception-like. This can be problematic sometimes but to your credit it’s done in a fun way here with a bit of humour. Plus, it adds some interesting dynamics to the situation.

“It crawls to a stop next to a CANEFIELD.”

- Is this a reference to "Looper"...or was that a maize field?

“He finds John curled up on the floor examining the fingers on one hand.”

- I small thing but “the fingers” could be “his fingers” just for clarity as I thought for a moment that he was looking at someone else’s.

“Jack exits from the drivers side, the two Eternals from the
rear.”

- Oh, so they weren't dispatched. As I said, other than plot reasons you have to wonder why John didn't demand Rosco deal with them back at the Coroner's place whne they had them cornered.

“He grabs John’s arm and leads him away”

- It’s a cool twist though how Rosco is now the one leading the way with John the clueless sidekick, nice role reversal there.

ROSCO
Wait, what was it you said I had to
say to you? Project Honey...

- Plus, he also said to just get to Jenna and forget everything else, including him I imagine. Sorry, it’s tough love but John needs to be left behind! He's nothing only a hindrance now.

ETERNAL #1
Whatever Mr. Anderson has told you
is a lie.

- Wow, his name is actually Mr. Anderson?

“He pulls his tongue out at them and then runs inside the building.”

- So even with the memory recall he still remains a child?

“Rosco notes over their shoulders that the Eternals head into
the hospital”

- This line reads a bit awkward and needs a full stop at the end. Plus, how did the Eternals get past Rosco? Isn't he still in front of the door with a gun regardless of the beefy men coming towards him?

“Rosco flies around the corner. He draws his Glock.”

- How did he deal with those aforementioned beefy dudes I wonder?

JENNA
Not you as well?
(to the Receptionist)
Does everyone know about my results
expect me?

- It should be “except” instead of “expect”

“DOCTOR BILL ANDERSON (20’s) arrives.”

- Another Anderson?!

ROSCO
William?

- Ah!

RECEPTIONIST
Well I’m only telling you as you
are an officer of the law and all,
but her tests came back showing
early signs of Mesothelioma. Very
treatable at this stage but we got
her files mixed up as you heard. If
she had walked out of her thinking
she had the all clear, god knows
what might have happened!

- Officer of the law or not, a hospital receptionist with the merest ounce of professionalism and discretion would never divulge this kind of intimate information. As a result, it totally feels like it’s for our (the reader’s) benefit. I wonder is there another way you can convey this information?

“Rosco walks agitatedly out of the Hospital while he talks to
someone on the phone.”

- "walks agitatedly" reads a bit clumsy. I know what you’re saying but it could be phrased better. How about: “An agitated Rosco walks out of the hospital, talks to someone on the phone.

ROSCO
Yes, I said Merci Hospital. Can you
tell me why the hell I’m here?

- How come Rosco doesn’t  know why he is at the hospital? The subsequent dialogue has me thinking he is starting the sequence all over again. As if he is stuck in some sort of time loop that ends at the hospital and begins again with him going to Jack’s office to look at breathing John Doe’s...except now there are five?

I enjoyed the read but had some issues with it which I touched upon in my page by page notes. It took an interesting twist at the end when we find out that there was a much more personal goal that John/William was after and not some save-the-world mission.

However, that led me to wonder how he was able to travel back in time, risk the inherent dangers that come with it, for, what most would deem, a fairly insignificant reason. Yes, it means everything to John/William but outside of that, it has no bearing on the rest of us. I figured that time travel would be reserved for world influencing stuff. It always is, right?

So how would John/William be given access to such technology? We get a brief flashback of him going through the process which reinforces our belief that what he’s saying is the truth, but when it turns out its not, then I have to question how he was able to do it. Did he slip the security guard 20 quid or what

We find out he’s a doctor so its not like he’s someone high up in the government or a powerful figure that would be able to call in such a favour like "Hey, do you mind if I use the Hydron Collider to save my girl" (presuming he and Jenna did start a relationship)  

Also, while I enjoyed the combination of Terminator, Agent Smith and zombies in the Eternals I couldn’t really grasp what or why they were doing what they doing. I know John/William doesn’t have time to explain but if he was indeed back in time to save the world, why would these guys have a problem with it? That’s what was going through my head from the beginning and made me suspicious of John/William’s motivations, the veracity of his story. Especially when Eternal #1 said to Rosco that everything John/William has told him is a lie. I was inclined to believe him.

So I take it they were people sent back to stop the renegade John/William from fiddling with time for such a small personal matter, right?

Also, what's up with their ability to seemingly hypnotize people into doing their bidding by just touching them? As far as I could see, the script takes place in the real world bar the time travel element so this otherworldly ability jarred somewhat. Is it some new found power of our subconscious that has only been harnessed in the near future? i know you can't really explain it within this short script but t did feel randomly shoehorned in there to give them some added menace.

Anyway, all that aside, this had some good stuff in it. A strong message of devotion across time (a la "The Fountain") and the will to right a previous wrong while also containing some laughs. There was a welcome lightness of tone to it. I just wish the overall concept overall so muddled and vague in parts.

Col.


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MarkRenshaw
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Hi col – thanks for the great review. I’ll just pick up on a few points.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

I like you resisted the temptation to have Rosco blast the eternal and Jack away. That would be the go-to dramatic bravura statement for most writers. Instead, Rosco is understandably unsure about these revelations John is throwing at him and, in reality, would be reluctant to take such drastic action as firing on someone. Plus, I appreciate that, in terms of story, you need at least one Eternal to survive.

However, that aside, wouldn't John insist that Rosco kill them while they have them contained in that room? One less thing to worry about, you know.  


I envisioned Rosco as a good cop and a good man. He has a gut feeling about John but he’s not sure about anything at this point. Although the Eternals do some weird shit they don’t try to harm anyone, just stop them from interfering in time.

They even say ‘Restrain the Sherriff’ not ‘Kill the Sherrif’. It’s tough enough trying to sell to the audience that John does enough to convince Rosco to help him at all but it would be harder to convince them that Rosco decides to believe John completely in the first few minutes to the point he’s willing to kill.

He does suggest to Rosco that he shoot them but he knows if he pushes too far it may hinder his chances.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

- Shouldn't Rosco also be worried that he's been asked to protect a girl with an extremely deadly and super contagious virus?


Not at this point. When she leaves the hospital John’s story is her results are clean. This is the point in time they are trying to intersect, to stop her getting the virus at all.  Well that’s what John wants Rosco to believe anyway. It’s easier to get somone to help out if they think the future of mankind is at stake!


Quoted from Colkurtz8

- Ha, I'm liking these rules-on-the-go, very Inception-like. This can be problematic sometimes but to your credit it’s done in a fun way here with a bit of humour. Plus, it adds some interesting dynamics to the situation.


I set myself a challenge with this story. 1 – Come up with a way to explain how Time Travellers could be among us but we are not aware of them and 2 – Put the audience in the position of Rosco. They know as little or as much as he does as he discover it. This challenge almost made me write myself into a corner several times lol!


Quoted from Colkurtz8

“It crawls to a stop next to a CANEFIELD.”

- Is this a reference to "Looper"...or was that a maize field?


I didn’t mean it to be like Looper but I guess it is. I just wanted to try and keep the production costs down and have a way for John to run away from Rosco as his future memories are stripped away.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

“He pulls his tongue out at them and then runs inside the building.”
- So even with the memory recall he still remains a child?


Yes, this is quite hard to get across without exposition in the story but John has been programmed to remember her. He’s effectively a child at this point in an old man’s body but he remembers her. That’s what the words Project Honey Boo (I’ve changed that name in the latest draft as I was unaware of the rubbish reality TV show lol) are for, a hypnotic trigger.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

“Rosco flies around the corner. He draws his Glock.”

- How did he deal with those aforementioned beefy dudes I wonder?


In the latest draft I have Rosco sporting several cuts and is bleeding to show he’s had a fight and somehow managed to overcome the possessed workers. I figured seeing him with his baton and knowing he's had combat training as an officer of the law the audience would figure out he could come out on top in such a fight.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

- Officer of the law or not, a hospital receptionist with the merest ounce of professionalism and discretion would never divulge this kind of intimate information. As a result, it totally feels like it’s for our (the reader’s) benefit. I wonder is there another way you can convey this information?


I agree. This is so obvious exposition and I cringed as I wrote it (even though I see stuff like this all the time on TV) but I can’t think of another way to get this across effectively. Maybe if I make it obvious this is her first day on the job or something?


Quoted from Colkurtz8

- How come Rosco doesn’t  know why he is at the hospital? The subsequent dialogue has me thinking he is starting the sequence all over again. As if he is stuck in some sort of time loop that ends at the hospital and begins again with him going to Jack’s office to look at breathing John Doe’s...except now there are five?


This is where it gets all wibbly-wobbly-timey-whimey to quote from my favourite TV show, Doctor Who. John/Bill has changed the timeline. In saving his wife to be he no longer needs to go back in time to save her. The timeline fixes itself, wipes out old John, wipes out the Eternals and wipes the memories of old John from Rosco’s mind.

As the original Eternals are also wiped out from the timeline, maybe they no longer exist at all? However the twist at the end is some of them have survived and they’ve sent more agents to the past to try and rectify the changes in the timeline brought about by Bill. That's the intent anyway. I just wanted a way for everyone to think the whole story has finished but then leave it open at the end.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

However, that led me to wonder how he was able to travel back in time, risk the inherent dangers that come with it, for, what most would deem, a fairly insignificant reason. Yes, it means everything to John/William but outside of that, it has no bearing on the rest of us. I figured that time travel would be reserved for world influencing stuff. It always is, right?


There’s a bit of a beefy backstory to this which I originally had john tell Rosco in the car and then I removed it as it was terrible TERRIBLE exposition. In the new draft I do have it all starting from the Hadron Collider pool and it being obvious that Bill has sneaked in using someone’s help. I also have a quick extra line where he tells Rosco the Eternals don’t want the timeline changed because they are happy the way time is and don’t want to risk changing it.

The basic backstory is the Eternals are from some distant future. As John says they are not human. They do have superhuman mind control abilities, however they may even be humans who have evolved over millions of years.

Once humans invent time travel and worked out the mechanics (turning up in the past initially dead, reanimation, the inability to directly change anything and then the subsequent loss of future memories) the Eternals turned up (via time travel themselves!) and took over; deeming all time travel illegal. Bill, with the help of a resistance group, breaks into a time travel facility and manages to make the trip back.

For him it’s a chance to save his wife from dying, for the group a chance to experiment to see if the timeline can be indirectly changed via influence.
The Eternals don’t want any aspects of the past changed. Bills mission is a chance for them to see if they can and what would happen to the Eternals if the experiment is a success. We see near the end that Bill changing time does indeed wipe some of them out from the timeline.

The problem is trying to get this all across in a short movie. I simply can’t unless I keep on expanding it and yet I don’ think there’s enough there for a feature…yet anyway.

Thanks again Col, I really appreciate the notes

-Mark  


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MarkRenshaw  -  May 14th, 2015, 10:00am
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Mark


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
Not at this point. When she leaves the hospital John’s story is her results are clean. This is the point in time they are trying to intersect, to stop her getting the virus at all.  Well that’s what John wants Rosco to believe anyway. It’s easier to get somone to help out if they think the future of mankind is at stake!


- True but that window of time is very small. John tells Rosco that she is getting the all clear now...but she’ll be back in tonight with the virus. Thus, it’s very possible that the risk of infection would be present all during that period. Anyway, it’s a small thing, I just thought Rosco would have made some acknowledgement of the precarious task he’s been asked to do. I mean, John can just offer reassurance and the story can continue as written but at least it would be addressed.


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
I didn’t mean it to be like Looper but I guess it is. I just wanted to try and keep the production costs down and have a way for John to run away from Rosco as his future memories are stripped away.


- Yeah, it’s just that it felt so random (not in a bad way), and given there were allusions to other films already in the piece, I figured this was another one.


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
In the latest draft I have Rosco sporting several cuts and is bleeding to show he’s had a fight and somehow managed to overcome the possessed workers. I figured seeing him with his baton and knowing he's had combat training as an officer of the law the audience would figure out he could come out on top in such a fight.


- Mmm, I dunno if we would readily make that assumption based on his training, it’s still 3 against 1, and yes they are “beefy”! Showing some cuts and bruises would help but why not intercut the fight with what’s going on in the hospital? Right now it feels skimmed over, not to mention a missed opportunity to let your protagonist kick some bottom on screen!


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
I agree. This is so obvious exposition and I cringed as I wrote it (even though I see stuff like this all the time on TV) but I can’t think of another way to get this across effectively. Maybe if I make it obvious this is her first day on the job or something?


- First day on the job might work but yeah it’s a tough one. Maybe Rosco could be more forceful in extracting the information. The receptionist is reluctant to divulge so he pulls out the “I’m an officer of the law, ma’am” card to intimidate her. This combined with it being her first day may just overcome the expository/implausible impression I get off it now. Rosco perhaps hears that she new on the job and uses that to his advantage.


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
This is where it gets all wibbly-wobbly-timey-whimey to quote from my favourite TV show, Doctor Who. John/Bill has changed the timeline. In saving his wife to be he no longer needs to go back in time to save her. The timeline fixes itself, wipes out old John, wipes out the Eternals and wipes the memories of old John from Rosco’s mind.

As the original Eternals are also wiped out from the timeline, maybe they no longer exist at all? However the twist at the end is some of them have survived and they’ve sent more agents to the past to try and rectify the changes in the timeline brought about by Bill. That's the intent anyway. I just wanted a way for everyone to think the whole story has finished but then leave it open at the end.


- Yeah time travel will fu?k with your head. I just presumed  this would be a new timeline starting from now on with the virus being prevented but Rosco still retaining everything depicted in the previous 17 pages. Why wouldn’t he? Is this another one of those Inception-ish rules bolted on here I appreciate what you did with the extra bodies though as it does leave us wondering, in a good way.


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
In the new draft I do have it all starting from the Hadron Collider pool and it being obvious that Bill has sneaked in using someone’s help.


- If you start from this point though won’t it give away the twist in terms of Bill’s motivations? If we see that he’s snuck in we’ll know he’s up to something, not what he seems, etc. Despite my reservations with some elements of the script as its written now, I do feel the twist is withheld and revealed at just the right moment.


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
The basic backstory is the Eternals are from some distant future. As John says they are not human. They do have superhuman mind control abilities, however they may even be humans who have evolved over millions of years.

Once humans invent time travel and worked out the mechanics (turning up in the past initially dead, reanimation, the inability to directly change anything and then the subsequent loss of future memories) the Eternals turned up (via time travel themselves!) and took over; deeming all time travel illegal. Bill, with the help of a resistance group, breaks into a time travel facility and manages to make the trip back.
For him it’s a chance to save his wife from dying, for the group a chance to experiment to see if the timeline can be indirectly changed via influence.

The Eternals don’t want any aspects of the past changed. Bills mission is a chance for them to see if they can and what would happen to the Eternals if the experiment is a success. We see near the end that Bill changing time does indeed wipe some of them out from the timeline.

The problem is trying to get this all across in a short movie. I simply can’t unless I keep on expanding it and yet I don’ think there’s enough there for a feature…yet anyway.  


- Yeah that’s certainly juicy stuff but like you say, it could only really be tackled in a feature length script. An 18 page short unfortunately leaves us with too many “whys?” “Hows?” and “Whos?” in the narrative.

Best of luck with it going forward. Let me know if you do expand it, I’d be interested in taking a look.

Col.


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