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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Drama Scripts  ›  Grandpa's Story
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Don
Posted: December 13th, 2019, 6:12pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Grandpa's Story by Steven Sallie - Short, Drama - Eric, a 13-year-old who's less than thrilled with spending Christmas Eve at his grandparent's house, gets a different point of view on life after hearing a story from his grandfather.  12 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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SAC
Posted: December 17th, 2019, 11:25pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Steven,

I read this because I thought it was a Christmas story (says it in the logline) but there's no Christmas to be had here. If Christmas Eve is indeed when this takes place I kinda think you need to show it a little. I don't recall reading anything even remotely suggesting it's Christmas -- no tree, decorations. Nothing. Anyway...

It was a cute story and I do like the sentiment, but this reads rather pedestrian as there's nothing really happening here. Sure, I get what you were going for, but it needs some punch to it. Maybe Grandpa's story can have some kind of correlation to what Eric is going through, being a teen and all in 2019. It needs some kind of hook.

It's up to you, dude. And trim, trim, trim. This could have easily clocked in at 9 pages instead of 12. Don't think you needed all that chatter in the beginning as it didn't really add much to the story.

Steve


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MikeCashman
Posted: July 10th, 2020, 9:03am Report to Moderator
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The story in no way shows any signs of "Christmas".  When the Grandfather hands the Grandson the soldier, he says, "Merry Christmas".  That's it.  Regardless, I like the script.  It basically is teaching a small but valuable lesson for children, accept and respect what you have in life.  Cherish and love those who provide the life you have.  Don't ever take for granted all that is given to you.  There are many in this world that are not so blessed and fortunate with simple things like "Wi-Fi" or the "Internet".   Eric was already thinking negative thoughts about visiting his Grandparents.  Eric believed that it would be boring.  Eric learns more than he had bargained for with his talk with Arthur, his Grandfather.  

I don't believe I ever had a real heart to heart talk with either of my Grandfather's while they were living.  I respected both of them, but never really got to have a deep conversation with either of them.  One was always medically challenged, and the other acted as though he didn't want to be bothered.  The times that I was able to spend with either of them brings back sentimental memories.  Still, I feel as though I never got to really know them while they were here.

A good script, but it definitely needs some "Christmas Cheer" added to make it feel like a Christmas Eve setting.
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rosinraisin
Posted: December 30th, 2022, 11:07am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven, I'm practising script reading/ reporting and so I've written some rather detailed notes!

I hope you find them useful. Would appreciate feedback on my feedback


Grandpa’s Story is a sweet, family-focused script with a clear story arc. The concept - a teenage boy must learn to appreciate his family more - is clear, yet too simple. For this concept to be more interesting to audiences, there needs to be a darker edge to the story, or more unique characters.

The script is clearly structured. It opens with the family driving to the grandparents’ house with Eric complaining about the visit. Eric is at first bored during the visit, before he begins his conversation with his grandpa which causes him to change his attitude towards his family. The final scene shows the family driving away again, with Eric having a ‘much happier expression on his face this time’. Eric has clearly undergone an emotional journey, which is expressed in his altered behaviour towards his family.

However, the change that Eric undergoes within a 12-minute script seems too dramatic, which makes it feel unrealistic. Eric’s character is well established at the beginning of the script, with his sarcastic, humorous dialogue. I particularly liked his opening and closing lines in the first scene. However, as the script progresses, his character seems completely changed, simply saying “I love you” to his parents and not talking much at the end of the script. Why not make his character develop in a more gradual way? He could retain the humour and some of the teenage moodiness of his character, while undergoing a small, more realistic change within the short time frame.

This reads like a very light-hearted, gentle family story. At the moment we see a normal family, a normal teenage boy, with normal problems. Could the stakes be raised? What does Eric risk by opening himself up to his family? What are the consequences if he doesn’t start to appreciate them more and remains grumpy and closed off?

It would also be good to see him be set back by more obstacles before the conversation with his grandpa which causes him to undergo a change. Perhaps Eric could try several attempts to stave off his boredom before the interesting conversation begins? Within his conversation with his grandpa, a key point is that Eric’s parents are away a lot and Eric feels lonely. However, this is not demonstrated within the actions/ dialogue up until this point. Could we see an example of Eric feeling lonely? Is he upset that no one is talking to him when they arrive at the grandparents’ house, or is he just bored? Perhaps he could try to join in the conversation and he is ignored. This could make the plot more compelling.

Although Eric’s character is established at the beginning, he does appear to be a fairly stereotypical teenager. For example, his complaints about it being boring to stay at his grandparents’ house and not having internet are not very specific. These would be standard concerns of any teenager. Could we find out more about why Eric in particular is resentful about this trip? Is there a reason why he doesn’t normally enjoy spending time at his grandparents’ house? He mentions at the beginning that he is missing ‘John’s party’ - is there more to be drawn out of this? If Eric misses his parents when they are away working, as he admits later on, is he resentful towards them?

The other characters are not so clearly defined. The grandma, GAIL is shown to worry a lot and is stereotypically maternal. Could she have more of an edge to her? Eric’s mum and dad are not particularly distinctive from each other. Eric only bonds with his dad and his grandpa - which makes me wonder what the function of the female characters are within the story, apart from making dinner for the others and completing the ‘perfect family’ picture. It could be a more interesting story if it wasn’t such a perfect, nuclear family.

To make the supporting characters more distinctive, I would try to make their dialogue more unique from each other. One line stuck out to me, when the dad (Alan) says “Thought you two got kidnapped by aliens.” We don’t know much about Alan’s character so it is unclear what this is showing about him.


The dialogue is well written overall, with some gentle humour which adds interest to the story, especially at the start of the script. More humour later on could avoid the story seeming too moralistic. Eric and Arthur’s conversation is the climax of the story and continues for over four pages. It’s a long time for the characters to be in the same position - sitting/ standing. Could there be something visual happening at the same time? For example, the grandpa could be acting out elements of the story he is telling. Or, could this conversation be broken up at all with something else happening?


I also think that some of this dialogue could be cut down, especially when Arthur is talking about family and how Eric should appreciate his parents. Not everything needs to be said explicitly, for example, at the end of the scene when Arthur says “Just remember you’ve always got your family”, it feels like this point has already been made clear. I also found it unlikely that Eric would laugh in response to “They can’t read your mind. You have to talk to them”. He is an awkward teenager, and it seems unlikely that he would be self-aware enough to immediately accept his grandpa’s advice.  
I liked the moment where Arthur tells Eric to be thankful he’s not “getting shot in the ass with shrapnel” - it adds some humour which is a surprise after the sentimental statements.
A couple of questions about specific things which distracted me from the story: is an ‘eye job’ a thing?
What’s a MASH unit? Would Eric know what that is?

Finally, it’s mentioned in the first line that the story is set on Christmas Eve, but this isn’t included at all in the rest of the script. Is Christmas Eve relevant to the story?

Overall, this is a well-structured script that has a clear moral message about appreciating your family. However, the plot and characters need more work to increase the uniqueness of the story which will in turn grab the audience’s attention and keep them invested in the narrative.

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