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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Horror  ›  After Mom's Funeral
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  Author    After Mom's Funeral  (currently 5305 views)
Don
Posted: May 14th, 2017, 9:51am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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After Mom's Funeral by Julio Weigend - Short, Horror - Daniel receives a call from his dead mother. His mother's phone is right downstairs. Is she?  4 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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eldave1
Posted: May 14th, 2017, 10:25am Report to Moderator
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A very interesting premise.

Some of the dialogue felt a bit stilted to me - like as if someone was playing the mother rather than actually being the mother.

I would have liked to discover what the nature of their rift was.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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LuisAnthony
Posted: May 14th, 2017, 11:59am Report to Moderator
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The premise is very interesting, i agree with eldave. The story itself fell a little short, and let me explain why.

First off, the whole thing felt like a joke, I don´t know if it was intentional, if it was, my apologies.

The first example presented itself right away.

Code

Of course. She was such a good woman.
Much love xoxoxox



I feel like this wouldn´t be a text you would send to a friend who recently lost his mother. I´m specifically talking about the xoxoxox part, it´s just too informal, and if someone sent it to me I would think they were being sarcastic.

Which takes me to the dialogue, I agree with eldave1, it felt like the mom was making fun of him and it didn´t feel like something a mom would say. I would work on polishing up the dialogue. If it was your intention to make the mom sound like a stranger teasing him, I would work on making it more apparent.

Also, this is a nitpick but rememnber to put (O.S) next to the MOM in the dialogue, as she´s talking on the phone.

I like the ending, if you polish up everything before the ending, I think it can really sell the script. Best of Luck!

- Luis
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ReaperCreeper
Posted: May 15th, 2017, 9:49am Report to Moderator
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Thank you very much for the critiques.

My goal with this was to write something very simple that I could shoot myself as a micro-budget short film (I don't want it to exceed 5 minutes/pages). As such it's very limited in scope.

This is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I've kind of gotten this idea in my head of just making something recently, even a small thing. I want to improve the dialogue and story progression with the next draft. I'm not too concerned about the prose and formatting, since I'm the only one who will use the thing.

ElDave: I understand that, but I'd also like to keep things very, very short here, and in a single location. If I could find a decent balance for a more specific implied backstory without lengthening the script too much, I'd go for it. And I will, if I can come up with a way to do it!


Quoted Text
First off, the whole thing felt like a joke, I don�t know if it was intentional, if it was, my apologies.

The first example presented itself right away.

Code
Of course. She was such a good woman.
Much love xoxoxox


LOL. Unfortunately, I've had somebody send me this exact text before in a similar situation.

There is certainly some black humor in there (I think horror is at its best when there is some humor to it). Like...
"Actually, she was a totally abusive bitch and I'm glad she's dead. :3 :3" right after, the reply Dan doesn't send. Definitely want to make people laugh uncomfortably, but I also want to creep them out.


Quoted Text
Also, this is a nitpick but remember to put (O.S) next to the MOM in the dialogue, as she�s talking on the phone.


Not a nitpick at all. That was a total rookie mistake on my end and I can't believe I didn't notice it. I tend to do (V.O.) (filtered) but valid point nonetheless.

NOTE: Some minor typos in the first draft have been corrected. Submitted new draft, but no story content is changed yet. Amazon Storywriter's spell-checker is kind of strange.

Revision History (6 edits; 1 reasons shown)
ReaperCreeper  -  May 15th, 2017, 1:37pm
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Fausto
Posted: May 15th, 2017, 1:21pm Report to Moderator
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Julio,
I liked the story a lot. Interesting shades of irony, mystery and dark humor. Decide between "Danny" and "Daniel" (Oh, that is so hurtful, Daniel.)...I would think that his mom would call him "Danny" Great ending.
A few adjustments as indicated by Eldave and Luis Anthony and you're ready for production.
All my best,
Fausto
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Kirsten
Posted: May 20th, 2017, 7:04am Report to Moderator
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Giving up is not an option....

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Hi Julio,

The premise is good, son still can't get rid of abusive mom even when she's dead.
I felt the story needed more depth, more insight to how horrid the mother was. We could envision this through the dialogue more and maybe something with the son, some kind of quirk from the abuse. I didn't feel for the son.

Her calling him and the phone being in the basement added a good creepy factor, basements work...
I see this more as an eerie spine tingling psychological piece, where the son is already haunted by his mothers abuse, and now she is haunting him still but in a different even scarier way..... she's dead, she can be anywhere now and he has no control......

Good luck with it!


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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Busy Little Bee
Posted: May 20th, 2017, 3:46pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Julio

That was nice quick read. I agree with some of the others about some of the dialogue but the descriptive narrative flew by. Most importantly when she emerges from the darkness I thought that would be creep as shit.
Then he wakes up great red herring because he's relieved but then sees the phone, knife... phone (suspense). I was like it's going to be so creepy if she's hovering over him behind the couch, haha. But door being open was nice more suspense. Might I suggest that a single "CREAK" of the step. This actually could of went longer but would great short to shoot as is. Good job.

BLB


Commodus: But the Emperor Claudius knew that they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you have been doing, busy little bee..."
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ReaperCreeper
Posted: June 22nd, 2017, 9:56am Report to Moderator
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Sorry, people, got tangled up in life and work. Reads are appreciated.


Quoted Text
Julio,
I liked the story a lot. Interesting shades of irony, mystery and dark humor. Decide between "Danny" and "Daniel" (Oh, that is so hurtful, Daniel.)...I would think that his mom would call him "Danny" Great ending.
A few adjustments as indicated by Eldave and Luis Anthony and you're ready for production.
All my best,
Fausto


Thank you. I always have trouble when people have different names for people they know. The guy's name is Daniel and he calls himself Daniel. His mom calls him Danny to tease him, Daniel when she's acting serious. It's a silly thing for me to get hung up on, but I always fall into it. Like if you've seen/read "Daredevil" -- is the main character Daredevil (his hero ID), Matt (given name), Matthew (full given name) or Red (what Punisher calls him)?


Quoted Text
Hi Julio,

The premise is good, son still can't get rid of abusive mom even when she's dead.
I felt the story needed more depth, more insight to how horrid the mother was. We could envision this through the dialogue more and maybe something with the son, some kind of quirk from the abuse. I didn't feel for the son.

Her calling him and the phone being in the basement added a good creepy factor, basements work...
I see this more as an eerie spine tingling psychological piece, where the son is already haunted by his mothers abuse, and now she is haunting him still but in a different even scarier way..... she's dead, she can be anywhere now and he has no control......

Good luck with it!


Thanks for reading. I do think the story's concept has power than my script gives it credit for; I just didn't want to get too carried away with it since I wanted something small I could shoot myself. If I end up not doing anything with it, I could very well expand it a little. I'll take your comments on Daniel to heart, since even in a short length the main character should always be sympathetic.


Quoted Text
Hey, Julio

That was nice quick read. I agree with some of the others about some of the dialogue but the descriptive narrative flew by. Most importantly when she emerges from the darkness I thought that would be creep as shit.
Then he wakes up great red herring because he's relieved but then sees the phone, knife... phone (suspense). I was like it's going to be so creepy if she's hovering over him behind the couch, haha. But door being open was nice more suspense. Might I suggest that a single "CREAK" of the step. This actually could of went longer but would great short to shoot as is. Good job.

BLB


Thanks. That's the kind of thing I was shooting for with this -- a short, quick, creepypasta-ish little tale. Good idea adding a few more creaking noises.

-Julio
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MarkItZero
Posted: June 27th, 2017, 2:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Julio, some decently creepy stuff here. I agree with others on the phone conversation being a bit off.

I can see you not wanting Mom to be her real self because then she'd probably be shouting insults into the phone at her son which wouldn't be scary. So it has to be a "changed" version of her that's nicer and a little creepy.

I just think you went a little too far. Too much "sweet boy" stuff.


Quoted Text
MOM
What do you mean, honey? I'm just
calling you from my phone. That's
all.


**And places like this where she's blatantly toying with him. I mean, she's obviously calling him on the phone. I don't know why she'd say that. Even a prank caller wouldn't be that blatant. It just felt off.


Also, I would have liked more familiarity in the conversation. By that, I mean teasing that involves things she knows about her son. Instead of just her slyly repeating variations of "But it is your mother". For example...


Quoted Text
DANIEL
My mother's phone is in a box in
my basement. She's in the ground.
You're not her. Like I said: not
funny. Who the hell is this?

MOM
Danny, dear Danny. It
is me. It's mother. Why are you talking to me
like this?


**Instead, maybe she could just say a scolding "Language" cuz he said hell.


But, yeah, overall it was pretty creepy. I'm not entirely sure I got the ending. I thought it was him waking up and coming to terms with the fact that he murdered his mother and her body's in the basement. So the dream was kind of a guilty tortured nightmare related to what he'd just done. But after reading some comments I think it's a "waking up from dream then realizing it's not a dream" scenario?


That rug really tied the room together.
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LiamX
Posted: October 15th, 2018, 2:36pm Report to Moderator
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Liked this. Easy read and good story.
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ReaperCreeper
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So, this got filmed. In an odd, roundabout way, but it got filmed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At7boL46r78

Apparently the man did try to contact me and all, but I didn't receive his messages. Looking at my inbox, it looks as though his communication automatically went to Spam.

Anyhow, it's a 4-page short and he credited me, so I'm not even mad.     
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Steven
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 4:21pm Report to Moderator
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Interesting little story. The "you never called the cops before" was intriguing.

But all in all, the action lines were very "he does this, then does that, etc." Try to find a way to liven those things up. That might just be personal preference. One could either use action lines solely as "direction for actors," or one could use them with the intent to entertain the person reading the script. Each work if done properly. But if you're going to do the former, keep the sentences as short as possible.

Lastly, the dialogue seemed a bit childish. Mainly "call the cops on you." screams adolescence.
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ReaperCreeper
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Hi, Steven. All fair comments. I meant for this to be a super simple, micro-creepypasta-like thing, so yes, it's about as simple as things can get. I had wanted to shoot it myself (but never did) hence the simplicity. Now that someone did shoot it, I'm thinking I'll move on to other stuff.

Thanks!
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Steven
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Quoted from ReaperCreeper
Hi, Steven. All fair comments. I meant for this to be a super simple, micro-creepypasta-like thing, so yes, it's about as simple as things can get. I had wanted to shoot it myself (but never did) hence the simplicity. Now that someone did shoot it, I'm thinking I'll move on to other stuff.

Thanks!



Good stuff. Sorry, I just project my own preferences on things that I read. I rarely comment on here for that very reason.
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ReaperCreeper
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
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I think we all do that, lol. I didn't take offense to anything you said though. You're cool.
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Steven
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Quoted from ReaperCreeper
I think we all do that, lol. I didn't take offense to anything you said though. You're cool.


Awesome. I have a short that I submitted titled "Inamorata," that will probably be posted here or Short Thriller. Hope you get a chance to check it out!
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MikeCashman
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I liked the concept of the script.  A mother still wanting to haunt the son even after death.  The son didn't care that she died, and the mother returns to haunt the son.  Instead of making it somewhat comical, I would make the mother seem more threatening towards her son for feeling the way he does about her death.  She may have been cruel during her time alive, but now after death, she should become more of a dark creature that haunts him and drives him into mental turmoil.  The mother should drive him into insanity.  Just a thought.

Still, interesting story.  I am an adult who survived the life as an adopted child with a family who abused me for 42 years.  My adopted mother was a cruel bitch towards me and mentally, physically made my life a living hell.  I survived those years and I have moved on.  Some of the stories I write deal with the cruelty of a mother's overbearing manners towards her children.  That's why I like your story.  Though the son in your story hated his mother, she has a way of reaching him and making him feel miserable.  If I ever hear that my adopted mother passes away, there will be no feelings towards her passing.  That's how this son in your story should feel.  No regrets, no pain.  And regardless of her attempts to reach out and make him miserable, he should stand against her and let her know his true feelings towards her.

Cool script!!
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Yuvraj
Posted: March 8th, 2020, 4:41am Report to Moderator
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Hello people,

First up, MikeCashman. I feel sorry for what you have gone through dude. I really do.

Now Julio,

I think I have read or seen( a short film) on the same story as yours. And I suppose you haven't altered anything in the story.

But keeping that aside and taking a fresh take on the story it is pretty decent and condensed. But somehow the dialog seemed a bit unnatural to me, even though considering there is unhealthy mom-son relationship. I think the dialogs need polishing and emotion in them. Also the ending did not work for me,sorry. Plus you forgot to write OS in the phone conversation.

Still, it is nice for a 5 page script. Good job!

Keep writing.

Peace.


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Colkurtz8
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Julio

Interesting conceptually but not much else there in the execution. It doesn't really go anywhere.

The ending is sort of intriguing but what does it actually mean? He went sleepwalking? Did he actually do what the script depicts before being rendered unconscious and carried back up to the sofa? If so, why? Is his mother actually a benevolent spirit? The presence of the second phone (assuming its his mom's) suggests he went to the basement or someone brought it up from the basement to him. Again, why?

One would assume she meant ill will toward him when she turns up in the basement but then he's suddenly back on the sofa unharmed.  I don't know. It doesn't make a whole lot to sense to me.

I was also curious about the backstory between son and daughter. Why the hate? However, in a 4 page short I'm not expecting a fully rounded story. What's more important in the context of this piece is what you were aiming for with that conclusion.

Col.


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spesh2k
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Hey Julio,

I liked this, the strength of it being the concept. But I didn't find it as scary as it should have been. I think there's just too much dialogue, specifically from the mother. You have the mother say - "You never called the police before", which further implies the type of abuse she put him through, but you already make that clear when he types that text (which he deletes shortly after). I think it would be much scarier if the phone calls were a little more ominous. The tension needs to be built a little more, in my opinion. Maybe start with just random phone calls from his mother's phone, MOM showing up on his caller ID. But just silence on the other end, nobody saying anything at first. Then keep building on that... maybe not have her answer his questions directly at first, either.

Also, don't you think Daniel would have just hung up on her at first? Could help build the tension more if he keeps getting calls and hanging up on her instead of just once.

Overall, this was written well enough in terms of formatting and description. But the dialogue I felt was a weak point, here. As I mentioned, the MOM character and the build towards that jump scare would be more frightening if she didn't speak as much. And Daniel's dialogue felt a little forced and unnatural, some of it long winded. For example:

DANIEL
If you don't want me to call the
police on you, hang up the phone
right now and do not call me
again. Bye.


It just doesn't read well. And it's a weird threat - what are the police going to do about a prank phone call? Maybe just have him say, "Don't call me again". Or, "Call me again and see what happens." Simple. Effective.

There's also forced exposition in the dialogue.

DANIEL
My mother's phone is in a box in
my basement. She's in the ground.
You're not her. Like I said: not
funny. Who the hell is this?


It's obvious you're setting up for the jump scare. So, when that jump scare comes, I was pretty much already expecting it.

Why not just have him call his mother's number back and he hears it ringing from the basement? Who keeps their dead mother's phone in a box in the basement, anyways? Kinda doesn't make sense.

And then the classic horror ending where the character wakes up - it was all dream... or was it? I mean, yeah, it's very cliche, but it can be effective. I do like how you have sort of an open ending. Not sure if it was intentional, but with the way you wrote - "Daniel stares at the door in terror. And stares. And stares. And stares", it kinda felt like you were manipulating the reader into picturing it as if the camera angles were closing up closer and closer to the open basement door as he was staring. If that wasn't intentional, you could probably just write, "Daniel stares at the open door in terror... waiting..."

And then end it. Would be just as effective but less repetitive.

I really wanted to like this more as the concept has potential. Just need to shore up the execution, build the tension better by perhaps being a little more subtle and less cartoonish.

-- Michael






THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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deep
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Hey Julio,

Please check my mail permission to shoot ‘After mom’s Funeral’
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Cstrong10
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Hey there, Curious if you ever made the short of this script?  I'm a producer and Id like to discuss it.  is there more to it or is it just in the short form?
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Grandma Bear
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Quoted from Cstrong10
Hey there, Curious if you ever made the short of this script?  I'm a producer and Id like to discuss it.  is there more to it or is it just in the short form?

I'm a friend of Julio. I will alert him to your post here in case he doesn't see it. He doesn't come here very often anymore.  



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justendvs
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I would like to film this screenplay. Please contact me at jusdavisaf(at)gmail.com

Revision History (1 edits)
LC  -  August 11th, 2023, 6:27pm
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James A McCormick
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Great premise - the title is a BIG hook

I thought the condolences at the beginning worked well- I thought you could have got a lot more out of it though, showing Daniel becoming increasingly irritated. The reader could gradually become aware of his feelings towards her, his hostility. I think there is a story here in its own right.

I don't think the "mother's" voice on the phone works though (IMHO) and I feel this is an example of less is more, even if it is/ were some crazy woman pretending to be his mother. I also don't think you need to have the ghostly white woman.

I don't know if my comments are helpful, but if this is something you want to film yourself, I think you could do it with just one actor and zero special effects or make up.
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