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You're a good writer. I was able to see what you wanted me to see. The problem I had with this one is in the logic of the story. What I have an issue with is why are all these people, who are apparently strangers, camping together out in the middle of the woods. Just seems odd to me.
I really did like the Mallory Goode ghost story. And on a surface level, I kind of like the surprise ending.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and feedback Zack.
I was going for: various strangers staying on a campsite are drawn to the fire for a hallowe'en party -an earlier revision did make that a little more explicit, I think maybe I trimmed it back a bit too much then.
PS. The title of your Horrific Tales script had already caught my eye, I had already bookmarked it to read soon, I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.
The writing could do with a polish but it was easy enough to get through. I enjoyed the way the story was told. You did it well. I just don't understand the connection between Red Riding Hood and Mallory Goode.
I am aware that you mentioned the one reveller wanting to tell a story where the Big Bad Wolf beats Red Riding Hood, and you throw this twist in at the end. I just don't see the conncection with Mallory Goode. I think for this to work well, that you need to play around with the concept some more. Take it one direction or the other.
So, either go with the camp fire story where a witch really comes and kills them. Or do the Red Riding Hood horror parody. The first one is easy, the latter will take hard work.
Could you give me a quick example of where the writing could do with a polish? I'm not quite sure what you mean exactly?
As for the other point - OK it seems I will need to try to make it clearer?
But in case you're interested to learn the thinking here -
- the one reveller (SIMON) does not want to TELL a story where a Big Bad Wolf beats Red Riding Hood, at this point he is still just wanting to goad BLADING MAN some more (his comment is shouted AT BLADING MAN). He is wearing a wolf mask - Balding Man is wearing a Red Dressing Gown (and matching slippers!)
So Simon (who is really feeling that Wolf Mask) wants Balding Man (whom Simon is digging to call 'Red Riding Hood') to know that he thinks he could kick his ass if he dared to come back over to the fire again.
There is no connection between the stories. - the witch story is intended as a diversion only. - the witch story is quite long on purpose as I wanted the reader to forget about balding man - so I could hopefully get a real shock moment when he eventually comes back into play...
Anyway, cheers for the feedback - much appreciated - I'll think how to make the above a bit clearer (without giving the game away...).
In the distance atop a hill, the ruins of an 18th Century
church are silhouetted by the moonlight. Trees become forest
until - a clearing littered with cars and tents. All is
peaceful ‘cept for a rowdy group gathered around a campfire,
their shadows dance outward.
I don't really follow the unwritten rule (although it has been written by many in the past) that says one should not go over 4 lines. The only reason that unwritten rule is there is that it should rarely take more than 4 lines to write what is in one shot. In the above example, you could easily remove '...their shadows dance outward.'
All is peaceful except... doesn't work for me as a visual scene. We're in a forest at night so of course everywhere but the group will be relatively peaceful. Reading further, I see that you meant that the rest of the campsite are asleep, but that's not what you described in the initial block of action. All is peaceful actually means that everybody else is asleep and not that the rest of the forest is quiet. This needs to be clearer.
The above block should also be broken up as it seems to be three different shots to me.
Between flickers we see they are wearing horror masks:
We see? Isn't it obvious that it is what we will see? You may have seen this done in old scripts but it's frowned on these days because you are wasting words.
That's all I have time for, I'm afraid. Nothing I have pointed out actually hurts your script to the point that it will prevent somebody (that wants to make a story like this) from producing it.
Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to provide the above examples and advice, it is really appreciated, and makes total sense. I'd not actually heard that unwritten 4-line rule before but I get it - learning all the time - I'm new to all this writing stuff... (this is my 2nd effort)
Funnily enough I envisioned a single long zooming shot for the intro block, covering all three elements (church, tress to forrest, campsite).
I might actually film this one myself...
Anyway thanks again - really appreciate your help good sir.
Yes, I thought that was what you were getting at, it's just not as clear as it could be. It's also very dark so if you were outside filming this one intro scene you'd probably need a crane or do it in several shots. Either one will have lighting issues.
I was on set once and we all used our car headlights shooting through a wooded area to create more light. You'd need to get a fair amount of power out there. Then you have to ask yourself... is it all worth it for a short when you could just start right in the campsite.
I'm just a writer, I have no clue about the camera aside from my slim experiences on set. Maybe you could do it easy.
Okay, I just read this and loved it. I liked the setting, the masks, the banter was fun and realistic, the ghost story was interesting, and the ending got me good! I liked the writing, no worries there. I just can't complain with this. I hope it gets filmed.
"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....
It's Matthew. I wanted to take out some time to review your script. Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but I've been a little busy. Here we go. I'll start with the technical aspects first, then go into narrative.
When it comes to the technical aspects of Mallory Goode, it’s formatted correctly, for the most part. When it comes to scene descriptions, I think you did a great job. I like the way you capture the campsite vividly— it's very easy to visualize. I only have a few minor observations regarding the formatting:
1.) The FADE IN: at the beginning of the script doesn’t need a dash between FADE and IN.
2.) Dialogue. The dialogue is great. Very natural. There’s a flow to it that doesn’t feel forced.
3.) On the first page under the camp site heading , you describes the church as “The ruins of an 18th century church are silhouetted by the moonlight.” It might work better as “We see the silhouette of what’s left of an 18th Century church.”, or something that flows better.
4.) On page 3 under the Simon character, there’s something in parenthesis (Loudly, and FAO Balding Man). What does this mean?
Other than that, I have no complaints about the formatting.
When It comes to narrative, I have some major questions about this script. What is the theme? What is the story about? Is it about an old man that turns violent on some kids at the campsite( because they were rowdy, and he'd been threatened.)?
One thing I noticed is that there didn't seem to be any stakes, as to what's going on between the kids and the man. I was thinking that It would almost work better if , the kids found themselves being pursued by the man (who could either be crazy, or an escaped convict or something like that).
That way, we have a reason to be invested in what's going on with them: What started out a night out with friends turns into a fight for survival. It'd be the perfect juxtaposition: The kids tell a spooky/horror story around the campfire, and end up being in a horror story themselves.
Overall, I liked the story. I think you have the framework for something really cool, If you introduce more dramatic tension into your story. Hope this helps.
P.S. I've got a re-worked version of the Courier, with your suggestion included. Send me your email, and I'll send it to you. Thanks again for your help with that.
1.) Well spotted - fixed. 2.) Cheers 3.) Good suggestion - I agree yours works better - fixed 4.) FAO = "For the Attention Of" I thought that would be well understood, may be not.
Narrative: yes exactly that - the older man turns unexpectedly/disproportionately violent cause one of them took the pi@@ out of him. Yes I agree it could be lengthened to raise the stakes, but I also like the shock value of the attack going out of the blue. I'll think on this.