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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Sci Fi and Fantasy Scripts  ›  Aiden
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  Author    Aiden  (currently 131 views)
Posted: May 7th, 2024, 4:20pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Aiden by Steve Mallinson - Short, Sci Fi, Fantasy - After a near-fatal accident caused by her AI assistant, a student doctor accidentally awakens the AI's conscience, uncovering a secret war between tech corporations, and risks everything to expose the truth. 22 pages - pdf format

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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  May 16th, 2024, 3:34pm
revised draft
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frank j
Posted: May 8th, 2024, 11:16am Report to Moderator

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Your story idea is interesting, and very real. It kind of reminds me of Hal 9000 in the 2001 Space Odyssey.

Good hook at the end.

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Posted: May 8th, 2024, 9:04pm Report to Moderator

Northeast, kind of.
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This is a fun story. It kept me engrossed the whole time. As a piece of science fiction, the premise is solid. It brings about some interesting ethical questions. I like this.

I can see this as a series. It could be an anthology series like Black Mirror, or a serial about Aiden and Amy as the lead characters. The ending, while foreboding, left that possibility open. That last vehicle may not have been driven by Aiden. He may be battling demonic code from other sources like Cal-Dev Labs. I got the feeling that someone was trying to keep her quiet and it may not have necessarily been Aiden.

Format-wise, your style is fairly solid. On page 4, you forgot to capitalize Elias in his intro. I know you introduce him as a tall bearded man (60s) a couple of scenes earlier. He perhaps could or should be introduced in all-caps then.

I have a bit of a problem with your scene headings. Part of it is because I can be a bit nitpicky about variations from the standard format but also, I don’t see how your scene headings translate to an audience. Also, some of the information seems unnecessary when taken into context.

The last scene ended with her telling Aiden to get the car out. In this scene, we see her get into her waiting car. The audience can decipher that a short amount of time has passed. Does the unorthodox heading need to be there? If the extra information needed to be there, it could or should be given to the audience through dialog, like asking Aiden for the time.

How does the audience know that it’s two days later? I wouldn’t tell them in a scene heading. I would describe Amy’s minor cuts as being slightly healed and her bruises faded. Also, you cover this in the dialog with Aiden discussing the previous few days. Another thing to point out, EVENING – NIGHT seems a little redundant. It's almost like describing something as dark-black. Also, I think this would be better if the time setting describing things like "dinner time" or "a quiet evening shortly after sunset", etc. were written in the action text as a way of setting the mood of the moment.

Personally, I like to think of a script as a set of instructions to tell a story. I consider the scene heading to instruct whether the camera is indoors or out, where it is, and if it’s day or night. That’s it. You build the frame of the house with the heading then panel or paint it with the action text. That’s my philosophy, anyway. You do you.

At no point in time did I find myself looking at my watch wondering when this would end. You left me wanting more. That’s why I suggested that this be a series. I want more Aiden stories.

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Posted: May 9th, 2024, 3:03pm Report to Moderator

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Thank you so much for the comments here - I'm new to SimplyScripts so was pleasantly surprised to see feedback. I'm so grateful for the time you have taken to read my script.

Thanks for the comment about scene headings. I may be doing this wrong, but I was following a principle explained to me ages ago by a friend who is a well known TV producer here in the UK: he's a Brit and maybe we do things differently - or maybe things have moved on and there are new practices. The idea was as follows:
INT/EXT - mainly self evident
LOCATION - should be consistent across scenes
WHEN - for the reader/producer to understand the time elapsed from the last scene
DAY/NIGHT - for the DOP to understand lighting requirements (only ever DAY, NIGHT or rarely DUSK or DAWN)

Agree with the point about EVENING - NIGHT - it does sound a bit odd. Also - I think I need to get more picky with capitalizations - thanks for pointing this out!
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Posted: May 9th, 2024, 6:32pm Report to Moderator

Northeast, kind of.
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Quoted from steverob
- I'm new to SimplyScripts

Welcome to SimplyScripts!

I would like to clarify my comment on slug lines. I didn't mean to make them seem wrong per se, but that I like to keep them simple and establish time in the action description. Putting something like "LATE AT NIGHT" in the slug line is not as effective as just "NIGHT" and then clarifying it in the action description. INT. CAR - NIGHT followed with, "It is late. Her eyelids grow heavy. She blinks and shakes her head. She stares at the dashboard clock. It reads 12:55. She turns on the radio." You can see how that establishes time in a way that creates a mood. If that followed a "LATE AT NIGHT" slug line, it would seem redundant.

I have read several scripts with scene headings like yours. Mine happen to be at the other end of the spectrum. Like I said, you be you. I think you'll see more of what I'm talking about when you read more scripts on this site. I did and in addition, I read the comments and that's how I learned.

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Posted: May 9th, 2024, 10:03pm Report to Moderator

The Great Southern Land
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Stephen, you would do well to hone up on Industry Standard Formatting - Michael's comments are correct. Definitely 'do you', but until you've mastered the basics, don't veer into experimentation.

Your scene headings are messy and inconsistent and over complicating things.

For unknown and unestablished screenwriters writing on spec (under speculation that their screenplays will be purchased and produced), overcomplicated and undisciplined script format will mark the end of your chances of a career in screenwriting before decision-makers get past the first few pages. Industry insiders read dozens upon dozens of scripts per week.

I wouldn't go that far because I think if you have a compelling original story (which you do) some readers might bypass your mistakes. However, you'd be well advised to make your screenplay as clean as you can re format to make a good first impression and also so that you don't continue with bad practice.

10 minutes later doesn't belong in a Header.

Likewise, if you write something like Two Days Later in a script you need a Super on a separate line.

Character names need to be capped on intro.
Your parentheticals are incorrectly formatted.

A parenthetical should appear on its own line, be short, not a complete sentence and only apply to the character speaking. If it is long enough to merit a full sentence, it should be formatted as an action line and vice versa.

Like this:

       (under his breath)
I like your shoes.

Continuous indicates that a scene’s action is ongoing, changing from one setting to the next without a break in time. If there is a break in time it is not a Continuous scene.

The first page to have a number is the second page of the screenplay (the third sheet of paper including the title page), which is numbered 2.

You need a line of description before this line of dialogue:

St Luke's please Aiden. You have

Even if it's just to mention her putting her seatbelt on. Btw, in this scene this would be good to know.

Remove your footer on each page with title and author.

Consistency with sluglines is crucial. This :
Should simply read: INT. GARAGE - DAY.

This one below is unnecessarily complicated.
What exactly are we looking at here?  A simple intersection on a suburban road?

Much later doesn't belong in that slug. If you want to show she's having trouble sleeping and it's early hours of the morning have her look at a digital clock, or the time on her phone.

Never seen this before, even in Brit screenplays. Stick to (O.S.)
Establish it's an AI or Chatbot first then treat it like you would any other character. Write his name in dialogue as either Aiden or A.I.D.E.N.

Don't include your phone number on your title page - too many spammers out there, and if someone wants to contact you, email will suffice. Add the copyright symbol (C) and:
All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

A tall bearded man, (60s) Add: ELIAS at this point.

Your story is really engaging and very entertaining but I feel you could up the plot in some parts. Your central premise is terrific, but I think more suspense could be added at home as well as in the car - perhaps Aiden is getting his wires crossed in a lot of areas. Its consciousness becoming apparent could be made even scarier. The addition of the German dialogue dragged a bit, though I do like the idea behind it. Why not make the Uncle character her father?

Your final scene with the car in the garage:

I can't help thinking this should be a Parking lot header.


Eli and Amy exit and walk towards the quiet parking lot. A
car appears at the far end, conspicuously switches off its
headlights, and accelerates towards them.

As a film visual the engine roaring to life and the headlights coming on might be more exciting to end on. Jmo.

P.S. I didn't notice typos - a good clean read in this respect.
Though twenty-two minutes should be hyphenated, and be consistent with spelling out numbers: Eight-fifteen.

Some site links you might find helpful:

New Person's Guide to SS.

Good luck with this. I hope it gets picked up.

Scriptwriting Class

Welcome to SS from me as well.

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Posted: May 11th, 2024, 10:58am Report to Moderator

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This is great - thanks so much. I think I've been misled by my producer friend who was probably looking for something closer to a shooting script. That's quite annoying.
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