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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Thriller Scripts  ›  No Recollection
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  Author    No Recollection  (currently 775 views)
Don
Posted: November 30th, 2018, 11:28am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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No Recollection by PH Cook (Angry Bear) - Short, Thriller - An alcoholic woman wakes up in a stranger's bed with no recollection of what went down the night before. 12 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work


Visit SimplyScripts.com for what is new on the site.


-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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eldave1
Posted: November 30th, 2018, 9:35pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
911 OPERATOR (V.O.)
Yes, maam. There will be a canine
team coming and theres a
helicopter nearby. Try to reach an
open area if you can and when you
here the helicopter, stay where you
are and wave your hands, so they
know its you


Typo - should be "hear" the helicopter

In terms of the story - I like the gist of it.  

MAJOR SPOILERS

Two things I didn't quite get.

- Why was Jenn so afraid of Robert right out of the gate? She hadn't seen the dried blood, heard his creepy stories, etc. It just struck me as odd that her first thoughts were to run off into the woods rather than simply asking for a life back to town.  For me, if you started there - i.e., she wakes up - WTF did I do and then Robert starts acting creepy or she notices stuff that raises alarm, then there is a catalyst for the foray in the woods.


Quoted Text
Robert bursts out laughing as the helicopter circles above.
Police dogs close in.


Robert helped in the murder yet doesn't care that his capture is imminent. That didn't make sense to me.

Like I said - liked the story thread and premise



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Angry Bear
Posted: November 30th, 2018, 10:18pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dave, thanks for reading!

This is sort of a collaboration between me and Kevin. I write the script, he writes the short story. The reason I posted it here is because we discussed all the backstory and emotions and stuff and I knew it would affect the script and I would miss things in the script and things wouldn't make sense.

The thing about Jenn being afraid of Robert right out of the gate needs to be re-written. In the short story, we're given the information that she's a severe alcoholic and often has blackouts. She's married and when she wakes up at a stranger's house, she's not really panicked about him, just panicked about not knowing what the hell she has done. I need to work on this so thank you for pointing that out!

The second point you make needs to be re-worked too. In the story, Robert really didn't do anything. He was just there when she killed him, but again, this is something that needs to be clarified in the script.

Thank you so much. Sometimes it's hard to step back far enough to see the issues, so any criticism is gold IMO.  


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GM
Posted: November 30th, 2018, 11:22pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Pia

Spoilers!

Good to see another short.

I guess it�s a writing style but I think it would be interesting to have the opening be Jenn�s POV.

Wouldn�t she notice the dried blood on her when she wakes up?  Wouldn�t she feel different?

Like eldave, I think it�s strange she wakes up already scared. Prob have him wake up as she�s planning to leave? You do describe him as a fox lol.

Can’t wait for this to be picked up.

Hope this helps.

Gabe

Revision History (1 edits)
GM  -  December 1st, 2018, 8:16am
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LC
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Pia, don't hurt me   for pointing to a couple of things I think you could revamp.

This description line:
Not much daylight manage to invade the room
through the cracks in the blinds.

'Manages' plural, at the very least.
Suggestion:
Faint daylight creeps through cracks in the blinds. Or: Early dawn's light...

Hair 'tussled' is in this case 'tousled'.
Hey, you might like 'tussled' - a vigorous struggle, as opposed to 'untidy hair' - tousled.
We get the meaning overall that she's a mess.

A handsome face on top a lean body.
'on top a' ? I know a lot of U.S. writers leave out the 'of' lately, and I'm being picky (and I know you're a Swede btw)  
What's wrong with: 'lean body, handsome face?' Don't mind me.

Sharp eyes scans the area
Sharp eyes scan the area...

Dave picked up the other typo.

Debatable, but I think 'why are you running' would be more immediate and threatening. I know she sat down there but she's still escaping. Same with ' I have to go/get home' instead of 'had' past tense.

Remember we had drinks?
Remember, we had drinks?
Remember...? We had drinks.

JENN
I did not kill my husband.

She repeats this because she's emphatic but it might add another nice layer if she were to say:

There's no way I could kill my husband.
Or:
I love my husband. I couldn't kill him.
Or:
You're crazy.

And then it dawning on her.

Jenn finds where the ringtone comes from.
From the newly dug grave...

Suggestion: A faint but distinct ringtone emits from the freshly dug grave.

'finds' is a bit static imho. Her face would be stricken too.

I like the misdirect with Jenn appearing to be the victim and Robert in pursuit. I do however wish Robert had heard her get out of bed straight away and come running. It could be trimmed, seems a touch long  all the running around. Jenn could wake and be shocked and scared at the blood all over herself.

The ending is a bit flippant. If they're in it together Robert should appear to be in pursuit but actually be desperate to stop her from calling the authorities - to save his own skin and hers.

Nothing comes of the dogs either. We should hear them barking and scrambling through the woods, or not at all. The 911 (dialogue) seems a bit too obliging and quick to send in the Calvary. Jenn needs to sound more desperate, breathless. In that regard  I'd delete Jenn saying ' that's why', delete the very accommodating 911 operator too - it's too quick. Have her get cut off, and then we see/hear the helicopter above.

All just suggestions.
Very entertaining.

P.S. The logline reminded me of your feature (alcoholic woman waking to a dead man in her bed). That was you, right?


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eldave1
Posted: December 1st, 2018, 10:53am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Angry Bear
Hey Dave, thanks for reading!

This is sort of a collaboration between me and Kevin. I write the script, he writes the short story. The reason I posted it here is because we discussed all the backstory and emotions and stuff and I knew it would affect the script and I would miss things in the script and things wouldn't make sense.

The thing about Jenn being afraid of Robert right out of the gate needs to be re-written. In the short story, we're given the information that she's a severe alcoholic and often has blackouts. She's married and when she wakes up at a stranger's house, she's not really panicked about him, just panicked about not knowing what the hell she has done. I need to work on this so thank you for pointing that out!

The second point you make needs to be re-worked too. In the story, Robert really didn't do anything. He was just there when she killed him, but again, this is something that needs to be clarified in the script.

Thank you so much. Sometimes it's hard to step back far enough to see the issues, so any criticism is gold IMO.  


My pleasure - glad you found it helpful


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Angry Bear
Posted: December 2nd, 2018, 8:23am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from GM
Hey Pia
I guess it�s a writing style but I think it would be interesting to have the opening be Jenn�s POV.

Wouldn�t she notice the dried blood on her when she wakes up?  Wouldn�t she feel different?

Like eldave, I think it�s strange she wakes up already scared. Prob have him wake up as she�s planning to leave? You do describe him as a fox lol.


Thanks for reading and providing feedback, Gabe.

I see what you're saying about doing it from Jenn's POV, but then I have to sort of stick with that, I think and I'm not sure I want to do that.

I need to clarify why she's horrified when she wakes up. She's horrified at her own behavior and wonder what the hell she's done. She doesn't wake up scared of him. I just have to try to figure out how exactly to do that. Tricky stuff.  

Thanks again.  

PS: What happened to your 7WC script? Did you finish it?


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Angry Bear
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Quoted from LC
Pia, don't hurt me   for pointing to a couple of things I think you could revamp.

Never ever would. You're a star in my book and such a helpful member that never asks for anything in return. Everything you suggests is taken seriously.


Quoted from LC

This description line:
Not much daylight manage to invade the room
through the cracks in the blinds.

'Manages' plural, at the very least.
Suggestion:
Faint daylight creeps through cracks in the blinds. Or: Early dawn's light...

Hair 'tussled' is in this case 'tousled'.
Hey, you might like 'tussled' - a vigorous struggle, as opposed to 'untidy hair' - tousled.
We get the meaning overall that she's a mess.

A handsome face on top a lean body.
'on top a' ? I know a lot of U.S. writers leave out the 'of' lately, and I'm being picky (and I know you're a Swede btw)  
What's wrong with: 'lean body, handsome face?' Don't mind me.

Sharp eyes scans the area
Sharp eyes scan the area...


Awesome! I have come such a long way when it comes to my English. Ask anyone who's been around here long enough to have read my stuff 10  years ago. I'm a slow learner, but I am getting better.


Quoted from LC

Debatable, but I think 'why are you running' would be more immediate and threatening. I know she sat down there but she's still escaping. Same with ' I have to go/get home' instead of 'had' past tense.

Remember we had drinks?
Remember, we had drinks?
Remember...? We had drinks.

JENN
I did not kill my husband.

She repeats this because she's emphatic but it might add another nice layer if she were to say:

There's no way I could kill my husband.
Or:
I love my husband. I couldn't kill him.
Or:
You're crazy.

And then it dawning on her.

Jenn finds where the ringtone comes from.
From the newly dug grave...

Suggestion: A faint but distinct ringtone emits from the freshly dug grave.

'finds' is a bit static imho. Her face would be stricken too.

Again, all good suggestions.


Quoted from LC

I like the misdirect with Jenn appearing to be the victim and Robert in pursuit. I do however wish Robert had heard her get out of bed straight away and come running. It could be trimmed, seems a touch long  all the running around. Jenn could wake and be shocked and scared at the blood all over herself.

I was thinking as a director there about the "running around". There would be lots of different shots of it and would play out longer on film than on the page, but agree that it might seem too long while reading.

I think I will do something with Robert straight away to make him seem more of a threat.

I put the room in darkness so that we the audience and Jenn too, would not see the blood on her.


Quoted from LC

The ending is a bit flippant. If they're in it together Robert should appear to be in pursuit but actually be desperate to stop her from calling the authorities - to save his own skin and hers.

Good thinking there!


Quoted from LC

Nothing comes of the dogs either. We should hear them barking and scrambling through the woods, or not at all. The 911 (dialogue) seems a bit too obliging and quick to send in the Calvary. Jenn needs to sound more desperate, breathless. In that regard  I'd delete Jenn saying ' that's why', delete the very accommodating 911 operator too - it's too quick. Have her get cut off, and then we see/hear the helicopter above.

All just suggestions.
Very entertaining.

P.S. The logline reminded me of your feature (alcoholic woman waking to a dead man in her bed). That was you, right?

Will look over that again. It's been a few days since I wrote it now, so most likely some of these things stick out like sore thumbs for me as well.

About the dogs. I was thinking again as a filmmaker here. A filmmaker with no budget. It's easier to add sound in post than actual dogs in the film.

You have an amazing memory. Yes, that was Blackout. My fist feature to be filmed and it was a 6WC script from here.

Thanks again Libby for your very helpful input.  


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GM
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Im in rewrite hell with my 7owc entry lol.

Gabe
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khamanna
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Hey, Pia.

It was a fun read filled with suspense. I was very much in the read.
The ending didn't work for me though for some reason.

At first, I couldn't' understand why Robert would want to help her but after some consideration, I think you got it covered. She's going to tell on him anyway, so the only way for him to keep all quiet is to convince her to keep her mouth shut.

But why would he help her? I think you left some things unsaid and that hurt the ending.

I loved the story though, all the unexpected turns, her fear and actually everything about it except for the ending.
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leitskev
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Working on the prose version.

My main problem was with the helicopter, which seems very over the top. I am trying to find some more subtle way to create that sense of enclosing danger. For example, I might have Robert's brother on the land nearby plowing with a tractor. I know a tractor is slow, but still threatening, and she ain't running anywhere.

If we really needed to, maybe there are a couple dogs running along with the tractor, playing, but a clear menace.

Robert's action at the end with the police closing in would have to be adjusted. He is an accomplice after all.

Can make it work.
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GM
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Well, Pia did make a valid point in that you can just have the sound of the helicopter and dogs. We don�t need to see it. Lol.

Gabe
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ABennettWriter
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I liked it, although it needs work. It feels like a scene from a feature instead of a contained short.

Jenn wakes up and sees Robert in bed. What tips her off that he's dangerous? I still think I'd shower after killing someone, even if I was dead drunk.

There's a lot of details that don't add up when you think about it.
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LC
Posted: December 3rd, 2018, 4:15am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Angry Bear
...
Awesome! I have come such a long way when it comes to my English. Ask anyone who's been around here long enough to have read my stuff 10  years ago. I'm a slow learner, but I am getting better.

Again, all good suggestions.
...

Will look over that again. It's been a few days since I wrote it now, so most likely some of these things stick out like sore thumb for me as well.
...
Thanks again Libby for your very helpful input.  

You're very welcome. Glad some of my comments were useful.

You have an amazing grasp of the English language considering it's not your native tongue, Pia. You must have worked hard at it.


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LC
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Quoted from ABennettWriter
I still think I'd shower after killing someone, even if I was dead drunk.  

The thing is that's what you would do, and probably the majority of people. An acting tutor of mine (years ago) reminded the class that what 'we might do is not necessarily the action someone else would take. This applies to writing characters too imh.

Jenn is a drunk. Not just someone on a one night bender.



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LC
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Quoted from leitskev
Working on the prose version.

My main problem was with the helicopter, which seems very over the top. I am trying to find some more subtle way to create that sense of enclosing danger. For example, I might have Robert's brother on the land nearby plowing with a tractor. I know a tractor is slow, but still threatening, and she ain't running anywhere.

If we really needed to, maybe there are a couple dogs running along with the tractor, playing, but a clear menace.

Robert's action at the end with the police closing in would have to be adjusted. He is an accomplice after all.

Can make it work.

Kev, I think it (the helicopter/dogs) just wouldn't happen that fast. Emergency operators ask way many more questions before sending in the big guns.

Perhaps you could just have an early morning jogger (maybe a dog walker), spring them both and spot the freshly dug grave.

Or, yes, just sound effects.


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leitskev
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Yeah. I am keeping everything but trying to replace the helicopter. Right now I have a man running a tractor across the street who looks like Robert's brother. And he has a dog running laps around the tractor. I'm hoping this creates some level of threat. I understand what Pia is trying to do here in increasing the pressure, I'm just trying to find a more believable way to do it. Working on it now!
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Angry Bear
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Thanks Khamanna for reading. I will take your thoughts in consideration as I'm re-writing this this afternoon.  


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MarkItZero
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Now that is a bad hangover!

I liked the story and I think this will work really well with plenty of mystery and tension. I was confused by the same stuff Dave mentioned which took me out of the read a couple times. But I see you realize you need to change that...


Quoted from Angry Bear

I need to clarify why she's horrified when she wakes up. She's horrified at her own behavior and wonder what the hell she's done. She doesn't wake up scared of him.



Maybe have her wake up alone, we see the wedding band, there's an empty vodka bottle next to her... then a noise from the bathroom, a male voice, she sees men's clothing and a wallet on the nightstand. She grabs the wallet, looks at picture of a man she obviously doesn't recognize, reacts with distress/shame.

She hears him flush, quickly scoops up her clothes and runs out.

Also, I would try and work in some line that explains this as a recurring issue. That she has these episodes where she wakes up and doesn't know what happened.


Quoted Text
JENN
Peter, I'm not sure what has happened,
but I'm okay and I'm on my way home...
I love you.


Could add something like...


Quoted Text
JENN
Peter, I'm not sure what has happened,
it's worse this time. I know you must be
worried. But I'm coming home... I love you.


As for the ending, I believe you're setting up Robert as some sociopath that she met at the bar and he gets sick satisfaction out of helping her kill her husband. I just don't think he'd be okay with the cops arriving. Even if he didn't do the deed, he's covered in blood so it's not a good look for him. Not sure how to fix this. Maybe he snatches the phone before she can call the cops? Although it puts good pressure on the situation having that ticking clock...


That rug really tied the room together.
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Angry Bear
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Thanks for reading James!  


Quoted from MarkItZero

As for the ending, I believe you're setting up Robert as some sociopath that she met at the bar and he gets sick satisfaction out of helping her kill her husband. I just don't think he'd be okay with the cops arriving. Even if he didn't do the deed, he's covered in blood so it's not a good look for him. Not sure how to fix this. Maybe he snatches the phone before she can call the cops? Although it puts good pressure on the situation having that ticking clock...


You nailed it! Robert is a psychopath. A serial killer in the making. When he meets Jenn and she tells him how angry she is with her unfaithful husband and that she would like to kill him, that's all it takes for Robert to take that step into killerhood. You are right about the chopper and stuff and I was working on this yesterday. Not finished yet. I woke up this morning to an email with someone enquiring about filming it, but I will still finish it because it needs a little fixing.

Thanks everyone for the reads and input!


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GM
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Called it.


Quoted Text
Can’t wait for this to be picked up.


Gabe
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Angry Bear
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Quoted from GM
Called it.

Gabe


We're still just at the emailing stage, but it's still pretty quick.  


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MatthewLincoln
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Pia,

Thanks for the info. Sorry it's taken so long to reply-- I haven't been online in a while.

I've read your script twice, now. My overall impression is that it's in interesting story. I think the potential is there for a really great script, however, there are some issues with execution. I'll start with the technical aspects first, followed by the narrative elements.

On a technical note, No Recollection is well written for the most part(I think I saw a couple of punctuation errors, but nothing major).

You did a great job describing the scenes, where the story takes place. It was very easy to visualize. Same goes for the chase sequence between Jenn and Robert.  

The dialogue is also a standout--especially the story that Robert tells about the cat(and how he relates that to Jenn's circumstances).  There was a scene that I think could've been condensed--particularly the scene where Jenn was looking for a location on her phone, and zooming out. I think that could've been shortened in a way that would still convey what's going on.

I have two issues regarding elements of your script. The first is when we're introduced to Robert. In his introduction, you wrote "His mind as cunning as a starving fox." Personally, I'd get rid of that as there's no way we can know that while he's sleeping, when we're just introduced to him. Just a suggestion, though. Secondly, you missed a FADE OUT at the end.

In terms of a narrative, it's an interesting concept. One of the things that stuck out to me was that Jenn had no memory of what happened. Was it from drinking? Is it a medical condition? I'm not sure if it will fit in your script, but that bit of backstory might help me understand better how the character got into that situation.

Also, when Jenn woke up, and ran out of the house. Given that there's another chase sequence later on, It might work better if the conversation between Robert and Jenn took place in the house, then a chase ensues leading to the husband's grave. Right now, it seems like she ran, had a conversation with Robert, then ran again. That leads me to my next point: Why is Robert chasing her? I was a little confused about that. Is he trying to kill her to prevent her from going to the police? If so, that needs to be clarified.

Also, at the end, Robert stood there and laughed as the helicopter arrived. That part rang a little false to me. If he did help Jenn kill her husband, It doesn't seem like he'd just stand there and laugh as the police were arriving (even if he were crazy, which he seems to be).

Aside from the points I raised, I liked it. I want to know more about what happens(The end felt like the set up for something bigger). It was a cool story. Hope this helps.

Matthew Lincoln

P.S. I'm doing some more work on Inescapable. It's more of a re-structuring, than a re-write(even though there were some scenes that were changed). Thanks for your insight, I appreciate it.
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Angry Bear
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Hey Matthew, thanks for the read and comments.

I think the fact that some things in the script are not clear is because Kevin and I had discussed prior what the story is about and who the characters are, so in my mind, I just assumed everyone else knew too. Stupid, I know.  

All your points make total sense and will be part of my re-write. I'm heading out on vacation in a few days and plan on re-writing then. I never heard again from the guy that wanted to film this, so Dena and I are planning to film this in March, or around there sometime. That way we would have a short story, a script and a short film.  

Thanks again for your helpful input.  


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MatthewLincoln
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Pia,

No problem. Good luck with your project.

Matthew Lincoln
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leitskev
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I experimented with a couple of changes in the short story version. Probably not going to go anywwhere.

I changed the ending, got rid of the heliicopter, gave her a kid(who is at home).

In prose, it was easier to create the character Pia envisioned. Pia wanted a character who was just confused from the drinking and the hangover, but someone who was struggling with a kind of breakdown, and that led to a kind of broken psyche.

So she's married and has a young child. The husband does not abuse her in any way, he is completely normal. However, in her mind she begins to see him as controlling, a kind of abuse. What is really going on is she feels trapped. She's in her early 30s, has a toddler and a husband, and all the responsibilities and restrictions that go with that. It makes her feel like all other options in her life are now closed. Housewife/mom is now the only  path for her. She blames her husband. And she rebels. She unconsciously starts fights with him to give her the excuse to storm out and hit the bars. Once there, she feels further empowered by flirting. This has all built up in her mound over a period to the point where she really starts to imagine her husband as an oppressive monster, especially when she's drunk.

So she picks up this young guy and manipulates him into helping to kill her husband. Think of Elizabeth Smart, the school teacher in NH who flirted with her students and enlisted them to kill her husband.

When she wakes up, she doesn't remember doing this. Not just because she is hungover, but because her mind is protecting her from the horror of what she did.

So she runs. In the prose version, she tries to escape up the road, planning to call Uber when she is further from the house. Bt he wakes up and chases her down. Convinces her to take a ride with him. She is suspicious.

They get back to the house, are just outside, when she tries to call the police, thinking he is a threat to her. He takes the phone from her. He's stunned she doesn't remember last night. Shows her how she has blood on her hands too. When she still doesn't remember, he gives her back her phone and demands she call her husband. She does. The ringing sounds from within the house. She follows the sound. It takes her to the basement, where she finds her dead husband.

But I ran out of gas at the ending. She's worried about her kid. He says he would never do a kid, but I was unable to make clear what happened to the kid. So, Jen and Robert went back to Jen's house and took the husband, killed him at Robert's house. But what happened to the kid? Did they leave her at home by herself? Did they drop her off somewhere? Did they take her back to Robert's house? Is she asleep upstairs?

I didn't know what to do. But I don't think Pia liked any version of these where there was a kid.

Why did I insert a kid?

A few reasons. One, I have been using a tool called KDP Rocket. The tool analyzes kindle books...what are people searching for? How many books in that key word profile are already out there? Basically, what is supply  and demand. And some unexpected trends emerge. One is using a kid in a story. For example, there are thousands of stories on the apocalypse. But when it comes to apocalypse stories with a kid, a niche that is ripe for being exploited emerges. There is a fair amount of demand for apocalypse with kid stories, yet not that many books. That's an opportunity. This kid theme emerged in several genre archetypes in addition to apocalypse. One can only speculate why. Most readers are women. Maybe many of them have a kid, so that makes stories with a kid more appealing. Orphans are also a hit.

Another reason I added a child to the story was that it seemed to increase that sense of Jen feeling trapped in a life she could not escape. All those things she dreamed of doing, of becoming, those doors felt closed now.

Anyway, this maybe gives some insight into how things can change when moving a script to prose. Or even just when two people work on different versions of the same story. There is always divergence.
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MatthewLincoln
Posted: December 12th, 2018, 8:05pm Report to Moderator
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leitskev,

I really like what the sound of what you've written. Between your version and Pia's, the potential is there for an awesome story. I'd like to read it. Do you have a link for it?

Matthew Lincoln
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leitskev
Posted: December 13th, 2018, 4:03am Report to Moderator
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Send me an email at leitskev@gmail.com ot facebook kevin lenihan. Happy to send you, especially if you can help me fix the ending in my version. We're probably not going to use that version unless you come up with something really good!
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