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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Thriller Scripts  ›  Break
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Don
Posted: October 26th, 2019, 1:33pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Break by David Anthony Farnum - Short, Thriller - On the anniversary of their violent, alcoholic father's death, a tattered family faces a man who is even more dangerous than their departed.  4 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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StevenClark
Posted: October 26th, 2019, 10:22pm Report to Moderator
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David,

Gave this a read and sorry to say I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Had the father died, or was he still alive? Was he the intruder or was it just someone who looked like him -- at least his eyes. All I was able to gather was that the father was a drunk, and so was Issac. If the father is indeed dead, then Issac recognizing his father's eyes doesn't necessarily make sense, save for the fact that the behavior might have brought back memories.

You seem to have a decent feel for writing, but a Little clarity as well as cutting down your action blocks to three lines or less to really get to the essence of what you're trying to convey to the reader.

I'll have another go at this to see if there's anything I missed. Good luck!

Steve


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StevenClark
Posted: October 26th, 2019, 10:30pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, my bad. According to your logline the father is dead. Right. But who the hell is this masked intruder and why don't we get to see him? Just some random murderer who goes around killing drunks? So, there's that. Another thing that seemed out of left field and was never explained was that metal door on the side of the hill at the cemetery. There was a banging coming from it to match Issac's heartbeat, yet it's never explained! Man.

Hopefully you show up, David. Would love to hear what your story is all about and what I'm missing.

Steve


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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: October 27th, 2019, 9:27am Report to Moderator
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Hey there Steven,

Thanks for taking a bit of time to read through and digest my work here. Itís my first draft so definitely a message to all, rip into this script with as sharp as teeth as possible! Itís only 4 pages so chewing the fat off of every single second really makes a difference.

So, as I find myself doing quite often, I try to write scripts that are riddled with metaphors and symbols while also trying to balance out the fact that the story needs to make sense outside of that symbolism. I tend to not get that balance where it needs to be and my stories donít make sense.

In this case, the idea is that alcoholism and addiction, abuse and neglect, and isolation from each other basically killed this family. Hence, a faceless intruder. The father died, who was the main source of pain for this family, but the damaged family he left behind was too far gone to rebuild itself after his death.

Jacob died alone because his mother and brother were both too busy burying their own pain in the same poison that killed their father. Isaac was too drunk to notice anything was even amiss in the house, and it made for an easy target for the intruder. The mother will come home and either be killed just the same or forced to live with the ghosts of her children who she abandoned for alcohol.

The door in the side of the hill is actually a loose end I meant to tidy up better. Wanted to use the door as a way of showing the pain and isolation Isaac has felt is locked deep inside himself, but on the day he finally follows his fathers foot steps and starts drinking that pain is transformed into something evil and helps destroy the family.

I guess the idea is that the intruder is like an evil spirit locked up with their dead father until the family fails to cope with what he left behind and this evil spirit is released again and destroys them all.

Like I said, four pages is a lot to cram this all into, but definitely open to all sorts of criticism to get this right.
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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: October 27th, 2019, 9:31am Report to Moderator
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Also, I am producing/directing this myself in my own home with a super micro-budget. So, worried about story and characters far above script format. All criticism is welcome, though.
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Arundel
Posted: October 28th, 2019, 4:54am Report to Moderator
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Hi David,

Thanks for the explanation you gave regarding the script. It was very visual, and yes, some of the writings could be shortened. However, if you're planning on doing this yourself on your set that doesn't really matter too much.

Actually, the metal door in the cemetery I tried to match with the car door when Isaac gets home that night, and then opens the front door.

Enjoyed the title. "Alcoholism and addiction, abuse and neglect, and isolation from each other basically killed this family. Hence, a faceless intruder." Can see that now. Incorporate those metaphors into the script more strongly, that's my main suggestion.

~Arundel
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StevenClark
Posted: October 28th, 2019, 5:55pm Report to Moderator
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David,

I get what youíre saying and it makes sense. Where it doesnít make sense it to the reader. The reader being the one you wrote the script for in the first place. So, yes, it helps for it to make sense. I understand it all now that you explain it, of course, but it reads very ambiguous. Yes, that locked door is a misstep. Also, I think the whole family being alcoholics is never seen, but only mentioned in dialogue, save for Issac. The brother just telling us over the phone isnít enough. I know you want to keep it short but thereís a lot to deal with here, and just a mere mention, which reads on the nose because it spells it out in no uncertain terms, is not enough.

Also, I feel the killer needs some backstory that connects him to this family. Why is he here? Robbery gone bad? Issacís brother owed him drug money? He needs a good motive to be there. Some random dude who just kills people isnít enough.

So basically if youíre going to shoot this yourself then all the luck in the world to you, bro! From this outsiders eye, everything here reads kinda random and misdirected.

Steve


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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: October 30th, 2019, 10:30am Report to Moderator
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Arundel- The idea of the locked metal door and the car door is interesting. I just need to find a more clear and concise way to match up the images of unlocked doors to contrast with the locked door in the cemetery. I might also have to abandon the idea in pursuit of a better image.

Steve- Iím certainly looking at a few rewrites before this is where I want to be so working on my precision is my number one priority right now. I think what Iíve done wrong here is brought the reader into the story (this familyís self-destruction) a bit too late for it to: 1) Make sense 2) Be meaningful to the reader and 3) Leave room for the reader to question whether or not the family will make it out of this alright. Thereís no suspense or build-up aside from the fact that some guy is in the house. I think that also speaks to the intruder being sort of pointless and random. Thereís no tension in the story. Itís a broken spring by the time the reader arrives. Iíll work on it, and thanks again.

Let me know if thereís anything of yours that I could read through and give some thoughts on! That goes to both of yíall.
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eldave1
Posted: October 30th, 2019, 11:26am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from heyDaddyStudios
Hey there Steven,

Thanks for taking a bit of time to read through and digest my work here. Itís my first draft so definitely a message to all, rip into this script with as sharp as teeth as possible! Itís only 4 pages so chewing the fat off of every single second really makes a difference.

So, as I find myself doing quite often, I try to write scripts that are riddled with metaphors and symbols while also trying to balance out the fact that the story needs to make sense outside of that symbolism. I tend to not get that balance where it needs to be and my stories donít make sense.

In this case, the idea is that alcoholism and addiction, abuse and neglect, and isolation from each other basically killed this family. Hence, a faceless intruder. The father died, who was the main source of pain for this family, but the damaged family he left behind was too far gone to rebuild itself after his death.

Jacob died alone because his mother and brother were both too busy burying their own pain in the same poison that killed their father. Isaac was too drunk to notice anything was even amiss in the house, and it made for an easy target for the intruder. The mother will come home and either be killed just the same or forced to live with the ghosts of her children who she abandoned for alcohol.

The door in the side of the hill is actually a loose end I meant to tidy up better. Wanted to use the door as a way of showing the pain and isolation Isaac has felt is locked deep inside himself, but on the day he finally follows his fathers foot steps and starts drinking that pain is transformed into something evil and helps destroy the family.

I guess the idea is that the intruder is like an evil spirit locked up with their dead father until the family fails to cope with what he left behind and this evil spirit is released again and destroys them all.

Like I said, four pages is a lot to cram this all into, but definitely open to all sorts of criticism to get this right.


Hey, David - one nit:


Quoted Text
JACOB
Hey...


Needs to be V.O or through the phone - I had to re-read this several times to get that he wasn't in the scene - I know that you are producing yourself - but it would help the readers.

I admire the ambition in this one - but not quite sure you pulled it off.  The connections were confusing and I didn't get at what you were going for at all until I read the above explanation from you. I'm nit sure it becomes any clearer if you film it.

I think you should consider adding a narrator - get rid of all dialogue other than his - maybe the Intruder can be the Narrator - just a voice to make the connections for us. Just spit balling





My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: October 30th, 2019, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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eldave- I didnít consider using a narrator, but I like the idea. This doubles up the point Steven was making about the intruder needing to be more significant to the story. I think my best bet is to do a bit of character mapping. Iím hoping Iíll see a new angle to this idea.

I think I need to find a character who isnít drunk.the whole script and use that as my point of view. Following the destructive older brother is a bit blinding. Itís almost like the audience is in the drunken stupor with him, where things barely seem to make sense and connections are glazed over.
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eldave1
Posted: October 30th, 2019, 1:16pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from heyDaddyStudios
eldave- I didnít consider using a narrator, but I like the idea. This doubles up the point Steven was making about the intruder needing to be more significant to the story. I think my best bet is to do a bit of character mapping. Iím hoping Iíll see a new angle to this idea.

I think I need to find a character who isnít drunk.the whole script and use that as my point of view. Following the destructive older brother is a bit blinding. Itís almost like the audience is in the drunken stupor with him, where things barely seem to make sense and connections are glazed over.


Good luck - make sure you post when this is filmed - will be interested to see how it translates.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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heyDaddyStudios
Posted: November 12th, 2019, 3:39am Report to Moderator
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I went back and wrote a new treatment for this film. Where could I post a treatment for critique??
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LC
Posted: November 12th, 2019, 6:31am Report to Moderator
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David, probably here is good via a Dropbox link, or similar, seeing as it is a Treatment for this script?

Alternatively, you could post a link to the WIP thread.


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StevenClark
Posted: November 12th, 2019, 7:41am Report to Moderator
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Iím pretty sure when you upload your script to the Submit Your Script link there is an option to upload a treatment along with your script.


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LC
Posted: November 12th, 2019, 6:02pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the FYI, Steve. I didn't know that re Treatments..
David can upload the treatment ticking the existing script with Don, I presume?


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