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Unbreakable Bond by Frank B Hansen - Short, Thriller, Drama - An unbreakable bond between a mute grandfather and his granddaughter unravels in the aftermath of a horrific accident that rips the family apart, drives the grandfather to the brink of suicide. 27 pages - pdf format
Where do I start? I read this script. Then I re-read it and then I read it again. Three times. After the first read, when I reached the end I thought, Wait! What? I immediately read it again, more carefully (I thought) this time. The third time I got out my pad and took notes. First let me say, that the scene settings for this script belong in a novel. Terms like “Birds shredded out of the trees” make you not only see that action in your mind, but feel it as well. “Thor swings his hammer” is such a more illustrated vision than “the sound of thunder”. I remember reading a book once where one character’s persona was described: “She wore her grief like a winter coat, wrapped tightly around her”. I don’t recall the name of the book, but I will forever remember that jaw-dropping bit of literary genius. Frank’s descriptions are comparable. Now for my thoughts on the storyline. There are hints laid out in broad daylight about what the outcome of the story may be. However, they are so tightly woven into what you deem reality, you read right past them, and then when you pick carefully through it again - there they are; clues to what is happening: The brown bear/white bear, the roses that appear and then disappear, Grace’s random appearance, among others. There are hints of Hitchcock here, along with the Sixth Sense and a little Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure. The writing is very solid, IMO. The dialogue overall is minimal, which is appropriate because the scene set-ups tell you everything you need to know and set the tone. I think this atmosphere of suspense as laid out would translate extraordinarily well to the screen.
As I’ve said before, I love a strong story and excellent writing above all (both of which are met here) and I don’t really comment on format, typos, etc. - to me those are small and correctable issues, but FWIW, I did not see glaring errors of this type anywhere in the script.
I do have two questions that I cannot resolve: Who is Emma?? And why is Liam coughing up blood? Was he injured in the accident? Why is he OK at the end? Did I miss a whole set of clues about this? Can anyone answer this for me before I lay awake tonight wondering about it? LOL.
Frank, it was a pleasure to read your script. Thank you for sharing. I would give it a solid “A”. Excellent work.
Wow, that was quite some feedback. I'm really glad you liked it. Thanks a lot for your notes.
SPOILERS: Liam had a bad throat before the accident. Chloe tells him in the Flashback before the accident that she hopes he feels better soon. His throat is in bad shape (coughing blood), but he recovers, eventually, clean bill of health. I added this in for a little bit more spice. So, you didn't miss anything. Maybe I should've fleshed this out a little bit more.
We first meet Emma in the photo (Chloe and Emma, during the Flashback). Emma introduces herself as Chloe's best friend when we first meet her in person. Chloe and Emma joke about being dead, cause they both will wear ghost costumes for Halloween. They are dead, of course, but I wanted the reader not to think so at this point. I didn't want to expose Emma more than I did. She's Chloe's best friend, died some time ago.
Curious, was it clear to you that Jacob was dead, so the reader would think that Chloe now has the ability to communicate with spirits/ghosts. Of course, cause she's dead, but the reader (hopefully) doesn't know that at this point.
Not sure if I answered your questions. Let me know.
Yes, I totally understood that Jacob was dead. Emma, not so much. Also the reference to her mother was home but her Daddy was not reachable. Was her mother dead? Her Daddy? Might be good to flesh out her character a little more. I got a little lost with who/what she was and her connection to Chloe.
I’ve just read your script and one thing that instantly jumps out at me is your descriptions. They really do show so much about the characters and various settings. For instance, the way you introduce Liam on page 1 with his chiselled features and broad shoulders was so vivid.
P22. He whips his head up. A hoarse scream as strings of spit and blood dribble down his chin as rain pelts his face. Another good description and it really evokes the emotion of the character.
I can really take some lessons from you here because these descriptions do so much for your story. However, there were a couple of descriptions that I felt were unnecessary, such as the Thor references. I could see what you were doing, but they didn’t add anything for me as a reader.
P.13 “Liam saw logs with folded hands on his stomach.” I’m not sure what this means! Another positive is you did a good job of making Chloe feel like a child. Sometimes writers fail at portraying children in their stories, but I felt you achieved this well.
I agree with the previous point about Emma as I was also confused about who she was. There also feels like a lot of characters in this script, so at times found it hard to keep track of who was who but I’m a sucker for small casts in shorts.
Overall, this is a well-written script. I can really feel Liam’s pain and the pain of the other characters. Looking forward to reading more of your work in future.
Looks like I have to revisit Emma, to see if I can make it clearer as to who she was and maybe what happened to her. I thought with a photo of Emma and Chloe in the Flashback Scene and Emma telling Isabelle (Chloe's aunt) that she was Chloe's best friend, that would be sufficient exposure of Emma.