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Whispers (was Vengeance) by Jordan Wiebe (theboywhocouldfly) - Thriller, Horror - A highschool cheerleader decides to have a couple of her friends over while her parents are out of town for the weekend. Creepy things have been going on all around the house with no explanation, and on top of that there seems to be someone watching every move they make. 107 pages - pdf, format
I would love some feedback on this script, I don't think I described it well in the log line but what's done is done. I would consider this a cross between the original halloween and the shining. If you have any comments or advice I'd love to hear it, and if you have any scripts I'd love to read them, it helps a lot to read other peoples work. thanx for taking the time in reading this.
I would consider this a cross between the original halloween and the shining.
So, hey -- I appreciate your looking at "The Farm", and I am eager to hear your comments as to how it might be improved.
I've been too busy to do many "read exchanges" lately, but I'll go ahead with this one since it's new and hasn't had many looks yet.
That, and I really, realy like "The Shining". I hope this story delivers on that! (I'll call you on it if it doesn't ) Oddly, more than one reader has compared Farm to that film, but I would never put something like that out there on my own -- maybe that's just me.
Anyways, after your comments are up I'll take a look at this story and give it a comparable treatment -- with honest feedback.
Alright, I read through this over the past couple of days and have some thoughts on it. Your format is great. You've got that. You need to work on generating loglines, although what you've got here is a pretty fair description of the story.
The story is a fairly conventional slasher, with a little supernatural tossed into the mix. There is nothing wrong with the "skeleton" of this story -- not really -- but it is a bit longer than it needs to be -- and it has a coupla' holes:
* For our opener, we've got: "It was only a dream". That is a contrivance that has fallen out of favor in recent times, I think. Some readers will frown at this. * Mrs. Bergman actually says some funny things -- like "sexing" haha -- is that even a word? * You've got Christine descending into the basement -- but never resolve it. * By page 30, I am starting to feel that there is a little too much "teenage chatter" going on. Some of this could be tightened up. This is true of a few spots later, too. * The scene in the bathroom is pretty cool, if a bit disgusting. * Pg. 49: How does the POV (there are too many of these, by the way, but you already know that) "move to the top floor of the house"? Is this guy flying? * I figured it out later, but at first, had absolutely NO idea who Mr. and Mrs. Myers were. You must -- must -- establish these characters earlier. At least a phone call or something. * And -- my biggest beef here -- the guy from the video store??? Oh, man. I had to go back and find him. He is never named, and has no dialogue. Oh, boy. I'll come back to this in a second. * Having mom come back like you do is pretty good, and it gives a very quick and reasonable explanation for all of the supernatural goings on. But you might want to tone back some of the really "evil" things that occur, as she is a benevolent spirit, and it raises some questions as to why she is being so downright frightening to these kids.
So, here is what I would fix if this were my story. First: Why would this guy carry out the plan during this big party -- with all these people running around? It seems this plot could simply be delayed for another time --
-- unless (and I recommend this) you establish earlier in the story that Andrew is somehow unbalanced. Make him a little more "there", you know? If you just have him pop up like he does, out of nowhere, you will have people throwing popcorn at the screen.
And the same thing is true of the Dad and Step-Mom. You introduce three major characters in the last couple of pages, and that is just stretching the boundaries of this story too far.
But if you bring these people in earlier, you can fix most of that.
So, in a nutshell: Less time with the teens (who are all established well) and a little more time with the other three -- ultimately important -- characters. We need to know them -- at least a little -- for this story to work like it could.
Thank you bert for you review. You pointed out a lot that I knew I needed to change, and a lot that wooshed over me.
you are totaly right about Mr. & Mrs. Myers, I need to introduce them sooner, that didn't even occur to me *blushes*.
I also agree with the guy from the video store, I'm thinking of taking that whole scene out, it's just confusing.
The POV'S r waaaaaaaaaaay to much, I need to cut down most of them.
I know there is way too much teenage YAK(that's what I like to call it), I need to trim it down.
The part of the mother scaring her childrem, the reason they are so evil and frightning is because she does want too scare her children out of the house. It's kinda like those drunk driving crashes you have to watch, it's grusome, but it does have a purpose.
As for the "It's only a dream", that is at the very beginning, It's not really a dream, but forshadowing.
Thank you again for your advice, It will help me alot.
The part about the Mom scaring the kids is fine if you make it more clear that this is what she is doing. One or two lines of dialogue could fix that.
The main reason I popped back on here, though, is something that occurs to me just now.
And that's the title.
Um....there isn't really anybody getting even with anybody else...there isn't any Vengeance going on here...that, and the fact that our friend George Willson has a script with the exact, same title posted elsewhere.
oj yeah and by the way, "SEXING" Isn't a word, but in eighth grade I was caught with this girl by her grand ma, and she used that word, even though what was going on was not sex, but I always remembered it.
Sorry George, I didn't know there was anothe script with the same name, I guess I'm lucky we're in different sections. If you have any idea's for a title I'd love to hear it, I suck so bad at those. anywho, hope your not to upset. take care.
my re-write is up. This was the first script I ever submitted. The title has changed to "Whispers". I cut a lot of the crap in the middle out and changed some things around so that if flowed a little better, it is now down to 103 pages. I hope that it works a little better, even though this is hack'n'slash.
Someone was influenced by John Carpenter, I think. Mr. and Mrs. Meyers? The stranger POVs, watching a young boy, turning up at school, watching teenage girls. The teen girls talking about sex. It all leading up to a certain event. The breathing. Very much a Halloween feel to those scenes.
In fact, in some scenes, if you replaced stranger with shape, it may be a little too similar.
Though, I will say you’ve picked a very good influence for anyone writing horror in my opinion. The first kill was on page 53 and the preceding pages were spent building characters. This shows a very promising intuitive understanding of what really works.
This was pretty well written. You’re 18, I think? For your age, you write very well. Above average.
There were some grammar errors. It wasn’t too bad but there were a little bit more than I could notate.
P1 - …why your leaving - should be - why you’re leaving.
Aloud to have boys over - should be allowed.
P25 - the way - not they way
P25 - Frankie grabs - not grads
Bo buts, Slat shaker. There are plenty more. Sometimes you don’t have subject-verb agreement. (exp. Does that girls die?) It’s well written enough to overlook many of them but it still seriously needs to be proofread.
You tell us they’re in a foyer in the slugline. Why not just say: Mr. and Mrs. Meyers, both in their late forties, put on their coats.
Christine tells Frankie to go to bed and he responds, “Okay, Chris.” Mmm, I don’t know about that. Maybe a tad resistance to the notion or maybe Frankie yawns because he’s tired. Or just end that scene before he says that.
Frankie snorts up some of the….Ewww! You could word that better. How about sniffles? Sniffles loudly even? Anything else.
When you describe Mrs. Bergman, you call her Berman. Also, she has no make? Make up?
No need for an apostrophe in procrastinators. I thought Mrs. Bergman was going to say something about the way Christine was dressed. She nitpicked other things but not the obvious when Christine wore a miniskirt with a bare midriff.
Your all just looking for a good time - should be you’re. You get your possessives and your contractions mixed up sometimes.
Masturbation is the silent killer of the night? -- haha. I’ve never heard of such.
P26 - We just as well not show up - you may want to add a modal auxiliary verb like “may” to that sentence.
P28 - more p***y than a toilet seat - that’s pretty disgusting.
P28 - the last time you had p***y was when p***y had you - sorry, I don’t get it. I’ll take your word for it that it means something.
P35 - as Christine leaves to go to the bathroom, she mentions being on the verge of p*ssing her pants. Two things: girls don’t use the word p*ss a whole lot. Secondly, and mainly, she says she’s wearing pants but yet when in the bathroom, she’s wearing a skirt.
P36 - you know, you could just start that scene with her getting ready to flush the toilet and leave out the details of using the bathroom. Also, girls don’t usually pull skirts down around their ankles. That would have them all over the floor. Girls usually watch out for their clothes.
P36 - a large sit? You mean zit?
I could cut a diamond -- haha.
P59 - Jesus please us? -- I didn’t get this line.
There are times when you seem to have struggled with how to end a scene. Lines like, “Don’t let the door hit you on the **s on the way out” seem kind of forced to me. You could just as easily have ended that scene with Jacob’s, “Fine, fine, fine…” line. Enter late and leave early, you know. You enter well but sometimes you leave too late.
Frankie giving Stevie permission to date his sister was very cute.
Stevie’s brother was named Lonnie -- an homage to Halloween? Maybe Christine is an homage to Stephen King?
Crystal Strode? -- now you’re getting way too obvious. Where’s Lake Laurie? -- haha.
The cops didn’t check Stevie to see if he was drinking? That would be highly unlikely if he had been drinking shot after shot for hours straight, I think. Seemed a little implausible.
P80 - Alexis says, “Kay.” That’s kind of Frankie’s distinctive line. It’s probably better if no one else uses it.
I don’t understand why the mom does some of the things she does. She wants to get his attention? By killing their plant? By grabbing his leg from under the bed and nearly killing him? That didn’t make sense to me.
Ultimately, I think it’s just too similar to Halloween. The slow moving masked killer who stalks horny teenagers with a knife and chases them around. You mixed it up a lot but the names didn’t help disguise the obvious influence. It just gave it more of a Scream feel. (For a moment, I thought there might have been a character named Loomis but Scream already did that.)
The large two by four jammed into the doorknob was reminiscent of the rake that prevented Laurie Strode from escaping Michael Meyers.
The twist with the stepmother was nice. Mixing the psycho story with a ghost story was risky and I don’t think it paid off altogether. Though, the effort is admirable. Still, there is a lot of good material here. I found myself wishing it had been a little more original, though.
It was an enjoyable read, however, and the scenes with the mother were quite touching. As I said, it has some definite strengths. But it has some definite weaknesses as well.
Strengths include good format, some well constructed scenes, giving character development as much attention as blood shedding. Several likable characters. An original twist with an original ulterior motive from the villain for this genre.
Weaknesses include the definite need for a proofread to correct spelling errors. It appears from other parts that you know better so a more careful proofread is probably necessary. Also a little lack of originality and a little too much dependence on Halloween. And the revelation of the psycho is not ultimately satisfying because, of course, it’s an unknown character. Much could be gained from the strategic placement of him at some earlier point.
So it does have some flaws but it’s still a worthwhile read.
thank you Brea for your comments, they will sure help with the re-write.
I did use Halloween as a guide, but I think any slasher flicj that involes a masked killer and teenagers does, I just thought it would be best to be honest with it.
the part with the 4x4 under the dooor must have been subconscience, I didn't even realize that till I read what you said
And Christine is my Girlfriend's name, not based on the Stephen King novel, I call her Nina, but her name is Christine.
The phrase "the last time you had pussy is when pussy had you" refers to, basically, being born you come from there, unless you're c-section, kids use to say that at school, I thought it was funny.
I actually tried to not have as kill till page 60, but it was getting too long and I cut stuff out, I wanted to hold off as long as I could.
The mother doing what she does was to frighten her children, maybe I went to far, but I just thought that she needed to really scare the hell out of the kids, but the part with the plants wasn't ment to be a scare tactic, more like she was her presence and that's what killed them.
Thank's again for the read and I will use what you gave me to try and make it better, maybe I should change some of tha name references and make it not quite as obvious.
Trying to get used to reading feature-lengths again. I haven't in some time. I think since I read Underneath, your work has slowly been growing on me so I decided to check this out. It appears I've read everything you've written as of now. Cool! Anyway, on with the review...
pg. 2 - "Cya on Sunday." I don't think this AIM-esque lingo really works in a screenplay. Not a big issue, really, but I'd change it if I were you. It's your call.
- I’m starting to think Christine and Frankie are a little too close for brother and sister. In particular, I thought the kissing of the head was a little much. Along with monitering his movie rentals and scolding him for swearing and drinking out of the milk carton, it feels like she's trying to be his mom rather than his sister. I know they're supposed to be close but I think you could tone it down just a little.
pg. 36 – The begining of this bathroom scene may be more descriptive than necessary. And you use the word TINKLE! Ha! Anyway, you could just start with her pulling up her skirt than move on to the blood stuff. No one really needs to see her actually go to the bathroom. In any case, I thought the blood in the toilet was creepy, even without the supernatural stuff. If I didn't know better, I'd have thought she had cancer.
Top of 67 – You use the word “whole.” I think you mean hole.
Also 67 – "Bo buts." You mean "NO buts."
- This twist is a little weak. I mean it's a good one but it could have been a lot stronger. For starters, there's no mention of Andrew earlier on in the script nor any hints that Mrs. Meyers is a little nutty. I think if you had some more of that in the begining, the twist would have worked better.
- Speaking of Mrs. Meyers, take it easy with the homages. You want this to be your own thing, don't you?
Anyway, this was a decent read. It was essentially a stereotypical slasher flick, complete with the wholesome virgin heroes, party animal sidekicks, and incompetent parents. There's really not much room to grow when you use this time of formula. However you made an attempt, which is honorable, and really enriched what could have been a droll storyline. First off, you added some supernatural elements to the slasher formula. This was a very good idea, I think, since both formulas function on different elements. The supernatural has the atmosphere and suspense while the slasher has the shock value. The two work well together.
You also had some relatively decent character development between Christine, Frankie, and Stevie. I really liked that all of them had experienced the untimely deaths of family members. It brought the characters together nicely and added an emotional punch to what is often an emotionally devoid subgenre. I would have liked to have seen more of this. Not saying your lacking, just a matter of personal preference.
Anyway, pretty decent script you got here, Jordan. I think you've done better but for a slasher, this isn't bad at all. Good job!
This was the very first feature length script that I had ever finished, I kinda wanted to do the usual Hack'N'Slash, but I also thought it would be cool to add a ghost story into the mix.
There are some changes that I have to make so that this works a bit better, I know throwing Andrew in the end is Kinda confusing, I did have him make an appearance earlier, but that made it even more confusing.
I enjoyed Underneath, and been meaning to check this one out, so I finally did, and I thought it was really really good. I didn't know quite what to expect as I knew it was a slasher, but I really think you took the slasher flick up a notch with this one. Aside from the following, which is basically just grammar problem stuff. and I didn't read earlier reviews, so...sorry for repeats.
Right off saying Christine's House, I think you should just say 'HOUSE' plainly before you have the chance to give the character a proper introduction.
Names have to go... Myers, Christine, crystal strode etc. It's distracting from the story as you then start to think of those other movies as you read them.
typo pg.10 - tap runs "t" the kitchen sink.
top pg 15 - "he I gotta look after frankie"
pg 17 - Stevie - your a sick bastard, should be "YOU'RE" a sick bastard.
Did I miss something? You said on pg 20 that Stevie sat down where "megan" was.
typo bottom pg 25 - Frankie "grads" a bag of chips.
typo pg 26 - head cheerleader says, we'd do "mare" damage than good.
pg 28 - Jacob - Damn your in a mood today, should be YOU'RE in a mood today.
I think you should use another phrase than more pussy than a toilet seat.
bottom pg 29 "now way" should be "no way"
pg 31, you say there is a picture of "the woman". I think this should be either "a" woman, or "their mother", and you should describe her and the picture a little.
typo, halfway down pg 33, (THE) head back into the kitchen.
pg 34, you said Frankie puts his neck, should be lips
pg 35 again, your should be You're
pg 36 - sit should be zit
pg 38 - Nicole THROWS her bag.
pg 41, and 45 Frankie is spelled Franke
typo top pg 63 -" Does that girls die". and "if I haver nightmares"
pg 65 you wrote, "glass falls out of the ground"
[g 66 - "the stranger dressed in a black"
I think just the window shoulld be broke, instead of the blood.
pg 67 - Nicole says if Christine doesn't say yes, she'll "be" her ass? I think you mean beat, as I don't believe anybody would like to be anyone's anus. Or maybe I'm just making assumptions on behalf of myself.
pg 67 "bo buts" NO buts.
top pg 71 - slat shaker.
pg 74 - Christine - Sometimes I "fell" this emptiness inside.
pg 78 - She pulled down "he" pajama bottoms
pg 80 - hands the pipe 'ti" alexis
bottompg 90 - "la" time I saw Stevie.
pg 95 - The "tow" get out of the car
pg 98 - Christine - "Get the out of here"
top pg 102 - she backs up with his, should be with HIM
pg 105 - "He" body drops to the ground should be HER
That's a lotta typos though. I remember Underneath had a lot too. You might wanna watch that, and maybe proofread a little more before submitting. A typo every once in a while is okay, but one almost every page is kinda ridiculous.
I also didn't care much for the ending, the last ten to fifteen pages or so. I kinda hated to see Stevie go. I also thought it was gonna be more of a psychological brand of suspense, as they where in the basement, and heard the banging and the footsteps and what not, I expected more of a kindof standoff in the basement. other than just an all out gore fest. Which is fine, it sufficed, but I was kinda expecting something more than just heads getting torn apart by shovels. I don't think it lived up to the rest of the screenplay. Maybe more survivors too, as your superb character development allows us to get attached to some of these characters who died. Particularly Stevie, and Madison. And the mirror breaking killing Mrs. Myers at the end, I didn't like. That arises the question, why she just didn't break it before and kill the guy??? I think it's fine if they see her in the mirror, but think that maybe Frankie should pick up the knife and kill her or something more like that, and keep it in the mortal realm.
Other than those things I thought it was great. Your dialogue is just fucking phenominal in this, through the whole thing. I kept expecting for this to lose it's momentum, but it never did. I couldn't believe that dialogue this good could be as consistent as it was throughout the whole thing. I like how Christine was like a mother for Frankie. I thought the scene where Frankie gave away his sister was quite charming. I thought Mrs. B was so outragiously ridiculous. Stevie's story of his brother. The condoms scene was funny, both in the store and the sex scene. The dialogue is so real and witty at the same time, and kinda puts a new spin on the slasher genre. Really tremendous, tremendous Job!
"Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd" - George Carlin "I have to sign before you shoot me?" - Navin Johnson "It'll take time to restore chaos" - George W. Bush "Harry, I love you!" - Ben Affleck "What are you looking at, sugar t*ts?" - The man without a face "Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death." - Exodus 31:15 "No one ever expects The Spanish Inquisition!" - The Spanish Inquisition "Matt Damon" - Matt Damon
I think I never read a feature length by you, flying boy, so I just took a look at this one. And I’ll tell you this first, it has some strengths.
Lots of teen characters and I didn’t have problems in telling one from another; this rarely happens to me when reading scripts of this kind. Your characterization is definitely above average.
Someone mentioned you’re 18? Wow. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s fair to give you some extra credit. You keep working on your craft and some years from now you’ll be wiping the floor with all of the veteran's simplyasses.
There are some aspects that could be improved; I’m going to focus more on these in order to offer (hopefully) some feedback for further rewrites (if you plan any).
It’s always better to open your scripts with a bang. Specially a plot-driven hack n’ slash thriller. Frankie’s first scene in his bedroom with someone watching him from the closet, would be a good opening scene. Much stronger than Christine saying goodbye to her parents. We could pretend Frankie went to bed before his parents left in order to start the script with his scene.
And, as it has been mentioned, it would be better if you loose the “it was a dream” payoff. Try to rearrange this scene in order to make it more real, like the “vision” Christine has at the bathroom some pages later.
There are two quite different aspects in this story. During some scenes, you work on a creepy/supernatural angle (stranger’s pov, breezes, creaks, bloody visions, etc). And on the other hand you make the reader experience a day in the life of a teenager (making a party when the parents are gone, checking some asses, jokes about sexing, girls making some drinks, etc).
The problem is that (for the most part) both aspects are disjointed from each other. It’s almost like intercuting between two different movies. You’ve got a hook (strange things happening in the house, someone watching Frankie and Christine) but you need to integrate this concept to the rest of your story. Let me explain:
Take a look at the Sixth Sense. There are some scenes where the kid sees dead people (creepy angle). On the other hand, there are scenes about the kid an his mom in which both characters and their relationship are developed (character angle) But hey, both angles are linked together. The boy is afraid his mother will think he’s a creep if he tells her what he sees. The boys acts strange, and strange things happen to him. The mother notices this, worries, becomes desperate. The main concept (“I see dead people”) feeds *all* the story, not half of it.
In this script, the ghost/killer thing doesn’t affect your characters lives (at least till the hunt begins near the end). They chat about every day stuff, do what they usually do, etc. Your character’s scenes feel realistic, they are well written, but they lack conflict (for the most part).
Try to find ways in which your ghost/killer idea can screw up your character’s life in ways that none of the teens of the audience had their life screwed up. You can keep some of the realistic details, of course, but try to add an original twist to them (by the way, the Stevie/Christine subplot was decently developed and worth keeping, IMO).
The pimple/blood scene at page 36 is exactly what I’m talking about. You need more scenes like these, and less scenes like the one Christine and Frankie go to the dvd store.
Take a look at Hostel’s first act. Three guys doing drugs and bitches for quite a long part of the movie. I’d rather be doing drugs and bitches myself than seeing those three dorks doing it. Wouldn’t you? I can imagine the writer/director justifying himself by saying he “was developing the characters”. Actually he was. But the problem is that these characters have nothing special till they get to the torture chambers (which is too late).
Bruce Willis’ character in the Sixth Sense might have helped lots of kids with problems (boring), but the story is about helping one who sees dead people! Movies are “bigger than life” experiences. Half of your story is as well. The other half could be, with a little bit of work.
On a related note, I felt like your characters wondered around for the most part. They didn’t have a clear dramatic goal (until the end when they must escape).
Giving your protagonist (s) a goal helps your script to keep focused. Everything your protagonist does is related to achieving said goal. Give Christine a goal, like finding out what’s going on inside her house. In “Saw” the protagonists had to figure out how to escape Jigsaw’s trap. In “The Hill Have Eyes” that family had to fix their vehicle in order to get the hell out of there. In “Silent Hill” the protagonist had to look for her missing daughter. In “The Ring”, the protagonist must save her son’s life, etc. All of these goals are early established and fuels the protagonist actions for most of the script.
Giving a goal to the protagonist is something very common in plot-driven thrillers, and horror movies. This goal is usually life-or-death dramatic (doing a party or hooking up with Steve won’t do).
As mentioned by some other readers, it’s a bit odd that once the killer gets unmasked, we found ourselves looking at a new face. This is the part when the audience should gasp and think “So that was the bastard!”. Take a look at “Scream”.
This is kind of strange, but for some pages I though that Mrs. Bergman was going to be the killer. I thought she had decided to “educate” by herself these spoiled spawns of hell always thinking about sexing, haha.
Well, nothing more to add. Sorry I focused more on the negative, but it’s for the sake of helping. I hope some of these comments may be useful.
Thanks Z for the read and comments, you sure gave me a lot to think about, and I think it will come in Handy.
This is my first full length script and it is flawed, at first all I wanted was a traditional Hack'N'Slash, but over time it kinda changed, now I see from your coments and those of others that there are a few changes I could make to make this a little different.
When I have time I am going to have to pick this one apart again and see if I can make it work.
First I’d have to say take what Mr. wrote about the integration of multiple plots within the context of the Sixth Sense to heart. I think what he wrote should be forwarded to every writer on the forum.
I too will be focusing on some of the topics Mr. Z brought up. So…
I think your characters are too far to the extreme of one trait, whether Christine and Frankie whom are way to nice and disturbingly nice to another. Frankie is twelve!!! If he were seven or so then maybe but no way twelve year old is like that, too sweet. Perfect example someone mentioned before how cute the scene was between Frankie and Stevie about dating Christine, I mean sure, we already know Frankie is a super sweet, nice kid sense the opening. It’s a plane, if his character where created with more valley and peeks of sweet, annoying, smart, selfish etc… the significant that he cares about his sister and more importantly her feelings would resonate better.
These one dimension traits is an exact affect for why your characters hit the same “beats” scene after scene and has every reviewer adopting the same issues with the script “too much teen chatter”. And just cause you spend time with that character doesn’t musically mean your building character. That constitutes hitting either the same “beat” but different notes or an entirely different beat. What I mean by this is when you’ve shown audiences an aspect of the character or the plot you have to move on to showing a different aspect of the character, by going in depth with that character values, showing the contrasting differences between the characters values and the contradiction of those values within each character and in the plots case moving on to the next logical step within the plot.
The only problem with that is you never present any values, which are easier done when you have a theme or two too work around and you did, SEX!!! Not just sex, but love vs. puppy love, lust; experience vs. inexperience and all the drama and confrontation it would of created. Example Jacob and Alexis are all “lovey-dovey” that’s only one side of a coin in a coin pouch. They never get into an argument. And the argument and differences have to be engaging to the point the audience or readers get emotionally involved. How do you do that by making them sub-consciously forming an opinion about the subject matter? Say Jacob and Alexis get into an argument about something men would consider petty and a women wouldn’t or vice-versa, after on of the two storm of what would Nicole, Christine or Stevie have to say about it and ultimately the audience member form their own opinions, so their not sitting thinking “teen chatter” and skim through or worse get up to use the bathroom while in a theatre, but are saying to their friends “I hate when guys do that” or “that is so true one time…” A secret to this I think is to make the characters as passionate about the subject matter as needed to the situation requires you don’t want your characters crying over spilled milk.
Along with theme, and weaving the story into one plot like Sixth Sense did is character problems and how the journey of going through say being haunted by ghost can help you solve this other problem. In Sixth Sense it was how Cole was unable to talk to his mom and Malcolm was his lack of appreciation for his wife. The act of Cole overcoming his fear with the ghost helps him overcome his fear of communicating with his mother. The act of helping Cole helps Malcolm realize he hasn’t been listening as close as he should have been when it came to anything really, but more particularly his wife.
What would make the story integrate better into another and help expand the theme and generate compelling characters is you give your major characters problems before the “hook” of the story comes in. Example, have Christine who needs to shake this good girl image, give her father attitude about the step-mom. Christine values love and consider what her father is doing as a form of cheating, this creates drama before the killer even shows up, and this is her problem. Then have Stevie have just broken up with his girlfriend months prior to the opening of the story, why did they breakup he cheated on her, which doesn’t necessarily make him a bad guy, right? Christine show obvious interests in Stevie, but happens when she finds out he cheated on his last girlfriend, when know how she feels about cheating despite the fact she likes Stevie. Stevie needs away to prove a cheater is not only redeemable but a good guy at heart all along. The ordeal of the killer is the act that when its all over, Stevie whether he dies or not has proven to Christine that he was a good guy and deserved a shoot at her heart. And ultimately Christine learns how her father feels, if Stevie’s dead doesn’t mean she didn’t stop caring about him and that her father never stopped caring about her mother. And companionship is a part of human nature and people get lonely.
Another reviewer suggested the story ended to abruptly and this fixes that as well cause to show Christine has learned something she could urge her father to talk to the cute waitress when he struggles to gain the confidence to do so or maybe Christine has boyfriend but keeps a trinket of some sorts to remind her of Stevie and the rest of her friends.
Well, that’s all I got for you. I did how ever have an appreciation for how the story was written and evolved in the last like fifteen pages, things where just like bam, bam, and bam. But I can’t help but wondering if its has a lot to do with little to nothing happing in that long beginning I was baited for something to happen. Let me know if you have any questions on what’ve said or if you have anything particular you’d like me to comment on that I haven’t already.
Wow, man oh man I think along with what Mr. Z said I sure got a lot to work with. Thank you very much for the comments and suggestions, they will sure help a lot with a re-write.
When I first wrote this I was planning on doing a standard hack'n'slash because this was my first feature, I just wanted to see what I was able to do, now I think I will be able to take it up a notch or two.
A FEW THINGS: -Stevie's last name is changed from Bond to Boyer "Pg 28" then back to Bond. -Sometimes it feels as if Frankie acts a lot younger than his actual age then sometimes it's the opposite. -So Many references to masturbating! This line was funny though " Aren't you tired of the old Jerk 'N Squirt" LMAO. -Also I liked that she called it "sexing" Lol. It made her seem like more of an old lady. She's SO NOSY! -Killer's mask is freaky! Have you seen a movie called "Blackout"? -Popcorn is one word eh?
Immeadiately I liked the characters. At least the focused ones (Christine, Frankie, Stevie, Jacob). They were cool and worked well together. Most of Frankie's dialogue I think sounded weird. Maybe that's just how he talks. Though nothing much happened at one point "horror-wise" I didn't mind because i was into the characters...good job on that. The killer didn't seem very menacing to me though. He seemed like a rookie like he didn't know what he was doing. which he probably didn't considering the ending. Speaking of...our endings(Whispers and 8 x 10) are almost the same with minor differences. Anyways This was a cool read but It seemed really short as nothing really happens till the very end. I look forward to reading more of your scripts. Hope this helps
I plan to finish this read, all I ask is some time to do so. I've read to pg. 11 and my thoughts are its very conventional with a chuckle. The chuckle being the wad of tissue near the boy implying the act he did. It's conventional because the story is portrayed as a ghoststory with all the creepy sounds such as the wind howling and animals howling.
Other stuff I found to be a problem:
the chirp, hoot, howl and rustle, are too many sounds in one sentence. Also, thinking about it now, isn't the chirping sounds more close to the morning as oppose to the night. the sound of crickets, probably but chirping-I'm unsure of.
Mr. Myers should be mentioned first as opposed simply as dad. You can make a reference that he will be known as dad after identifying him as Mr. Myers.
More critique will come. Sorry for the length of this review.
Frankie comes off sounding smart for his age. On page three how about just, “I’m her little brother, it’s my job.” But maybe that was your intention, your choice.
The detail you have in your descriptions is written excellently, good job.
Mrs. Bergman’s monologues are pretty funny, but I’d say that’d you could condense a great deal of it though.
Mrs. Bergman is hilariously funny, but make sure not to go a little too over the top with her, ya know?
Your descriptions like said are good, but sometimes it feels really unnecessary to know that the birds are chirping outside, might want to lay off of it a little bit.
“More pussy than a toilet seat.” hahahaha!
The story hasn’t really begun nearly thirty pages in and I can’t really see a clear catalyst, or inciting incident. You can definitely shorten the beginning. A lot of unnecessary dialogue or scenes can be cut so you can move to the actual story quicker.
Eww! That was a pretty nasty scene in the restroom with the zit. Loved how detailed you got with it.
I didn’t really like Jacob’s death scene. A little too cliché when he trips over the rock.
When the hand reaches out from under the bed and grabs Frankie’s ankle, I think that might be a little too reminiscent of the Sixth Sense.
Stevie’s speech on page 78 is a little too long. I’d write a line of action to split it up.
Great tension build up with the stranger and the group trapped. Excellent job on that and really creative how you had the knife through the leg and into the head.
Andrew’s name isn’t capped in the beginning.
Overall: The ending was a real let down for me. Helen’s sub-plot with Andrew came out of no where and it ended a little suddenly. I’m also a little skeptical about Frankie and Christine’s mother intervening in the end. It’s seems a little corny. If I were you I’d try to work in Helen and Andrew a little more. The story you have so far is awfully cliché and I’m not sure what you can do about it. Everything in it has been shown before and nothing new was really done.
The story was a really entertaining read however, so good job on that.
"You wanna go to jail or you wanna go home? -- Training Day
Frankie is a little more mature than most 12 year olds, but losing a parent at a young age can make you grow up quicker, or do the total opposite, so I chose for him to be a little more mature than others his age.
I know things don't start off right away, I kind of wanted it that way, I waited for the first kill to happen halfway through the second act, I wanted to see how long I could hold it off for, maybe I held off a little too long.
There are some bits that need to be trimmed, like some of the dialogue you mentioned. That will be something I will have to improve on.
As for the ending I am still trying to figure it out, I know it is kind of a let down, so hopefully I will be able to come up with something.
Thanks again for your read and comments. I should have down and dirty done by Sunday or Monday at the latest.
I got to finally finish the script. Sorry it took so long to finish. I enjoyed it most of all. Found sentimality as an important issue in this tale which kinda touched me since it involves with an important relationship: a son with his mother. That developed well throughout the script.
The dialgoue was somewhat believeable in certain scenes. It seemed controlled. For instance, the scene when Stevie and the stranger fight, I that dailgoue is kinda weak.
I found the scene where the villian is revealed sickly hilarious showing all the bruises and beatings he took. Very funny.
What I think you should develop more is the dislike between the Dad's children with Helen since it's not revealed so very clearly. The fact that they call her helen is alright but didnt show much. Not as much as the relationship with the babysitter.
The ending where Helen revealed her intentions and her son completely surprised me in a negative way it just came out as such as a surprise. I encourage that you try to develop this idea. Allow the audience some inforamtion about what's going with the characters.
Hope this helps. Need any clarification or more questions, contact me. Gabe
What a fantastic script this was. Whispers is your most accomplished work to date, Jordan. High praise is deserved here.
***** SPOILER WARNING *****
What I liked:
The pacing was top notch. This ties into my point about your characters, so I'll try and tie the two together here. First, your pacing. You allowed this script room to breath. For a thriller, it's a big risk to not have any thrills or kills for about the first hour or so, but that is what happens here. Of course, in a conventional horror movie, this would've been death. Who wants to see boring, cliched teens babbling on for an hour about whatever mundane monologues the writers happen to pull out of their asses? I don't. Here, you've managed to avoid that by creating characters that are likable, that ring true to actual human beings. There were a few people from my own life who popped into my head while reading your characters. This is an effective device, because you managed to manipulate me into caring about your characters, so that when the blood starts to pour and the bodies start to pile up, the horror was more shocking, it had more of an impact. Which brings me promptly to my third point of praise.
The writing was quick and snappy. As you'll recall, one of my major grips with your other script Underneath was that characters talked when they didn't need to, and kept on talking after their point had already been made. Here, you don't have this problem. You took your time building to the slaughterings in the house, and when they finally arrived, you did not disappoint. There were some disgusting, gory things here, made all the more disgusting by the fact that I had actually invested in some of these characters. I didn't want some of them to die (Stevie) but you killed most of them anyway, which was completely brutal and also necessary. I get that you were trying to be a little more emotionally deep with this one, but you still had to have some horror in there, otherwise what's the point? The emotion was good, which brings me to my next point, man I'm getting good at the segues.
The dream sequence with Frankie and his mother. This scene was extraordinary, my favourite scene in the script. This scene would've been incredibly effetive wirth older characters, but because you used Frankie, a small child, his innocence added another level of power to the scene. You had the balls to leave the slaughter in the background for a few pages, and focus on this, something so emotional and so raw. That showed real courage. It's also a tribute to your skills that this scene didn't come off as either too sentimental or that it didn't slow down the tension outside of Frankie's dream. I know other people have probably mentioned this scene already, but it's certainly worth nothing one more time.
The ending (no good segue there) was pretty good. The twist, I didn't see coming. I was wondering who the masked killer was all the way through and when his mask finally did come off in the end, I was not disappointed. Perhaps a few subtle set-ups throughout the script might be of help (I don't know where you would put them without them being too obvious, but you're the writer, not me). It was a good climax, a good ending. The reappearace of the mother was absolutely perfect. I know maybe you weren't going for this, but I felt a little subplot with Christine and her faith going on. A crisis of faith, as it were. She said earlier she doesn't believe Frankie that he saw his mother in the dream, and then she's there and she believes. Perhaps you could flesh this out a little more in future drafts (if you're even doing any), I think its so far in the background here that you didn't even intend to do it. If so, that's fine. I just think that giving Christine something to do when her mother reappears would add another dimension to the characters.
What I disliked:
I hated Jacob. But he died, so it's okay. Another tribute to your character construction, I actually hated one of them, instead of just intellectually knowing that he was a character I was supposed to hate. That's just plain old, simple good writing there.
I can't really think of anything else I don't like. So moving on.
Whispers is a bloody, scary, and emotional story. Most slashers go for the kill, this goes for the heart. On this level, you have succeeded admirably. Jordan, you have accomplished what no other script on this site has accomplished before: it's been more than a few hours since I finished reading it, and I'm still thinking about it. And that is the biggest success of all. Very, very, very, very well done.
Looks like you're up for the last of the first round. Took me a little longer than I had hoped fo rto get to this, but the new job and a writing assignment is keeping me quite occupied.
The scene in Frankie's bedroom was moving along nicely, suspense wise, but when the window blew the window open it took me out of it for a second. Is this the house from The Wizard of Oz? Most windows open up and down....if you want to startle him maybe a shutter or tree branch can tap up against the window.
Jeez, Mrs. Bergman's a preachy old broad, ain't she?
I can see you're really working on the character development in this one, which is good, but I think you may be overdoing it just a bit. I'm on page 35 right now and there hasn't been any action outside of some creaks and Frankie's dream. At 107 pages I think you could trim a little of this stuff of the front.
Holy shit, the Stranger's The Gimp from Pulp Fiction. Glad to see he got out of the basement.
Stevie's lines to the stranger outside of the house seem a little far fetched. If somebody threw me across the room into a coffee table just a few minutes prior, I'd probably say "I'll be seeing you, kind sir" and then get my ass out of dodge. I'd only threaten to rip out someone's heart and show it to them if I were Chuck Norris. Stevie's death is reminiscint of Zombie as well, but it fits.
I think if I were to actually see the Madison death scene, I would laugh my ass off and replay it about six times. That would be classic.
Why didn't they think to grab any of the tools in the basement for use as weapons though?
It's funny I decided to read this on the day of the big motive discussion. I was starting to wonder if this guy was ever goign to have any kind of motive, and it turns out that it came right at the end. I'd lose the part where Helen grabs Frankie, though. Based on her plan and the rage she was in, she would most likely justcut his throat right away.
I thought this was pretty good. The core story was pretty much in line with most films of this genre, but the interesting twist, actually dual twist, made it that much better.
I thought your dialgoue worked for the most part, but I noticed in the earlier part of the script that you had the characters excessivley addressing each other by their first names. It's best to use this sparingly since it's not that common in everyday conversation.
The pacing in this also felt a little weird to me. Like I said above, you took a little longer to develop the characters and get the story rolling than is probably necessary, and then the last 25 pages or so of the script is really rapid fire. I was alright with the rapid fire part for the most part, but I really think you could stand to trim about 10-15 pages off of this, mostly at the front.
Anyway, a good read, and a nice spin on the teen slasher flick.
There were parts of this that I thought were a nice twist on the teenage slasher genre, but when I finished this up I felt let down.
It started out routinely for me, what with the folks going out of town and then Christine tells her girlfriends and they're all horny pothead bitches and then the two guys hear about it and one of them is this douchebag guy blah blah blah.
The night of the get together, though, I felt really swayed from the routine teenage slasher characteristics...which is good! There weren't too many characters so everyone was easy to keep track of, the pace flowed well from there, and overall it was enjoyable to read...but then the killings happened, and that's when the reading got kind of frustrating for me.
When Jacob died I pretty much knew where this was going and that one by one, everyone else was going die. And it wasn't just the swaying back into the routine teenage slasher genre that irked me, but all the running around and stuff and "can we get out!" got really blah to me. I was also waiting for something about the stranger to come to be revealed, but that never happened. In a sense, that kind of frustrated me as well because for a while he's just this peeping tom that shows up everywhere, and when he's killing everyone it's like...okay? I mean, I didn't feel anything. It was just...basic, ya know? Not evil, not good, not creepy, just kind of there.
The twist at the end, well, the idea was good, but the execution didn't do it for me either. We see Helen for like 2 pages in the beginning and we don't even know anything about her character. Then at the end it turns out she masterminded this and wants the dude's life insurance. While it did come from completely out of the blue, I wasn't as shocked or thrilled as I was probably supposed to be. I mean at the end the stranger was just that - a stranger. He killed people. I didn't feel much else to him.
Characterwise I thought you had a good bunch here. Even though Alexis, Madison, and Nicole were pothead bitches, I didn't dislike them as people. Jacob was annoying at times, but I think that was the intention. The relationship between Christine and Frankie was very well fleshed out. You did an excellent job of creating that atmosphere of sentimentality and what's even better is that you didn't turn them against each other. A lot of movies that create strong brother-sister bonds like that eventually have them at each other's throats at some point during the flick, but not here, which I thought was a very nice touch because it made them feel authentic.
Frankie was definitely a fun kid. Ya know, come to think of it, you do a really good job at developing kids in your stories. I remember in "Kindness of Strangers" you had some very well developed children, but I think Frankie is your best. Christine I felt was a very respectable heroine, too. Had morals, had respect, wasn't a bitch...good stuff.
So, honestly, this wasn't my favorite piece by you. I think its got good intentions and the foundation is there, but it goes from teen slasher to unique flick and back to teen slasher for a 2:1 ratio which wasn't enough to salvage it for me. Keep your characters going, as I think that's your strong point with this story. Hey, I think this completes my readings of the J-Rock collection! Yes! Buckets of Blood 2 next, right?? muwahaha
hey G Spot, thanks for the read. This was my very first attempt at a feature length script and I went with the "mad slasher" Genre, probably my age and I was into them at the time, so ya, it is not that all original. I am working on making it stand out a little more than just an average hack'n' slash, right now it is kinda like 10 little Indians, one by one each teen is killed. I have changed the ending a lot and there will be more will Helen in the script so hopefully it will add something to the ending, which will be totally different, gonna be a bit darker. Thanks for the comments, I will try and put them to some use.
Hi Jordan I decided to stop by and give your story a read and here is my review on it.
1.Ok I noted that this is suppose to be a horror/thriller piece but I'm currently on page 25 and havent seen a lick of either. So I would suggest that you put something within the first 5 pages to atleast confirm this as your genre.
2. You have a couple of grammar mistakes also within the first 25 pages but none are turnoffs. And I'm more of a story person so as long as your story is good I will continue reading. But as far as speaking of your story it isn't bad but it lacks tremendously in the genre you put it in. I feel like I'm reading a dramatized porno at times with all the sex and masturbation comments everyone is making. I.E Mrs.B, Christines friends
3. So with this said I would suggest you start back with the beginning of this story and give me some thrills man. Or give me some horror. I mean not a lot though just enough to confirm that I'm reading a thriller/horror script. Peace Vaproductions