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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  Strength of a Soul Moderators: bert
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  Author    Strength of a Soul  (currently 1780 views)
FrankH
Posted: December 18th, 2020, 10:54pm Report to Moderator
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Matthew,

Thanks for your feedback.

It's a psychological Thriller, drama is part of the process, at least that's the way I've written it.

I wanted this to be a slow burn/build with ample number of hints that something not natural is going on. I was thinking the build up with hints would be enough to keep readers interested to flip pages before it unhinges towards the end. Scenes are not wasted, IMO, they give hints, part of the process.

Around page 30-ish, there's quite obvious that something weird or un-natural is going on.

Frank


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MatthewG
Posted: December 20th, 2020, 1:42pm Report to Moderator
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This is no thriller. Thrillers establish a threat early on. There's usually a killer or some kind of psycho established early in the story.  Someone gets shot or killed in the first few scenes and we know what the story's about. It's more of a drama. And it's not just slow ... it's glacially slow. Start off the story with some violence, hook the reader early on. Show us a bad guy doing some bad things and then you can build the tension because the audience knows the bad man is coming after someone. Thrills are the key to a thriller. Give the audience something that will make them jump out of their seat.
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FrankH
Posted: December 23rd, 2020, 8:53pm Report to Moderator
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You're describing a typical Thriller set-up. I agree with that.

I am aiming for a PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER where conflicts play out more through minds, so
more weights are put on characters than plot, or a balance between the two. A typical Thriller is more plot
over characters as you described. Elements of drama and mystery is part of the Psychological process.
IMO, Psychological Thrillers focus more on the mental fight/strength than physical threats.

Regarding the "hook", I thought the opening would poke a reader's interest in knowing more what the hell is
going on when you have a 5 year old girl returning home in the middle of the night after being out in the
rain and her teddy bear is ripped into pieces, but she doesn't have a single bruise on her body.
I hoped that would pull readers in to continue reading. Was she really sleepwalking? No, she wasn't.

This is my first draft, so I'm sure it needs some work. Too slow, that's fixable.

Happy Holidays

Frank  


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MatthewG
Posted: December 24th, 2020, 1:16pm Report to Moderator
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If you're going down the psychological route, maybe you should have the mom losing her mind because of all the weird shit going on with her daughter.
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FrankH
Posted: January 31st, 2021, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Don for posting a revised version.

Frank


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SteveClark
Posted: February 4th, 2021, 10:24pm Report to Moderator
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Frank,

Started on this. Got in 17 pages and stopping for now. My initial thoughts are -- 17 pages into this and I really do not know what is going on. I'm seeing everything you want me to, your action lines are decent, but there is not much dialogue. At all. Dialogue will explain who these people are, what they want, and what their situation is -- and right now I don't have much to go on. It feels like you're still doing set up when you should be well into the story now, seeing as the first act is almost done.

That's a major issue out of the box.

Lots of location jumps, too. A lot of them are the same location like, say, throughout the house. But they're quick. Back and forth. It's like you're not giving the reader a chance to settle into the story somewhere.

Anyway, will get to more of this soon. Just wanted to give you some initial thoughts!

Steve




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FrankH
Posted: February 5th, 2021, 8:34pm Report to Moderator
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Steve,

Thanks for the initial feedback. Some good points. Looking forward to the rest of your thoughts.

Frank


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SteveClark
Posted: February 8th, 2021, 11:39pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Frank,

Kinda reading this in drips and drabs as time allows. Sorry about that.

Up to page 60 and it's starting to become clearer as the story starts to unfold.

Still, it took a long time for this to happen. As I wrote earlier, clarity is an issue. You have a lot of unnecessary scene headings, many, in fact. It slows the story down. Muddles it. Lots of action paragraphs that are not separated with commas, but individual lines. That's the stop and start that's been happening. It wouldn't hurt to reword those.

Another thing is that I'm up to page 60 and I still don't know who, or what, the antagonist is. Basically, your story is churning but I'm still not too sure what it's really about. That's not good. At this point in your script, something like this should be evident. However, nice turn regarding Angelina finding out about Maia, though.

All that said, at this point I AM interested in finding out what's going on. That's a good thing.

Steve


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eldave1
Posted: February 9th, 2021, 8:50pm Report to Moderator
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QUICK TEN PAGE REVIEW BEFORE DINNER

For my taste - way too much description on character's appearances - just get to it.


Quoted Text
In pink pajamas with princess prints, on her knees, ZOE
HUNTER (5), a ray of sunshine with curly long hair, big brown
eyes, peers out a window. A teddy bear rests in her lap.

A smile with dimples to match as she cranes her neck, catches
a glimpse of a police car with flashers on.


To me - reads better as simply this:

HUNTER (5), in her PJs, clasping a teddy bear peers out the window at
a police car with flashers on.

Just my thing perhaps - but really don't think you need to dedicate that much space to appearance.


Quoted Text
ZOE
Why isnít dad coming home?


She's 5. Daddy - not Dad, IMO.

Here is another over description IMO


Quoted Text
On a side table, Angelina puts her glasses next to a phone,
lifts Zoe onto her lap.


Do we really need to know this??? You already have her taking her glasses off - where she puts them isn't relevant - just say

Zoe approaches.


Quoted Text
ANGELINA
Thatís sweat, but dad isnít lonely.
He needs some time alone. Itís like
when you and Bear play in your
room. Just you and Bear. Nobody
else. Thatís your alone time.


sweet - not sweat.

And again with the over describing.


Quoted Text
LIAM HUNTER (60), crew cut, deep eye sockets, rugged,
shoulders broad enough to cause a solar eclipse, paces a
floor in a dark suit and tie.


Business attire, broad shoulders - is enough.

You do this:


Quoted Text
In the lazy chair, Angelina reclines, sips wine.


Quite a bit. Put the action before the object, e.g.,

Angela reclines in a lazy chair.

This is an issue throughout.





My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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FrankH
Posted: February 12th, 2021, 9:40pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve,

Take your time. No rush. Some interesting comments so far that I will get back to when you finish reading the script.

You said, "your story is churning but I'm still not too sure what it's really about. That's not good." -- actually it's a good thing at least IMO.

Appreciate your time and feedback. Looking forward to you finishing reading the script.

Thanks again Steve,

Frank
  


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FrankH
Posted: February 12th, 2021, 9:50pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dave,

I'll revisit the character appearance descriptions. Maybe a little too much. I was trying to make it a little bit more interesting than just the basic stuff.

Regarding the object before action, I purposely do this to mix up the sentences a bit, not always start with the character name. It's clear, maybe doesn't read as well.

Thanks Dave for your feedback.

Frank


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eldave1
Posted: February 13th, 2021, 11:39am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from FrankH
Hey Dave,

I'll revisit the character appearance descriptions. Maybe a little too much. I was trying to make it a little bit more interesting than just the basic stuff.

Regarding the object before action, I purposely do this to mix up the sentences a bit, not always start with the character name. It's clear, maybe doesn't read as well.

Thanks Dave for your feedback.

Frank


My pleasure -good luck


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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SteveClark
Posted: February 17th, 2021, 9:24pm Report to Moderator
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Frank,

Sorry for the delay. Finally finished, and, well...

Honestly, I was lost. Here's the thing -- I couldn't tell, at times, if I was not following along because a, the writing was convoluted or b, the story was convoluted. In the end, I think it was a bit of both.

Your writing needs clarity, first and foremost. Many, many times, maybe even on every page, you have action blocks of one sentence only, basically describing something going on with the same subject. You can combine those sentences into one cohesive unit. That's for starters. Next, you have a lot of unnecessary descriptions that add nothing to your characters or the scenes. I recall someone had a double chin towards the end. No need to tell us that. He's not a main character even, so why give a description like that? It's not like casting is going to go out looking for an actor with a double chin just to play that role! Haha.

Overall, this needs serious work, Frank. Don't mean to sound harsh or anything, but it does.

I felt you had some moments where I thought I was being drawn in, but no. I just could not get a grasp on the story, the action or your characters. And that's not to say there wasn't a story there. I'm sure here was, but it did not come through for me. Maybe you can explain it? many times before I get a bit more clarity when it's explained to me. I'd appreciate it if you did that.

Thanks for asking me to read!

Steve


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FrankH
Posted: February 21st, 2021, 6:18pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve,

Thanks much for your time and effort finish reading my script.

I'll revisit character descriptions, lighten up a little on those.

Regarding the one line sentence action, I agree, some of these one liners should be combined. I assume what you're referring to is that typically each shot or action requires it's own paragraph. Great point.

On to the story/concept. I'll message you with more details.

On a wedding day, a family is ripped apart by a horrific accident. Grandpa Liam fights to stay afloat, doing what he can to bring his daughter Maia out of a coma. At home, Angelina struggles to keep the family together. Granddaughter Zoe is confused and lonely with Liam being distant, her dad Colton away and scatterbrained Angelina not always there, so Zoe connects with an imaginary friend, "dad's friend", or is he truly imaginary? Zoe's concern and support for Liam plays out through the story.

When Liam returns from the hospital, the first thing he does is to peek into Zoe's room where the teddy bear is all tucked in. He was suppose to give the stuffed animal a bath and bring it to church, a pinky swear promise between Zoe and Liam. Apart from being a security blanket for Zoe, the teddy bear also symbolizes the heartaches the family has to endure in the aftermath of the accident.

I have given multiple hints throughout the script that something unconventional is going on.

Here's one. In the opening scene, Zoe tells Angelina about a boy and how she was fighting for her teddy bear. There was blood on the teddy bear. Was Zoe fighting with the boy after he was killed by the train?

Here's another one. When Liam slams the speeding ticket on the table, Angelina picks it up, explains it to Zoe, drops it on the kitchen counter. When Liam leaves the house, he scoops up the ticket from the table where he left it. Hmm?

Angelina is connected to Maia through heart beats (the heart monitor).

Maybe It might be a good idea to include Supernatural as part of the genre.

Anyone interested in a script exchange review?

Frank



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FrankH
Posted: December 7th, 2021, 9:47pm Report to Moderator
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Don, thanks for posting.

New revision/rewrite.

I went back to the drawing-board, ripped it apart, almost a page 1 rewrite and put a different spin on it.

Enjoy

Frank


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