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I've decided that I'll share what I had written before I made the decision to sit out the OWC for you all to give feedback on. The script is incomplete of course and I put a note at the end explaining why I decided to sit out. The working title was "Nutcracker Story". This has the grittiest dialog I have written for a script thus far:
Good title with the pun on Nutcracker. You could use it initially as a pun on his wife giving him a hard time about his drinking maybe...?
It's written pretty well, Mark. I read it at the same time Dave did and agreed with his comments but didn't want to pile on. Did you change any since you first posted it? I'll take a second look.
It's a familiar problem when constructing a Short - knowing the evolution of story, what happens mid-way, how it ends etc.
The straightforward character arc with your drinking dad is that he would eventually become a changed man, have a happy ending, with his behaviour first causing a bigger more impacting problem, and then he'd learn from it.
Alternatively it could result in tragedy, be a cautionary tale, have an abrupt or touching ending etc.
* Okay, read it again. At the bottom of page 2 (where we see the tear falling on the ornament) is where the story should change course imho.
I'd probably go to Man now out drinking. Something happens as a result of him being out drinking - he either meets someone who teaches him a lesson, runs someone over, has a near romantic dalliance with a woman/infidelity - something.
You need to give both Man and Woman names imo - your audience can relate better that way.
I'm iffy on this tonally: "I'm Spending my Christmas with Jesus This Year" - unless it actually relates to the story I think it's a bit heavy-handed, - and I'd go with the focus on the ornament instead. You could have Grandpa's name and date engraved on an ornament for example.
Give 'em to me now, bitch. Is also I'm pretty sure not going to result in a crowd pleaser. That's not to say you shouldn't go dark but if I were you I'd think in terms of how's my story going to end up, what is the tone, audience etc.?
Is your story about the parents finding their way back to each other? Is it about Grandpa giving the couple a life-lesson... and the kid learning in the process?
Agree with Libby, the story should change with the teardrop... but what we get is kind of a reply of the first scene... not sure that's needed in a short of this nature.
I'd also give them names, which you may have intended to do later on down the line... just make for an easier read and helps picture people.
As a suggestion... what if it wasn't a nutcracker but an ornamental bottle opener and the end sees Man realising the error of his ways and NOT using it to open more beer and to have a family christmas with his son and wife... just a thought.
You’re right, it did lead to this sort of relentless back and forth of arguing with seemingly no end in sight. Like Dave said, having an ending or at least an idea, is a good way to push through. This seems like you had no idea where to go, not to mention a very dreary Christmas story concerning an unforgivable drunk. Still, it could have been redeemed and turned into something beautiful if you’d given it more thought. Nice effort.