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I'm quite impressed on how you managed to make a compelling short out of a so simple premise. Really enjoyed this one. I wanted to know the end.
Nothing new or intriguing in the asteroid hitting the earth concept. But the dramatic structure you chose for your story, made it work. This short is a text book example to proove that telling a good story is as important as how you tell it.
I can imagine that reading this short backwards, and knowing the events chronologically would be quite boring. It was the Memento style that made it quite intriguing.
I've got hardly any beefs about this one. Only small stuff to point out.
We inmediatly gather that something is wrong with the world around Thomas and Kasia, since they're always seem to be alone. But I think you could have worked a bit more on the apocalyptic angle, to make their surroundings more intriguing and realistic. Images of the protagonist of "28 Days Later" wondering around the deserted city come to my mind. Of course, you'd have to focus more on hysteria and panic.
Thomas and Kasia call themselves by their names quite a lot.
You've got a "Henry" in p.17; I guess this was the former name for Thomas?
Overall, and as I said before, I really enjoyed reading this one. Looking forward to read something more from you.
Hey Mr.Z, Thanks for the read. I was unsure if I was going to submit this or not, but decided in the end. I'm not too keen on the characters I created, but I like the concept.
I have two other scripts up that I'm proud of, "Looking Down From Above" and "Rest In Peace". I think you've checked them out before.
I can't believe I left Henry in there. I checked and double checked the script countless times before submitting, and still missed that. It wasn't even the original character's name - it's a name of a character in another project I'm working on. Thanks for catching it.
Thomas and Kasia do mention each other by name a lot, but I left the passages in there for a couple of reasons. One, they were still newly be-friended and two, that I know a person who when scared\nervous - she uses people's first names a lot when talking.
I'll think about adding some shots of deserted roads etc. Thanks.
I thought that the story-telling here was absolutely great. Your writing, of course, was excellent as well. But, as I understand it is with you, I wasn't a huge fan of the characters. Kasia seemed like a stereotype, while Thomas as the everyman just wasn't developed enough for me. I think you've chosen the right characters but they need to be taken further and given more unique qualities.
Anyway, I was really impressed with this and I hope that you post a rewrite.
Yeah, I'm kind of stuck with the characters at the moment. I don't want them too young, as the topic is about two thirty-somethings finding love at the wrong time. I also don't want them too old, because then they would have already experienced life, and the loss wouldn't be the same.
What to do, what to do. Maybe by taking a few weeks away from the short, I can come back and work on it again.
I like it how you started from when the astroid hit, and moved backwards to the very beginning of the panic. It took me a while to realize you were doing this until I reached Day 5 or so. I liked it how you were able to do all of this in only 21 pages.
The character development is great and I was able to feel their emotions and the dialogue was good also. Your descriptions are very well written and I was able to picture everything in my head, along with a great story.
I liked reading this and there weren't too many mistakes (I realized on page 17 you have the name HENRY instead of THOMAS). Other than that, this was great.
I liked this a lot, until the ending that is. You had me guessing and everything was flowing nicely, but that ending sucked. No offense, but if you think about it, if the people of the world knew they were going to die there would be mass chaos and anarchy. There is no way that society would be that calm for 7 days.
Also, what happened to Thomas and Kaisa on the first day?
Why did they stop hanging out until day 3? Where did Kasia have to go?
She says "I'm sorry, this is your time during day 4" What did that mean?
I really like this piece, but you need a different ending, or at least an ending that makes a little more sense. Great script quality and no grammatical issues, that's always a major plus.
Hey Doug, Thanks for the read, I appreciate your comments.
I'm pretty sure there would be chaos in the world, but I did'nt want to focus on that, I just wanted to focus on two lonely people who found each other at the worst possible time.
Yes, there is a gap between day 1 and day 3. I wanted to leave it a mystery to the reader. The characters would have bolted to their 'homes' when the announcement was made. I showed that on day 2 with Thomas and his apartment.
When Kasia says that it is "your time", it was meant to mean that it was his time for making peace with his life and family, and doing something important before his time was up. Her time would be finding her dream home.
Okay, MacDuff, I've been eyeing your short since it was first posted. Just now getting an op to read, savor and review it.
"In Only Seven Days" is a pretty darn good script that impressively works the "Memento" reverse story-telling principle.
What a fast read, too. I couldn't believe it when I hit page 20. It felt like 10 pages. Maybe compartment-zing the story, made it seem short.
I initially thought the dialogue was stilted, but realize soon enough that Kasia’s native language is Polish.
As I read through this page, I forgot that Thomas and Kasia were but 34 and 32. Something in their relationship struck me as so familiar (to each other), that they seemed like an older couple.
I think if you're so inclined, this could be a really nice Feature.
Beware of Spoilers…
Day 7 -- I kind of liked the way you’ve presented the last day. I was certainly intrigued and compelled to read on.
With that said, I also think it played out in predictable fashion.
But, you have something in the scene with Breakout Potential. As the room shakes and the end draws near, we see 2 Plates on the table. One has pancakes, the other plate has pie. That conjures up a great image and wonderful possibilities. So…
∑ What if Day 7 is approached as a special day in the lives of two people, who may have searched a lifetime for each other? ∑ What if Thomas seizes this opportunity to romance his lady? He seems like a guy who isn’t very assertive. But now is the time for him to take charge. • Kasia says, “I’m scared.” Then slides toward Thomas.
Thomas should slide to her. He must be more assertive at this point in the story.
∑ And consider the contrast of opening your story with two lovers lost in each other, despite the gloom of annihilation closing in. Bold, in-control man, and princess-needing-to-be rescued woman. Conventional fairy tale… ∑ The noblest thing Thomas can do for Kasia is comfort her on this last day; Distract/shield her from the inevitable. Just as the Benigni character did for his son in “Life if Beautiful.” . [Hey, Thomas has already seen the abyss. He attempted suicide because of it. Nothing could ever be that bad again, as long as he has Kasia.] ∑ You would also complete Thomas’ character arc in dramatic fashion.
Day 6 – starts off with a stumble. Kasia is looking at a clipping of a viagara ad, which illustrates her dream home, and Thomas makes the comment that he used to steal apples from “her backyard.” I thought he was talking about the woman in the ad, which made no sense. How about adding a scene to show he’s looking down the street as he says this dialogue.
On top of P 3, Thomas comments: “I wish I could do more.”
That’s his cue. That says he’s thinking about it. Let him Do More. Which leads him to the Page 7 special day.
Day 5 -- They share a bit about their interests, their pasts. Kasia says she wants to show Thomas the clippings of her “Amiercan Dream” home and life.
• How about you use the language barrier to segue to Kasia showing Thomas the clipping?
• Example: Kasia can’t find the appropriate English word(s) to express her American dream. Here also is an opp to sprinkle in a few Polish words, just to add spice to the story.
So, as Kasia struggles to express her thoughts, she remembers the viagara ad. Now she pulls the ad and shows Thomas what she is thinking.
There is a lot of romance in language. As this story progresses (regardless of the limited time factor), what if Thomas and Kasia attempt to learn a few key words in each other’s language? To show progress in their intimacy.
Again, I want to emphasize how Day 7 could be a day of romance. Thomas should pick up on Kasia’s subtle cues – on Day 5, she says “I’d like to find my perfect home.” She’s a romantic. A dreamer. Willing to walk all day to find this magical place. So what is he willing to do?
Day 4 – Kasia says the magic words: Nothing is forever… soon we will meet again (in reference to her parents).
She can accept death and she sees something beyond this life. This is crucial to Day 7, because maybe Kasia is spiritual, if not religious. She believes in heaven, or an afterlife. How does she influence Thomas’ outlook?
Kasia takes Thomas’s hand and leads him through the cemetery gates. She takes the lead. Thomas is a follower. • Again -- Reverse there roles by Day 7.
I think Kasia’s dialogue is too on the nose: “That is your parents?” she asks. How about “They looked so happy.” Or something even less – like nothing at all.
Thomas might have the only dialogue: “I was an only child.” That itself sounds lonely.
Then follow with what you’ve written regarding his parents death.
Day 3 -- I’m not sure if it’s just too much of a coincidence that Thomas runs into Kasia at the gas station. If he didn’t show so much interest on Day 1, it might be okay. Hmmm…?
I do like the confrontation he has with the Greasy Man. T might be armed, but he is still more afraid than the Greasy Man, who is hardly intimidated.
T comes across as a man who will not pull the trigger. Not confident even when the deck is stacked in his favor. Nice job with Thomas saying “… I’m mean and I’ll shoot you.” That’s pathetic, but speaks volumes for poor Thomas’s character.
I like that Kasia, despite being under the control of the Greasy Man, does not give Thomas away when she sees him. It tells me that she is not prone to panic or loss of control under duress. It shows inner strength.
And later, on Day 4, she asks Thomas “So you came at the right time then?” That’s nice that she spins the rescue to give Thomas a pat on the back. This is why I Like this woman.
Finally, I’m so glad you have Kasia kill (or at least shoot) the Greasy Man. At this stage, I think Thomas’ attempt as being a hero is enough. He takes action or reaction, but not the macho climax to the action. That’s believable.
Day 2 -- The tiny apartment is apropos. The thinning hair tells us more about Thomas’s physical state.
I’m not a fan of the suicide bit.
He sounds aggravated, frustrated, at his wit’s end. Not suicidal. Nothing happens that suggests he is in emotional despair to even attempt suicide.
**** I have a thought about how to sink Thomas to his lowest point, which would come on Day 1. This suicide scene could then work Okay.
The scene with Thomas confronting the Crazed Man doesn’t work for me. Part of the problem is that you have two scenes of Thomas sucking it up and confronting a dangerous man. The Greasy Guy is good, Crazy guy doesn’t cut it.
But I do think that Thomas gets access to a gun. That’s a good thing.
Day 1 --- where it all begins, or ends.
I’m about to drop my biggest Bomb on you. Make Kasia Married. Locked in a bad marriage. You know that Greasy guy, that should be her abusive husband.
Kasia is pretty, and perky. Talky. So it’s hard to buy into her loneliness. But if she’s stuck in a bad relationship, we sympathize with her. We understand how this vibrant young woman can be and is lonely.
Then when she kills Greasy guy later, she is liberated. Free to pursue her dreams. Thomas indirectly is her liberator.
You’ve done good to have Thomas show interest in Kasia. I like his struggles to talk to her. And that she responds to him. But you need to throw a bigger obstacle in Thomas’ path. Back to what I suggested - If she’s married to Greasy Guy, then he’s the obstacle. What do you think?
Maybe he catches Kasia talking to Thomas and punishes her on the spot. Thomas attempts to defend her. Greasy guy mops the floor with Thomas. Totally humiliates him.
Now he is devastated emotionally. Maybe this is what pushes him to attempt suicide on Day 2. The last straw. Later, when he confronts Greasy guy again, we will think he will get his revenge. But the twist is that he doesn’t get his revenge. Kasia does.
Finally, the killer asteroid is fine with me. I could care less where the destruction comes from.
It’s a device, a ticking clock.
You can discard most of the comments here, but I know I’m right about Kasia being in a bad marriage/relationship. That’s the catalyst to how the rest of the story plays out.
Yes, do fix the "Henry" thing. I doubled back to see if there was a Henry anywhere.
I do agree that we need to see some of the mass chaos. Something of the city in turmoil. It could be brief. Looting, fighting, fires, you know, like the two LA riots... oh, forgot, you're not from LA. LOL.
Great read, MacDuff. Tweak this story and re-post it, or email it to me.
Oh -- I've got this personal aversion to calling someone "silly," as an expression of affection. Eeegad. Just me, I guess.