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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  The Crux of it All - OWC
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  Author    The Crux of it All - OWC  (currently 5149 views)
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 10:32am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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The Crux of it All by Mark Lyons (rc1107) - Short, Drama - An imprisoned man is given an extraordinary opportunity to bring retribution upon another inmate. - pdf, format

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Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  March 8th, 2008, 5:06pm
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The boy who could fly
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 12:36pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

British Columbia, Canada
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This one was very well written, and I thought it was an interesting idea.  I;m kind of unsure that the ex wife and lawyer would have the meeting in the actual prison cell, I think they have rooms for those, seemed kinda weird to me.  I think the dialogue between Ben and Melissa was a bit uneven, they just apologized back and forth together, I think after what Ben has learned he would be in shock for a bit, that is kind of a big whopper to be told.  I do think for the most part it flowed well and the writer here has some real talent.  The theme and genre are used well and the story moves at a good pace.

Nice job

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Zombie Sean
Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 12:55pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

A boozer, a user, and a two-time loser

Anywhere there's a zombie...
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I have to agree with Jordan about the dialogue between Melissa and Benjamin being a bit uneven. And that he should have been in more shock than he already was.

The rest of the dialogue flowed well, and your descriptions were great. I was seriously about to cringe if Benjamin actually hit Arnold in the Adam's Apple because that hurts. And I found it comical when he peed himself. That was funny. But raping a 6-year-old? Now that's messed up...



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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 2:02pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group


New York
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Talking about a Stephen King moment. I like your mention of King's character and the turn of events after that. But I doubt that the guards and Haywood would agree to allow this trangress as they did. Probably if you put a period on when this happened, maybe it can happen such as technology wise. The guards and the type of guys such as Haywood will have their own means of exacting revenge for an inmate without getting people in trouble.

Hope this helps,

Just Murdered by Sean Elwood (Zombie Sean) and Gabriel Moronta (Mr. Ripley) - (Dark Comedy, Horror) All is fair in love and war. A hopeless romantic gay man resorts to bloodshed to win the coveted position of Bridesmaid. 99 pages.
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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 5:29pm Report to Moderator

rockford illinois
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This one was very well written and easy to read. There were two main things that bothered me a little though. As mentioned above, the meeting between the lawyer/prisoner/ex-wife was odd especially for a maximum security prison. Also, I don't believe wardens really have any sympathy for prisoners, guilty or not. That's just an opinion though.

On the other hand though, it was entertaining and there's a nice bit of foreshadowing with the last dialogue.
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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 6:28pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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This is the second one I've read today where it takes place during the Rumsfeld era.  I thought this was well written and I was almost able to buy it completely, but I fell kind of short.  I actually thought the dialogue between Ben and Melissa was pretty good.  Most of the dialogue I think was.  I even almost bought Haywood's reasoning for giving Ben 15 minutes with Watts, but I agree with Peterson that I don't think a warden would have much sympathy.  I know it turns out that Ben is innocent of the really bad crime he was accused of, but the whole deal of letting the wardens beat other prisoners...I just can't buy it...though Haywood's reasoning was a valiant effort.

I like how you described Watts as a "squirellish."  After all, he is a pedophile, and from what I hear, they usually do get their asses handed to them in prison regardless of the situation.  

I also liked Haywood's final line.  It was a good way to wrap the story up.  Overall it was nicely told, but the loop with the allowed guess I can go either way.  Morally I guess it was right because Watts is a creep and Haywood feels empathy for Ben, and I can't say that I wouldn't allow the same in that situation, but at the same time it's very Rumsfeldian.  Good job overall.

Be excellent to each other

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greg  -  February 23rd, 2008, 7:46pm
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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 7:40pm Report to Moderator

Canada, eh.
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As good as your writing is, I find it so hard to believe anything that happens in this for a second...and there's little changes you could of easily made to make it believable.  I think you're just trying to make things more dramatic and it completely kills the story for me.

1) Why do they have to talk in the cell?  It could of just as easily been set in the visitation room.

2) Why does the warden have to tell him where the guy is and say he'll turn his head?  I think it would be easier to believe with a guard.

So to finish this really short review off: your writing is good, but this story doesn't do it for me.

Please, read Elvis The Goat or Cold Turkey.  Thanks in advance and I'll make sure to review your script in exchange.
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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 9:41pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

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This one was well-written. A little too wordy for my taste, but well-writen nonetheless.

There were a few minor inconsistencies--one, Ben would've had to be tied up and secured during the meeting no matter what. And two, the meeting wouldn't have taken place in a prison cell. No prison does that. Maybe they could've talked to him from behind the bars, but as it is here, it is completely wrong and no prison would ever allow it. Eventhough he did not do anything wrong save for the manslaughter charge inside the prison, security should still be a must. When this is all over and if you choose to rewrite this outside of the OWC rules, you might want to have this take place in the Visits room with Ben cuffed against a chair.

Ben's dialogue as well as the lawyer's was spot on, but I think Melissa's needed some work. I felt like some of it would not sound well when said out loud.

About Haywood, I liked him. But I think he was only there to push the plot forward. I saw him as a drone other than a character, you know? He was well-written and his dialogue was good, but I felt he was otherwise a blank slate. But you can only do so much with twelve pages so I'll cut you some slack.

Possible goof with Arnold--When you first introduce him, you say he's hand and ankle-bound; but I don't recall you saying he was gagged too until Ben removed it. It just popped outta nowhere. You might wanna check on that.

The whole hitting-someone's-Adam's-apple-with-a-baton-thing made me so quasy it's not even that's a good thing. Don't worry.

The way Ben was allowed to beat the crap out of Arnold by Haywood was dirty. Arnold was scum-bag rapist, so I didn't lose any sleep over it. It did, however, made me lose some liking for Ben and Haywood.

I would've liked more closure with Melissa.

That's pretty much it. I thank yuou for an entertaining read!

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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 10:02pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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This was an interesting read. Most of the problems come from sections of the script being a little too wordy. Characters talk for too long after they've already made their point, or take too long in getting to their point. The script can be made a lot shorter by trimming the dialogue down, because there's a lot of unnecessary words in there. The same can be said of the descriptions, they're a little longer than needed. Go through the script and trim the fat, it'll be a big improvment.

The scenes with Melissa were pretty nice. Some of the dialogue was kind of corny, but in an emotionally intense situation like the one they're in, that's pretty much unavoidable. It was certainly dramatic, so it fit the genre very well.

The only other complaint I would have is that I think a better job could be done of setting up the scenario with Watts. I like the idea of the scene and you did a pretty good job with the encounter itself, but Haywood just letting Ben stroll in there just because he can imagine it being his own daughter was pretty flimsy. Haywood being paid off would've been a lot easier to swollow. Money is an extremely powerful motivator.

Other than that, I liked this script. Fit the genre and theme very well and it flowed very nicely. Congrats.

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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 10:58pm Report to Moderator
Guest User

This one took the genre/theme seriously.   You did a very good job with it and any comments I could come up with would be merely nits.   Though personally this wasn't my cup of tea, I give you the first GREENLIGHT.
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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 10:59pm Report to Moderator

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Your story flows and is easy to read. But I didnít really like anything else. The story for me personally seemed like a mellow drama. I think a strong reason is the dialogue, its good but you sort take a while to make a point. Maybe even once you get a point you just seem to take it too far going in to detail.  I say trim things and kee it short.

Good Golly Miss Molly
No Place Like Home
New Moon Rising
The Ballad of Uncle Sam: An Anarchists Melody
Toy Soldier
This Modern Love
A Virgin State of Mind

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Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 11:58pm Report to Moderator

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In reading this one I was distracted straight away by the ďFlourescent lights
luminate off of the limestone floor from the ceilingĒ line at the beginning. Where would lights be other than the ceiling and donít they luminate by definition? May be Iím being fussy but that line is odd.

Why would a lawyer be hanging around in a cell waiting for a prisoner and then a visitor arrives as well. I suspect you forced the venue and the time line to stay at the prison cells just for the challenge but actually it would work better with other locations and time between the events.

The idea is not bad and the dramatic scene at the end works but overall this is forced and a little contrived.


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Posted: February 24th, 2008, 8:39am Report to Moderator
Been Around

Newcastle, England
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H, this one is probably my favourite so far. Fits the criteria perfectly and you couldn't have put anymore drama into it.
Haven't got anything critical to say at all. I'd say the front runner for the win from this batch.

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Posted: February 24th, 2008, 11:00am Report to Moderator

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Well written and presented. The only flaw is the logic. Some of those can be accepted given the "one room" stage play setting required. Given the time to research the subject to remove the problems mentioned by others here, the authors style and voice show a lot of potential.
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Old Time Wesley
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 3:37pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Ontario, Canada
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As far as I'm concerned films always defy logic. Especially prison films. The show Oz had a lot of things that you may call unbelievable but at the end of the day people watched it as entertainment and weren't trying to compare it to real life.

I enjoyed this short because it has a main character who isn't just out for revenge and has bigger goals in life than killing the ones who did him wrong.

The idea is played out. Seems to use all the same elements as the story goes and has nothing to make it stand out other than good writing.

The short works as a short and is a good read.

Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.
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