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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  The Forsaken Seas - OWC
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  Author    The Forsaken Seas - OWC  (currently 3872 views)
Don
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 11:04am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Forsaken Seas by A. B. Steel - Short, Drama - Captain Briggs must decide what's best for his family and crew after encountering a seaquake in the Azores. - pdf, format


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Zombie Sean
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 1:23pm Report to Moderator
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Okay...Unless this is another metaphor for being stuck in the prison, I didn't see anything that had to do with the theme of the OWC challenge except for the name Briggs, which is what they called the prison cell back in the 1800s on the ships...or something like that. I saw the drama though.

Your descriptions were good, and they helped move the script quickly...almost too quickly though. There were some points where everything turned way too quickly and I felt it didn't seem too real at some times...but what do I know? I didn't live back in...1872.

Why did Sophia die? I don't understand how she could unless it was that one Infant Death disease thing where the baby just...dies...Dead Infant Syndrome? Ha ha I have no idea but I remember hearing it from one of my friends.

Though I'm just bothered most by the missing theme. Please explain to me what type of prison you have in this script, whether it be shown or whether it be metaphorical.


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Pete B. Lane
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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This one irked me. There's no prison to be found at all, unless being trapped on the open sea is a *very* broad metaphor for imprisonment - but No, I don't buy it.

Edited to elaborate: I think the point of these challenges is not just to come up with a decent idea in a week but to also make it fit the setting/theme and genre given. If a producer who happened to have access to a vacant prison needed a short script to fit that locale, and this script was submitted, he would throw it in the garbage and never call the writer again. In that way, it fails the OWC.

There were certainly dramatic elements here, but the writer seemed to be just going through the motions.  And the baby dying was a bit gimmicky to me (Zombie Sean - it's S.I.D.S: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Now if the mother and child had fallen into the water and the child died that way, it would make a lot more sense.

All said, I don't think this worked or fit with the OWC. I must give it a D.
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greg
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 3:50pm Report to Moderator
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I figured there would be at least one script like this.  I think everyone can agree that the writer knows how the write, however, the metaphor here is extremely subtle.  So much so that a few other readers couldn't really connect it, and that's a problem.  I got it, but it was just so slight that I couldn't really accept it.  It's a family trapped at sea in a lifeboat...and the real conflict I think is more with the family than it is with the sea.  

It's a good script, yeah, but to go the metaphor route it's really gotta play a bigger role.


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mgj
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 4:08pm Report to Moderator
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This was quite melodramatic.  Visually it captured my imagination and, as I stated, there are quite a few dramatic turns in this story.  The dialogue felt kind of wooden though, particularly the captain's.  This made it difficult to really get into the story or feel as much emotion as I thought I should.

I guess it also bears mentioning that the prison cell is used rather loosely here.  I can accept it, though you might want to prepare yourself for a little backlash.

One other thing: the captain's sermon felt a little long.  Something brief - a few lines at the most would seem fitting under the circumstances.

-Mike


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bert
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 7:07pm Report to Moderator
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I have never read a sailing story with such a poor grasp of sailing.  And I am not even a sailor.  The actions you foist upon this crew -- such as getting into the lifeboats during a storm while their ship is perfectly intact -- it is absurd.  "What if the ship sinks?" asks the Captain.  What???

This lifeboat is the prison.  I get that.  It is a stretch, but I get it.

But I simply cannot fathom the methods you use to get them into this boat.  I think you were going for clever approach here and capsized by accident.

OWC Score: 50%


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pwhitcroft
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 10:08pm Report to Moderator
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This ends up being an interesting take on what happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste.

Near the beginning the domestic stuff (child and cooking) goes on too long and Iím not buying the idea that a shipís galley does not fix down its stove.

Briggs asking ďDo you know what is it?Ē when it appears to be a storm has to make him the dumbest sea captain ever to sail! And then he gives the order to abandon ship from his dinner table!

Having idiocy as your explanation for the Mary Celeste is a viable suggestion that could be made to work. Tighten it up a little and have the captain do some other really stupid things with the crew unable to stop him. Your explanation would be as good as any other.

Philip


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James McClung
Posted: February 24th, 2008, 11:21pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this one a lot. Like two other scripts I've read so far, the prison is a metaphor. I think using metaphor worked better here than in the other two. I felt the lifeboat was more imprisoning than an actual prison cell even though there were no bars. You found a loophole and I think it worked well. The drama was there as well. A lot of interesting conflict going on here. I think the characters' struggle was the focus here, which is good, as this wasn't just an attempt to break out of the OWC's constraints to the detriment of the story.

Solid work here. My only issue was the ending. The line "head for the island" is rather disconcerting following the death of the child. It seemed like if they held on a little longer, they could've saved her. Her death in this context ends up feeling like negligence as opposed to her succumbing to the circumstances. I would've preferred the characters be stranded without a clue at the end. The island reference kind of downplays the danger and the tragedy of the situation. Otherwise, this was a good script.


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rc1107
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 1:25pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from mgj
I guess it also bears mentioning that the prison cell is used rather loosely here... you might want to prepare yourself for a little backlash.


And here it comes...

:-)  Okay.  I'm going to sound like a huge asshole, but I promise it's nothing against you.  It's against the story.  Lol.  I'm going to sugarcoat it as much as possible so I don't come off too mean.  But remember, if I didn't think that there wasn't any potential here, I wouldn't spend all this time telling you what I thought.

First of all.  There was drama, so good job there.  It was forced drama, but drama nevertheless.  You really do need a better way to tell us how their daughter dies.  Remember, the daughter's two years old, so the Infant Death Syndrome that Sean had came up for you isn't going to work.

All right.  Take a look at your first three scenes.  Here they are, not in a nutshell, but literally:

1.  Captain asks Mate if dinner is almost ready.  Mate says that it is.
2.  Mate goes to the kitchen and asks the cook if dinner is almost ready.  The cook says that it is.
3.  Mate goes back and tells the Captain that the Cook said that dinner is almost ready.  Captain says 'Okay'.

Nothing happens.  Nothing's learned.  Nothing explains or sets up what is about to happen.  It's all unnecessary filler.  And it took you two pages to tell us absolutely nothing.

I also think you need to explain more why they're on this voyage in the first place, and why the hell did the captain bring his wife and daughter?  They're not going to go colonize somewhere with only one woman, are they?

And what kind of Captain gives the order to abandon ship just because a little bit of water splashes onto the deck?  Without ever even getting up from the dinner table to eye the situation for himself!

Somebody already pointed out that your dialogue is stale.  It's true.  Extremely stale.  And, except for an 'ay ay' thrown in once or twice, everybody sounds like they're from someplace in a modern day suburb rather than 1872.  The captain and his wife are so inappropriate for each other, it's almost Jerry Springer-material.

All right.  I'm going to use Bert's scoring system for this entry:

My score  -  10%  (And that's only because you didn't use camera directions and there was drama (despite the ill reason for it.)

The very main reason for the low score?

I think you failed miserably at the theme.  You didn't even try to adhere to the guidelines.  And no, I'm not accepting the lifeboat as a metaphor for a prison cell.  I want to go to the moon extremely bad, but it doesn't mean that Earth is a prison cell.  That's kind of what you did here.

And for all the people who are BARELY accepting the lifeboat as a metaphor, remember, they always had the option, and even at the end, STILL have the option of rowing ten miles back to Santa Maria Island.

If anything, the lifeboat is a metaphor for salvation.

Once again, and I want to stress, I'm not picking on you.  I wouldn't have even taken the time to tell you what I thought about the script if I didn't think it would help.

I hope you don't hate me too bad.

- Mark


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James R
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 1:56pm Report to Moderator
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Well, brother, you have been picked apart already and everything I wanted to say has been said so let me just reiterate. The beginning (described so nutshell-y by rc1107) seemed like a comedy. I thought I was in for a comedy for the first few pages. I could hear circus music playing or the William Tell overture in the background.

The drama comes in eventually, but it is really forced. A child dying is dramatic, but the way it was handled made me not really care. The family closeness was not there to begin with so I don't care as much as I could about the child dying. Show some closeness and love amongst the three family members to make us care. And maybe make the captain/father care a little more when his daughter dies.

I don't know much about sailing and crews, but I could pick out some things that needed addressing. If a Captain asked when dinner would be ready and the crewman gave the answer "Soon, sir" wouldn't he be forced to walk the plank?

And in the middle of pp. 6: Further is a modifier, farther shows distance. It should be farther.

Good idea, maybe not for the OWC, but a good idea.

James


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mcornetto
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 2:33pm Report to Moderator
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Seaquake? Certainly didnít seem like a seaquake to me, seemed more like a storm.  Plus where is the prison cell?  

You have a good idea for a tense drama here Ė one that has been done well a number of times but nonetheless a good idea - people in a life boat but you donít have the length to create that tension.

I give this one a PASS.
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Dr. McPhearson
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 4:17pm Report to Moderator
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I have to say, I wasn't fond of this one. I was really excited when I discovered it would be a period piece, but my joy was soon hammered down by the scenes that followed.

In my opinion, the dinner scene was unnecessary. In fact, I think it would be even more engaging for the audience if you start with the storm. It holds no punches, and it sticks you right in the action.

Secondly, Sophia's death was not only ambiguously unexplainable (was it the chill that got to her?), but everyone handled the news fairly well. Now, you may come back and say that Briggs was dead to any emotions, but it still begs the question why Sarah let go of her daughter's body so quickly. No woman (and I mean, no woman) I know would get over her child's death so quickly and quietly. Honestly.

Could someone please explain the metaphor to me? Because apparently, this script is so much more profound than I found it. It seemed to me almost pointless, mostly because it held no emotions towards any of the events that unfolded.

I have no doubt that you can write good stuff; I just did not enjoy this thing. Not in the least.


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Re-Right (short comedy)
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chism
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 11:19pm Report to Moderator
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This wasnít one of my favourites, I have to admit. I honestly donít see the point of this script. Itís just a bunch of stuff cobbled together. There is too dramatic a shift in tone between the dinner scene (which serves no purpose) and the beginning of the storm. Itís a bit jarring, and the whole thing never gels.

Another problem, there is no prison cell, and the lifeboat isnít metaphorical enough to substitute one, so it doesnít fit the theme and there isnít nearly enough drama (despite the death of an infant) for it to fit the genre.  Iím sorry to say the writer of this one missed the mark.

I really donít have anything else to say. Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but I really didnít enjoy this one. Maybe I missed something, I just donít see the point of it.


Matt.
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Zack
Posted: March 1st, 2008, 1:49pm Report to Moderator
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I didn't see how this fit the theme.

It was well written, with good dialogue and even better descriptions. The story didn't move to fast for me, I thought the pacing was pretty good. It was a drama... but I couldn't see the theme.

If being trapped at the open sea was supposed to be a metaphor for the prison cell, I don't think it works. It's too big in scope.

Overall, a nicely written script, but until the author explains how the theme fits into this... I'm not gonna call it a successful OWC entry. Sorry.

I'll give it a D+

~Zack~  


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Blakkwolfe
Posted: March 2nd, 2008, 2:37pm Report to Moderator
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Interesting, sea-faring tale...Very loose interpretation of the theme at best...Maybe if the people were stuck on the boat with no hope for survival, but as it is, they just have to row a little bit and everything will be OK (they didn't make it)...Don't know why the 2 year old just up and died-SIDS is usually not a risk at that age; Briggs should have stayed with the ship. The fact he didn't is cowardice and he could be court martialed...History doesn't say what happened to Capt. Briggs, and I think you looked at the wrong part of the story...If they were just floating in the lifeboat after the fact with all hope gone, I think that may have suited the challenge better...


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