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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2008 One Week Challenge  ›  Rydale's Prison - OWC
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  Author    Rydale's Prison - OWC  (currently 5726 views)
Don
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 6:23pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Rydale's Prison by Philip Whitcroft (pwhitcroft) - Short, Drama - An over crowded prison opens up a disused room with a dark history. - pdf, format



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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  March 8th, 2008, 4:04pm
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rc1107
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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Ahh.  I'm 98% sure whose wonderful descriptions those are.  I'm sure you're prepared to get nailed by some people saying it might be too wordy for their tastes.  You know my feelings, though.  If it's not who I think it is, then I like how your descriptions read.  Scripts should be told with pictures, and you paint some great imagery.  My 2% doubt is because of a slight, very slight formatting thing that I don't think I ever noticed in their scripts before.  I might have to go back over a couple of them and see if it's the same in those ones, too.

The story's great and definitely a unique and original tale that still adheres to the theme and genre.  Definitely my favorite and the frontrunner in my opinion so far.  My only nitpicks are with some of the dialogue.  A lot of the dialogue is good and interesting and tells a great story, but some of it left a strange taste in my mouth.

JIM - Dear God they are opening it up!  (A little too melodramatic, perhaps?)

SEYMOURE - ...And his children was all the same...  (That line's fine.  It goes along with his age and the improper grammar seems in line with his character.  But then, his next line of dialogue...)
SEYMOURE - There was but one ray of joy amongst...  (All of a sudden, he took a proper English course.  He can't use was and were properly, yet he uses amongst?)

Those are a few examples and I know are very, very minor, but I did say they were only nitpicks.  I'm just saying the only, ONLY thing you might want to take a second look at is some of the dialogue.

That said, I can't wait to see if this one's going to get topped.

- Mark


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Pete B. Lane
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 8:19pm Report to Moderator
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Comments as I go:

"...and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others."

~You should probably be clearer about how he knows or, more importantly, how we know he's not welcome.

"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."

~Another "show, don't tell" situation. We need to know his reaction to this feeling, not just the feeling.

"...with the room dimly lit by moonlight from outside." As opposed to moonlight from inside? lol

"Francis thinks he has successfully shut down the subject. Seymour is too mouthy to let that happen."

~I hate to harp on this kind of thing but we need more showing, less telling.

~When Danny is told of Clarissa's fate: I find it unlikely, even as tragic as the circumstances were, that Danny would be "white as a sheet" upon hearing it.

~A little later Danny cries in his room - why? He's just been told a story, nothing really odd has happened to him yet. It seems like a very childish reaction to what, at this point, is nothing.

~It's lightning, not lightening.

Okay, I like the build-up of the story, but I found the ending very unsatisfying - and not just because it wasn't what I expected. Actually, I didn't understand it - but that could just be me.

This is an intriguing idea that uses the setting and genre well but fails to offer an effective conclusion, IMO. It's fairly well-written but there is some awkward phrasing here and there that is distracting.

A good effort overall - I grade it a B-.



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Pete B. Lane  -  February 25th, 2008, 9:44pm
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bert
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 8:53pm Report to Moderator
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Another good one.  The type of story I enjoy best.  There will indeed be those telling you that your prose is too flowery.  Ignore them.  This gothic tale, reminiscent of Poe, demands such technique.

Calling the flashlights "torches" exposes the fact that this is not an American author.  I, too, have my suspicions as to who this might be.

I wish you had not called it "the stately home of the Rydale family."  All I could think of was "stately Wayne manor", for those who get the joke.

The slow sense of dread is marvelously built upon a meager 12 pages, and the expository backstory -- a necessary evil -- was delivered as painlessly as possible.

My complaint here -- the story is weakened by the epilogue.  DannyÔŅĹs discovery, followed by the gunshot.  You should have ended there.

I am virtually certain this will be amongst my top five.

OWC Score:  98%


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bert  -  February 26th, 2008, 1:25pm
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Zombie Sean
Posted: February 25th, 2008, 10:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
Okay, I like the build-up of the story, but I found the ending very unsatisfying - and not just because it wasn't what I expected. Actually, I didn't understand it - but that could just be me.


Don't worry, Pete. I didn't understand the ending either. I read it over and over and still didn't get what was so shocking. I got a little confused about it. Buried a room? Can you do that?

The descriptions were long and wordy, nonetheless, but yet, it did help me create an image in my head. Though, there were a few things that were unnecessary (liked telling us how Danny felt).

Interesting premise. Like a...castle prison, right? That's what it sounds like.

Sean


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Blakkwolfe
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I liked it...Dark, spooky and mysterious...To borrow Berts comment, Gothic is a good word...The descriptions were a bit wordy, but I didn't mind reading them...Some of these I've read so far plod along like a horse trudging through concrete, but this moved nicely from point A to Point B...I was disappointed to see Danny get shot in the end (as the dogs and shooters don't care.) I like the fact too that this was written from a Non-American perspective; it gives the short a color and flavor that is a nice change. Liked the elderly storytellers, too.


Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently - Dove Chocolate Wrapper
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cybercelt
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Always appreciate when a script is as interesting in the action as the dialog. The thing has to be read and suffers when the action is too mechanical.

On a couple of notes from above;

"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."
"Francis thinks he has successfully shut down the subject. Seymour is too mouthy to let that happen."

My opinion is these are both Valid. Both give subtle direction, (without straying into stepping on the directors toes) to the character and provide detail on how the character is existing (bad word) in the scene, the moment. Both can be conveyed visually and add to the scene. Both convey intent.

"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."
This provides information an actor can use and show as opposed to something like;
"..and Danny is suddenly reminded of the clown at his sixth birthday."
The former gives the character something specific to convey. The latter is open to interpretation (Happy? he likes clowns, scared? he hates clowns, creeped out? The clown  was behind the bushes and.... never mind)
Beating this dead horse into cat food.

The comment;
"...and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others."
~You should probably be clearer about how he knows or, more importantly, how we know he's not welcome.

  This seems clear. The Director can choose how to convey this and to go further steps into the "Don't be the director" argument.

  Not intending to hammer on Pete as the rest of his comments I agree with (which provides Pete with the validation he needs to go on living or simply the needed push to add me to his twit filter).

  As for the script (finally
  It was a good read. It was interesting and I wasn't rushed to finish or pulled out by something odd. It is very visual and it would be interesting to find out how it translates to being simply read.

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Pete B. Lane
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Quoted from cybercelt
My opinion is these are both Valid. Both give subtle direction, ...


That's true, but a bit too subtle for my taste.


Quoted Text
"...and Danny gets a chill down his spine as he continues..."
This provides information an actor can use and show...


Does it really though? Frankly, I've never had a chill down my spine so I wouldn't know how to react to that line. To me it's just one of those hackneyed terms that people don't question because they've heard 10,000x. But hey, I'm probably the odd one here.



Quoted Text
"...and sees that many of the tables are full and he is not welcome at others."

This seems clear. The Director can choose how to convey this and to go further steps into the "Don't be the director" argument.


I see your point, and don't completely disagree. Of course the director would figure this out, but just a little more information from the writer would set the scene a little better, I think. If there had been just one more line (perhaps suggesting how other prisoners react to him as he approaches their tables) I wouldn't have mentioned it.


Quoted Text
Not intending to hammer on Pete as the rest of his comments I agree with (which provides Pete with the validation he needs to go on living or simply the needed push to add me to his twit filter).


Or a third option - which is the one I'm going with.

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mgj
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 1:12am Report to Moderator
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Like the others I enjoyed the moody atmosphere your created.  The descriptives weren't too wordy - you may have straddled the line a time or two but didn't cross it.  I do think that the lack of dialogue for certain portions does have a way of magnifying this facet more than it normally would.  

I'm not sure a prisoner would be so terrified of ghosts, even in an old gothic prison like this one.  Personally I'd welcome a ghost or two to keep me company (it's those communal showers I'd have nightmares about).  Despite this I bought into the story.  The ending, although doesn't tie everything up in a neat bowe is still dramatic enough and tense enough to justify what came before.

-Mike


"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein
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chism
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 4:07am Report to Moderator
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This one was pretty good, though itís more of a thriller/mystery story and not a drama. But thatís a minor quibble. Good descriptions (a little wordy in places, but it was well-written) and some nice spooky scenes.

My major complaint is the opening. The story just begins, thereís no sense of establishing a mood or tone. The beginning is so sudden, itís kind of jarring to have so much exposition thirty seconds into a script. But then again, with such limited time, I donít know what else you could have done.

Anyway, thatís really it. I like it, despite the fact that it doesnít fit into the genre, but it has an interesting twist on the prison cell theme and some pretty creepy moments. All in all, it was a good effort. Well done.


Matt.
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GM
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 8:19am Report to Moderator
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Wow. Very original. Enjoyed the tale. My only complaint, the struture of the tale seemed more apporaiate as a feature. I would like to see this tunred into a feature since it has a lot of potential. Good job.  

Hope this helps,
Gabe
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fredigy
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I read this story last night. The things I remember most about this story were:

Roses:
The characters and the dialogue. Impressive.
The suspense. Loved the build up.

Thorns:
Reformat it and one would never know this was written as a screenplay. It reads more like a novel.
Around page six I lost interest with all the descriptions, but I kept on to see what was going to happen.

Anyway, good job. I liked the story.
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James R
Posted: February 26th, 2008, 12:32pm Report to Moderator
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I guess all I need to say is that Dining was spelled wrong on the last page in the scene heading.

I really liked this one. Very spooky. And I understand that a 19-year-old who is in prison (likely) for the first time and hears a ghost story from some old guys would be white as a sheet. I would be.

Great job.

James


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stebrown
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Loved the story. Excellent build ups and imagery.

Have to agree with Chism about it not really being a drama (but then again 'drama' is probably the most loose of genres).

Also have to agree with fredigy that it reads more like a novel.

I'll leave it up to others to decide about those two complaints though as I said I loved the story and the way you told it.


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Souter Fell
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Really, really good.

As far as claims that it's not drama, drama is conflict. I even consulted my Screenwriter's Bible prior to this OWC and drama ins't even listed as a genre. This story was very dramatic, even melo-dramatic sometimes.

Again, for those who thought that narratives were to long and floaty, read an instruction manual then. Most of it gets its point across and it's enjoyable for people that actually like to read and not just skip though dialogue.

Since a lot has already been pointed out, let me point out a little thing. You put the guard next to Danny when walking to the Rydale section. In this scene, they are the only two that matter even though more people are there. You centralize the story. Good job.

My only gripe is that Danny really has no character. He's a newbie but he has no voice. He doesn't seem especially timid nor does he put up a tough front. The whole dining hall reads more like a school cafeteria then a prison. I'd like to see a little more flesh on Danny. I'm not saying introduce this whole "what did he do" angle, but add at least another dimension to him.

Good show.


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