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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    July 08 One Week Challenge  ›  Postal
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  Author    Postal  (currently 2669 views)
Don
Posted: July 25th, 2008, 12:16pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Postal by M.R. Hoffman - (Montezuma Cypress ) - Short, Drama - When threatened by an unknown organization, a postal worker must take matters into his own hands to protect himself. - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Don  -  August 5th, 2008, 2:41pm
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Takeshi
Posted: July 26th, 2008, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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I sat down to read this and discovered that the script is missing. The title page is there followed by fourteen blank pages. I can't believe someone hasn't pointed this out already. Apart from that, I can find no fault with this one.
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mcornetto
Posted: July 26th, 2008, 7:48pm Report to Moderator
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James Bond 07424.

Ok. I really didn't get this one. There may as well been a title and 14 blank pages because this left me very confused.  Was it Kevin calling? Martin's son was dead? Was Tommy in on it? Who was the young guy in the chair? Who was Martin supposed to kill? Was it all something he made up in his own head?

I think you need to answer these questions.  And clean up your dialog because it comes off as very cardboard.

On the positive side, you used the required line.  
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pwhitcroft
Posted: July 26th, 2008, 9:56pm Report to Moderator
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There is the basis for a good script in here but it needs tidying up and refocusing on it’s central subject. As it stands it is difficult to follow and has some elements that confused me. Much of it is well worked and effectively done but it’s the big picture story that needs realigning to get it to hang together.

It is difficult to buy into why he is so obsessed with this because as the police describe it there isn’t much behind it even if it is all in his head.

Minor points: Introduce Martin. Where he says Kill Mr Miles I thought he was being ordered to kill himself. There are a several minor typos e.g. Pg 8 “so” should be “do”.

In the last scene I thought I was detecting a Psycho homage. Then you pulled a chilling, if bizarre, finish out of the air. The message I got from it was “Beware of mail men, they are all nuts!” which is a difficult position to defend!


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Blakkwolfe
Posted: July 26th, 2008, 9:57pm Report to Moderator
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Good one. Exciting, visual, voices of madness getting to Martin as we join him in his descent into insanity...Great ending by Tommy...Missed alot of CHARACTER introductions, but otherwise a nice, twisted little tale that handles theme well.


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Scarlet101
Posted: July 27th, 2008, 8:15am Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this one alot. A bit like everyone else I got lost and confused near the end but on a second read of it I got it(I think).

We are reading it through the eyes of Martin, when the officer searches martin house at the end and plays the type he only hears martin's voice not the GARBLED VOICE because that was a voice inside Martin's head.
And the dream like bit with tommy blowing away the officer I think the writer was trying to show that tommy is at the beginning stages of madness(Martin being at the latter stages).

Now I cant wait for next week when the writer is revealed and says " No Scarlet you couldnt be more wrong about it, you completely missed the point".

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bobtheballa
Posted: July 27th, 2008, 2:41pm Report to Moderator
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I liked the build-up at the beginning but I felt like it took a little too long to build and not enough time was spent at the end making the confrontation with the bound man understandable (did he imagine it all? did he imagine the boss being there? there was no Martin and really Tommy was imagining it all?).

I think the first half was great and really the only thing that needs improving is adding a few more details at the end. Also, I like the title and I think it fits, but it actually gave away the twist for me before I got a page or two in.
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alffy
Posted: July 28th, 2008, 11:05am Report to Moderator
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A few format issues to start, characters not capitilised and kevin has no description but I'll let them slip.

I had a minor issue with Tommy's phone call to Martin, Martin not knowing who he was but Tommy talking to him as if they were best friends but once I finished I guess I understand that now.

I'm going to plump for Scarlets assumption that Martin has flipped and Tommy's not far behind...maybe I'm wrong?

Not sure I like the message though, 'all postmen are nuts'!  I'm a postman andI'm not...oh wait yeah you're probably right lol.

I thought this was pretty good.


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EBurke73
Posted: July 28th, 2008, 9:47pm Report to Moderator
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This was a pretty gripping read.  I think some confusion stems from the bginning, which is slightly incongruous with the rest of the script, which is pretty straight forward.  At first I was afraid we had another overly complex plot with an overly meticulous organization, but as we kept going, pieces clicked into place pretty well.  I also enjoyed Tommy's final discussion with the detective and the little sequence attached to it.

Oddly enough, when the "they're never going to believe this" line showed up, it actually felt tacked on.

Still, this was very good.  If anything, it needs a little tweaking on format and one little clue, not huge to bring us in a little more as to what's going on, so the reader can get into the script's groove on second thought as opposed to second read.


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sniper
Posted: July 29th, 2008, 7:56am Report to Moderator
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I liked this one, definitely one of the better OWC submissions. Mainly, I liked the build up, the writer successfully managed to create an ominous atmosphere that was really gripping and made the script a page turner. It may have have went a little overboard in the end with Tommy's "hallucinations" (if that is the correct word to use), it sort of cheapened Martin's experience - I would personally not had put that in there.

Rob


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: July 29th, 2008, 9:35pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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This one might be good if the writer makes it more clear regarding what is going on.

I felt like it was all very cryptic and I just didn't understand. I was guessing that he was paranoid, but I wasn't sure.

One thing I want to mention, and I know other people have mentioned this kind of thing before is about the idea of giving our characters whatever baseball cap or long painted nails, but it's often just a lame attempt to make the character into "something".

When you write your character, only write something in that's important. I think that it's easy when they are actually making a movie to decide-- Hey, something's missing-- let's give him a ball cap and it doesn't appear in the script.

I have two reasons for saying this.

1. You don't really have any identifying features for Martin.

and

2. The only one I could find made me think:

Gotta love those chiseled features.

I guess it's because it's one you read often in books.

I was confused in the beginning:

>Kevin enters.

I thought he was in his office already, sitting at his desk.

The older man, Marty, is not introduced properly.

I think the Kevin/Martin conversation at the beginning is too long and doesn't really accomplish much. I would shorten it.

>The house is very average.

Earlier, I had read a script (more like a short story) that said: Normal street, normal houses... The reason I liked the storytelling, was I liked the writer's humor coming through, although I know it wasn't ringing true to script.

We are supposed to be writers and a writer's job is to show what's going on. What is average? What is average to you, might not be to someone else. An average house in the Lakeview area in Regina would often be a big old three story character home.

Average houses for the purpose of movies are often big with enormous rooms and closets. And we all ask, "Who has a bathroom that size? Who has a closet that big?"

Try and be as specific as you can.

>We don't have access to make that kind of investigation.

I was suprised by this dialogue. I thought the law had all kinds of access if they wanted it.

He wouldn't need to rig up a tape recorder. The phone company could record the call.

I'm not really sure what's going on at the point with him calling himself.

>Please do not hurt me.

Anyone who is scared, they don't have to be scared actually, doesn't talk like that. People usually use contractions like "don't and "can't".

I think you've got a good idea here; you just need to work with it.

Sandra






A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Murphy
Posted: August 1st, 2008, 9:08pm Report to Moderator
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This was good.

The very beginning threw me off a little though, You introduced Kevin at the same time as introducing his office but he was not on screen then! It was Martin in the office, then Kevin walks in. That confused me a lot to be honest. You don't introduce your character until they appear onscreen for the first time. But you had Martin sitting in the office and never introduced him at all. You need to work on that because this is when you make us believe your characters are real, who are they?

But it got better and turned out to be a pretty decent story, It flowed nicely and ended satisfactorily. I for one actually liked the end "dream" sequence - A touch of '6 feet under' there me thinks?

Your dialogue was okay, at times it felt a little unreal but other times it was good so probably just an effect of writing it in a week, maybe another draft is required.

But you stuck to the theme well and a great story so nice one.

Cheers
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bert
Posted: August 5th, 2008, 8:27pm Report to Moderator
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Not everyone may recognize this author as Moroh, who did a pretty good job working his way through these entries for a new guy.  Commendable.

This was not nearly so confusing as some of the comments had led me to expect.  I had no problems following the action, and found the buildup to be fairly effective at generating a sense of tension.  My lone hiccup was the bound and gagged young man in the corner.  I assume that was a hallucination?  You should clarify that somehow.

The crazy postman angle is a bit worn, but I forgive that as I found this OWC a bit limiting -- but that is a topic for a different thread.  This story was good, with what I found to be a fairly unique voice in the telling.

One thing I would change is his admission to the officers that he was looking for work at some point.  Why even go into that, as it only muddies the waters?  Better that Kevin should have no idea what any of this is about.  Also, these officers have enough lines that names are justified.  Designations such as Officer 1 & 2 should be for characters with one line, or no lines.

Martin's test with the phone booth is a bit odd.  He has one right outside?  They hardly exist at all anymore, and who doesn't have a cell phone these days?  It would be a bit more straightforward if he were to call himself on a cell, I think.

Then there is the problem with his son -- a character that has not been so much as mentioned over the course of this story -- and we feel no urgency over his plight because of this.  You need to introduce this character, and it need not be lengthy.  An imaginary phone call from his son (hey, why not?), or even a photograph would help.  Something that establishes his existence before he is plunged into danger.  Out of all my comments, I would point to this one as the most necessary change.

The switch from the limo to the cab, right after we hear the one-sided recording, is a very effective switch.  Now we suspect what is going on, and at just the right time.  That little passage was my favorite part of this script.

The very end is completely out of left field -- but actually suits the piece and concludes it well.  This is a nice introduction to your work.  I look forward to seeing what you can generate given more time.  


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: August 5th, 2008, 11:11pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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I was wondering about the idea of using a cell phone too, but then I thought. If he used his OWN phone, then they could trace it to him. But I still couldn't understand how the phone booth could be so close to his home.

Still, I think all these little details are just the stuff of early drafts. I think we will be seeing another version of Postal in the future.

Sandra




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Moroh
Posted: August 6th, 2008, 1:02am Report to Moderator
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MRHoffman aka Moroh here.

Want to thank everyone who took the time to read the script and post some feedback.  I certainly had a good time reading all of your work and look forward to reading more in the future.

I agree with most reviews that noted some confusion with the story.  Unfortunately, I only noticed the challenge late in the week and just quickly ran with the first cliche...err idea that came to my head.  That being said, I still tried to give it a different perspective.  Instead of just a violent worker gone 'Postal', I attempted to explore the deranged mind of the guy in the hours leading up to the incident.

Problem is, when writing a bit of mystery, it is often difficult to decide how to reveal information effectively, without giving away too much.  This is especially hard when forced to submit only a 1st or 2nd draft.

I'm sure all writers go through a similar process.  What makes perfect sense to you (the writer)  may not have the same effect for the reader.  As a director/producer friend once advised me, "I don't give a shit what you were trying to say, the only thing that matters is what is written on those pages."  That is why getting feedback is just so damn important.  Obviously, not everyone is going to like things about your script but if you keep seeing the same response and criticism, you really need to evaluate those areas.

As far as the ending, relax all you postmen, this was not any indictment on the profession or those who dutifully go about the daily grind of the job.  Truth is, I had no idea how to end it.
All I knew was that I needed to explain a little more about what exactly happened with Martin. So I threw a detective and Tom together in a room.  Actually, thought it would be funny and completely ridiculous if Tom suddenly started shooting up the place.  Knew that wouldn't really fly.  So instead I thought, what if he just had a hallucination about doing it?  I hoped it would be a little shocking but also tie into the detectives comment that 'everybody has bad thoughts, some just cant distinguish the crazy ones from reality".  Guess it worked for some... not others.

All right, enough excuses about my literary shortcomings, just needed a chance to vent and try to offer some insight into the mind of Moroh.

Anyway, loved the excercise.  Look forward to reading more from you guys in the future.  Soon, I will post my features up on the site and hopefully some of you will get a chance to check them out.  I will certainly return the favor to anyone who is willing.

Once again, thanks for the good times.

Spiral out.


"Who am I to judge and strike you down?" -- Tool
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