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House Eighteen by Stephen Brown - Short, Drama - Mary has asked her husband Brian a very simple question; the drink or her. What will he decide on and will he be able to stick to his word? 6 pages - pdf, format
Yeah the Teddy Bear is just there really for a link between the audience and what's going on on screen. Plus I wanted to keep the scenes quite subtle so having us watch what goes on through the expression of the bear came as an idea.
It's supposed to be quite dark because the ending suggests that he isn't going to keep his word.
Alcoholism is a touchy subject for me, as my step father was one. Anyway I liked this story and Nik was right, the talking teddy bear is freaky. I didn't like this bit though, The walls are decorated by photographs of Brian and what looks to be his wife... ...yes, must be his wife, thereís a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPH too.
I don't think there's a need for it, just my opinion. The story is tough enough and clearly Brian didn't learn his lesson, but at least he accepted he had a problem which is the hardest step.
Nice read though, good job.
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Yeah, I just tried something a bit different with that part. I didn't know whether it would work or not. It was mainly for the transition to the flashback of them coming into the house in their wedding outfits.
Alcoholism, and addiction in general, is a subject I'm interested in, not sure why. Maybe it's the fact that the person knows what they're doing is destroying everything around them but still carries on.
Just read your script and must say. Another good script. I agree with Alffy's comment above. I also think you should drop the ending and fade out after the line 'He is silent'. Or just change the ending.
How about having the Teddy Bear damaged in a way that resembles a broken man after drinking? Or a black eye to show her suffering?
I didn't like this bit though, The walls are decorated by photographs of Brian and what looks to be his wife... ...yes, must be his wife, thereís a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPH too.
I actually liked that bit. It read exactly as you'd see it on the screen. Plus, I like the idea of mixing up the descriptions. It adds colour to your writing. Your formatting, descriptions and dialogue were excellent. However, I didn't find the story all that riveting. The bear was interesting, but the rest of it kinda read like an infomercial, warning about the dangers of drinking. But on the other hand, it's hard to impress me with this subject matter, because I work in the drug and alcohol field. For example, today I had one of my female clients complaining to me about how her boyfriend stabbed her in the face with a syringe in front of her seven year old daughter. Her daughter had to run over to their neighbours and ask them to call the police, and to top it off sheís still with the boyfriend.
The beginning and the end are supposed to be bookends pretty much. Just to show that this is a normal street and a normal house. You never know what's going on behind closed doors. The teddy bear is supposed to represent us, just an impartial viewer of what's going on, or maybe a sympathetic eye. That's gone at the end of the script because we're leaving them, so that's why he's in the trash. The beginning transition was an attempt at doing what David Lynch did with 'Blue Velvet', with the perfect street and then closing in on the grass then the soil. Then you see all the worms and bugs in the soil. Pleased you liked it anyways.
Crazy story mate, can understand what you mean then.
Pleased you liked that part of this. I'm trying different things, as you say, to add a bit of colour to my writing.
Hmmm. Iím not sure what to say. The writing is good. As for the story, I have to agree with Chris. It came off as a bit of a public service warning.
It seems to wrap up tidily at the end but we all know alcohol addiction doesnít usually end so tidily. I wonder how many times a drunk has poured out a bottle and exclaimed heís conquered his habit. This basic story probably occurs with every drunk the first time he hits his wife. I would imagine the average abuser sees his first serious infraction as a catalyst for change but then I think thatís probably not enough for most. Iím no expert but I didnít get the sense that Brian had experienced any genuine life changing event. In other words; the ending feels more like the middle than the end.
I also think Mary is too quick to get over her anger in the clock staring scene. Contrary to what many people think, flowers donít instantly neutralize a womanís anger. Maybe a little more arguing there.
I liked the teddy bear but not for the reason you gave. As I read - having not read your explanation of the teddy bear - I viewed him more as Brianís conscience. And quite frankly, I like him better that way than as us the voyeurs. Although I think heís fine as you already have him. Now if at the end the bear, rather than be silent, said something like, ďAnd Iím really going to try this time,Ē then that would change the whole dynamic to something more in alignment with the sense I had while reading.
Itís fine the way you have it though, except that it comes off as a public service. Thereís nothing wrong with a story with such a clear moral though. Nothing at all. And as I said, the writing is good. I liked it. It was just a little too neat and obvious for my general personal taste. But it was good.
I tried to make the end suggest that it isn't wrapped up and that this will probably keep on happening. The life changing event is supposed to be with Mary, in as much as she decides to stay. The scene in the kitchen is supposed to be midway between now and the marriage, so he's hit her many times. Looking back, it kinda comes across as that is what this decision is about. Should have made that clearer maybe. I think adding to the script is the only real way to do that, and that would probably make it a bit less public service warning.
I prefer your reason for the bear too -- in fact, that is what he's there for....honest.
I must say, this one did not do much for me. Don't get me wrong--your actual writing is solid on all technical levels; however, the story needs some polishing up. It was half-way metaphorical, half-way straight up--it never really took any shape.
The bear was also a weak spot for me (I'm iffy on it though). Firsly, because it ruined the realism of the situation--like I said, if you're going to include surreal or metaphorical elements in the script, make sure they fit in at least a little bit with the rest of your script. Secondly, because its dialogue was practically un-sayable (that's not even a word, is it? lol) even for a character like that.
But what I DID like about the script was how you still managed to get your message across--about how no one can help you in this kind of situation unless you decide to help yourself first. I might be talking out of my ass, but I think the bear also reflects that somehow, at least metaphorically--it watches all the drama, perhaps wanting to help out....but it can't, because Brian had not accepted his problem yet. And it ends up in the trash--rejected--so to speak.
It is sad that Brian did not learn his lesson, but the fact that he admitted to having a problem in the end sort of gave me a dim glimmer of hope.
So even though I did not particularly enjoy the story, I could see that you knew what you wanted to do with it.
Very good. Bit weird with the bear, but hey, who doesn't like a bit of weird every now and then?!
I love the writing style. Just the way you... write!
Why did you have all the houses the same?
Also, for me the ending is a positive one.
By throwing out the teddy, it is symbolising throwing out old things. For example the old habit of drinking. Brian is moving on. Mary is accepting him. She is moving on. Out with the old, in with the new. Positive. (IMO obviously)
Hey Tommy, cheers for having a look at this and letting me know what you thought. Pleased you liked it.
I have all the houses the same to give the feeling that this is a normal house, in a normal street...you know, nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, kind of feeling.
The end is supposed to be quite open for interpretation. It's all up in the air, you know? He's wanting to change and has made the decision but...as the logline says 'Will he be able to stick to his word?'.
I'm a fan of surrealism and bizzare visuals (Lynch, Kubrick etc) so that's probably where the talking bear came from.
Hmm, for me this story was pretty ordinary. I dunno, it must be hard in a short but your journey of man fall into acholism was pedestrian. Like you used a Alcholic problem 101 text book. Not gritty or bitter. Punch out wife is so over used it has no impact for me. it just the easy way out to portray something. you know like naked rape victim huddled in corner of shower. Lazy.
But I must admit I liked how you used visuals and image to give your story a depth of layers.
the sun being engulfed by a cloud, Bear in a bin. These are striking images and could say anything on your subject. it's just up to the person to look for it.
The teddy bear narrator is a novel idea and a bold one. I'd love to see how that would play out on film.
But as always your writing style is top notch.
OMG you're a Dvid Lynch fan too. If I could reach out and hug you I would.
And yes I did notice you going for the Blue Velvet open and closing shot with your suburb images. Am I right?