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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2010 One Week Challenge  ›  OWC - It Gazes Back *
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  Author    OWC - It Gazes Back *  (currently 4873 views)
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 10:27pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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It Gazes Back by Jon Barton (jonnyboy) - Short - A writer struggles with a dangerous obsession. Remember, He's always watching... - pdf, format

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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  February 21st, 2010, 2:33pm
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Posted: February 14th, 2010, 11:39pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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This was OK.  Well written for sure, but those damn V.O.'s!  WAY too many!

Real problem with V.O.'s are what's playing onscreen while they're going on?  In many cases in your script, absolutely nothing.  No visuals, no nothing.  This reads pretty well and I bet alot of people will like it, but in a filmed version, it's gonna be dull...real dull.

Great effort here and I think there is definitely a cool story in here, but it needs to be reworked and fleshed out a bit more...or alot more.

Good effort though!

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: February 14th, 2010, 11:56pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Los Angeles
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Not sure what to make of this one.  It just seemed to be a lot of dialogue with no actual story behind it.  We keep hearing about "Him" and "it" but we never quite know what "Him" or "it" actually is, or if they even exist.  Until the very end, I guess, when the shadowhaunter is sorta revealed.  I think you should have defined the monster more, and cut out all the voice overs and flashbacks.  I think this could work if you put the characters in a more suspenseful setting and ratchet up the scares.  At it is, there was simply no tension built here as we already know Simon is dead at the beginning.

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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 12:50am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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I think this could use some more punch, but on the whole I liked it.  

The VOs told a good story but there's definitely areas to cut back.  I was curious as to who exactly "He" and "It" were.  At the same time, but it's something that doesn't necessarily needs to be defined.  Simon said there's plenty of mysteries in the universe.  This is just one that the main characters can't.  Still, a little more explanation might have been nice.

Pretty good stuff here.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: February 15th, 2010, 8:04am Report to Moderator
OWC Moderator

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This has flaws, but it's a lot better than is being said IMO.

The VO becomes off-putting and in many ways it is unnecessary.

If you just followed Ben on his voyage of discovery and put the action on the screen, then that's all you would need.

You can start with the death of Simon and then Ben investigating it, getting drawn into the same world.

So yeah, it needs a bit of work, but nevertheless, the idea of death following us all around is very good and the noiry/Gothic atmosphere you create is very apt.
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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 10:03am Report to Moderator
God of the SimplyScriptsVerse

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That's me in the corner
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"It is a dark and stormy night???"  OMG.  Never open another script with that phrase haha.  Trust me.

This story leans far too heavy on the V.O.  Even those who do not mind the technique will be put off by this one.

But I will admit that you are on to something decent here.  It is not fully-formed, but it is clearly there.  Perhaps I am biased in that this treads on the outskirts of one of my own stories from a few years back.

Simon's fate, however, is terribly weak.  I do not buy it.  And whether or not to give it a formal name, the "shadowhaunter", is something I am really unsure about.

Nevertheless, the heart of this story is pretty good.  You should play with it a bit more -- reread the good advice you got from dec in the post above mine -- and given more time, see what comes of this.  B

Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Angry Bear
Posted: February 15th, 2010, 12:05pm Report to Moderator
God of the SimplyScriptsVerse

The Swamp...
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I liked this one, but it needs a little work IMHO.

I agree that the suspense that this could have had is gone right away by you showing us on page 1 that Simon is dead.

I personally don't mind V.O. but you give Simon a V.O too in one place. That doesn't work. Rather than all of those, I would have preferred to just see Simon going increasingly insane and in the end take his own life to get away from the it/him. Maybe have Ben thinking Si is nuts and Si feeling desperation over no one believing him.

Good idea here, that needs some adjustments.  

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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 12:20pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Wherever I go, there Jwent.

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This one has a higher level of creepiness then most of the scripts I've read so far. This was a bit more of what I was expecting from this OWC. I didn't get why the first lady's death was so mysterious. If death is always there in waiting why would he come out to take her?? Other then that, it was a good solid effort. James

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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 7:30pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Down Under
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This is probably the only one so far that gets to grip with 'the dark'.

I didn't have a prob with the VO but i felt the story just meandered along. Maybe the author was running out of time and had to rush.

The wrting and fromatting was pretty good. the actual story is there; it just needs a decent re-write to coax it out.

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Coding Herman
Posted: February 15th, 2010, 9:15pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Toronto, Canada
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Not bad at all, I kinda liked it. The intercuts between scenes are clear and easy to follow. Suspense is there as well. The gradual change of Simon was well done.

But what's lacking is some explanation about the It. I didn't understand why Simon committed suicide at the end, did It make him do it?


- Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller (114 pages) - In a world where memories can be erased by request, a Memory Erasing Specialist desperately searches for the culprit when his wife becomes a target for erasure -- with his former colleagues hot on his trail.
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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 9:24pm Report to Moderator

I am a writer first and a critic second.

"On the road to Rome."
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Too the writer...

Other then that first passage your writing was tight.  I didn't have a problem with the VO's.  Ben and Simon's phone conversation, to be honest, you've already establised this fact.  I'd lose the (INTO PHONE), we know that.  You never did anyhting different to make us think other wise.

Your ending was okay.  I thought you met the theme with this one.

Good Job







"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 9:46pm Report to Moderator
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This was a good piece of work.  I almost missed it.   Personally I love VO's, so I had no problem with that part.  I would've liked more clarification as to who the Shadowhaunter was. (Not so crazy about the name either)  If you're gonna create a villian like this, take it a step further and develop a brief backstory and origin.  Just a suggestion.  But this could definitely be a cool Machinima.

PS - I just read Coding already covered the "who is the It"?. I guess I'm just echoing what he said.

Nice work.
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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 10:30pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Definitely too much VO here for my liking. I would rather SEE the actual story unfold firsthand than be told about it after it has already occurred.

I think you should have settled on the use of either It or Him and stuck with that, rather than interchanging the two. Ultimately we are left with no info about this Shadowhunter, is it suppoed to be death?

I thought your writing was crisp and moved at a good pace, but the story needs a bit more work IMO.

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George Willson
Posted: February 16th, 2010, 11:33am Report to Moderator

Doctor who? Yes, quite right.

Broken Arrow
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This one not only used the dark, but I made the dark the antagonist. It's one of those ideas that's so simple, and yet very effective. That's what worked. You worked it into the fabric and really made the shadow a part of the story. I think this short could work as a sort of calling card sort of work. But...

Along with that is that it feels like a piece of something. Much like the original Saw short containing only the bathroom scene felt like it belonged as a part of something else, this thing feels like a teaser for a bigger story. I suspect that placing this situation in a feature might take away some of its mystique since you'd have to find a resolution where your short was allowed to end on an open note.

I'm writing this quite detached from the thread at the moment, so I haven't seen the popular opinion of the heady-duty use of voiceover, but since people make issues of such things, I thought I'd say that with the space provided, it was about the only way to get the story across. To get all that VO into action and dialogue would require a whole lot of space. It seems that if this were explanded into a feature, that VO would make up the majority of the page count.

Anyway, well done on this one. I liked it.

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Posted: February 17th, 2010, 6:58am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Okay, this one just moved into my top three...

As George said, in this one the dark is the antagonist, so really good choice on theme, and it fits the contest more than any other one I've read so far.

SPOILERS (are there people who are still going to read it at this late date, I wonder?)

And I love the way the story is told - it's bold to start with the dead body. And I disagree that there's no tension, because we want to see "how" Simon got dead, not "if" he gets dead. Again, too many of these shorts run crash bang to the ending, and then if the ending is unsatisfying, you have (i) a rushed journey and (ii) a disappointing payoff.

The only thing that confused me was the male voice V.O. at the beginning? Who was that?

With the combination of the writing style (very good) and theme, this one seems a can't miss for machinima.

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