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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February 2011 One Week Challenge  ›  Bell Tolls - Feb 2011 OWC Moderators: Angry Bear
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  Author    Bell Tolls - Feb 2011 OWC  (currently 3144 views)
Posted: February 25th, 2011, 6:18pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Bell Tolls by Philip Whitcroft (pwhitcroft) - Short - A disabled woman uses her visions of the moments after people die to battle a Banshee that feeds on souls.

A February 2011 One Week Challenge script. - pdf, format

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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  March 10th, 2011, 5:05pm
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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 1:29am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Let me start by saying this. I've only read one other sp in the OWC thus far. Yours is the second. However, this would be an early favorite of mine You not just nailed it, you hammered it too. Good stuff. (Although it is a tad overkill on p8 with varied POV)

When I first started reading, I was slightly concerned with the repeated dings but by page three, I was fine with that. I might have tried other words, but it does have a slight cadence to it. It sets a pace and the flavor. What could have been slow rock and rolls from the start. Crash Boom and Bang I'm in the script.

A few past tense ings aren't enough to derail the read. The pace is well done. Very visual, nice flow. I don't have anything really bad to say here. If ScarTissue chooses not to do this one, I say fix whatever you feel needs fixing, and shop it around.

Aside from p8, (and lack of white space which makes a few things borderline on being crammed, put you did it to fit in ten, I'm sure) I really enjoyed this piece.


"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 3:07am Report to Moderator
Old Timer


About a thousand years from now.
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Dang, William.

This is some pretty cool work.
Educationally excellent, really.

A very interesting construct of presentation, and that's what makes this attractive.

Visually, it's going to be choppy as hades if filmed.
Editing will be a real b!tch. LOL!

The only grievance I have is that it seems partial or incomplete.
Like a sequence from a feature-length movie rather than a short story.

But an audience would certainly remember watching it.
This is excellent.
Very well done.  

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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 4:20am Report to Moderator

Newcastle, England
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I would have liked more character descriptions for Gwen and Reese. I was getting mixed up who was who and I think that was down to the early introductions not having a lot to them.

I was getting pretty confused by all the flashes and the like, it was a pretty difficult read but that might just be me. I didn't like the way you formatted the flashes - I think that's why I was getting confused. I have no idea what the letters stand for after the flashes.

It seemed like Gwen was showing up everywhere despite her disability. For example, I thought from the bottom of page 4 to the middle of page 5 was all taking place in the old man's house - due to the slug lines you used. On a second read I take it we're now in the bungalow when Gwen comes into it. Mini-slugs are an excellent tool when used correctly but I don't think they have been here. I was getting too mixed up by locations. When using more than one main location it's important to clearly distinguish between the two when you change slug lines.

I'm not sure if the supermarket scene was really needed. For me, all that does is highlight her disability, which we already knew about.

The ending was just really too confusing for me. I'd have preferred if you cut back on the number of times you used the flashes and just told your story because it feels like there is a really good story in here but i just didn't get it. Hopefully I'm the odd one out and everyone else understands it perfectly.

All the best,


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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 4:58am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Down Under
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Very visually interesting and its good you tried a differnt approach.

I was a bit confused early on as to what the go was, but once I realised the story, i got into it.
The scenes in the car however were a little too much of a good thing - ok, we can see what sort of effects you are using to tell the story, but the 'dings' seemed to interfere with the reading after awhile. But its tough - I used a vaguely similair approach for a scene in mine, and I had to really map it out properly.

Anyway, a nice effort and I really liked the way you used the Banshee mythology.

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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 6:21am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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This is the first script I've read as part of the challenge and it was a great place to start - hopefully many of the others will live up to this early promise.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, although I do have a few gripes:

Character descriptions - Gwen and Reese are the main characters, yet all we know about them is their age.  Adding a little info about them (it doesn't necessarily have to be a lot, just a short sentence can suffice) helps create a visual picture and can add personality.

The Dings! - I'm not sure that these were even needed, and found them a little distracting. I think that just having the 'Flash' would have been fine.  Although I had gotten used to them by the mid point, I found that in the beginning they were constantly taking me out of the story.

The Flashes - Although these are essential to your story I found them a little overused at times, especially towards the end.  Page 8 alone is made up almost entirely of these flashes from the different characters and gets very confusing.  I think it would be a lot more effective if you could cut down the number of times you use it here, as a lot of the flashes seemed unnecessary.

Despite these complaints, I still enjoyed the story a great deal. Well done!
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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 7:43am Report to Moderator
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I'm sorry, but I didn't care too much for this one.  Seemed disjointed, no emotion, very mechanical.  Ding, flash, ding, flash, ding- that was irritating.   Plus, I'm not sure this would make for such a great film.   Might be because I just woke up and this is only my second writer, please keep that in mind.  Diff strokes, diff folks.

Good job on completing OWC.  You're writing style is lean and clean- that's a big plus.
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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 8:38am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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This is my second script, I think I'll have to give it another read though. I had a hard time getting it, but that could be because I just got in from work.  

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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 10:28am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I think I will wait for the movie on this one.

I have a degree in history and a minor in 18th century philosophy, and can read the non mathematical aspects to quantum theory, but I can't get through this. Maybe I need more coffee. It's just too much for me, especially with all the ding flashes.

It's probably a great script and I am just not enough of an experienced script reader to be able to follow along.
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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 10:35am Report to Moderator

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Ding Flash?

Your use of flash is ok, I kinda got what you were going for. I would rather you didn't use a scene heading or put it between a BEGIN FLASH - END FLASH.

What is wrong with people here? Why so few character descriptions? A little is good, but none is bad.

Some of the dialog reads unnatural. Having a human read your dialog aloud while you listen can be very helpful in getting a natural voice. Then again it could be English thing.

This one was strange for me. It sorta felt like two stories. With two arcs. The first a more classic tale and the last a pure action. I think you had an idea and ran with it, but it needs refinement. If the first kill was a first act setup it needs to happen a lot faster, maybe start as the guy is checking out the right house and show her skills faster. Then introduce Fionn maybe at the beginning of the second act.

Not a bad effort. I'm sure with a second week it would've been better.

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c m hall
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 1:06pm Report to Moderator
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peninsula of Jersey
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Difficult to read, but could be a terrific film.  If (and I hope you do) you expand this, I think it will retain all of the shock power and (if we get to know something about the people who are going to die) it will have the depth that is hinted at in what we have so far.
Beautifully energetic writing, solid archetypal characters, and a real feeling of strength and love in all the actions of the heroes.  Good stuff.

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c m hall  -  February 27th, 2011, 9:53am
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:02pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

Los Angeles
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Good on you for submitting to the OWC.
I applaud you for swinging for the cheap seats with this one.
You had a vision and you stuck to it and gave it a good ride.
Personally, it was a chore for me to read.
The flash format and herky jerky scenes prevented me from a steady read.
The actual scenes feel almost as staccato as the ding flashes.
Good try, I'm sure others will be more amenable to the style flourish.



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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:26pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Wherever I go, there Jwent.

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Whoa! looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. This was a tedious read for me.

The writer clearly knows how to write. And they have a very distinct view for this story. A bit too distinct IMO, I think the way its written would limit the amount of input a director could have on in.

I was fine with how the story unfolded. This could make a great film, but its a difficult script. One that requires a second read at least. At least from the daft, wherever they are...


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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:51pm Report to Moderator
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This script kind of gave me a headache.  I was relieved when the dings finally stopped, but then we go to a completely inappropriate INTERCUT that makes it nearly impossible to follow the action.

And I groaned as the ding, flashes returned.

It is not a bad story you have here, and honestly, it is not even a bad device, but it is so overused that it makes the reading a real chore.

Paraphrasing Electric from a few posts up, a swing and a miss.

I do respect the bold choice you made here, but I do not think it works as you had hoped.

Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Posted: February 26th, 2011, 3:36pm Report to Moderator

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Bell Tolls               
Horror ***
Low budget     ***
Powerful > Flashes distracting. Pacing good.
Original ***
Celtic Myth > banshee, Gwen can hear death bell (ding! )(?)
Visually interesting > banshee would be central part
Memorable characters ***
Unique ending > seawater  dashes the  banshee
Standout moments > Reese at the car trying to save son
Locations, vehicles, animals ***
*** average impact/no specific comments               
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