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Mark, my friend, you seem to be on a writing terror as of late. That's always great to see.
When I saw this posted with your name, I was excited, as I like your stuff. I wish I could say I liked this, but I can't.
First of all, the writing itself isn't your best work, IMO. Lots of missing words here and there that make the read uncomfortable. Also, a number of fragments running around. These appear to be conscious decisions, so I guess it's some kind of style you're adopting, but I personally do not like it at all.
Story-wise, it just seems to be a number of things...missing an ending, missing a general theme or story, and also, having too many things going on that have nothing to do with anything. I kept waiting for this to take off, then, as the end neared, I keep wondering how you were going to finish this and tie all this together. I don't think you did either, and I'm not sure quite why.
Yeah, this has been a very prolific year for me. So far, I've written a full feature and I'm 50-so pages into another and got a storyboard and in-depth synopsis ready for another feature, wrote 6 short screenplays, 2 prose short stories and just finished rewriting 3 other old short scripts and it's only May. As long as 1 of those stories end up being decent, I'll be happy.
My little spurt's just about over now, though. From here on out, I'm only concentrating on finishing the 50 pages of the feature I have and rewriting the feature I wrote earlier this year. I know it's quality and not quantity, but I have no idea where this writing frenzy is coming from and I don't plan on stopping to look back at anything until the smoke clears.
But, from what you've said about 'Ginger', it definately looks like I'll definately have to go back and fix this one up.
Ginger is actually an unused back story for a nun character who eventually becomes canonized as a modern-day saint that I'm thinking about tackling in the future. I'm thinking maybe that's why the story might seem incomplete.
I was hoping the realization that the infant has psychic visions would be enough to pass as a suitable ending and make it stand on its own apart from her grown up life, while still leaving it open that there's a lot more going on. I guess I was just kind of hoping to see if the story grabs interest before I scratch or shelve it totally.
As for the 'fragments' you're referring to, I'm just using these shorts to play around with different ways of telling a story. As you've seen, I've had stories that could be considered overwriting, so now I'm trying out a more skeletal approach and seeing if I can find a happy medium that I feel comfortable with. Just trying new things to explore all aspects of the craft.
Thanks again for taking a look-see and letting me know what you think. Your thoughts are always appreciated.
As for the link you posted for the 'lay' and 'lie' thing, I have no idea what's going on. I don't know if it's just my computer, but it keeps on closing and reopening the tab for the link over and over and freezes all my other windows up for a minute or two. I admit, I've never really thought or tried to learn when to use 'lay' or 'lie'. I'll definately check into it now.
Hi Mark. I thought this was really interesting up until page 7, and then it fell apart for me. There's some neat atmosphere that I liked. The creepy, prematurely developed infant was well done if those scenes are looked at independently from the rest of the story.
However, there's some things that were set up that I was expecting to contribute to the conclusion. The main one being the fact that the baby can walk when having the premonitions. This seemed to be going somewhere, then didn't.
I was expecting the dog to play a bigger part, as you give it two scenes. Also, for some reason, because of the time spent introducing the mother being as disabled, I was expecting this to be apart of the story arch. (That might be my problem -- wheelchairs are often used in horror films as a gimmick. I'm not saying you can't have a disabled person without it being being a part of the narrative -- it's just the genre comes with it's own stereotypes.)
It does read like this is an introduction to a much larger story. On the positive it seems like you have something really interesting here, which you can expand on. On the negative, as a stand alone short it left me a bit befuddled.
Thanks for the read. I've read a couple of your shorts and I like the way you develop characters with the minimum of fuss in a realistic way. Your dialogue reads believable in this one for sure, and is one of the scripts strengths.
EDIT - I have just read your above post. IT IS part of a larger story. Thought so.
Along with reading the short, I looked over dreamscales review, so I'll address some of what he said. I approach to any short from this site is do I want more, with that said, I do. I think this could go somewhere. Good job.
Dream mention some of the grammatical errors and I noticed some of that too. Along with that I noticed, possibly, an editing problem. In the scene where ants attack Gabriella, it's edited as Greg is inside looking out, yet, you have a close up of the ball before you cut back to the EXT. of the yard.
Several things you did well though, IMO, as far as story. You gave the main character a problem, she's handicapped, she can't use her legs. Things escalate, first Ginger walks then Ginger puts herself in danger turning on water in the bathtub and finally the ants attack Gabriella . Adding another level to those scenes is the subtext setup and revealed about Ginger being able to walk means and her being able to talk means.
I do agree some that there could of been a little more character shown, which leads me to another mistake that being while your main character has a problem not being able to walk she doesn't have a character problem that she'll be able to change. I think something simple, though. A look or gesture of contempt from Jillian to those attempting to help her because she can't walk.
And I don't know if you did this intentionally, but I like the aspect of the legs appearing to be some sort of focal point. There's Jillian who can't walk, Ginger who's walking at 7 months old and Gabriella who's attacked at the legs by the ants.
Good job, good luck on those other projects.
Michael Corleone: I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!
your set up is great. Had me reading along wanting to know what was going on. But I gotta admit to feeling a tiny bit confused. Ok, and with your explanation it all becomes clearer, but having said that your script should do that for me. I had trouble linking the storyline with Gabrielle and Ginger's storyline - seemed for a bit like two separate things - think it was the 'snake' thing put me on a different path.
Now you could argue there's something to be said for not needing to spell things out - esp. in a piece like this, but it didn't quite gel for me.
So, my overall feeling is it needs tweaking but you've some great bits of tension inbuilt (nice device, Mum being in the wheelchair - the hot water tap etc) but it's just a bit anticlimactic in the end. Btw, if Jeff's link is giving you grief, try this one: http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/layliegloss.htm
'tis a pet peeve of mine, the 'lie/lay' thing, pointed it out in one of Baltis' scripts yonks ago. Like they say: 'lay down Sally' is one thing... but that's creative license cause it's a song.
Oh, and I'd fix up the line after little Ginger is set upon by the ants. Jmho, but the 'get her help' line didn't sound urgent enough for me.
Don't give up on this one though, it's a very nice idea, and it definitely held my attention. Looking forward to a second draft.
Thanks for taking a look at this. I'm glad to see that at least you liked about 62% of the script. (I'm a big math type person, so I like looking at percentages.) :-)
And yeah, you hit the nail on the head that it's part of a bigger story. Well, a backstory to a bigger story. I was hoping that part would be able to stand on its own as a story, but I guess it does leave too much open and makes for an unsatisfying ending, as I wasn't able to hit upon a couple focal points, such as the reason why Jillian was in a wheelchair. Sorry I left more questions than answers.
I guess I wrote this because, (well, let me scratch that. I know why I wrote this.) I guess I submitted this to see if it would gain enough interest for me to work on the entire scope of the story as a feature (in the future). Thank you for letting me know that at least it is interesting to you and there are things there to work with.
And thank you for the comments about the characters and dialogue, too. I was curious, did you post on anything else you read of mine and I missed it? I don't remember seeing you, but I know I have some old stuff on here that I posted that I forgot about (back when I wasn't too exactly sure how to use the site.) If I never did respond or thank you, I'm sorry. I promise I'll make it up somehow.
But thanks for taking a look at this one and letting me know what you thought.
Thank you very much for taking a read through this and letting me know what you thought. I'm glad you want to see more of it and think it could go somewhere. That helps me in deciding on whether to devote anymore effort to the main story I'm thinking about working on or not.
As for the grammatical errors, that was me just experimenting with a different style than I'm accustomed to. I wanted the descriptives to have a skeletal, or bare bones, feel to them, just to see how crisper of a read I could get. So, to accomplish that this time, I tried to leave out as many articles as I could to see how it would read. I don't know if I necessarily like it, but, I don't know. I'll just have to see how my writing develops from here and see just how much I incorporate it into my everyday writing.
Quoted from Liam James
I noticed, possibly, an editing problem. In the scene where ants attack Gabriella, it's edited as Greg is inside looking out, yet, you have a close up of the ball before you cut back to the EXT. of the yard.
That wasn't supposed to be a close up of the ball, actually. I just wanted to convey that, from Greg's POV, we see Gabriella and the ball through the window. I never use camera directions in my scripts, (I don't even like using Fade In or Fade Out, honestly), or I would've labeled that as Greg's POV. I was hoping that by Greg looking out the window and me describing it like that, I wouldn't have to use a POV slug and take the reader out of the story. I'll have to think about how I can make that more clear. Thank you for bringing that up.
Thanks for the compliments about the scenes escalating and the levels of tension.
I know I didn't delve too much into anybody's character, because I kind of wanted to be in and out of the story. I didn't want to have to get too involved into why some of the characters are like they are, because this is supposed to be part of a bigger piece.
And nice catch on noticing that this story focuses a lot on legs. That also works itself into the main feature I'm thinking about tackling.
Thank you again very much for taking a look at this, Liam. Glad you liked it for the most part.
And thank you for taking a look at this one. I was actually going to PM you sometime this week and ask what stories you've submitted to SS that you'd like anybody to take a look at, because I did like your script for the Showdown a lot and I'd like to read some more of your stuff.
your set up is great. Had me reading along wanting to know what was going on. But I gotta admit to feeling a tiny bit confused. Ok, and with your explanation it all becomes clearer, but having said that your script should do that for me.
Yeah, this one didn't have the closure that I was hoping it would. I guess it was because I was still thinking about the entire scope of what I'm doing for the story, I didn't just concentrate on this aspect of it, so I left it open knowing that I would explain it later. I see now that's a tootsy-no-no and I understand why you view it as anti-climactic.
And thanks for the link to that site about 'lay' and 'lie'. Jeff's is still disconnecting and reconnecting me for some reason. I don't know if it's my computer or that site.
Oh, and I'd fix up the line after little Ginger is set upon by the ants. Jmho, but the 'get her help' line didn't sound urgent enough for me.
Hmm. I'm a little confused by what you mean. Did you mean after GABRIELLA is attacked by the ants, and the line where her parents are talking about taking her to the hospital didn't sound urgent enough? I think that's what you mean and I think I understand, but I just want to clarify.
Thanks again for taking a look Libby. I'm glad you liked the idea behind it, and (as you may have read in an earlier post of mine), I am maybe planning on working on a feature in the future and using this as a backstory of one of the characters. I'm happy to see that it held your interest.
I'll be in touch with you soon about any stories you'd like me to take a look at or any that you'd recommend.
I was curious, did you post on anything else you read of mine and I missed it? I don't remember seeing you, but I know I have some old stuff on here that I posted that I forgot about (back when I wasn't too exactly sure how to use the site.) If I never did respond or thank you, I'm sorry. I promise I'll make it up somehow.
Hi Mark, I've just realised that I didn't post my thoughts on "A Few will find this difficult". I thought I had, but I must have had a moment. Thinking about it, I think other posters had already pretty much summed up everything I thought so I didn't want to repeat. Apologies. (I did enjoy it, BTW).
Read "Ginger" - and I think this one has potential...
My favorite bit of it is the fact that you leave the story hanging. No need to see this through to a "bigger ending" or an detailed explanation of what's actually going on with Ginger. To be, it's a positive that the ending remains unsettled, and open for interpretation.
As some of the other reviewers mentioned, I also enjoy the visuals that seem to be getting developed here (ie: a focus on legs for several of the characters, and water - both in the ditch and the tub.) IMHO, you could push the envelope, and intentionally strengthen the visuals even further, to good effect.
Still, the script could be pulled tighter, and tweaked in various ways:
Add more suspension in the scene leading up to the ants.
Play up Jinny's handicap more, as well as her need to feel independent despite her limitations. It'd give her a good dose of "character"
Create more debate about the decision to take Gabriella to the hospital. If it's a foregone conclusion that she'll go anyway, then Ginger's visions aren't all that pivotal.
As for the bathroom scene...IMHO, neither parent seems shocked enough that Ginny's actually *speaking* to them at the age of seven months. To me, it seems odd that they seemed more bothered by her walking, than actually talking!
But I'm interested to see where you go with this one in the rewrite...i
Hey Libby, Hmm. I'm a little confused by what you mean. Did you mean after GABRIELLA is attacked by the ants, and the line where her parents are talking about taking her to the hospital didn't sound urgent enough? I think that's what you mean ... - Mark
***** SPOILERS BELOW****
Mark, yep. That's the one. Just thought that scene required a bit more urgency, and it didn't quite come through for me in the dialogue or action.
I'd suggest you also ramp up a couple of the other desc. lines too, so that they read a little more active. Example: 'red razor insects envelop her bare legs' & 'her legs are horrible', just reads a little static to me. If I were face to face with that situation/image, it might be more like: 'Fuck, she's blowing up like a balloon', 'get them off her, and get her to the hospital.' Something like that.
I like 'Ginger' though, even though she be quite a bit creepy. The point really, isn't it? Without spoon feeding your audience, might be an idea to thrown in a quick cutaway (grab) of Ginger while Gabriella is being set upon, just an idea. Then again that might be a bit cheesy.
Anyway, will definitely be keeping an eye out for that new draft, or bigger 'piece'. :)
I had a couple issues with this. It felt like it lacked direction and a clear purpose. Ginger has these weird things going on with her sleep, something is to be anticipated, and then her sister gets attacked by fire ants. It just felt kind of incomplete for me, especially since at 7 months, Ginger is full-on walking, talking, and turning on water. I thought there would be more of a supernatural factor at play here. I know that in the bathroom she basically warned of what was to come with Gabriella but I don't feel that justified why this little infant was walking, talking, etc. I suppose the walking part is possible, but the whole sentences and turning on water I'm not too sure about.
I was also expecting the dog and the snake to play a part. The fire ants in that sense were a surprise but I'm not sure they were the way to go.
And I'm kind of confused what happened at the very end with Jillian and Greg talking about Ginger. What'd I miss?
So it's not my favorite of yours, but that was bound to happen. Plus when your previous work has a shock factor of incest, that's pretty hard to follow up ha-ha.
Thanks for taking a look at 'Difficult'. Lol. I do that a lot, too. Most of the time, I'll download a script and I'll read it while I'm at the park or something and write my thoughts in my SimplyNotebook, then I'll forget to go back and make sure I responded to it on the thread.
Yeah, I get what you mean about not enough urgency when her legs swell up from the alkaloid from the ants. You're right, I have to find a way to play that out better and more effectively.