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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Black Rose Moderators: bert
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  Author    Black Rose  (currently 1851 views)
Posted: August 27th, 2011, 4:18pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Black Rose by Shawn D. Kelley (shawnkjr) - Short, Horror - A sudden break-up and betrayal has some dire consequences late at night on a college campus. 10 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: August 27th, 2011, 6:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Shawn,

This one was okay, but didn’t do much for me. I liked your dialogue more than your descriptions, although lines like “I will Ken doll you!” took a moment to really process. I took some notes while reading and wanted to throw them at you.

Page 1 – The opening description of the campus can be trimmed. You wrote:


          The tall lamps that light the vast campus gives the place an
          eerie glow.

          All is silent.

          BEN FALLON, 20, sits alone, hunched over on a bench at the
          edge of the empty quad.

Your slug and character introduction are both fine, but the two lines between them describing the campus are pretty much expendable. Any college campus at night (we’ve already gathered this from your slug) is bound to be aligned with lampposts just as they’re likely to be silent. The meat of your story isn’t the eeriness of the campus; it’s your main character sitting on the bench. Start there.

Page 3 – “Raina scoffs at this.” Who is Raina? Shouldn’t this be Erin?

Page 4 – I can’t imagine anyone saying “Slide that friendship right up your ass for me” and remain seated next to the person they’re talking to. That’s a closing line, something somebody says before getting up and walking away. It doesn’t quite work here.

Also some grammatical errors:

Page 8 – “The slams into the slide of her head.”

Page 9 – “The the sirens rage on, growing louder and louder.”

As far as your story goes, the concept is relatable, as we’ve all had or known someone who went through a bad breakup. I didn’t quite buy Erin’s revenge; it seemed rather gratuitous and impulsive as opposed to unsettling. I would have enjoyed it much more if the script jumped forward a little bit, showing Ben living a happy life with Jeannie, maybe even married with kids—but wait, is that a black rose on his doorstep?

I didn’t understand the ending, specifically why the red rose would turn black so suddenly. I assume you’re trying to be metaphorical here, but I just don’t get it.

I liked your description of Erin. I saw her in my head almost immediately.

Overall, there’s not much to this one. It’s an interesting concept (what happens after a bad breakup?) that I think you can explore more, perhaps even for a feature.

Keep writing.


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Posted: August 27th, 2011, 7:23pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Hey Shawn, had a little time to kill before the big UFC in Rio fights start and thought I’d give this a read.  I took pretty detailed notes, so hope they help.

IMO, this doesn’t do much, but on the other hand, it’s not bad, either.  I really liked Erin, as a character, but feel her sudden turn is a bit over the top, so quick.  I mean, literally within minutes, she changes from a cool chick into a crazed, very brutal killer.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the brutality here, but don’t think I buy it.

Also, I think the first half reads too long and the 2nd half reads too short.  I’d like to see a little more of the chase and kills, compared to the talking early on.  I also think the “end” comes too quickly and almost feels tacked on.  In a matter of minutes, we meet Erin, Ben, and Jeannie, and literally, a few minutes later, they’re all dead – the end.

Not bad, not nothing here for me to really grasp a hold of and remember.

Anyways, hope these notes help and take it easy.

Page 1 - The tall lamps that light the vast campus gives the place an eerie glow.” – Since you’re using a plural noun (lamps), your verb (gives) is incorrect – should be “give” – Always a bad sign when there’s an obvious mistake in the opening line.

“Earphones stuck in his ears.” – Awkward…and odd.

Good description of Erin.

“She hates roses.” – I hate asides!

Page 2 – I like Erin’s dialogue.  She already has character.  Good job!

“He takes her hand and they sit. Ben hunches again. Staring at the ground. Silence. Then-“ – Awkwardly phrased.  I really dislike how you broke up these “sentences”.  I’d relook at it.

“He takes a breath. Sits up, looks at her. Eyes softening.” – Same thing here.  Maybe this is your style?  I don’t know but it sure doesn’t work for me.  I’ll stop bringing these things up.

Page 3 – “Raina”?  Who the Hell is that?

Page 4 – “She stands. Dropping the red rose.” – OK, I lied - I’m bringing it up again. I just don’t understand why you’re breaking up fragments like this.  Reads very poorly.

GENERAL NOTE – OK, listen, we’re 4 ½ pages into an 8 ½ page script and 1 thing has happened…and it took way too long to happen.  As I said, I like Erin and you did a good job early on giving her character, but IMO, this opening scene shouldn’t run more than 3 pages, tops.

“He stands there for a moment.” – Poor sentence and IMO, completely unnecessary…especially, the “for a moment” part (and we already know he’s standing there from the prior line).

“A FIGURE jumps out from the staircase! This is JEANNIE JACOBS, 19, spry and carefree.” – You’re wasting a line by introing her like this.  Since you’re not trying to conceal her appearance, just come right out and name her, as opposed to “A FIGURE”.  This way, you then say, “This is”, which is why you have 2 lines here, when you only need 1.

Page 5 – You need a comma between “go” and “chicken”.  In dialogue, you’ll almost always need to break off a name with a comma – a good rule to keep in mind.

“Ben and Jeannie march up the walkway…” – OK, 2 things here – first of all, I always recommend trying your damndest not to repeat your Slug in your opening description line.  More importantly, by using “up”, it seems like these are steps they’re walking “up”?  In other words, it’s far from clear or visual.

Page 6 – “A LONG METAL BAT slides across the pavement – UNSEEN” – I don’t understand what this means or what I should be visualizing here, because of the “UNSEEN”.

“Ken doll you”?  HUH?  What does that mean?

“Ben snatches up Jeannie’s…” – Jeannie’s what?  Doesn’t make sense as written.

“His back to the bushes - he pulls her toward them. He lets out a sinister laugh.” – Awkward.

“hemorrhoid” – Would a girl really say this?

“She SLAMS the bat into his knee with a maniacal glee. He yelps. His leg buckles. He falls to the floor, clutching his leg, groaning.” – You know choosing when to use a proper name and “he” or “she” is always a personal choice and usually doesn’t make that big a difference.  But I think it does here, for several reasons.  First of all, the prior action line, referring to Ben (and noted above) has “his”, “he”, and “he” a second time, but no “Ben”.  Here, you have “she”, “he”, “his”, “he”, and “his”.  Just too much, IMO.  Also, do you need (or want) “a” in front of “maniacal glee”?  I don’t think so, personally.

Page 7 – Personally, I don’t like the action writing style you chose on the bottom  of the page here.  It’s stacked, and Imo, just doesn’t quite work here. You’ve also used the old “we hear” for some reason, which never works for me.

Page 8 – Also don’t like the writing on the top of the page here.  It’s one of those “only in the movies” thing with Erin somehow standing right next to her.   I don’t think you need the direction either with the POV and WIDE.  Maybe it’s just me…

“The slams…” – missing “bat”

Page 9 – “The the sirens…” – delete 2nd “the”

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: September 3rd, 2011, 11:10am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Los Angeles
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Sham: First of all, thanks for the read. I will definitely take your suggestions into considerations. I agree with all of them and they will make the script tighter.

Pg 3 - Also, Raina was Erin's original name if you hadn't guessed. Need to fix that ASAP. Can't believe it was overlooked.

Pg 4 - Agree 100 percent. I actually made a note to correct this during filming which I have since done.

The script was originally just a prologue to a longer ghost story but I decided to split them into two shorts. The rose turning black at the end is in reference to what happens later.

Dreamscale: Thank you for your detailed notes. Appreciated.

I agree that the 2nd half reads too short. I tried to extend the second half during filming...there is more of a stalk/chase between Erin and Jeannie. Not sure if it works, however.

I agree with pretty much most of your technical thanks for that.

Reguarding Page 7 and 8 - I wrote this with plans to film it soon after so those were more there to help me than the reader.


Scarefest 2 presents: Home Malone - Short/Horror
Spoiled - OWC Horror/Milk Exercise
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Posted: September 3rd, 2011, 12:01pm Report to Moderator

Stirling, Scotland.
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Hey Shawn, had a wee looksie at this. Not bad, in fact I'd go as far as to say it was pretty good by most standards. I can see it being made easily. Having said that there's just a few issues that might need clearing up.

One of the main things for me is the way you introduced Jeannie. You immediately introduce her as 'Spry and Carefree' but really she just came off to me as a bit of a bitch. Also like Dreamscale said I'm not sure you should introduce her as 'Spry and carefree' as that's more of a character trait that can be shown rather than described. The way you describe Erin is fine and works because it's all attributed to the way she dresses, 'A bit off-kilter but cute' works because it's just describing how she looks, which is needed, but also lets us infer about her personality. Putting Jeannie as 'Spry and carefree' is just describing her character, which is something that should be shown, not told.

Yeah again 'slide your friendship up your ass' should be a parting line.  


You can call me later if
Hold your breath.

Think you missed a 'Don't' in Erin's dialogue. I'm a bit iffy on the whole saying 'I have to go to class' at night thing, however I'm at college as well and have had some classes that finish as late as 9pm, so it can happen, but I think it's rare they would both have it. Or I could be wrong. Anyway, good script, just a few bits to fix.

Scripts on this site:
The Black Dog (Short/Horror)
Howl (Short/Horror/Thriller)
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Posted: September 14th, 2011, 12:27pm Report to Moderator
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Scarefest 2 presents: Home Malone - Short/Horror
Spoiled - OWC Horror/Milk Exercise
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