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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February 2012 OWC  ›  Blood Roots - OWC
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  Author    Blood Roots - OWC  (currently 3630 views)
Don
Posted: March 3rd, 2012, 9:00pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Blood Roots by 0 - Short - A young mother, schooled in the ways of witchcraft, rekindles her long-dormant power in order to save her family, but in the process releases a force that even she cannot control. - pdf, format


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stevie
Posted: March 3rd, 2012, 9:41pm Report to Moderator
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I think this is my fave so far. Nicely written, sparse but informative. Formatting is spot on

The only thing I can't see is stringing it out to make a feature. If you could end it somehow it would be a cool short.

Good job

Cheers stevie


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jwent6688
Posted: March 3rd, 2012, 10:07pm Report to Moderator
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Wherever I go, there Jwent.

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The writing here is tight, enviable, fucker!

I feel you wrote this as a possible opening to a feature and as a complete short. It succeeds in both ways. Although, I felt the ending a bit rushed and this did seem like a bit of horror to me.

It did create intrigue. I wanted to know more about where her powers came from. Why Callie was calling to her when she was using them.

Have there ever been paranormal studies that offer this kind of reward? Serious question, I've never heard of them. Jane seems to know she's breaking some rules by doing this.

Again, why this succeeds as a short and a feature opener. Not everything is explained and could be further down the road. At the same time, it stands pretty good on its own leaving the audience to question many aspects of the script.

Good entry, Definitely up there.

James


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Felipe
Posted: March 3rd, 2012, 10:46pm Report to Moderator
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This is one of the stronger scripts I've read here so far. It's an interesting start.

My biggest problem with it is that it feels like it stalls too much. I didn't really seem like the first scene was necessary. All we really need is for her to get to her mom's place and say they lost the house. As it stands it's redundant for her to tell her mom that when we already saw it happening. You should take some more time introducing us to the characters rather than showing us the day they lost their house. Especially since the eviction wasn't that dramatic of a scene.

The dialogue seemed a bit on the nose at some points, but definitely not in a distracting way. You're onto something here. Good luck!


'Artist' is not a term you should use to refer to yourself. Let others, and your work, do it for you.
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nawazm11
Posted: March 3rd, 2012, 11:38pm Report to Moderator
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Nicely done, great writing on display here. Didn't have to re-read anything.

Can really see this happening, a lot of originality. Wonder where you'll take this.

One of my favourites so far, Excellent job.
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leitskev
Posted: March 3rd, 2012, 11:45pm Report to Moderator
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Entertaining writing that keeps us moving on the pages. Scripts may be blueprints for movies, but they need to be read first, and it helps a ton when a writer can craft things that are enjoyable to read.

opening image: hmm, tough call. It certainly is perfectly effective at establishing the protag's situation. From that perspective, very nice. However, feature films usually are looking for something memorable, something evocative or gripping as an opening image. A family sitting around a room with suitcases? I don't know, maybe, since it has some emotional power, painting a picture of desperation. If you do take this all the way to feature development, maybe consider if a more memorable image could be created. Consider how you would describe this image in a pitch to someone.

tone: I think this succeeds in that, as we get to the mother witch soon enough. Though I'm not sure what the writer's intent is, so maybe can't evaluate until seeing the rest of the script, but for now, I'd say you hit that nail pretty effectively.

main character intro: we got what I think are 2 mains here, Callie and Jane. We have a sense of the friction between the two of them, that's well done, builds future conflict, explains some of the current predicament Jane's in. I do think Callie needs a little more color, since this script is very, very short on colorful characters. I expect Callie will be colorful, so why not give a taste in her intro? You only get one chance at a first impression.

theme and debate are not touched on yet, that I can tell.

Two issues I had: one is the skeptical researchers. I don't think it works that way. There are skeptics that offer rewards, but they don't have the funding to maintain a lab and a staff where people are tested, just to prove they are cheaters. That just doesn't make any sense. But you could change that without effecting the story. These researchers should be like the real paranormal researchers in institutions like this. They look for miniscule examples of paranormal ability. So they would be blown away by her power.

Only problem with going this route is the reward. Institutions don't offer rewards. They pay a small stipend. Maybe it's not so easy to fix.

Think about how those people, the skeptics that offer rewards, really operate. Maybe research that. I would guess they have to set something special up when someone takes up the challenge. I don't know how it works. I just don't think it works like it is here.

The second and larger issue is Jane's sudden embracing of tremendous power. That lacks credibility. But I think it could be fixed with more development. I see where you're going. Jane resists using magic to better her life for some reason. Maybe it has to do with her mother. She resists this right up to being thrown out of her house with a baby and a kid. And then, in a lab where some guy offers a reward, she finally snaps and unleashes magical fury. I think there needs to be a much more convincing transition from refusing to use magic to save your house and family to suddenly unleashing hell because some guy refuses a reward.

Final observation: there is no antagonist. Will there be one? An antagonistic force at least? Or is Callie the antagonist? If she is, that's not quite clear. If Jane's main goal is the welfare of her family, then Callie is not a barrier to that. If Jane's main goal is separating herself from magic, then perhaps Callie is the main opposing force.

Is the moment when Callie unleashes the magic an inciting incident? It doesn't really feel quite like one. I mean, she went there to do magic. She has studied magic, it's part of her being. If our protag's beginning state is what will be changed, what is the change we can expect here, and how does the inciting incident, which may be coming soon, set her on that path to change?

I think this can be a fun story to read without these issues being addressed because of the quality writing. But for this to be the basis of a film, I think it will help to take account of these problems and potential problems. All in all, a good start, though.

Hope some of these suggestions help, because the writing is excellent, so I'm on board for the rest of the trip, wherever you take us!

Revision History (1 edits)
leitskev  -  March 3rd, 2012, 11:58pm
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Penoyer79
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 12:13am Report to Moderator
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this is what im talking about.

10 pages of tidy, concised writing.... that doubles as a short or the beginning of a much bigger story. clear protag in alex.... mysterious and intriguing backstory.... and a family trait that just may have been passed on to the youngins.

11 pages never seemed so easy to get through.

awesome job.
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MacDuff
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 12:41am Report to Moderator
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I should be writing...

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This was a fun read. Very smooth and quick.

The writing is succinct, descriptive; the dialogue is strong and I liked the characters.

I had concerns about a test study paying out so much money based on paranormal experiments. And since this is the angle Jane goes with to earn money, I wonder why she hasn't tried other things and why she doesn't have a job in the first place.

Small things - especially for a tight timeline - but nothing that can't be cleared up in the next few pages.

No antagonist - but again - nothing that can't be introduced in the next few pages.

Good job!


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mcornetto
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 12:59am Report to Moderator
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Good Logline.  Definitely has a story and it's intriguing.  And it got me to open your script.  

Inside was the delightful beginnings of what could be an interesting script.  Good characters.  Opening signal was clear that this was going to be a Charmed-like family drama. There wasn't that much story development yet but that's what the logline is for.

I have one suggestion and that would be to lead with the best foot forward.  There's no need for her to find the ad first, just start with Jane at the Institute.  Of course this might not work with how you are planning the story - but it's a stronger start than what you have atm.  You can always do the stuff with the book after that but you want to make sure that you hook people and that scene is not just a good scene -- it's a great scene.

Hope you continue to write this. It will be a fun script to read.    
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Dreamscale
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 1:40pm Report to Moderator
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Yeah...I like this.

The writing on display here is good, but appears to be rushed, probably a late, last minute entry, even, but it's from a good writer...that's for sure.

The story works for these 10 pages, and could indeed go into a feature, but I'm not 100% sure it has the legs.  Actually, these 10 pages could easily be reduced to 8, IMO, as there seems to be some clutter that doesn't accomplish anything.

Actually, I thought the first page was quite dull, and I mean the writing and what was being intro'd. Personally, if this is indeed going to be a feature, I think a few things need to happen - first, we need a much better intro of Jane and her family.  And secondly, I think the whole demonstration at the institute needs more detail and "time".  It feels kinda like the writer thought he or she needed to get this in the first 10 pages...wanted to end with this demonstration of power.

Don't get me wrong, I do like it and think it's 1 of the top 5 of the first 18 I've read.

Good job here!


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Felipe
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 1:44pm Report to Moderator
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I just want to add that I like Michael's suggestion of starting at the institute.


'Artist' is not a term you should use to refer to yourself. Let others, and your work, do it for you.
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wonkavite
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 2:07pm Report to Moderator
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Neat!  I like where this is going.  Not sure if there's enough "meat" in here for a full length - and it's certainly not complete at ten pages.  But what I read had me interested.  I cared about the characters, and didn't have a bored moment.  Kudos...  ))  Maybe this one would be best as an extended short?
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: March 4th, 2012, 2:40pm Report to Moderator
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Title - decent. The feeling of legacy and it's  consequence.

logline - again decent, well structured, balanced with a sense of how can she control this. Good work.

SPOILERS

I know who you are...ok I don't but I have a feeling, time will tell. I'll bet myself a fiver.

Apart of well written, this has a nice flow to it. Cause and effect throughout. I think the criticisms above are fair, but you can't fail the decent display here.

Suggestions (sorry I haven't been through all the others so may repeat)

1) let her consider the decision before they are kicked out - such as an old book in a removal box. Sow the question/tension, scene one. Maybe that's where the boy first sees it and starts to ask his gran.
2) personally I would reverse the tension with her mother. Her mother wants her to stay, to show the family the "ways" but she wants to get out quickly. She just wants to do something on the sly, plus we have more for her to leave.
3) institute - how about a vetting procedure before they can take part. It doesn't  form true proof but gets her in the door and shows us what's it all about. This can be followed by a debate, does she or doesn't she - we don't have that debate and for a feature I think you should.

Good start, tidy writing just needs a tweak, but which one doesn't.

All the best.


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
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Abe from LA
Posted: March 5th, 2012, 6:11am Report to Moderator
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One of my favorite reads thus far.
I do agree with others regarding the first page and the slow, eviction scene.
Maybe just have Jane and the kids show up on Callie's door steps.
We'll get the message.
I think the introduction of the book can be re-worked to more effectiveness.
What if Callie tells Alex a story, then backs into the book.  Something to hook him.
The institute scene I like, however, I also think the reward is far too much.
The sum should be just enough to get her back on her feet.
Or maybe the lure of the money is what the institute people use as leverage to get more from Jane.
It seems this institute could harbor a hidden agenda.  Why pay somebody so much money just to find
somebody with this gift/power.
They want more... maybe you are headed in this direction.  they could be your antagonist.
I think you have enough for a feature.
1) Alex developing a keen interest into the family past, thanks to Callie.
2) Jane's need to earn money for the family, and to get away from Callie's control.
3) The institute and whatever they might represent beyond the innocent "testing."

Great writing, by the way.  I loved the fast read and the flow.  I can see a feature in your future here,
should you decided to run with it.

Good luck.
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Forgive
Posted: March 5th, 2012, 8:01am Report to Moderator
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Congrats on the entry.

Read very well, but I was a little unsure about some of the dialogue - description writing appeared to be better to me.

I like the tone and pace of the story, feels right for the context.

Might have been an idea to go back to Callie & Alex after Jane's intro to Dr Walcott? JMO.

Yeah - I liked this - Jane's really flawed and there's a lot more to know about her - I like Carrie's supporting role, the conflict between the Dr's; the Alex line will be developed, so lots going on - and it's been developed really well - use of available time on the paper very efficient.

Cleanly written, gets to the point - there's lot to be developed here. And I do think the dialogue improved as we went along (took notes as I read...).

Good stuff - one of the best IMO.
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