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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Marble Town (was Night Games) Moderators: bert
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  Author    Marble Town (was Night Games)  (currently 6184 views)
Don
Posted: July 26th, 2012, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Marble Town by Alex Sarris (alex_212) - Short - A fun game of turns out to be more than Billy Carder bargained for. - pdf, format


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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  September 23rd, 2012, 5:50am
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Gage
Posted: July 26th, 2012, 7:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Alex,

Sorry if I come off as rude with this one, but I think it needs a lot of work.  The writing seems a bit stiff, both action and dialogue, and there's a lack of punctuation throughout, mostly the absence of commas.

For the writing, I'd say go back and make it as visual as possible.  Right now it's stilted and isn't very fun to read.  Instead of just saying that the men "get each other" with the laser, describe the way that the laser gets them; add atmosphere.  I want the SOUNDS of them running and hiding, the lone streaks of red laser sweeping their perimeter.

As for the story, well, there's not much to it.  I saw the twist coming a mile away, the very second that Billy met Anthony.  Maybe try to go a different route?  I also find it a little weird that these college kids are playing such a game.

Sorry if I came off as rude before, but this wasn't my favorite of your work (and I do believe you have talent).

Gage


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Alex_212
Posted: July 27th, 2012, 1:34am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Gage,

Thanks for the read, I may have been a bit STIFF when I wrote this, Maybe I should have downed a few CIDERS beforehand to relax me. Hee Hee.

I have done a couple of rewrites on this one and will need to look over the wording once again.

If I was in a cold cemetery at night not sure how I would talk. I may be a bit stiff, pardon the pun.

I will have another look at what I do with Anthony.

Thanks for reading

Alex


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Baltis.
Posted: July 27th, 2012, 5:42am Report to Moderator
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Read this on a whim... Just came off of writing a few scenes tonight and wanted to read something short and to the point.   So, here I am...

The premise, while pretty decent, isn't working for me at its current state... Why?  Well, because these are grown ass men, playing tag-you're it, in the middle of a cemetery at night -- Regardless of the money angle, it's still a wacky ass thing to suspend over my head.  And probably 90% of anyone out there with some time under their belts.

But moving on:

It's just not written tight enough.  I could end it there, and probably should because I'm pressed for time -- But I'm going to elaborate a bit on what I'm talking about.  See, the thing I'm seeing more and more is people's dialogue being overloaded with filler words, clutter and no substance or diversity.  There is a difference between drab filler and colorful filler.  Drab makes everything diluted.  Color filler makes everything come alive and seem like each person has their own voice.

But the bleed over onto page 2 is pretty painful if you sit and think about what you've wrote as a moving frame with actors saying these lines and acting out this scenario.  Why?  Well, it's too stiff.  It's also a bit cold and too punched in.  Curtis simply nodding to someone saying that their parents are dead, regardless of just meeting him, is a bit unrealistic.  Even if he didn't want to be his friend, he'd still have something to say other than "I KNOW."

So I'm gonna re-work a bit of the 1st page for ya and you can take it or leave it...

CURTIS
Hey, you're in my Structures class.

Billy lifts his head, eyeballs Curtis.

BILLY
What?

CURTIS
My structures class, you're in it.

BILLY
Maybe...

CURTIS
Name's Curtis.

He extends his hand, Billy reaches up and returns the gesture.

BILLY
Billy, Billy Carder.

CURTIS
Yeah, thought so... So how you makin' out with all of it?

BILLY
Struggling.  Between school and work I'm tapped.

A devious smirk cuts across Curtis' face.

CURTIS
So quit your job, focus on school.

BILLY
Can't afford to.

CURTIS
Sponge off your parents for while, that's what I do -- And it ain't like the money you make's real anyway.  It's all printed.

BILLY
I live with my granny... My parents, they -- They're dead.  They died.

Curtis trails off, his stare deep and focused.  

CURTIS
Bummer, dude... Sorry to hear that.  Accident or some shit?

BILLY
It was awhile ago.  I'm starting to--

CURTIS
--There is one thing you could do, might make you a little extra scratch if you're up for it.


What this does is give personality to Curtis and Billy...  We can establish that for one, Billy is probably a decent guy with a stormy past and we can establish that Curtis, regardless if you wanted him to be or not, is now more of an opportunistic prick.  The way he brushes off Billy's news and goes into his plan shows us he

A) Might really want Billy to come along and be friends with him and have a shot at winning some money.

or

B)  He could just be trying to get him to go along so there's more money in the pot for him to potentially win.

But even still, the potential is here - but with these people being so damn old I just ain't buying "NIGHT GAMES".  I'd maybe bump them down to high school.

I also was a bit puzzled by how new the Ghost was.  He basically just died... I think there should be more to it here.  Maybe, and this is just me, maybe have a group of Ghost playing the same game and these kids come in and play it on "THEIR" turf.  There is potential with this story here, but some things will need to be altered.

Anyways, g'luck with it.

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  July 28th, 2012, 12:10am
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: July 27th, 2012, 10:52am Report to Moderator
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Hey Alex,

SPOILERS

Had a read but wasn't able to take notes, so here are a few after thoughts;

1) the set up needs some work. At the moment he goes for the money but it's not really a good reason. Also, why include facts that down really add eg parent are dead. It doen't seem to play any part. Surely he could just be trapped for money if you play that line.

2) the game. There is a lot of set up and rules which for a short could be tightened. Why have a group in the cemetory, rather than one on one! I like the idea of a game of hunt, in the dark, but this is described as hide and seek, something my five year old girl plays. Why not have a single hunter rather them as a group, with bigger stakes.

3) Ghost, can't remember his name. What's his role? Purpose etc? He pops up, helps out a bit, disappears. So what. I feel you need more meaning, connection and bigger reason for the twist. Eg the boy doesn't want to take part because he brother was shot dead by a hunter and the memory lives on but he's desperate for the money. If you beat the hunter you win big bucks, but there is a time limit, like running man. During this the boy talks about his fears to a grave, muttering to himself so to speak, and following that a dead solider appears as the ghost. Respects the boys courage despite fear etc in short many options but needs a tighter pull.

A bit like Balt has shown above the boy needs more character for us to feel the tension, the motives etc

All the best


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Busy Little Bee
Posted: July 28th, 2012, 9:05am Report to Moderator
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Hey Alex

Good read, nice and easy.

I have to disagree with RD on some things. I think this is a good opening, it's only a short and you establish an issue from the past, death of parents (which adds more fear when he finds out he's visiting a cemetery), and a current problem he needs money which is good reason. Any reason is better than no reason.

Horror genre usually has rules, and you combine that with game aspect and give us the primary rules upfront and throughout.

There's a clear desire line, which works in that you can focus on the action. Of course with every decision it's give and take

All the players are potential allies or opponents.

Now, I figured that only thing you could do or what I would do if I opened like this is make whoever Billy partners was a ghost, which you ended up doing.

This is a straight forward piece, for only 12 pages, I like you're writing. The story is OK, it's simple.

BLB









Commodus: But the Emperor Claudius knew that they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you have been doing, busy little bee..."
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Alex_212
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Thanks all for your comments.

BLB until your post I was starting to doubt myself, you seem to be thinking along the same wavelength as me.
I felt that the money for a student was enough incentive and that the death of Anthony's parents added to the feel.

I tried to keep it simple and straight forward, that way a producer can take it on and put his own thoughts into the overall script.

AJ and Baltis thanks for your comments, I will take them into account in a rewrite and see what needs changing.

Thanks for reading.

Alex


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Pale Yellow
Posted: July 29th, 2012, 9:12pm Report to Moderator
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Other than the fact I couldn't buy into adult men playing hide and seek....I thought this was a cute, fast read. I think you should rethink your characters age...maybe make them teens playing laser tag or something. Hardly anyone plays hide and seek anymore...do they? That game was so scary to me!
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DV44
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Hey Alex- If people feel that it would be strange for grownups to play a laser game in the cemetary than have the characters get drunk first. Everything seems to be fun when your drunk. Just saying. I liked the story. Good job-
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Alex_212
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Thanks PY and DV44.

I dont think it would be exactly a game of hide and seek as it would be totally different since there is a cemetery involved. To be honest if I had to play this I would probably S H I T myself.

I do agree with dropping the ages of the participants and making them younger, maybe 1st year at university at around 18yo. They still need to drive a car.

Thanks for the read and glad you enjoyed it.

Alex


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CoopBazinga
Posted: July 30th, 2012, 12:25am Report to Moderator
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Hey Alex,


Quoted from Alex_212
I was starting to doubt myself


What you doubting, buddy?

I read this before posting so you know my thoughts about this little tale and it seems some readers agreed.

These guys playing hide and seek... well I also brought that up but nothing a name change couldn't solve if you keep the ages the same.

The dialogue does feel very forced, especially that opening scene which felt so unnatural.

And of the course the twist which was so obvious you might as well called Anthony "Casper" and be done with it.  

All in all though, it's a massive improvement in the writing department although like I said over the e-mail, you really need to calm down on the parentheticals.

Good work.

Steve

P.S Congrats with "Serial Killer" I watched the trailer the other day and it gave me a smile. Excellent work my friend.
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Alex_212
Posted: July 30th, 2012, 12:42am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Steve,

I will be doing an edit on this shortly, taking into account all the comments.

I have also just signed away a second "Serial Killer" so I will be looking forward to 2 versions though I feel they will both be excellent.

Thanks for the read and previous comments on this one.

Alex


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alffy
Posted: July 30th, 2012, 1:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Alex, I'm trying to read some stuff from people I've seen active, so here's my thoughts on this...

I'm a bit confused by the conversation between Curtis and Billy.  Billy says his parents are dead and Curtis says he knows, Billy is surprised then Curtis talks about the Night Games?  It's like a piece of dialogue is missing.  Then Billy virtually invites himself to play but Curtis accepts this without question?  Also it's a pretty long conversation, perhaps you could break it up with a few little actions?  It's not the only one either, page 4 is almost entirely dialogue.

page 7, Billy has two dialogues in a row without action or Anthony's dialogue between.

You include some things in parentheticals that should be in action.

I've just read over a few previous posts and agree that it seems odd that 20+ year old students play hide and seek, even for money.  I think it would feel better if they were much younger.  I also think Billy saying his parents are dead was forced to play on why Billy can maybe see a ghost.

I think this is a decent enough premise but needs to be tightened.  Some things are too forced and feel unnatural.  I think the page length is a little long for the story too.


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Alex_212
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Hi guys,

I have just done a rewrite on this one as well as a bundle of changes in order to make it less predictable.

I thought I would add a twist within the twist just to catch you all by surprise.

Please let me know what you think.

Regards Alex


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Gage
Posted: August 6th, 2012, 10:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Alex,

Just gave this one another read.
Before I start off, I have a weird little remark... upon reading the PDF, the letter C looks weird to me, like a different font.  Maybe the PDF just screwed it up, I dunno.

Onto the read:

I noticed that you lowered the characters' ages just a bit.  I still think you could make them lower; it just doesn't seem natural for nearly grown men to be playing this kind of game.  You said earlier you chose high ages because they needed to drive, but just make the cemetary walking distance (and lower the winnings a bit) and it could work.  Just my two cents.

On page 5, you have moonlight "reflecting off gravestones".  I think moonlight "illuminating the gravestones" may be better, seeing as gravestones aren't very reflective.

Page 8, you split Billy's dialogue, but there's no action in-between.

As for the twist within a twist at the end... eh, there's a major plot hole there.  Why didn't Billy recognize his own dad?  I mean, I'm assuming that Anthony looks the same in the afterlife, and he even tells Billy his name is Anthony...

Overall, it's gotten better, but the ending still needs work.  I didn't see the twist coming this time, but that's because it doesn't make much sense.  Keep working, Alex!

Gage


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