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Pond by Mark Lyons (rc1107) - Short, Drama - A young woman about to inherit her family's plantation accompanies her father's men on an expedition to round up slaves to train and auction. 7 pages - pdf, format
Mark! Once again you have proven yourself an excellent writer. Jumped right into this when I saw your name, forgetting to read the log-line... Think it's fair to say I'm a fan
Not a lot to say about this one, I'm afraid. Didn't pick up any writing issues... No typos, nothing that didn't make sense.
I have to admit, I found myself lost in the dialogue, on occasion, but after reading over, I soon caught up.
Just a quick question... What time period are we working with here? I understand slavery in America was abolished some time ago, so that leaves the question... Is this screenplay set in the past or future? Or even an alternative form to the modern day? While it's abolished in America, slavery is still a big part of many African nations, so I wonder if you may have gotten the inspiration from that?? I don't know, maybe I missed something.
In terms of story, I liked it. I thought I would. However, I do feel it's very reliant on that dialogue. Not necessarily a bad thing, but as I've mentioned before I did get lost in the dialogue. I may be the only one, but if other people struggle with it, your story might not come across as clearly as you hoped for.
I assume the disease in the pond was Aids? Wait, I'm pretty sure it was. You actually had me going there, thinking they were actually old . I like it how it's a revenge type deal but how would Margaret know the disease passes through bodily fluids? And why would the first thing she does is make him have sex with her? Sounds a little too bizarre TBH. Unless that's not what happened?
I suppose it was alright, a nice take on the origin of aids.
Thanks for taking a read. This one was actually written in one day about a year and a half ago for one of the heads up challenges Michael was running for a little while. I came across it a couple weeks ago and decided I really liked it and thought I'd post it up after extending one of the scenes a little bit.
The story takes place in 1840's, Louisianna. We were given a logline and had to write a story based on that. I think the logline was something like 'In 1840's New Orleans, a debutante searches for the fountain of youth in a graveyard.'
I wasn't actually one of the two in the heads up challenge, but this story popped into my head and I wanted to get it down on paper anyway.
Thanks for taking a look and letting me know your thoughts.
Yeah, the virus in the pond was the beginning of aids. Although, I think the original origin of aids has something to do with monkeys, I thought this might make a cool little twist.
Quoted from nawazm
I like it how it's a revenge type deal but how would Margaret know the disease passes through bodily fluids? And why would the first thing she does is make him have sex with her?
Actually, Margaret doesn't even know she's been infected yet. She just wants some lovin', and that's why Armand's now scared that she starts hitting on him. He wasn't expecting that. I foreshadow a little bit in the first scene that Margaret does check out Armand's muscles and sticks her chest out a little more to impress him.
Anyway, thanks again for checking this one out, nawazm. You got any stories posted around on SS? I remember seeing you around here and there, but don't remember if I ever read anything of yours. Let me know.
I liked this. Your pacing, flow, and characterizations are all top notch. Itís your sudden, dare I sayójarringóending that left a bitter taste in my mouth. My biggest issue with this short is that Margaret is so wonderfully made out to be the villain, yet itís our hero Armand who gets the just desserts. Why?
Iím not saying you canít have an unhappy ending (The Mist is just one of several films that proves itís possible), but I just didnít feel satisfied when this one was over. I want to know what happens next, and I want to see if Armand is smart enough to weasel his way out of this miscalculated comeuppance.
I don't know if I like this. Good writing, and good descriptions, but it comes across a little flat.
Why would Africans speak English so well? And AIDS is spread through fluids, true, but she has to have an open wound. Even if you drink infected semen or blood, even by accident, it's chances of spreading are very low.
I like the idea but not really the reasoning behind it. Two Africans trick a white woman into tricking a white woman into poisoning herself is clever but the ending doesn't work for me.
There where parts of this story that I thought were brilliant. You set a fantastic tone from the start. What really got me sucked in was the dialogue about the pond. Big time page turner for sure. When the mythos of the pond was revealed, it was a hard pill for me to swallow, but I still was glad you had Margaret take a dip. Pretty dark and tense.
I was left wondering if there were other motives or story to tell. If I were Armand, I'd start looking for the pond that cures aids.
I like the overall aim but feel the execution could be a bit sharper, not the writing per se but the way it is woven together.
At present it relies heavily of the slaves telling about the pond. At the end I was thinking more of cholera or another water born tropical water born disease like bilharzia, than aids. After all, we know, or assume to know, that aids wasn't a present in those days. But having said that, it could work.
Small point, but in them times, is it realistic than the slaves could have been living for so long own their own, and the girl believe it? Don't know.
Perhaps it could have a little more cause and effect to help the set up. Eg girl falls off a horse because of the female slave, viciously attacks her for ruining her hair, or some other form of vanity eg torn dress, which the male slave then persuades her of the pond of youth to save the female slave, only for the disease to be revealled. The end where the revenge comes back to bite him, so to speak, could be done in a few ways. Eg she drags him to the pond to swim with her? This way you don't have an aids conundrum in that era.
Anyway, just thoughts.
A simple, well paced read with a nice underlying idea and twist.
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 Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
I donít have much to add on this one and to be totally honest I found it a little boring as in not a lot really happened for me.
I think I understood the time period, I donít know my slave history too well but I believe the Creole people is French descendants in Louisiana from the 19th century but a ďsuperĒ have helped me along here and I could be completely wrong of course?
The dialogue was a bit misleading though, it was like Etienne couldnít speak proper English at first but then she became more fluent as the piece went on Ė maybe this was intentional to help them along with the lie.
Thatís the best part here for me, they lied to Margaret for some kind of revenge and it came back to haunt Armand at the end, nice twist of events.
If there could be something different then I would make Margaret more likeable to the audience Ė how tragic would it be if she was just a nice little girl but trying hard to come off like a proper higher class lady in front of these slaves, some early family exchange could accomplish this.
Then how would the twist play out? Yeah, guess this would take the story into another direction thinking about it that werenít aiming for.
Is the disease in the pond Aids? Obviously a different spin because the provenance was Africa I believe Ė certainly an interesting take on a such a disease.
The writingís fine and I was never tripped up but I have to admit to finding the story a bit bland for my liking.
My biggest issue with this short is that Margaret is so wonderfully made out to be the villain, yet itís our hero Armand who gets the just desserts. Why?
In my head, Armand, although sticking up for what he believes in, is still just as much a villain as Margaret for not caring about the disease beyond Margaret and the few people she'll infect.
Hmm. As for what happens next? I guess if I had to continue this one and stretch it out as a feature, I guess I could have Armand invent condoms.
To tell the truth, the story just ended in my head as her blackmailing him. Either have sex with her or have her accuse him of rape, which definately isn't going to end well for him. They didn't mess too much with trials back in the 1840's.
Thanks again for taking a look at this one, Chris.
They weren't 100% African. They were black French Creole's, which is also why they were still free in the Louisianna Territory at the time. And why Etienne's words are peppered with French, and their dialect is worded like a French person's speaking English would. (Although I did do a little more wording on the dialogue so it wouldn't read as weird, which is probably why the English is coming off a little better than usual.)
Quoted from stevemiles
The log-line didnít seem to wholly relate to the story/action (the mention of the inheritance and expedition seem unnecessary)
Yeah, I notice I did rely a little bit on the logline to tell a little of what was already going on in the story. A line in the original logline read 'In 1840's Louisianna', so I suppose I relied on that to without wanting to take the time to explain it in the story.
I guess I just assumed that everybody knew what was going on in Louisianna in that time period so didn't want to waste too much time explaining it in a 5 page short. (Eventhough it ended up being 6 pages now, though.)
Thank you for the compliments about it being an interesting idea and the twist at the end, though.