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Posted: July 13th, 2013, 1:34pm
Story - 8 Structure - 8 Meeting the challenge - 10
Dislikes - I didn't much care for the title "Bee Boy" the dialogue seemed unrealistic in a few spots, and it was a shame to (SPOILER) kill off Jospehine, but other than that it was an interesting tale.
I'd really like to know how you got that bee on your title page. 10 points for creaitivity on that part.
I will start by saying I enjoyed the concept. Your opening sequence was fresh, your words really wrapped me into the story. I'm assuming the choice that the parents made to discard Benjamin was a final desicison for both, a selfish and twisted one, but one the deserved more disclosure. I'm not saying I didn't find it intriguing, because I did. I just want to know more about it.
What I really couldn't embrace was the dialogue/interaction between Benjamin and Yarrow. Yarrow's treatments were pretty cool, but I felt the dialogue wasn't the approach for the stakes. I would've liked to see more of a conflict of what was really best for Benjamin, given her methods have a grave consequence. I really thought Benjamin should have a choice in some sort of capacity.
Toward the end, I felt the pacing was too fast and it took away from the tension. It really is a novel concept, great work!
Definitely an interesting and unique idea here. Pretty well written throughout.
You met the parameters of the challenge pretty well. Although you definitely made this take place in the Pacific Northwest, something seemed to be missing from the locale being front and center for me - not sure what or why.
You did a good job with the central character being a child, being unique, and having alot of character.
2nd script in a row that obtained an R rating with no nudity and only 1 "fuck", as the violence and even theme were definitely what I consider to be R rated.
Dialogue was very good at times, and off a bit at others.
I don't like the title at all, for some reason.
I also didn't really like the structure here, as there was alot of wasted lines and even pages, where what you wrote didn't really say much or even mean much.
For me, I think you included alot of stuff that wasn't necessary and didn't help this shine, like it possibly could.
There are a number of small writing mistakes, but I realize it's an OWC, "coke" refers to cocaine. "Coke" is the soft drink. You used "we" a few times, and I don't really know why, as it rarely if ever helps.
I think this is definitely a good effort, but something about this just didn't work for me. I realize that we need to suspend belief in a tale like this, but there were just too many things I couldn't buy into to really get into this overall.
Nonetheless, it's a solid effort. Good job!
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Hah, Ponderosa! Got that Pacific Northwest front and centre quick, eh
Is that what African Americans sound like?
Bee stings to cure leukemia is not homeopathy...? Homeopathy is the intake of inordinately high-priced water.
Well the central gag of bee boy is good. I'm not sure how to really tie it to the rest of the story, though. Was it what Yarrow did that caused his state? Something about the boy himself? Something about the parents? I guess I just don't really know what this story was about. The parents' sin? Yarrow's misguided "cure" -- or was it misguided? An evil boy?
I was very confused by Josephine. Of all the black women I've known in Oregon and Washington, none of them sounded like characters from The Color Purple. I'm not saying that such women don't exist, just that I don't think they exist. Either way, the kindly old black nanny with no education but a heart of gold...pshaw, I say to that. Pshaw!
Other than wanting to go home near the end, Benjamin didn't make many choices. It wasn't clear to me to what extent he was controlling the bees and choosing to kill people. I think this was the major weakness here. What did Benjamin want, and how did he get it, or not?
Is there some sort of parallel between Josephine's belief in God to cure, and Yarrow's believe in nature? Not sure.
Hey d... doh! Wrong thread for naming the writer. 'pologies
Yeah, I liked this, and it worked for me, but I'm wondering if it achieves the high standards the writer sets for himself.
p.11: Josephine opens the frig erm ... oops.
So I'm just going to jump in on where I think it fails -- and this is all to the back-drop of 'this is a really good piece of work'.
Antags - I'm wondering about their motivation - I get it, but it feels like it's unequal as the mother's grievance is referred to, but the father undertakes the action -- this leaves it a little unbalanced to me. Don't get me wrong - I think the whole picture works, but the mom's referenced, and the dad isn't and the dad's the more active participant.
Josephine and Yarrow -- I figure one of them, but not totally both of them - Heretic mentioned something about Josephine ... something doesn't quite figure. Who's Yarrow in your mind? Is she antag or character?
You write well, and there's a uniqueness about this that kept me hooked -- the ending doesn't satisfy ... p.10 - daddy stumbles backwards - this brings me back to the lack of investment in his character; if he'd have given more, early on, this would have more impact.
I don't like your montage use.
Yeah -- story line, story intent, I think they're all good, I'm not 100% on the technique, maybe ... good old motivation is why they belong there, and sometimes I felt your characters where there for the convenience of the story ... which de-compels them.
I enjoyed this -- skilled, but flawed. A good read.
And then the title page with the bee and that random quote... Seems like a very well thought out pisser, let's hope it isn't. Let's continue reading.
"He shakes his head ‘it’s going to be ok’." I don't see how shaking your head could mean this, and I'm 100% sure the writer knows this.
A few more strange writing "errors" as I read further.
Page 5 - Not sure if this is at night or in the morning. An easy slug fix.
Although the dialogue has a certain style and voice, it just sounds comical, I can't help but feel it was on purpose though. This line just does it for me "Why’re you tying me up? Please lady. Don’t leave me out here." Is this honestly the first thing he says? This kid has to be the most passive (and dumbest, sorry) character I've ever seen.
"Sweet Jesus! I’m so happy to see you! Come on in, Benjamin." I'm just going to leave that there...
"was ta keep the faith" That's... I have no words, I'll keep reading.
I can't help but think this was a semi-serious attempt. The writing was good but the dialogue didn't work with me in any way. What makes it worse is that because you know this is from a good writer, you expect good things, but when we get this comical dialogue and out there concept, it takes you out of the read.
I still stay by my opinion and I'll go ahead and say it, I think this was a semi-pisstake, with the title page and all. A lot of good things happening, but many terrible ones. Will be interesting to see who the writer is. I'm not sure why it's getting raving reviews but I everybody has different opinions.
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
Nicely written visual to open, despite this: 'a tsunami of bees' - not sold on that.
Overall, I really don't know what to say about this one cause I'm not sure if it's tongue in cheek...some good writing on display at times and then it seems a little 'trying too hard'. And the story has me perplexed. The bit with the Doctor sounded a bit forced too i.e. the 'it's a miracle' declaration.
I think the problem is you didn't write it as a 'straight' horror - and the whole Southern feel of it (least in my opinion) with Mama and Daddy and some of the dialogue coming through is comical instead of tragic. It just doesn't seem to fit and so it presents as a bit of a parody.
I'm undecided. I liked the ending - the bees coming out of all orifices, but then it alludes to the fact Josephine is going to cop it and she's one of the good guys. I'm just not convinced with this one.
Some moments I really dug on: bees coming out of boy, the nose, especialy the eye lid, the homeopathic take, a flawed hero. The parents even seemed somewhat conflicted in leaving the boy. Simple tear from the father was enough, not blown out. I cared for this kid in only a few pages. I was intrigued by cure. Loved the visuals of that. You had me interested and wondering where the story was headed.
The satisfaction of revenge was tainted by the boy killing his saviour with a cure. And with the murder (?) of his housekeeper. She was the one I thought cared for him. She loved him. Maybe I read wrong, but I hoped he would live with her after he slayed his parents. I like the idea that he could become her protector. Possible ending could be killing investigators or social services that want to take the boy. Leaving him alone, again. The dialogue needs work, especially with maid. Maybe 60 years ago in the South.
Some problems, but a solid premise. Intriguing and frightening. Lackluster dialogue holds back potential.
figure covered in bees on the ground in front of the cabin.”
- It’s slightly difficult for me to imagine how she’s writhing because I have never seen anything like this before.
-Interesting opener, what I was able to imagine. Hopefully it goes somewhere
“JOSEPHINE Surely she don’t mean it. She just talkin’ out’a anger, baby. BENJAMIN Maybe, but she says she’s sendin’ me off to live with Granny Potts.”
- The “maybe” doesn’t fit the character, imo. A young child normally doesn’t outweigh things like an adult, which is what this suggests to me anyway. If you cut “maybe, but” that flows much better.
- Other than that, the dialogue is working immediately for me. Good job
- I like Josephine, her character has potential, but in a rewrite, definitely embellish her character a tad further and she’ll shine like a baby’s bottom
“MAMA, 36, pushes the wheelchair to the SUV in the driveway.”
- A little sparse here on the description on what the reader is to see. Is the wheelchair empty or occupied?
“Daddy folds the wheelchair, throws it in the back.”
- I’m really hopping he didn’t just throw the kid’s wheelchair but rather set it down. Remember, word choice is everything.
“He nods towards his parents in the front.”
- I don’t get this.
End of page 3 right now and I’m getting the idea that Josephine is a figment of Benjamin’s imagination.
“Daddy steps out, removes the wheelchair, readies it for Benjamin. The passenger window descends.”
- This is happening too quickly so I can’t imagine it very well.
“Daddy! No! Please don’t go!! You can’t leave me here! Daddy disappears. Benjamin SOBS.”
Well, one, I think I know who wrote this one. Two, a little Hansel and Gretel going on here 
“The ceiling spins overhead, he gags, grabs a bucket beside the couch and pukes.”
Why is there a conveniently placed bucket beside the couch? Has this been happening before? Was there more puke in the bucket before he picked it up?
“The ‘old’ Benjamin is back.” - I’m totally confused.
So as to the story, I did not quite like Benjamin turning on the woman that helped him. It was forced in my opinion. The revenge bit I get that you were eventually going to do that. That was sort of expected as I went on.
The ending was somewhat banal. Nothing significant took place. It was sort of a convenient way to get her killed. Where, in reality, you could have probably had her die right as she opened the door. Had you, however, built more suspense around it or some higher relevance than it would have worked. And perhaps would through a rewrite.
The opening scene was powerful and had me hooked. I also had to read the whole thing as I was intrigued as to what was going on so I will say well done for that aspect.
However there was too many things that didn’t work for me.
I didn’t buy the parents dumping the kid like a sick puppy that they can’t be bothered tending anymore. A bond between a parent and a child is stronger than that.
As a parent and as someone who’s god-daughter is currently being treated for Leukaemia, I can say an illness like that brings you closer to the child, not further apart. You had to spend a lot of script time and dialogue trying to setup the abandoning in the forest scene which could have been spent better. As it is that angle needed a lot more backstory about the parents to make it believable and you didn’t have the screen time to do it.
I realise you needed to give him an illness so you could cover the ‘discover something that will alter mankind’ aspect to the challenge but it may have been easier to have him become lost in the forest after a picnic or have him kidnapped by Yarrow; something simpler. If in doubt, keep it simple!
Hats off to you though for trying to deal with a difficult and emotionally powerful situation.
The bee stings curing the illness is an interesting angle but it was squandered in my opinion. It would have been nice to throw in some science or even some pseudo-science to help carry me into the welcoming arms of disbelief suspension. You have access to the greatest store of information the world has ever known via your preferred search engine. Even if there was a tenuous bit of research out there linking bee venom to the creation of white blood cells or if you found a way to link your story to the huge drop in bee population; something like that would have really risen the story up above the mindless horror it was.
I don’t mean to be rude there but I’ve grown tired of lazy horrors over the past years. The bees turned the boy into a walking bee-hive of death and madness. While that has a cool aspect to it, it also makes a lot of nonsense noise in my head. He should have died when attacked by the bees, why didn’t he? Maybe Yarrow could have been explaining some of the detail to him during his ordeal or we could have seen some flashbacks of her own.
If Yarrow has done this sort of thing to someone before (which I assume she has to discover what to do but we don’t know really) it’s safe to say she’s seen them become mad, bee-hives of death as well, so why wasn’t she prepared for this outcome?
He just kills everyone, even the only person who really cares for him so it felt flat at the end. So sorry it didn’t quite work with me but it was a good effort.
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However, I was pleasantly surprised by the writing on the first page. Begins with a creepy, riveting image that hooked me. Then the Homer quote stopped me dead in my tracks. Really unnecessary, especially for a short.
Josephine sounded like she was right out of Django Unchained. Some eye-rolling dialogue there. And I think the whole leukemia angle could have been introduced more cinematically, instead of Benjamin just mentioning he has it and how much he hates it.
We needed to see to see and feel the parents' anguish more. They're about to kill their son in an incredibly cruel and cowardly way, so I wanted more insight into their psychology. What exactly would make them do this?
I liked Yarrow and her bee treatment. For me, that was the best part of the script. Don't know if the trip to the doctor's was necessary. Once we see Benjamin walk again, we know he's "cured."
In hindsight, I'm not sure if Josephine was even necessary to this tale. She felt oddly out of place given the setting.
I think the ending would have worked better if, instead of the parents receiving the phone call and being apparently (and inexplicably) overjoyed to hear their son is alive and rushing to see him, Benjamin treks through the forest to confront them. Would have made a powerful image for the mother to answer the door, only to see her presumably dead son standing there. And then come the bees.
But overall, I felt the writing was solid for short notice. Great concept, just tweak the execution.
I had a problem with a dialogue, myself. UNLESS...everybody was some kind of annoying caricature so that it'd be more fun to kill them off. But if that was the point, then you should've had Mama and Daddy just as developed as Josephine. Their deaths were kinda boring, aside from the revenge aspect.
If that wasn't the case, then none of the sounded like it belonged with these characters. Benjamin was the most eloquent 9-year-old I've never known. And I'm inclined to agree with Heretic, that I typically don't associate Josephine's dialect/speech pattern with the Northwest. Shoo.
Yarrow's intentions were ambiguous. Was she helping or harming or manipulating? Also, I assume that's Yarrow in the rocking chair in the teaser? If so, who's the victim? A failed attempt at going viral? That should be cleared up, too.
Other than that, it was an okay story. Felt like it should lose a few pages. Other than that, it's got a guilty-pleasure charm about it.
"I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Max'."