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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October 2013 One Week Challenge  ›  A Bill To Pay - OWC
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  Author    A Bill To Pay - OWC  (currently 3802 views)
Posted: October 19th, 2013, 10:33am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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A Bill To Pay by ? - Horror - Bill has been searching for the answer to an urgent problem. He ends up at the Gardner Building. Will he find a way out in there? (PG) - pdf, format

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 19th, 2013, 4:24pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Part time writer

The Island of Jersey
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A bill to Pay


Is the Gardener building something important to be named? I looked it up on Wikipedia - if it's the same on sits a listed building, but nothing of note. Why use it in the logline?

Going in 'He hesitates' is probably enough - the rest just confuses
If a character is interrupted I would generally use --  if their dialogue tails off I would use ...  Just saying
Ooh, I do like the sex in the back seat with hooker where your children sit - nice


A man is corrupted by his boss, we understand, and seeks a witch to bump him off, only to have change of heart when the boss is tortured, medically, in the process. Alas she misunderstands him and cancels the whole thing, with the added, out of the blue twist, that a boy he left to die was the brother of the receptionist, who is also meant to be related to the witch !! So the witch is related to the dead Timmy?

Bit too much going on. Also I didn't really get the compassion and the misunderstanding also didn't work for me.

On reflection the VO at the beginning don't tie into anything else.

But I do like the premise of a flawed man asking for a killing only to have it backfire, but for me the script needs a bit of work.

My grade c- (revised - pondered on this one)

My scripts †HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
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IMDb link...

Revision History (1 edits)
Reef Dreamer  -  October 20th, 2013, 8:36am
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Posted: October 19th, 2013, 4:42pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Cut to three weeks earlier

London, UK
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It's not bad.  It's a quick read.

I don't agree with the ending where Bill wants the torture to stop, because his words earlier in the script "I need him know, to go".  This insinuation of Bill wanting Seb to be harmed or even killed is what I expected to happen and did happen.  Also, since this isn't new to him with Timmy, I'm puzzled why Bill would have a change of heart and want Seb to get better.  He seems like a character that wouldn't care.

Over all, not a bad effort, just needs a little editing to iron out the wrinkles.

All the best,


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Pale Yellow
Posted: October 19th, 2013, 4:57pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Super love the title of this.

Loved 'fires up angry birds'

Some really good writing on display here. I liked the story. I was confused by the end though with the dialogue

Aww, just like little red haired
Timmy did in the woods all those
years ago. My receptionist wasnít
always an only child. She would
like a word with you about that. On
your way out.

Not sure about this. Or even what happened at the end...other than that ...really good job.
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Posted: October 20th, 2013, 8:33am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Let The Sky Fall

Various, exotic.
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The first half of this worked well - it was intriguing that it moved slowly, with some attention to detail, and I felt that is was really building up to be something quite clever.

Unfortunately, like the other posters have said, the latter half of it really falls a bit flat for me. I was kinda surprised, because by the look of the early writing it seemed like the writer really knew what they were doing.

Trying to fit so much in (all those relations) did harm it somewhat, as the set-up established quite a simple tone that was ready to focus on something more meaningful. Bill character started to develop in an interesting way, and I liked that Halliman exposed his shortfalls.

Maybe this was longer piece that got hacked short. Red-haired Timmy failed for me - I think that could only work if the other (filled his pants) bit were left out, so that some focus was drawn to it - and it was specified that he was red-haired where he was introduced.

So it's a good piece, I just think it crashes toward the end.
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Posted: October 20th, 2013, 5:31pm Report to Moderator
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Solid writing and a well handled sense of mystery really pulled me into this.  I like the way you twisted the readers expectations of Bill -- starting out somewhat geeky and nervous only to reveal a darker, more desperate side to his character.

If Iím honest the ending fell flat for me, which is a shame given the strong build-up.  I think you needed turn the screws harder on Bill, as he seemed to get off too lightly for his indecision.  A great idea, just needs more sting in the tail.

Who was the Old Man in the cravat?  What was his role here?

My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 5:13am Report to Moderator
Been Around

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Well, I was about to comment on the writing style but it doesn't bother me. Which is great since I didn't write any notes.

You know, this was going really well until that underwhelming ending. From set piece to set piece, we moved and I could see it leading to something big but it just falls face down at the end. The twist with the receptionist was laughable sorry to say and I wouldn't classify this as horror but this really did feel like a modern story of witchcraft. A good effort that needs a different ending to really shine. Thanks for actually looking over your work for mistakes.

Grade: C+/B-
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 3:46pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Cast Your Fate To The Wind

Upstate NY
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Hey writer,

I liked this story, did not like the ending. For some reason, it seemed like an awful lot of reading! That was part of the problem for me. It just took too long to get where it was going, and the payoff wasnt that big. It seems
to me like you could've chopped off two pages and got this story going a bit faster. Oh, and the voice overs didn't work for me either. Again, drop em and you got the same story here.

Good work for a weeks worth.


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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 6:43pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

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No probs with the writing. At times the dialogue stands out as above average, especially for one week's work.

Bill started out like he was going to be an interesting character, but like pretty much all of the characters I've encountered so far in the OWC, he did not really take off. I was disappointed because it really seemed like Bill was going to stand out.

The ending is a nice attempt, but without more set up, it's too convenient and coincidental. Maybe that could be fixed if we thought the witch had recruited him with an ad directed at him.

I do like the witch as hitman concept, original take on things.

The writing works. The story does not stand out from the OWC pack, but maybe none of them do.
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 8:44pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I liked the whole witch for hire - dirty deeds done dirt cheap angle.  Well, maybe not so cheap.  Still putting her in a corporate setting as opposed to an old house was a clever spin.  I thought this was going well until the end.  I was unsure as to the identity of the Old Man with the cravat, but I suspect he was some accomplice of the witch?

The ending just didn't work.  I would have preferred if Bill completely chickened out and demanded the witch spare Sebastian, instead of Bill just wanting him to die quickly.  Then I would have liked the witch to turn her wrath on Bill.  The final line about the receptionist being the sister of the kid who died was an odd twist.  Earlier in the story, the witch mentions that the receptionist is family, so wouldn't the witch go after Bill?  That would have been a better twist, IMO, if Bill realizes at the very end that he was the witch's target all along.
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 8:47pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Down Under
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I really like this one! Halfway through I was thinking it's my fave so far (wel. Apart from my own, lol). Nice setup, interesting chars, though the first 2 pages could be trimmed as they go a bit .

But it sorta took a slightly off  the turn later. Don't get me wrong but the second half and ending didn't seem as well written as earlier. Perhaps the author was rushed?

I reckon the writer is from the UK. It doesn't specify where it's set but it has that eccentric type if English about it.

The Sebastian char threw me at first. I didn't realise he was the boss, just a work mate who had maybe gone halves in the cash to get rid of the boss?  I thought the witch was just gonna make the boss vanish into thin air.

But yeah neat little tale and it's my pick so far

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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 11:09pm Report to Moderator
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Not sure what else to add here. I really liked the script a lot. Witch for hire concept is inventive a bit. Dialog was fine. If I had to nitpick, FADE IN should flush left not right.

One of the better 50 entries. One of my favorites.
I didn't mind the ending, I thought it was fine.

"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
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James McClung
Posted: October 22nd, 2013, 1:29am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Washington, D.C.
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This is the best written script I've come across thus far from a technical standpoint. The general writing, dialogue, exposition, and mystery are solid (although I could've done without the V.O.). The tone is flat and quiet and the pacing is VERY slow - I was shocked to see I'd only made it three pages the first time I checked the page number - but it worked for me at the start. The quiet gave off an eerie, potentially sinister feel in how calm and safe everything seemed.

The characters were all flat and matter of fact. I didn't connect much emotionally with any of them although Bill's backstory was interesting and somewhat sympathetic. I suppose I didn't mind because I was interested in seeing how everything panned out, especially once I caught onto the witch-for-hire concept.

Slowly but surely, things picked up. I liked how Sebastian wasn't a stereotypically unlikeable boss. His behavior didn't come off as harsh nor boorish, either of which would've been a more conventional way to go. Once he started getting sick, it felt extremely realistic and even slightly disturbing.

Then the ending came and I was out. First off, I thought it was extremely naive and weak of Bill to come back. He knew what he was getting into. I mean, to be fair, it didn't seem like he'd do anything else. I still didn't care for it.

The final line wasn't the worst and I was intrigued by Bill's past. But since it serves as the final payoff, I think it's a total letdown. I suppose somehow it fits the rest of the story. But it's a still letdown.

While I enjoyed the atmosphere for a good while, in the end, it was all false. No such sinister undercurrent was exposed. All that's left is flatness and quiet that doesn't really amount to much.

A well written cohesive effort, no doubt. But extremely disappointing. Totally blew my buzz.

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Posted: October 22nd, 2013, 4:51am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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No comments read before.
Non-native spaker Ė take it or leave it.

A bill to pay

First script.
Very well done.
You build potential for a shooting. I don't think it's a feature stuff, but maybe something like 20 minutes (surely overwritten and added).

Title and concept fit perfectly together. The title got a multiple meaning at least of the ending. Subtle choice. I like. Actually even perfect.

You also hit the theme. We are living in a world where power, greed etc. is a part of. In the modern time this goes into the bureaus/offices. There you place the witch theme.

Now some conspicuities-

-The exposition is TAXI, ENTRANCE, ELEVATOR, RECEPTION.  500(0)  times in film industry. I get that you need to set up the office theme/world.
Make it a different original elevator ride-or let him take the stairs. I hope you get the direction of my advice.

- I misunderstood why Bill shows no reaction to the cravat man when he met him first time in the reception. He must have to be interested in where he is and don't play Angry Bird.

You often play safe in the pictures- like above here.

The times you risk something (literally said)- Bill dashes into the office. He keeps the door closed.
That's when you build strength.
Even if it was not logical to keep the door close when the boss-witch is sitting on the wrong site, right? Doesn't matter- honored the approach (It is only ONE WEEK, maybe less than that. So, easy to get even little logical pieces false).

Other small impressions which I think where product of less time-How is Sebastian been made crazy? Who gave bill the address?
First show the candle. After that, the eye can see the person/witch. No view to the closed window first etc.

Like I said above. Could be a cool halloween shortfilm. Eventually I see some family stuff here, what would be amazing. The lesson would be, if you don't look after your friends, it will come back to you.

For ONE WEEK-chapeau.

Revision History (1 edits)
PrussianMosby  -  October 28th, 2013, 11:26am
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Posted: October 23rd, 2013, 5:45am Report to Moderator

The Great Southern Land
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Ah, a renegade as far as the FADE IN: goes. Who cares, I say, if the 'story' is there and the writing is good, right? Right.  

Another deft hand with the writing on display here too - technically clean and succinct and evokes a clear picture and mood from the get go.

And another script with wit too. Having said that I like the way the mood turned and a much darker tone emerged. Love the back seat of the car dialogue and the 'reveal' about the central guy's true (nasty) character - this really added another layer to the story.

Sorry if I'm repeating a couple of things too, but I did also wonder at the Gardner Building reference in the Scene Header.

Wiki informs me that Gerald Gardner is internationally recognised as the 'Father of Wicca' among occult communities - but am I grasping at straws here? If this was your intention then surely naming your main 'witchy woman' character Mrs Gardner would have had more resonance.

Also, is 'cooking the books' a good enough motive to want someone 'gone'? Seems a little flimsy and the punishment a little severe imh. I would have liked if you'd layered that motivation more - perhaps if the intended 'victim' is also having an affair with his wife - thereby raising the stakes to not only his career but also his personal life.

As far as the voice over goes - I'm a huge fan and so generally will defend its use. Here though, it seems a little tacked on especially as you TOP your script with it (not counting one line in the middle in which I think he should have muttered the line out loud) but you don't TAIL it. Makes me think it might have been a part of a first draft and got left in.

All that aside this was a really efficient and highly entertaining read and I'm with Stevie in that I suspect this is an English/Irish writer just based on the 'erm' word in dialogue and a certain style of writing which seems familiar??

Great job.

P.S. I also love that PrussianMosbey (review above mine) tipped his hat to you with the 'chapeau'.

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