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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Undead Emergency Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: February 3rd, 2014, 5:23pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Undead Emergency by Mark Renshaw - Short, Horror - Strapped to a gurney in the back of an ambulance, an infected vampire hunter faces a race against time and the onslaught of the undead. 16 pages - pdf, format


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rendevous
Posted: February 3rd, 2014, 6:46pm Report to Moderator
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I hate to open with a comment on format, always makes me feel like one of those teachers at school who nobody liked, but I will anyway - the left hand margin looks huge to me.

More pickiness - writing 40's ain't right. It should be 40s. I am not a grammar expert, nor an expert on anything, except maybe 80s U.K. rock and pop. But I read a book about it years ago. I could go into the details why it's 40s and not 40's but I fear I've already bored the arse off you about it.

The opening caught my attention. Pushing it for a spec script, but it worked well.

Your paramedic talk sounded a little off. Not way off but in these days post House and E.R. and the like it has to be very good.

European accent is way too vague. That could be anywhere from Sweden to Irish to French or Polish, or perhaps Romanian. It'd be much wiser to pick a specific one.

In the book I mentioned earlier it also went on about using a comma when you end a line of dialogue with a proper name, or a nickname. Except the book said it in much more eloquent terms. The fancy grammar wankers.

Not sure why a paramedic would say 'human diploid vaccine'. Surely medics wouldn't mention 'human' as they tend to be treating them all the time. Maybe I'm missing something. As I was the other night when I couldn't find my keys.

I've no idea why you switched to 'interior' and 'exterior' instead of INT and EXT. It doesn't help.

As for the story, it's okay but there isn't a lot new. Blade was on again the other night. It's one of the those movies they keep showing, so hey, you may be onto something there.

However, it would have been far more entertaining if there were more new ideas around this. No doubt vampires and zombies will be redone again and again. You may think the bat thing is new, but it felt very familiar.

Overall it wasn't bad. Could be the start of a big script. Christ knows there's a lot worse around on TV and cinema.

R







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Dustin
Posted: February 4th, 2014, 4:00am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Thanks for pointing out the grammar difference between 40's and 40s, rendevous. I had no idea. Or maybe that should be, I didn't have any idea...

Onto the script. It reads fast.

Code

SUDDENLY a loud THUMP on the roof interrupts Finch. He looks
up.

FINCH
What the-

KANE
Oh no!

SUDDENLY we see a YOUNG WOMAN, wearing a white gown, long
dark hair, step in front of the ambulance.



'Suddenly' is used twice. I'd consider starting a sentence with Suddenly a little superfluous. Also how do we see her step in front of the ambulance if we are inside the ambulance? Is the suddenness to do with seeing the woman or her stepping in front of the ambulance? How does one suddenly step, anyway? Maybe it would be better if she suddenly appears? Or just, appears?

Also, I feel that Kane's line of dialogue is unnecessary. Do people really say 'oh no' when they're in mortal danger? Oh no! There's somebody trying to kill me.

Code

Mac yanks the wheel. WHACK! The Young Woman disappears under
the hood. THUMP! The ambulance runs over her body.



I'd call this overuse of sound effects. Maybe you feel that the sound effects guys will appreciate not having to read your script to know where to put the sound effects... but they'll have to read it anyway. They can't rely on you to do their job for them.

Code

The womanís body is twisted over on its side. Finch flips her
over revealing her beautiful pale face.

FINCH
Mac! AED kit now!



Why would he ask for the med kit after seeing her beautiful face? This reads as though he's deciding that he's going to help because she's beautiful and it's worth saving her life. Maybe she'll be grateful and repay him with a blowjob.

Code

KANE
Listen to me. That thing out there
is not what you think it is.

MAC
Please sir, keep quiet or Iíll have
to administer a sedative.


They administer sedatives just for talking these days? Kane didn't strike me as needing a sedative.

Code

KANE
Listen to me. That thing out there
is not what you think it is.

MAC
Please sir, keep quiet or Iíll have
to administer a sedative.

Mac leaps out the back of the ambulance.

KANE
(mumbles to self)
You can't restart what wasn't
beating in the first place.


Why would Kane mumble this? If he genuinely wanted to help wouldn't he try his best to get them to listen? In fact, why would paramedics even bother trying to restart the heart of a cold corpse? Maybe Kane is genuinely afraid of the sedative. I would be too if I was threatened like that too, I suppose.

Code

THWUMP! The Young Womanís eyes and mouth snap open. Her eyes
black and her mouth full of long razor sharp teeth, she is a
VAMPIRE!



I'm not sure that we need the extra information. It's pretty obvious she's a vampire.

Code

She lifts her head and takes Macís neck in one single bite.
Blood splatters on Finchís face. Mac GASPS in shock. Finch
SCREAMS.



She's just taken his whole neck in one single bite... and he manages to gasp afterwards? Does the gasp come from his decapitated head? LOL at Finch screaming. I imagine it really high pitched, like a girl.

Code

Kane pulls a silver pocket watch from his jacket pocket and
flips it open. SUDDENLY he buckles over in pain and drops to
one knee.

He rolls his coat sleeve up his arm revealing a small tattoo
that looks like a family crest. Veins creep around it.

The Vampire starts to rise. Kane takes a big breath, stands
and kicks the Vampire in the head. She goes back down.

Satisfied he heads toward the ambulance and retrieves his bag
from within.



He suddenly buckles over in pain and rolls up the sleeve on his jacket to reveal the tattoo. Why? Does that help make him better? Then the vampire rises... at first I thought it was coming out of the tattoo... but it is the original vampire and a simple kick in the head is enough to put her down.

Code

Kane places the medical bag on the ground and snaps it open.
He retrieves a large fully loaded syringe. Gives it a flick
with his index finger.



Fully loaded with what? How do we know it is fully loaded? Does the liquid have a specific colour?

Code

KANE
I will be.
(plunges syringe into his
neck he GASPS in pain)
Hopefully.


The words in parenthesis here should be in an action line. Why does he gasp in pain? Is it a large syringe? I was imagining a small one... maybe 1ml... which wouldn't make you gasp in pain I shouldn't think. Unless he doesn't like needles, but then it wouldn't be a gasp in pain, it would be more of a girly gasp, some type of high-pitched emission.

Code

Mac ties the remains of the straps tight around Macís body as
Kane removes his syringe from Macís arm. Finch frowns at Mac
and then Kane.


You mean Finch ties the remains of whatever... I say whatever because the sentence doesn't read right to me. Why would Finch frown at Mac? What could Mac have possibly have done wrong? He's dead. Maybe Mac owes him money.

Code

One man has a crucifix stabbed into his eye, another has been
strangled with rosemary beads. Several children have been
drowned in holy water.



Rosary beads. How do we know the children have been drowned in holy water?

Code

EXT - SANDY BEACH - DAWN
The ocean smashes up against a group of rocks.
KANE (V.O.)
No. I was so angry at first. I
wanted her to suffer like I was
suffering.
The young girl is knelt on one of the rocks facing the
horizon. Her arms outstretched and chains attached to metal
bolts in the rocks.
The girl is weeping, pulling against the chains.
As the first rays of sunshine cascade onto her body, she
ceases her struggles as if accepting her fate.
Looking up at Kane she smiles. His stony, emotionless mask
breaks and he returns a sad smile of his own.
As the sun casts light across her cheek, she turns her face
into the full light and closes her eyes.
KANE (V.O.)
And then, just before the end she
said something to me, something I
will never forget to my dying day.
The young girl opens her mouth to speak.
KANE (V.O.
She said-
FINCH (V.O.)
Look out!



I like the above. Really well done. Nice visuals and nice set up.

Code

INT/EXT. AMBULANCE - NIGHT
FINCH
Shiiiitttt!
SUDDENLY thereís a loud THUMP on the side of the ambulance
and it lurches violently. Finch grasps the wheel with both
hands to steady the vehicle.
FINCH (CONTíD)
(looking up)
What the hell was that?
The Ambulance is shaken by another attack. Kane steadies
himself and retrieves a large CUSTOM-BUILT GUN from his bag.
Finch glances in the mirror as Kane unlocks and kicks open
the rear doors.



I don't see why you've used an int/ext when it all takes place inside the ambulance. You also transition to an ext slug right after anyway.

I skipped to the end because I knew it anyway... well you gave it away on page 8 when Kane said something about when one dies another replaces him. Take a lot of special effects to film this and I doubt that anyone would want to spend that kind of money on a short, but you never know... that may be a reason people will want to do it. I'm not much of a vampire fan, although it could still be done well, I don't believe you've done anything different.

As a practise story, it's OK. I think you could cut it down a lot. You may have some ironic twist or other I missed towards the end though, so it may be worth investigating a little more if you have. Lots of excess wordage, and not writing actively when you so easily could.


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rendevous
Posted: February 4th, 2014, 5:14am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dusty
Thanks for pointing out the grammar difference between 40's and 40s, rendevous. I had no idea. Or maybe that should be, I didn't have any idea...


My spider senses detect sarcasm. A shame somewhat, that. Have fun spreading the love.


Out Of Character - updated


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Dustin
Posted: February 4th, 2014, 7:04am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from rendevous


My spider senses detect sarcasm. A shame somewhat, that. Have fun spreading the love.


Yeah well your spider senses are pHucked, mate. I had no such intention. I genuinely did not recognise the difference. Now that it has been pointed out it is obvious, almost a face palm moment... but I genuinely did not know until you pointed it out.


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EWall433
Posted: February 4th, 2014, 2:54pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark,

The paramedic jargon at the beginning sounds convincing to me. Thatís always a plus.

Pg. 3 ďin to radioĒ should be Ďintoí (or just ďto radioĒ)

Not sure why you spelled out exterior instead of using EXT and left it out all together when we moved to Driver Cab. (it also took me a moment to realize that Driver Cab was supposed to be a mini slug within the ambulance, rather than a different vehicle). The slug-work was rather messy through-out.

ďand Twitter addressĒ   #Vampire Hunter?

Pg. 9 ďSeveral children have been drowned in holy waterĒ The whole paragraph could be more actively written, but this line in particular left me without a strong image. Is the water from a baptismal font or a pool? If itís a pool you could just say, ďSeveral children float face-down in a baptismal pool.Ē If itís a fontÖ well, thatís more of a thinker. But you should try to describe the image rather than the idea behind the image, wherever possible.

Pg. 12 Iím not sure I buy Finch not noticing anyone sitting down next to him. What if he noticed Mac moving into the driverís cab, but thought it was Kane?

The action is well-choreographed and decently described as well. You may want to break up some of your longer paragraphs, though (especially any 4-liners).

Pg. 13 The ambulance isnít said to be in motion before Kane tells Finch to stop.

I really liked this. The execution is good through-out. The storyís got a nice drive to it and never stops in one place too long. Kaneís an interesting guy too, with enough shades in his personality to keep me engaged. Thereís a little humor here, and it feels right because it comes naturally from Kaneís character.

I will concur with those above who said there is little here thatís new, but I get the feeling thatís less important for me than it is for others. Whatís an original idea if you canít actually do anything with it? With a short this is especially true, I think.

If you were to expand this though, I definitely think it would be worth the effort to watch Van Helsing, Blade, Buffy, etc. with a notepad. Figure out their commonalities, than do everything you can to think of ways to buck the trends.

Good luck,
Eric
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Posted: February 5th, 2014, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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Haha, I think Finch says it best when he goes "this is all too much."  As Eric points out, all the medical jargon in the beginning was very convincing -- even if I had NO fucking clue what they were talking about -- and I ESPECIALLY liked how you open up with all that medical talk over black.  That was a nice touch.  The bat exploding in a bucket of gore, great shit right there.  I just can't decide whether this dialogue was intentionally made to be bad or what.  Anyway, me thinks this one kind of over stays its welcome.

--Steve
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: February 5th, 2014, 3:55am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the reads and the feedback so far. Just to give you a bit of feedback this is a mismatch of various drafts. I wrote the original back at the end of 2012 and it was picked up by a studio and they invested $15k in it. Months passed and nothing happened and the director then said to me the script was too ambitious and he thought it would need 50k at least to film it so it was dropped.

So it was the closest I got to getting something produced and rather than having it sat on my pc I decided to just get it out there and move on. I have about 20 different drafts and merged the bits I liked together so it is a bit all over the place, especially with the formatting as most have noticed. I was a bit lazy, I should have written it again instead of merging but Iíve had enough of this script!

And yeah, Vampires have saturated the market so this is hardly original. I tried to do something a bit different by focusing on an infected Vampire hunter trying to fight off the transformation with an experimental antidote. I thought the back of an ambulance would also add tension thatís sadly missing from most Vampire tales these days.

The dialogue is deliberately a bit corny and it is supposed to be a black comedy, although Iíve toned down the comedy loads; one version is really spoofy but was deemed a bit much by my colleagues at the time. I basically turned Kane into a kind of a Doctor Who type character and I was drunk at the time lol.

Thanks again for the reads, I do have an idea to turn this into a feature but maybe in a few years when Vampires are a bit fresh again.  


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Gum
Posted: February 5th, 2014, 10:46am Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark;


Quoted from MarkRenshaw
Vampires have saturated the market so this is hardly original. I tried to do something a bit different by focusing on an infected Vampire hunter trying to fight off the transformation with an experimental antidote. I thought the back of an ambulance would also add tension thatís sadly missing from most Vampire tales these days.


I agree here. The idea of trying to push something that's been done to death (pardon the pun), is Hollywood's way of saying 'We're out of ideas, so here's the same thing only different". I know it's not 'Hollywood' anymore, but since the whole blood sucking Vampire concept was born in the trenches of 'Hollywoodland', it's along the lines of a gesture to its inception.

That being said, there is an aspect of this script that is actually unique though, it's the crest, or insignia, that the Vampire Hunter wears as a symbol of his/her fight. A dedicated cause that shows this runs a little deeper than the blood that's being spilled.

I think the (Vampires) that are being hunted should show a telltale sign of an old world fight as well, being a family crest, or insignia that they wear with a show of force. Then this could play out like an ancient battle between two warring factions, or in this case, families. A family that's been on the hunt for a (another) family of Vampires, travelling across oceans of space and time to eradicate some unforgotten truce that was destroyed, or family member that was murdered without just cause.

It may have been done already, I know Van Helsing and some others are somewhat along this line, but they involved a family of Werewolves fighting the Vampires, not Humans.

Anyways, hope this helps in some way. Getting as close as you did to having something produced, and then dropped because of unforeseen technicalities, would have me pulling my teeth out, wondering what I could do to make it happen!

Best of luck with this one... Rick.
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Gum
Posted: February 5th, 2014, 11:46am Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark;

Went and had a cig, and really thought this one through. The allegorical interpretation of this script, dedicated to the 'Family Crest', is actually far more literal than most would believe.

If you do an in-depth search with respect to certain 'High Nobility' shields, or crests, you'll return more than just an ideology of symbolism. One in particular, shows a 'Red Dragon' (which incidentally, represents the true vampirism lore, usually on the left side of the shield), and a 'White Unicorn' on the right. Notice the Unicorn is chained to the shield. This represents control of the 'Christ' energy, or ultimate prize of evolution for attainment of the human condition; yet, it's being controlled, and has been, by unforeseen forces for millennia.

Deciphering, or dissecting this allegory will allow a writer to incorporate unconscious turmoil within the script, enabling viewers to experience a trip down the rabbit hole the likes of which 'Alice' herself wouldn't dare conceive existed.

Hundred million dollar movies arenít really made to entertain; theyíre made to sell society an ideology, or agenda; ones that tap into the most immutable laws of the human condition.

BTW, the visual of the little vampire girl chained to the rocks, sells this allegory on an unconscious level. This was my favorite scene.

Hope this helps in some way, Take care... Rick.
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MarkRenshaw
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Thanks for the insight Eric, powerful stuff.

The whole family crest/tatoo angle was something I had researched and thought was an original idea to explore. The artist we had at the time even designed some prototypes. Then only a few months later the exact same concept was used in The Vampire Diaries.  I screamed a little inside and considered dropping it altogether but left it in, albeit briefly.

Yes getting so close only for it not to happen was indeed hard but I'm over it now and to be honest I didn't deserve it. I had not put the work in and only got the opportunity through a friend. I've learned a lot since then and I've a lot more to learn; I'm not giving up though, thats the main thing


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Dustin
Posted: February 6th, 2014, 1:33am Report to Moderator
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After they investing 15k, you'd think they'd want it to happen too. Did you offer to write around the cost?


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: February 6th, 2014, 3:42am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
After they investing 15k, you'd think they'd want it to happen too. Did you offer to write around the cost?



Yeah I tried to make it cheaper, I wrote a version without the Bat in but the Director really liked the Bat (as did I) and tried to get some FX guys interested who would do it on the cheap but then he moved onto another project and it all just fell apart. It's just one of those things that happen in this crazy business lol.


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MarkRenshaw  -  February 6th, 2014, 10:03am
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DV44
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Mark,

Enjoyable read, wildly entertaining. I'll get to more of the story but first I have a few nitpicks:

Page 1. A paramedic, FINCH, 30's, attends to a nasty looking gash on his neck.

I get that you mean Finch is attending to Kanes' neck but it reads like it's his own neck instead.

Page 3. After Kanes' line I would scrap Mac's line "Please sir, keep quiet" Personally I find it better if maybe Mac ignored Kane altogether. Also, right after Kanes' second line "You can't restart" maybe show him extracting the knife from his jacket and cutting the straps at that moment instead of waiting for Mac to get attacked. I mean, he already knows what's in store for him, why wait until Mac goes down.

Page 6. Mac ties the remaining "should be Finch ties the remaining" I'm guessing.

Page 11. Pointing his gun to the roof he pulls the trigger and lets rip a few rounds, each leaving gaping holes in the roof. Get rid of "in the roof." We already know there's holes in the roof because at the beginning you mention Kane is pointing the gun towards it.

Personally, it doesn't bother me to see words end in "ing" but I know there's a few peeps who will be turned off by that. Try to put things in present tense if you can. You've got quite a few sprinkled throughout.

As for the story, I really liked it. It was a fun read with lots of action. You did a great job with the characters. The opening dialogue felt believable to me and maybe I'm missing something but is Finch related to Kane? Kane mentioned that everytime someone in his family dies another family member takes their place. If that's true then Kane should have been convincing Finch right off the bat he's one of them. I'm probably wrong on that but regardless you did a great job.

Congrats and best of luck going forward!

- Dirk
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MarkRenshaw
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Thanks for the feedback Dirk, it's great stuff and I'm pleased people are enjoying the story despite Vampires not exactly being an original idea at the moment.

Finch isn't related to Kane no. The Vordenburg Legacy (which is the name of the feature idea) is passed along to the nearest able bodied person when one Vordenburg dies. In effect Finch becomes assimilated into the family. He still has his own memories and personality but he inherits those of the previous Vordenburgs as well.

For those interested in this type of stuff, here's some pics from the pre-production on this back when it was titled "Kane - Vampire Hunter Extraordinaire" - As you can see the tattoo/crest features on the poster.







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