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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  An Awakening Moderators: bert
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  Author    An Awakening  (currently 1081 views)
Posted: October 10th, 2014, 4:33pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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An Awakening by Tom Valentino - Short, Drama - Ex lovers David and Monica share an odd chance encounter that gives them both a new vision on the meaning of life. 11 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: October 14th, 2014, 7:36pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Hey Tom - couple of thoughts, just my opinion of course.

1) The action lines read more like prose from a short story, they should be shorter and punchier.
2) There's a couple of typos and grammar errors, but nothing major.
3) The end threw me and I had to go back and re-read, I think the end is harking back to the bit of their conversation around dreams? But I don't get why this is important so I'm left feeling like I want a better resolution at the end... It was all a dream just seems a little cliche.



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Posted: October 18th, 2014, 9:51pm Report to Moderator

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Hey, I couldn't really get into this. The action lines should be succinct and more to the point. You have a lot of filler.

David has a concerned look on his face as he watches pale
faced MONICA sleeping. She has I.V. lines connected to the
veins in her right arm and hand that lead to bags of fluid
hanging on poles by the bed.

For example, the first part could be David is concerned.  Also, we are aware that an IV connects to fluid bags and hangs on polls.

I wasn't too sure about having the entire thing be a dream as well.

But you have some good ideas, and continue writing!
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Posted: October 20th, 2014, 8:40pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Hi Tom - I read this when it was posted but didn't leave a comment. Since you're active I figured I'd leave one. My thoughts below, hope they're of some help.

The script opens to Monica being in the ICU. However she seems fine, she's even discharging herself immidiately. Just an allergic reaction doesn't warrant a bed for her in the ICU. I also doubt they'd allow an open window in the ICU.

Quoted Text
What do you remember?

Feels like a too convinient question, perhaps a "Do you remember what happened?" would be a better fit?

Quoted Text
Really? Since when did you start
carrying around an EPI-PEN? I donít
remember you ever needing one

While people do add such sentences when they speak, I'm questioning the necessity of the last sentence. In this circumstance it feels that this is a line for the reader/viewer to repeat what her question already stated to make sure we get it when in reality it's obvious from the question and something they both should know because of their history.  

Quoted Text
Can you stay a little longer? Itís
so nice here isnít it?

(checks his watch)
It is; I donít know.

What's so nice about a hospital that they'd both agree on? Quite odd. Considering this is his fantasy, maybe a simple "Can you stay a little longer?" would be what he'd want to hear or something less odd-sounding about wanting to catch up more/how nice it is to see eachother again.

Quoted Text
Letís get all this stuff out of me
and Iíll be on my way.
Uh, okay... Iíll talk to Dr. Peters
right now.

The nurse gives up very easily, actually he doesn't even bother arguing and I don't buy it. He seemed like a competent nurse, he should know it's best to keep the patient in for observation and figure out what the hell caused the allergic reaction in the first place.

The sex scene... looking at a productional point of view: who's going to shed their clothes for this short? Would be difficult.

Quite clever to start and end the script with "an awakening" and it does give something to the script. It's hard to do make an "it was all a dream" end satisfying, it's rather bland here, maybe it's just me, but I see some great throwback opportunities to the dream with the ending: In his dream/fantasy the annoying alarm clock buzz is mentioned. What if that is what would wake him? He also makes a call to someone about being late to something, presumably his wife. What if he wakes up next to his wife? It increases the ante of him dreaming about his ex. Right now it's kind of a "reliving happy days in your dreams, okay... so what?".

Now to the technical jargon:

You could shed a lot off your action lines. Your writing reads well with good prose and good dialogue, but it's too novel-esque. I managed to cut 59 words from your first two paragraphs.

Quoted Text
Standing next to an open window whose white curtains ripple
rhythmically due to the breeze is DAVID. His arms are folded
across his chest and he stares forward at the woman lying in
the hospital bed. He has a young manís beard and wears a dark
gray suit and tie. To his left is a chair and on it is his
computer case.

David has a concerned look on his face as he watches pale
faced MONICA sleeping. She has I.V. lines connected to the
veins in her right arm and hand that lead to bags of fluid
hanging on poles by the bed.

DAVID, young man's beard, dark gray suit and tie, stands next to an open window with his arms folded across his chest as curtains ripple rhymthically. A computer case rests on a nearby chair.

He stares at a pale MONICA, asleep, hooked to I.V. fluid.

You should be specifying their ages.

You wrote that the chair is to David's left and I.V lines are connected to Monica's right arm. I didn't find anything that indicated to this information being truly relevant. Look out for this, no point directing the set when item locations carry no meaning whatsoever.

Quoted Text
He looks into Monicaís hazel eyes.

Another thing that I consider incredibly irrelevant to bring out, eye color. You won't see eye colour in a casting call. I remember seeing a scene somewhere about a fair racial treatment class, an example was brought: "hating brown-eyed people after living in a blue-eyed family" or something like that. That's where it would matter to bring it out in a screenplay, but there's a good chance the colours would be changed to fit the actors anyway.

Overall this one wasn't for me, but hope my notes were of some help. Good luck.
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Posted: October 21st, 2014, 3:12am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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Hi mate, noticed that you've been making some excellent posts on the board. Whenever a new member arrives and there are technical issues with the writing in the script, I find myself bogged down by them and it's difficult to see the story. If you want your worked to be picked up and held then you need to hit faster with your action lines. Don't be verbose about it. Just write what we see in the fastest way possible while maintaining flow.

Your first action block is instantly off-putting as it is six lines. I'd recommend never going above 4... but only if you really have to. The opening action block really isn't it.


Standing next to an open window whose white curtains ripple
rhythmically due to the breeze is DAVID.

An open window is not a person, so using 'whose' is really poor grammar. Stands out to me right away. You also don't give us an age. You may give a later description about he having a young man's beard, but that could be anyone from 14 to 19 depending on genetics. Maybe it doesn't matter.


His arms are folded
across his chest and he stares forward at the woman lying in
the hospital bed.

What was the point in mentioning he standing by an open window if he is in fact looking at something in the room? I had to do a double-take as in your first sentence I pictured him looking out the window. How else is he going to stare? Backwards, maybe? Where else are his arms going to be folded?

Arms folded, he stares at a woman lying in the bed.


He has a young manís beard and wears a dark
gray suit and tie. To his left is a chair and on it is his
computer case.

This description needs to be written right after or even right before you mention the character's name for the first time. The way you have it there is a break to the woman in the bed before going back to the character and describing him. You would need to rewrite that entire first action block.

OK, well I was going to rewrite it but your second action block is repeating information from the first:


David has a concerned look on his face as he watches pale
faced MONICA sleeping. She has I.V. lines connected to the
veins in her right arm and hand that lead to bags of fluid
hanging on poles by the bed.

All of that information should have been included in the first action block. In the first action block, David is merely staring forwards at her with his arms folded and she is merely lying in the bed. Now he is looking concerned and she has all this equipment attached. Both of those action blocks need to be combined and condensed.


Slowly she begins stir.

To stir generally means to happen over a certain period, which is why it stirs. Begins is rarely needed in a screenplay. She stirs. That says it all in a nutshell and is a lot faster to read. Just put images in our minds, that's all you have to do.


David, youíre really here?

Ew. I literally cringed as soon as I read this dialogue. It's in all the shitty 1980s US TV dramas, could be still in them today, I stopped watching in the 90s. I swear, I'd turn off right now if this was an actual film.

That doesn't make you a bad writer, it just makes you a writer that is copying what has gone before rather than really connecting with your own characters. Be there. In the room with them. Would people really talk like that? I think she'd simply smile if she was relieved to see him there. Maybe even flick out her fingers, encouraging him to take her hand.


He walks to her side and looks down upon her. Their eyes hold
a gaze for a moment.

Again, this is very difficult for me to read. It's too much.

In every scene in a screenplay, we should come in late, get out early. Only show what's important to show. You don't need to describe every little thing that happens. Only describe what is important to the scene.

Is it really necessary that he stands by the window staring at her before then walking to her side looking down upon her and then holding her gaze (with their eyes, of course) for a moment?

Is this whole scene necessary at all? I haven't read any further but from previous comments it seems she gets out. You could start from her leaving the hospital with him. Maybe he's late. Create conflict, even if they love each other and it's quickly forgiven. Keep the viewer asking questions.

That's all I've got. Don't be disheartened, I'm not telling you all of this to sound smart as I've said it all before. I'm doing it to help. Please let me know if it is appreciated as I'm trying to gather whether it is worth my time continuing with these types of reviews... the other option being that I just ignore the script altogether. Cheers.

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Posted: October 21st, 2014, 4:36pm Report to Moderator

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Hi Tom,

Others have commented on the formatting, so I will focus on the story.

Disregarding the ending, 'it was all a dream', this is a tale of a coincidental meeting between two former lovers. It creates the basis for a great conflict; one thinks it was a coincidence, the other thinks it was fate, i.e. one wants something the other won't give - their love.

You somewhat touch on the subject with this line from Monica:

You think we found each other again
just so you could leave now?

But David's reluctance is lacking and Monica's persuasion is weak, and both make it boring to follow. Because nobody wants their goal (David to leave, Monica to have him stay) at all cost, there's little dramatic value.

It was funny when he spilled the glass of wine, and it was an obstacle hindering his goal, but the comedic aspect seemed out of place.

I really, really hated the ending (if I understood it correctly), because the only 'David' we know, is the David of dreams - not the David in real life. If this was a dream in a bigger context, it could give us and the character itself insight to their subconcious, and create some sort of realization. But now it means literally nothing. You could add a (albeit horrible) scene afterwards where he calls Monica.. just so that it has some sort of effect.

If this seems like incoherent feedback, I wouldn't be surprised. Let me give my tips as to what you can do:

  • Create a conflict. Suggestion: One wants to use the meeting to get back together, the other doesn't.
  • Cut out the dialogue regarding 'new found respect for life', and focus on their relationship. Why did they get together? Why did they leave? Whose fault was it?
  • Lose the dream ending. Maybe, if you want a twist, show something that makes David realize that Monica in fact set up their meeting.
  • Inciting incident: She convinces him to stay. Plot point 1: Nurse says she can leave, but only if David takes her home. Plot point 2: Monica says / something shows that she planned the meeting. Climax: Third world war erupts.

I hope you can use this horrible hogwash.
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Posted: November 1st, 2014, 9:47am Report to Moderator

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Thank you so much for the comments and taking time out of your days to read my story.
It seems my biggest problems are on the first page, the dream ending and lack of conflict.
I'm really happy with the reaction I've recieved, I'm a short story writer trying to figure screenwriting out. I feel like i have a good grasp in my head but actually doing it is another story. i'm here because I want to become the best screenwriter I can be so you'll be seeing more from me in the future.
Again, thanks for time, I appreciate it so much!
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