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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Deathlife Moderators: bert
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  Author    Deathlife  (currently 1533 views)
Don
Posted: October 17th, 2014, 9:29pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Deathlife by Rob Barkan - Short, Horror - A zombie Iraq War veteran and his band of misfits cope with their decaying bodies as they hunt for unaffected survivors of a worldwide plague in a desperate effort to reverse their fate. 15 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (4 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  July 1st, 2019, 3:19pm
revised draft
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: October 18th, 2014, 3:24pm Report to Moderator
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I'm a sucker for a zombie flick so gave this a read... a few thoughts, all just my opinion of course...

1) Sluglines, and using them better... the first slugline is a little generic given he;s specifically in a bedroom in the farmhouse, then he comes down stairs and into the dining room, then he goes into the kitchen, for me these would all be better with a new slug.
2) The action lines look like they're written for a short story rather than a script as they are full of 'unfilmables' and descriptions we should be shown not told... don't forget that the audience won't see any of these bits. E.g.
'Somehow the plague affecting most of humanity has left its dead victims with their consciousness. And a life of quiet terror watching their bodies slowly rot.'
None of that is strictly fimable and you need to create either action or dialoge that bring this to life.
3) I like the idea that the zombies are sentient, it's a nice difference to the stanard fare.
4) Some of the dialogue is a little on the nose, have another look and think how it'd sound in reality, try speak it out loud.
5) Loved the sick twist that the boss is undead but 'more preserved', very dark and wrong.

I think there's promise here.

Anthony


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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Rob Barkan
Posted: October 24th, 2014, 6:52pm Report to Moderator
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Anthony, these tips are much appreciated.  I've made the changes you suggested, will upload a revision after today.  In the original I included the line

'Somehow the plague affecting most of humanity has left its dead victims with their consciousness. And a life of quiet terror watching their bodies slowly rot.'

to set the stage--to intro the feel and flavor of the theme in the pilot, for the benefit of an industry pro to evaluate the material.  Best left in the pitch or summary.  I took it out.  Let the reader or viewer get the gist from what's onscreen, right?  Thank you.

Rob

Revision History (1 edits)
Rob Barkan  -  October 24th, 2014, 10:07pm
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Dustin
Posted: December 21st, 2014, 4:56am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Code

SOL BASS, 30s, Iraq war vet, lays unmoving on a bare mattress,
assault rifle in easy reach.


Lies.

Code

SOL BASS, 30s, Iraq war vet, lays unmoving on a bare mattress,
assault rifle in easy reach. His eyes are open and glazed over.


Why not:
SOL BASS, 30s, Iraq war vet, eyes open and glazed over, lies unmoving
on a filthy mattress, assault rifle in easy reach.

The reason why is that you describe Sol and then move onto his surroundings, then go back to Sol again. I think it flows much better the way I've written it, but it's up to you of course.

Code

SOL BASS, 30s, Iraq war vet, lays unmoving on a bare mattress,
assault rifle in easy reach. His eyes are open and glazed
over. His skin is gray and decayed like a month old corpse.
Sol is a deathlifer, a sentient zombie.


SOL BASS, 30s, Iraq war vet, eyes open and glazed over, skin gray and
decayed, lies unmoving on a filthy mattress, assault rifle in easy reach.

I'd drop the last line completely where you tell us he is a deathlifer. Let the action show us what he is. Telling us beforehand will do absolutely nothing for the viewer until they witness it anyway.

Code

Sol bolts upright, senses on high alert. He sees the fly.


Where does he see the fly? At first I thought it was right next to him, but then...

Code

Leaps off the mattress --


He does... or the fly?

Code

Small bumps under the skin. Fly eggs. Not good. Maggots next.


Not good? Really? Maggots next? No. Both of those lines do not belong in your script.

I'm finding it difficult to cut n paste from your .pdf also. What software do you write with?


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Rob Barkan
Posted: December 21st, 2014, 1:21pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you for your comments, Dustin.  I used most of your pointers and uploaded a revision.  Bless SS.  

Rob
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RichardR
Posted: December 21st, 2014, 7:38pm Report to Moderator
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Rob

Take all comments with a healthy grain of salt

I think the opening sequence in the farmhouse is a waste of space. Nothing happens there and the beginning of the day motif is overdone.  Also the fly egg thing doesn't work for me. These zombies are heading into the fly infested woods.  They'll spend all day cutting out fly eggs from places they can't even reach.  

I like the idea that they are looking for a cure. That is a nice twist. If you start with the squad in the woods you build in the other stuff as you go along.

Also, leaving the ending open might need rethinking. Although with the force they face the ending seems inevitable.

Good idea so work on the execution and take a swipe at the dialogue.  These zombies would have a fairly well developed slang no?

Best. Richard
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: December 21st, 2014, 10:39pm Report to Moderator
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Rob,

The narrative was written well. I like the premise, a cool twist on zombies. It plays out in similar fashion as the Walking Dead, but with added interest. I could see this work well as a web series.

The dialogue you've written is tricky. Some of it works, other lines are repetitive or lack subtext, especially regarding Sol's military background. You excel in the pacing at the dialogue, but often the line isn't the right choice (Don't make me puke, You're a movie, Bigger boat) You would need an actor with some real chops to add belief to what they're saying. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to fix it, but I recommend smoothing it out. Shed some of the novel/movie references. I dig the mythology with the temperature, maybe use that.

I enjoyed Calhoun's character, pity to see him go. Since this is a series, I do believe you ended this with too much closure. Suggest you end with a better cliffhanger.

Good luck,

Johnny
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Rob Barkan
Posted: December 22nd, 2014, 6:48pm Report to Moderator
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Richard, thanks for the input.  A grain or two of salt is just what the Deathlifers need to preserve themselves, but gulping formaldehyde works much better.

The opening exterior sequence only takes a few seconds but leaves viewers wondering what's inside to attract so many flies.  It's usually something rotting, yes?

The reason the fly in the bedroom got a chance to lay her eggs is because Sol was 'sleeping' (or whatever Deathlifers do to re-coup).  This is an occupational hazard that sentient dead learn to cope with.  Awake and alert Deathlifers either brush off a fly or feel one burrowing under their skin and put a quick end to it, just like we do.

The breakfast sequence was to set up my characters.  I've seen this in a few pilots and features too.  Slow start but now we have a little more background, especially teenager Toby.  

Deathlife is a spec webisode pilot.  They'll survive the warmblood attack and I already know how.  If I'm lucky enough to sell it, hopefully I'll get the option to write S1E2.  

Rob
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Rob Barkan
Posted: December 22nd, 2014, 6:58pm Report to Moderator
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Johnny,

Yes, this is a webisode pilot.  And thanks for the input and compliments.

Calhoun was some piece of work.  That got me thinking.  Maybe somehow I can resurrect him down the road.  A worthy adversary -- a Deathlifer himself yet a self-indulgent traitor to his own kind.  

We don't know if Malcolm is gonna survive and he's right now the Deathlifer's only hope to reverse their fate.  Episode 2 is churning gears in my head as I write this.  

Thanks, Rob

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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: December 22nd, 2014, 9:06pm Report to Moderator
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Rob

I enjoyed this script, lots of action and a different twist on the zombie genre. And I'm getting a Z Nation visual vibe to so this may very well work as a web series.

Good luck
HH


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