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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October 2014 One Week Challenge  ›  Exchange Student - OWC
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  Author    Exchange Student - OWC  (currently 3609 views)
Posted: October 25th, 2014, 8:07am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Exchange Student by Rob Barkan - Short, Horror - A cocky college student investigating a dimensional portal on Halloween encounters an unexpected surprise. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Visit for what is new on the site.

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

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  July 1st, 2019, 3:22pm
revised draft
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: October 25th, 2014, 9:48am Report to Moderator
OWC Moderator

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Quite a witty title.

I was engaged in this one. I liked the back story with the Indians, bringing historical legends into the present.

The story started losing me at the point he wants to cross over into their dimension. Just seemed so unbelievable. He's got no equipment, he's ran no tests.

There's potential here, but it ran out of steam for me.

The ending was OK. I would suggest you find some way of making it more horrifying, particularly by finding a way to make it matter more to the rest of us.

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 25th, 2014, 9:48am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

The effects of writing again....

The Island of Jersey
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Exchange student...

Before i read, i just hope my kids just go through their school to do this. Portals can be SO dangerous

lets see...

LONESOME WIND.... is that the same as farting in a lift with others around you. well, thats how i feel
What do they eat? - is not dialogue - no need to centre

i remember visiting the red rocks of utah - bloody lovely place. don't recall stumbling into a portal - may be next time
It shambles forward. - whats that mean? sounds like me at football

Otherworlder - fi you call it one name and the character uses another just be careful - useful to be the same

body switch at the end - not a novel thing, and not really explained, but i wasn't expecting it

was the girlfriend thing needed?

would you have trusted an animal like that - i bloody well wouldn't have

indians, creatures, portals - all good options. just needed a little more connection for me

all the best

My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most 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...
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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 11:32am Report to Moderator

I wish my brain was half as wise as my ass.

Asheville, NC
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Interesting. The heart/tentacle thing made me think of Pirates of the Carribean/Davy Jones story. t

It definitely fit the fantasy part of the challenge. I think it could have used more story though. We were just left with a vague idea of what happened and no idea of why. And no clear idea of what he really found in that library.

And by adding that text at the end, you missed the challenge parameters.

Cool entry though. I enjoyed reading it. Good job.

“If someone is trying to bring you down, it just means you are above them."
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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 12:03pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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I had a hard time following this one, found it a bit over descriptive in places and a few of the phrases read awkward.
Quoted Text
He's clearly going out of his head
Haven't heard this expression before. Is it the same as losing his mind?
Quoted Text
Quickly he jots something else on the pad.
He quickly jots something else on the pad?

Not sure if this was intended by the author but when Will meets the creature on page 5 I found it shifted to more of a comedy.

The stuff with Rachel was a bit long winded in places and overall didn't add much to the story. The text near the end was eight lines long. Bit much. People go to films to watch, not read.

Quoted Text
Below the neck he possesses the tentacled nightmare body of
an Otherworlder. Will screams his guts out.
Had to re-read this a couple of times to get what was happening, but that's probably down to me being slow and not the writing itself.

Well done on completing the challenge. I hope others like it but this one wasn't for me.

Best of luck, Kyle.
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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 12:17pm Report to Moderator
Guest User

I thought this was a good read, though I thought it was rush (like most OWC scripts).  I can only recommend that you stretch the story out into a feature.  The idea of exploring an extra-dimensional portal can be a big deal.

I thought it was a little weird that Will would research the portals so much and then run off half-cocked.

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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 1:25pm Report to Moderator

North Carolina
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Doesn't quite do it for me.
I'm not clear on why he was going to kill himself (if that's what the gun was for). He certainly didn't seem despondent when he left the library. And how do you stare deep into the canyon as if it's the end of your life?

Could you get a cell phone signal in "the middle nowhere" in Utah? Maybe you can.

He threw the container lid away, but it's back at the end. I guess the monsters found it and put it back on with their tentacles?

The library flashback seemed to dawdle along and was too general in places (the librarian "doing librarian things.")

Plus side: The writing is brisk. Some funny bits (addressing the beasts  as "you folks"). I like the end when he eats what I presume is his own heart.

Revision History (1 edits)
Stumpzian  -  October 25th, 2014, 1:26pm
Remove comma
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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 2:17pm Report to Moderator

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I liked it overall but I gotta say that it fizzled out for me as well. It's the classic "make a deal with the devil" kind of story and I like how it's put together but it could've used a stronger twist at the end. Perhaps he could've turned to see the creature turning into him, ready to live a normal life while he becomes the monster.
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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 2:28pm Report to Moderator

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Good read toward the end, an unexplained twist, but visually cool. The set up needs more exploration, and I don't mean by Will. He's kinda this explorer, a creature of curiousity himself, but there's no external stakes to justify his inner need to find this sucker. Because of that, the text message at the end lacked urgency.

Good job describing the creature, and their initial meet. I thought it was odd to attempt and shake hands with it; furthermore, there was nothing to back up Will's conclusion to accept the notion of an agreement.

The flashback was a barrier in the story, maybe shuffle elsewhere. It was hard to see the map in my head.

The story is creative for sure, just needs more context to capture the bigger moments.
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pale yellow
Posted: October 25th, 2014, 5:12pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Jacksonville FL
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Some of the formatting on this one slowed the read for me.

I DO love your creature description in this I was surprised that Will seemed unafraid and so friendly with it. I'm guessing he learned about it in the book at the library? Some unanswered questions in this script, and I wasn't sure why Will was going to the kill himself? I dunno...just wasn't enough for me even though the irony of the text that came too late was kind of cool.

Decent story...with a little work could be a lot better.

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Posted: October 25th, 2014, 10:13pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer


Over there.
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Pleasant to see unbolded headers for a change, old skool. I like it,

However, being pedantic, why the double space after a full stop.?It looks wrong. I'll show you -.  See?  No? Fair enough.
Ooh I'm a bit moany today. And not focusing on the story, God forbid I give a compliment then don't compromise it.

I see a common theme emerging about portals and the like. I'm not sure why writers do this, as the readers are already expecting it. It's all there in the criteria. Feels a bit unneccesary to me. Like James Blunt.

I thought the writing and the tone was good, a touch on the brief side now and again, but I'd prefer that to verbosity.

I didn't think a whole lot of the story. Mind you, it got better by the end. Fitted the challenge. Not bad at all.


Out Of Character - updated

New Used Car


Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

Other scripts here
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Abe from LA
Posted: October 26th, 2014, 12:29am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Downey, California
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The story piqued my curiosity and I enjoyed the sense of adventure here. It didn't quite work for me as is, but I can see some potential. You write well; I appreciated the cleanness of the read. Yeah, there were those flashbacks and inserts, but it didn't bother me.
I'm not quite buying all this hidden info about the portals in Utah. It would have worked better for me if this guy was on the trail of people disappearing and his suspicion that they were abducted by aliens. And then he stumbles on portals that take research in a new direction.
Maybe he thinks his GF disappeared on him in the Utah canyons and that gives him a goal to find her. Hmm, I dunno.

I wasn't a fan of the way Will communicated with the mythical creature. There wasn't enough caution on his part. I was reminded of horror comedies, like Ghoulies, and others of its ilk. Too tongue in cheek for my taste.
This could be expanded. There's a germ of an idea worth exploring. If you follow through, I'm certain you'll fix that ending. It seemed like a quick wrap-up.
Thank God there were no witches, rituals and satanic Halloween stuff. I like Utah — Bryce, Zion, Arches.
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Posted: October 26th, 2014, 2:17am Report to Moderator

Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

The Great Southern Land
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Not bad, but not earth shattering. Promising start - I liked the vibe and your main character. It did appear to go from sunset to a starry night really fast, though. A transition - even a LATER could be in order there. Overall a little on the light side in terms of fantasy and gore. Perhaps room for expanding down the track with some other characters.

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Posted: October 26th, 2014, 5:11am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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He stares deeper into the canyon like he's looking at the
end of his life.

Weird line.


Will sucks in a breath. Slowly stands. Squeezes the beef
heart like his life depended on it. Maybe it does.

I don't like the past tense simile. Nor the aside at the end 'Maybe it does.'


Your move, Cthulhu.

Ah, if only you'd written this with the Lovecraft vibe.


Just a few hours taking pictures.
Right before dawn, we change places.
Fair enough?

This has taken me right out of the story. It just seems so pointless.


The Otherworlder

The creature, Cthulhu and now Otherworlder. Is it actually Cthulhu? I always imagined it to be a lot bigger.

OK. It's not bad but it would need a complete rewrite and the tone changing completely. You can't use Lovecraft's shit without honouring the tone of his stories in some respect too. This doesn't do it for me.

Well written, but it got a little silly... I do like the end.

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Posted: October 26th, 2014, 7:26am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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I didnt' understand the ending - Someone swapped hearts and I didn't get why Will decided to eat it. Was it not Will in the end but the otherworlder?

That's what I think - in the end it's not Will, an otherwordler took Will's shape and ate his heart.

I liked the drama - he thinks Rachel is cheating on him, but she had midterms - that was good.
Overall, the story is very sound, I was very much invested in it and that's what matters.
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