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The Elevator 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... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
This has a good Prometheus type story to it, other than that I'm not really sure what to think of it, it is well written, flowed pretty smoothly, but the story itself was a bit more to the bland side.
All I know is that these people are in some messed up repetitive game of hide and seek that they seem to always lose, I don't really know how long they have been in there for, when they talk about their past failures I get an idea that it may have been a while, but the characters seem emotionless to their constant failures besides the one scene. I've counted 8 failed attempts so far by them.
I'd be more interested if the story starts with them just entering this hell, maybe the first few times they've died or make it look like this twisted game is taking a toll on them.
This wasn't so much a full story, as a snippet of a longer tale. Nothing wrong with starting in media res, but as you only hint at how it all began in a few sentences, and also have a kind of open ending, the script read like a middle, without a beginning or end. I get that they're in hell, and are forced to live out the same events over and over, but I missed some sort of explanation to why they were doomed in the first place. If their crime is that they killed her aunt, I'm not sure if I believe that's enough to doom them to hell? Maybe there was something more happening between the lines that I didn't catch, but I think you could do well to make their crime more horrendous, or at least paint out whatever happened to the aunt more, so that there's a reason to why they're in hell. And does it have to be an aunt? It would kick harder if it was Paco's kid brother dying or something.
I also think the script is one cycle too short. As it plays out now, it goes around two times, before they give up on the third try. Sure, they mention that they've done it more times before, but it would flow better if you show them trying and failing three times first, before giving up on the fourth. And I would also switch the cycles around, so that the last one is Paco asking what hell is, before killing her. That way his lines become the explanation and ending that your story is missing.
And you don't really need to describe the character over and over again, each time the story starts anew.
thanks for the reads and comments. This one certainly has a bit of RUN LOLA RUN in it, and it was an attempt to portray a hell where no matter what you do, you end up in the same place, a bad place. If it were a TWILIGHT ZONE tone, the protags might end up in a good place that really is a bad place.
Richard, story-wise and concept-wise, this is pretty good. It's got teeth and claws and it's gritty and even a little mean spirited...which I like.
Writing-wise, it needs some work. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad at all, but lots of little things that can make this read so much better, and make this come across so much leaner and meaner.
You have alot of awkward sentence structure. Your opening passage is a great example of numerous mistakes. Let's check it out...
You open with "WILL, 25, lolls on a blanket." Using "lolls" is probably a mistake in itself, but the bigger issue here is that this opening line makes it seem like Will is alone, when he's obviously not.
The next sentence is definitely awkward, contains way too much unnecessary info, and just reads poorly.
Then you have 2 more sentences in this passage that should probably be separate passages.
"He hands her a beer under a glorious sun." - Awkward, first of all, but also, sounds funny how you're now describing the weather all of a sudden.
"A parade of joggers and cyclists pass." - This "thought" has nothing to do with the rest of the passage and definitely should be by itself.
Dialogue is hit and miss for me. It's often very OTN. The slang works a little, but could be better, IMO.
I think it's a mistake to begin each new "timeline" with the exact same description of the clothes they're wearing, etc. - or maybe it's just the fact that some of the details aren't necessary even the first time.
Your script is 8 lines over 7 pages, but if you were to clean this up, you could cut out half to a whole page, and not lose a single thought or action. It would read so much better, if you did.
But, it's a good effort as written and quite enjoyable. Good work.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I want to disagree with Dreamscale above, mostly because I think it makes a good point about subjective understandings.
- He lolls (which is correct) and we do feel like he is alone -- this establishes Will as our particular protagonist and completes the mood of relaxation, a moment of isolated calm before the storm. It directs without directing; this is a single that possibly pulls back, the next shot is a reverse from Will's POV.
- The info in the second sentence tells a story of motivation and social demographic through clothes -- he's a little poorer than her and trying to live up to it, she's lived a consequence-free life and didn't understand exactly what they were getting into.
- The beer under the glorious sun again directs without directing -- it's a low angle of a beer with the sun above glinting off it, suggesting a kinda idyllic 'beer commercial' feeling to these opening moments that fits with the relaxing man/POV of attractive woman shots that precede it.
And I do agree with Jeff about the joggers -- should be separate. Anyway, I guess what I'm getting at is that this way of building a scene worked for me, almost explicitly for the reasons it didn't work for Jeff. So it may be a question of reader proclivity and not writerly choice. But it's crazy how differently me and Jeff read that stuff. Anyway.
I don't completely disagree with Chris in what he's saying, but I also think because Chris is a film maker, his like of the opening is based on that fact that he likes the shot selection...which is totally cool and fine. I just don't think a new writer should open with a heavy handed 4 line passage, and in this case, a 4 line passage that includes multiple ideas/shots.
And maybe he doesn't completely buy into the theory that a passage should only contain a single thought, shot, or description, because there are several required shots in this opening passage.
Reading ahead, I see this trend continuing in pretty much every passage. And this is exactly why I brought it up in the opening.
My biggest issue (other than the last sentence definitey not belonging) is the following line...
"Oily, dirty jeans, faded tee, he smiles at CLARE, Hispanic, 20, long hair, pierced eyebrow, tattoo, urban hippy."
To me, this is definitely an awkwardly worded and structured sentence.
"oily" and "dirty", IMO, are saying the exact same thing, first of all. Secondly, the opening description - "Oily, dirty jeans, faded jeans" just doesn't sit well in front of "he", which is the subject here. Finally, for Claire, we get 6 descriptors of what she looks like - I just can't see how this is necessary, and in reality, for me, it's way too many.
You know what I always say...different strokes, different folks...it's all cool.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Richard - I thought this was really well written. However, I'm not sure the story is complete (assuming I get it). So, it's a Ground Hog's Day from hell. But there's no resolution. I would love a twist at the end (e.g., Clare figures out that the only way to get out of the cycle is to kill Will before they go off - she does, walks away from the park - no storm). Anyway - something.
I'll have to give it another read to see if I just missed something.
There were a few lines of dialogue I found to be a bit of a throw away and could be spiced up a bit or just deleted.
CLARE Why does it always rain? WILL It’s summer. It rains.
This passage is done a few times and it lacks oomph. I would delete it or add something less conversational. Just as an example of something different you might try.
CLARE A storm's coming.
WILL But we already knew that, didn't we?
Here is another example:
CLARE It looks clear. WILL Yeah, it does.
IMO - Wills response is not needed. They could just take off. If you want Will to have a line here, punch it up. e.g.,
CLARE It looks clear.
WILL It would look that way whether it was or it wasn't.
PACO Amigo, she let you in, she let you in. And you say she did nothing? She let you in to steal my money and kill mi tia, and you say she did NOTHING?
Three - "she let you in" here. I would delete the 2nd one.
WILL (CONT’D) Leave it. CLARE But.
WILL We won’t need it.
Again, not sure if you need this - and it's a bit mundane. By the end of the story we already know that Clare knows what the deal is. Why in event two did she all of a sudden think the blanket needed to be taken with her - but not in event # one? It just seemed like dialogue for the sake of dialogue.
As I read this I thought it was a decent urban version of Edge of Tomorrow but it was so much like Edge of Tomorrow it distracted me. If you are going to take an element from a well known source you should flip it substantially and give it your own twist so no-one notices or cares about the similarities. The title of this is 'What is Hell?' and making this about someone actually being in hell is your opportunity to make this different from Edge of Tomorrow but it's not apparent at all that they are in hell or how they got there. As it's never explained or shown these two could be playing some sort of virtual reality game for all we know.
The writing was OK and I understood what was going on but it seemed clumsy in parts as has already been pointed out and just needs a bit of a polish. An example:
"Will and Clare jump up and run away from the blanket and the path." - This reads to me that the duo are running away from a blanket and a path! All you need to say is they flee into the woods.
I also agree with the comments that they ending feels flat. Although they insinuate that they have tried this many times they just seem to give up and that's it. Have a think, I'm sure you can come up with something better.
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