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And The Darkness Fades by Simon Mapp writing as Someone Or Other - Short - They say the female is deadlier than the male, but for the "Lipstick Killer", a taxi ride is going to prove this old adage false. 8 pages - pdf, format
The title was the most enticing for me from the first batch.
There are some novice writing mistakes on show.
1. Your opening image is "Upmarket hotel". Technically you are giving us a wide shot of an actual upmarket hotel, rather than describing what you mean...that this is an upmarket hotel room. It's not a big deal, but learn to be very specific with your language.
2. You miss off the character name several times. Even though it's the same person speaking, you put the character name above their dialogue.
Met the criteria.
In terms of the story, I felt the tone and atmosphere were excellent. There was a fair sense of dread, of claustrophobia and tension. Overall,I enjoyed the read.
I did find the ending a little underwhelming. It lacked a sense of dramatic irony. If the Driver was himself a serial killer, it would have been better if he took a souvenir from his victim, and we saw him with his own newspaper clippings of his crimes. That would give it a better symmetry. As is, it's a little light.
First off - no logline. That's unusual. Will no doubt draw some fire and lose the script points.
Second: The title - eh? It appears to bear no relation to anything that happens in the script - I'm assuming it's a quote? Not one I'm familiar with though - it sounds poetic I suppose.
The author didn't bother with a pseudonym - not that it's a requirement (I've seen a "?" on another already and there may be more). But along with the missing logline get feeling more effort went into the title than anything else!
The initial scene is interesting - I quite like the way the newspaper clipping is used to tell us a but of back story - rather than have characters stand around tell us. But who is the victim? We never find out - I must say I did think we would and it would tie in somehow, but after this scene, he's never referenced again.
The car that won't start felt like a deus ex machina - I assume that it is meant to be real, and not sabotage - again the first thought was that it would be deliberate, a way for the Driver to get her into his cab, but nothing is said or shown to back this up. Maybe it's meant to be ironic?
We're in New York City - why? Apart from the obvious "Taxi Driver" connotations, it seems pointless - nothing is referenced, no landmarks play a part. It could be anywhere - so why mention it?
The way the Driver is portrayed is quite nice (though an obvious steal of "Duel"). The scenes in the cab - the meat of the story - seem thin. It's all over very quickly. Angela realises things aren't right far too quickly, there's no real sense of time or tension built up.
I thought the Driver would be a Cop - or at the outside, just another victim - and was surprised he turned out to be a killer. The assumption I made from his actions is that he's a serial killer like Angela - leaving a rose with the body like her lipstick writing on the wall (this latter referencing real serial killers). Not sure this works for me - if he's turned out to be the victim's brother or something it might have been a bit forced but might have worked better.
All in all, slightly thin for me. It's only just seven pages and I think the writer could have made more effort, used the three pages s/he had left to give it a bit more meat. As it is it is seems more bare bones of an idea than a completed effort.
I'll give it 3 out of 5 - the twist was a nice surprise, but overall felt undercooked.
Why do we bother to go to the parking lot to find out that her car won't start? And leave the car at the murder scene?
Driver has a slight accent but his English is written as very broken. Not working for me.
We're told a few times that the Driver isn't going where she wants to go. But I don't know where she told hom to go in the first place. I feel like that information is missing. Doesn't seem to bother anyone else.
I'm not sure about this one. If it had me gripped from the off I reckon I could have forgiven the typo/formatting issues, but it flagged where it was going pretty early, and didn't really move anywhere else.
The driver's motivation seems completely lost, and while the Lip Stick Killer angle had me early, it didn't really have an impact beyond that point.
The tone was nice and dark though, and visually you've managed to get it down well.
I really liked the opening. Good setup. Not necessary to tell us we are in New York - should leave location out so it could be filmed anywhere. Hmm, you tell us we can't see the driver but tell us he's middle aged? Plus, just say his face is obscured. Read strange to me, but I could be nitpicking!
So she tells him he's going the wrong way, but we never heard her tell him where to go in the first place? After that, it got better. The tension goes up and I liked the exchanges, but...
Your formatting is weird. Many times you had action breaking up Angela speaking but didn't have her name. I haven't seen that before, and I didn't like it. It took me from the pace of the action happening just to make sure it was still her speaking.
The ending was just kind of there. No explanation of why it ended that way. Not bad, but not good either. Overall an okay effort, with fixes, could be filmed easily.
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It's the tone that's really working in this one. Solid setup and a good sense of place. It's fun watching Angela squirm and bargain -- a good exercise in tactics, though I think she tries the cop angle a little early.
I think this left just the right amount of mystery, actually. The missing piece for me is a tricky one -- I wanted to know a bit more about Angela as a person, but I understand why the setup doesn't really allow that. A couple other scripts have used a phone call in the cab, which might work. But in any case, finding a way for us to know Angela a bit more would play on our sympathies and make the ending even bleaker, I think.
We have a good start, although I don't think the dialogue is necessary. Finding the murdering cabbie is too coincidental for me. I think the cabbie needs more personality. After all, he doesn't murder all his fares, does he? Perhaps he has a test, some banter to decide who lives, who dies.
This had the feel of a script written in one sitting with little or no revision. Hence, miscues such as slug info repeated in action lines and missing dialogue names. The one-sentence action lines early on gives me the impression you weren't sure where you were going and were stalling a bit. What you came up with is fine, even effective in places, but the story would benefit from some additions and subtractions. Henry