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It's well written despite the lack of time and reads really well in my opinion.
Sound concept, solid story. Nice work throughout.
I was a bit confused about Mom knowing what to do. Besides it's not her contract but Maria's - so I think you could show to us how she talked them into taking her skin instead of Maria's. Also, I don't think you need thugs for your first scene. I thought it would be about them. They are extra characters that don't show in the story. I think it could be solely about Maria, her mother and the agency.
Seriously disturbing, great twist on the theme and use of ambiguity... I dig the alternative meaning you had here , makes you wonder if the original writer was not all there.
First few pages really tugged at the heart strings and, it was all I could bear to envision Maria having to suffer even more to appease her sick Mom. Not entirely sure the punks bullying Maria was necessary, IMO, I would liked to have seen you use that space to build a more complex relationship between Maria and her Mom. It paints a vivid picture, mind you; of Mom hanging around to contend with Maria's disability sans a Father figure, it's a common theme within society for couples to separate simply due to the stress of having to care for a disabled child, and Mom has chosen to contend with it via self destruction.
Slender Man is a creepy little figure, I envisioned him similar to Gollum (if that's what you were going for), wherein the skin masks are his 'Precious'. He feeds/preys on the week, making him an ambitious little weirdo, like Lord Cutler Beckett from Pirates of the Caribbean... simply because he will go to any lengths to possess Sparrows 'Compass', knowing it will take him to that which he most desires.
I guess my burning question is: "what is Stealskins" primary drive to possess beautiful faces? Is it because he himself is so hideous? Perhaps that concept would give this script a great edge and you could devote more time developing that character.
Ending fell a bit flat for me, unfortunately, cause now Maria's really screwed without her Mom. I was hoping Maria would concoct a clever way out of the contract after seeing the homeless man without a face.
Other than that, this was very well written and had a clever use of theme, good work.
This is great! There’s a couple of minor things which bugged me. The comment which said her mother was an adult version of Maria, who else would she be an adult version of? Also the scene heading of (MCDONALDS OR SOMETHING) was distracting.
However, the rest fit the OWC perfectly and in such an effective, creepy and horrific way. The ending needs a bit of work to make clear what is going on and why but a superb job, a rec from me.
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An interesting take on this challenge. Though the writing was fine for the most part. Render Stillskin kept reminding me of Golum from LOTR. You set this all up, then didn't follow up. The three hoods? Thought one of them was gonna substitute for the payment of the debt. Really thought Maria's mom was gonna kick her drug habit. What happened to the masks Maria made? She didn't even get to show them to Render!
Anyway, I gotta say I did like this. However, it just went, IMO, in the wrong direction and ended on an abruptly grim note.
Fairly well written but a lot of the story choices threw me for a loop and kept taking me out of the read.
I thought you were setting it in present day to add an element of realism. Then a gang of thugs kidnaps a girl leading to a stand-off with her syringe-wielding mother in broad daylight in the middle of a park.
At the height of this confrontation...
Bored with it all now, Chip Tooth walks off, leaving Maria.
CHIP TOOTH I was just kidding anyway. Let the junkie have her kid
He just kidnapped a handicapped kid with the goal of throwing her down a steep hill. When confronted, his response is to walk away claiming it was a joke. That's not even remotely a believable character.
Once it gets into the meat of the story things pick up a bit... but then there's always some odd choice that takes me out of it again...
HOMELESS MAN He will collect, if you don’t show.
MARIA But how will he know...?
HOMELESS MAN Where you live? Render will know. And his butcher will take it.
The last thing I was wondering is how would an evil, magical creature find this woman's house. A normal human loan shark could probably find where she lives.
I dunno, the writing overall is not bad at all. Perhaps this was simply rushed and you ran out of time. It's a good concept and the mother-daughter relationship is skillfully established.
I like this one a lot. I could kinda see where it was going, but wasn't quite sure how it would get there. I'll echo the other comments in that it seemed like the Mother knew too fast and too easily what the situation was. It seems she found the contract and decided, in a very short amount of time, that she had to cut her own face off. There's so many steps between finding that contract and cutting off one’s own face that it's awkward to reconstruct exactly what was going through Mother’s head to convince her to do something that extreme. In some ways, she's lucky the contract wasn't just some random bit of nonsense Milly printed out on the internet.
I think to really sell this you have to give us a clue that Mother is somehow already aware of Render Stillskin. Perhaps she warns Milly away from the shop herself. Maybe Mother could even share a subtle moment with the Homeless Man that suggests that she, him and Render Stillskin have some sort of shared history. This would make it much easier to buy that Mother knows exactly what to do when she finds the contract.
My second big note is that I think you should cut out the part where Mother saves the day with the hooligans. Not necessarily the whole scene, but the part where she turns into Rambo with a syringe is too strong for the character at that early stage. I think you wanted to show that, despite her addiction she really cares about her daughter, but it might serve Mother’s arc better to leave that an open question until the final image. She can SAY she’d do anything for her daughter, but until she really shows it by cutting her own face off, I think the audience should be allowed to doubt Mother’s intentions. I think that could strengthen the final image because now it's not just a horrific occurrence, but it's a confirmation of the love Milly doubted was there. But for that to work Mother needs to be failing pretty decisively right up to her final moment of redemption.
All things considered though, this was really strong and I suspect will remain one of my favorite.
I certainly like the idea but think the script would benefit from a revamp. 1. Get rid of the thug scene. 2. Focus on heightening Maria's feeling of complete desperation so that it's believable that she (a 10-year-old!) would consider cutting off her own face. 3. Don't telegraph the end. The contract says "or suitable substitute," which is enough. Repeating the line (p. 7) draws too much attention and tells us what's likely to happen. 4. Trim out explanatory descriptions of the mother -- "a junkie in need of a fix," "monkey on her back," etc. Showing her in the bathroom stall, her physical reactions, and behavior is sufficient. 5. Clean up problem slugs (eg. "mcdonald's or somewhere").
I liked the story with the junkie mother as an addition, it brought more sympathy to the kid than she already had.
Not sure about the necessity of the thugs, that kinda worked I guess to show the mother's love for her daughter, but I reckon you could cut them, or at least alter them so Stiltskin gets some more time.