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Farmageddon by Phil Reynolds - Short, Comedy, Dark Comedy - A scarecrow is dropped from the farm for not doing his job properly. Thrown into the big dark world, he must learn to survive and learn about himself along the way. 14 pages - pdf format
was hoping for a happy ending due to the depressing political atmosphere here in the US, but I still liked what you did with the ending. I liked how they both looked out and saw the sea of crows. Good imagery. I would love to go through more and tell you where you could fix up formatting etc, but I only have a phone to write with at the moment. I just wanted to let you know this is unique and tells a good story of loss and regrets in a cute kind of way, I like the use of the scarecrow...
"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....
Thanks Kirsten for taking the time to read my scrip[t and to give feedback. I am pleased that you enjoyed it, sorry about the dark ending but didn't see an alternative. That has changed many times actually. The script started out as a sketch and evolved into a short story over time. Many thanks
'The Farmer reaches JACK the scarecrow and stops directly in front of him. He is nervous.' - Who is? Jack or the Scarecrow?
'Jack is a homemade scarecrow mainly filled with hay and has a potato bag as his face with eyes stitched on and a smile made up of buttons where three buttons are lined with two buttons either end of the three slightly raised creating the smile affect.' - That sentence is way too long. It also needs commas.
Many of your other paragraphs need correcting.
A sentimental scarecrow turned drug addict? lol. You have an entertaining and different story, and you really make the reader care about the characters. The ending was very sad, which I liked. You just need to tidy up all the mistakes. I don't really know what else to say.
Thanks Simon for your feedback, i really appreciate it.
I agree that i do need to polish it up and will be doing so very soon. Funny enough i have just been self teaching myself about how to introduce characters to story's so will use this as good practise.
It could be the lack of dialogue but for some reason this put me in mind of The Snowman (albeit a twisted, adult version). The whole thing has a surreal animation feel to it.
I appreciate the off-kilter humour, Iím just not sure what it is you want the reader to take away from this. Whatís the payoff? Sad? Bittersweet? Nihilistic? Just when it seemed to find its feet in Jack and Carmenís relationship you swung it around to Carmen murdering the pimp and Jack getting used as a trampís hand warmer (admittedly a darkly comic moment). It then ends with Carmen at the farm, seeing all the crows, yet for some reason sheís smilingÖ It doesnít seem to come together, which leaves me with the feeling youíre not sure what you want this story to be.
I think you were onto something with the Jack and Carmen angle. Thatís the strength here with Jack finding love in the unlikeliest of places. Granted itís weird, but the logic fits your world and the whole button smile thing between them is quite sweet. It just seemed to struggle from that point as to where to go with it. One moment itís cute, next tragically comic and it seemed to me that Jack died for nothing with the farm about to go to ruin with no-one to scare the crows.
The question is whether you want to play solely for laughs/shock value or perhaps dig a little deeper?
The heroin bit seems tacked on and doesnít lead anywhere - do you need it?
Jackís a scarecrow - his Ďjobí is to scare or in a sense guard/protect. Could you make more of that when he reaches the city?
Why three bits of paper at the start? Are the other two scarecrows still at the farm or did they already get fired? I think you need to show the three scarecrows together in the field (or at least the other two after Jack is let go) so we understand exactly what the three pieces of paper were about. Even if itís showing the other two watching as Jack walks away.
Why not just have Jackís name revealed on the paper thatís drawn?
Do you even need the other two scarecrows?
Are the buttons in the pouch payment? If so what would Jack then make of receiving real money for his Ďservicesí? Would he understand? Feels like you could make more of this.
A couple of suggestions writing wise:
If you are going to use POV then better to indicate whose POV weíre seeing it from (a few of the earlier ones are missing this). Personally, Iím not sure theyíre all that necessary in most cases here. For instance:
Carmel looks up.
POV: A SILHOUETTE OF JACK STARING DOWN AT HER FROM THE BEDSIT.
Carmel looks up.
Jack stands silhouetted in the window, staring down at her.
Not saying itís better, just something along these lines can work. The visuals are essentially the same and it helps keep the story flowing without getting into technical details. Same with ĎCUT TO:í - moving to the next scene heading implies the same and itíll save you a few lines by taking them out.
Thereís a decent story in here - one worth working at. Hope this helps.
My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:
Many Thanks Steve for taking the time to read the script and for your detailed feedback. I always appreciate the feedback as this is what makes us better writers right?
You do have some valid points and i agree that this needs some work, this story was originally a comedy sketch that i though could be made into a short so that may answer some of your queries in where the story is going.
I will return to this shortly once i have compiled all the feedback and place it back on the website once i have finished hopefully with an improved version.
Some classic writing issues here right off the bat. For one thing, lots of the repetitive "The Farmer does this," "He does that," "Jack does this," etc. I've had this issue myself in the past.
A few ways to remedy this kind of writing. First, try to consolidate some of the actions into one sentence, e.g. "He sighs deeply, unfolds the paper, stares at it for a moment." Hold the "and" after the last comma if you like (I do for flow). Also, try to assign some of the action to subjects other than the Farmer to break up the repitition, e.g. "He shakes the hat. The paper tumbles around inside. He reaches in, removes one of the pieces." Follow that with, "With a sigh, he unfolds the paper, stares at it for a moment," so as to not start the sentence with another "he."
Also try to avoid minor actions that are already implied by another action, e.g. "The Farmer reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small velvet bag..." I'd go with "The Farmer pulls a small velvet bag from his pocket." Saves space and preserves flow.
Also try to avoid passages that offer no action at all or are already implied by something that's already happened, e.g. "Jack is alone on the field as the farmer walks away returning to the farmhouse." To be fair, you say the Farmer "turns away with his head hung low," but I figured the idea was that he was leaving. I'd say he "walks away with his head hung low" outright and end with the image of Jack frowning (which is a stronger end to the scene anyway). Sometimes mentioning something like a character being alone can have a dramatic effect (like on the next page, where Jack sits on a bench all alone), but here, nothing much is happening at all.
Another example is on pg. 11, where you say "No movement at all" regarding the sports car. Can lose that easy. Obviously, the dude is dead. No movement is implied.
pg. 4 - "Hard looked." - Huh?
pg. 5 - "...group of women offering their services..." - I assume you mean prostitutes? Why not say outright?
The use of POV is a little strange. Do any of them really need to be in POV? On pg. 10, for example, you could simply say "Jack looks at the clock." You're not even specific about the time. Ten minutes past the hour... any hour? Why mention the time at all if it doesn't matter what time exactly?
I like some of the imagery from the ending, but it doesn't seem to fit the rest of the script. It seems highly surreal and metaphorical. In hindsight, I think that's fair, as the scarecrow/buttons seem to have metaphorical significance, but it takes a while for that to come about. Initially, the scarecrow's presence seems more farcical, especially when he starts fucking around with the pimp.
Some things I liked, both on the farcical and metaphorical fronts. But the elements ultimately don't seem to jive that well together, only individually. In that sense, I agree with some of the previous posts that you might have some tonal issues going on here. Ultimately, this seems to work more as a drama, but the image of a scarecrow getting booted out of a car that was just rocking back and forth is so ridiculous, I think it'd throw people off entirely. If you were to take this in a comedy route instead, I feel like you'd have to do a ton of rewriting/restructuring.
Mixed bag for me, but I appreciate the imagination and the strangeness involved. I think there's potential, and I'd be interested in what you might happen to write in the future if this is any indication of what those scripts might be like. Hope this helps.
Many thanks James for taking the time to read my script and for the feedback.
I really appreciate the detail you have gone to as this all helps to improve my writing style. I will take all the feedback on board from all the responses and give it a re-write.
I am fairly new to writing so every little helps in terms of feedback. I am currently writing a script series which i originally did as a graphic novel but think it may be better for tv/film. Once i have the first one completed i will post on here, so would really appreciate if you would take the time to look at it.
I shall check out some of your scripts if you don't mind.