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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    July 2017 OWC  ›  Don't Look - OWC Moderators: Dreamscale
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  Author    Don't Look - OWC  (currently 2006 views)
Posted: July 21st, 2017, 11:04pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Don't Look by 0 - Short, Horror - On the way home from her night shift at work, a young woman experiences deer, car troubles, a farmhouse, a mother with terminal cancer, her anti-social daughter, and a terrifying revelation that shocks her to the core… 10 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Posted: July 22nd, 2017, 12:14am Report to Moderator

Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

The Great Southern Land
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Not bad. A little too much info in that logline imh. And two deer - one split in half, still clinging to life? I'd just pare it down a bit. Quite a lot going on and an ending that's a little too familiar. I loved the setup - weird Scarlet - but it didn't quite deliver for me in the end. Great title btw.

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Posted: July 22nd, 2017, 3:11am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Vancouver, BC
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Not bad. It is a familiar story, but I really like the way you handled Scarlet. Very creepy. Not so much for the rest. Good choice of story to fit the challenge parameters.

If you were to rewrite this, there are a few things that could be improved.The pace doesn't match the action when you're trying to amp up tension. It should read faster at those times. The repetitive thumps were annoying, you can find another way to do that and keep it an entertaining read. There's no payoff for the warning, even the title suggests a dire consequence but looking through the keyhole amounts to nothing that wasn't going to happen anyway. And the ending doesn't deliver, it needs more of an impact.

"A natural beauty with no make-up on." No. Stop introducing female characters that way.

Good job completing it.

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Posted: July 22nd, 2017, 9:16am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Hi. Agreeing with most of what has already been said. Some typo's along the way and the action lines need to be reviewed. All in all a good effort and with a little work could be a  sweet script to be produced.

My Scripts:

Hail The Cabbie. Appx. 9 pages A taxi ride to the absolute terminus.

Pink is the New Black.10 pages. Homophobes beware!

The Bullet Train. 5 pages. Economy equals retribution.

Pillow Talk. 4 pages. It's hard to bear sometimes.

The perfect Ending. 8 pages. Amy's present is her past.

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Posted: July 22nd, 2017, 2:53pm Report to Moderator

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Don't Look

Let me start off by saying I loved majority of the action lines. They're quick, snappy, and visual. The action lines delivered a fun read, though the ones revolving around the deer getting hit could have been handled a bit better. Also, not sure if you read my review in the last forum, but I'm still not a fan of adverbs in screenplays. Although, the adverbs weren't that bothersome in this script.

The story itself is good. It's reminiscent to Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. The twist wasn't bad, but a bit underwhelming for me. Regardless, it's still good for a one week challenge.

Overall, a good story and script. Good job.  

I'm not a pretentious douche about writing, or anything, but I sure as hell love it.
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Posted: July 22nd, 2017, 5:37pm Report to Moderator

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I'd say the sweetspot of this story is between Jessie looking through the keyhole and when she meets up with the driver. Run-of-the-mill ghost story ending, not the gravest of consequences, but it works as intended. Looking through this keyhole is creepy creepy!

I was kind of wondering if Jessie would put her nurse hat on and attempt to help in anyway, but maybe she knew it was too late. The beginning and all the shit weather felt like forced tension, only because we're reminded about it often. The event that takes place once inside speaks for itself.

Once things started going it's a really fun story, ending was expected.
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Cam Gray
Posted: July 22nd, 2017, 6:23pm Report to Moderator

Laaaaannnndddaaaan (London)
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Hey Writer,

Fish out of water? Yeh, why not. Stuck to the page limit, and set in the present, so all in line there.

This was interesting. It has a really good and creepy build up, and looking into Scarlet's room had me creeped out. Visually very good up until this point. And then it was a bit like a bursting balloon, and just went flat with a fairly tame ending.

Definitely some great writing on show, but given how well you initially started and built the whole thing, it's a shame the ending was pretty ordinary.


23 Mu Mu’s in an ice cream van...
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Posted: July 23rd, 2017, 5:02pm Report to Moderator

Hi to all, it's great to be here.

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I love Horror...

This was a good story, could tell you didn't have much time for a rewrite or edit.  But that's cool neither did I.

As for how the story goes it is a little familiar in spots.  I like" don't look through the keyhole", and she does.


This could be made into a feature film.  Would it make money?  Yes.

Budget, Nominal.

Good job.
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Posted: July 23rd, 2017, 8:36pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Down Under
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Yeah not bad this. Pretty cliched but the writer has a good idea of where the story should go and the writing is precise and does the job.

a couple of points? If Jessie only lives 10 miles up the road, wouldn't she know about the tragedy perhaps? Unless she is new to the area?  And it was a tad convenient that the Driver (who should be named perhaps) just happens to come along a 'deserted backroad' just at that moment lol.  Anyway pretty good effort!

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George Willson
Posted: July 24th, 2017, 7:03am Report to Moderator

Doctor who? Yes, quite right.

Broken Arrow
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Classic urban legend. Do we have a person where they don't belong? Sure.

The main problem with this one is that it's familiar. Familiar can be good as long as you take that familiar and twist it on its head so it is both familiar and new. You don't make it new though. It's just familiar. As soon as the word "vacant" pops in the dialogue, it's over. We know exactly how it will end.

The trope of horror is also there. Woman says "don't look through keyhole," you know at first available opportunity, the character will look through the keyhole. The problem with that is that the "keyhole look" has no payoff or consequences. She does it, and then goes back to bed. You can't set something up, make the character do it, and have zero consequences for it.

In fact, other than the OMG at the end, this story has no consequences for the main character. And like I said, the familiarity with the plot elicits a chuckle at the end instead of the shock factor you want.

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Posted: July 24th, 2017, 7:26am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Soon to be Sydney, Australia!
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The first task for any writer is to keep the reader engaged, and reading on.

You did that with no trouble.

I was curious to read to the conclusion. As we moved forward, the pacing started to get a little frenetic, and it felt more down to you cramming into the page count, as opposed to a natural build-up of the action.

Maybe it's just me, but didn't Jessie never go to sleep? So when she tells the driver "last night" and "this morning", that can't be right? Maybe I missed something.

The big thing for me (and I suspect this is down to getting it done quickly), the dialogue seemed a bit on the nose at times, and at odds with the character; Robin was described as pretty horro-like, but then conversed like friendly Madge at the post office. Kind of jarred for me. Jessie's exchange with The Driver also seemed a little unnatural.

In terms of adherence to the theme, I can see it, but it does feel a little tenuous.

Overall, there are more positives than negatives, i just focus on the negatives, as that's always the most helpful to hear. Hopefully!

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Posted: July 24th, 2017, 12:11pm Report to Moderator

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That logline, no no no. Just say she experiences unforeseen obstacles. challenges, unexpected events. But a laundry list? Needs to be changed.

"unknowingly gravitates toward a DEER" sounds as if the deer is pulling her towards it.

Too much of your action starts with Jessie this, Jessie that. She screams. She yells. Change it up. This is always a dead give-away to me the writer is inexperienced or the script isn't fully finished.

I don't live in Indiana, but are there lots of deer in the cornfields? The deer she hit is split in half yet still alive????

You have four pages of talking between Jessie and Robin where the only thing that really happens is Jessie goes upstairs to rest. Late in. Early out. Doubly so here.

" untouched SUV"? I thought it plowed into a deer?

Lackluster ending. No real conflict here. Jessie just goes through the motions of the world around her. And a ghost story like this has been done over and over before. You need a better payoff. What if the deer was the ghost???? Whoa. Ghost deer. She arrives back at the SUV to find no deer body and her car is in perfect shape. There haven't been deer in these parts for years since the forest was plowed into fields. There you go. You're welcome. Movie reviews, news, and fun! Write a screenplay. Write. Now. Separate from your competition. Affordable SEO services Because nobody likes receiving gift cards
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Posted: July 24th, 2017, 1:30pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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This got a very good flow. A nice little short I'd say. But at the same time, you took an easy route here. You could have more depth to it, explain why she met them now, why her. Otherwise, it doesn't have a point. I mean the story is nicely written and all, but there's no motivation for the ghosts to appear in front of her now.
Unless the fact that the house is going to be condemned revived them for a day? But it doesn't work that way. They have to attempt something through Jess then.
I guess I want more.  
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: July 24th, 2017, 1:59pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

Bowden, Alberta
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I enjoyed the logline. One thing after another...

This was extremely well written. My only problem with it is it's too familiar. Like it was ripped off right out of some old Twilight Zone show.

No real complaints on this one. If there be any, it's that I don't think it quite fits the theme of the challenge.


A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Posted: July 25th, 2017, 10:29am Report to Moderator
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Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Telling us this is "rural Indiana" in an action/description line does not transfer to film - you need a SUPER here.

"A natural beauty with no make-up on." - A little cliche?  Yes...actually, alot cliche!

"Jessie looks around for the charger as she unknowingly gravitates toward a DEER on the side of the road." - We're inside the car, so you're insinuating that we are viewing this through the front windshield.

"She looks back up and cries out. She serves out of the way as the frightened deer dashes into the cornfield." - And again here.  "serves" - "swerves" - but, the point I'm trying to make is that you rally should switch to an EXT scene to show this properly.

"breaks" - "brakes"

The deer is split in half, yet still alive?  WTF?  When a car or SUV hits a deer, the car or SUV is fucked up, not just smoke rising from under the hood.

So far, poorly written and all very cliche.

Only 10 miles away is her home?  No big deal at all.

Lays and lies - learn the meaning and difference!!!

When using a CAPPED sound effect, you almost always want it on its own line.

Seen this many times before and there's nothing here to make it special.

I also don't see a stranger in a strange land, as Jessie lives a mere 10 miles away!

The whole "Don't Look" thing has no consequences at all.  This is a simple, cliche ghost story with very little tension, due to the setup and writing.

Spilling onto Page 11 is also a HUGE rookie mistake.

Not for me, sorry to say.

Grade - **

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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