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Don
Posted: March 5th, 2019, 6:32pm Report to Moderator
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Grosvenor Arms by Sean Elwood - Horror, Mystery, Drama - A police officer conducting a welfare check arrives at Grosvenor Arms, an apartment full of eclectic residents that each hold pieces of a story involving a missing couple who reside inside of the building. 87 pages

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Matthew Taylor
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Hi Sean - Thought I would give this a crack since I haven't read many mystery scripts.

Disclaimer: Super amateur over here, so I'm not saying anything is wrong or making suggestions - these were more my feelings as I was reading. As I say, I haven't read many mysteries so not entirely sure how they are supposed to go.

Anyway - I'm up to page 29, the notes I made as I went are below;

Good set up with the family - Makes me like the guy, and so I guess I will root for him in his inevitable struggle through this mystery.

Talking to himself - I don't think these are needed. Him spotting a broken elevator, then looking up the large staircase would do the job
Again - him getting to the top of the stairs, doubling over, catching his breath would do the same job of telling us he is old and out of shape rather than putting it in dialogue
(Unless talking to himself is an important character trait)

The phone call with the landlord goes on too long I feel. It can end with the "I'll be 30 minutes" bit - after that, they just reveal what has already been said - the landlord doesn't know anything.

There is no indication that this is sinister, or something is wrong, until page 17 - Nothing to indicate this is nothing more than a mundane welfare check
That's roughly 17 minutes into the film - probably a bit less because of all the dialogue - do we need something before this? Something to heighten the mystery and indicate there is something more here?

The dialogue is pretty similar through all the characters so far - there are no individual mannerisms or differing vocabulary that I can pick up on, no distinguishable voices if that makes sense. REDACTED

I don't think the conversation with Monica reveals anything new about the mystery. They discuss the cheating, her being sick and the guy is a bit odd - but all this was covered in the conversation with Lilly, nothing new that pushed the story forward (IMHO anyway)

I plan to read more - I will continue making notes as I go, whether you want me to post my notes is another question lol.

I like this premise, a cop working his way up the staircase interviewing people, seeing their different perspectives of the same people/disappearance, revealing more and more about the mystery as he goes. Solid idea.

At this point, I want to carry on reading to find out more, find out what has happened to them - So I assume that is a good thing.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more.

Regards

Matt



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Matthew Taylor  -  March 9th, 2019, 4:34am
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Zombie Sean
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Quoted Text
Disclaimer: Super amateur over here, so I'm not saying anything is wrong or making suggestions - these were more my feelings as I was reading. As I say, I haven't read many mysteries so not entirely sure how they are supposed to go.


Hey, it's good to have an amateur's opinion. That way I can compare the reaction and opinion to a "pro" mystery writer. Anything helps, and as long as it keeps you guessing and there's some sort of twist, then I'd say it's a good enough mystery lol.


Quoted Text
Talking to himself - I don't think these are needed. Him spotting a broken elevator, then looking up the large staircase would do the job
Again - him getting to the top of the stairs, doubling over, catching his breath would do the same job of telling us he is old and out of shape rather than putting it in dialogue
(Unless talking to himself is an important character trait)


You're very right about this. I agree that he should talk to himself less. It's not an important trait as that's the only time that he talks to himself. Thanks for pointing this out.


Quoted Text
The phone call with the landlord goes on too long I feel. It can end with the "I'll be 30 minutes" bit - after that, they just reveal what has already been said - the landlord doesn't know anything.


Also a good idea to shorten this down. Working on it.


Quoted Text
The dialogue is pretty similar through all the characters so far - there are no individual mannerisms or differing vocabulary that I can pick up on, no distinguishable voices if that makes sense.


I'm gonna defend myself here and disagree with you, I feel that each character is unique enough with how they speak, and live in general. Wolfe and Gerry might sound a bit similar, in my opinion the rest of the characters have a certain uniqueness to them.


Quoted Text
I don't think the conversation with Monica reveals anything new about the mystery. They discuss the cheating, her being sick and the guy is a bit odd - but all this was covered in the conversation with Lilly, nothing new that pushed the story forward (IMHO anyway)


This is very true. Hmmrrr I don't want to get rid of Monica but I do agree that she doesn't give too much to reveal more about the story. It's more of a character to introduce Jeffrey, I guess. It's to reveal that he has tendencies to possibly cheat since he almost does with her.


Quoted Text
I plan to read more - I will continue making notes as I go, whether you want me to post my notes is another question lol.

I like this premise, a cop working his way up the staircase interviewing people, seeing their different perspectives of the same people/disappearance, revealing more and more about the mystery as he goes. Solid idea.

At this point, I want to carry on reading to find out more, find out what has happened to them - So I assume that is a good thing.


Please post your notes! And I'm glad you like the premise. Hopefully it doesn't end up disappointing you but anything is better than nothing! Look forward to your thoughts.


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Matthew Taylor
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Quoted Text
I'm gonna defend myself here and disagree with you, I feel that each character is unique enough with how they speak, and live in general. Wolfe and Gerry might sound a bit similar, in my opinion the rest of the characters have a certain uniqueness to them.


Please do. I truly hope writers don't take everything I say to be completely true and are open to challenge me on them.

Your characters certainly are unique overall, they have clearly different characteristics, motivations and views on life - I guess I was referring more to the words they use, how they structure their sentences etc etc... BUT I have just gone back and read them again, this time with the view of comparing them in mind - And I am indeed talking nonsense lol I compared Lilly with Monica and they are indeed distinct (There are not many of their lines I could swap with each other without it becoming odd) - so thanks for challenging me on it.

The only similarity between the two, which comes up often, and I can only assume was the root cause of my original comment, is that they both call him Mister Wolfe. Not Officer Wolfe/Officer/Wolfe or ask for his first name - both say Mister Wolfe.


Quoted Text
This is very true. Hmmrrr I don't want to get rid of Monica but I do agree that she doesn't give too much to reveal more about the story. It's more of a character to introduce Jeffrey, I guess. It's to reveal that he has tendencies to possibly cheat since he almost does with her.


I would never suggest getting rid of Monica - she is an interesting character - And yes the scene does introduce Jeffrey so serves a purpose that way, I guess what I meant was that by the time I got to the end of the scene I never had an "Oooo the plot thickens..." moment

I will certainly read more, I'm enjoying it. It may take me a while, my free time only comes in short bursts which is why I usually stick to reading shorts - But I will get to the end of this eventually lol I'll post up thoughts and feelings as I go

Regards

Matt


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Please do. I truly hope writers don't take everything I say to be completely true and are open to challenge me on them.

Your characters certainly are unique overall, they have clearly different characteristics, motivations and views on life - I guess I was referring more to the words they use, how they structure their sentences etc etc... BUT I have just gone back and read them again, this time with the view of comparing them in mind - And I am indeed talking nonsense lol I compared Lilly with Monica and they are indeed distinct (There are not many of their lines I could swap with each other without it becoming odd) - so thanks for challenging me on it.

The only similarity between the two, which comes up often, and I can only assume was the root cause of my original comment, is that they both call him Mister Wolfe. Not Officer Wolfe/Officer/Wolfe or ask for his first name - both say Mister Wolfe.


I could see where the thought that the characters were similar-sounding could come into play based on the usage of "Mister Wolfe". I'll have to change that (three characters call him that throughout the script) because thinking about it now, it does make them sound similar. Thanks again for pointing that out.


Quoted Text
I would never suggest getting rid of Monica - she is an interesting character - And yes the scene does introduce Jeffrey so serves a purpose that way, I guess what I meant was that by the time I got to the end of the scene I never had an "Oooo the plot thickens..." moment


I guess you'll notice that I write these characters because the movie is really just as much about the characters as it is about the mystery. You get to know these characters' lives even more than they reveal about the missing couple. It's a character piece, I guess. So Monica may not have a "plot thickens" moment, but she definitely adds to Grosvenor Arms, as do all of the other characters. It's what makes this building unique from the rest of the apartment buildings in a city and is why the movie is focused on there. However, you still have a point that she doesn't necessarily add to the actual mystery itself. I'll see what I can do, if anything, with her character!

Glad you're enjoying it. Take your time.


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Matthew Taylor
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I actually managed to finish this today - Didn't think I would be able to so soon.

Again, I am certainly no expert - so most of what I say is probably nonsense. Just my thoughts and feelings as I read through - Below are the notes I took as I went along:


Lacking a little something to keep me hooked - slow burner. Not a whole lot of conflict. I'm not chomping at the bit to find out more.

The walking backward thing - that added something to the mystery - A "that's odd, why did she do that?" moment

Marky seems similar to Monica in that they are both trying to convince Wolfe to drink, both are flirty and trying to get into Wolfes pants, both have had (or tried to have) a thing with Jeffrey, both are very open and honest about their sexuality.

"who foolishly removes her jacket" - Why is it foolish to remove the jacket? Do you mean the way she removes it is awkward? Because the way it is written makes it sound more like removing it was a mistake.

Page 67 - the present tense is lie, not lay - "They lie on the bed"

*SPOILERS BELOW*

I see now that talking to the other residents is supposed to build up some kind of timeline of her last day piece by piece, then at the end, we see the actual day in chronological order? Is that right?
These flashbacks, I feel, are where we can be teased with different pieces of the puzzle, enough that the viewer can try and solve it themselves (viewers do love to try and figure things out, try and outsmart the writer). I'm not sure if we are given enough pieces to try and do that.

The flashback montage of the two building up their relationship - Should this come earlier, or fed to us in parts? Build up our connection with them so we are more invested in what has happened to them? Through large chunks of this I felt emotionally distant from the couple - I.E I didn't really care if anything bad had happened to them.

Why are they creeping around with a flashlight rather than turning on the actual lights? I get you are doing it to heighten tension - but they haven't even tried to turn the lights on.

Wolfe has only just pulled his weapon out - would he not have pulled it out when entering the flat? I don't know police procedure, but TV has shown me that American officers draw their weapon all the time.]

Jesus this turned a lot more gruesome than I was expecting lol

Zombies? I didn't see that coming - I like to be surprised, but that may have been a bit too out of left field. What came before, indicated she was Ill - as we move through the story I don't think you showed us enough to indicate she was THIS ill - like, when she puked blood, it could have been a lot more blood. or when she was in the trance walking backwards, she could have had the Zombie eyes or something? I dunno, maybe it's me not being able to imagine it properly.

I feel disappointed by the ending if I am completely honest. It reminds me of From Dusk till Dawn - In that, the zombies (or in the case of Dusk till Dawn, Vampires) had no relevance in what came before. (Although I do like from Dusk till Dawn lol)
The strange and quirky characters of the building also played no part in the ending, they were just there. Building it up as an apartment building like no other, I thought there might have been some secret or something about the building and people that played into the disappearance or ending. But it seems all of the characters were completely honest with Wolfe, no one lied, or exaggerated, or remembered incorrectly, they all told their story with perfect honesty and accuracy - guess I was hoping for ulterior motives or dark secrets from them.

Looking slightly back, should the reveal of Jeffrey's necrophilia have come a little bit sooner? Maybe he confided that fact to someone in the building? Someone equally as odd who he could turn to?

I have questions:
How did she turn into a zombie? - purely from the dog bite? - the dog bite was just bad luck, I guess I would have liked the cause to have meant something - Maybe like, the dead body in the morgue had this "virus" (or whatever it is) Jeffrey sleeps with the infected body, becomes a carrier for the virus. finally gets to sleep with his wife and infects her? I dunno.
Why didn't Jeffery try and save her? - was it because he just wanted to have sex with her dead body?
How did he know she would reanimate? I.E bolt her to the wall?

Guess what I am trying to say is, then ending feels disjointed with what came before.
I also have my doubts as to whether Wolfe is a strong enough character to carry us through this story.

BUT - I did read the thing to the end, I have only read 1 other feature on here till the end. So there must be something in it.

I really like the twins, not sure why - They were just really well written and characterized.

I also really like the reverse image of Zombie Wolfe coming back down the building - The movie has him going up, talking to people - then, back down, trying to attack and eat them - That bit felt a tad rushed, but, good imagery.

Overall, I did enjoy the read (sorry if above comments seem overly negative), I can see it being a superb movie with some work - I think it needs something, but I am not good enough to know what that something is.

Sorry I couldn't be more help. All the best with this one. I hope someone better than me comes along to help.

Regards

Matt


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Zombie Sean
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I see now that talking to the other residents is supposed to build up some kind of timeline of her last day piece by piece, then at the end, we see the actual day in chronological order? Is that right?
These flashbacks, I feel, are where we can be teased with different pieces of the puzzle, enough that the viewer can try and solve it themselves (viewers do love to try and figure things out, try and outsmart the writer). I'm not sure if we are given enough pieces to try and do that.

The flashback montage of the two building up their relationship - Should this come earlier, or fed to us in parts? Build up our connection with them so we are more invested in what has happened to them? Through large chunks of this I felt emotionally distant from the couple - I.E I didn't really care if anything bad had happened to them.


This flashback at the end came as a very last minute idea. Before it was nonexistent but I had to up the page count somehow and add more to the story. I like the idea of seeing Jeffrey and Tamara's side of the story as flashbacks throughout the story, that could be a good way to show their story. I'll play around with it because it's actually a good idea. But yes, their flashback is what happened to them in chronological order.


Quoted Text
Why are they creeping around with a flashlight rather than turning on the actual lights? I get you are doing it to heighten tension - but they haven't even tried to turn the lights on.


I wonder this myself now. Will fix this. Thanks.


Quoted Text
Wolfe has only just pulled his weapon out - would he not have pulled it out when entering the flat? I don't know police procedure, but TV has shown me that American officers draw their weapon all the time.]


I don't truly believe that this is true, but I could be wrong. However, I've had a welfare check conducted on myself once and they did not have their guns drawn, however it was under different circumstances. Who knows!


Quoted Text
Zombies? I didn't see that coming - I like to be surprised, but that may have been a bit too out of left field. What came before, indicated she was Ill - as we move through the story I don't think you showed us enough to indicate she was THIS ill - like, when she puked blood, it could have been a lot more blood. or when she was in the trance walking backwards, she could have had the Zombie eyes or something? I dunno, maybe it's me not being able to imagine it properly.

I feel disappointed by the ending if I am completely honest. It reminds me of From Dusk till Dawn - In that, the zombies (or in the case of Dusk till Dawn, Vampires) had no relevance in what came before. (Although I do like from Dusk till Dawn lol)
The strange and quirky characters of the building also played no part in the ending, they were just there. Building it up as an apartment building like no other, I thought there might have been some secret or something about the building and people that played into the disappearance or ending. But it seems all of the characters were completely honest with Wolfe, no one lied, or exaggerated, or remembered incorrectly, they all told their story with perfect honesty and accuracy - guess I was hoping for ulterior motives or dark secrets from them.


You're the second person to tell me that they didn't like the ending. I was afraid that some people wouldn't like the ending however it is the original ending to the original draft. I wanted to write a sort of pre-zombie apocalypse story and about the characters involved, and the secrets that they all hold and the lives they all live. I tried to make the zombie aspect as little out of left field as possible but it still does seem a bit forced.

Additionally, there's a separate idea that I was told by a friend of mine (who's on these boards) that might be more fitting but I want to gauge what others have to say about the ending before I play around with that idea. It would include the characters and building more and everything would have a sense of purpose.


Quoted Text
Looking slightly back, should the reveal of Jeffrey's necrophilia have come a little bit sooner? Maybe he confided that fact to someone in the building? Someone equally as odd who he could turn to?


I wanted that to be revealed toward the end because it's the big secret that Jeffrey has, but when I begin to play around with their flashbacks maybe it'll be revealed sooner.


Quoted Text
I have questions:
How did she turn into a zombie? - purely from the dog bite? - the dog bite was just bad luck, I guess I would have liked the cause to have meant something - Maybe like, the dead body in the morgue had this "virus" (or whatever it is) Jeffrey sleeps with the infected body, becomes a carrier for the virus. finally gets to sleep with his wife and infects her? I dunno.


Yes, the dog bite. I originally was going to go with the idea that you had but then I realized that Contagion had already did that, so I wanted to go with something different. I will try and make the dog story a little bit more impactful by adding a few scenes here and there, but essentially it was the dog bit that did her in.


Quoted Text
Why didn't Jeffery try and save her? - was it because he just wanted to have sex with her dead body?


This is a good question, to be quite honest I haven't the slightest idea. This will be something I will have to work on apparently. In my notes, I have it say that Jeffrey knows what's up and that he ends up letting her die so that he can end up having sex with her dead body. I don't know how farfetched that is but you never know about people.


Quoted Text
How did he know she would reanimate? I.E bolt her to the wall?


He bolts her to the wall after she reanimates. He manages to subdue her and bolt her to the wall offscreen, but I don't know how well audiences will put that together.


Quoted Text
Overall, I did enjoy the read (sorry if above comments seem overly negative), I can see it being a superb movie with some work - I think it needs something, but I am not good enough to know what that something is.


Hey like you said, you finished it. You must've liked it enough! Thanks for all of your notes, they've been extremely helpful. I'm already thinking of how I can change the next draft and make it rather different than this current draft. Thanks again for reading, I really appreciate it.


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Fais85
Posted: March 17th, 2019, 11:26am Report to Moderator
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Hey Sean... It was an easy read. Hooked me up in bits and pieces. Characters were nice and well written. Though Marky and Monica were somewhat similar characters.(or atleast I think so).

I loved the vietnamese characters. They were funny and very well written. Again "the twins" were little similar to them, if you know what I mean.

I wouldn't have shown Wolfe's family scene as when Lilly asks Wolfe about his family photo and Wolfe hands over the photo to her, the right emotions are already conveyed to audience that Wolfe is a happy family man. Also he keeps telling that I am loyal to my wife. So we already know and like him. We can surely get rid of that family scene. It seems forced.

I really didn't care about the couple whatever happened to them. Because there is not much information thrown to us about them. We don't know them and more importantly don't care about them. Whatever it is, it comes very last. Till then we are not interested enough.

***SPOILERS
You showed everything that was said by residents in chronological order in the end. But the last thing said by TWINS about the noise and Jeff being half naked with drill in his hands, is never shown. What he was doing? Was he drilling the bolt plate and tiding Tamara to the wall at that time?

and... sorry to say, but I didn't like the ending. It came out of nowhere. I was expecting something darker to be revealed. Like everybody in the building was playing with Wolfe and everybody has something to do with their disappearance or May be that building does not exist and in the climax they found Wolfe missing or something like that. But it suddenly turned out into a zombie film!

Also all the characters we were following throughout the script, just vanished in the end.

Sorry for sounding negative. I do like your writing and this script has lot of potential. Just need a re-write.
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Zombie Sean
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Hey Faisal!

Thanks for giving this a read, I greatly appreciate the time you've put into it and to write your comments. So happy to hear that you thought that the characters were nice and well written, and I can see how there are similarities between some of the characters.

You make a good point about removing the family scene. I think that that would be a good idea and would decrease the character count/budget even more. You make good points about how we are already told that he's a good family man.

You guessed correctly about the drill bit. I tried to make it subtle enough and not spoon-feed the audience too much but this has confused more readers than I would have liked.

You're the third person to have told me that the ending didn't work lol. Looks like a rewrite is definitely a part of this script's future. Good thing I have a plan B. I wanted to make a pre-zombie apocalypse type of film but I guess that that wasn't the direction people wanted it to go in. Sorry it didn't work out for you. This alternate ending that I have would include the characters in the end more.

Thanks again for reading! I greatly appreciate it!


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Fais85
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Hey... Happy to know that the suggestions helped.


Quoted from Zombie Sean
Good thing I have a plan B.....
This alternate ending that I have would include the characters in the end more.


Sounds exciting! Let me know whenever you re-write it. I would love to read.
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