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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Horror  ›  Ruined - Picked Up
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  Author    Ruined - Picked Up  (currently 818 views)
Don
Posted: April 15th, 2019, 11:42am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Ruined by Kirsten James - Short, Horror - A simple visit turns into a nightmare when a brother returns to the family home to help his older sister sort through their recently deceased parents' belongings. 17 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.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  June 16th, 2019, 5:01pm
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Arundel
Posted: April 15th, 2019, 11:55pm Report to Moderator
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I did enjoy this. It worked s a page turner and made me want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Also I could get the visuals. One thing I found you did perfectly was give enough information but not too much back story for a film this length. Kept it moving. One question is (and this is hardly worth mentioning) is that in your scene headings INT/EXT were not used in some of the kitchen scenes, i.e. "he walks into the... KITCHEN... and sits at the table." I get why you did this, for the flow of the scene. Just wondering if it's something you noticed too or did intentionally. You did well with two characters, and made them "fill the space" of the 17 pages/minutes without dragging.
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LC
Posted: April 16th, 2019, 1:40am Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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A quick scan tells me that yes, Kirsten could do with using Mini Slugs throughout this contained setting.
At the moment it's a mix of both.

Good advice Arundel, and welcome to SS!


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: April 16th, 2019, 6:15am Report to Moderator
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Hi Kirsten

If memory serves, I owe you a read - I am busy with the OWC challenge at the moment, but I have bookmarked this to read once it is over.

Regards

Matt


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Dreamscale
Posted: April 16th, 2019, 1:26pm Report to Moderator
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When there are glaring errors in your logline, it's very likely the script that follows will also have glaring errors.

"A simple visit turns into nightmare when a brother returns to the family home to help his older sister sort through their dead parents belongings."

Missing "a" between "into" and "nightmare".  parents - "parents'"

Also, "when a brother...to help his older sister" - could and should be rewritten..

How about this?  A simple visit turns into a nightmare when two siblings return to their family home to sort through their recently deceased parents' belongings.


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

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Dreamscale  -  June 18th, 2019, 7:40pm
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Kirsten
Posted: April 16th, 2019, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Arundel and LC, thanks heaps for your read and comments. Yep, I've taken a look and I get it now. I wasn't sure if the minis were right, but do get it, thank you for clearing it up. I've been pulled up about this before.

Matthew, thankyou.. good luck with the OWC.

Jeff... shit. Yes, an example of whipping up a logline to get it on SS on time and making a meal of it... your example is good, I will re work it. But the script is perfect . I spent longer on that


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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Dreamscale
Posted: April 16th, 2019, 5:11pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Kirsten
But the script is perfect . I spent longer on that


  Good to hear.  I may just have to check it out.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Zombie Sean
Posted: April 17th, 2019, 10:42am Report to Moderator
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Hey Kirsten,

This was a good ghost story you had going on here. I felt it went on a little too long and could be shortened a bit, but otherwise the flow of it was good and I liked the twist at the end, albeit to me it was a tad cartoonish. But, it works, and I liked it.

My only gripe is how did the police not connect the dots between the parents and Joan? If she went on the fishing trip with them and they disappeared, wouldn't fingers mostly point to her? Unless I am missing something.

I also thought that Joan would've buried Henry in the backyard in the garden and planted roses where his body was, to connect the roses to the story, but even though that didn't happen, it was a good ending.

Good job,

Sean


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Kirsten
Posted: April 20th, 2019, 6:47am Report to Moderator
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Hey Sean,

Thanks for the read and comments. Good point about the cops and Joan. I need to make it more clear that it's not a murder investigation, just a missing persons, presumed drowned one. And if the police did come to the house just to check it out, the 'things' in the closest could have been easily overlooked.

I did think of connecting the roses somehow, but got lost trying to get the ending right and didn't go back to that.

This was suppose to be an easy quick one, but as I started writing I felt I needed to work on their characters as part of the horror, probably why it seems a bit too long. Maybe the character work needs some attention to make it feel less dragging.

Anyways while I write this I can see your screenplay posters and they look cool. And it makes me want to go check out your other two. And to re read Where the Bad kids Go...


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: April 26th, 2019, 6:19am Report to Moderator
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Hi Kirsten

I remembered to come back here and give this a read. Well done me lol


Quoted Text
EXT. HOUSE – DAY
It’s fall and the sun is about to rise on a ranch style
house and its patchy lawn and messy garden.


The opening slug is not very inspiring - it's also a waste of space. With such a minimal slug you have forced yourself to expand on it in the description, adding more words and repeating the fact it was a house.
You also have the time of day wrong in the slug - you tell us it's DAY then immediately contradict yourself by telling us the sun hasn't risen yet.
You can solve your issue by just changing the slug to DAWN - then negate telling us the sun is about to rise.
The very first words are also you telling us, not showing - seasons are bloody easy to show rather than tell.


Quoted Text
EXT. RANCH HOUSE – DAWN
Russet leaves fall onto a slovenly garden.


less is more if you can find the right words and use the most of your space.

I've picked on this because it's the very first thing we see - the first impression - make it count.

On with the story....


Quoted Text
HENRY, 40’s, gets out. He's dressed conservatively in a
plain woolen sweater and tidy jeans. His hair is short
and neatly combed.

He straightens up his sweater, grabs an overnight bag
from the backseat of the car and heads towards the…

…FRONT DOOR


A classic case of double information here - you have told us twice (in a short space of time) he is wearing a sweater. If you can convey information through action rather than telling us, that should take precedent - So, if you tell us he is wearing a sweater through the action of him adjusting it, you don't need to outright tell us he wears one in the passage before.

Good use of the mini slug here - I would get rid of the "..." though.


Quoted Text
The door opens and there stands JOAN, early 50’s, shy,
a little overweight and hunched. She’s dressed in a
stained oversized sweater and baggy track pants. Her
hair seems to coincide with her attire, hanging off her,
thick and messy
. She smiles at Henry.


This passage is slightly overwritten - If she has opened the door then we expect her to be standing. As a general rule, I try to only point out things that either, are expected to be, but are not - or - are not expected to be, but are.
So - if she opened the door lying down - tell us.
Also too much telling us about the hair - if you compare it to the state of the clothes, that is enough.

I'll be back to read and comment on the actual story

Matt


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Kirsten
Posted: April 27th, 2019, 7:53am Report to Moderator
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Yay, yeah well done Matt! And thankyou heaps for this... it's very helpful. It's cleared some questions up for me...i.e the slug..DAWN or DAY. It was originally Dawn but I changed it.


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: April 29th, 2019, 8:01am Report to Moderator
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Hi Kirsten

No problem - remember I am an amateur, and my writing has been accused of being boring a few times, so take my comments with a pinch of salt lol

EXT. HENRY�S BEDROOM
Slug error on page.... 13 I think - where are your page numbers? - anyway, should be INT.

I've always wondered about these ghost/haunted house stories - they experience something so scary and stay in the bloody house! I'd be out of there so fast... anyway, back to my read.

Are you writing directly into WORD by the way? or are you copying and pasting from scriptwriting software? - HENRY is misaligned at the bottom of page 14

yea bottom of page 16 into 17 - Joan's dialogue is awkwardly split over the pages.

OK finished my read - I fear I can't be very helpful to you in this but, here are my thoughts anyway.

Alright - we got a ghost story. I don't think there is anything unique about this one (This isn't a criticism BTW) - It's a pretty straight cut haunted house.

Watching this would have some creepy and scary moments - which is what you want in a horror so good job.

Henry's fight at the end. Not much of a struggle with Joan at the end - I realize he has already been poisoned but, he has just found the severed head of his mother and discovered that his sister did it - I expected a bit more conflict to be honest.

The ghosts - I don't know what their motivation is - revenge? to find their heads so they can rest? do they need motivation? I don't know - I expected them to play a part, but they didn't, they were just kind of there - they didn't really play a part in the story, or prompt the confession from Joan - I don't know, I feel like they are missing something.

They can move objects though, which means they are poltergeists rather than ghosts. They are parents so would they not try to reach out to Henry? warn him? they know he is there because the mother acknowledged him - You can really utilize them better I think.

I never really felt any dread for Henry either, no moments where I feared for him.

I think the theme of drawing and roses could also be more prominent throughout - try and link things a bit more, throw out something symbolic - OK I am terrible at explaining myself so I'll try and use an example.
The Head - it's in a bowling bag, this is the only reference to bowling in the script - doesn't link to anything. You could link it to some of the running themes you have already established - roses, drawing, nautical - Oh you mentioned the dad tidied up his fishing stuff, can a head fit in a tackle box? I dunno, I hope you understand my point anyway.

Try not to put stuff in the readers head that is no relevant - for instance, towards the beginning there is mention of gas and Henry thinking it had been fixed -  then, no mention of it again. For ages, I thought the gas was going to play a part somehow.

Yeah, something else just popped into my head - belated birthday, the gift - did she ever open it? I don't think so - if she did I can't remember what it was - another example of a loose thread that was never tied into the plot. How about this:- She just murders him for stopping her from drawing - she opens the gift - new set of drawing pencils, oh look he does care after all -- OK that may be cheesy, but again, I hope my point is coming across

I don't think I am being helpful - So I'll stop there unless you want me to expand on anything.

Anyway, great job - I enjoyed the read, I didn't stumble much but it could use tightening. I wanted to read to the end so that is always a good thing

Matt



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Kirsten
Posted: April 30th, 2019, 7:10am Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt,

Thank you, yep that was very helpful. I'm glad you got to the end. Trust me.

Yeah most people would run out of the house if they saw a full on ghost, I'm sure. But in the movies they don't cause they are stupid ))).

I had a lot of difficulty with this one in terms of logistics. I wanted it simple.  I built this story around one small incident in my childhood - I stayed at my aunts and got freaked out one night when the closet door flew open and a bunch of junk fell out. lol.

The slug error is intentional, but I should write Hallway instead because they are standing at the doorway looking in.

I think in terms of my intentions in this, it felt to me when I was writing it is more of a psychological horror, less about a haunted house, more about Joan and Henry's haunted lives and the real horror in the closet.

The gas thing was me trying to be realistic with the dialogue, nothing to do with anything in the story, which I need to watch out for. I can still be realistic with out throwing people away from the story. And the birthday present, just throwing in things to make it interesting, but not linking it to the plot ((

The ghosts have no motivation, just to be there to add to the spooky factor and back story. But yes I need to add more conflict into their presence to make it pop.

I need to keep it tight and link things, so thankyou for pointing those things out.

Cheers K





"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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RobbieD
Posted: May 3rd, 2019, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Kirsten.

Thanks for your kind comments on my Mallory Goode script.

Just read this one. Loved it Kirsten, really easy to follow, and lets the reveals come out at just the right moments. Well done. For a horrible moment I thought you was going to let the bother have a slower death - with his head on her lap whilst he could do nothing but listen to her explaining that she was going to take his head off later... woooo.

Hey, if you're ever up for a collaboration - look me up yeah.

R


MADAME DORA, CLAIRVOYANT (Horror, Short)
MALLORY GOODE  (Horror, Short)
DIRTY GRANDAD DOT COM (Comedy, Short)
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Kirsten
Posted: May 5th, 2019, 5:36am Report to Moderator
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Hey Robbie,

Thanks so much for giving this a read and your kind comments. Yeah, that death scene sounds good. I have to get over my fear of being to disturbing. The heads in the closet were a push Only did that cause having their bodies in it wouldn't have been logical. Smelly dead body house and room in the closet???? lol

Yes, if I am up for collaboration I'll definitely look you up.

Cheers K


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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