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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    The 2019 Writers' Tournament  ›  Henry Schmidt: A Tosher's Tale - WT2 Moderators: Mr. Blonde, Moderator
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  Author    Henry Schmidt: A Tosher's Tale - WT2  (currently 916 views)
Don
Posted: June 10th, 2019, 10:18pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Henry Schmidt: A Tosher's Tale by Matthew Taylor (Matthew Taylor)  writing as Helen Hywater - Short, Historical Dramedy - A victorian tosher finds an unusual way to keep the snitches at bay, but things soon spiral out of control. 5 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  July 23rd, 2019, 4:50pm
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 11th, 2019, 5:21am Report to Moderator
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Your opening line is a mess, which is never a good look.

I liked the atmosphere you created a lot. It had a strong vibe of the kind of stories you were imitating. The punch-line fell flat because Schmidt had done well. It would only work if it had all gone wrong and they roasted him or something.

Overall, I don't know how I feel about this. It feels like there's some talent here, but the story itself lacks a specific moral or theme to really hold it together as a complete work. Still, it's among the better entries.
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ReneC
Posted: June 11th, 2019, 10:22am Report to Moderator
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I really enjoyed the storyteller angle with this. The tone is excellent, you created a wonderful atmosphere and drew me right in.

I also feel itís missing something though. Itís not quite an origin story, not quite a morality tale. The ending narration suggests it should be a cautionary tale but it isnít. And Schmidt already has his solution halfway through and it works for him.

I think it might help to decide which way you want to go. I like the idea of monster hunters or something coming to kill him because his clever idea was a little too clever. Or maybe tell the tale of how he came up with the creation born out of that penny whistle to outsmart people and his story is actually about perseverance in the face of adversity.

The rhyming could use another pass, it almost works.

The few writing errors aside (sifting through shit, not shifting) this is well done and it certainly has character. I enjoyed it.


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PKCardinal
Posted: June 11th, 2019, 1:12pm Report to Moderator
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An excellent entry to be sure.

Was a little concerned when we had 3 uses of the word Victorian in the first 5 lines of script.

Aside from that, the whole thing worked for me. I'll agree with the two previous reviewers that just one more layer of theme would really make this sing.

Good job. Not much to add, I just enjoyed the read.


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JEStaats
Posted: June 11th, 2019, 3:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hmmm...tosher. Had to look that one up before starting. You learn something new everyday.

The very first narrator dialog doesn't seem to work. Should in be it? It doesn't rhyme either, or is it just me?

NARRATOR (V.O.)
Victorian London. For you, what
image does in conjure?...

I found that really difficult to read. As soon as I realized the rhyming of the narrator, that's how I wanted to read the action and it threw me right off.

I just read it a second time and it works better. Question is that is doesn't really ring comedy to me. It's written well, and there's definitely a story, but not really comedy. Somebody help me out here....

Great character building, too. No dialog, per se, it's all V.O.

Good story telling, overall. This'll be a tough one to score.

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Warren
Posted: June 11th, 2019, 8:28pm Report to Moderator
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Hi writer,

"A tosher is someone who scavenges in the sewers, a sewer-hunter, especially in London during the Victorian era." - Well there you go.


Quoted Text
we hear his throat being slit.


I would have liked a more visual description rather than "we hear". Like what sound is that? Maybe it's pretty unique, I donít know.

It would just look so much better if you turned off the character cont'd. Personal preference and it's quite obvious that itís continued.


Quoted Text
We move through the floor until we get to


I'm just never going to be a fan of this type of writing.

I've just finished the first page and there hasnít even been an attempt at comedy...

"piss" and "shit" feel like they mess with the tone, but donít pull it into the comedy realm.

Done, I'm sorry but where is the comedy? Or the attempt at comedy? I'm not sure Henry having a couple of chuckles to himself really counts. The rest felt pretty dark, like the best-of-a-bad situation but still not funny in any way. This is the first script that wonít make it for me.

Hard for me to score the dialogue as well, I realise the effort and work that goes into rhyming dialogue, but I'm not the audience for it, so do I mark it on how much I enjoyed/didnít enjoy it, or how crafty it is? I'll have to think about it.

I think this one will really divide opinions, but we'll see.

All the best.


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LC
Posted: June 11th, 2019, 8:54pm Report to Moderator
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Ah, these WTs and OWCs can be brutal. I bet those typos are bugging you - first line typo is never a good look:
what image does in conjure?...
What image does it conjure...?

Henry retrieves up his sieve
Pretty sure that 'up' is redundant.
Sifting through instead of shifting.

Perhaps you were under the gun.

This is a valiant effort, clearly you put the work in and I liked reading a lot of it.
You evoked nicely a time and place and the character of Henry.

There's some wit on display here but it lacks comedy imho.


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: June 12th, 2019, 6:32am Report to Moderator
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Hello writer

Looks like you are making people hit google - I did too, I may have gone a bit further (I found it interesting) and found there was actually a myth about pigs in the sewers, who knew.

Anyway...

Interesting take. definitely got that Victorian legend vibe and I enjoyed the journey the Narrator took me on.

I've read the comments and I can see why others would mark you down for comedy. Personally, I didn't laugh at all but I can see the attempt to get the comedy tone rather than serious tone.

If you have another go at this post-tournament then I would rework the Narrators poem to really add in some comedy and also add some more conflict at the end

I also think you should choose an audience for this - get rid of the swearing and aim it at kids in a Horrible Histories kind of way - Or crank it up to adult humour

EDIT: Forgot to add - You would need the right Narrator to bring home the comedy element, a light a jovial voice rather than dark and enigmatic



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Matthew Taylor  -  June 12th, 2019, 7:20am
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khamanna
Posted: June 12th, 2019, 9:26am Report to Moderator
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Hi.
This is cleverly done. Henry is a very good character.
Overall I had to read it twice to get the meaning for some reason. But lol, it's a very nice effort. I learned to appreciate it.
I read through the comments - this is def a comedy for me. So, good job there as well. Having you at very good for a story, too.
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Dustin
Posted: June 12th, 2019, 9:46am Report to Moderator
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A smart story that did its best in the time allotted. The best I've read so far.


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hawkeye
Posted: June 12th, 2019, 6:54pm Report to Moderator
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This was another interesting choice, much like "Crappy Job" had no dialogue, this had the narrator speaking entirely in rhyme.  Does it work?  Not entirely, but I don't think that it's bad.  Some of the rhymes are reaching and you hem yourself by utilizing that choice of style.  

Beyond that, I'm not sure the story of the pig whistle works, but in the end, that doesn't matter as much to me. I think brave choices allow you some leeway with other parts.  I didn't necessarily understand the scaring of the Snitches part -- the Snitches were keeping him from digging in the sewage?  Why would the Snitches care?  What do they get from keeping him away from the sewage?  I may have missed something, but that's the part that I think needs more fleshing out.

Otherwise, pretty good effort here.


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stevie
Posted: June 12th, 2019, 6:57pm Report to Moderator
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Nicely written, good feeling of the Victorian gaslights and such. The rhyming dialogue was ok. Another OWC had one using that and it was grating (no pun intended).

Little to no humour or giggle fodder but it was meticulously planned out and flowed nicely


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leitskev
Posted: June 12th, 2019, 7:13pm Report to Moderator
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Just big enough for a skinny, hunched man...

Odd description.

Great effort on the narration though. Hard to judge, but I applaud it overall.

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Spqr
Posted: June 13th, 2019, 8:31pm Report to Moderator
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An entertaining tale, but not especially humorous.  The Narrator carries too much of the narrative load, but itís understandable considering the time constraint it was written under. All things considered, a very good effort.
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Dreamscale
Posted: June 14th, 2019, 1:44pm Report to Moderator
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Last of the bunch.  Let's see if I can give you some helpful feedback.

First of all, I had to look up what a tosher was/is.  So, thanks for teaching me something new.

Personally, I don't like how you used "Birdseye view", and I think it's actually "bird's-eye view", isn't it?  Much neater just to use, "From above" or the like.

So, we have a narrator?  Oh boy...and this narrator has a mistake in their opening dialogue - "in" - "it".

If we're in Victorian London, I would imagine the streets are also Victorian, so no reason to include that in your Slug.

"High society MEN stroll the cobbled streets. Top hats and canes." - So, you chose to write this as 2 sentences, the last, obviously a fragment, but more importantly, you ended in a lonely little orphan, because you repeated the Slug for some unknown reason.

"child" needs to be CAPPED - just like you CAPPED "MEN" earlier.

"The men walk past a darkened alleyway, one of them is SNATCHED by a figure from the shadows and dragged into it. He SCREAMS we hear his throat being slit." - This is extremely awkwardly written.  First "sentence" is a run-on.  2nd is just a mess, as you omitted "as" or a similar word, and using "we hear" for such a potentially visual action, is just plain wrong.

OK, this rhyming narrator is odd, to say the least and you've missed several rhymes already, and I bet it's going to be problematic as we go.

"We move through the floor until we get to" - This is poorly done.  So many better ways of writing this, but let's understand a couple things first...there's no floor here.  We're on a cobbled street.  When you "transition" like this into your next Slug, you need a dash, or as I prefer, an ellipsis.

"skinny hunched man" - Huh?  WTF?

No age whatsoever for Henry's intro?  And why again, do you have "us" in there?  Serves no purpose whatsoever.

"shifting" - "sifting"

Is the narrator's rhymes supposed to be the comedy element here?  It's not remotely funny and there's absolutely ZERO comedy anywhere else so far.

"cylinder object" - You mean cylindrical?  Oh boy...

"A SNITCH peers down through the grate - their eyes light up as they see Henry." - if it's 1 snitch, why are you using "their" and "they"?  Not good on the writing at all.

"The Snitch stands tall, cups their hands around their mouth.  They mouth the words the Narrator speaks." - Wow, terrible.  Again, if it's a single person, why are you using plurals?  And the awkwardness of talking about the narrator.  Damn...I'm getting ready to jump ship.

Writing is getting even worse, missing words, punctuation, awkward, just not good.

OK, the end.

So, listen...there's obviously alot of thought that went into this.  There's talent here, although writing-wise, this is a mess.  I can see where some will give you 5 points for comedy, based on the narrator's rhyming ways, but I can't, as there's literally no comedy here whatsoever.  Story-wise, it's excellent, but dialogue?  No, can't commend the VO, sorry to say.


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