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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    The 2019 Writers' Tournament  ›  Virus - WT3 Moderators: Mr. Blonde
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  Author    Virus - WT3  (currently 1272 views)
Posted: June 17th, 2019, 9:52pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Virus by Vaccine - The use of hand sanitizer is meant to prevent viruses, not spread them! - Short, Horror

Visit for what is new on the site.

You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 18th, 2019, 1:47am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

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You met the criteria. Ring the bells!

While it's just a standard zombie style horror, the fact you managed to do that should see you quite high in the rankings from what I've seen so far.
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Posted: June 18th, 2019, 1:53am Report to Moderator
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...lumps of hair fall out.


Newsreader report falls apart toward the end.


BETTY, 30, dressed for summer in a flowery outfit.

This sentence does not end correctly. I'd rewrite like so using your second sentence as a run-on:

In a flowery outfit, BETTY (30), grabs her handbag and stands.


Sits between FRANK, 5, and CHARLOTTE, 4, who both imitate their parentsí clothing.

You don't start a sentence like that. Lazy.

I just can't finish.
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Posted: June 18th, 2019, 11:08am Report to Moderator
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This was pretty good and had some humour in it, though it ends abruptly without a satisfying conclusion. There are some grammatical errors in a few of your descriptions.
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Posted: June 18th, 2019, 11:31am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Your multiple characters talk like robots.
I don't see a story here. What about your main characters, where did they go once we got on a plane?
You met the criteria I guess.
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Posted: June 18th, 2019, 3:06pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Criteria met.

Pretty standard zombie fair. Which, usually leaves me unsatisfied. If you're going to do zombies, you need to bring something different. But, that's just me. I'm simply not a fan of zombie stuff, mainly for that reason. Nobody does much new. It's just zombies in a different setting.

So, my main complaint... there's nothing new.

Regarding the writing:

Your character intros should give us something about the people/situation. Clothing descriptions are the easiest, but least interesting. Maybe you told us they were going on vacation with their clothes... but, it didn't matter to the story, so we didn't learn anything. Many times, in a short, character descriptions aren't even necessary. That'd be the case here, as we didn't learn anything useful.

Also, check your actions. Do they add to the story? In this case, her going to the store added nothing, so I'd recommend dropping it. She has the hand sanitizer on the plane. We accept that. Don't need to explain that she bought it.

That's a couple of lines you can use to do something more interesting.

Similarly, you use half a page to distribute the hand sanitizer. Tighten that up and use the new space for some cool action.

That's my main suggestion: look for ways to make the simple actions take less space, then use the new space to do something more interesting.

Push yourself further. Tighten. Then push story harder. You'll be amazed at how quickly your writing comes to life.

Good job, and keep writing.

60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature
The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature
Wait Till Next Year - Disney-style family sports comedy/Feature

Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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Gary in Houston
Posted: June 18th, 2019, 8:15pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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Check marks for the challenge being met.

But this gets off to a bad start by giving us a man in the factory pouring a vial in a vat, but we have no clue why he is there and what his intentions are.  Then we spend two pages with a family that we lose track of once they're on the plane.

Then we don't have a satisfying ending -- it's abrupt and we're not really sure why the pilots would unlock the door.  Why not just keep it locked and wait for help?

The writing is a bit rough in spots and needs a grammar check.  Just not for me I'm afraid, but best of luck with it.

An utterly mediocre writer who somehow still falls bass ackwards into getting some of his scripts produced.
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Posted: June 19th, 2019, 5:31am Report to Moderator

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This was okay. Writer met the criteria. But nothing extraordinary or interesting going on. Also the ending was kind of abrupt.
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Posted: June 19th, 2019, 9:10am Report to Moderator

The Great Southern Land
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I expect you probably know this already but one of the important things you want to do with your story is engage your audience so that we care about your characters and what happens to them.

At the top you have 'Mysterious Man' sabotaging a vat of hand sanitizer - who knows why he just did what he did, I have no idea. Then you introduce a family. You did that quite well. Through dialogue they're vaguely interesting and vaguely humorous. From there you intro a bunch of other characters, and then briefly come back to the family when Frank develops 'the rash' - and then some more random people develop the rash', a woman is outraged cause a man bites her, and a flight attendant becomes alarmed.

There's no protagonist, no-one for us to follow and really care about.

This reads as the start of a longer piece, as if you wanted to submit so an incomplete was better than nothing.

Next time my suggestion is you write from the POV of the family and stay with them. Show us their reactions, panic, terror, in response to the calamitous outbreak going on around them.

I did chuckle at ZNN btw.

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Posted: June 19th, 2019, 2:57pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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The beginning somewhat confuses me. Super 3 months earlier.  3 months earlier from what.? Since it is the very first scene ,I think, I would lose the super or swap your first two scenes around. . You could use a date maybe,. Itís probably not to big of a deal, if one at all. Maybe itís a preference type thing and Iím over thinking it.

I think this is more a situation, to a much bigger story.  It would have worked better for me if you focused on the family of 4 than just jumping around.  Try to tell the story from the familyís POV.  

A few other things ,but itís already been said ,so no need to rehash it out.

Decent effort just needs a polish .

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Posted: June 19th, 2019, 11:02pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

A man who has taught his mind to misbehave

Sydney, Australia
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Hi writer,

Quoted Text
over various large vats of chemicals churn.

Is there a missing word here? It reads a bit awkwardly to me.

Quoted Text

Should be a (V.O.)

Clumps of hair, not lumps of hair. I thought the first one was a typo but you used it again.

Quoted Text
Thanks Denise.

Thanks, Denise - Always need a comma when addressing someone directly in dialogue.

The dialogue has no life.

Quoted Text
A build up of SCREAMS all of the plane.

all over? But that still doesnít seem right.

Quoted Text

Maybe - AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER - to give it more character.

This just ends, like you had more story to tell but got to the 5 page limit and submitted it.

I have a similar idea in a feature I wrote, but instead of hand sanitizer it's water. It's not great.

The writing needs a bit of work.

I do feel like you met the criteria.

All the best.

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Posted: June 20th, 2019, 3:57pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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The motive of the Mysterious Man was never revealed, so when it goes nowhere, fine, but then the imagery should imo be much harder and heavily strike toward genre.

Hmm, what I found uneven was the visual description as the virus spread. There should have been much more chaos and a clear acoustic change from the point when several people were infected.

However, I generally like the usage of the hand sanitizer here. The script could display better visuals from the horror genre since the opportunity was given. Not bad but not truly convincing eitherÖ

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Posted: June 20th, 2019, 4:29pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

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So met the criteria effectively and I really liked the inventive use of sanitiser, though I hop the CDC are not that inept in real life!

But the narrative then shifts too much and becomes a little confused and difficult to follow - maybe this was intentional, a little like World War Z in microcosm?

Anyway, decent effort but ultimately fairly standard fare.

Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
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Posted: June 20th, 2019, 7:09pm Report to Moderator

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The story had a nice flow to it. The scene in the plane was well done. It was funny, in a macabre way, watching Betty force the virus on her family in an attempt to prevent it. The Pilot and Co-Pilotís docile acceptance of their fate was probably realistic, but not very entertaining. Maybe the story would have profited by the pilots being more proactive in preventing their passengers spreading the disease.
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: June 21st, 2019, 8:45am Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Shakespeare's county
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Hello writer

Last one for me.

a SUPER immediately after a scene heading is poor form - what is it being superimposed over? you appear to be missing a paragraph that actually describes the scene.

another scene, another SUPER with no description of the actual scene - come on writer lol

If the outbreak is already known about, and the CDC are on it, wouldn't flights be grounded to prevent the spread of the disease? I dunno, food for thought.

The writing isn't great and the dialogue is very stilted - Some more practice and study on that element of your writing is needed.

oh... it just ended. It's like you wrote this out, got to the page limit and thought "Yep, that will do". What happened to the family? who was the mysterious man? why did he put stuff in the hand sanitizer.... come to think of it, what was the point? if this Virus is spread by touch then what sis the sanitizer do?

Too many unanswered questions and loose ends, topped off with an unsatisfying ending.

Good effort but this missed the mark for me.



Two steps to writing a good screenplay:
1) Write a bad one
2) Fix it
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