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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Thriller Scripts  ›  Inbox (1)
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Don
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 4:55pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Inbox (1) by Matthew Taylor - Short, Thriller, Psychological Thriller - After receiving increasingly disturbing emails, a deaf customer services agent must battle with his mind in order to make sense of his night. 11 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Matthew Taylor
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 5:49pm Report to Moderator
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Oh shoot. I must have forgotten to tick the box to say this is an update to an existing script. Sorry.


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Colkurtz8
Posted: August 2nd, 2019, 9:25am Report to Moderator
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Interesting opening, immediate curiosity is stirred by Freddy’s scars and the odd/nasty behaviour of his co-workers.

ERIC
Hey Freddy, you weird little git.

ERIC
Oh hi, Freddy, how are you mate?

- Why does Eric greet him twice? Taking the piss?

ERIC
Wanker.

- Jesus, this lad doesn’t mince his words, does he?

IAN
you should have lost your job a long time ago, but apparently, you tick some kind of box.

- Good line. Scathing.

“Ian pulls away, grins. He sits at the small desk, pulls out a small flask, takes a swig.”

- A bit too boss-as-cartoon-villain-ish here. I mean, drinking on the job so blatantly like that.

"Go ahead you absolute fuck monkey, see If I give a shit"

- Ha, this has particular resonance for me since I recently had an email back and forth with an airline who mislaid my luggage. I imagine they deleted lost of phrases resembling this.

ERIC
Stupid deaf cunt.

- Ah, I’m slow on the pick-up. I should’ve gleaned it from Christina’s exchange. I figured Ian’s box ticking comment had something to do with his self harming.

“Freddy grabs a glass of water from the table, throws it into Eric's face.”

- Yikes, that is such a bitch move, deaf or not.

“Danielle and Christina back in their seats, typing. Danielle locks eyes with Freddy.”

- I’d almost forgotten about Christina. There is no mention of her during that whole (real or imagined) Danielle/Eric/Freddy exchange. Some reaction shots showing how she is processing things wouldn’t go astray.

"Drink to the face? Fucking hell. Dig deep and pull out a pair of balls, PLEASE!"

- Haha, big time.

FREDDY
Which one of you is it? It's not funny!
Dumbfounded, they can only stare at him.

- I get that he’s flustered and upset and his struggles to communicate are part of what’s going on here but why won’t he at least try to explain what’s got him worked up? Obviously they are going to be dumbfounded. Maybe he could try but they won’t listen to him.

Right now the Dark Figure stuff feels very familiar, some type of grim reaper incarnate. It’s been seen a million times as a (in my opinion, lazy) representation of someone’s evil alter ego. I hope you do something different here...reading on...

CHRISTINA
We should all go; I'll get the others. See if you can wake Ian.

- It’s hilarious that this Ian chap has been conked out the whole time.

“Freddy rushes forward to help-- stops short as the Dark Figure's face comes into focus-- Its Freddy.”

- Hmmm, yeah. Just my own aversion here but I’ve long been over this type of split personality subgenre of horror. Familiarity breeds jadedness and all that.

“They fall to the ground, Christina on top. She pushes the knife towards his chest, but Freddy is too strong.”

- Wow, brave girl. I thought she would’ve bailed or just curled up in a corner paralysed with feat. That’s how it usually goes.

This began well with the mysterious emails and paranoia. Having your main character deaf was an intriguing twist that, as I said, I was sluggish to cop. However, once it became another guy off his meds so he materialises an evil twin it lost me frankly for the reasons stated above.

I just feel with these type of stories you can pretty much do whatever you want, go as crazy as you want, make the most ridiculous, messed up things happen...and simply blame it on the psychotic break. That lack of parameters undercuts any degree of tension/steaks. Kinda similar to an invincible superhero.

Also, why did he stop taking his meds? This is suggested as the reason for him losing sanity. Did the evil part of him take over because of how Eric treated him in the beginning? I sense that this meltdown had been accumulating for awhile until it exploded here.

On a positive side, your writing is clean and flows well and lots of people out there dig these type of dark psychological thriller/slashers. I’m just not one of them unless it’s bringing something original to the table.

Col.  


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: August 4th, 2019, 5:24pm Report to Moderator
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Hey col

Apologies for the delayed response.

He greeted twice because the first time was behind Freddy's back - he couldn't see him so he couldn't read his lips, but I see you got the deaf angle later on so I hope it makes sense now lol

Valid points about the boss - I should tone it down lol

Yea he stopped taking his meds as the dark side of him took over.

You called me out on the familiarity though - This is the only script I have written where I broke my own code "Write what you enjoy". I didn't enjoy writing this, or the numerous rewrites. I wrote it purely with production in mind - I wanted something made and so I conformed to what I thought would have a better chance of being picked up.
This was a mistake - as you saw, its a rehash of countless stories before it - I might have to sit on this again for a while until something original about it pops into my head.

Funnily enough, the original did not have the "dark figure" - the original was him losing control of reality and his mind jumping in time between before he killed people, and afterward - a sort of glimpsing into the future - his sanity in the past, flashing into images of his insanity into the future - but it confused the hell out of people so I dropped it lol.

Curious about your thoughts on the ending - He actually works nights alone, breaks from sanity and imagines killing his coworkers because of the irritating things they do to him - by morning, when the coworkers show up for their shift, the evil has taken over and he goes to make his imagination a reality. Not sure if that came through, or if it's just a terrible ending lol

Really appreciate your thoughts and comments. Thanks

Will return the read although it may take a day or two

Matt


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Colkurtz8
Posted: August 8th, 2019, 11:53am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Matthew Taylor
He greeted twice because the first time was behind Freddy's back - he couldn't see him so he couldn't read his lips, but I see you got the deaf angle later on so I hope it makes sense now lol


Yeah, I should've copped that earlier, I was slow. Got it later on.


Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Yea he stopped taking his meds as the dark side of him took over.


I wonder could there be some incident that has incited this evil side of him to take over. Like what I thought occurred in my original comments in regards Eric’s asshole behaviour toward him in the beginning. Maybe it's the anniversary of some traumatic event that happened to a loved one (a murder, an assault, a rape, etc) that fractured his psyche like this. This could be revealed at the end and we learn the way his evil side manifested itself during these preceding scenes was informed by the event i.e. the nature of the murder/assault/rape, the location in which it took place, his relationship to the victim, etc.

Right now, it just feels a bit random. He's gone off his meds, his evil side has taken over but there is no pretence as to why.

Alternatively, maybe there is a trigger gesture/hand sign made inadvertently by one of his co-workers that activates his alter ego. Again, this could only be revealed later on when we find out the reason behind his mental breakdown.


Quoted from Matthew Taylor
You called me out on the familiarity though - This is the only script I have written where I broke my own code "Write what you enjoy". I didn't enjoy writing this, or the numerous rewrites. I wrote it purely with production in mind - I wanted something made and so I conformed to what I thought would have a better chance of being picked up.
This was a mistake - as you saw, its a rehash of countless stories before it - I might have to sit on this again for a while until something original about it pops into my head.


That's fair enough, I understand this impulse. Identifiable genre pieces get picked up more often. As I said, a lot of people love this type of material.


Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Funnily enough, the original did not have the "dark figure" - the original was him losing control of reality and his mind jumping in time between before he killed people, and afterward - a sort of glimpsing into the future - his sanity in the past, flashing into images of his insanity into the future - but it confused the hell out of people so I dropped it lol.


That's interesting as a concept, all would depend on the execution of course. My only query would be that his insanity as got to be rooted in his past somewhere, right? It has to have grown from something that happened. Unless you suggest his sanity undergoes a drastic shift within the pages of the script itself, a specific before and after.


Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Curious about your thoughts on the ending - He actually works nights alone, breaks from sanity and imagines killing his coworkers because of the irritating things they do to him - by morning, when the coworkers show up for their shift, the evil has taken over and he goes to make his imagination a reality. Not sure if that came through, or if it's just a terrible ending lol


Yeah, I got a sense of that. The evil Freddy’s twin V.O. sort of spells that out for us. I think it land more effectively if it were set up more as I suggested. That we got some context for his madness, the nature of it and above all, its source. But that’s just me, maybe I’m looking for it to be over explained. Some horror can work in just the opposite manner.

I'll respond to your comments on Pecking Order soon. Cheers.

Col.


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