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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2020 Challenge  ›  We Are Still Here - May OWC - Optioned! Moderators: Administrator
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  Author    We Are Still Here - May OWC - Optioned!  (currently 556 views)
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 11:27am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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We Are Still Here by Mark Renshaw (markrenshaw) writing as Agnes of Beans - Short, Family - A grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's stays connected to her family during lockdown thanks to technology and a bit of ingenuity. 5 pages - pdf format

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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  July 19th, 2020, 7:32pm
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Grandma Bear
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 1:35pm Report to Moderator

The Swamp...
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Not bad. Sad, but occasionally funny too. My biggest issue with this story is that it's rather dull. If you're going to have talking heads with no visuals of interest at all, the dialogue needs to be really sharp. Other than Tonia getting mayo splattered over her face, it's really just an old woman in a bed and two talking heads on a computer screen. I love the idea of Agnes re-watching the call over and over, so that's good. You just need to kick the dialogue up a few notches, IMHO.

So, good job, but can be much better.

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Posted: May 16th, 2020, 7:26pm Report to Moderator

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You have captured a sweet exchange that is tinged with some regret. An effective script overall. Good dialogue. I liked the line about teenagers preparing for this quarantine their entire lives. The exploding mayo was cool--I'd like to see that on film.

Had to read the last page a couple of times to get what was happening. I'm still not sure if the old woman was replaying it, or the family was re-sending the conference again. A bit of clarification might help here.

Overall, a nice read. Best of luck to you.
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Gary Howell
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 7:39pm Report to Moderator
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Not a badly written story at all, but it seems like there wasn’t much going on, although the hook at the end of her replaying the call saved this for me somewhat.  Not sure I got why she was staring out the window and what about that prompted her to replay the call.

Overall, I guess I liked it but just kind of wished there was a little bit more going on with the story other than dialogue from a call with grandma.  Still, a pretty good effort here.  Best of luck.

My web site and scripts can be found here:

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Posted: May 16th, 2020, 8:01pm Report to Moderator
January Project Group

Southern California
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Is blowing exhaust pipes a thing? I may have missed something in my youth. I'd pick a different childhood prank.

Okay - you have a great core premise in the replay thing - poignant - especially in her surprise each time she opens the call.

But ....

The dialogue - at least the subject of it - does not serve your story well. It's too everyday.  There has to be a jolt - a tear - or a belly laugh somewhere. I just found it like a thousand other conversations.

Kudos on entering.

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 4:15am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Part time writer

The Island of Jersey
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We are still here

Lovely effort.

Simple, engaging, and poignant

Three generations sharing the same ride, with the middle one in reflective mood. Strangely I find myself in a not dissimailr position.

One idea I had was, you could add in a mistake in the first dialogue - perhaps something that annoys Agnes - which they correct in the second. Mother and daughter working together etc

I would also feel for Agnes if I saw a little more distress, and confusion

Well done.

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Posted: May 17th, 2020, 5:10am Report to Moderator

The Great Southern Land
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Agnes doing the rinse and repeat on Skype is what makes this work.

The dialogue could do with a few more surprises maybe, but the overall idea is a good one.

Mum, eh? Well, unless you're masquerading as an Aussie, UK, or NZ writer you are not a U.S. writer.  

FYI: When to capitalise - Mum should be capped if you can replace Mum with the person's actual name. If not you use lower case.

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Posted: May 17th, 2020, 6:20am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Easily fits the criteria, could do with a bit more happening though and something to make it more obvious the twist at the end but decent effort overall.

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Posted: May 17th, 2020, 12:49pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Definitely poignant, and a good subject to mine for emotion.

I thought the tonal shift - which was the oddity of Tonia keeping a mayo packet as a keepsake, to the mom saying that she was sorry for everything she's ever done, happened in the blink of an eye. With 6 pages of what is essentially all dialogue, most of it from the mother and daughter, you have time to set this up better. Maybe Wendy tears up first?

And I didn't get anything that showed me she has Alzheimer's - is Agnes answering the video? Because she says the same thing the first time, so it's not clear. If she is, then Wendy's and Tonia's dialogue have to be written as (ON VIDEO) to distinguish from when it happened live to the taped version. That's critical to your story.


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Posted: May 17th, 2020, 8:15pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

A helluva long way from LA
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Did you know Talking Heads use to be a band...

Ok, I'm gonna approach this a bit differently.

There was enough eye candy(your logline) to hold my interest while I endured the exposition of dialogue you used to advance your story. So the twist was quite effective, so kudos.  Also, I thought you did just enough to show the decline in Agnes' mental function.

Bogart called them two humping camel scenes because you would need two camels humping in the background to keep the audience from falling asleep while the boring dialogue was said.-   Now I didn't find your dialog boring by any means.  You had a few funny lines.  My point;

I read it the first time through, then I gave it a second read, only I *skipped* all of the dialogue, just read the actions of the characters.  So... did I still understand your story?  Wait for it.... absolutely.  If that tells you anything.

I liked this a lot.- -A

"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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Posted: May 18th, 2020, 5:44am Report to Moderator

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It was an average read until the end twist came through. The ending saved this script.

Overall, decent writing.
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Posted: May 18th, 2020, 2:49pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

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There's a lot to like here. And, also room for some improvements.

I enjoyed the twist at the end and the emotional elements of the script. Very well done.

The writing could use some punch. 2 of the first 4 action lines are passive. Turn them around. Photos adorn... and Agnes gazes... None others stood out, but a quick check of the script would help, just to make sure.

And, the dialogue is on the verge of being very good. The sentiments are all in there. But, it's mostly overwritten. I think you could get twice the emotional hit with half the words.

Then, for this to really sing, a bit more action would be helpful.

Now, having said that... part of what makes this work, is that they've recreated an every day conversation for Agnes. So, making it too unusual kind of runs against the theme.

All in all, a strong effort that could be even stronger with another draft or two.

Good job.

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Posted: May 19th, 2020, 12:08pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Tucson, AZ
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A nice little read, thanks, writer. Great dialogue and banter, some good descriptive visuals, and perfectly fits the challenge.

My biggest gripe is your logline as it (for me, anyway) gives away the reveal. The recorded call is the best part of the story and I shouldn't have been expecting it.

Nicely done, thanks for entering.
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Posted: May 19th, 2020, 1:27pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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So, I see we have a Brit writer here.

Not sure if this is a Brit thing, but "out of the window" is a mistake - just "out the window".

Not giving Agnes an age is a mistake - "willful old bird" does not give me a clue if she's in her 60's, 70's, 80's, or even 90's.

When I saw your reference to Skype, I had to do a quick google to see if it's even around these days.  It is, but it's rarely used and is being completely phased out, based on what I saw.

Page 4 - "apologies"? - You mean "apologize"?

OK, the end. So, it's a touching tale, but it's also a dull tale, with literally nothing happening of any visual interest.  I don't get the mayo thing, nor do I get the blowing an exhaust pipe, and the "reveal"...I'm not really sure what that's supposed to signify.

There's nothing wrong with this effort, but there's nothing here to remember or really care about, either.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: May 19th, 2020, 2:43pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

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Hmm, why is she repeating the call? Did they die or stopped calling her?
Or does she miss them so much that she needs them all the time?

It's very touching - the end I mean.
I miss my mother now and am scared for her. Yes, very easy for me to relate.
Beautiful story.
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