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Hey Stewart, I just read this and I think it's my favourite so far.
Somehow you made Kyle into a likeable character straight away. I immediately felt like I knew him. The voiceover was consistent and funny throughout. I thought the flashbacks worked well. You made Tobe very intimidating, giving Kyle good reason to be freaked out.
Loved the ending... you managed to turn the whole thing on its head, really wasn't expecting it. A nice idea. My only criticism would be that Kyle's speech at the end is a little long. I think once you drop the bombshell, you should end it fairly quickly. The closing dialogue is good but I think you could trim it down to a few choice lines.
Not much else to say, I really liked it and I felt like I knew, and could relate to, the central character after only 16 pages. Great work.
Very nice work. I enjoyed it a lot. I specially liked the strong connection you portrayed between the flashbacks and the protagonist´s present (i.e. Kyle repeating Tobe´s lines). It contributed to a better flow of the story. Well done.
This was extremely well written!! I really liked the use of voiceovers in this one. I see your love of Queen slipped in more than once, ha! Good stuff. The burger on the corpse was GROSS! I cringed out loud reading this on my bus journey home today, am sure the fella next to me thought I was nuts!
Petrov was a fun character, I think you did well with his accent too. Kyle was very strong too, well done there.
Loved the turn of events at the end, really didn't see anything like that coming! The last page of dialogue was fantastic. Moving actually.
Really well done, Stew! I think you did a terrific job.
Um, is it Tobe Cooper or Tobe Hooper? You have both names. One on the paper and one in the flashback description. Just curious. Oh wait, we have where he carved T.C. into Kyle's arm, so it must be Cooper.
Anyway, good job on this. It had a solid feel good ending. I liked how Tobe redeemed himself, not only with the ending, but also earlier when he took the jibe from Kyle. It really showed how Tobe moved on and how Kyle just clung to it.
I enjoyed also the conflict Kyle went through to be malicious against Tobe, but resisted and overcame his own desires. Clever having him talk to the corpse.
This was a very nicely written piece. What I would expect from you. But if I had to compare it (and I know I shouldn’t) to In Only Seven Days, well, it doesn’t measure up.
But let me qualify that by saying I loved the reverse story-telling of 7 days, as well as that sense of adventure and wonder… as to what was coming around the corner. And how it would all fit.
Rest in Peace is a more introspective story, one that lends itself better to a [less-expensive-to-shoot] short. And if it were to be filmed, I’m sure Peace would be the more complete 20-minute story.
First off, I read a similar story here back when I joined SS in March. It was a short script about a guy confronting a deceased high school tormenter, who is being prepped for a funeral – as I recall (oh, maybe that was the theme of the OWC). The details of that script are fuzzy now.
At first, I thought I was reading the same script. But in checking the reviews, I see that this was my first reading of your story.
There are elements to your story that also remind me of the HBO series, “Six Feet Under,” which was a favorite of mine.
Anyway, your story begins okay.
The prep room scene is where my interest picks up. That bit of humor as Kyle scoots his chair here and there, while prepping a body and still managing to consume a greasy burger was fun.
I liked that Kyle sets down the burger on the torso and leaves a dollop of ketchup on the body. Haha. I fully expected Kyle to dip his fries in the ketchup without missing a beat.
Crazy Gorgei Petrov made me think of that Russian guy (the florist) in Six Feet Under, although Gorgei is short while the guy in Six Feet was a big dude. Anyway, I digress…
So, I’m liking this story just fine at this point. Liked Gorgei talking Kyle into working an extended shift. You did a nice job of Kyle giving in, because that is his nature. Accommodating and weak.
At first, I wondered why this case was special enough for Gorgei to persuade Kyle to stay and work overtime. It’s explained at the story’s end.
KYLE Yeah, I know...but we need the money. You wanted that trip right? SHERRY (V.O.) Yeah, but not at the expense of this every week.
This says a lot about Kyle.
Kyle’s reaction to a deceased Tobe worked well. The flashback sequences of their past were generally smooth and set up nicely by the present-day scenes.
Okay, now for the rub.
I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about Kyle. I don’t necessarily like him, nor do I dislike him.
There is a certain predictability to the story and setup.
When Kyle and Tobe come face to face in the bar, it starts off like old times. Tobe being nasty and all. I liked that Tobe didn’t retaliate when Kyle made his crack comment. Yet, it seemed somehow misplaced.
Perhaps if Tobe was so drunk, that he staggers and then keels over [we see him hit rock bottom]. Once he’s no longer a physical threat, I can see Kyle spouting off.
In that same scene, maybe Tobe could recognize Sherry as a classmate and say her name. Just so we can ID her, if indeed it is important we know that she and Kyle get married(?) later.
At the end, what if Wanda is expanded to Tristan and Wanda – husband and wife? Tristan can recognize Kyle and they can exchange a few pleasantries.
Then, we learn about Tobe’s heroics in the eulogy. I can see Tristan, another kid tormented by Tobe, praise the one-time bully for saving his kids. Maybe they've even overcome their differences and got to be good friends.
I think this would set up an interesting parallel of two kids [Kyle and Tristan] abused by the same bully, whose adult lives travel in opposite directions.
My problem with Kyle is that he doesn’t have much of a character arc, unless that is your intension. He is essentially the same guy at 30-something as he was 20 or so years earlier: doesn’t stand up for himself (allows his boss to take advantage of him), appears to still be tormented by his inability to “move on” with his life, still working at a dead-end (haha) funeral home that he was b****ing about as a youth, while digging graves, still listening to Queen (not that that’s bad), and exacts his revenge on an inanimate object (carving his initials into the dead guy’s arm).
He’s got a nice girl and they have plans, but from their brief phone conversation, it seems their relationship is Doomed.
Why? Because Kyle can’t or won’t move on in life.
And even in death, Tobe rains on Kyle’s parade. He has seemingly changed. Tobe’s revered as a hero. Kyle’s claim to fame is prepping the dead for their last rites. And he gets satisfaction out of the dead guys that were so bad in life, that nobody shows up to pay their respects.
The ending is okay, some of it anyways. It’s a bit long-winded, which makes it seem too philosophical. As if Kyle all of sudden gets it.
To me, Kyle has never quite gotten it. He harbors bad feelings and maybe because of that, his life is stunted.
Have you considered somebody else (Tristan?) giving those glorious parting words at the end?
Oh, and that scene with Young Tobe carving into Young Kyle’s arm, I think we need to hear this kid scream. Sharp blade into flesh, that’s got to send Kyle over the edge.
INT. TREEHOUSE - FLASHBACK
YOUNG KYLE Argh, it hurts.
BLOOD forms around a cut in young Kyle's arm. Holding him down are Tobe's friends, while Tobe stands over him with a knife.
Come on, Stew. “Argh, it hurts” ? Argh, that’s weak.
Well, that’s my take. Perhaps I’m reading way more into this than I should.
Rest in Peace, technically as I said, is very nicely written. Formatted well, everything in its place. I just wish the twists and turns would have made for a different conclusion.
I loved the premise of the story, the entire notion of preparing your worst enemy for his funeral is very strong, I think. I liked the first half best, and though I usually despise flash-backs (often gives off a very TV vibe) I think it worked really well here, primarily because your transitions.
Even though I saw the entire "Tobe-died-a-hero" coming, there was really nothing you could do (nor should you) to obscureify it even more. It's a good twist.
I'm not a huge fan of the speech by the end. It's well written, but the whole redeeming/forgiving process of Kyle seems kinda forced, which is why I usually dislike redemption stories in shorts - you can't really pull them off without having it seem rushed. But I see the way you set it up, you really couldn't have it end any other way.
Overall I thought it was a good short, with a concept I wish I had thought of first.
"The Flux capacitor. It's what makes time travel possible."
Tomorrow we shoot a 5 minute version of "Rest in Peace."
I've re-worked the piece as a conversation between Tobe and Kyle. Tobe has to get forgiveness from Kyle in order to pass into heaven. It's a story of forgiveness, redemption and judging. I really like the outcome and it has sparked many conversations as to what the ending represents... which is exactly what you want from a short film touching on these themes.
We have a great little crew filming it on a moderate budget. We couldn't get into a preparation room, so that's the only thing that we have to compromise with. The director is great and on board with the concept and will be filmed in correspondence with Vancouver Film School.