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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  May 2010 One Week Challenge  /  OWC - Dumb Animals
Posted by: Don, May 17th, 2010, 9:43pm
Dumb Animals by Anonymous - Short, Drama - A corporate representative conflicts with the farmer and makes some disturbing discoveries when she inspects a distinctive farm. - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., May 17th, 2010, 9:52pm; Reply: 1

Quoted from Don
Dumb Animals by Anonymous - Short, Drama - A corporate representative conflicts with the farmer and makes some disturbing discoveries when she inspects a distinctive farm. - pdf, format 8)


I won't read a script called

Dumb Animals

No respect.

Loved the snow spit into the seal's mouth in whatever script that was. There's respect.

Sorry but no on this one,

Sandra
Posted by: Ryan1, May 17th, 2010, 10:09pm; Reply: 2
Definitely the best of the bunch i've read so far.  The writer put a lot of thought into this one.  I like how it began as an afternoon out in the country and descended into a dystopian nightmare.  I also appreciate how the actual farming process was well and convincingly explained.  Believable characters,  good dialogue and a solid concept.

The ethical question at the crux of this challenge is taken head on.  Good job.
Posted by: Ryan1, May 17th, 2010, 10:11pm; Reply: 3

Quoted from Sandra Elstree.


I won't read a script called

Dumb Animals

No respect.

Loved the snow spit into the seal's mouth in whatever script that was. There's respect.

Sorry but no on this one,

Sandra


Sandra, you should give this one a chance.  The title is deliberately misleading.

Posted by: Sandra Elstree., May 17th, 2010, 10:55pm; Reply: 4

Quoted from Ryan1


Sandra, you should give this one a chance.  The title is deliberately misleading.



I will because you told me so.

Just goes to show you though how a title can make or break.

I'll read this tomorrow. Thanks Ryan.

Sandra
Posted by: khamanna, May 17th, 2010, 11:21pm; Reply: 5
My navigator says "arriving at destination" (I had three and all three say that, no "you")

What's an E.P.?

Is that a mistake "The animals are base, uncivilized, unintelligent, mostly female humans."?

Ok, it's all clear now. The premise is interesting but it dragged a bit as I read on. I think there's very little conflict in it. You provide a lot of visuals but I don't see what they led up to - the fight, castrated baby male...- if this is to show how they arrived at "this is inhumane" - I don't think it's enough. For them this is the way of life, crying of humans for them is the same as animal's for us. In other words it's kind of sudden when she starts feeling pity for them. In My Opinion, of course.

The set up is akin to the Planet Of The Apes. Good set up, but I think could be rewritten for clarity. And for the better build up.
Posted by: greg, May 17th, 2010, 11:58pm; Reply: 6
I'm not sure I completely "got" the ending but here goes: Since the boy was "aware" of his surroundings and able to mentally function, that means that the farming of humans, or processed meat, is inhuman and cruel, which is kind of like what the hardcore vegans are arguing.  Am I reading that right?  Well, if not, it was still an interesting read.

I, too, was thinking Planet of the Apes while reading this with the way you described basically the farming of human beings.  Pretty nice imagery in here.

Dragged a bit in areas but an intriguing interpretation nevertheless.  Nice creativity and good job.
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., May 18th, 2010, 12:15am; Reply: 7

Quoted from khamanna
My navigator says "arriving at destination" (I had three and all three say that, no "you")

What's an E.P.?

Is that a mistake "The animals are base, uncivilized, unintelligent, mostly female humans."?

Ok, it's all clear now. The premise is interesting but it dragged a bit as I read on. I think there's very little conflict in it. You provide a lot of visuals but I don't see what they led up to - the fight, castrated baby male...- if this is to show how they arrived at "this is inhumane" - I don't think it's enough. For them this is the way of life, crying of humans for them is the same as animal's for us. In other words it's kind of sudden when she starts feeling pity for them. In My Opinion, of course.

The set up is akin to the Planet Of The Apes. Good set up, but I think could be rewritten for clarity. And for the better build up.



Quoted from greg
I'm not sure I completely "got" the ending but here goes: Since the boy was "aware" of his surroundings and able to mentally function, that means that the farming of humans, or processed meat, is inhuman and cruel, which is kind of like what the hardcore vegans are arguing.  Am I reading that right?  Well, if not, it was still an interesting read.

I, too, was thinking Planet of the Apes while reading this with the way you described basically the farming of human beings.  Pretty nice imagery in here.

Dragged a bit in areas but an intriguing interpretation nevertheless.  Nice creativity and good job.


I haven't read this yet, but two folks don't lie. (Unless they're in cahoots.)  ;D

They're seeing Planet of the Apes imagery and so maybe you should go with that? Might be an idea.

I promise I will read this later. If something happens and I get caught up, just shoot me in the chest with a beam of white light. It'll do me good!!!  ;D

Good going everyone. I'm not disappointed in this OWC. So far, I actually feel like you guys should be proud of your work. I've read about nine so far. Not a lot maybe, but numbers are as good as Aunt Gracie.

Ask Rev. He'll tell you.

Love,

Sandra
Posted by: screenrider (Guest), May 18th, 2010, 12:23am; Reply: 8
This was definitely a serious entry, so I give the writer credit for that.  Seemed more like sci-fi, though.  Reminded me of Soylent Green.  Very depressing either way.  Excellent formatting, easy read.  

Very well done.  
Posted by: JCShadow, May 18th, 2010, 12:32am; Reply: 9
This is the second one out of the 5 or 6 I have read and really enjoyed. There is definitely some unanswered questions that could have been tied up and the ending felt a little rushed.

An easy and enjoyable read overall.
Posted by: Trojan, May 18th, 2010, 3:21am; Reply: 10
Yeah I thought this was a good solid story. Wasn't much of a carnivore/vegan debate going on, but in the context of the story I think it works. From the title and logline I could basically guess what the premise was going to be, maybe could be hidden a bit better.

I wasn't sure why they didn't just use regular farm animals anymore. Are they extinct now? Or was it because the quality of meat/protein from people is that much higher? I couldn't help thinking, what kind of government is going to allow these pratices to take place? But this is more of a sci-fi story I guess so didn't have too much of a problem with it.

I thought one of the highlights was your characters, particularly Blake and Julie. Of all the scripts I've read so far this one had the most believable and well-rounded characters. Maybe a few people were a bit unclear on a few things with the ending, but I had no problem understanding what was going on. I think it worked well.

If I was being picky, there are a few places that could do with a polish and there's a few missing commas and things of that nature. Minor complaint though. Overall good job, definitely one of the best so far.

Cheers,
Tim.
Posted by: c m hall, May 18th, 2010, 9:13am; Reply: 11
Thoughtful but awfully heavy handed.  Disappointing.
Posted by: grademan, May 18th, 2010, 9:48am; Reply: 12
I liked this one. The creativity and work that went into this alternate reality was excellent for one week. I expected Neo to walk out of the shed and say "They're more than just copper tops". A bit heavy handed.  Refreshing to read an entry that took the challenge requirements as intended. In my mind at least.
Posted by: Dreamscale, May 18th, 2010, 1:15pm; Reply: 13
I also liked this one for the most part.

Concept-wise, it's easily the best, IMO.  Even the visuals are pretty good, so finally we don't have the old talking heads sitting around.

The biggest issue is the writing itself here.  Alot of really awkward phrasing.  Horrible lack of commas throughout which actually make the read rather confusing in places.

I actually wish this was a bit longer and a bit deeper also, but I did enjoy the ideas here.  Definitely a POTA vibe going on here.

Good effort!
Posted by: Grandma Bear, May 18th, 2010, 1:59pm; Reply: 14
I liked this one. I think you have some experience or knowledge of farming. If not, you did enough research to make the process seem real.

Good writing. Good story. Good characters. I did feel sorry for Delwin though having to help, but that's part of farm life too. You learn about the birds and the bees before you can talk as well as the uglier side of farming.

My only gripe here would be the farming of humans. Not because of ethical reasons. This is just a story, but rather the fact that humans take a very long time to grow up. A cow for example can be fully grown by age two. A 2 yo human is still a toddler and not much meat on those.

Anyway, good work here.  :)
Posted by: James McClung, May 18th, 2010, 2:35pm; Reply: 15
This is the first one I've read that was actually above average. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say it was great. In fact, forget the limb. It was great. I won't say the idea was completely original. It's been explored to a certain extent before but never this far. You've got all the minutia down pat. Just the same, not an exclusive concept for the writer. Just the same, I think this interpretation could've come with a lot of pitfalls. This particular execution, however, was not. It wasn't too cheesy, too gory, too preachy, too melodramatic, etc. It was approaching the latter two but never made it. So good.

I don't want to comment too much on what was wrong here. This is the first one that's really worked for me and I don't want to overanalyze it. There's been far too many instances of people either not trying or not caring thus far. This one felt like some cared and actually spent a lot of time on their entry. It feels very complete. I will say I didn't care much for the characters but this didn't seem to be about the characters too much. They served their purpose and that was good enough for me.
Posted by: stebrown, May 18th, 2010, 3:15pm; Reply: 16
This was a very good idea and take on the theme. Well written too.

I think the only thing that really holds it back as a stand alone script is the characters. Didn't really feel anything for them. This could have had a very haunting end - similar to 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' - if you had helped me to identify with the boy. I think he is key to the heart of the story here.

The only real thing that holds this back as a OWC script is that it didn't feel too much like a drama and there isn't really an argument between a vegan and a carnivore. There's a little of both but not really enough.

Having said that this is the best one I've read so far - not really saying too much based on the ones I've read - but, yeah, really well done with this.

Ste
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., May 18th, 2010, 3:59pm; Reply: 17

This is extremely well written in my opinion. Is it pretty damn disgusting? Yes, that too.

Although this reminded me of Planet of the Apes, it's clear that you attempted to work hard for the theme of this challenge.

Very strong effort and you get high marks for this one.  ;D

But please, CHANGE the title.  ;D I seriously wouldn't have read this unless Ryan told me I should.

Sandra
Posted by: screenrider (Guest), May 18th, 2010, 4:14pm; Reply: 18

Quoted from Sandra Elstree.

please, CHANGE the title.


You're upset about the title, but slaughtering human baby's for food is no big deal?

:-/
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., May 18th, 2010, 4:34pm; Reply: 19

Quoted from screenrider


You're upset about the title, but slaughtering human baby's for food is no big deal?

:-/


I never said that, Screenrider. What is your dispute?

Sandra
Posted by: screenrider (Guest), May 18th, 2010, 5:00pm; Reply: 20

Quoted from Sandra Elstree.


I never said that, Screenrider. What is your dispute?


No dispute.  I was just making an interesting observation. Isn't that what we do as writers?  Observe and ask questions.   8)
Posted by: Dreamscale, May 18th, 2010, 5:05pm; Reply: 21
Yes, we do, Mike.  I see what your point is and I agree, actually.
Posted by: The boy who could fly, May 18th, 2010, 6:40pm; Reply: 22
This one was very well written, I didn't really see a debate between a Vegan and a carnivore,  but i think some of it was done in the actions, but still this was a very solid entry, good work!
Posted by: stevie, May 18th, 2010, 7:11pm; Reply: 23
Yep, this is the best so far and I do have an idea who might've done it. I agree with screenrider that it reminds me of Soylent Green.

I was eating crackers with jam whilst reading and felt a little queasy!
Could really identify with the little boy at the end, and the top notch writing made this hit home well.

Excellent job
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., May 18th, 2010, 7:23pm; Reply: 24

Quoted from screenrider


No dispute.  I was just making an interesting observation. Isn't that what we do as writers?  Observe and ask questions.   8)


I don't understand what your observation is, but I feel that the title should be different because it almost lost a read because of it.

People pick up books or movies and will choose to read or watch based on a title and a picture and a few choice words.

I don't know what the right title is or if Dumb Animals is indeed the right title after all, but I would guess that a lot of animal lovers would read that and think hell no.

Sandra
Posted by: jwent6688, May 18th, 2010, 11:02pm; Reply: 25
Well, this is probably the best so far IMO. Guessing Phil, wouldn't put it past Cam, but whomever wrote this is seriously intrigued by the science.

Which adds to this because it educates as it entertains. Very interesting world created here. Enjoyed the read.

one qualm, would've thought the bolt gun would've been placed against the child's forehead. Not his neck. Much like in No Country For Old Men.

James
Posted by: sniper, May 19th, 2010, 4:57am; Reply: 26
Man, this was one clever script. Very impressed with the approach here. Yeah, a nod to Soylent Green but more a commentary on how animals are treated really in the industrial world. Very powerful. Very matter-of-fact'ish. Just what the doctor ordered. So some of the writing could be tightened up but it doesn't take away from the fact that this was an impressive read and an engaging little story. Only downside - OWC-wise - is the lack of relevance to the theme. This isn't so much a pro/con argument of vegan vs carnivore but more of a social commentary.

Also, I agree with Sandra, the title doesn't really sell it properly, if you know what I mean? It sounds a little too much like the title to a stupid Adam Sandler comedy. It fits the story, definitely, but such a good story deserves a better title. I have no idea what it should be though.

Never the less, this was a fantastic read, one that has brought back a little hope to this rather sub-par round of OWC.
Posted by: Andrew, May 19th, 2010, 9:36am; Reply: 27
This was ok. The concept works if viewed as commentary on the treatment of animals, as stated by Rob. You only need to view boxes for eggs, and how stating good treatment is actually a marketing gimmick for higher pricing.

That said, while this script has potential, what is presented here is very uneven. Julie's arc really doesn't seem right. She arrives as a snooty company woman, but the maternal instinct kicks in with the young lad and changes her outlook. The rationale is sound, but doesn't work here. If this was shot, it would essentially be a woman arriving at a farm, being taken on a tour and then radically changing with no real stimulus. A script is a blueprint to shoot , but currently, this works better as a written story alone. Where's the glue to keep me watching? Where's the real sense of conflict for the characters? We have a beginning, an ending, but no meat in the sandwich - no real emotional punch. Just a shell. For me, too much time was spent building up the world, with very little actually happening. It's the reverse of some other entries where we're left without context. That's the real challenge for a writer with a page limit - find the balance, but also an idea that's compelling enough thematically for more, whilst retaining a self-contained story that adheres to fundamental story structure and character arcs/development.

So, while kudos is given for establishing your world and providing decent imagery, you fell down on the actual entertainment value. Fairly compelling, but for me, requires a firm rewrite.

Andrew
Posted by: George Willson, May 19th, 2010, 10:00am; Reply: 28
Dude. Yeah, so far that's the best of the bunch. I'll agree with the comments that it doesn't exactly meet the meat/veggie debate, but you can't deny its quality. I was entranced enough reading it that I overlooked anything technical, if there was anything.

To sort of echo Pia here on the time, since you've got sci-fi involved anyway, you might as well have something to increase growth and aging. It's a well-established fact though, that people taste the best. Otherwise, we wouldn't have stories going back to Sweeney Todd over eating each other.

If it ain't a fact, then I would be surprised. Can't say anyone's ever confirmed that one for me though.

Well done here though. It was a compelling, if not completely disturbing, story. And hey, we writers do enjoy being completely disturbed.

Andrew, I would say that the meat of the story is the setup and it is Julie that has the character arc. Her experience learning of the process at the same time we do is what causes this change. There was some effort put into her changing expressions as Blake led her through everything. By the end, she was done.
Posted by: Andrew, May 19th, 2010, 10:30am; Reply: 29

Quoted from George Willson
Andrew, I would say that the meat of the story is the setup and it is Julie that has the character arc. Her experience learning of the process at the same time we do is what causes this change. There was some effort put into her changing expressions as Blake led her through everything. By the end, she was done.


It's a fair enough point of view, but I do disagree. I previously alluded to Julie's arc, and suggested it didn't seem right. She has a start, she has an end, but no stimulus for reversal/life questioning. Walking through isn't sufficient to justify her change. Personally, it would seem the maternal instinct drove the shift; this isn't a request to have it spelt out, but as a 10 minute short film, it would really be a struggle to decipher the motivations on this blueprint. If you watched this in its current form, you'd probably feel shortchanged to see a character turnaround based on a walk through and facial expression. Fundamentally, there was no conflict for her.

Be interesting to see how the author views it.
Posted by: pwhitcroft, May 19th, 2010, 7:40pm; Reply: 30
Ill make notes as I go..

Pg 1 Nice start, I can picture that.

Pg 2 Were having bread and vegetables for lunch? Trying too hard to make it clear they are vegans?

Pg 4 I was just about to ask when this would get going, but this got my attention.

Pg 7 Theres some pretty freaky stuff in here.

Pg 8 The radiation dose ensures that the foetus will only ever attain animal status, by purging selfconsciousness from the brain. Borderline exposition?

Pg 12 Its a dark finale, but thats okay.

Overall its got structure, stuff happens in it that is out there, and the characters might be a bit thin. Im not forgetting it in a hurry.
Posted by: Coding Herman, May 19th, 2010, 10:22pm; Reply: 31
This is a very good entry. The setting and the characters all sound so real. Apparently you have some ideas how livestock farms work.

But one thing I'm going to criticize is the lack of conflict for the first 2/3 of the script. By no means it's not good, the things Blake showed to Julie were interesting and shocking indeed, but I was feeling that was all setup.

Not until Julie comes back to get her bag that the conflict escalates.

Nevertheless, I really liked this story. The ending gives me chills when Julie looked at what she ate that morning.

Very well done.
Posted by: TheRichcraft, May 20th, 2010, 2:42pm; Reply: 32
I like how Blake doesn't eat meat being a form of contrition for having to kill those humans.

I would like to know the process of determining which humans are chosen to become the enhanced protein.
Posted by: FDiogo, May 20th, 2010, 3:15pm; Reply: 33
Wow. Akward. I found this one very well writen, nice dialogs, nice visuals. Very well constructed. I think the idea was very original, seriously, truly original. And so I tried to like it, but I didn't.
Posted by: pwhitcroft, May 23rd, 2010, 6:36pm; Reply: 34
Thanks for all your comments.

When I entered this I was expecting it to get a mixed reaction so I was genuinely surprised by the response.

The title was something I really didnt think much about, but I can understand the questions about it.

It never occurred to me that Planet of the Apes has the same kind of thing in it, but it definitely has some overlap.

Ive never done any farming, but I guess Ive picked up a few details from the TV.

I was very conscious in writing this of the possibility that it could easily end up being in poor taste. I was unsure about even entering it until I got someone to read it and they understood the animal rights issues.

On the issue of conflict, I was trying to get conflict out of the fact that she is an inspector and so there is a red herring conflict around the question of how she will report. As it turns out I think that element gets overwhelmed by what is happening around them, but hopefully its enough to keep the story going.

Thanks again.

Philip
Posted by: dotsandrops, July 16th, 2010, 10:19pm; Reply: 35
This  was very interesting. I like how things transformed from a visit to the farm into some sort of nightmare. Well done. It has kept me reading with no one distraction until the bottom of page eight. Julie's answer to Delwin's "how does it work?" has trown me out of the story. Not only I've felt the comment was too on the nose, but, also, I was thinking: How come Delwin, who manages the farm together with his father, doesn't know? I was ready to suggest that you could eliminate that part altogether, but then, reading on, I've found that that scene is pivotal for the story to continue.

The script was posted a few months ago. It is posible that you've writen another draft and fixed that issue. If you haven't, that'd be my suggestion. Despite similaties with other works, as mentioned in other reviews, you can have something quite nice here.
Posted by: Electric Dreamer, September 10th, 2012, 6:42pm; Reply: 36
Hey Phil,

I hear you're making some noise with this around town.
Assuming you've developed it into a feature script.
So, it'll be doubly interesting for me to check out the short! ;D

P. 1
Mmm, delicious subtext between father and son.
Me likey the immersion factor on page one.

p. 2
I dig how you DON'T draw direct attention to the E.P. stuff.
Making it's intro through the boy is how I like my exposition...
Layer caked with some character stuff.

p. 5
This passage reads wonky to me...
which includes a chemical that sprays as steam

P. 8
Nice touch with the radiation. Creepy.

Finished.
Fun twist on Soylent Green.
I like the self awareness being the catalyst here.

Would like to see this developed into a feature.
Best of luck with the contest, Phil!

Regards,
E.D.
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