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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  February, 2008 One Week Challenge  /  Never Stop Running - OWC
Posted by: Don, February 23rd, 2008, 9:33am
Never Stop Running by Timothy F. Betts (Souter Fell) - Short, Drama - Two prisoners on the run seek refuge from the outside world. - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: Zombie Sean, February 23rd, 2008, 12:13pm; Reply: 1
Okay, this was a hard one to read.

First off, you barely even followed the genre and theme. Your only mention of the prison cell was at the beginning, and it was only half of the page. The rest was out in the wilderness where they were talking about being in prison and stuff. This was also more of a thriller/horror/suspense rather than a drama.

The reason why this was a hard one to read was because of your descriptions. The way you described things sort of made it hard to follow, such as describing metal teeth crunching a walking stick, and later telling us that it's a bear trap, when you could have just said it was a bear trap in the first place. I didn't understand where they were going except it was like a bunker, and there were hatches...and stuff...it made it sound like Gerald was prepping up to get in an underground rocket ship or something the way I saw it.

Also, I don't fully understand why Gerald gets so defensive when he finds out Mason is on Parole...has been paroled...whatever.

The thing I liked about it best, though, was that it had zombies in it. I was thinking of doing a zombie drama in a pirson cell...but that'd be kind of hard...and I'm sort of trying to take a break from zombies.

Sean
Posted by: Old Time Wesley, February 23rd, 2008, 3:58pm; Reply: 2
isn't the whole point of a short to have a beginning middle and end? I don't see a middle or an end here. It's like a scene from a "new" updated George Romero film where he tries to make unique zombies to say "I'm still the man" but we all know time hasn't been well to the man's ability.

Anyway, the short is odd and I've never seen a zombie that can't find a man with a bloody leg... even if it is wrapped in a shirt.

It had some "real" moments between Mason and Gerald but the story is barely existing and the reason why they are headed where they are headed makes no sense until we learn about the zombies.

Why would the prisoners be left in prison if the zombies have taken over the world? Was the prison overrun with zombies? Were the prisoners starving to death? Did he have to escape in order to live?

I just felt like with a little more effort you could have made this a little better. It's not terrible but it is incomplete.
Posted by: BPeterson, February 23rd, 2008, 4:11pm; Reply: 3
I actually liked this one but as mentioned above, it doesn't really deal with the genre and theme of the OWC.

I didn't get lost with the descriptions but there was one or two sentences that were worded awkwardly. Otherwise, an interesting futuristic zombie short.
Posted by: James McClung, February 23rd, 2008, 4:39pm; Reply: 4
This one seemed alright until the zombies came in. Their entrance wasn't hinted at in any way. It was completely out of left field and threw the story way off course. With a curveball this big, not to mention awkward, I'm not sure I can call this an entirely successful script. It's just way too uneven. Even Gerald's reaction seemed a little too extreme for the kind of story this seemed like it was set up to be. Again, it felt like it threw the story off course.

You had some good dramatic elements going on between the characters for the most part and I thought their relationship was generally good. There was definitely potential here but it was executed very poorly I think. The result was very disjointed. I also think the OWC guidelines were almost completely disregarded. There's always a couple scripts that don't follow the guidelines just right but here, it felt like they were just ignored, for the most part. No good.
Posted by: greg, February 23rd, 2008, 5:54pm; Reply: 5
I agree with Sean.  This seemed hard to read because it felt like something John Kerry would write.  I didn't feel much emotion or excitement or even drama for that matter. I know the drama was in there, but I didn't feel it,  I just felt like the story was diddling along.  Bringing the zombies in at the end was very out of left field, not that it's a bad thing, but it was just so unexpected.  Kind of comical, actually.

I think with a little more energy this thing could read like Howard Dean, and that would, as a whole, make this that much better.
Posted by: rc1107, February 23rd, 2008, 6:06pm; Reply: 6
Somehow, and I don't know why, I knew there was going to be a zombie brought into a drama.  I know that there's no betting allowed, but I got twenty bucks that says if the next OWC's genre is a musical and the theme is the true story of William Shakespeare, we'd still end up with a zombie script somehow.  And it would probably still kill teenagers whose only dialogues are in cliche's.

Well, I have to give the writer credit, though.  At least this doesn't take place in a mall.

Not much new to add story-wise then what everybody else had said.

As for the writing.  At least it was in present tense and the formatting was pretty good.  Although the descriptives were hard to follow and were actually kind of boring.  Actually, it might have been hard to follow because they were long and boring.  He's in a prison cell and he get parolled through a cannister in a tube?  I think you need a little more explanation as to what exactly is going on.

And I don't see why Gerald would care if Mason was parolled or not.  He was still taking him with him, wasn't he?

It was also kind of annoying that there was no end.  I'm assuming Gerald gets eaten, or turned into a zombie, but what about Mason?  You leave him in the middle of the woods, no explanation of what's going to happen.  No resolution whatsoever.

- Mark
Posted by: Blakkwolfe, February 23rd, 2008, 8:30pm; Reply: 7
I liked this OK, but concur that the intrepretation of the cell was loose at best...I got why Gerald was concerned about the parole (cause of the code, which, as it turns out it wasn't such a good idea after all)...Liked the howling zombies, like coyotes, adds a chilling element to the genre...Some awkward text (A water bottle collects from the stream.)

Reads a little more sci-fi than drama, although I though the dialogue between the two men was good.
Posted by: mcornetto (Guest), February 23rd, 2008, 9:35pm; Reply: 8
I thought this one was clever, odd and had its moments.  I like the interaction between Gerald and Mason.  The dialogue wasn't bad either.  However, I felt it lacked substance, was a bit of a dense read, and certainly barely - if at all - met the OWC challenge.

Itís a shame though because as it went on I got more and more interested in this strange world you created.  But then I was disappointed because you didnít give me enough information to really understand it.  If I could have understood this world I would have liked this script a lot more.

I would have given you a consider but I think this really needs a REWRITE.  
Posted by: chism, February 23rd, 2008, 9:38pm; Reply: 9
This short was okay. I think everything was going pretty great until the zombies show up. I've never thought they were really that scary, and in this script it's too much of a shift in tone. You've got a cool tension building up between Mason and Gerald and then suddenly we're in a B-horror geek fest. It never really worked for me.

I also think you could've done a better job of fitting the script into the genre and theme. There's not much drama and you've only got a few paragraphs inside a prison cell. That could've been handled a bit better I think.

Other than that, this was pretty good. Some of the descriptions were a little wordier than necessary, but the dialogue between Mason and Gerard was good. The plot took some intereting twists and turns (up until the zombies) that I liked quite a lot.

Anyway, a pretty good piece. The set up is better than the pay off, but still an enjoyable read. Good work. ;D


Matt.
Posted by: BryMo, February 23rd, 2008, 10:11pm; Reply: 10
This was more thriller/sci fi then drama. First question, in what way did you think this fit the challenge? Was this the best you could do to fit your story into the challenges theme?

They were in the wild, outside. Unless you wanted to say the city is their prison(join the club, there seems to be one).

But i'm not all bad, this def had some nice moments. Kept me entertained for a bit.

Congrats on finishing! Now on to the rewrite!
Posted by: pwhitcroft, February 23rd, 2008, 11:04pm; Reply: 11
This is intriguing and a good paced story. However overall I didnít really get it.

Philip
Posted by: Pete B. Lane, February 24th, 2008, 2:09am; Reply: 12
I have mixed feeling about this one.

It was well-written but I didn't feel it complied with the OWC. It's as though the writer took a script done before the OWC was announced and just tacked on the first bit in the prison to make it fit. I'm not accusing the writer of that, but that's how it comes across. I don't have a problem with the horror angle though, I still think this is enough of a drama - but it's a stretch.

I'll have to give this a C-, for no other reason than I don't think it belongs in the OWC. Judged outside the challenge, I'd give it a B-.
Posted by: bert, February 24th, 2008, 11:51am; Reply: 13
This is the best written, so far, to me.  I enjoy the script-as-literature style, and the additional flourishes found in the descriptions help to lend a distinct voice to the proceedings.

It is a shame that this has nothing whatsoever to do with a prison cell, as this is my favorite thus far.  This story slowly unveils its secrets, raising questions, and ultimately answering them with everybodyís favorite answer -- zombies.  But they make sense here, and once revealed, they are a fundamental part of what has gone before.

Unlike the prison.  It is as if somebody took an existing story, shoehorned a prison into it, and thought they were golden.  Not so.

I like this story a lot.  I like the descriptions, I like the slow reveal of details, and I like the conclusion.  But, darn it, you have deviated too far from the constraints, and you know it.

OWC Score:  80%
Posted by: mgj, February 24th, 2008, 2:49pm; Reply: 14
I kind of enjoyed this for the most part but I also felt a little cheated by the ending.  For me the real reveal wasn't the zombies but when Gerald discovered that Mason was paroled.  I thought this opened up some really interesting possibilities about his identity and/or motives but, alas, you threw us a curveball in the form of zombies instead.  It felt like you took the easy way out.

I wish you had enough faith in your characters and your original set up to see where you could have taken this.  The zombies really came out of left field and felt tacked on.  On the plus side though, Mason and Gerald were interesting characters, just not fleshed out well enough perhaps.

-Mike
Posted by: sniper, February 25th, 2008, 3:00am; Reply: 15
I really enjoyed this one. Very well written and, with its slow pace, this one became more and more intriguing as I read on. And I don't agree with Wesley, this had both a beginning, a middle and an end. Actually I thought the structure was spot on for a 12-pager. The descriptions might have been a little too poetic for my taste - but I like the ingenuity of it. I thought Mason's and Gerald's short relationship was done really well and I liked Gerald's paranoia trip.

All in all I thought this was a damn good script and a clever one too.

Too bad it strayed pretty far from the assigned OWC theme.


Cheers
Rob

PS: To me, this feels like it was set in a not too distant future. I mean. the pneumatic mail delivery system seems a little high-tech for a prison (in present time).
Posted by: Abe from LA, February 25th, 2008, 3:02am; Reply: 16
This is my first OWC read and I'm sorry, but I didn't care much for this one.  It seemed so disjointed.
You have a ponderous first page, with lots of description.  Some of it I didn't understand.
It has a futuristic, Sci-fi element, which seemed intriguing but left me with questions.
It also seemed like you rammed together two genres: A prison break drama and a futuristic zombie outbreak.
It could work, but it would need rewriting and more pages.

Good formatting.  But you took a lot of liberties with the theme, haha.

I kind of get the reaction by Gerald, when he attacks Mason, but thought that it was for the wrong reasons.
Maybe Gerald turns on Mason because he wants the patch; it's all about self-preservation.  
One man to a patch.  Survival of the fittest.
The zombie part really came out of left field and seemed to be dove-tailed on the story (did I miss some foreshadowing?).

What if Gerald and Mason fight each other over the patch, then realize there is a zombie in their midst.  Then we'll see that Gerald has taken the patch and has left Mason to fight off the zombie.  --  I'm thinking you wanted to avoid any kind of blood-and-gore confrontation between humans and zombies, so you can stay closer to a theme.

Anywho, I liked that Gerald claims the patch, but in the end, his greed leads him to the zombie nest.  That part would have been more effective with a slight skewing of the setup.

I felt you spent a long time in establishing your story, which at times seemed to labor.  Then the action part, the zombie thing came in a flash at the end.  The payoff was too short.
I'd cut out some of the set up and do more with the final scenes.  And I would like to see some kind of wrap-up.  
You conclude with Mason continuing his cross-country walk -- albeit with one messed-up foot.  You left it hanging... not Mason's foot, but the story.
Posted by: Abe from LA, February 25th, 2008, 3:20am; Reply: 17
One more thing I forgot to mention.
Your main character is too passive.
All the good stuff is initiated by the antagonist.
Gerald might be a scoundrel, but at least he brings the story to life... and death.

Abe
Posted by: dogglebe (Guest), February 25th, 2008, 3:36pm; Reply: 18
Something tells me that, if the genre/theme was drama/fruit stand, this author would've written a zombie script.  There is a time and a place for zombies and this wasn't it.  In fact, if I knew i was a zombie script, I wouldn't have read it.

All this aside, this story didn't do anything for me.  It was two guys walking aimlessly through the woods and talking aimlessly through the woods.


Phil
Posted by: James R, February 25th, 2008, 4:05pm; Reply: 19
This one was very creative. The OWC theme has already been pointed out enough, I think, so I will just give some opinions.

The line where Mason says "Good to meet you" just threw me off. Mason was giving short answers to every question revealing a very reserved sort of guy and the GTMY just seemed out of character. It seems picky, but this one was written well so I'm just throwing in something to think about.

And then there were zombies. I have a friend who tells really boring stories (or is a boring storyteller) and at the end of every story, when he realizes he has nothing, everybody dies. This reminded me of him when the zombies came out. What?!? Zombies?!? I was shocked and a little dismayed.

Good characters and story but a weak ending.

James
Posted by: ABennettWriter, February 25th, 2008, 5:10pm; Reply: 20
I actually liked this. Too much happens outside the cell, and I don't feel the woods are that confining.

Zombies are zombies. They'll always come out of left field. I think its entirely plausible to have zombies in this script.

I'd love to watch this, and maybe play one of the zombies. I love getting all funky looking.
Posted by: Souter Fell, March 1st, 2008, 3:49pm; Reply: 21
I guess my main gripe here is that Mason is too passive. For a main character, he doesn't make many choices. Gerald makes active, conscious moves but everything seems to be happening TO Mason and not BECAUSE of Mason.
Posted by: GM, March 1st, 2008, 8:04pm; Reply: 22
The tale was alright. I'm conflicted in finding the zombies as a postive or negative aspect of the story. Its a fresh take to the theme but it gets kind of old though. It was all written well and diagloue was good. Character wise, I guess it was alright for a short. Needs rewrite if you ever plan to make this longer.

Hope this helps,
Gabe
Posted by: Zack, March 2nd, 2008, 1:03pm; Reply: 23
This one kinda tugged me around a bit. At first, it was just boring and all the talking seemed a bit pointless and random. Then things started to get slightly interesting when Mason revealed that he was paroled. I kinda wanted to see where this was leading, and then you through zombies into the mix. What!?

I didn't see the theme in this anywhere... maybe because all of the talking kinda bored me. There was some drama, but I wouldn't consider it a drama. It's more horror because of the zombies.

So yeah, this one disappointed me. Sorry.

I'll give it a D+

~Zack~
Posted by: Souter Fell, March 12th, 2008, 5:01pm; Reply: 24
Hey guys,

Guess this is my retort time. I'll try to keep the whimpering to a min. And before I start, let me just say thanks to everyone who took a look.

Theme. Geez I knew I was gonna take a hit on this one. Drama was a little hard to find. For clarification I consulted good ol' Screenwriter's Bible to find drama is not a genre. Drama is just so broad. Drama is what makes things interesting. So I figured I'd take a liberal approach.

Why Zombies? I never did anything with "zombies" before and I figure I'd take a stab. To not stray too much into the horror, I made sure not to include any actual zombie violence. While their aftermath is visible as well as their rage, they never actually get anyone. They aren't the main point of the story. The tension and betrayal of the leads are.

How they came out of nowhere, I don't know. I tried to include enough hints as to their existence as possible with my original intention being to lead the reader to think that "the law" and not zombies are out there. At one point, when M and G are in a cave during the day, Gerald even says "Don't think they're here for us. Just searching." I even tried to make them a little unique in that the only prowl in the day because of some psuedo-cold blooded traits. (Hints: Mason consults his thermometer, M and G only travel at night). It's just funny cause i had one friend read it before I submitted it and he said he sensed them by page 3!

As for the cell, there are two in the story, the first literal and the second metaphorical. No not the open ground with no where safe. The second one is the hatch at the bottom of the ladder. Think about it. It's locked at the top exit and the door is blocked by the zombies. There's no way out. Even more fitting, of the two men, the parolee doesn't get locked in. The escaped felon does. The one that didn't serve his time. I figured that twist would be more than enough to qualify for the prison cell requirement but really no one made that connection.

I can see how the environment could be confusing. There's little to piece together a fair amount of exposition. I could explain it all but I'll wait for re-write time. As for the writing, it's fairly wordy but doesn't break convention to much. Maybe a little bit too many -ing words but it's better than a million sentences starting with "he" or "the." And not for nothing else but if you take the time to read the dialogue, you'll see there are pretty much no pointless throwaway lines.

Obvisiously I got some tweaking to do. It's weird cause it's gotten mixed review so I'll have to be careful what I tweak. I want it to be more accesible without Barney-ing it down. Anyway, enough of my whines. Thanks again for reading.

Tim
Posted by: BPeterson, March 13th, 2008, 1:53am; Reply: 25
on my original review I said I didn't know if it fit the genre/theme and in retrospect, I was wrong. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. I did like this entry alot though, good work.


plus I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who keeps the screenwriter's bible handy
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