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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  February, 2008 One Week Challenge  /  Salvation - OWC
Posted by: Don, February 25th, 2008, 8:41pm
Salvation by Robert Spence - Short, Drama - Manny is plagued by dreams of a young girl he killed in a road accident, and brutally bullied in prison because of this. But something is brewing, something that may change Manny's life forever... - pdf, format 8)

Posted by: chism, February 26th, 2008, 6:04am; Reply: 1
Okay, this was a good short, though I did have a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is the three brothers, Dominic in particular, as he seems to be the main antagonist. You set them up as threatening, menacing villains, yet they never deliver on it. You have way too many scenes of them doing stupid things like throwing fruit at Manny or knocking over his dinner tray. You’ve got three dangerous inmates here, but there is never a sense of danger. They say they’re going to make Manny’s life hell for what he’s done and in the end, all they do is pass notes in class. You need to add a sense of menace, have a scene where the brothers beat Manny to within an inch of his life, or have them do even worse to him. Show them making his life hell.

The second problem I had was with Manny’s flashbacks/dreams. Sometimes they’re dreams, sometimes they’re flashbacks. It doesn’t make narrative sense to have them as both, either they are one or the other. And if you’re going to keep them as dreams, then I suggest adding a level of surrealism to the scenes. They are dreams, but they play out like flashbacks, or ordinary scenes. Have them be more dreamlike and I think you’ll have a stronger script.

Other than that, I really don’t have any complaints. I liked the story and the characters (though I think the whole Las Vations revelation was a little corny) and it’s well-written technically. Good format and spelling. A flawed, but enjoyable piece. Well done. ;D


Matt.
Posted by: bert, February 26th, 2008, 10:10am; Reply: 2
This was alright.  I found the episodes of bullying a little repetitive -- in the lunchroom, in the classroom, in the lunchroom, in the classroom, in the lunchroom -- it might have been better to mix things up a bit.  I mean, the worst he ever got was an apple to the head, so I did not really get a feeling of "living hell" from Manny’s experiences.

But this script has a much larger problem, and it lies in the central conceit for your entire story.  That is the character of Las Vation.

At no time in this script does anyone refer to him by his full name.  Your "salvation" revelation is for the reader alone.  A viewing audience would have absolutely no idea of the significance of the name, or its rearrangement.

It is trapped on the page, and never once makes it to the screen.

A simple fix.  Give him a patch on his uniform or something.  But you really need to watch out for that kind of stuff.

Competently written, but with a great, big "show don't tell" scriptwriting flaw at the heart of it.

OWC Score:  75%
Posted by: James R, February 26th, 2008, 2:18pm; Reply: 3
I thought this one was pretty good. A good premise and good characters.

Since the issue has been raised with the three brothers (two of which have no lines, do they even need names?) I will agree that Manny's life was tougher as a result of Dominic, but not hell. Worse things have happened in prison.

I also wondered about the conversation regarding the wooden blade. It doesn't take long to carve the shape of a blade, so it would resemble a blade pretty quickly instead of us being unclear on the object. Maybe if it is not shown at all?

The tense in your final VO changes a lot and it confused me. Choose past or present (past seems to make more sense because it's a VO) and stick with it.

I liked the idea and it was executed very well.

James
Posted by: pwhitcroft, February 27th, 2008, 1:21am; Reply: 4
I struggled early on in this with some distracting word usage i.e. amalgamated, accompany. Then “accompanies” in the next paragraph.

The Manny/Dominic thing seems slow to get going once it is established.

The last few pages of this story are good. In those pages it moves, tackles an interesting theme, and resolves. This story finishes well.

Philip
Posted by: Zombie Sean, February 27th, 2008, 9:02pm; Reply: 5

Quoted Text
NATION, 30, needs no introduction...


And neither does Cuba. If they don't talk--if they don't do anything--then don't introduce them. Just be like, DOMINIC (30s) [insert description here], and sits with two other men who look similar to him.

I feel the whole Las Vation was just something to fill in the script to make it longer, so basically, I find it unnecessary. I feel as though you only added him in there was to put "salvation" on the blade to be clever because I don't think Vation was even helpful, even with his "words of wisdom."

If Manny was making a blade from a hammer (even when you explained it, I still don't know what it is) wouldn't he need something sharp, like a knife or blade or something? If so, why didn't he just use that?

I'm just going to sum up and agree with what everyone else said: the bullying thing didn't work for me. Too repetitive and I saw more annoyance than living hell.

Not that this is something wrong with your script, but it's more a pet-peeve of mine...For some reason, I don't like voice overs only at the end of the script or film. It's probably an OCD of mine, but I just feel it's unbalanced. I'd like it more if you had a voice over at the beginning and a voice over at the end, rather than just at the end. That's one little reason why I didn't like "I Am Legend" because that lady's voice came out of nowhere. But don't get offended by this comment I just pointed out, because it's more of me being weird rather than something you did.

Sean
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, February 27th, 2008, 9:26pm; Reply: 6
The tale was interesting. You could do more with extra pages.

What I found to be a problem was the fact you told us rather than showed us. For example, in the beginning, you write: dark rings under his eyes suggest a severe lack of sleep. Knock off the suggest part to the sleep and the description is good. The reader would get by seeing that Manny has dark rings under his eyes that he hasn't slept. You repeat this form alot. This would grant you alot more room to add other story content. The dialgoue and characters sounded flat. The whole Las Vation name, I agree with the rest. I thought the flashback served that purpose.

Hope this helps,
Gabe
Posted by: ABennettWriter, February 28th, 2008, 1:26am; Reply: 7
I agree with everyone else.

It looks like Dominic is the only real bad guy. The other two are unnecessary.

If two or more characters have the same goal and the same motivation, they should be combined or cut.

"And the same motivation" is the key phrase here. Two characters can have the same goal, but for different reasons.
Posted by: RobertSpence, March 8th, 2008, 8:03pm; Reply: 8
Hey guys thanks for the reads, I really appreciate it. There are certain aspects that I will get around to changing in the future, for example I got a lot of unecessary character names and I am still sometimes writing for the reader and not for the apparent "audience".

Robert
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