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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  February, 2008 One Week Challenge  /  Fair Trial - OWC
Posted by: Don, February 25th, 2008, 9:10pm
Fair Trial by Stephen Francis - Short, Drama - A newly admitted convict soon discovers that his new prison has its own unique justice system. - doc, format 8)
Posted by: Pete B. Lane, February 26th, 2008, 10:18pm; Reply: 1
I like how the prison justice in this script was an actual trial, but I found it implausible that the Judge, defendant and prosecutor all had those jobs before prison. I would have preferred it if just Judge was a judge and he had trained other inmates to play the other roles.

I did like it overall, but it seemed a little too lighthearted which loses points with me. My grade: C+.
Posted by: cybercelt, February 26th, 2008, 10:21pm; Reply: 2
  Sitcom in a cell. with a trip to the twilight zone.
  As the entire story is odd it's not worth pointing out the nits.
  So far this is the best example of a story that would translate well to being "read". A couple of lines of narration and it's a radio play.

There be spoilers here...
  On the other hand I didn't enjoy it as much as the others. Perhaps the humour was a little flat for my taste or the threat was completely absent.
  A rewrite to punch up the direction, funnier (ha-ha or python) to bring more effect to the ending or made serious and sharper to keep a dangerous edge, the jackals are laughing, right up till they tear you apart.
Posted by: chism, February 27th, 2008, 2:43am; Reply: 3
This was a pretty interesting read. The dialogue had a nice rhythm, it flowed very well and made for a good pace, although I think you need to work on your formatting a little bit. It wasnít terrible, but thereís room for improvement. You could download a writing program (Celtx is an excellent one for beginners Ė and itís free) to help you out with that.

My only complaint with the script is how quickly the script begins. Itís a jarring opening, with Wilson resting peacefully and then it all just starts, very effective. But itís also a major flaw in the script; we donít get any time to get to know Wilson before his ďtrialĒ begins. We donít sympathize with him enough to care about what he has to go through, so thereís a loss of impact at the climax.

Other than that, I liked this script. Good writing, good dialogue and an interesting take on the material. I particularly liked how you avoided making Wilson a pedophile Ė there have been quite a few of them in this challenge so far. It works more as a comedy than as a drama, but thatís a minor thing as it fits into the prison cell theme very well. Good work. ;D

Posted by: ReaperCreeper, February 27th, 2008, 3:37am; Reply: 4
I liked this one. There really wasn't much drama, but I thought it was a good read regardless and it still stuck to the prison cell theme, so no complaints here.

I loved the pace of the script. It flowed neatly and it wasn't a pain to go through the pages, although I wasn't a fan of your format. You should just download Celtx--it's a free screenwriting program with PDF generation and everything. I recommend you check it out.

I really liked how the opening scene just takes off straight away. One could complain about the fact that we do not get to know Wilson because it is so quick, but I think that reflects how his current situation is--there isn't time to think about anything, you just have to go through with it. To me,  that worked better than a traditional character build-up. At least in this particular story.

Nice job.


Posted by: BPeterson, February 27th, 2008, 7:14am; Reply: 5
This is probably the most dialogue heavy OWC I've read so far. I liked it, it had kind of a quirky feel. The humor was a little offsetting but it helped make it unique. I do, however, think this could use a good polish. The formatting is a little awkward at places and there's a few small typing errors. Also there's a couple of sentences that are unfilmable and unnecessary. good entry regardless.
Posted by: Zombie Sean, February 28th, 2008, 9:47pm; Reply: 6
This was more of a comedy than a drama, but then again, I liked it. The format was a bit off and I had to zoom in to actually be able to read it. Though, I won't complain considering if you had a title page and you made the font size 10, it would probably come out to be 14 pages or so (including the title page).

I have to admit, though, that there was a lot of dialogue, but I thought it was good. I thought it was cool how you got to see how each character ended up in the jail (I think you got to see all of them), but what I'm confused is why they were having a trial?? Were these just crazy prisoners going around and killing people? And letting a security guard let them do so? I thought that it was all going to be a dream that Wilson was going to wake up from, but no. This all seemed like a dream, and that the Judge and the others were more like personalities.

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