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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  October, 2010 One Week Challenge  /  Pumpkinseeds - OWC
Posted by: Don, October 15th, 2010, 8:02pm
Pumpkinseeds by Darren J Seeley (darrenjamesseeley) - Short, Horror - A wheelchair bound man and his best friend are kidnapped by the witch Baba Yaga. They all go for a little death ride in her newly acquired walking house.  - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: Murphy (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 12:35am; Reply: 1
Darren, this was interesting, a really great visual script, brilliantly written, but a story I am struggling to really understand. It is probably gonna need another read later to get my head around it fully. So I may come back and add some more thoughts.

It was written well though, Your description of what was on screen was well thought out and made it simple for me to picture everything clearly. I can imagine this on screen, it was quite cinematicall really.

Like I said I will not comment on the story until I read again later, but for now, this is a solid piece of work and a great entry. You of course nailed the critera.

Nice one.
Posted by: screenrider (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 1:43am; Reply: 2
Sorry, Darren, but this one didn't do much for me.  And honestly I can't even come up with a reason as to why.   It just didn't fly.  On a positive note, I really enjoyed your full-length feature "The Cherry Vine".


Posted by: Baltis. (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 1:50am; Reply: 3
I hated the title page and the use of FADE IN: on the right ledger was off putting.  Very amateurish.   The type face is very bold, I don't know exactly what it is about it but it makes everything blur to me.  It's a hard read being this dark to me.  I don't know why...  But those little quibbles aside here goes.

Very visual and written with exception.  Anything but amateurish like your title page and right ledge FADE IN: would have me believe.  Very abstract story with a tremendous wealth of depth for a 10 pager.  One of my favorite entries thus far... About on par with Phil's offering, and that's saying something.  I'd do away with the title page font and that damn FADE IN: on the right, though.  "ha"

5th script down.
Posted by: mcornetto (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 3:07am; Reply: 4
I think this had a lot going for it.  The imagery was excellent.  Loved the stuff with the house moving back and forth - or when the lightning was in time with her walking - or when the pumpkin bounced behind her.  I also thought you had  a pretty good story going there.

However, I think this suffered for length.  I really didn't know enough about Aaron to care about his plight - much less to know if he was a pure spirit of not.  This needs to be relayed in some way to the reader.   If your ending hinges on a personality trait then you need to show us that trait.  I don't think you did.   More elaboration on his relationship with his friends that were there is needed as well.

Also, I found some of the prose a bit difficult to understand.  There were some instances where you got a bit too creative with how you worded things - see notes below.  I also found the ending (the last two action blocks) very hard to understand.  I sort of have the feeling I get it but I don't feel certain about it and I don't think you meant of it to be ambiguous.

Overall. Well done.  

Here's my notes:

A few streaks of moonlight peeks <-- should be peek.

who has a young twenty something woman's face sewn on to her head. <-- where her face should be?  Like a hat?

Aaron shouts under his gag. It comes out intelligible. <-- His shout comes out intelligible? What's he saying?

I forgiven the driver who smacked <-- I've

Why does the house suddenly obey him?
Posted by: stevie, October 16th, 2010, 6:03am; Reply: 5
Yeah, this was like an acid trip of a script - not that I've taken acid, mind you...

I remember reading about Baba Yaga in my youth - we had this book of Russian folk tales)meant for kids oddly...some of the shit was scary) and the hut that had chicken legs used to frrak me right out!

Very visual, as mentioned and could be a good animation. It needs more of a story and maybe cut a couple of pages of description off.

Anway, well done for getting it done and its the most 'horrifc' one so far.
Posted by: Violent Josh, October 16th, 2010, 6:24am; Reply: 6
I'm siding with stevie on this one. A fine short to watch while abusing illicit substances.

I really enjoyed your action blocks. Very visual. No problems there. It would probably shoot longer than read however. If anything, trim a little off.
Posted by: c m hall, October 16th, 2010, 8:23am; Reply: 7
Very interesting images but reads more like a short story than a screenplay, I think, and it could work well as prose.
Posted by: Trojan, October 16th, 2010, 10:53am; Reply: 8
Not the easiest story to follow, was a bit of a tough read to be honest. Partly due to me not knowing anything about who this witch is or the legend behind it, and partly to the annoying bold font you have used. Put a strain on my eyes trying to read it.

I though the writing was really good in some places, and pretty average in others. The ending felt like it might have been a bit rushed in comparison to the earlier scenes. Well done on completing the challenge though.

Cheers,
Tim.
Posted by: Electric Dreamer, October 16th, 2010, 11:25am; Reply: 9
DJ,

Good on you for completing the one week challenge!
I love the imagery here and the attention to detail.
This one would make a fine animation or CG filled live action short.
The bloke in the stove was very cool. Its nice to see the creative suffering.

I was unclear as to how Aaron was able to influence the house.
Considering the gooey ending you chose, perhaps Aaron should be more of an antag.
Since he tries to take over her magick, perhaps he's an upstart demon or something.
Thanks lots for the nifty read!

Regards,
E.D.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 16th, 2010, 11:30am; Reply: 10
Not sure what the 'bold font' is about. It is an unbolded 12 point courier. I double checked.

By the way, thanks for all the comments so far, to everyone. Even before the deadline closed, I probably will expand this a little bit. I know exactly where I want to take it.

Posted by: dogglebe (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 11:38am; Reply: 11
I had to read this script twice; the first time, I thought I missed something.  The story seems to be lacking something; I'm not sure what.

Your descriptive imagery was great.  I did enjoy that.  You created a very nice little world in this house, from the seeded walls to the hands coming out of the floor and the oven.

I think a rewrite would really improve this script.  Tighten it up a little bit.  Maybe even shorten it a page or so.


Phil
Posted by: Dreamscale, October 16th, 2010, 11:47am; Reply: 12
Hey Darren. congrats on completing an OWC script as quickly as you did.

I see some goods and some bads within.

I am not familiar with the source material, but did look it up quickly on Wiki.  I'm wondering if some/all of your imagery and creative imagination came from the actual source stories?  If so, not so good...if not, there are some good visuals, imagery, and imagination on display.

As others have commented, the font you chose is difficult on the eyes.

Your "style" is very novelistic, and as others have said, this reads more like a short story than a script to me.  And as others said, it is a tough read any way you look at it.

There are some well written passages and some poorly written passages, including a lots of really awkward phrasing.

There are a number of typos and grammar issues, but the worst one has to be "motar? instead of "mortar".  Also, watch your orphans, especially when space is so important.

I think your story suffered because you chose not to utilize all 10 pages for some reason...and you sure needed them here, as there is obviously alot of back-story that we don't get, and don't understand.

So, I have mixed feelings here as there are definitely positives and negatives.  I think I remember you saying you submitted this quickly...if that's the case, it was a mistake, as there are plenty of issues you could have/should have cleaned up.

A good effort for a tough OWC, by any means.  Good job.
Posted by: greg, October 16th, 2010, 3:28pm; Reply: 13
Darren,

I first read this late last night and didn't really get it.  I just read it again and I'm still kind of lost.  From what I gathered it's visually excellent, but this was a hard read for me to get through, as I just felt there was a lack of direction and depth.  Or maybe there was too much of it?  I'm not really sure, but that's all I've got.  An impressive feat to put all of that into 10 pages in under a week, though.  Good effort.

Greg
Posted by: khamanna, October 16th, 2010, 4:15pm; Reply: 14
I grew up listening and watching BabaYaga stories. BabaYaga lives in a special house. Her house stands on two chicken legs which allow it to move in any direction.

Here's a glimpse for the others:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caOVqzfubBQ&feature=related

pumpkins and pumpkin seed - doesn't mix with BabaYaga for me, but guess it's just me.

The middle of it is a bit chatty (p5) for me and their talk lacks direction for some reason...or maybe I missed it.

Overall I enjoyed the story and you build the suspense well, I think.
Posted by: Ryan1, October 16th, 2010, 5:12pm; Reply: 15
I thought the best part of this story was the originality of the concept...until I saw that youtube video.  Uh, you pretty much took someone else's character and concept and changed it a bit to fit into this OWC.  You should at least acknowledge that on your title page or logline.

The story was very confusing and I had no real idea what was going on.  Also a lot of unnecessary dialogue, IMO.  Just seemed you needed to clarify the action and the story more.
Posted by: khamanna, October 16th, 2010, 5:29pm; Reply: 16
I think it's okay to use this idea since that movie (titled Morozko) and many other Russian movies based it on a folk story. A Russian folk story about BabaYaga, a witch who can fly, who is quirky and funny and likes roasted human and lives in a house on chicken legs.

So anyone can use it I think.
Posted by: Ryan1, October 16th, 2010, 5:32pm; Reply: 17
Using an old folk tale is no problem, although I wish it was made clear to me before I read the script that the main character and concept are based on previously published material.   I was just disappointed when I found out the parts of this story I liked the most seem to have come from another source.  
Posted by: khamanna, October 16th, 2010, 5:37pm; Reply: 18
Oh, okay.

It's like someone trying to adapt Hansel and Gretel story, and there are many adaptation of it and other stories out there...

But I get what you're saying.
Posted by: stebrown, October 16th, 2010, 6:04pm; Reply: 19
Good, original idea with some very nice, surreal visuals.

I thought the main thing that let the script down was the writing style. I don't know if it's due to writing this in a rush but I found quite a few errors that made the script a little hard to follow and also made it drag a bit. I'll look for some examples for you.

Your second paragraph on page 1 - 'Flashes of lightning shines throughout the room he is in.'
I don't think you need that sentence. Why not just -
FLASH of lightning reveals AARON ARIES...'
I would also introduce him then as if you're only revealing he's gagged then, that's the first time we're seeing him, right?

On page 4 you keep saying 'reaches out' 'extends out'. You can lose the 'out' part.

It might sound petty and maybe it's just me but I'm just trying to find reasons for why this was a slow read for me. It's a good idea and probably the most original concept so far that I've read from the OWC scripts.

Ste

Posted by: Ledbetter (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 6:52pm; Reply: 20
This script was very interesting for me.

The scene with him sliding around in the wheelchair slaming against the walls was funny to me. That is sick, I know, but I cannot get the image out of my head of him sliding across the room as it is being rocketed skywards and him pin balling around the room.

Even now I am laughing.

The story itself kinda lost me. The writing was fine but a little beyond me.

Shawn.....><
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 16th, 2010, 7:12pm; Reply: 21

Quoted from khamanna
I grew up listening and watching BabaYaga stories. BabaYaga lives in a special house. Her house stands on two chicken legs which allow it to move in any direction.

pumpkins and pumpkin seed - doesn't mix with BabaYaga for me, but guess it's just me.





Quoted from Ryan1
I thought the best part of this story was the originality of the concept...until I saw that youtube video.  Uh, you pretty much took someone else's character and concept and changed it a bit to fit into this OWC.  You should at least acknowledge that on your title page or logline.


I didn't really think this would have come up , but since it has, the folk tales of Baba Yaga are public domain. I did not "rip off" any film, long or short, foreign or domestic. In fact, I haven't seen them. I didn't even see that clip until today. I wanted to use a folklore character, and make it my own and my own visuals. More on this in a moment.

While I included some of the mythology, I didn't want to use too much of it. I wanted to adapt it, and make it my own. Other writers have also added a few new details and twists. It also is apparent that the mythos I did include is going right over people's heads - except for those who know of the folklore. What is more positive are the "new" elements to make it my own. I don't mind a criticism or two about it either- if folks want to look at this as an adaptation, so be it. When a "X-Men" movie comes out, comic book fans are quick to point out problems when an adaptation strays away from the source material. Sometimes it is fair game, sometimes not. But it happens. I know I can't please everyone. That's alright.

But let me get this right. On this site, we have how many "fan fiction scripts"? Scripts written good or bad concerning characters and stories that are not in the public domain and are under copyright? And they are given a pass- but I take a public domain folk tale, update and adapt it (if you want to see it that way)  and I'm charged with high treason?

I don't play that game. I know that's not a huge concern, and I'm not going to put a disclaimer on the script in any revision, but I simply don't want this to become a discussion of "did I or didn't I"? If anything, the guides also suggested to have some fun with the OWC, so, in essense, this is harmless and infringes on no one.
















Posted by: Abe from LA, October 16th, 2010, 7:19pm; Reply: 22
This story read and felt like a ride at Disneyland.  With all the moving parts and sliding around, I couldn't see it any other way.  The story was difficult for me to follow.  As others have noted, the story seems rooted in visuals and if filmed, visual effects, and not so much in story.

I might be the only one, but I liked the bit of dialogue in which Baba Yaga talks about free will and when Aaron and his friends were younger.  I liked that grounding in reality.  I thought that, plus maybe a connection to Jill, could create a stronger sense of direction. Such as, Aaron, Jill and others when they were young making some pact, or trespassing in the hut.  That could be the catalyst for his/her predicament all these years later.
Maybe I missed some key elements and if so, sorry about that.

I think you have a visual writing style, but in a script it could read as "wordy."  Shave off some of the description and go for a bit more story.  Clarify and maybe flesh out Aaron's character to give the better understanding of why this is happening to him.
For a OWC, good effort.
Posted by: jwent6688, October 16th, 2010, 7:21pm; Reply: 23
Was blown away by this. Loved it. Wasn't much of a story, But it was interesting as hell.

Ryan, Gotta side with Khammana here. Would be like us writing about Bigfoot. Or Loch Ness. There's no copyright to old folklore.

With that said, The story lost punch for me, because, I didn't know it wasn't all your idea. How much, if it were just the walking house you borrowed, the main chracter,  and wrote the entire script originally... I really liked it. So long as its not based off a particular short story written by someone else, I think you did real good here.

James
Posted by: Ryan1, October 16th, 2010, 7:31pm; Reply: 24
No one's charging you with high treason, Darren.  I was just disappointed to learn the character of Baba Yaga and the whole walking house thing, the parts of your script that I loved,  weren't your ideas.  Perhaps I went too far in saying you should say that's it based on a folk tale, but I was totally caught by surprise when I read the other posts sayng they were familiar with the tale.  So, didn't mean to accuse you of anything. Sorry if it came off that way.
Posted by: Dreamscale, October 16th, 2010, 7:46pm; Reply: 25
Relax, Darren.  Everything's cool...
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 16th, 2010, 7:46pm; Reply: 26

Quoted from jwent6688

Ryan, Gotta side with Khammana here. Would be like us writing about Bigfoot. Or Loch Ness. There's no copyright to old folklore.

With that said, The story lost punch for me, because, I didn't know it wasn't all your idea. How much, if it were just the walking house you borrowed, the main character,  and wrote the entire script originally... I really liked it. So long as its not based off a particular short story written by someone else, I think you did real good here.


Thanks for reading, James.

But it is not based on a short story or script by anyone else. (The coincidence of a fella in a wheelchair would be a find!) The general characteristics of Baba Yaga and the folklore are indeed present. In fact I even rewrote some of the ending due to it and re-submitted it before the deadline  (The exterior of the house- it isn't "exactly" giant chicken legs, but close enough; but I felt like I had to show it) But it is what I do with it that matters.

Generally, everything and anything not connected to the Baba Yaga folklore is "new" material. Factor in the requirements of the OWC, and we are talking around 90%.








Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 16th, 2010, 7:53pm; Reply: 27

Quoted from Ledbetter


The scene with him sliding around in the wheelchair slaming against the walls was funny to me. That is sick, I know, but I cannot get the image out of my head of him sliding across the room as it is being rocketed skywards and him pin balling around the room.



Thanks for the read, Shawn. I guess some of Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" films really gave me more inspiration than I thought they would lol

Posted by: Coding Herman, October 16th, 2010, 9:03pm; Reply: 28
This is quite interesting and surreal. Minus the blood, I can see this as a fantasy/family horror.

The imageries you've described are intriguing. The human body becomes food: the hands like crackers, the nose like crumbs, the arms filled with pumpkinseeds. It'll work well on the screen.

Your first page is excellent. The tone and the setting is perfect. However, as I read along, I didn't know too much about Baba Yaga, why she picked Aaron as her victim, why she make food from humans. Is there a reason why she needs his flesh and soul?

I also didn't get why Aaron suddenly knows the witch's name. He then blunt out rules for the witch, so he seemed to be well-informed about them. I still didn't understand the relationship between Aaron the the witch.

Very good visual. But I hope you can rewrite this to give us more information as to what's going on.


Herman
Posted by: TheBoyWonder, October 17th, 2010, 10:02am; Reply: 29
This was definitely a script meant for strong visual quality. I am a little disappointed that you didn't come up with the walking house thing and the character of Baba Yaga yourself. Also, I had a problem trying to read her dialogue because I kept on hearing it in a stereotypical witch's voice, making this feel more comical and horrific. You did well with the requirements for this OWC but there are obviously going to be issues people are going to have with this script. Good job, regardless.

-Trent
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 17th, 2010, 6:09pm; Reply: 30

Quoted from Coding Herman
This is quite interesting and surreal. Minus the blood, I can see this as a fantasy/family horror.

The imageries you've described are intriguing. The human body becomes food: the hands like crackers, the nose like crumbs, the arms filled with pumpkinseeds. It'll work well on the screen.

Your first page is excellent. The tone and the setting is perfect. However, as I read along, I didn't know too much about Baba Yaga, why she picked Aaron as her victim, why she make food from humans. Is there a reason why she needs his flesh and soul?

I also didn't get why Aaron suddenly knows the witch's name. He then blunt out rules for the witch, so he seemed to be well-informed about them. I still didn't understand the relationship between Aaron the the witch.

Very good visual. But I hope you can rewrite this to give us more information as to what's going on.





I am, as I write this, re-writing the script to add a few more details. Some of the suggestions are being considered as well. Three suggestions, including one of your own, may in fact influence the possible future of the script.

Thanks for reading.

Posted by: James McClung, October 18th, 2010, 7:49am; Reply: 31
Hey Darren.

I'm actually quite familiar with the Baba Yaga Bony Legs folklore. It's great stuff and was the sole reason I decided to check out your script. I was impressed that not only did you have the basics of the legend down pat, you brought your own interpretation to it and a lot of other stuff that clearly came directly from you.

The imagery was great. No doubt about that. The story? Not so much. I liked Baba Yaga's dialogue but Aaron didn't do much other than sit there and be helpless. Also, the third character, William, seems to be a nonentity pretty much. I had to reread the section of him in the oven a couple times to realize what was going on. In any case, he was pretty useless. I guess he showed the fate Aaron was to endure but he did little other than make an appearance.

Anyway, I'll give you the biggest kudos for your choice of mythos but also for figuring something interesting out to do with your female character. The other scripts I've read have placed them in more or less submissive or secondary roles, which frankly, I expected.

Not bad, I suppose. I think the weaker elements are balanced out by the strong but there's no reason why you shouldn't come back to this one and fix some things.
Posted by: Scoob, October 18th, 2010, 5:10pm; Reply: 32
Hi Darren,

Wow. I was blown away by the opening page. Completly sucked me in with the visuals.
By page 6, I'm still enjoying the visual aspect, Baba Yago's dialogue but not too sure where it's all headed. To break Aaron's spirit I guess.
Love the Gingerbread man, ha! Feels like Return To Oz on acid.
This was so different to what I've read so far I have to give you credit for being so creative and original.
The only negative I found was I had to re-read a couple of lines again - but that's probably more down to me trying to adjust and visualize the whole fantasy theme. The font seemed a little out of funk?

Great job, and pretty darn refreshing!

Malc
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 18th, 2010, 7:53pm; Reply: 33

Quoted from Scoob
Hi Darren,

The font seemed a little out of funk?





Thanks for the read, Scoob.
The font face is 12-point courier (Final Draft), it is not bolded. However, it could be due to a PDF translation as well.  Still, this matter does seem to be noteworthy. I'll double and triple check the issue shortly, as I'm now no longer constrained by OWC and in the process of rewriting and expanding.





Posted by: Mr.Ripley, October 19th, 2010, 1:12am; Reply: 34
Hey Darren,

I'm unfamiliar with this myth but I found the idea to be interesting and crazy in a good way. Based on your descriptions, it reminds me of a script on these boards where the whole story takes place in a drug enduced dream, If I recall. lol. Very vivid.  I had to re-read it again. Maybe work on clariyfing this a bit.  But other than, very interesting.

Hope this helps,
Gabe
Posted by: bert, October 19th, 2010, 8:11am; Reply: 35
I did enjoy your unique spin on this challenge, though personally, I was not familiar with the legend.  A quick Google brings one up to speed, however.  The idea of turning into some sort of food while still alive is a particularly gruesome one, appealing to the child-like elements of the fantasy going on here.  As a barrier to production, however, I would also note that this is quite heavy on effects for a short, and is well beyond the means of most independent filmmakers.

Speaking broadly, I would work to make this piece more accessible to those unfamiliar with the legend.  Aaron seems pretty familiar with the rules of the game, and you might consider having him spell things out for us a bit more explicitly at times.  You also have Aaron state, "I don't know who you are...", but indeed he does, and better for the story should he have full knowledge of what he is up against.  Aaron vs. the Baba Yaga, right from the get-go -- that is your conflict.  "I know who you are...", he should say.

I would not have Baba Yaga mention William, nor would I have Aaron know he is even around.  The part William has to play is so brief, but effective, and because it is so brief, better that William is just some random victim.  One more horror thrown into the mix for Aaron to endure, but gone as quickly as he appears.

The dialogue is quite good throughout, but when Aaron speaks of his accident, this feels like clunky exposition.  Baba Yaga is the one who should deliver this backstory.  She already knows it.  She confronts Aaron with it -- taunts him with the truth of his situation -- and thereby creates more tension in this exchange.

I found the action at the end a bit confusing, where he rushes the door, it crushes him, and he becomes a pumpkin of sorts.  This section could use a bit more clarity, or perhaps you could accomplish your storytelling goals through more subtle means.  I can see you were going for the big finish, but it also seems a bit over-the-top given the remainder of the tale.  This is where the effects move from "maybe this can be done" into the "no way" realm, outside of breaking the bank.  

And Aaron's lack of purity is never fully explained.  Perhaps Baba can provide a little information in that regard, as opposed to simply stating it as fact.

I did like your story, and the style in which you told it.  I wonder if you could have an eye towards a potential budget while still keeping the heart of this story intact.  It would be a shame to lose the more fanciful aspects to this tale, but in its current form, it serves more as a sample of your writing than something a burgeoning filmmaker is likely to consider, outside of animation.  Something to think about, at any rate.

Let me know if any of this is not clear, or if questions linger.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 19th, 2010, 11:02am; Reply: 36
Thank you for the read, Bert.

In my rewriting, I am, in fact, addressing some of these issues that you bring up. Since I'm also expanding it, I still am going to keep some of the crazy stuff---because things will get crazier. If this were made as a low budget feature, I'm positive the majority of the gags can be done on a low budget. (Anyone got a gimble to spare?  ;D ) but to a average film student looking for a project with 20 dollars in his wallet? Not so much.

Again, thanks again for the bullet points. I'll take it under consideration.

-DjS
Posted by: RayW, October 19th, 2010, 3:52pm; Reply: 37
1 - Story: Vary interesting. Fantastic. Loved it. Of all things arbitrary in life, AARON AREIS reads pretty ugly, though.
2 - Filmable & Budget: The moving house CGI will cost a lot and the set would have to be custom built, but this should be very visually appealing with a fair budget. Low budget would look like sh!te.
3 - Horror & Audience: Definitely horror! PG-13 or R, broad audience that would love this. Followed directions pretty well. Although technically in an abandoned house, you couldn't very well take your cast and crew to you local road-side abandoned house to film... any of this. Date reference is eve of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain.
4 - Technicals & Format: Unfilmable "it is a complete unseen miracle on how the place still stands without caving in". (pause) should be (beat), if not ellipsis. Few typos. Occasional lines that could be restated with fewer words. I don't mind a "dense" script, but a lot of folks get "eyeball constipation" over it.
5 - Title & Logline: Someone's gonna bust your b@lls over the underlining, large point size and tinkering with the copyright line. Title does make sense for the story told. Friend needs more play in story to be featured in the logline.
General Comments:
A - Some things just don't gee-haw together, like moonbeams during a thunderstorm.
B - Weeny little things, like "... pulls out a huge human femur bone out of a corner...". Strike that first "out" and re-read that passage.
C - The chocolate skin thing was pretty darn creepy!
D - Failed to set up why or how Aaron was able to control the house.
E - It would make a fantastic (albeit expensive) proof of concept sequence.

EDIT: corrected two egregious errors on my behalf.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 19th, 2010, 5:28pm; Reply: 38

Quoted from RayW
No date reference.


Thanks for the read, Ray. But I quoted the above because a character does mention the date. In fact, you actually quoted my joke on it in another thread and took it seriously as a "stupid question". You know the one.

Again, the OWC said nothing about budget restraints. "You can do whatever you want to the house but burn it down" means just that.  There's nothing wrong with the title, considering what happens to Aaron.

Glad you liked it overall.
-DjS
Posted by: RayW, October 19th, 2010, 6:10pm; Reply: 39

Quoted from DarrenJamesSeeley
I quoted the above because a character does mention the date. In fact, you actually quoted my joke on it in another thread and took it seriously as a "stupid question". You know the one.

No, I don't know. Where?
(And I rarely call anyone or their questions stupid or anything ugly.)

Found it, PDF pg 5:
BABA YAGA
The Witching hour is upon us, I
need your flesh and soul on the
eve of Samhain.


D@mmit!
I feel such an a$$. I apologize, sincerely, Darren.



Quoted from DarrenJamesSeeley
Again, the OWC said nothing about budget restraints. "You can do whatever you want to the house but burn it down" means just that.
  
Are you being defensive? 'cause identifying this production as expensive is not offensive.
And if you can put that to music you might have a cute little ditty.
Uh... you're right?
"You can do whatever you want to the house but burn it down" means just that.

"The moving house CGI will cost a lot and the set would have to be custom built" is not being ugly.
Or offensive.
It won't be cheap.
Cheap as in three actors, camera guy, audio guy, with a knife, a quart of ketchup, a shack on the side of the road and a garden hose.
Yeah. Pumkinseed will cost more than that.
A lot more.
And it's not a slam or a poke, and I didn't call it a fail.
It'll cost some Benjis.
Even if you have a guy in a washing machine box painted like a house it'll get expensive.
Those things are like... twenty bucks!
;)



Quoted from DarrenJamesSeeley
There's nothing wrong with the title, considering what happens to Aaron.

Reread it.
You're right.
PDF pg 4, She forces pumpkin seeds down his throat which is why he turned into bloody pumpkin mush when smashed in the door.
My bad.
I'll fix the above review, and redouble my efforts to pay attention more betterer. ;)



Quoted from DarrenJamesSeeley
Glad you liked The Gingerbread Man though.

Aw, sh!t that was creepy as h3ll!

Posted by: Mr. Blonde, October 19th, 2010, 8:15pm; Reply: 40
I'd have to agree with Screenrider's first post. It didn't do much for me, either and it's hard to explain. I'm not a fantasy person, much, in the sense this was written. I prefer stories which was typically grounded but if the right story presents itself, then I will amend that.

I saw people on here liked the amounts of description. That's one thing I don't like. For the most part, I feel lots of descriptions are a waste for space which can be used to enhance the story further through character cues and dialogue.

As I see it, this is one of those scripts which I don't like but I can definitely understand why other people do.

So, good luck with this. =)
Posted by: shootingduck, October 20th, 2010, 11:50am; Reply: 41
Darren,

Good visuals, good read, but this reads more like a long scene than a full short.  Though I'm not really sure how you could have avoided that with the restrictions of the challenge and the set up you created at the point that your story begins.  At any rate, I think this would make a cool little animated short.  I could see it either as a claymation (which would make your really goopy death look especially goopy) or as a really dark animation with a sort of graphic novel-esque look.

Your descriptors, especially in painting the picture of the house in the opening page, could definitely use a trim.  You used a lot of "extra" words that are unneccessary in screenplay format, for example:

The thunder from outside wakes him...  The lightning lights up the room he is in...  Cracks in the ceiling above...

We know where the thunder is coming from, we already know that he's in the room, we know the ceiling is above...  I won't lie, I catch myself doing this a bit at times, but it's overly desriptive and just clutters the page.  You could easily cut half of your first page of description by merely losing the excess on sentences like these.

"The soft light reveals the other person in the room with
Aaron, BABA YAGA, who has a young twenty something
woman's face sewn on to her head.

Her necklace, made out of human teeth, holds a pendant
with a druidic symbol embedded on it. A small dirty robe
covers her front up to her ragged elbows and spiny
knees."

A soft light reveals BABA YAGA, a young woman's face sewn
to her own.  A necklace of human teeth holds a pendant
bearing a druidic symbol.  A dirty robe covers all but her ragged
elbows and spiny knees.

That's 8 lines reduced to 4 (counting the blank line between paragraphs) and you drop that nasty orphan from the end of the second paragraph.  I'm sure, given more thought, my revision could even be reduced further to cut another line while still maintaining all the pertinent information.

Screenwriting is about pacing.  If you spend 8 lines describing someone you throw off the rhythm dramatically.  If you've never filmed anything, I definitely recommend it as it's helped my writing tremendously.  Here's a practical example of how overdescribing in a screenplay can cause your filmed product to suffer...  I made a "feature" length movie a few years ago, which will never see the light of day outside a few close circles of friends.  The script was about 93 pages, if I remember correctly, which should translate to about a 93 minute movie...  It did not.  The film clocked in at a staggering, painful 67 minutes (with 6:30 of that being the end credits).  Moral of that story is, don't overdescribe.  :)

I don't know anything about legend or myth behind Baba Yaga, as I'm sure many do not.  Seems obscure, which is both good and bad.  Good in that it's different.  Bad in that you need to use a lot of expositional dialogue, especially in a short where you don't have another 80 pages to flesh it out and reveal bits and pieces at your own pace, and exposition in dialogue tends to fall flat and be pretty boring.  It's not easy to do, but you needed to find a more creative way to balance the dialogue.  The "Hey, you're Baba Yaga, you have rules, and those rules are as follows..." approach is way too on the nose.

Excellent attempt though.  And like I said, add some subtext to the dialogue, tone down the exposition and with the visuals you've got here this should make for some good animation.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 20th, 2010, 8:18pm; Reply: 42
Thanks, Duck,

Your comments were really helpful. As it so happens I'm re-writing this and opening it up a little bit. While I don't see this as animated, it would be something to consider.

Thanks for the read.

-DjS
Posted by: coldsnap, October 20th, 2010, 10:17pm; Reply: 43
Not familiar with the folklore, which made the script hard to understand for me at times, but can't argue with the psychedelic visuals. For some reason I was seeing this more as an animated short. It's got that feel.
Posted by: Sanderson, October 20th, 2010, 10:22pm; Reply: 44
Was the house floating above the ground? If so that was a cool idea.  I like the bouncing jack'o lantern, it's like a Miyazaki character.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 20th, 2010, 11:30pm; Reply: 45

Quoted from Sanderson
Was the house floating above the ground? If so that was a cool idea.  


No, the idea was that the house had two giant bony legs that resembled bird's feet (chicken) under the cover of darkness. It was a last minute addition to the draft; I felt I needed the reveal due to the folklore surrounding the Baba Yaga character. It's like if someone did a story on another Baba named Ali and needed the flying carpet. Something like that.

Then again, a floating house might solve something in rewrite...unless it's animated- because that would open up the next can of tuna, and...you know someone's gonna blurt out "Up".



Quoted from Sanderson
like the bouncing jack'o lantern, it's like a  Miyazaki character


Why, thank you! That's one of the best comments I got regarding the OWC. "Castle In The Sky" and "Spirited Away" were not influences on the work but still, I think that's a high compliment.
Thanks for the read.

You too Cooldsnap.
Posted by: Delboy, October 21st, 2010, 5:06am; Reply: 46
Hey, great effort on the work.

I had never heard of this folk character either, but liked the way you threw your own spin on it. Everything was beautifully described and found myself enjoying it until the end.

Not sure about the lightning shining through the room even though it had no doors or windows?

Apart from that I thought it was a good effort, definetly one of the better OWC i've read.

Del
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 21st, 2010, 7:59am; Reply: 47

Quoted from Delboy
Hey, great effort on the work.

I had never heard of this folk character either, but liked the way you threw your own spin on it. Everything was beautifully described and found myself enjoying it until the end.

Not sure about the lightning shining through the room even though it had no doors or windows?

Apart from that I thought it was a good effort, definetly one of the better OWC i've read.

Del


Thanks for the read, Del. There are two answers to your question in the script regarding the lightning in the room.


Quoted Text


The house has several exposed rotten wood beams, it is a complete unseen miracle on how the place still stands without caving in.

He glances down to the floor. His eyes go wide.

The floor: loose boards and rusted nails.

He sees the ground through the cracks.

Mud drizzles down into dead trees as the house rises up like an elevator.


The second, of course, is Baba Yaga herself:


Quoted Text

Baba Yaga storms up to him, her footsteps in synchronization with lightning flashes.


In other words, a possible hocus-pocus moment. You know, like "Hellraiser"- when someone fools with that eviil puzzle, that underworld light sesps through walls and cracks, but there's no reasonable light source other than the supernatural?

In any case, as I'm rewriting this, I'll consider giving it another look.

Thanks again
-DjS

Posted by: kurisuborosen, November 2nd, 2010, 5:12am; Reply: 48
That was friggin' trippy man.  I have no idea what I just read.  I don't know if it was meant to be funny, or metaphysical, or whatever.  I do know that it was extremely engaging and that I applaud you for having the balls to write a story with such a level of oddity.

Some of your sentences were clumsy however; another rewrite may be in order.  I agree with the other posters: you write well visually.  It's just that it can sometimes be hard to understand what's actually happening.
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