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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  October, 2011 One Week Challange  /  The Madness of Time - OWC
Posted by: Don, October 15th, 2011, 9:13am
The Madness of Time by Steve McDonell (stevie) - Short, Gothic Horror - While fulfulling his late father's wishes, a man must face the nightmare of his father's past. 9 pages, 5 characters, PG-13 Rating - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: Ledbetter (Guest), October 15th, 2011, 4:25pm; Reply: 1
This was okay, but (IMO) wasn't Goth at all but you did use a ghost. How mis-understood he was missed me as well. This seemed more of a family / camping setting rather than a Goth if that makes sense.

The opening line with the (V.O) was way too long and really not needed. That whole story told there should have been told in the body of the script.

It was s decent enough effert though. Congrats on submitting a script for the OWC.

Posted by: greg, October 15th, 2011, 6:29pm; Reply: 2
I liked this because it was a good effort and, all things considered, had a happy ending, but it also felt routine.  I just feel like I've seen this story a bunch of times before (reference to Deliverance?).  Dialogue was also another issue for me.  I know what they were talking about is serious stuff but it didn't come off as such and in several places was kind of stiff, "Joe, he frightens me".  Ehhhh.  

At the end of the day I liked this for what it was.  Good effort and nice take.  Good job.

Posted by: c m hall, October 15th, 2011, 9:52pm; Reply: 3
Good effort!
I guess Deliverance is fair game.  And certainly the phrase "American Gothic" is not unknown.  
Anyway, here there's horror and ghosts that are generally misunderstood, so that's on the plus side, for sure.
I think you've got some nice tension in the plot development, (maybe they'll stay the night in the danger zone, maybe they won't...)  that's all good.
The dialogue is carrying a lot of the story and the strain shows, IMHO.
This is certainly a clever twist on the OWC guidelines.
Posted by: darrentomalin, October 15th, 2011, 10:47pm; Reply: 4
I may have misunderstood who killed Drew, after a vote, he was shot, it came across to me that it was Ed and the other two who killed him, am i missing something?
I sensed the deliverence angle, and that was a welcome change but is it gothic?
A lot of the dialogue could do with a trim or is not actually needed at all.
Effort obviously went into this and you care about formatting and the overall feel of the story, so points for that!
Posted by: Electric Dreamer, October 16th, 2011, 1:40am; Reply: 5
I find nothing about the setting that adheres to the OWC theme.
Heavy exposition setting up a backwoods vigilante story.
These labored elaborate ghost set ups are wearing me down.
No offense to this author, but most of the stories are like this.
A large chunk of the pages goes to expository ghostly backstory.
I don’t see the ghost behavior fitting into the rules either.
Everything was pretty much all talk until the climax.
The poisonous overalls were a hoot. Thanks for playing OWC.

Posted by: wonkavite (Guest), October 16th, 2011, 10:08am; Reply: 6
Decent writing, so kudos on that.

I agree with other reviewers that there was really nothing gothic about the story (other than the existence of several ghosts).  

Did it work for me?  No - homicidal rednecks are a standard genre cliche these days (so much so that there's a mainstream parody coming out soon - though I can't remember the name off hand.)

The dialogue was...a bit wooden in this one, and the exposition too obvious.  No reason to care about the characters - it's just that this is the sort of plot we've seen a million times.  After Deliverance, it's all gonna just go downhill...

But congrats on the OWC - thanks for submitting!
Posted by: Scoob, October 16th, 2011, 7:27pm; Reply: 7
I thought this was alright. It read quick and didn't really require any deep thinking so that was a plus for me!

There's a ghost, I suppose he's misunderstood by the couple at first, but no Gothic elements.

The setting was a little different to what I've read so far, so I appreciated that. Could have taken advantage of it with something a little more original.
Posted by: Breanne Mattson, October 17th, 2011, 1:25pm; Reply: 8
I thought this sounded like a sequel to Deliverance. So I looked it up. Picture Tweetie Bird saying, “It is! It is a sequel to Deliverance!”

A lot of the dialogue is on the nose. Sometimes it sounds like a TV special that’s a retrospect for Deliverance.

He frightens me, Joe? Sounds like we’re back in a 40s flick. Maybe you should have her say it breathlessly with her arm across her forehead.

Now if you can just get Ronny Cox to sign on, and get the film rights, you can get this produced.

Sorry to be so cynical but this could have easily been turned into something original. To me, it reads like you weren’t really trying.

Posted by: Reef Dreamer, October 17th, 2011, 3:21pm; Reply: 9

I think the idea of the father's past catching up with the son has potential. However, there are a few issues which affect it for me.

My comments;

Initial VO is going to be too long and too full of exposition for some
A few spelling errors (neeeded!) but hey so has my script
There is potential for conflict between the three groups namely (1) father group (2) the red necks (3) the son and wife. This trilogy should be driven forward, but the script stoped shortly after this started.
Why does the father want to go back to the lake?

Worth trying some revisions.

All the best
Posted by: Dreamscale, October 17th, 2011, 10:26pm; Reply: 10
Well, I tried.  I really did...but 3 pages in and I'm out.

Gothic?  Sure doesn't seem like it.

What's with all the V.O. when characters are right there in the scene?

First 3 pages are almost all exposition.  What's not exposition is very unrealistic, inclduing the dialogue, the premise, and the way everythign takes place.

Posted by: Sandra Elstree., October 19th, 2011, 1:56pm; Reply: 11

I do like the title, but it's not integral enough with the story. It has a more Sci-fi or surreal vibe to it and after reading the story: no, the title doesn't work.

The logline is good.

The long V.O. back story is a real turn off, but I did press on...

Even though from that, it did not read as goth to me at all. Now, with that, I should describe what goth means to me, from my limited understanding:

It's not just Castles or Manors and such, though environment should play as one of "the characters" in my mind, as an extension of perhaps a ghost or an individual. So, it needn't be the stereotype. Also, I believe that "passion" needs to exist within it and strongly so. I don't mean "sexual passion", though it might well be, but any kind of or numerous passions. And also, with that passion/passions, comes excess. I feel that part of gothic is marked excess which leads to marked emptiness.

Having stated my perceptions, of at least partly, what I think gothic is about, I don't see it here.

The construct is such that we learn of a sexually relate crime that WAS committed, through dialogue exposition. And the dialogue, well, it's really not interesting in anyway, the characters are flat and when they come upon Drew, it sounds silly the way Cheryl's dialogue reads as fearful. It sounds pretend.

The problem with this is that it just skims the surface and kind of "acts" like scripts in this vein and genre (Deliverance was mentioned) that have been done tons of times.

I'll say what I say a lot:

Go back to character work. Don't just make up some "bad happenstance" such as CRAZY HILLBILLY DUDE commits sexual crime." GOOD BOY CHARLIE seeks revenge and closure" type of thing.

I say, "What can come out of that sort of set up?" All it does is imply that Crazy Hillbilly was born bad and Good Boy was born good and eventually good boy wins.

If I read enough scripts and see this over and over, you can see how terribly monotonous it gets. Not only that, but I know that it doesn't work that way in life and so it's so far from the truth that I can't bear it.

Art is not reality and therefore it cannot be the same, but it does simulate it and so, when writing, try to fashion your work more off of you and your experience. Write what you know. If you do that, I think you'll notice a lot of growth in your work.


Posted by: jwent6688, October 19th, 2011, 4:29pm; Reply: 12
Couldn't really get behind this entry. Almost felt like Joe's dad deliberately set him and his wife up by asking them to revive these two evil hillbilles. And for what? To kill what is already dead? I didn't get what that was about.

Drew's ghost works effectively though. Nice little chill when they realize its him watching them. I just think this ending needs to be better fleshed out. I was hoping Drew was warning them that there's still evil hillbillies in those parts of the woods and would help them escape from the jaws of real-life Deliverance folk.

Not bad for an OWC. Way too much is told in the dialogue, I'm sure you didn't need to hear that by now.

Good job completing an entry...

Posted by: Grandma Bear, October 20th, 2011, 10:26am; Reply: 13
I liked this one despite or maybe because of the Deliverance story. I personally thought that was pretty creative to come up with that. Were you watching the movie lately? I love that film.

I liked the writing here too. Clean as far as I could see. Very clear and easy to visualize. Not at all overwritten.

Lots of people seem to think this didn't fit the Goth theme. It worked for me. The setting was eerie/creepy and with the looming storm. I don't know. I liked this one. It won't be filmed, but it was an enjoyable read.  Good work!
Posted by: Hugh Hoyland, October 20th, 2011, 7:00pm; Reply: 14
Okay, pretty well written.

This one didnt have a gothic vibe to me. As others have stated it has more of a Deliverance feel, and honestly thats cool IMO. A classic movie of course.

A good ghost story though.

Good job on getting it done!
Posted by: Dreamscale, October 20th, 2011, 7:14pm; Reply: 15
Maybe it'seant to be a sequel to Deliverence, "delivered" as a short?  I don't know...could be, though...
Posted by: RayW, October 22nd, 2011, 12:09am; Reply: 16
Locations & Sets  -   EXT. lake w/ marina and campground, deep water shot,
Actors  -  JOE (40), CHERYL (40), DREW (-), Hillbilly #1 & #2, ED (40)
Costumes  -  DREW's jeans and shirt, Moldy hillbilly outfits x2
Props  -  Urn w/ seal & ashes, penlight (I think you're going to need more than a penlight), tent, backpack, photograph of DREW, envelope with will, arrow through neck and one through chest, rusty shotgun
Audio FX -  thunder rumbles, immediate thunder crack, shotgun firing
Visual FX  -  thing moving in water, dark clouds looming, lightning strike to tree, shotgun firing
Other  -  Canoe rental (hopefully near site), stabilized john boat to film canoe scene, waterproof housing for underwater shot, scuba gear x 2, big fan for wind effects + extension cords or portable generator + fuel, light for lightning effect, Jeep, burning tree light, fogger, area rain equipment w/ water supply, MUA for arrows and moldy hillbillies,
Comments  -  LOL! Nice sequel action going on! The will in the tent was a bit over the top. More of a regular ghost story than Gothic horror, though
Posted by: bert, October 23rd, 2011, 11:40am; Reply: 17
So this is an amusing tribute -- with an amiable WTF quality about it -- and I suppose it fits the requirements of the challenge if one stretches those boundaries like a batch of saltwater taffy.

The title makes zero sense.  You know that, right?

I think all of the V.O. for Drew is a mistake when he is standing right there.  The scenario is already silly enough that you might as well allow him to speak.

And you should devise a better, more visual method of letting us know that zombie #4 rising from the waters is, in fact, his dad.  Simply telling us so in the script is not adequate.  Maybe you can have Cheryl ask, "Hey...Is that Jon Voight??" as Joe bundles her into the Jeep.

This one will not win any votes for Best-in-Show -- pretty sure -- but at 8 pages it is smart enough not to overstay its welcome -- and it is unique enough to raise a wry smirk amongst what is otherwise a fairly gloomy collection of Gothic offerings.
Posted by: rdhay, October 24th, 2011, 9:07pm; Reply: 18
Hi:) I'm not a huge fan of this, mainly because most of the dialogue is just exposition. And while it was creepy, I didn't get the gothic horror vibe.

That said, I love your visuals:) Definitely helped to set the mood you were going for.

Good job.
Posted by: leitskev, October 29th, 2011, 9:02am; Reply: 19
I only had one problem with this story; did not seem to adhere to either components of the OWC requirements. Nothing Gothic, no misunderstood ghosts.

But, other than that, it was really fun satire! Bringing back the ghosts of Deliverance is a cool idea. This was clearly designed to toy with cabin in the woods horror, and takes the ultimate poke at all those characters in horror movies that go into places we in the audience know they shouldn't. In this case, the irony is it's the father who causes the problem himself by requesting his ashes be spread along the lake, leading his children into the same danger he once faced.

There was one other thing that disappointed me. I was waiting for a ghost to come out and yell, "squeal like a pig! Come on, squeaaaaaal!!"

Can you add that on the rewrite?

I love surprises like this in the OWC.
Posted by: stevie, October 30th, 2011, 3:58pm; Reply: 20
Thanks to all who read and reviewed this. The idea for it was the first I got, and I usually run with my instincts. I couldn't see myself doing a full on period piece Gothic thing, well, not with a decent story to go with it.

I briefly considered something to do with Jack the Ripper but went with the Deliverance 'sequel'.

Some reviews suggested I wasn't really trying on this which annoyed me. As Ryan and Cornie can testify, I worked hard on it, scrapping most of an earlier 12 page version.

While I'm here, I'm gonna finally get my digit outta my arse and enter a comp, the LA Comedy festival one.
Am entering my zombie road trip Headlong, but am looking for help with:

A great log
And, perhaps a new title.  You don't have to read the script, the thread is on page 2 off the Comedy features, with current log.

Any help would be appreciated. I am re-reading the script now, making some edits. I have till Nov 2 to enter to get the 45 buck fee - 42 in Oz cash, bargain, woohoo!!!!
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, October 31st, 2011, 11:18am; Reply: 21

I'll try and have a look at headlong. I remember Kevin saying it was a good one.

If you have anything specific to be looked at let me know. The only thing is that you have to accept I am relatively new.

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