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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  October 2012 One Week Challenge  /  Skitzo - 10/12 OWC
Posted by: Don, October 21st, 2012, 11:50pm
Skitzo by Anonymous Ted - Short - {no logline} - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: khamanna, October 22nd, 2012, 12:20am; Reply: 1
This is a nice story, well written too. The dialog was the best part , it just flows.

The only thing - him Charles falling in love with Maggie seems very fast and thus a bit forced.

Her and Tom being one is a great twist.

Nice take on an OWC
Posted by: Dreamscale, October 22nd, 2012, 1:01am; Reply: 2
This is another one like whatever I just read - since the writing is competent out of the gate, there's a false asumption that it's going to be good.

I'm sorry, but this got ridiculous so fast and the dialogue was so corny, it became funny, in a wierd way.

I don't want to be mean, but it just played out like a High School stage play of Psycho.  I think you literally gave away the entire script in your logline, even.

Not bad overall.  Good job.  Much better than many, but I think if you read this back and think about the speed of this relatoinship, and the things they say, literally on their very first few seconds together, you may hear what I'm saying.
Posted by: RJ, October 22nd, 2012, 1:02am; Reply: 3
Interesting story. I liked the characters and initial setting, but some of the description and dialogue at the start may have worked better if it were cut and although some of the dialogue flowed well, on the nose parts kind of threw me a little. I also don't believe that Maggie would let him have his card back - I thought she would have kept it - just saying.

However, as the story progressed it read a lot smoother. i liked it a lot more. Don't know whether I completely understand the 'choice between good and evil', but liked the ending. Very dramatic. It worked.

Good effort.
Posted by: mmmarnie, October 22nd, 2012, 1:15am; Reply: 4
I really liked this.  Nice twist!!  But is mental illness supernatural?  To me it was more of a psychological thriller.

Anyway, I really liked it.  Very good job for a difficult OWC.
Posted by: crookedowl (Guest), October 22nd, 2012, 1:44am; Reply: 5
Your writing is decent, but your dialogue is very wooden and needs work.


I thought the conversation at the diner was interesting, but like I said, the dialogue pretty much ruined it.

I think the main problem with the dialogue is the amount of periods you use. You break sentences up, making it read choppy and interrupting the flow. In real life, people don't talk in short, choppy sentences.

Tom seemed to take the big reveal at the end oddly well... Seemed kinda rushed to me.

You have an interesting story here. Kind of a retelling of Psycho. This has the potential to work, but it could be executed better.

Good job completing the OWC.
Posted by: greg, October 22nd, 2012, 4:26am; Reply: 6
I can't figure out what the supernatural element is here.  There might be something going on at the end but I really have no idea.  "She speaks in Tom's voice."  Huh?  His caressing a knife all over her body.  Huh?

The dialogue is full of contradictions and stuff that doesn't make sense.  Big storm and evacuations yet Maggie tells this soaking guy to leave?  Then he has to pay double for a room that's vacant?  Then he asks if there's a diner nearby just seconds after saying that all of the roads are closed due to flooding?

I'm not really sure what exactly went on but for some reason I still liked this.  I guess it was just the un-serious tone in the first half that made it likable.

Has its issues but I dunno.  I kinda liked it.

Posted by: Pale Yellow, October 22nd, 2012, 8:51am; Reply: 7
This was ok for me. The characters were ok. I didn't really like the mental angle BUT it was original compared to some of the other entries.

The dialogue I thought was corny and back and forth a lot.

I guess this was just 'ok' for me. Not one of my favorites but at least I made it through the end :)

Good job at completing an owc.
Posted by: Mr. Blonde, October 22nd, 2012, 11:58am; Reply: 8
I had two serious worries about this script even before I opened it. The first is that your title is spelled incorrectly (some people spell it like that, the slang version, but spelling it that way had no bearing on the story so there's no reason not to spell it the proper way). The other is that there was no logline.

Combining those two things was very troubling... yet it helped your script. Perhaps this isn't the best thing but my expectations were severely lowered by that so I probably liked the script better than I was originally going to.

The criticisms have been accurate, though, when they say that the dialogue is weak. It is. Probably, for me, the weakest part of the script.

I like the execution, overall, but things moved way too fast (a case of only being allowed 12 pages? Probably) whereas this would have played better as a slow burn thriller.

That said, I still liked it, probably more than I should have, but slow things down and improve the dialogue and you'll be off and running.

Posted by: Gage, October 22nd, 2012, 12:06pm; Reply: 9
I don't see anything supernatural here.  Yeah, Charles had a weird thing happen in his past, but that didn't play into any sort of "decision" he had to make.  I like the idea of Tom and Maggie being one, but the whole supernatural guideline and choice between good and evil was pretty much abandoned.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, October 22nd, 2012, 5:08pm; Reply: 10
I liked this.

It was simple, focused and for the most part believable. Unlike others I found a naturalness to a lot of the dialogue, not saying it can't be mproved or we could pick out issues, but it flowed. Liked it.

The twist I did see coming but it didn't matter much, other than wasn't wholly sure about the self inflicted killing. Accident caused by rage maybe. Also the affection at the end seemed a bit over the top but that's just being picky.

Assured work.
Posted by: Oney.Mendoza, October 23rd, 2012, 12:07am; Reply: 11

It was an okay read for me. I found the chemistry between Charles and Maggie enjoyable enough - a bit forced but hey, you did what you could in 12 pages. I usually don't mind drawn out dialogue sequences if the dialogue is witty and and smooth back/forth exchange but I found the dialogue between your leads a little awkward and corny. You did have some funny lines like Maggie's "What part of evacuation do you want me to explain?" and "I got insurance" - I did LOL at those.

I did like the twist you had with Maggie - you had also hinted at Charles' mental problems so I wasn't sure which direction you were going to take. The ending tried to be dramatic and well...I just didn't care. I wasn't sad...I was just like ok. LOL Sorry.

Not the worst in the challenge. Likeable characters, nice twist - worth a read! :)
Posted by: Ryan1, October 23rd, 2012, 1:30am; Reply: 12
I thought the dialogue was pretty good here.  Certainly not the most original entry, as it borrows generously from Psycho.  Even the title.  But I liked the unhinged quality that Maggie had from the very first scene.  I think I would've liked it better if Maggie killed Charles at the end, then dumped his body out back, where it turns out she has a whole bone yard full of unfortunate travelers who ran into good ol' "Tom."

Pretty bad typo on 5, where Maggie says Tom has "some metal problems."  There's also a blank page 12 attached.

I think this is worth a rewrite, just ditch the maudlin stuff at the end and go for a shocker climax.
Posted by: CoopBazinga, October 25th, 2012, 12:42am; Reply: 13
I have to say that I was really worried when I saw there was no logline and that the script title was left aligned on the title page.

So it was surprising to see that this was actually not badly written once getting past fade in.

Unfortunately, this one wasn't for me. Its not a bad little story, plays a little close to Psycho perhaps but I just couldn't get past the unnatural and on the nose dialogue.

It started off well enough but when they moved into the dining room and started chatting over a glass of wine, the warning signs were appearing. Do people just start sharing their mental problems from the past with random strangers - I doubt it and that meant it felt forced. And I know the brief said about "Odd but interesting" characters but honestly, this:

"Here's to two odd, but very interesting people."

C'mon now - did you need to throw that in there. At least I know you've ticked that one of the agenda.

And Charles who's known Maggie for all of five minutes asking why she doesn't get up and leave the motel. Would you do that unless you know for a fact that the person in question is unhappy - again I doubt it and there is no way for Charles to know this.

Then Maggie talking about her mentally-ill brother like he's just some random cat who comes and goes as he pleases. Just wasn't ringing true with me.

After that, it started to go downhill with a sudden love story going on and then the big reveal which isn't bad in itself but things like "She speaks in Tom's voice." Huh? I didn't think Tom was real? So it should either just be Maggie talking or you could have had a husky voice...something like that.

Charles could also be better handled - you have a character that has had a traumatic childhood and now has to sleep with the lights on but he doesn't break a sweat or get nervous at all in a dark motel with only a little candle light around. I think you could play up to this flaw more and give this a darker tone.

The writing wasn't bad but it could be better. Other than than the usual typo, this suffered from a bit of repetitiveness in the action "across the floor" being a big offender in the last few pages. There was also some really awkward lines "swallows a glass of water." being one example, and a few technical issues but most of this this can be easily fixed up.

It's the dialogue that needs the most attention, IMO. It needs to be more natural and not feel so forced.

Congrats on completing the OWC. :)

Posted by: nawazm11, October 25th, 2012, 5:24am; Reply: 14
I'm sorry but I just can't get past the fact that this is a near complete copy of Psycho. It may not seem like it but the twist is exactly the same, just told in a slightly different way. I really can't judge it properly when good old Norman Bates keeps telling me that it wasn't original.

Perhaps if I'd never watched the movie or it was never made, this wouldn't be as bad. Maybe you haven't seen the movie?

The writing wasn't bad and I feel you knew how to tell a story.

I apologize for the harsh comments.

My grade: C- but take that lightly.
Posted by: Eoin, October 25th, 2012, 5:48am; Reply: 15
Nothing wrong with the writing here, it's just that the story is a little too bland. A lot of the dialouge between Charles and Maggie is fine, it's just that they go on for too long. More subtext is needed. The scene at the dining room, you need to come in much later.

Assuming this is the supernatural past:

I don't know.  It was big.  It stood
at the foot of my bed and stared at
me.  I could hear it breathing.  It
just stood there looking down at me.

This here, just doesn't work. Your character is TELLING US that Charles has fulfilled one of the challenge criteria:

Odd?  Maybe a little.  What I do
find you is interesting.

You need to SHOW us that Charles is ODD and INTERESTING.

I don't see the choice between good and evil.

This played out as a pretty straight forward affair, no real twist and a story that borrowed heavily from Psycho. It wasn't bad, just didn't fulfill all of the challenge requirements.
Posted by: Leon, October 25th, 2012, 9:32am; Reply: 16
I enjoyed this story,  I liked the concept and didn't see the twist coming.  However the parallels to Pyscho does kinda take away any praise for the concept, but then again I guess that was kinda your intention, as a homage to Pyscho.

I like the way Tom in taking his own life, in a compassionate act, is actually killing Maggie, but the speed at which Tom takes this U-turn didn't feel believable and felt muddled.

A few things that stuck out.

Maggie accepts Charles offer of double payment, not a great start to a relationship.
Maggie refers to Tom as a Skitzo. Isn't this a derogatory term?
I may have missed something here, but did Maggie ever indicate that she was actually unhappy.

Overall,Good Job.
Posted by: Grandma Bear, October 25th, 2012, 3:11pm; Reply: 17
Page 1. By setting one scene inside a car on the road, you are adding another location.

Other than that though, the 1st page is pretty good.

Page 2. I guess Maggie is going to take advantage of Charles by charging $200.

Three pages of dialogue only and it even exclaims that they are two odd and interesting people. I almost cringed at that to be honest. They should be saying and doing odd and interesting things not telling us that they are.

Page 7. How would Charles know that the manager has strict rules about smoking in the rooms?

Page 9. That was kind of clever. I like that it is Maggie who has schizophrenia and has the 2 personalities. Good work.

Finished. I think this one was competently written and fairly good. What I like most about it was the premise. I loved the idea that Maggie had 2 personalities. That was great. There were things I was less impressed by Adam. Such as the long dialogue and then seeming to get along just a little bit too good to fast.

Still, very good work.
Posted by: dogglebe (Guest), October 25th, 2012, 3:59pm; Reply: 18

I thought this was a nice read.  Given time for another rewrite, this would be even better.  It did ring of Psycho quite a bit, but this isn't such a rare thing.  There are plenty of movies with such a character in it.

Incidentally, split personality disorder and schizophrenia are two completely different mental illnesses.

Dialogue flowed fairly well for the most part.  Every now and then, it turned wooden.

For formatting purposes:  When Maggie talks in Tom's voice, it would still be listed as Maggie's conversation.

Posted by: irish eyes, October 25th, 2012, 11:39pm; Reply: 19
Great Logline :D

Well it was very predictable.... Your title gave it away.
NOt really supernatural either... more psychotic, but overall not bad.... Kind of matches my Avator :D

Posted by: mcornetto (Guest), October 26th, 2012, 5:53am; Reply: 20
I thought this script was well written and an interesting concept.  But again. It's a script about the motel manager and I don't think that is what the brief intended - even though it might not specifically say that.

If I were a microbudget filmmaker, I'd be looking for something I can do in a motel room - because that would be the cheapest and easiest option.   This script, for example, might have one location but it has several sets - some of which might be difficult to obtain or schedule (a motel office will have to be used when the manager isn't using it - for some motels that is never).

Anyway, enough ranting.  The author did a good job here.  
Posted by: RayW, October 26th, 2012, 4:09pm; Reply: 21
Writer - I like your dialog. :)

Skitzo by - {no logline}
Brief - A hurricane crosses paths with two or three people.

Locations & Sets  -  Interior, car @ night. Exterior, motel parking lot @ night. Interior, motel lobby @ night. Interior, motel room @ night.
Actors  -  CHARLES, 35, MAGGIE, 30,
Costumes  -  coat, thin white nightgown for ruin, t-shirt for ruin
Props  -  candles, suitcase, cologne bottle, prescription bottle + pills (TicTacs!), glass, sandwiches, wine, wine glasses, cigarette, matches, chair, large butcher knife, table for ruin
Audio FX  -  loud windshield wipers, radio announcement voice over, outside storm rain and wind, body thud, floorboard creak, synch Tomís voice overs with Maggieís lips, bleeding neck slash prosthetic, liquid stage blood
Visual FX  -  
Other  -  heavy rain on car while driving (effffff meeeee!), strong projection red light, lighter, makeup artist, plastic drop sheet to protect floor
Genre & Marketability - supernatural horror suspense
Comments  -  Iím going to skip that flooding parking lot bit. Turn off your screenwriting programís mores and continueds feature.
Here's to two odd, but very
interesting people.
Sell it, Baby! Sell it! Sell it! Actually, I do like these two characters very much. Nice dialog. Youíve done a nice job. Second motel room/apartment is going to be a $$ hassle. Pg10 I beleive the proper screenplay format rules indicate the Maggie/Tom character before dialog should be just that: MAGGIE/TOM or TOM/MAGGIE, whichever voice is being used comes first.
Done. Nice story. Seems like the end of a feature. Iíd ditch that opening car interior scene for budgetary reasons, though. Script format: fine. Final word: with a little tweaking this is very marketable, just a hair hokey.

$500 - $1,000  Lo/Hi Estimated Budget Range
/ 10.4 Screenplay Pages
= $48 - $96 Estimated Cost Per Screen Minute

Adherence to Given Criteria:
Odd but interesting character(s) - not really, but Iíll make an allowance for the dialog
take refuge from a hurricane - yep
in a beat-up motel - yep
and are forced to make a choice - sorta
between good or evil - not really
in order to survive the night. - sorta
Each character must -
have some history involving a supernatural event in their lives - yep
that factors into their choice. - sorta
Genre is open. - supernatural horror suspense
This is a micro-budget short, - yep
so no destruction of the motel, - yep
no children or animals - yep
and minimal special effects. - yep
BONUS! Story also included:
mime(s) - nope
dinosaur(s) - nope
Posted by: wonkavite (Guest), October 26th, 2012, 10:15pm; Reply: 22
I actually went into this one not liking it (Though admittedly slang, Skitzo is normally spelled Schizo...  So there's a spelling strike, within the very title!)

But - I actually enjoyed this one alot...mostly.  Was it amazingly original?  No.  But it was overall satisfying.  To make this one shine more, I'd recommend adding more romance to the dialog (I didn't get the feel that there was enough reason for the male protag to really bond with the woman.)  And tighten up the dialog, too.  It wandered a bit - coulda been more to the point.  

But yes, I enjoyed it.  Even if it didn't really meet some of the criteria (where's the choice between good and evil, really?  An encounter with evil, perhaps.  But a choice?)
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 27th, 2012, 1:08am; Reply: 23

Quoted Text
He's a skitzo. One of them multiple
personality people.

While there's nothing really supernatural and there doesn't seem to be a hurricane, and there isn't really much to the story, it is well written and I can see it as a short film. Could be one on the shortlist, even if it missed over half the guildelines. My main problem is what I quote above.

It tells me a lot about Maggie's regard for her brother by using an un-PC expression, it also shows that she doesn't know the difference between multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia. That's wonderful - even if she's wrong. When the reveal is given, however, this quote is confusing.

Whem Maggie is revealed to be "her brother" talking in "Ted's" voice, I went "huh?" I couldn't believe any of it. Not a single word. Because I kept going back to that line of dialog. Then there's the question of the MPD itself, the back and forth "between" characters. I'm sorry. I'm not sold.

Yes, it could be filmed. And if I were the filmmakers, either I'd change the quote or I'd actually have the "brother" as a different character.

So what's wrong with that quote? It's what follows. "It's alright if he's taking his meds"

Let's say it is what it is and both characters are one the same. The brother "will" take his meds to be under control. The sister doesn't need meds. Correct? Let's take a small step back here. At some point in time, one person, regardless of personality, takes medications. Which would revert to the "regular" personality  which is Maggie.

Maggie has no reason to lie, for that would suggest an awareness of that condition even though she should already have an awareness of the condition
if Maggie is the 'real' personality.

Follow me?

No, you probably don't.
Well written, lot of potential, but ...okay, maybe she should have been demon possessed with the Pazuzu. Well..okay...maybe not...

Posted by: rc1107, October 27th, 2012, 3:31am; Reply: 24
The dialogue didn't bother me like it seemed to others.  I think it's satisfactory.

Overall, not a bad retelling, though I would've liked Maggie better if she were named Norma.
Posted by: LC, October 27th, 2012, 3:42am; Reply: 25
Hmm,  a little 'Psycho' number.

I really liked the opening, but then you kinda lost me with the incredible characters.

Agree with Eoin re the supernatural event and your character Charles. Just too convenient, and I'm not buying it. Plus, that was enough for him to stay on meds for the rest of his life??!

The story is not bad, but it's not great either, I had a longer review here, but I 'refreshed' and lost it. Sorry.

Crux of it was: some akward phrasing and descriptions and a few misdirections I feel - your spelling of things like 'offense' & 'Saloon' seems to indicate you could hail from either the US or UK or OZ.

As for the story - unfort. the plot twist was all too obvious so no surprise denouement for me, and a rather unclimactic ending.

I enjoyed some of it, but it def. needs a rewrite.
Posted by: Felipe, October 27th, 2012, 6:56am; Reply: 26
I really like some of the dialogue in the beginning, though things moved toward the "romantic" side a little too quickly.

I actually laughed at the whole "odd vs interesting" discussion. Not sure if that qualifies this as a pisstake but I think it's hilarious. My type of humor.

The line where Maggie explains the situation with her brother being a "skitzo" gave away too much in my opinion. You shouldn't have mentioned an illness because she went on to describe his intermittent appearances and it really gave it all away.

This is still one of my favorites though. I think you need to tone down the whole romance thing because it moved a little too quickly, but this is solid.
Posted by: jwent6688, October 27th, 2012, 10:59am; Reply: 27
Here's to two odd, but very
interesting people. - Somebody having a bit of fun here.

Well, well, another Maggie in an almost empty hotel, reminds me of a script someone else wrote. :-).

I like the set up here, worked well to get out the necessary exposition for this challenge, I got Charles' super natural backstory with whatever stood at the end of his bed when he was ten.

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT - I thought we were in a motel?


I'll be honest in that I saw your twist coming the minute Maggie started talking about her twin brother Tom and that he was a Skitzo. It really didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story, though. Overall, this was a pretty solid entry.

The only issue I had was I thought Charles would've booked out of the motel the moment he saw that Maggie was speaking in Tom's tongue and holding a butcher knife. I don't car how good she was in the sack, I would be heading for the hills

Good job entering the OWC.

Posted by: B.C., October 27th, 2012, 7:02pm; Reply: 28
Competent writing style let down by a cliched approach to mental illness. Given the one week time frame, and the limitations of the challenge, I can understand and forgive that.  The hurricane element isn't there, however.  And the supernatural part is basically thrown in the dialogue just to get it in there.  


The ending is a let down. Suicide is often a get out clause when we write ourselves into a corner. (I know I've done it. Well, writing, not actual suicide).  In this situation however, I'm not sure why the meeting of these two (three) people would conclude in this way.  Seems a little rushed and not satisfactory, a they have only known each other briefly, and it doesn't seem enough to conclude so terribly.

Posted by: DaveTroop, November 3rd, 2012, 4:02pm; Reply: 29
Well, my first ever OWC is in the books.

Quite an experience to say the least.

Thanks to everyone who liked Skitzo.  I appreciate the kind words.
Reef Dreamer (Bill) ...Did you actually vote for me?
Gary W...Thanks for the nod of appreciation.  Finally, some street cred.  :)

Thanks also to those who gave me the big meh.  Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.  And not unfounded.

I agree the story was too rushed (especially the affair) for a short.  It would definately be better suited for a 90 minute rain-soaked psycho thriller.

Thanks to Pia and Michael for hosting this event.  Good luck with the film version.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, November 3rd, 2012, 6:37pm; Reply: 30
Yes, David I did give you my vote. I liked it. There is something likeable about your writing, yet simple.

Hope you are ok in PA?

You know what? I should have known this was a Troop script, I could have sensed it. You have a lovely way to your writing with a sense of warmth - I will aways like you scripts. Ok, Well except the ones where people are killing each other of course!  And also all the others, but apart from them...

Posted by: khamanna, November 4th, 2012, 5:06pm; Reply: 31
Same here - Scitzo was one of the best for me this OWC.

I loved your entry on dvxuser, gave it a 10 - your scripts feel complete and packed with a story - I love that.
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