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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  January 2014 - One Week Challenge  /  Dead in Time - OWC
Posted by: Don, January 11th, 2014, 3:54pm
Dead in Time by Dr. Who - Short - A Chrononaut's (Time Travelers's) faith in physics betrays her. - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: Dustin, January 11th, 2014, 6:25pm; Reply: 1
Last one before bed I think. No doubt there will be a heap to read tomorrow, but I will read every one.


Without a doubt. We just didn’t
guess that time-travel would cost
more than putting a man on Mars.

Really? Even I could guess that.


They begin to walk the corridor.

Begin is not usually a good word to use in a script. Find more active solutions. The sentence also doesn't read very well.

I found this a chore to get through. I liked the idea of the future and present Ellie's. However, I still don't know exactly what happened at the end... I don't know what to take from this. Bad writing and typo's in places maybe prevented me from figuring out what is going on. I know everything up till the ending. Just not clear on what happened. Story doesn't work for me as is.

Posted by: Last Fountain, January 11th, 2014, 10:44pm; Reply: 2
I really liked this one. I've read a few but his is an early fav. SPOILERS ahead.

A machine. We get a machine. A 1st so far for me. I'm glad you took the time to imagine it. And in a real world sense with NASA. Firstly, I loved the intro scenes. Very rapid fire. Urgent. Made my mind race. Nice.

I loved how the time machine worked. The chrononaut arrival was great. I liked the equipment removal. Piece by piece.  I could see it. I wanted to know who or what was inside.

The aging stuff is an interesting side effect. The strong images of the skin peeling wil definitely make the audience squirm. Great grossout.

By page 6, I knew this was clever for sure. I actually thought you structured this in reverse order. I thought the 1st scene was the end. Like Memento.  Maybe you could think on that as a possibility in rewriting.

I also loved the back and forh dialogue between Ellie (s).  This would be a nice visual. And interesting as we wonder what they'll say. The end scene was confusing. Like a lot of good time travel stories. Is this a loop, that the travellers are aware of? If so this solution must have been a last resort. Or do they know something we don't? Maybe it will come to me later.

Great job. Good science.  Good gadgets. Intrigue. Intense. Complicated.
Posted by: nawazm11, January 12th, 2014, 6:52am; Reply: 3
At page 3 now and I literally have no clue who's who and what's going on. Did you accidentally mess up Colin's name with Morgan? Why show the convo between Morgan and Howard then? The reader won't remember any of that, or the stuff before it to be honest. Too many names and none of them show personality at the moment, sorry.

Wait, from the little bits of information I actually understood, the past Ellie laughed when she had a gun pointed at her, knowing she'll die?

Okay well, sorry to say, but I understood nothing here. I'm not even sure what the story was about or what the characters were trying to do. Which is a shame since I thought the Chrononaut angle was pretty cool. It seems to be written by a newer writer as well. Even so, this needs a lot of work. The characters' motives need to be clear or we need to have an understanding of their predicament, either way works and that's usually a good start to writing a story. If you audience is confused on the first page, you've basically lost them for the rest of the script.
Posted by: Dreamscale, January 12th, 2014, 8:49pm; Reply: 4
Yeah, like Mo, I'm on Page 3 and I have no idea who's who or what the Hell is going on..or why whatever is going, is going on.  Seriously - too many characters thrown together in different scenes.

Writing isn't bad, but something's not working at all in the story-telling and/or structure.  NOt completely sure, but I've lost interest and I'm sorry to say I'm out.

Congrats on completing a script in this tough OWC challenge.
Posted by: RJ, January 12th, 2014, 10:12pm; Reply: 5
I'm sorry, but I too have to agree with the others about the confusion, although mine started around page 6 - that's when things got a little weird for me.

I did like the two Ellie's and found her death a little intriguing, if not disturbing.

I also liked the use of NASA and equipment, etc. Thought this was a different take on it, as I haven't read any with it so far - a very smart idea that I could actually buy into happening.

Given a few rewrites this could be a little gem of a story. Oh, plus: is sat - sits, is stood - stands, etc. Pretty easy to reread and clean up.

Good effort :)

Posted by: CoopBazinga, January 13th, 2014, 7:18am; Reply: 6
Who’s Maddy? Is that supposed to be Ellie?

“Colin’s theme tune.” Huh? What is he talking about?

Large office and small office as slugs – could you be more generic. ;)

This is really hard to follow – no idea what is happening at the moment?

Okay, I finished but I must admit that it was a strenuous read and by the end, I was left scratching my nuts head to figure out what the hell just happened?

The idea of a future and past character talking has potential and would be cool on screen but because I didn’t understand anything of what was happening around this cool plot device, it fell rather flat.

I think the constant scene switching at the beginning doesn’t help, and that’s the main issue really with this one. You don’t set-up the story well, it lacks exposition to help the reader along and by the time anything good does happen, we’re halfway through the story. You may have a clear understanding of the story but we don’t and that’s why that exposition is so important. And it doesn’t have to be dialogue – visuals as well, but there needs to be something.

I also have a feeling that you were close to the deadline because the writing started to become a bit clumsy as the script went on, missing words being the main offender.

Sorry, this one wasn’t for me.

Congrats on completing the OWC. ;D

Posted by: MarkRenshaw, January 13th, 2014, 8:37am; Reply: 7
Omg a Doctor Who script! I love Doctor Who! I wrote a 50th Anniversary special called ‘My Doctor’ and it’s on this website if anyone wants to read it. But enough of this shameless self-promoting egotistical nonsense, onto the script! Gonna type my comments as I read this one.

Ellie Miet, interesting name.

Who’s Maddy? She’s not been introduced.

‘Smiles gingerly’ I thought that was smiling with red hair all over his mouth but I looked it up and it’s a real word so my bad there. You learn something every day. My theasarus skills are improving exponentially!

“We have, a problem.” Odd place to put a comma. And Colin’s theme tune is the problem? What?

I’m struggling to work out what is going on, too much mystery and switching back and forth without enough hints to keep me wanting to know more.  The switching from the large office to the small office, I’m guessing this is flashbacks or forwards but it’s hard to follow.

Funding time travel costs a hell of a lot of money – who would have guessed! ;-)

You know it’s serious when an operative has tarpaulin.

Why did she shoot her past self and how come she’s not wiped from time? AND WHERE IS DOCTOR WHO??!!!

I thought this was going to be a Doctor Who script, I’m so going to crush some innocent dandelions on the way home now.

Sorry, I really couldn’t follow this but I’m probably bias as Doctor Who wasn’t in it.  

Well done for completing the challenge though, many Bothans failed in that task (and you know who you are!!) :-)

Posted by: StevenClark, January 13th, 2014, 10:47am; Reply: 8

Right off the Ellie Maddy? That needs clarifying, but I'm guessing it is.

Reading further, thus only adds to my confusion as I find out there are three Ellie's? I don't know. And that's the problem here, friend. Maybe I'm not so quick on the uptake, but this piece needs to be a lot clearer.  I mean, you probably got it all worked out but I'll be damned if I can grasp it. Sorry.

On a positive note, the originality factor is too notch as this is the first one I've read where past and present time travelers actually meet without the silly notion that they will disintegrate or something should they come face to face. So kudos on that! But overall, it needs to be clearer. Much clearer.

Congrats on getting this done.

Posted by: khamanna, January 13th, 2014, 12:57pm; Reply: 9
The thing I didn't understand is why they need to preserve her forever. She's 95... so why not let her.. you know.

I know Morgan or someone else says "she's the best we..." but that doesn't provide sufficient answer.

This is the foundation of your story though - that's an important thing.

Much like in every entry of this OWC - the dialog needs work in my opinion. In your case it's all the unfinished sentences that don't work for me. Almost every sentence is cut in half -
if you see another one complain about this then I'm not too off here.
Posted by: irish eyes, January 13th, 2014, 10:06pm; Reply: 10
Your title page looks off center... not a big deal

Page 1
4 Scenes

Is Ellie, Maddy?

What's Colin's theme tune?

Ellie just turned 63 years younger... is the small office some kind of wormhole itself?

Colin slides apologetically into a chair... maybe it's just me, but how do you slide apologetically.

ooh back and forth between large office and small office.

page 7

Wow! the Ellie conversation with herself ... incredibly awkward in more ways than one


If she shot her past self, wouldn't she be dead?

Way too many scene changes for a 12 page short.
This needs clearing up quite a bit, but overall wasn't a bad entry.

Good job on entering

Posted by: DV44, January 14th, 2014, 4:35pm; Reply: 11
Interesting concept but it fails with a bit of confusion. I like the idea of a Past, Present & Future Ellie but things fell apart for me with the dialogue. Too many times I had to reread a passage just to try to understand what was going on. A rewrite is needed but I feel that you have a cool thing going, just need to flesh it out more.

Congrats on completing the OWC.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, January 15th, 2014, 3:56pm; Reply: 12
Dead in time

MIET - time?

LAVERT - travel?

Morgan pulse - where do you get these.

This is the first one I 'may' know the writer....usually I am completely wrong on these matters

So far, this I the first script to deal with the possibility of meeting oneself through time travel, which I like. I'm actually working on a script with this mind myself, different reason, with my other me helping of course :-)

Clarity is king and the clipped dialogue, over reliance on subtext etc has made it difficult to follow. What I know is she travels, she meets herself, she's dying for some reason - not explained - the shoots her self. What I don't get is the link with the two selfs, the sending back, and why she's there.

Bit of clarity will help this a lot, as many scripts in this OWC require.

But, it stands out for the meeting thyself moment. Mind you I would have preferred a little less love in and little more elder talking down to younger.

Posted by: wonkavite (Guest), January 15th, 2014, 9:46pm; Reply: 13
Ah - here's another one (along with Coming Out Tavern) where I'm really honestly not sure what happened.  For me, the events seemed too jumbled - it's quite possible there's solid internal logic to this story.  But I couldn't figure it out from the pages.  So this one?  Not for me. It'd be interesting to see this one reworked, though...


--J (W)
Posted by: rendevous, January 15th, 2014, 11:39pm; Reply: 14
A FADE IN would help. Either side would it do for me.
I'd say it's 'lustre'. A luster would be someone who has trouble keeping their pants on.
Hang on. There's an awful lot of characters on this first page. Who's Maddy? She doesn't seem to reappear.

Got to the end, not much wiser. Typo on 'damn' near the end didn't help. I think I understood it but it kind of fizzled out.

I'd say the idea's not bad but it needs work. So many characters at the start didn't help. The Future and the Past business is a good idea but needs more visuals to help it work. I did find myself getting to the end of page then thinking ah, I'll have to read that again.
Posted by: PrussianMosby, January 16th, 2014, 12:48pm; Reply: 15
Hello writer! A script which reminds me to David Lynch style. For sure a compliment on the one hand. There are so many questions open and I wanted to answer them myself. I sat down for a time, reread, thought about every possibility and found some answers. Even if I don't know what's right in my experiences...?!?


There was a small sideline
Better when I’ve finished being a
lab-rat. Your trip?
Sailed it. Your ready for this?

So I guess they are a couple of time travelers. Howard travels, too and his travel, which is not shown, succeeded while Ellie came out of the machine with the problem herself is getting older/ something with age prematurely

In the exposition the, I name them bosses of the time travelling program, want to shut it down, because of the costs. They arranged a killing scenario and place a tarpaulin on the floor/ I guessed for the blood???

The last guess, about the ending, is that Ellie future wanted to kill her true present(past Ellie), because she wanted to do an experiment if she will MAYBE not getting the explained getting older disease. She wouldn't have gone on the trip at all.

That experiment fails. The old Ellie which is the true one (or the first; who steps into the machine), the one who decided to travel got still the disease of the travel. So, indeed the first scene is a flashback and belongs to the end.

There's another flashback of the travel, because
What’s going on Ellie?
It went wrong. I’m dying.

After that the travel is shown, where exact this Ellie who had the dialogue above is coming back. It explains the dialogue! But it has to be marked at flashback!!!!

Last point is: I think the author wanted to deliver all the time, that the BOSSES and scientists persuaded Ellie to kill herself to solve her problem, because the whole program is too expensive to solve it in another way. They were talking wrong to her.

SECOND POSSIBILITY: Ellie is getting older in the present, because the travel doesn't work without consequences for the Ellie who stayed in present time. She came back and the healthy one kills the weak one in present. The payoff is that the travelling one is getting ill and so she couldn't change her fate.

I'm not sure which is right. I don't know why there isn't a second Howard.

The impression that you use the wrong name in the first scene mirrors your problems of the delivery of this funky stuff.

Not that only I have to conquer with questions: The characters themselves ask each other several times: What are we doing? And now? etc.  
The visual description of the characters has to be perfect here to distinguish them in such a kind of story. And it's not. The whole Exposition should be better. In dialogue, Setting and interactions. If they wouldn't sit at tables and Show what they do or say, maybe it would work better.

You should have known that you lose us, if this script isn't 100% clean. It's just too complicated.
But, it's also my favorite so far, because I have to go with the unique stuff. With the courage of the new, fresh attempt.  I cannot imagine any writer has taken that risk out of the other entries. I'll see. Improve those kinds of scripts and you will differ from the mass.
I think many want and search such concepts here; you can fill that place... It's obviously that you search this experience yourself in your work. Could be great. In some ways still very good.
Posted by: EWall433, January 18th, 2014, 2:36am; Reply: 16
By the top of page 3 the intercutting and multiple characters has me lost. I’m not sure whether you’ve misassigned a line to one of these characters or if I’m just confused.

Very confusing through-out and I see I’m not alone. Some of it may have been alleviated by more clearly distinguishing your versions of ELLIE. Are either ELLIE PAST or ELLIE FUTURE the same as ELLIE (95) or ELLIE (32)? I don’t think you can just introduce Past Ellie and Future Ellie without giving their approximate age. It’s something we’d be able to see on screen. And if ELLIE (95) is really just ELLIE (32) after she’s aged rapidly than she’s not really 95, is she?

Let me take a stab at this. Future Ellie killing Past Ellie is just an experiment. The hypothesis being that, as long as Future Ellie exists in the same time as Past Ellie, then Past Ellie will be immortal because otherwise a paradox would ensue. This hypothesis proves false and Future Ellie begins to waste away. How’d I do?

So, I don’t know. There could be something there when you clean it up.

Congrats on completing the OWC
Posted by: c m hall, January 21st, 2014, 2:02pm; Reply: 17
Very confusing to me but also very interesting, some quick rewrites could help the reader; I was unsure in the beginning who was in the hospital bed and also when Ellie looked old or young (which might all be clear in the text but have pity on the reader and make it extra clear). This is a good story and I'd like to see it continued, not just past and future versions of the characters but Ellie learning from the experiments, having new insights in physics, having adventures.
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