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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  January 2014 - One Week Challenge  /  Saving Lives - OWC
Posted by: Don, January 11th, 2014, 6:15pm
Saving Lives by 0 - Short - A man travels back in time to save siblings he never knew he had. - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: stevie, January 11th, 2014, 10:04pm; Reply: 1
Starting the reads with this one.

I liked this, especially the ending!  Good concept of the time device. Nice choice of the mission in time to save ancestors. The descriptions on the host were good, a little too wordy in the action but nothing that spoiled the read. But I'm betting some people might have a rant about it, lol.


Overall, a neat little story. The writer was in control of his plot and saw it through well. I know all too well how the logistics of time travel can be convoluted when writing it.

Good job!
Posted by: StevenClark, January 11th, 2014, 10:24pm; Reply: 2
Hey Writer,

This certainly was an ambitious effort on your part. But tackling the sinking of the Titanic is something, I think anyway, that is way overplayed. By saying that I mean you could have left out the descriptions of the ship and its sinking. Been there, done that already.

While this wasnt a really bad script, it misses the mark on several fronts. It's too long, first off. Could have trimmed at least two pages. Been seeing that so far with most of what I've read. And, well, it's just too simple of a tale. Not that that's a bad thing. It aids in understanding your story, but doesn't do much for it. The time machine you use, I believe, is some sort of crystal? I don't know, it all just seems too simple for me to really take seriously.

If you had trimmed the fat here, you could have focused on more important things like the relationship between Michael and his mother. If you got rid of that overlong montage you could have done that.

I did like the way michaels mountain climbing skills came into play aboard the Titanic. Good stuff there.

Anyway, a decent tale, fits the parameters of the challenge, but sort of fell flat for me. But congrats on getting this in. It seemslike you put a good deal of effort into this.

Steve
Posted by: nawazm11, January 12th, 2014, 12:23am; Reply: 3
Talking to himself doesn't work, the reader obviously knows he's gone into the past. In fact, 99% of all dialogue of a character talking to themselves does not sound good at all so it's always best to avoid it.

Really, reading further, most of the dialogue is OTN and needs a massive rework. But that's pretty common for all OWC entries so I'll let it slide. Even the VOs sound stilted.

Not bad, enjoyable for what it is but the dialogue really brings this down, too much exposition and it all feels so forced. "I did this, then I do that, and then this happens" and so on and so forth, very repetitive stuff. Not a bad effort, just needs a good rewrite to shine.
Posted by: RJ, January 12th, 2014, 8:03am; Reply: 4
This was a nice little tale. As a whole., I liked it.

I was going to agree with others on the dialogue, but as I read on and realized the dates and what time frames everything was in, I came to thinking that this is probably closer to the way they would have spoken. Maybe, maybe not. I don't know.

I liked the use of the time device. I did have a similar thing in mind with that and didn't have time to submit it, so good on you. I think it works.

You also had an urgency with the whole Titanic set up, which was good, made me want to read on.

Good job :)

Renee
Posted by: mmmarnie, January 12th, 2014, 3:34pm; Reply: 5
I knew someone was going to write about the Titanic. :)

The writing wasn't as smooth as it could be. A few examples from page 1:
Pg. 1
The early morning sun rises over the towering peaks.
MICHAEL DOYER, 28, who has a body like a
Taking in the view, Michael takes a drink(s) from his canteen. (taken/takes�repetitive)
A HUMMING sound echoes from (we know humming is a sound � maybe describe it�is it loud? deep? steady?)
Michael glances back, to see(s) a small opening enough for himself to squeeze through. (we know it�s for him)
The sun peaks through the newly man made hole(man? we know he made it we just saw that)
The HUMMING sound
----Watch the word "the" and there are quite a few "repetitions" throughout this screenplay.
Pg. 2 �
Above on the mountain, it's himself climbing (awkward phrasing)
seem to bleed white.�I have no idea what you mean here.
Michael's face is a look of confusion. Caroline faces him. -- this reads awkward and 2 faces is repetitive.
---Many of the same writing issues throughout. Possibly just do to the time constraints. Just slows the reader down. Dialog bogged down in places as well.

Well, I said I knew someone would write about the Titanic and the problem with choosing this subject is, it's been done to death. Some of what I was reading, I felt like I've seen before. It went on very long and I have to admit I got bored. Then came the VO at the end. Yikes. Just too much. It felt forced and my eyes glazed over, sorry to say. But this shows a very strong effort and displays some writing skills so congrats on completing something for this OWC.
Posted by: Dustin, January 12th, 2014, 3:51pm; Reply: 6
Code

MICHAEL DOYER, 28, who has a body like a finely-carved
statue, is a good way up the jagged wall.


Drop the 'who has'... it's novelistic and unnecessary wordage.

Code

He clears away small rocks and opens a hole big enough for
himself to squeeze through.


Drop the 'for himself'.

Code

Mostly dark. The sun peaks through the newly man made hole
but not enough light to expose the entire area.


You tell us the same thing twice. Better to lose the 'Mostly dark', as it doesn't say much. The second sentence is more visual... only drop the 'newly man-made' part. It's also peeks not peaks.

Code

The HUMMING sound grows stronger.


Try, The humming intensifies, or something similar.

Code

Curiosity gets the best of Michael. He looks around for
anything to smash through the wall. Finds a rock on the
ground and with one swing, breaks through the dirt wall
uncovering a purple stone the size of his palm.


The first sentence is merely telling us something the character will do afterwards anyway. It's pretty obvious from his actions.

Code

And just like that, he's gone. Vanished from sight.


Again the same thing twice. This also reads like a line from a children's book. Also the line that sees me leave this story.
Posted by: Guest, January 13th, 2014, 4:03am; Reply: 7
The BACK TO SCENE made an appearance... a lot... took me out of the story, a lot.

Overall, I love this idea, though... could have been executed better, but I liked it.  8)

Good effort.


--Steve
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, January 13th, 2014, 4:34am; Reply: 8
Wow, youve taken on the Titanic. Thats a bold move but I think youve done it justice.

Im not a fan of the setup, the beginning seems a bit clumsy and the camera shots were a distraction but once you get to the Californian things really start to get interesting. The action is understandable and exciting. Youve obviously done your homework on this.

I would suggest starting with him landing on the Californian and explaining how he got there with some quick flashbacks. You want to captivate the audience early on and I struggled through the first few pages.

Similarly with the long VO explaining how everyone lived happily ever after, a bit of show and tell would have sufficed but I love how Michael then starts to enjoy himself and conquers Everest first lol!

A really good entry and my favourite of the ones Ive read so far.

--Mark
Posted by: Toby_E, January 13th, 2014, 6:03am; Reply: 9
I really enjoyed this one.

You took a simple, and somewhat cliched, idea of going back in time to save your relatives from some kind of disaster, but managed to produce an enjoyable little story.

I enjoyed how Michael came about the time travelling device; that was one of the more unusual ways that I have read. I wasn't a massive fan of the scene with Michael in the hospital with his mum, because I thought that the dialogue needed work, then I didn't like his VO when he was getting ready to time travel, but once they got onto the ship, I thought that this was great.

I thought that the script could have been a little shorter though, considering how simple the story actually was. But if you see my page specific notes below, you will see that I wasn't a massive fan of the VO. So if you trim some of that, you will lose at least half a page. I also thought that you could have ended his time travelling after he saves his brother and sister; as that was his goal, after all. I didn't really see any need for him to then go below deck to save the others.

So ending that part of the script there would also trim a page or so off this.


Below are a few more page specific notes:

Page 1- I'm never a fan when "POV" is used, simply because I feel writing "Michael looks at a tiny hole in the wall, from which a purple glow emanates" works just as well, whilst using up less space.

Page 2- I let some of the other talking-to-himself go, but this line read too on the nose for me: "I'm ten minutes... in the past?"

Page 3- Some of the dialogue between Michael and his mum read a bit unnatural. I think that it was because it sounded so formal?

Page 4- I would cut out the VO at the top of the page, as I don't feel that it's necessary. Same with the whole VO here, actually. The only information from these VO's which I feel is important is that Michael has been experimenting with time travel for 6 months already. But maybe you could show us this in some other way? Maybe he could consult his journal, which shows that this will be, say, the seventeenth time he travels?

Page 8- Axe the VO :)

Page 9- Solid pay off with Michael's climbing abilities.

Page 10- Haha, brilliant. Send 'em overboard!

Page 13- I wasn't a huge fan of this final VO either, as it just read a little too clumsy for my liking. I think a montage would have worked better, with Michael narrating some of the events. But regardless, I would trim it down to its bare bones, keeping only the essential information.

Page 14- Solid ending, with the whole Mount Everest thing.


But these issues are some of the more minor ones that I have had with the entries so far. The concept and story was solid, but I just felt that the structure could have been tightened slightly, and the dialogue improved.

Great effort here considering the time-frame. Really enjoyed this one.
Posted by: Dustin, January 13th, 2014, 7:16am; Reply: 10
This is a script I bailed at page 1. I respect Toby's opinion on story so I thought I'd give this another go.

I need to read something that flows. Grammatical errors, typo's etc, all disturb flow. I find myself reading a single action line two or three times, turning it around so that it reads better. So i get to page two of this script and I find the same grammar problems as page 1.

Code

EXT. MANASLU MOUNTAIN - DAY

The purple stream shoots down to the base of the mountain.
Michael appears, utterly shocked by what just happen.



Drop the 'to'. Also, where exactly does Michael materialise? Is he at the bottom of the mountain with the purple stream? You also don't need to write the words 'by what just happen.' Nor 'utterly' come to think of it.

Code

MICHAEL
How in god's green earth...?

He peers up. Something catches his eye.

Above on the mountain, it's himself climbing to reach the
ledge he so frantically tried to achieve just moments ago.



This is exactly what I'm talking about. Just takes me too long. What I will have to do here, as it is so badly written, is try to ignore all of those bad action lines and doubtless dialogue in an attempt to fathom wtf everyone else is seeing.

Code

MICHAEL
I'm ten minutes... in the past?


A true face-palm moment, I kid you not. Reminds me of something written inside a thought-bubble from a graphic novel.

Code

MICHAEL
About an hour. I didn't want to
interrupt your sleep. Seemed
peace... well, that is until the
nightmares kicked in... 


This piece of dialogue is hilarious.

I really can't stop with this script. The dialogue is unnatural and the writing talent on display here is minimal. What possible story could I be missing? Are we still in the season of good will? I thought that ended January 6th.


OK... a positive. Your VO works on page 4... but it doesn't work in his bedroom because there is too much of it. Leave it so I headed home, then show him packing his clothes, also show us a shot of a passport. Job done. Think visually. If you can show it visually, avoid it in dialogue.

Again the VO fails, where he tells us he's been travelling for 6 months. This is a visual medium. Stop thinking you can cheat.

Code

CAPTAIN LORD
And I doubt they will. Not with the
chance to break the speed record in
their grasp... Southampton to New
York in 7 days. My god, I never
thought I would see the day...


This made me chuckle.

Code

Michael takes out his handgun, points it at Louis.

MICHAEL
Than we're going to have a problem.


Kill the dialogue here.


Code

SCREAMS fill the night.


About time. Only took till page 8 for some action.


OK... I've never seen the Titanic films and I don't really know much about it... but if the violin player's name is right then you've probably done a fair amount of research for this story. Well done on that. The story itself goes on for way too long. Too much pointless VO. Unnatural dialogue and bad grammar in the action lines don't help.

I suppose though that the idea is sound. However the execution is extremely weak.
Posted by: wonkavite (Guest), January 13th, 2014, 8:45am; Reply: 11
Hey.  I think this particular script had strong points (but a few areas that could be tightened up, too.)

I enjoyed the story, and in alot of ways, that's the most important part.  :)

There were a few typos throughout the story (for instance, 'breathe' on the first page.) And the bottom margins looked...uh, way off.

I actually think that the brief narration on p. 4 took away from the story.  The exposition *was* somewhat on the nose, and I honestly feel that the emotion could have been conveyed better by simply having reactions from Michael, and a few lines of dialogue from Caroline.  Also - and this is an only child speaking here - why would Michael care about the lives of two siblings that he'd never even met that he'd go back in time and risk his life?  Perhaps if Caroline was so distraught that he did it specifically for her sake...

One definitely positive-this is actually the first script in the OWC where the character could be claimed to have Cassandra Complex, at least for a few seconds (IE: someone - the Captain - thought him crazy.)

All in all, a fun story.  The ending's a little light, given the tone of the rest.  But it's not a deal breaker for me.  

Cheers,

--Wonka (J)
Posted by: Dreamscale, January 13th, 2014, 6:29pm; Reply: 12
One of my last few, so no more "As I go" stuff...I'll try and be rather detailed.

Page 1 - Looks like some serious research went into this, which I always appreciate.  Writing looks pretty decent, but there is some overwriting, some repetitive writing, some typos, etc.

Actually, there's no reason to start with your opening Slug - just go rigth into your 2nd one, as it's more descriptive anyways and saves you several lines.

Passages could be broken up better, but not too badly done.

Page 2 - The Slugs on Page 1 and Page 2 should not be the same, as they're not remotely the same place - on the mountain and at its base.  It's unclear where exactly he is when he reappears at the base - I'd rethink this and rewrite it for clarity and visualness.

Characters talking out loud to themself usually doesn't work...especially on the page.

"Above on the mountain, it's himself climbing to reach the ledge he so frantically tried to achieve just moments ago." - First of all, I'd insert a comma after "Above", as the long sentence is easier to read.  It's also worded rather awkwardly.  More importantly, this isn't a good visual sentence, as we have no idea how far up he was or how big this "mountain" is.  You don't want to lose your readers by not writing visually, and this is important here, IMO.

OK, so 10 minutes earlier, he was at the base?  If that's true, the answer to my question above is "not very far up", as if he's climbing alone, he's not gong to make much progress in only 10 minutes on a Nepalese mountain. I'd rethink this entire part, making sure it makes sense and your readers are clear exactly where we are, etc.

"An old, white bricked building. Adequate." - I really despise these kinds of descriptions.  You've got 2 fragments here and neither one really matters, does it?  Basically, you're signalling an Establishing Shot and that's cool, but write it in a more reader friendly way.

The 2 description lines underneath this new Slug are both wastes and unnecessary. Again, if you feel the need to include a description line, write something that either matters, is interesting, or at least, well written.

The dialogue exchange does not sound natural between Michael and "Mother" - even him calling her "Mother" seems so formal, especialy when he repeats it several times...BUT, considering this is 1946, maybe the formality is intended and maybe, it's actually correct.

Page 4 - The V.O. comes out of nowhere and for me, is a big mistake.  You're also missing an apostraphe in "mother's".

So, something just came to me and I want to ask a question.  We're in 1946, and WW2 just ended the prior year.  Michael is young at 28 - what in the world does he do that he can be off by himself climbing a mountain in Nepal less than a year after WW2 ended?  You know what I'm saying?

Page 5 - I like how you described the actual time travel - good attention to detail and thought here.  Well done.

"7" - "seven" - spell it out.

I love your attention to detail and obvious research but I have to tell you I don't buy him being able to know exactly where this ship is at the moment he "drops" onboard.  No biggie, just sayin'...

Page 6 - You've been calling him Captain Lord, now all of a sudden, he's Stanley?  I don't get it.  Stick with 1 name in your descriptions and let your characters call other characters whatever they feel like.

"Focuses on..." - Doesn't read well as a fragment - write out a complete sentence and you'll be amazed how much better your script will read.

Page 7 - "crews" - "crew's"

"their" - "they're"

And now, on the last line, you call him, "Lord".  You have to be 100% consistent.

Page 8 - Can't say I really like the passage under the new Slug - RMS TITANIC.  It's a much different voice you're using here and it seems out of place.

Page  9 - "His days of mountain climbing..." - total aside here that is so unnecessary and out of place.

"For a brief moment the thought of dying has exited their minds." - Another pointless and rather painful aside.

At the bottom of Page 9, there's too much going on, IMO.  New characters being intro'd quickly while the Titanic sinks is a tough thing to write...and read.

Page 10 - "Turns to Emily smiling. Tips his hat." - Another subjectless fragment that doesn't read well.  It's just a bad habit to get into, so my advice is never to do it.

Page 11 - "there" - "their"

Page 12 - I'm not a fan of this long montage here.  Actually, I think it takes alot away, as it's just not necessary at this point.  We've all seen this so many times (most likely). My advice would be to completely get rid of it.

Page 13 - Not sure I quite understand the "YEARS LATER" SUPER.  Is it years later than the Titanic scenes or years later after he found the stone?  I'd rethink this, as it's important.

I'd insert "the" in front of "Titanic" in his V.O..  It sounds so much better.

I've said all along I wasn't a fan of the V.O.'s, but at this point, I am actualy warming up to them and I appreciate the info you're giving me here.

Page 14 - And, damnit, I also have to say I LOVE the ending!

You've done something here that's very, very difficult in creating a character and his exploits, thrown them into a real life situation that eveyone is familiar with, and done it in an exciting and even heart warming way that had me smiling and shockingly, a little emotional, for some reason.  Really, really damn good effort here.

The writing's not fantastic, but it's serviceable.  The story rocks on numerous levels.  It's well thought out, well researched, and most of all, well put together.

Clean up your writing and get to work on a feature, as you have the stuff it takes to move peeps with your writing.

KICK ASS JOB!!!  Easily my favorite and most likely, a winner here in this very difficult OWC.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, January 14th, 2014, 12:15am; Reply: 13
Just so You Know I was a bit coincerned with the non0-corier bold 18 point font on the title page. There's a spelling error on p2 that is actually part of uneeded prose ("of what just happen")  but what I'm starting to dislike a lot in the OWC is the voice overs. To add insult to injury, many of them are overwritten. Let's have a look..


Quoted Text
MICHAEL (V.O.)
And that's when she told me. The
news was indeed horrible, much more
than I had imagined. I didn't know
how to react. Angry? Scared?
Depressed? But I wasn't about to
sit back and do nothing. Time was
ticking on my mothers life. There
was only one thing to do. I had to
go back in time... and save my
family.


Well, mother did just tell him the big secret. So all you need is...


Quoted Text
MICHAEL (V.O.)
There was only one thing to do. I had to
go back in time... and save my
family.


If that. But that last part says everything. All the rest we already seen, know or don't give two hoots about. He doesn't know how to feel. Then - I had to go back in time... Seems he knows exactly how he feels. So I don't need to know it. The last line or so gets to the point. Direct action and not heavy handed. I don't want to be told what characters are thinking let alone what they don't know what to think.

Another problem is that it IS a family secret. That I don't get. His mom was on the Titanic! You would think at this age he might know something about it. Right?

By the way. We see in the next scene Michael getting a jacket and a gun, so that V.O. telling us what we can clearly see isn't needed either. One thing : I would have liked you to add old photos of the children. How does Micheal know who to look for? You can argue he sees his mother in her youth, but it isn't a slam-dunk that those are his long lost siblings when he first sees them. (Note: how many people were on the Titanic?)

And why not just go to the Titanic itself to begin with and hold Cpn Smith hostage, telling him to direct the ship to go turn well before they collide with the iceberg?



Now that we got all that nonsense out of the way.,..
Brilliant subject! History suggests had the Californian acted more promptly, at least three hundred passengers would have been saved at worst. One thing I would have added to the script was that in this new alternate change, fate did not judge The Californian as it sunk itself in WW1.

However- your character should also be aware that in his actions, he prevented future safety measures regarding ship to ship communications. And while he could not possibly know the future, we also wouldn't get an Oscar winning film from James Cameron in 1997  :P

And yes, The Californian and the aftermath of the Titanic sinking would make an interesting film.

Overall, Vos aside, I think this one of the better entries and the best I read thus far. On a shortlist for the voting fotr the moment.
Posted by: DV44, January 14th, 2014, 6:53pm; Reply: 14
Titanic? Had a feeling someone was going to write about it. Have to agree with some of the other reviewers, the dialogue is OTN at times but it didn't steer me away from reading all the way through and some of the action lines could be condensed or even eliminated altogether too.

You seem to put a lot of research into the story which is nice. I liked how you used the SS Californian to help rescue passengers from the Titanic. Kudos on that. The ending was good but a serious rewrite could really flesh out the story and shine.

Congrats on completing the OWC.
Posted by: CoopBazinga, January 14th, 2014, 11:13pm; Reply: 15
Where's the colon after fade in? Right, that's it... I'm out! Of course I'm only joking, I wouldn't be that petty...

Inconsistent straight off the bat - day in slug but morning in the action. Shift that morning into the slug and you could do away with "early morning" Yes, I'm still being quite petty aren't I... ;D

Micheal's one fit guy and possible made of marble according to his description. :P

MICHAEL
I'm ten minutes... in the past?

You could do away with this dialogue, you've already done a good job getting this info across visually - don't spoil it with cringe worthy dialogue.

You seem to like doing establishing shots -- you have to ask yourself whether they're are necessary. For example, you just told me about an old white brick building, but it doesn't actually tell me anything. If there was a sign that said "Saving Lives Hospital" then I know it's a hospital but otherwise, it's superfluous.

"carpet" In a hospital room?

Michael (seems) forgiving. Seems?

Now I'm not the voice over police, personally I don't mind them but I have to admit that I didn't like Micheal's here -- it's rather cringe worthy, but at least he's being active so that's good. I would recommend toning down the voice overs - try to get this info across another way.

A lot of BACK TO SCENE'S going on -- too much IMO, try to pull back on P.O.V's and INSERTS -- not always necessary.

Well, I liked this one more than I thought I was going to. The first few pages I thought were poor, but this does rescue itself with an action-packed second half and I have to admit that the ending was great -- Liked how he's using the time device to his own advantage.

There are issues, I think you could cut a lot of the Titanic scenes and its sinking, I'm pretty sure that most peeps know how the story goes - concentrate on Michael and his search for his family, the rest is understood. The dialogue as well, especially the voice overs and that's what really hurt this one overall, but hey, these sort of kinks can be sorted out in a re-write and then I think you'll have a nice little tale here.

Another possible avenue would be to add more depth to the Michael character, why does he want to rescue his lost brother and sister other than the obvious -- for his mother, yes, but what if it's also something for himself. A lonely child who always wanted brothers and sisters or a larger family.

The writing was a little clumsy at first, a few typos spread around but it got better as it went on so good job. You could cut on down on the transitions as they take a lot of space but maybe that's preference on my part.

An entertaining story that's little let down by the dialogue -- good effort though. (it's in my top 5 at the moment.)

Congrats on completing the OWC. :)

Steve
Posted by: EWall433, January 16th, 2014, 1:03pm; Reply: 16
VOs shouldnt come out of the middle of nowhere at the most convenient time possible. If youre going to use it at all, it should be established at the beginning. The audience needs to know up front what narrative mode they are experiencing your story from. Here its clearly just a short cut to get to the plot and so it feels off (plus what did it actually explain? Not much)

Im not sure why the stone needed to be established in the opening. Its not like the machine itself makes much sense either.

Im not sure the Captain of a ship would buy into the idea of celebratory flares. Does he think the captain of the Titanic is an idiot? (Never mind. Looked into it and Captain Lord Stanley was indeed a jerk-a**).

Unfortunately this is another entry that suffered from the protagonists goals being pretty murky. He says hes going to save his family, but who are they?  I think we shouldve at least known that Peter and Emily would be the ones he was trying to save (also, would their identities be apparent onscreen?).

The stuff on the ship is pretty well done, but I didnt like what bookended this story.  This could use a much stronger set-up. I found the writing fairly solid though, and this was an enjoyable entry for me.

Congrats on completing the OWC.
Posted by: Leegion, January 16th, 2014, 1:50pm; Reply: 17
Writer,

Thought-provoking.  I like that you used the SS Californian to rescue survivors on Titanic, not that I knew what it was until I read up on Titanic's sinking like 2 minutes ago, lol.

You put some time into constructing this story, which is to be commended - I barely do research myself, so kudos for that.  

Characters were great, I could feel why Michael wanted to do the things he did.  The time travel device also raises some questions, which are out of your control - WHERE DID IT COME FROM?  IS IT ALIEN?

I always like unfolding new ways of time manipulation in reads.  Memories were the last one, a polished purple stone now, I'm looking forward to the next.

This is one that sticks out for me the most amongst the others I've read, mainly because of the location being so historic.  

Nice job completing this OWC with a risque script in relation to Titanic.

-Lee
Posted by: SteveUK, January 17th, 2014, 6:33am; Reply: 18
This was a pretty good idea that was unfortunately let down by its execution. I liked the premise and you've structured the story well, but a lot of the action lines were either poorly worded or overwritten. Try to be more sparse with your descriptions and just tell us what we need to know.

The dialogue was also pretty awkward at times and there was way too much exposition in the voice over, try to cut it back as much as you can. You also need to set up the voice over near the start - maybe have Michael set up the story while he's climbing the mountain. As it is, the voice over just appears from nowhere in the middle of a scene on page 4 and it really threw me off. Another thing that bugged me - who is Michael telling this story to in his voice over? Is he just recounting it to himself? Maybe have michael writing it down in a journal near the end before he goes to Mount Everest - this would give a logical explanation for the use of the voice over.

I also felt the Titanic scene went on way too long. In my opinion you could delete the whole montage of the Titanic sinking and the passengers escaping without losing anything from your story. Just having John save his family and then watching them being rowed away to safety with the other passengers would be enough.

You've clearly done your research and it shows in the story, but this still needs a lot of work in my opinion. However, it's most definitely worth putting the effort into rewriting into this - you have a really good story that I was able to enjoy despite the issues I had with the writing. And I really liked the way you tied the whole thing up in your ending.
Posted by: James McClung, January 17th, 2014, 4:52pm; Reply: 19
Best concept I've read so far. Not necessarily the best script. Nevertheless, I think Titanic was an interesting choice for a historical event to travel back to. A significant one, certainly, but not necessarily obvious.

I think the choice to put Michael on the SS Californian and not the Titanic (and furthermore, to have him reflect on this choice) was a stroke of brilliance. It's not an obvious choice by any means and definitely complicates the story and character's motives, not to mention expands the historical context for people who might not necessarily be up to snuff on the Titanic's more complete history.

I also appreciate the fact that you kept the story intimate. Michael goes back to save his siblings. Saving the lives of the other passengers was a feat in and of itself and expands the scope of the story but I like that it wasn't the main goal. It remains Michael's story throughout.

Still, there's some issues. Does Michael just stumble across this purple stone or was he actively searching for it? What's up with that?

More pressing is the dialogue. VERY expository. Definitely doesn't sound as natural as it should. Also, the V.O. took away from the story for me A LOT. I mean, there's maybe a handful of insights that benefited from it but for the most part, this is absolutely not the way V.O. is supposed to be used. Basically Michael saying everything he's thinking and in some instances, what could easily be inferred by what's going on visually. Definitely the chief issue to work on for me.

That said, there is definitely a really strong story at the heart of this. It just needs to lose some fat. Good job on this.
Posted by: irish eyes, January 17th, 2014, 6:23pm; Reply: 20
Ok last one... I think

Pretty good story overall, although there seems to be a lot of going back in time to save your siblings stories in this OWC.

The time machine itself... a purple stone? which apparently can send him anywhere in time. I guess not from this world, but was never explained.

I liked the concept of his family aboard the titanic and it was nice to see the Irish surviving from below decks :D

Overall it flowed very easily and had a nice ending... the purple stone must be like a "flux capacitor" :D

good job on entering

Mark
Posted by: rendevous, January 18th, 2014, 3:10am; Reply: 21
The BACK TO SCENEs do grate and take you out of the story.
Typos don't help either. Still, noones prefect.

'it's himself climbing' - For a moment there I thought I was in rural Ireland.

INSERT Photograph of a field in Ireland with farmers and sheep. In the feckin' rain.

BACK TO SCRIPT

'An old, white bricked building. Adequate.' - Adequate? Doesn't help much.

I may be in an over critcal mood. It does happen occasionally. The dialogue on p3 and 4 was what put me off reviewing this a few days ago. It's too on the nose and expositional. Still, onward. I've read worse.

'Lord downplays the situation.' - It's phrases such as this really put me off a screenplay. I've no doubt he does but it'd be far more entertaining to show us how this looks rather than just tell.

I imagine quite a lot of research went into this and a few of the story choices were unexpected and clever. I didn't like the dialogue though. If that was improved this could be very good.
Posted by: Mr. Blonde, January 18th, 2014, 10:22pm; Reply: 22
I didn't find anything particular to write about with this one. The dialogue before he time travels was kind of rough then the sequence where he travels back in time seemed like you just re-watched "Titanic", although you made some alterations (by the way, they've determined that the back of the ship didn't lift way into the air, it was only about 17 degrees before bending). Then, the ending seemed out of place. Did he actually become the world's greatest mountain climber, or did he just teleport in time to the top of Everest? Either way, I think I had more negative feelings about this than positive, but I didn't hate it. It was just underwhelming.

C-.
Posted by: Dreamscale, January 18th, 2014, 10:57pm; Reply: 23
Really??????

:P :P :P :P :P :P

Posted by: Last Fountain, January 18th, 2014, 11:04pm; Reply: 24
Good premise. Could use more development. Epic action set piece.

The bookends are really nice touches, framing a massive time travel fantasy.  It was really interesting to set this in the past and then travel further into the past. The opening images are quite strong. Mountain climbing in Nepal would make for great visuals. The hook is firmly planted.

I have to say the bait wasn't so tasty. I mean the time machine. He finds a jeweled stone in a crack of the mountain. The technology is so bland for what follows. You take us to such a great destination. The titanic. A most infamous moment in history. So make this machine epic too. Or at least the discovery of it. Maybe he stumbles upon it at the mountain top. Or in some hidden overgrown area. Something more grand than a crack.

I like how he only goes back 10 minutes. I like that he has to create a machine and test it to go back further. But I think this could be better developed too. Maybe a cliche montage would work here. We could see him travel further and further. Building the machine, piece by piece. And a voice over explaining the science, and testing, but also his motivations.

The scale of the jump is epic indeed. The titanic stuff would be great to watch. Especially from a different point of view. I feel that he pulls off his mission too easily. Maybe show more struggle boarding the ship. And more climbing skills. Maybe more intensity getting the kids to safety. Demonstrate his grip strength or something. I feel like the huge action set piece is rather safe. More danger for the traveller would help. Especially with the melodrama of the happy ending. It might be more interesting if the time line gets altered some how in a more intriguing way. Maybe some negative consequence.

I enjoyed the final chapter on Everest. I'd like to think he uses the device to challenge himself and he actually climbed the mountain. It might be nice to have some narration explaining how he uses the device or keeps it from getting into the wrong hands.I just really enjoyed the idea behind this short and the noble motivation of the main character,  so I'm critical on the impact and weight of some choices.

I think this could be really great if you further develop the discovery,  the technology,  and the obstacles on the titanic.
Posted by: PrussianMosby, January 20th, 2014, 9:48pm; Reply: 25
Hello.

I see some first act problems, especially in case of establishment.

On the mountain top, a man/woman would lie on the ground, perplex, and quail if something like that would happen. Okay, it's film, but a bit more reflection would be good.

The hospital scene doesn't work for me. There's no need the mother mentions two dead siblings. Which mother would send such a goodbye-package from the deathbed?
The dialogue tries to inject the believability into the script. Right when I ask myself: why didn't the mother told Michael earlier about the siblings, Michael asks: Why didn't you mention this to me before?

Ok. I accept that he modified the stone. Ocean. From here on it's getting better. Dialogue, good tension. Fine emotional interactions. Titanic. I like the things you plotted yourself and not the stuff from the movie., especially with the gate. And how does Michael get there?

Okay in third the establishing problem comes back as he justifies what he did, why not, and what if.

The Voice over are much too long for the pictures shown, there's just sparse action happening.
Funny pointe. You deliver the play without many problems; you really have put a lot of precise stuff from the Titanic inside. Looks like you had some fun with that stuff; I prefer your own creation. I liked the captain and all that.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, January 21st, 2014, 5:15pm; Reply: 26
Saving lives

Good logline, especially when the story plays out.

I liked the idea of going back to the titanic. That was a surprise, although I wondered why we start in a mountain in 1946.

The SS California - I checked it up, very good choice. But then I didn't like the outcome.

To be honest, I couldnt understand why you did a montage of the titanic sinking, just like it was played out in the blockbuster, I couldn't work that out. Didn't seem to add.

Ok, you changed the real future, and that's different to most scripts, I just wanst sold on it. But well done for trying.

In short, a decent idea of coming back for family you didn't know. Good idea of the SS California. But how about, in the reality before his travel they died in the recovery because of an accident due to too people many on board and it cap sized, or caught fire, or they were knocked over board. He saves them, by stopping the boat turn around, instead  sends messages to other boots, not realising they weren't close enough. The titanic sinks, many die that didn't before.

He saves his family, then rots in hell with the image. Just an idea.

Having said all that, well researched, decent potential.
Posted by: Forgive, January 22nd, 2014, 5:41pm; Reply: 27
Well, it's not brilliantly written, but not badly conceived either. I did like the start, on a mountain-side, only if it was unique. Then on to the mother, and that was okay, but I started losing it a little bit when he packed a handgun, and I didn't really know what he was setting out to acheive? Maybe some hint is needed from the mother? Maybe not.

Overall, I liked it - it had a good story-feel to it. There was lots of missed appostophies here and there, but was ultimaltely a feel-good take on events, and I like that it ended on the mountain again.

Not 100% sure the Titanic figures re. people who got rescued - maybe you could have gone for the everyone-died-at-first angle, and then have the actual numbers as a result of what Michael did.

Good piece of work though.
Posted by: Gum, January 22nd, 2014, 11:49pm; Reply: 28
This was a clever concept, an easy read, and was evidently well researched.

A few underlying issues beg me to ask of Michael's true objective and his primary reason of motivation to attempt a journey of this magnitude. First and foremost; what is the prime catalyst for saving the lives of people he didn't even know? As well, understanding the mission he was about to take would be life threatening to himself?

Then there was an indication that time was not on his side, for his mother was dying. I believe this is debatable, simply because he's in possession of a 'Time Travelling' device.

Then somewhere along the lines the M.O. changed to involve Michael commandeering the SS Californian to rescue the passengers from the sinking Titanic. Whereas, he might have adjusted his initial journey to ensure his relatives never boarded the Titanic in the first place.

Then, if he really wanted to be heroic, try 'Tooth and Nail' to ensure that the captains of each vessel in question headed his warnings of what lies ahead. If that didn't work, then commandeer the Titanic to have the crew adjust their bearings.

Of course, if you took my advice, there wouldn't be much a story here, but I enjoyed reading this script, and contemplating what basic human condition compelled you, as a writer, to go the avenue you did. This was a good entry for the OWC!
Posted by: DV44, January 23rd, 2014, 12:58pm; Reply: 29
First off, I want to thank Don for posting the script. You do an amazing job. Love the site. Secondly, I want to thank Sean for hosting the OWC. A tough challenge but yet a fun one. Awesome job, bro.

I'm a little embarrassed by all the errors I had throughout. I've never tried to write (V.O.) & Montages' before and now I see why. The VO's came off a bit cheesy & too late into the story. Anyone who saw The Titanic movie from James Cameron probably felt I was reliving the scenes of the ship going down in the montage. Quite a few peeps mentioned that they would have liked to not have seen the montage as it took away from the story and looking back at it, I agree. The dialogue was my biggest downfall. No excuses at all, I just suck at it and it's something I have to improve on. Too much OTN throughout.

On to the story itself, the plot was simple, a man (Michael) finds a purple stone buried behind a dirt wall and soon after he's teleported down to the base of the mountain (ten minutes in the past). It's there he realizes he can transport anywhere, anytime. After he hears about the siblings he never knew he had from his dying mother he decided his goal was to save them + hundreds of others who perished that night. So I sent him on the Californian, which he overtook, and directed him towards the Titanic saving just about everyone on board. The ending, I left open for anyone to interpret. Did Michael actually climb Mt Everest? or did he just transport to the top? That's up the reader to decide. lol.

A Big thanks to everyone who took the time to read it! Means a lot, great advice & info I can use to help my writing move forward. You guys ROCK!!!!

- Dirk
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