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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Thriller Scripts  /  The Dying Machine
Posted by: Don, July 28th, 2017, 5:14pm
The Dying Machine (was Emma) by Joseph Cahill - Thriller, Sci Fi - In the midst of a cataclysmic drought and the threat of mass extinction, a pregnant pre-teen may hold the answers to Earth's survival. 119 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



+++++++++++

Script removed.  See below concept art



Posted by: medstudent, July 29th, 2017, 5:01pm; Reply: 1
Link is now working. Looking for feedback exchange if anyone is interested. Feature for feature.

Joseph
Posted by: eldave1, July 29th, 2017, 7:19pm; Reply: 2
Joseph - in the middle of a bunch of projects right now but thought I would try to get to pieces of this as I get writer's block.

Got a look at the first five:


Quoted Text
BLACK SCREEN

The BUZZING of BEES goes on for what seems like an eternity.


Not sure you need to CAP Bees since we can't see them (i.e., black screen)


Quoted Text
CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS enter, covered head to toe in bee
suits.


How would one know they are crime scene investigators if they are covered in bee suits??

You have a ton of camera directions and "we sees" in the opening five pages. Generally frowned upon in spec scripts - but if you are comfortable with it - okay I guess.

It's quite confusing since you have a combination of detectives and bee folks interwoven into the opening.  Tough to visualize an ongoing investigation when the place is swamped with bees. My suggestion is to split this. I assume you are going to have a Detective at some point in time. Have her/him standing outside the trailer - occasionally swatting a bee as they wait for the bee folks to complete their work.  Then later have them in the trailer - and rather than the we sees - have your character walk us through the trailer.

Page 3 -

More of the we sees.  Really over using them.

Throughout the page sometimes you refer to him as the man and sometimes as the consultant - need to be consistent.

Missing a V.O for the Pastor middle of the page

Page 4

Did not like the reporter dialogue at all. It was unnatural and it was like you were trying to cram all of the story background into this one blurb. To my ear, it would be more natural if this was gradually developed - perhaps with Detectives talking to the boss or something like that.

Quoted Text

INT. HOTEL. DAY.


This slug appears twice so far - incorrect format. No period after hotel - should be a - between hotel and day. I would also make it HOTEL ROOM

Page 5


Quoted Text
The Consultant casually leaves.

GARDENING TELEVISION HOST (V.O.)
Flowers make people better,
happier. They are sunshine for the
soul...


Thought he turned off the TV in the earlier scene.


Quoted Text
We slowly PAN across the walls. Every shelf, every bit of


More "we' and camera directions - I would just describe the place. It really is starting to distract from the read.

So after five pages - my gut reaction is - based on the story - yeah I would read on. Based on how it is written - I would not. It's overdone with camera directions and we sees to the point of taking me out of the story.

See what others think. I am just one point of view.
Posted by: medstudent, July 30th, 2017, 8:43pm; Reply: 3

Quoted Text
How would one know they are crime scene investigators if they are covered in bee suits??


That's a good question. Didn't consider that.


Quoted Text
You have a ton of camera directions and "we sees" in the opening five pages. Generally frowned upon in spec scripts - but if you are comfortable with it - okay I guess.


I need to look through the script and trim this stuff. I don't want it to be distracting.


Quoted Text
It's quite confusing since you have a combination of detectives and bee folks interwoven into the opening.  Tough to visualize an ongoing investigation when the place is swamped with bees. My suggestion is to split this. I assume you are going to have a Detective at some point in time. Have her/him standing outside the trailer - occasionally swatting a bee as they wait for the bee folks to complete their work.  Then later have them in the trailer - and rather than the we sees - have your character walk us through the trailer.


I like the idea, actually. I'll take a look at that.


Quoted Text
Throughout the page sometimes you refer to him as the man and sometimes as the consultant - need to be consistent.


Noted.


Quoted Text
Missing a V.O for the Pastor middle of the page


Noted.


Quoted Text
Page 4

Did not like the reporter dialogue at all. It was unnatural and it was like you were trying to cram all of the story background into this one blurb. To my ear, it would be more natural if this was gradually developed - perhaps with Detectives talking to the boss or something like that.


I knew this. Too on the nose. I'm gonna redo this piece of dialogue.


Quoted Text
This slug appears twice so far - incorrect format. No period after hotel - should be a - between hotel and day. I would also make it HOTEL ROOM


Noted.


Quoted Text
So after five pages - my gut reaction is - based on the story - yeah I would read on. Based on how it is written - I would not. It's overdone with camera directions and we sees to the point of taking me out of the story.


I obviously need to work on this. I don't want the opening to be such that people are turned off.


Quoted Text
See what others think. I am just one point of view.


Thanks for the look. I always appreciate and value your feedback.

Joseph
Posted by: eldave1, July 31st, 2017, 10:28am; Reply: 4
My pleasure Joseph, - I will try to get back to this after I am done with the swamp of things consuming me right now- best of luck
Posted by: eldave1, August 2nd, 2017, 11:27am; Reply: 5
Okay - had a chance to get to the next five. My impressions on those:

Your dialogue is solid, IMO.  

I like your character descriptions and use of asides/umfilmables. Keep in mind that I am often told I over describe - so wait on feedback from other peeps - but I do like that you are vivid -
even poetic with their descriptions. I still think they can be clipped a bit. Using this is an example:


Quoted Text
This isnít the girl who was valedictorian in high school.
Sheís the girl you bought weed from. Though her easy,
charming looks make you see why everyone likes her. Yet,
there is a hardness to her features - a fighterís toughness.


So, I can see and feel this girl - bravo. I love the first line but think you start to over do it just a bit. I would trim it to:

This isnít the girl who was valedictorian in high school.
Sheís the girl you bought weed from. There  a hardness to her features - a fighterís toughness.

Your room descriptions are vivid and while I like them I think they are over cooked.  By way of example, this:


Quoted Text
INT. RAMSHACKLE STUDIO APARTMENT. DAY

Interrupted sunlight bathes the room. Each dirty corner,
every spent cigarette butt, misplaced piece of clothing
exposed in the bright, early morning light.

We slowly PAN across the walls. Every shelf, every bit of
wall space is taken up by FIGHTING PARAPHERNALIA - BOXING
MEDALS and 1st PLACE FIGHTING TROPHIES. A HEAVY BAG hangs
from the ceiling in one corner.

GARDENING TELEVISION HOST (V.O.)
There are but a few things in life
that satisfy oneís desire...

We stop on an old, boxed television - the kind your parents
had - and watch and old 80s GARDENING TELEVISION HOST prune
tomato plants. Heís the gardening equivalent of Bob Ross.

We follow a set of AV cables from the TV to an old VCR. Itís
playing the gardening show.

Thereís a mattress on the floor in the other corner, a thin
white sheet covering the outline - head to toe - of someone
either passed out or asleep... Or dead.


So, personally - I like it. But I think it is too dense to get through those (e.g., whoever it is that buys scripts) to keep going on for the rest of the story. A crisper version could be something like:

INT. RAMSHACKLE STUDIO APARTMENT - DAY

Dimly lit, dusty and cluttered.

One wall is covered with FIGHTING PARAPHERNALIA - BOXING
MEDALS and 1st PLACE FIGHTING TROPHIES. A HEAVY BAG hangs
from the ceiling in the corner.

In the other corner,  a thin white sheet covers the outline  of a body.

GARDENING TELEVISION HOST (V.O.)
There are but a few things in life
that satisfy oneís desire.

A VHS tape WHIRLS in a VCR machine set on top of an old, boxed television.

On the screen, a  GARDENING TELEVISION HOST prunes
tomato plants.

SO, the sweet spot is probably somewhere in between. Long winded way of saying that the descriptions you use read like a novel - a very well written one.  I don't know, just food for thought - but I would clop them a bit.
Posted by: medstudent, August 3rd, 2017, 5:43pm; Reply: 6

Quoted Text
Your dialogue is solid, IMO.

I did work on this a bit. It is soft in spots, though. I do need to go through it again.  


Quoted Text
I like your character descriptions and use of asides/umfilmables. Keep in mind that I am often told I over describe - so wait on feedback from other peeps - but I do like that you are vivid -
even poetic with their descriptions. I still think they can be clipped a bit.


I just get so excited when I get such a clear image of the scene, its characters, etc. I feel like I want to share every texture, every nuance of that scene with the reader... though, you are right... it does get a bit long-winded.


Quoted Text
This isnít the girl who was valedictorian in high school.
Sheís the girl you bought weed from. There  a hardness to her features - a fighterís toughness.


You make it seem so easy. It does read cleaner for a script.



Quoted Text
INT. RAMSHACKLE STUDIO APARTMENT - DAY

Dimly lit, dusty and cluttered.

One wall is covered with FIGHTING PARAPHERNALIA - BOXING
MEDALS and 1st PLACE FIGHTING TROPHIES. A HEAVY BAG hangs
from the ceiling in the corner.

In the other corner,  a thin white sheet covers the outline  of a body.

GARDENING TELEVISION HOST (V.O.)
There are but a few things in life
that satisfy oneís desire.

A VHS tape WHIRLS in a VCR machine set on top of an old, boxed television.

On the screen, a  GARDENING TELEVISION HOST prunes
tomato plants.


Again, I do like the way this reads without losing the texture and color of the scene.


Quoted Text
SO, the sweet spot is probably somewhere in between.


Agree.


Quoted Text
Long winded way of saying that the descriptions you use read like a novel - a very well written one.


Thanks. Not good for a script, but thanks.

Dave, thanks for sticking with this so far.

Let me know when I owe you a read in return.

Joseph
Posted by: eldave1, August 3rd, 2017, 6:09pm; Reply: 7
No problem - glad it helped
Posted by: Michael, September 7th, 2017, 7:56pm; Reply: 8
                                                               Review of Emma
I didn't read any of the other reviews so if I repeat things that is why.

Pg. 2-A little typo, "Whoever lived here was a obsessed with computers"  Take out the A.
Pg. 3-The first paragraph the line reads "Standing at the edge of the bed thrusting himself into an unseen woman lying on the bed. I would take out lying on the bed. lean and mean right?
Pg.4-The reporters dialogue seems too long.   How will the audience know she is a prostitute?
Pg.5-BACK TO SCENE - I thought we were in the scene?   Last thing I know he shut the TV off, now it's back on. How?   Who is Bob Ross?   Should we care?
Pg.19-Is it Wig who unties the girl? It says HE.
Pg.20-Preacher is rambling for too long.
At this point in the script I was still confused.
Pg.23-It's hide not hid.   Isolated gas station scene seems overwritten to me. (Don't need to say that the pump fills the gas tank.) my opinion.
Pg.24-You phrase Bon as a man. (to himself)
Pg.29-Oh the truck has a camper, didn't know that all this time.
Pg.32-You keep saying Bon is a guy, "Bon does as he's told"
Pg.33-Breaker is written as BRE.
Pg.35-Quit writing BON is a man,,, He's a girl.. lol..      Damn Bon must be strong as shit.
Pg.39-He's smelling a flower one minute then he's all of a sudden PISSING on them. lol Where'd that come from?
Pg.40-The line--Breaker takes pulls the alcoholic drink away from Bon. Did he Take or Pull? one or the other not both.
Pg.41-Yuck Tuna Casserole lol just my dislike...
Pg.49-"Bon's holds an outstretched arm towards Rollie"  Not Bon's holds. Bon holds.
Pg.44-54-Great action/suspense.
Pg.54-"Going north as the crow flies" is that a saying?

Good going so far, I am not a great reviewer yet but I try.
I will write more soon.
Mike
Posted by: Don, September 10th, 2017, 8:58am; Reply: 9
We are officially in development with the script and plan on producing within the next year.

- Joseph
Posted by: eldave1, September 10th, 2017, 10:31am; Reply: 10
Great news!
Posted by: DustinBowcot (Guest), September 11th, 2017, 2:42am; Reply: 11
Nice to have a feature in dev. Has the budget been figured out yet? I know in some cases, particularly with indie projects, the budget is determined later, as attachments gained during the dev process can add weight to funds raised.

Good luck, and I hope it gets a big budget.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, September 11th, 2017, 1:55pm; Reply: 12
Congrats!
Posted by: medstudent, September 11th, 2017, 3:55pm; Reply: 13
Thanks. We are looking at a 4 million dollar budget. We are in the fundraising and script development stages right now. Trying to secure a well known HBO producer.

We'll keep you updated on the process.

If I could figure our how to post image attachments, I'd post some concept art!
Posted by: DustinBowcot (Guest), September 11th, 2017, 4:32pm; Reply: 14

Quoted from medstudent
Thanks. We are looking at a 4 million dollar budget. We are in the fundraising and script development stages right now. Trying to secure a well known HBO producer.

We'll keep you updated on the process.

If I could figure our how to post image attachments, I'd post some concept art!


4 mill's quite a tidy sum. Hopefully you get a nice percentage of that in your contract. Did you get an option fee?
Posted by: Don, September 15th, 2017, 5:29pm; Reply: 15
Concept art:




Posted by: Warren, September 15th, 2017, 5:58pm; Reply: 16
That's some really good work. Looks great.
Posted by: medstudent, September 16th, 2017, 4:49pm; Reply: 17
I know, I love the artwork. Really brings the characters to life. We're in works with a limited release graphic novel to accompany the film.

Joseph
Posted by: eldave1, September 16th, 2017, 8:09pm; Reply: 18
Looks solid, dude.  Kudos.
Posted by: TimC, September 17th, 2017, 2:07am; Reply: 19
Sensational!
Posted by: DustinBowcot (Guest), September 17th, 2017, 2:18am; Reply: 20
Looks great. Looks like the type of artwork found in a 2000AD graphic novel back in the day. Good luck with the project.
Posted by: medstudent, October 29th, 2018, 12:31pm; Reply: 21
The early production on the film has been halted for the time being. Thank you, Don for hosting it again. I am placing the newest draft to get some feedback. I would trade a review in exchange for a read and review of anything else.

Joseph
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