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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  The Quickie Challenge  /  Who They Were - QC
Posted by: Don, August 21st, 2017, 1:29am
Who They Were by 0 - Short, Romance - The elderly folk of a retirement home find comfort in the simplest of things.  3 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: Dustin, August 21st, 2017, 2:59pm; Reply: 1
Code

- she has to be in her nineties.



A lot of black on the first page and this is down to things like the above. If she's in her 90s just say so, (93).

I'm skimming and I'm not at page 2 yet.

My finger slipped and I scrolled all the way to the end. Oh well, can't go back now.
Posted by: khamanna, August 21st, 2017, 3:00pm; Reply: 2
HI,

Good idea for a short.
And I appreciate the fact you didn't use a line of dialog in this.
You still should cap your main characters I think.

On page 2 you start a scene with "an old woman" and I don't know who are you talking about - another character or else.
Posted by: JEStaats, August 21st, 2017, 3:23pm; Reply: 3
It took a long time getting to any action. It was all description and fly-over. It could've just started with an old couple under a tree.

I appreciate the motions and beckoning but it needs dialog. A simple "Leave the jump rope; we'll get it later" and "Come on. You can do it." Just to break it all up.

Did I mistakenly think there were no vital signs? They held hands afterwards?
Posted by: DanC, August 21st, 2017, 3:27pm; Reply: 4
Some "rookie" errors.  Be specific in your character descriptions.  

Personally, I always give my main characters names.  If you don't care enough to name your characters, then why should I care about them??

This was cute, but, flawed.  I got a bit confused at certain points, and for a 3 page script, that isn't good.

SPOILERS

So, a family leaves a jump rope, 2 random people see it, and somehow, they see themselves as young people again, and what fall in love as they die??  

That's sad.

Dan
Posted by: Dreamscale, August 21st, 2017, 5:25pm; Reply: 5
Opening passage is just about the very last way you'd want to start a 3 page script, as it is absolutely unnecessary...and costly.

OK, sorry, but I'm out.  1/2 a page in and it feels like 3 pages already.  WAY overwritten and dense and seemingly going nowhere.

No grade
Posted by: stevie, August 21st, 2017, 6:23pm; Reply: 6
Pretty ambitious not to have dialogue but it works in this 3 page max. Was overwritten at times but the feeling you were evoking came through nicely. Jump rope was used well and not just thrown in too. Liked this one
Posted by: Pale Yellow, August 21st, 2017, 8:53pm; Reply: 7
Love a script without dialogue and for this ... I"m not going to fault you with the heavy descriptions even though it does bog the read. If you can find a way to shorten them.. it'll read faster.

I love this concept. I think it fits the parameters perfectly.

A few typos here and there ... to be expected in three days.

Great job.
Posted by: Gary Howell, August 21st, 2017, 9:13pm; Reply: 8
Like Stevie says, this was pretty ambitious to take 2 1/2 pages and pack it with action sequences.  Now I think you cheated just a tad and had a couple of instances where the characters spoke to one another that probably should have been in dialogue blocks, but what the hell. It was well written and evoked some nice imagery.  Reminded me a little of the ending of the Notebook (OKAY I'M A GUY AND I SAW THE NOTEBOOK - MY WIFE MADE ME!).  All in all, well done here.

Best,
Gary
Posted by: Warren, August 22nd, 2017, 12:16am; Reply: 9
Hi,


Quoted Text
EXT. CITY - DAY
Moving over suburbs, shops and busy roads to a large complex
of dwellings. From the car park, paths lead to a reception
office, past a big sign that reads:


I don't think any of this is relevant. It's also taking up valuable writing space and reads awkwardly.

Okay I think I know why you put it there. This is very over written and you still didnít use up the 3 pages. It's just padding.

The story at its core is quite good, I enjoyed it but it's a slog to get through. I think it needs a massive trim and, I think some dialogue would only help.
Posted by: Tyler King, August 22nd, 2017, 2:34am; Reply: 10
Too much description, and it's not even a full 3 pages.
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, August 22nd, 2017, 5:54am; Reply: 11
This is more short story than short script.

It's the only 3-page script in this challenge I skipped after page 1 because of all prose.  It may well be a lovely, touching story but it's totally lost on me due to all the extra writing. Just imagine a script reader trying to go through 90 pages of that and they've got ten scripts to read that day, they would throw it in the bin after 5 pages, tops.

Sorry for my blunt opinion but I'm actually trying to help. If you sent such a script off to a festival or competition you would be dismissed quickly and I'll give you a couple of examples.

Opening Block:

"Moving over suburbs, shops and busy roads to a large complex of dwellings. From the car park, paths lead to a reception office, past a big sign that reads...."

Your using an establishing shot in a 3-page script. Not only that you are suggesting camera shots. This is normally part of a shooting script.

"The nurse stops in the shade of a huge elm. The old woman turns her head slowly, squints. The nurse adjusts her blanket, murmurs to her; the old woman nods, smiles. The nurse checks her watch before hurrying back inside."

Here you are giving detailed directions to the actors. It's almost down to the level of telling them how to breath. Let the actors decide how they are going to act. You just focus on telling the story.

I hope my notes are useful and you don't feel like stabbing me too much!

-Mark
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., August 22nd, 2017, 1:55pm; Reply: 12
Alright, I toughed it out and read through without skimming.

This has some light. BUT-

It needs serious work in the execution department.

Example:

>Moving over suburbs, shops and busy roads to a large complex
of dwellings.

How are we "moving over"? Flying? Driving?

You mean, and Aerial Shot? But does it even matter?

This is a tender story about human life. It's a snapshot. All those City Visuals aren't necessary for this.

These people are mere Old Man and Old Woman. Nothing more?

Is that all they are? Is that all they amount to?

Who are they and why do they matter?

Sandra
Posted by: Heretic, August 22nd, 2017, 3:07pm; Reply: 13
Not the most original of images, but pulled off well enough. I guess I don't really care that they used to be young and beautiful -- it would be nice to see what's in their lives now. My grandfather's 93 and not great on his feet, but he's still growing and learning and changing. It'd be nice to see -- along with the nice memories -- a nice day with these two. Memories of being young are just a small part of being old. Or so I'm told.
Posted by: Dustin, August 22nd, 2017, 4:47pm; Reply: 14

Quoted from Heretic
My grandfather's 93 and not great on his feet, but he's still growing and learning and changing.


Yeah... I suppose we look at old age as a wind-down, as though they've stopped living. It's hard getting into their minds... all I get from my nan is fear and regret. Same with my GF's granddad. Fear and regret. I think these type of thoughts sink in with immobility. My nan cannot walk far and she can hardly see. My Gf's grandad is confined to his house and from talking to the family, on both sides, it's like deep down, they are just waiting for them to die so they can divvy up their belongings. Circling like vultures. Not all of them, obviously. People with genuine intent are the minority.
Posted by: StevenClark, August 22nd, 2017, 5:38pm; Reply: 15
Writer,

You had me going there for a minute. I was really liking this, thinking something miraculous was happening and anticipating where you might take this. But, in the end, they never turned young. They just tried jumping rope and croaked. The sentiment was nice, but it needed some kind of magic to take this from pedestrian to fantastic.

Steve
Posted by: PrussianMosby, August 23rd, 2017, 1:04am; Reply: 16
I would definitely prefer names for the characters, at least for your two main characters.

Story is okay, not sure if it's enough as a whole. However, fantasy is a fine thing, and I enjoyed watching them living it up, real or unreal.
Posted by: Stumpzian, August 23rd, 2017, 9:58am; Reply: 17
Too much detail about things that don't matter and not enough about what's really important -- the main characters. Your premise is good, but the approach is too impersonal (old man, old woman, nothing said) to be effective.
Posted by: Grandma Bear, August 25th, 2017, 11:19pm; Reply: 18
Hmmm....

I'm all for no dialogue scripts, but if the action paragraphs are over written it slooooows the read a lot. It's only three pages and I read through it, but if it had been longer, I would've either bailed or start skimming.

Be specific with your descriptions. Only tell us what we need to know. Be economical about it.

Storywise, it's okay, just a slog to get through, which is not good when you're talking a three pager.
Posted by: ajr, August 26th, 2017, 9:20am; Reply: 19
Disagree with all the negative comments above. For me the writer paints a picture with these words, so grammar Nazis and screenplay form sticklers be damned, I say...

Beautiful portrait of two elderly people getting a last glimpse of being young before they expire. Sure they didn't 'turn' young in reality ala COCOON. But I felt something reading this. I felt their pain and I felt their joy. That's all the writer has the responsibility to do, so bravo on this one...
Posted by: Michael, August 26th, 2017, 9:45pm; Reply: 20
This was not screenplay format, many many spelling errors. I didn't even read it all.
For me too say that is pretty bad. Not good.

Keep writing and learning though.
Posted by: Cooper, August 31st, 2017, 2:10am; Reply: 21
I get what the writer was going for but I think it could have been done better. I can't top any of the previous suggestions.
Posted by: stevie, September 1st, 2017, 4:39pm; Reply: 22
Cheers to all who read and reviewed, especially those who 'got' it and liked it. Once the two theme options were given, this idea hit me straight away, practically wrote itself (I was surprised there weren't more entries in the same vein actually but most went the noose route lol). Went low budget too

The 3 page max gave me the impetus to go with no dialogue and the next step was to have no character names - this made it more universal in feel as the setting could be almost any country in the world. I kind of made that obvious by not having a super saying where it was as is my want (I always pretty much write stuff set in the US lol

The sentiment I was trying for worked perfectly for me and I was happy with it - probably in my top 10 shorts. The only thing I maybe would change on reflection is to perhaps have the whole thing seen through the eyes of an old lady watching from a window - which i referenced when all the old folk are looking out at the scene - and she is deaf so that would enhance the zero dialogue. i had this idea after submitting but it was cool as was.

Will read the rewrite of Cyborn, Mark. it was the best written script though my personal fave was Ice Cream Soda with its creepy kid vibe lol.  Cheers all
Posted by: StevenClark, September 1st, 2017, 5:09pm; Reply: 23

Quoted from stevie
though my personal fave was Ice Cream Soda with its creepy kid vibe lol.


So, you're the one who voted for it, huh?  ;D
Posted by: stevie, September 1st, 2017, 5:22pm; Reply: 24

Quoted from StevenClark


So, you're the one who voted for it, huh?  ;D


lol it was a popular one bro!
Posted by: Sandra Elstree., September 1st, 2017, 8:13pm; Reply: 25
I just looked at this one again briefly to see which one this was.

I feel that there's a strong memorable image of the old man and woman imagining their youth, not really skipping.

Somehow, I think THE IMAGINATION should have been labeled.

Also, I think the central image is lost in all the words.

If they were reminiscing, and maybe at the end, were "trying" to make some attempt, it would be touching to see. You know: that effort-- and you have shown that to an extent, but I think it needs to be shorter, executed in a different way.

I don't know if the intro city images are needed for this script. It's a lot of words, time and space that maybe could be better used.

Still, this one has that something.

Sandra

Posted by: Sandra Elstree., September 2nd, 2017, 11:12pm; Reply: 26

Quoted from stevie
Cheers to all who read and reviewed, especially those who 'got' it and liked it. Once the two theme options were given, this idea hit me straight away, practically wrote itself (I was surprised there weren't more entries in the same vein actually but most went the noose route lol). Went low budget too

The 3 page max gave me the impetus to go with no dialogue and the next step was to have no character names - this made it more universal in feel as the setting could be almost any country in the world. I kind of made that obvious by not having a super saying where it was as is my want (I always pretty much write stuff set in the US lol

The sentiment I was trying for worked perfectly for me and I was happy with it - probably in my top 10 shorts. The only thing I maybe would change on reflection is to perhaps have the whole thing seen through the eyes of an old lady watching from a window - which i referenced when all the old folk are looking out at the scene - and she is deaf so that would enhance the zero dialogue. i had this idea after submitting but it was cool as was.

Will read the rewrite of Cyborn, Mark. it was the best written script though my personal fave was Ice Cream Soda with its creepy kid vibe lol.  Cheers all


Hi Stevie,

I wanted to stay up on this one. Yes, if the woman watching was deaf, that would be an interesting point of view. You're really considering things-- not just making straw characters.

I've noticed a few of us had a bent for ICE CREAM SODA

I'm wondering why.

Maybe you could do character analyses based on this kind of thing: Simply Scripts People: Who loves what and why.  Maybe? More like probably.

Google will love us.

Again, good job.

There were a few like this for me-- not completely there, but they had something that I had the feelies for me.

Sandra

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