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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  May, 2020 Challenge  /  Petition - May OWC
Posted by: Don, May 16th, 2020, 12:26pm
Petition by Covid Himself - Short, Drama - A woman tries to help her neighbor with groceries during Covid times. 5 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: ajr, May 16th, 2020, 1:04pm; Reply: 1
Hi writer,

Great job in getting a story together in a short amount of time.

Just quickly, there's one place where Marie overhears Mike in his apartment where his dialogue should be (O.S.). And I suppose he's talking about the money his relative was offered to change the cause of death?

Trying to get a handle on these two characters. Marie is straight-forward, representing those who wish to do the right thing, i.e., wear a mask for others and do their shopping.

Mike is the old guard, doesn't believe he'll get sick, yet he seems to here. He's never written as wearing a mask and he coughs on or near Marie several times, and I think you could have played up the outrage there.

Marie has a headache too at some point... are we portending her getting sick?

Not sure I understand the character's motivations and what the piece is trying to say. Is it that no good deed goes unpunished? Is it that we are all doomed no matter what? Is it that foolish behavior like Mike's is what is going to lead us to doom.

Tough to glean from 6 pages. Interested to know the motivations once the challenge is over.

AJR
Posted by: eldave1, May 16th, 2020, 5:17pm; Reply: 2

Quoted Text
INT. SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY – DAY


Of what – house? Office building? Hospital?


Quoted Text
He reaches for the door to Marie’s apartment and closes it for her. She stands confused for a while, then shrugs and goes back inside, into the kitchen.


Lose the “into the kitchen” – otherwise, you need a new header.


Quoted Text
Marie, wearing gloves, walks out the door with trash in hands. She sees the chocolate bar on her door mat with a sign attached to it. It says “I haven’t paid for it but thanks.


Doormat is one word.
Sign??? Should be note I think.
Says needs a : after it.


Quoted Text
MIKE (CONT’D)
A friend of my sisters... Actually her friend’s cousin but what that has to do with anything. Anyway, they lost a grandad to old age and were offered two thousand to rewrite the cause of death to Covid.


This just didn’t make sense to me since relatives are not the ones that write the cause of death.


Quoted Text
MARIE
I don’t want people die, that’s all. It’s as simple as that.

Typo - to die

There was a lot to like in the bones of the story until the ending. It just didn’t land for me. It’s kind of like a story without one and where plot points (e.g., the excessive alcohol) were never really resolved.

Still a good effort for the short time frame.

Posted by: LC, May 16th, 2020, 8:26pm; Reply: 3
This definitely kept me interested but it was anticlimactic and a bit rough around the edges as written.

I liked the characters but feel like I was on the outer with regard to any real plot escalation. You present ideas but then they kinda fade off. Needs more oomph and follow through.

FYI: Your showing the passage of time was a little bit blink and you might miss it.

My advice is build on the tension and plot more and don't take your foot off the accelerator.
Posted by: Gary Howell, May 16th, 2020, 8:37pm; Reply: 4
Just some notes as I read:

Page 1 – If she hasn’t read the article, how did she see the petition?

“Closes the door from the inside” Overstating. We know she’s inside from the tag.

Scene Tags need to be consistent. Some you use the time of day, some you don’t.  Some you use CONTINUOUS, others, where it is obvious it is continuous in time, you don’t.  

Page 3 – “She opens a drawer, grabs a wine open reaches down to the stack of booze.” That’s a bit of a muddled sentence.  Not sure exactly what you were trying to say there.  Maybe “grabs a wine opener and reaches down…”

Page 4 – Marie leaves down the stairs to get Mike Tylenol and then the next scene slug is labeled “CONTINUOUS” with Marie returning.  Surely some time has passed.  Would take that “continuous” out and replace with “Day” or “Afternoon”.

Did I miss something?  What was the petition about? You title your story “Petition” and we don’t even know what’s in it, and the story doesn’t really even revolve around it.   Appears this was written hastily and needs a good rewrite to it.  Best of luck with it.
Posted by: _ghostwriters, May 16th, 2020, 11:24pm; Reply: 5
Haha. Covid Himself.  OK, I like what's here, I'm just not sure of the point to this story.  I feel like the idea is a lot bigger than these 5 pages let on.  IMO. A nit-pick. Right now the title is not as clever as it could be.  If that makes sense.  If I had a neighbor like that...I'd have to pick up and move. ;D Good effort.-A
Posted by: Grandma Bear, May 17th, 2020, 9:32am; Reply: 6
INT. SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY, of what? You need to tell us where we are. Apartment? House? Office? Nursing home?

I think this is the third script I've read where the old person ignores the social distancing and their own symptoms.

I would've liked to see a little more drama/conflict when Mike coughs. Marie should have a stronger reaction. IMO.

I don't get why Marie walks out into the hallway again on page 3. Is she on her way to the store and changes her mind when she sees Mike? Oh, I see she locks her door from the outside, then heads out. Maybe make that a little more clear?

Perhaps have a SUPER: that tells us how much time has passed? On film, I think this would look a little odd since there would be two scenes in a row with Marie coming out of her apartment. There needs to be something in between or at least that SUPER.

Michael? I know who you are referring too, but better be consistent and stick with Mike.

Not sure what the petition was.

Good story, but it needs to be more clear. Especially where things take place, so we don't have to go back and double-check things which slows down the read.
Posted by: Rob, May 17th, 2020, 4:48pm; Reply: 7
There are lots of interactions like this one going on these days--neighbors trying to help each other out but not exactly being on the same page. Some of the small moments in this script were effective--the chocolate bar given and abandoned comes to mind. Mike's conspiracy theories seemed realistic. Both characters, in fact, registered as authentic.

I was distracted by some of the logistics of the apartment and hallways. There was too much going on with going in doors and out of them. There has to be a more efficient way to handle this. Here is an example: "Marie goes to her door, grabs her own grocery bags in front of
it, turns the door handle." This feels a little clunky. I am also not sure how to feel about the end. Are we sorry for Mike or just indifferent.

Overall, some good moments. Best of luck.
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, May 18th, 2020, 8:39am; Reply: 8
Definitely meets the criteria. It's just a bit all over the place and feels like a few random scenes rather than a full story. There are several strands laid out that are forgotten about or not developed so it feels a little inconsistent at the moment.

Potential there for sure so keep playing around with it and see where you'd like to go with this one.
Posted by: Dreamscale, May 18th, 2020, 6:33pm; Reply: 9
I'm really making an effort this OWC not to take exact notes on issues, but I think here, I'm going to have to.

Starting out with a Slug of "SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY" is a major issue, as we have no clue where we are - an apartment complex?  A hospital?  A whorehouse?  The Slug itself isn't wrong, it's just that you can't start this way.  Then, on Page 2, you have a Mini Slug of simply "HALL", which means to me, it's a different place than the SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY.

Lots of awkward phrasings, additional words/phrases you don't want to include.

Dialogue and exchanges between Marie and Mike don't come off remotely realistically.

Slugs are terrible, sorry to say.  You need to use complete Slugs, so we know the time of day, or at least the continuity to the last scene.

The end.  OK, no story here that I can see.  Completely unbelievable scenarios, actions, interactions, and dialogue.  No characterization.  Poorly written.

*
Posted by: JEStaats, May 18th, 2020, 7:35pm; Reply: 10
Interesting little story. The characters irritated me and I kept reading to see where it was going but then it just kinda ended. Hmmm.

The action was overwritten and a little clunky. Good dialogue though but needs refinement. Short and sharp banter is good but needs tweaking.

I've done pretty well over the years to avoid the 'Mikes' out there. Petitions. Sheesh. I honestly thought this was going to turn into one of those old chain letters: Sign the petition or you and your entire gene pool will get CORVID.
Posted by: The Moviegoer, May 19th, 2020, 11:52am; Reply: 11
I thought this was a really interesting piece.

The interplay between the 2 characters was very naturalistic. The dialogue was quirky but believable.

It’s a good snapshot of 2 characters being brought together by the pandemic – 2 characters who maybe wouldn’t have had any time for each other before. There is a real tragedy to Marie’s character – I get the impression she was a recluse prior to the lockdown, wasting away in a stupor of alcohol. Mike has a kind of paternalistic attitude to her behind the overbearing and sometimes scolding exterior. I get a vibe of Jack Nicholson’s character in ‘As Good As It Gets’ off him.

I presume the petition is about opening up the lockdown. I liked the way it wasn’t spelled out exactly what it was – it felt more naturalistic that way – but maybe some people would need that spelled out more.

I thought this worked quite well all round. If I was to nitpick maybe the ending needs something more climactic. While there was a lingering sense of rapprochement between the characters at the end perhaps there could have been a bigger sense of resolution. But that is mostly a taste thing and might have went against the grain of the characters so I understand why you went with the more subtle ending.
Posted by: Spqr, May 19th, 2020, 1:45pm; Reply: 12
Good story. Two disparate people are forced to become allies in a war against an invisible enemy. They struggle along as best they can. One of them is obviously not going to make it in the short term, and the other one will eventually succumb to another disease.

One thing I would have liked are slugs indicating the days that have passed since the preceding scene.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, May 21st, 2020, 8:49am; Reply: 13
I like the setting, a tight hallway,  someone doing a favour for a neighbour.

Two different personalities, a clashes, one tolerating the other etc

Story wise I felt it needs more focus and that with time this could be a nice compact script.
Posted by: PrussianMosby, May 22nd, 2020, 3:29am; Reply: 14
Hey!

Ahh, this is interesting. I definitely have a smile on my face thinking about your performance. I wasn't convinced of the middle part, could be polished imo - then last act is where you show some true technique and also dedication, like everything you got :-) Is noticed here, Sis/Bro. Is noticed.

All best.
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, May 23rd, 2020, 7:04pm; Reply: 15
Hey Khamanna

Congrats on entering. My thoughts poured on here with no logical order lol:

I think they should be a family. That’s the vibe I’m getting. And they should live together in a house to avoid the Old Guy moving back and forth. Lol.

Unfortunately, like the others, I expected something, don’t know though.

Interested in hearing your thoughts and how you came up with this. Always interested lol.

Gabe
Posted by: khamanna, May 23rd, 2020, 8:37pm; Reply: 16
Thanks to all for reading.

I know for me to read this would be a tall order. I don't like slow stories about nothing.
I have a neighbor who drives me crazy. He's aged and I did ask him if he needs anything from the store once. I don't go to stores that often for obvious reasons - we're in New York. He seemingly didn't understand why I did that. So after that he started ringing my door like four times a day (i'm not even exagerating here) saying he has to go to a store to get things and if I need anything. Obviously he's out all the time.
Then he did forward me an article that's against the lockdown. He's forcing his political views on me. And so forth.

So I decided to write about these two neighbors who have different views. And one is obviously very annoying. She's for a lockdown and she started drinking a lot. The headache is from all the drinking.
And he got covid.  
Obviously she still looks out for him asking him if he needs anything all the time. And he doesn't want that as he doesn't want her to get sick. So he shows his human side.
So the point was to show that the human in both wins over. He's annoying - she still cares. And he's crazy but doesn't want her to go close to his door since he doesn't want her to get sick.
So, it didn't translate to the paper properly.
I could't spend much time on it. I wrote it. Submitted. Then reread, made amends and resubmitted.

You all were too kind in your comments.
Posted by: khamanna, May 23rd, 2020, 8:40pm; Reply: 17

Quoted from Mr.Ripley
Hey Khamanna

Congrats on entering. My thoughts poured on here with no logical order lol:

I think they should be a family. That’s the vibe I’m getting. And they should live together in a house to avoid the Old Guy moving back and forth. Lol.

Unfortunately, like the others, I expected something, don’t know though.

Interested in hearing your thoughts and how you came up with this. Always interested lol.

Gabe


I did want most of the action to happen in that tight space between their doors. I wanted the interaction between two neighbors. That was the main thought behind the whole thing.

Thank you for reading! It didn't come out the way I wanted. I knew that when submitted but I still submitted to be in)
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