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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  May, 2020 Challenge  /  Covert-19 - May OWC
Posted by: Don, May 16th, 2020, 12:34pm
Covert-19 by Detective Bluto Mindpretzel - Short, Horror, Drama - A powerful man attempts to save his organization from a killer virus. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: JEStaats, May 16th, 2020, 3:52pm; Reply: 1
Well, that was entertaining. Decent banter that wasn't too tiresome. It kept me reading to see where it was going. I had a pretty good feeling where it was headed so not too much of a reveal.

Question - The protestors on TV were yelling MOS? What's that?

Pretty okay writing here. Page one was numbered but I don't really care or understood why that's a 'rule' anyway.

Did the fact that the vampire is neutered have any bearing on the story? Wasn't sure if I missed something there.

Good job entering. Congrats!
Posted by: Grandma Bear, May 16th, 2020, 3:55pm; Reply: 2
The end saved this piece! I didn't see that coming, lol. So, good job on that! Until the end though, it read like a one sided political piece with no counter argument. My final thought on this is great job! I have nothing else to add.  :)
Posted by: eldave1, May 16th, 2020, 4:52pm; Reply: 3

Quoted Text
JULIE
I think as an organization? We have bigger problems right now. We need a leader. Shouldn't you be more concerned about survival?

Something wrong with the grammar here - ? after organization???

Well written for sure and a complete story.

Some of Stephen’s dialogue blocks went on a bit too long – they could be trimmed a bit.

Overall – a really nice job.
Posted by: Bayne, May 16th, 2020, 5:30pm; Reply: 4
Loved the twist! I thought for sure I was reading some delusional, deep seated ramblings of the writer. Fortunately, this was not the case, and I actually went back to re-read so I could "be in on it". Really fun concept. I could easily see this being expanded beyond a short film.

My only issue is in regards to the character of Stephan. He felt slightly too cartoonish. Some of the descriptions of him twisting his head to the side, wiping his entire face with his hands, pounding the desk in an exaggerated fashion... it caused me to picture an over-actor rather than the character himself. I think you can make his descriptions a bit more subtle and still get the point across. For instance, he doesn't need to both "violently grab" the remote and "angrily snap" the television to life. One of those two would suffice. Hope that makes sense.

Overall, an interesting read with a great concept and twist.
Posted by: Gary Howell, May 16th, 2020, 8:42pm; Reply: 5
Well, that was certainly different.  The ending was not what I was expecting, so good job throwing the hook on at the end.  I was kind of hoping something would happen, because Stephen’s droning on about his situation was starting to get a bit tedious.

This is nicely written, but I think could do with a trim.  We get Stephen’s point pretty early on, so eliminate some of that back and forth with him and Julie and move on to the ultimate reveal a bit sooner and I think you would have a winner here. Good effort and best of luck.
Posted by: _ghostwriters, May 16th, 2020, 11:52pm; Reply: 6
Nit-pick.  Title - OTN. Just sayin.'

Ok, entertaining for sure.  Nice misdirection towards the end there.  I think you do a very good job differentiating the characters through their dialogue. That's hard to do.  But I felt that some of the it could be trimmed. Nothing more to add.  Too much good advice already.  Overall, nicely done.-A
Posted by: spesh2k, May 17th, 2020, 11:24am; Reply: 7
This one was okay for me... I liked the twist. Overall, well written, though in the dialogue, there's some forced exposition. I get that Stephen was making a point, but there's a few lines of "You know this" and "You already know that" and "You know I'm not starving". If this information is already known between them, even though he's making a point, I don't think he'd be repeating it. That being said, the exposition is still well written and doesn't come across as TOO obvious, as if we're being force-fed information. Still a bit talky, though.

Overall, nice work!

-- Michael
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, May 17th, 2020, 11:26am; Reply: 8
Covert 19

Not sure what to make of this one.

The blood test, the victim, the vampire stuff, all seem sensible angles and an area for a story.

His ranting about the world, lack of hunting etc got a bit long.

She didn’t seem to add much other than deliver the punchline reveal

Needed a bit more for me, but a sound concept that could be delevoped.
Posted by: LC, May 17th, 2020, 10:57pm; Reply: 9
First off, John, MOS is 'mit out sound' - no sound. Used in screenplays less and less these days, but there you have it.

I rather liked Stephen's boorish character and the back and forth was quite good, save for the fact I think some of the dialogue could use some contractions to sound more conversational and natural.

Regret-free meat. Yeah, like our RSPCA approved chicken here - killing with kindness, ha!

The main problem I have with this is it's not quite horror enough, (hmm, listed as Drama here, Horror under Don's list) and I wasn't invested emotionally. You had a lot of things to say via your main character and they were conveyed well, it's just I wasn't really moved by much.

It's good, well written, but in your effort to offload all that you wanted to say it came across as too thoretical and strident, if that makes sense - more author intervention than an actual character I can feel for.

Posted by: Fais85, May 18th, 2020, 4:36am; Reply: 10
Nice twist!

This is an entertaining script. You can surely trim some dialogues. Also, IMO the last phone conversation is not needed. The moment he bears his fangs, that is the best moment to end this script. Smash cut to black. Over the black, blood-curdling, human SCREAM. Just an opinion.

Overall, it is a decent script with a great twist.
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, May 18th, 2020, 8:56am; Reply: 11
Not sure this could be filmed easily with limited access to sets but apart from that it was a great twist at the end. My problem with this is it is filled with exposition, lots of it. If you could find a way to show us more and tell us less, this would be much better.
Posted by: The Moviegoer, May 19th, 2020, 11:55am; Reply: 12
This was a nice concept and built up well to the reveal at the end.

The idea of an organization of vampires/creatures ruling the globe is not new but throwing in the idea of an outbreak like Covid throwing a spanner in the works of these supernatural elites is a neat angle.

The main problem is there is too much dialogue. It comes across as a bit of a monologue from Stephen at times. I was wondering if there were ways you could do more visually instead of verbally.

Julie’s closing sentence is perhaps a bit too ‘on the nose’.

As with a lot of fantastical premises it opens up a lot of questions, questions which in a longer script could be fleshed out but due to the nature of shorts are left hanging a little bit.

Is Julie a vampire too? If not how come she’s working for Stephen/the organisation – just for the money? If this organization controls everything you could maybe reference that somehow – e.g. show the president on TV and make a quip about whose pulling his strings, etc.  

Is there some scope for more action here? Maybe a test vampire who has contracted a disease from biting affected humans, who is visibly decaying - just to visualize the threat to Stephen. Could Stephen be physically suffering from his food supply dwindling – could he be strung out because he can’t kill?

Julie was maybe a bit too blasé about her situation. If the affected can’t be eaten, does she become more appetizing? Is she a classic familiar to some extent? If she is a familiar has the appeal of becoming a vampire changed with covert-19 presenting a new vulnerability to them?

Why does Stephen give into his bloodlust at the end if the victim is contagious – could he kill Julie instead? The victim also is described as unconscious so the final scream comes out of the blue.

Good job overall getting such a big idea into 6 pages.
Posted by: Spqr, May 19th, 2020, 12:46pm; Reply: 13
Surely finding a Covid-free subject can't be any harder than finding a virgin? I like Stephen's over-the-top persona, but he makes way too many speeches. Perhaps we could see some of the other "lethargic" vampires stumbling about because, being particularly susceptible to the virus, they're unable to hunt.

And the part about them being unable to procure any protective gear is hilarious--this would've been the perfect opportunity to lament the country's leader letting down one of his core demographics.

Julie is good as the typical obnoxious bureaucrat. But what if she wasn't a vampire, but a "straight" who's sold out the human race? Stephen, of course, is constantly threatening to "turn her," but Julie is protected against such an occurrence because she's hosted a few too many venereal diseases. So maybe she's the one always threatening to take a bite out of him?
Posted by: Dreamscale, May 19th, 2020, 6:55pm; Reply: 14
Ummm, not really sure what to say.

Although there was definitely a twist, it didn't come across as surprising to me, as you gave things away early on, or at least it appeared like you did.

For me, it's just very dull, 2 talking heads, lots of long winded dialogue.  Nothing interesting for me.

Maybe a bigger problem for me is that although this is based around the COVID pandemic, it's completely made up.  I just thought the challenge was to write something real.

Not for me.

**
Posted by: PKCardinal, May 19th, 2020, 7:39pm; Reply: 15
I don't have anything to add. I'll just say, I enjoyed the twist. It made the script. Otherwise, I agree -- the dialogue was overwhelming in its weight.

Could probably cut 2 pages and get more punch.

Still, really fun idea.
Posted by: khamanna, May 19th, 2020, 8:44pm; Reply: 16
This dwells on a twist. If not a twist it wouldn't be a memorable story.
So, not for me I guess.
I think that even stories like that should entice you to read. Maybe the characters were more captivating I wouldn't have the urge to skip Stephen's banter.
All in all a good story but kind of felt long.
Written well. I guess he just talked too much. And she lacked drive and was kind of bland.
Maybe if he talked about something that had more texture and was about something.
And still, a good story.
Posted by: Rob, May 22nd, 2020, 12:10am; Reply: 17
I like the idea of vampires not only sucking our blood, but also draining our 401Ks periodically. It's also interesting that vampires are mad at stay at home protesters. The basic idea is worthwhile to explore--vampires in a pandemic. I think I like the concept most of all.
Posted by: ajr, May 24th, 2020, 2:24pm; Reply: 18
Hey all,

Thanks for the read. I just re-read the comments and there are some differing opinions, however all the advice is good. Taking this one under the hood.

For someone that usually writes characters and dialogue, mostly, this is my 2nd short script about vampires. (Kudos to Pia for sniffing me out as the author.)

This started out in my head as a comedy, but it wasn't working. I had the twist at the end all along... and I've always had that hunting riff written, looking for a place to insert it. And then I thought, hunters and vampires as a parallel.

I took great pains to make sure that all the actors were distanced, and that the sets were not that elaborate. I think the scenes with the man on the table could be filmed creatively.

Stephen was a bit over the top, however I wrote him as a vampire, and that was the vampire voice inside my head.  Also, his name was carefully chosen (hint, hint).

And Julie, in my mind, is not a vampire.

Also, worst. title. ever. Could not think of anything to call this without giving the ending away.

AJR
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