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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Short Drama Scripts  /  Goodbye - 04C
Posted by: Don, April 17th, 2021, 12:45pm
Goodbye by Zack Akers (writing as  Blank name) - Short, Drama - A father receives the worst phone call of his life. - 0 format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: eldave1, April 17th, 2021, 2:35pm; Reply: 1
Love me some Zeppelin and that song in particular.

This is a very timely topic.

Loved the twist at the ending.

Okay – very poignant – it hit me. All parameters hit, Nice job here.
Posted by: khamanna, April 17th, 2021, 2:58pm; Reply: 2
The story here is a bit simple for me - I would want more from father and son's conversation. Some detail, something concrete, maybe a confession or something that makes their convo more personal and overall more.

But it's a full story, the ending makes the story complete. The characters could be more fun to make the story shine I think.
Posted by: MarkD, April 17th, 2021, 5:00pm; Reply: 3
This really hits home especially with what's been in the news recently. Pretty solid effort overall.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, April 17th, 2021, 5:45pm; Reply: 4
For very personal reasons this had me in tears.
Posted by: JEStaats, April 17th, 2021, 7:09pm; Reply: 5
Good work, writer. A very difficult subject to put on a page and more difficult to produce. Heart wrenching topic that can be hard to read.

Meets the parameters - Good luck.
Posted by: Geezis, April 17th, 2021, 7:19pm; Reply: 6
Very well done. Tough topic to broach but I think you managed this very well.
Well done.
Posted by: LC, April 17th, 2021, 7:39pm; Reply: 7
I wondered if someone might go for this topic.

It didn't get me as much as I'd hoped which may be due to page count.
But, I think you need to up the rhythm.

(tries to sound calm)
Dillon. You need to think. Where are
ya'? Where is the closest exit?

More of this (above) would add suspense.. Dad helping Dillon find an escape route or hide. Take out the wrylie - does it sound to your ear more urgent without it, more creepy?

GUNSHOTS, followed instantly by the THUD of Dillon's body
hitting the floor.

I'd leave out 'of Dillon's body' - let your audience just feel the gravity of hearing a heavy: THUD sound effect. And then Dad's reaction.

The Young Man takes deep, panicked breaths. In the B.G., a
fire alarm BLARES.

I'd forego the prefacing of 'The Young Man'
A fire alarm blares.
Deep panicked breaths.
Same with:

A brief moment of silence.
Just Silence perhaps?
Dillon releases a slight WHIMPER.
Whimpers or whimpering. 'releases a slight'? Just go for what we hear - whimpering.

Dr. Maynard!? I'm afraid we've got a
bit of an emergency here at the
hospital! I'm sorry, sir. I have no
idea why you weren't contacted
earlier. One of the patients escaped
this morning! There's strong reason to
believe that the he intends to harm
innocent people...

So, he's a doctor? Unless it serves the story's suspense, which I don't think it does, I don't think that last para adds much.

It's a great premise. In a rewrite I'd personally go for shorter quicker bursts of dialogue and of Dad trying to assist Dillon in getting the hell out of there. Maybe have him stuck in a stairwell in the dark. If he says it's dark, he can't see, that might add to it. Sorry, probably getting carried away.

(Just read comments) I agree with Kham re a confession or something he feels he needs his father to know before he cops it. Dad tells him none of that matters etc.

Nice work.
Sorry for the novel. :)

Posted by: MarkItZero, April 17th, 2021, 9:35pm; Reply: 8
Damn, that was good. Felt real. And you managed to link it all together at the end. Don't have anything to add other than... amazing job!
Posted by: jayrex, April 18th, 2021, 5:59am; Reply: 9
It's alright.  Not bad effort.

It could do with a rewrite.  

I feel it meets the challenge.
Posted by: Gary in Houston, April 18th, 2021, 6:04pm; Reply: 10
Interesting and topical take on mass shootings recently.  Strong connection between father and son, but I would have liked to have seen father and son try to do more to escape and build the tension until his son meets his fate.

I was confused by the last paragraph.  I don't think it's relevant unless it's someone that the father was treating.  Actually what would have made this really interesting would be that the father was the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) or something like that, where he's feeling the pain so many other parents are feeling after these type of incidents.

Good job and best of luck with it.

Posted by: Warren, April 18th, 2021, 6:08pm; Reply: 11
Hi writer,

First one of the batch, I don't read previous comment so if I repeat anything, apologies.

Not going to ding you for it but that off-center title page is such an easy fix.

Love me some Kashmir.

I'm not sure how much value the PANICKED WOMAN at the end adds.

That was good, brutal and sad. I couple of things I would have done differently as far as the writing goes, but what you have is clear and easy to follow.

Nice one.

All the best.
Posted by: SteveClark, April 18th, 2021, 9:14pm; Reply: 12

IMO, too ripped from the headlines. I appreciate the reveal, and what you tried to do. You had a full story, though, but just not for me.

Posted by: MarkRenshaw, April 19th, 2021, 4:37am; Reply: 13
Very apt considering the sheer amount of mass shootings in the US revently and very powerful.

I've just read quite a few reports of similar real-life calls over the years which made this felt a bit cut & pasted from those, although it was a nice twist at the end.
Posted by: Matthew Taylor, April 19th, 2021, 8:08am; Reply: 14
Hello Writer

Personally, I would have extended this further, more conversation between the two, playing on the emotions and the "what do you say to each other in these situations?"
The father's attempts to save his son were short-lived, I think I would be screaming for him to hide or run, anything (especially the moment he says he's been spotted and the Dad doesn't really say anything, he's already resigned himself)... not been in that situation but that's my first thought.

I would also not have the panicked woman at the end about an escaped patient, it really cheapens the story.

Yeah not bad, but the emotion and drama could be really ramped up in this.

Well done

Posted by: PKCardinal, April 19th, 2021, 7:02pm; Reply: 15
Well done.

I would agree that adding a few personal exchanges between the father and son would up the emotional impact. Since you'll have more pages, consider finding a personal item that they work through (I'm sorry I... no, I'm sorry I...) and intersperse that with trying to find an escape. Ping back and forth between the two until the personal item is resolved with a "none of that matters, I love you, that's what matters" type moment and the shooter finding the son.

And, count one vote against the ending. I think it hits harder ending on the father processing what just happened. But, obviously, others disagree.

Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: irish eyes, April 20th, 2021, 7:38am; Reply: 16
Kashmir... Good song not sure if you can use it if you don't own the rights... Maybe if it's just a ring tone.

A pretty decent entry based on a nearly every other week even the US.

A parent's nightmare hearing their child's last dying words... Although I thought the Dad  came off as more relaxed than should be.

The last paragraph wasn't needed in my opinion
Posted by: Gum, April 20th, 2021, 6:44pm; Reply: 17
Oh man, these are always tough to get through, but I think you did a pretty good job capturing the despair and helplessness involved with the whole scenario, well done.
Posted by: Zack, April 20th, 2021, 7:17pm; Reply: 18
A timely subject that doesn't pull any punches. The reveal at the end makes it even more heartbreaking. Challenge is met. No issues with the writing, other than a typo or two. Good work here. :)
Posted by: ReneC, April 20th, 2021, 11:02pm; Reply: 19
Well, that was a gut punch. Timely and relevant, predictable but still impactful. The dread comes right off the bat and just gets stronger with every passing line of dialogue.

I didn't like the ending though. It's a step backwards away from the edge, a softer landing than had it simply ended or, worse, if the person he thought was calling (wife perhaps?) did call with the humdrum excuses he was expecting. That juxtaposition would have twisted the knife, especially if it was indeed the wife. But making him somehow involved in the he supposed to be culpable? Because that would have been something too, but there's no hint of that other than he supposedly works at the facility this shooter came from.

You wanted to put a cap on the ending and I felt that's where this misses the mark (see what I did there? Or is that too soon?).
Posted by: _ghostwriters, April 21st, 2021, 4:19am; Reply: 20
OK. Not that I have anything so great to add except a fresh eye. The pain and the tension are well drawn and the dialogue rings true. Some very fine work writer. Best of Irish luck with it. :)-A
Posted by: Spqr, April 21st, 2021, 1:04pm; Reply: 21
A timely choice of subject matter. Well written, but I think Dillon doesn’t come off as a character who’s hard to care about given that he makes no effort to escape or fight back. The phone call from the hospital doesn’t add anything to the story, since it’s just a coincidence the shooter escaped from there that morning. How about a more direct connection between the shooter and Dr. Maynard? Perhaps the shooter was released from a psych ward at his recommendation?
Posted by: Zack, April 25th, 2021, 1:14pm; Reply: 22
Thanks for reading, everyone. Seems like most of you really enjoyed it. :) I'm really happy with what I brought to the table this time out. Thought I might finally get me one of those damn mugs! Oh well, there's always the next challenge. :)

As for the ending, it was my way of adding an extra layer to the story. It was meant to imply that the father could have likely saved his son, if only the hospital had called and warned him just five minutes earlier. Definitely think I could have handled the ending better. Thanks to all these reviews, I believe I've got a really good idea of what I'll be doing with a rewrite. :)
Posted by: Robert Timsah, May 4th, 2021, 9:28pm; Reply: 23
Gut punch, damn. Difficult to imagine, let alone write and the rules on this challenge scared me away, so good job.

My "Marilyn" Hat on:

I think the phone call with his son should disconnect - then the father takes the second call. I don't think a parent is going to hang up that phone for anything, desperate to hear their child's voice. But I'm not 100% sure on the rules? Marilyn also wants a slugline for the dad's location - where is the dad calling from?

Shut Up, Marilyn!
Posted by: Zack, May 5th, 2021, 5:08pm; Reply: 24

Quoted from Robert Timsah
Gut punch, damn. Difficult to imagine, let alone write and the rules on this challenge scared me away, so good job.

My "Marilyn" Hat on:

I think the phone call with his son should disconnect - then the father takes the second call. I don't think a parent is going to hang up that phone for anything, desperate to hear their child's voice. But I'm not 100% sure on the rules? Marilyn also wants a slugline for the dad's location - where is the dad calling from?

Shut Up, Marilyn!

Thanks for reading, Dude! And thank you, Marilyn, for the feedback. ;D

That's actually a good suggestion, having the call disconnect. Thanks. :)
Posted by: Zack, June 17th, 2021, 11:49am; Reply: 25
Updated draft is up. Thank you, Don. :)

Changed the ending and made a few minor tweaks.
Posted by: Zack, July 9th, 2021, 5:21pm; Reply: 26
Any chance I could have this short moved to the short drama thread?
Posted by: LC, July 9th, 2021, 7:07pm; Reply: 27
Moved, Zack!  8)
Posted by: Zack, July 9th, 2021, 7:57pm; Reply: 28
Thanks, Libby!

I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on the new ending. :)
Posted by: LC, July 9th, 2021, 10:44pm; Reply: 29
Checked out the new draft, Zack.

Luckily for me I quoted text in my original feedback. No need to ask how the original ended.  :K)

I like this ending better...
I suppose I thought it was just a tiny bit understated.

When Dad takes the final call at the end and it's Mary, isn't there a possibility it might have been Dillon again? Or at least wouldn't Dad answer still holding out hope that Dillon escaped the shooter and he's calling again?

Then he discovers it's Mary, then -

I think sniffles is too light on.
An anguished cry or scream maybe at that point?

I think you need to pack a punch there with his response.
Countering with the ordinary and mundane with Mary talking about dinner.

It's just so damned sad I keep hoping Dillon got away.

Posted by: Zack, July 10th, 2021, 11:50am; Reply: 30
Thanks for reading, Libby. Good point about the sniffle not really being enough. That should be an easy fix.

Happy you enjoyed this version better. :)
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