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View Full Version : "Number 14" - by Szymon B



SimonB
05-02-2008, 06:41 PM
Logline - Mysterious man surprises his significant other on their one year anniversary.

If it was ever to be made, the dialogue written in English would be subtitled.


http://trueblueworks.com/Files/number14.jpg

SimonB
05-04-2008, 11:09 AM
Wanted to add:

This is the first script I've ever written, although it went through 4 drafts.

:)

Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 05:13 PM
Not to start what passes for feedback from me with a minor technical quibble, but are there actually cameras with an onboard LCD that take film pictures? If so, I'd guess them to be big SLR types, and it would seem that Alex would want something a little smaller and less conspicuous given that he's out there taking a lot of pictures in public. I fully realize, however, that the flipside there is that watching 4x6 prints pop out of a photo printer does not have nearly the dramatic potential and classic ambiance of a good darkroom scene. :)

To me, the script could have used a third victim (difficult to pull off with only one more page, I realize) that would have been in an intermediate stage between Cili and Elena; he's just starting on Cili/#14, he's done with and delivering Elena (who would now be #12), so he could just be meeting/chatting up/getting the number of this new #13. I think this would help set up more of a pattern. (And I just happened to scroll up and see that this was apparently Alex and Elena's one-year anniversary. Wow. That seems a bit long to be stringing her along just to deliver her to Dmitri and his buddies. Either he's working slow to try and stay off the police radar, or Dmitri's got a lot of other suppliers. :) )

The other thing I'd say is that I'm not sure this really works at this length. Nothing really happens, in a story sense. Nobody learns a lesson, nothing changes, we just have an implied "torture porn" murder and the seeming inevitability of a second. (Not to suggest that you intended this in a "torture porn" fashion, but it could easily go down that road in the hands of the wrong director.) I think you've got the start of something interesting, but at a longer length. That way, you've got the time to start exploring what can actually happen. Was one of the earlier girls the daughter of someone powerful who wants revenge? Have the other girls fit any kind of pattern that a police profiler could find, and is Cili a plant? Even a fairly cliched situation such as Alex simply getting tired of the business or falling truly in love with one of the girls could go in interesting directions, if he decides to apply his presumably ample charm and seduction skills in order to set up Dmitri for arrest or execution.

Oh, and one more thing--it's certainly better than the first script I ever wrote. Or the second, or the...well, you get the idea. :) I really think you should keep developing it and see where it goes.

John LaBonney
05-04-2008, 05:41 PM
As a reader, the thing I wanted to know most is: what is going to happen to Elena? Is she sold into slavery, sold to be killed my some sicko maniac like in Hostel, to be used as a prostitute, what? I am totally aware that there are unanswered questions in short film, and just because something isn't explained doesn't mean that it's up to the audience, it just means that it isn't explained. But in this case I really think knowing the evil motivation is important to the story. A suitcase full of hundreds is A LOT of money, and sadly people offhandedly kill each other for fifty dollars in a convenience store cash register, so I think that what they're going to do with her should be really juicy. It would be good if there was some hint of this evil end early in the script. Since he's getting so much money, and he's already done this twelve times before, it's obviously no longer about the money for him, so he's getting some sick pleasure out of what he's doing, and I'd like to know more about that motivation.

I enjoyed the beginning as Alex was following his new victim. I wasn't sure if he why he was doing it, like if he was just looking for an interesting photography subject, or if he was looking for a girlfriend or a romance, or if he had some evil plans in mind, and that mystery was enjoyable. I didn't care for the conversation with the waitress; I thought it was superfluous.

I think you could make something longer out of this if you got your imagination flowing. Good luck!

arroway
05-04-2008, 06:03 PM
a few instances of passive voice IE “A cigarette is burning in an ashtray” should be “A cigarette burns in an ashtray”.

There’s a lot of strange capitalization throughout the script. You capitalize character names in dialog, sometimes capitalize them in action, sometimes not, there doesn’t seem to be any discernible rhyme or reason for it as far as I can tell. “Alex FLIPS the light switch…” is just excessive.

Dimitri is the most cliche name you could possibly use for a European gangster.

The end reminded me of Hostile.

With that said, you have a nice simple story where everything ties in reasonably well. My favorite one so far.

SimonB
05-04-2008, 07:36 PM
Not to start what passes for feedback from me with a minor technical quibble, but are there actually cameras with an onboard LCD that take film.....................

Hah, I completely forgot film SLR's do not have LCD's. Thanks for pointing that one out Captain.:) Should have been be a big "duh".

Actually, Elena is/was #13. There is no #12 in the script. As far as the time frame, I thought it would pass because it's unclear whether he's "working" one or many girls at the same time.

From the feedback I've received so far, her being sold off comes off as "murder".
Maybe it's the location, and the recent Hostel 1 & 2 that automatically have the reader/viewer assume that they're being sold off to be murdered. I intentionally left it unclear as to what happens to the girls, and thought it would leave the viewer with wondering what happens to the girls (mail order brides, illegal brothels, murder, etc.). However, most of the people thought of murder so far.

Having said that, my intention in this script is for it to be Alex's story, not the girls'. He's the psycho who takes pleasure in "collecting" these girls.

mjjason
05-04-2008, 07:44 PM
A very enjoyable read. The pacing was good and I liked the false lead-in that made this seem like it could go in many ways. A strong story that can be expanded further in a larger film.

Some negatives of the script have already been mentioned by the others. I felt the story needed expoloring of why he was selling these women, to whom, and for what? Without that if feels like a standard psycopath story. I think expanding on the why, to whom, and where would gives this story more depth.

A good read overall.

SimonB
05-04-2008, 07:46 PM
As a reader, the thing I wanted to know most is: what is going to happen to Elena? Is she sold into slavery, sold to be killed my some sicko maniac like in Hostel, to be used as a prostitute, what.....................

John, thanks for the feedback. As stated in previous post, everyone else seemed to have already assumed she was going to be murdered "Hostel" style. It was exactly my intention to leave the viewer wondering what's going to happen to her, and to wonder why Alex is getting the sick pleasure from what he is doing.

Thanks!

mjjason
05-04-2008, 08:24 PM
John, thanks for the feedback. As stated in previous post, everyone else seemed to have already assumed she was going to be murdered "Hostel" style. It was exactly my intention to leave the viewer wondering what's going to happen to her, and to wonder why Alex is getting the sick pleasure from what he is doing.

Thanks!
The first thing I thought was a smut film. You know, the one where the record something and kill the girl in the end. Then I thought of a prostitution ring. lasty I thought of plain murder for kicks as I just feel that has been done to many times.

I can see where leaving it blank may help as the readers imagination takes over and they think the worst. Though in this case I wanted to know more.

Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 09:11 PM
Hah, I completely forgot film SLR's do not have LCD's. Thanks for pointing that one out Captain.:) Should have been be a big "duh".

The thing is, I can see the shot that I think you were visualizing with her visible in the BG behind her image on the LCD, so it would kind of suck to lose that.[/quote]


Actually, Elena is/was #13. There is no #12 in the script. As far as the time frame, I thought it would pass because it's unclear whether he's "working" one or many girls at the same time.No, I understand that there's no #12, that was just a suggestion. The thing is, if he's already taking pictures of #14 before he's "delivered" #13, then it's pretty obvious (to me, anyway) that he's working multiple girls.


From the feedback I've received so far, her being sold off comes off as "murder".
Maybe it's the location, and the recent Hostel 1 & 2 that automatically have the reader/viewer assume that they're being sold off to be murdered. I intentionally left it unclear as to what happens to the girls, and thought it would leave the viewer with wondering what happens to the girls (mail order brides, illegal brothels, murder, etc.). However, most of the people thought of murder so far.For me, I think it was this that made me think Elena was going to be murdered: "Alex smiles, and pushes Elena onto the queen size bed covered
in blood stained sheets." There's not a lot of wondering there for me. Like I said, I didn't get the idea from the script that you wanted a "Hostel" style on-screen murder to happen, it was mostly just me fearing the worst.


Having said that, my intention in this script is for it to be Alex's story, not the girls'. He's the psycho who takes pleasure in "collecting" these girls.Right, but again, nothing really happens to Alex. He scopes out his next victim just before delivering his latest, but I didn't get the feeling that he got any pleasure out of it, it almost seemed like a job that he's all but lost interest in. Which was why I suggested that maybe he would be ripe for just getting out of it altogether.

Apologies for omnislashing you. :)

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-04-2008, 09:20 PM
The first thing I thought was a smut film. You know, the one where the record something and kill the girl in the end. I believe the proper term is snuff film. Not that I know anything about that.... :)

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-04-2008, 09:28 PM
I really enjoyed this one. I too wanted to know a little bit more about what he was selling these women for but I can let that go. The story was well written and it seemed to flow quite nicely at the right moment.

Cheers,

Mike

mjjason
05-04-2008, 11:49 PM
I believe the proper term is snuff film. Not that I know anything about that.... :)
Ah yes that's what it is. Odldly enough its the topic of Alec Guiness' last film.

SimonB
05-05-2008, 08:52 AM
a few instances of passive voice IE “A cigarette is burning in an ashtray” should be “A cigarette burns in an ashtray”.

Apologies, English is my second language.:)



There’s a lot of strange capitalization throughout the script. You capitalize character names in dialog, sometimes capitalize them in action, sometimes not, there doesn’t seem to be any discernible rhyme or reason for it as far as I can tell. “Alex FLIPS the light switch…” is just excessive.

As far as capitalization: I was taught that introduction of new characters as well as sounds are to be capitalized in scripts.


Dimitri is the most cliche name you could possibly use for a European gangster.

Agree with you on that, sort of intentional.:)


The end reminded me of Hostile.

With that said, you have a nice simple story where everything ties in reasonably well. My favorite one so far.

thanks!

SimonB
05-05-2008, 08:58 AM
Right, but again, nothing really happens to Alex. He scopes out his next victim just before delivering his latest, but I didn't get the feeling that he got any pleasure out of it, it almost seemed like a job that he's all but lost interest in. Which was why I suggested that maybe he would be ripe for just getting out of it altogether.

Apologies for omnislashing you. :)


No need to apologize. I'll take all the feedback I can get.:)

I must admit that I agree with you. While I feel that what I have so far works for a short film (doesn't feel like a feature crammed into a short), the aspect of why he's doing what he is doing needs to be developed further. I've got a couple of ideas, and hopefully I can turn them into something..:)

Zander
05-05-2008, 10:17 AM
Apologies, English is my second language.:)

God damn foreigners! :banned:


Although there are some things that could tighten up the story, and they've already been covered, I really like the plot line. I'm very excited to see this produced someday.

jasonthewho
05-07-2008, 04:21 AM
I know this was the intention, but this short just sickened me. It was very well written, but I really wanted someone to slash that guy's d*ck off, then cut his stomach open and pull out his intestines. So, you affected me, and that is a good thing. BUT, I really do think the story would be more effective if the main character got his comeuppance. Because we're certainly not rooting for him.

smashedburrito
05-10-2008, 02:53 PM
Simon,
The main problem I have with this script is that I want it to be more than it is. I happen to be really concerned with global slavery and the trafficking of humans. In Ben Skinner's book, "A Crime so Monstrous" he covers the slavery of Romanian women in an almost identical way. The trusted boyfriend takes them somewhere for a trip, then sells them into slavery. The problem I had with your script is that this is NOT what it is about. Yours happens to be in more of a Hostel vein and I almost want it to take the political, social issue route. I think you could say more and have more of a lasting effect if you try and give this a "based on a true story" kind of feel.

But enough about what the script isn't; I'll talk about what it is. It is creepy. The idea of a man developing photos of his next victims is creepy, if a little overused. But yeah, the LCD and 35mm film thing does present a problem. What also presents a problem to me is that the man picks out random girls he does not know. I think in order for him to really decide that this is the next girl, then he should have been following them for a while. Maybe when he gets back to his room he could have pictures of her from earlier, maybe he has been following her for a while.

Your script does have the flaw of having a nonsympathetic main character. I don't have too big an issue with it because of the twist ending, but definitely be aware that if you expanded this any more you would need to add a hero kind of character.

Quick formatting note. Yes, watch for the present tense. Also you need to introduce Cili in all CAPS in the action of the script, not the dialog.

Otherwise I enjoyed the direction you took with this. I would consider trying to either expand or play with the idea to either make it even creepier in the Hostel sense or make it socially aware.

Good job.

Russell Moore
05-11-2008, 12:11 PM
I liked the creepy tone of this script. I felt you did a good job creating a visuals, especially at the end.
My one small gripe is the length of time that he was with his victim. This is a long time to be with someone before you give them up for devious means and he's done this 13 times? Thats 13 years if we're to assume this is his usual modus operandi. Not to mention, being with someone that long would arouse a lot of suspicion among friends and relatives and eventually police.
I think it would be easier to believe if the amount of time he spent with each victim was for a much shorter time.
But you would lose some of the impact that you get from the fact that he's doing it to someone he is supposed to "love" so much. You may be able to preserve that if he had done it fewer times maybe.

I enjoyed your writing style and the twist at the end. Overall I liked the script.

seansshack
05-13-2008, 07:16 AM
The story is told well from a visual standpoint. It drew me in from an early stage and your descriptions allow the reader to "see" the story unfold.

Would break up some of your sentences. One in particular "... He grabs the suitcase, gets up from the chair, walks over to Elena who is fighting to set herself free from the two bodyguards, while MUMBLING through the duct tape." Dragged me out of the story. But I read in your comments that english is your second language - considering such you did a good job. Would also watch the use of capitals (again just a formatting issue).

Just too sold on the ending or time lines used. I think these have been raised by other reviewers. Thirteen years is a life time (for some) to have not been caught. i know it could be possible to avoid detection/being caught, but would a shorter time period be more realistic (not sure)? Can we believe that he gets bored of this woman over the same/similar time period? I would have it something less like a month - enough time for her to thrust me, but not too long for him to have invested too much of his own time. He may use them until he gets bored.

Also the ending. I could see where it was heading. Would it work better if you cut short scenes of him following the next girl? Confuse the viewer with, "what the hell is he up to?". Introduce him as a "possible" mr nice guy and then show him following around the next victim. You get a hint than the girl might be in danger (or he's a copy or investigator).

But in all, a good read. Good luck with it.

krestofre
05-13-2008, 09:56 AM
What also presents a problem to me is that the man picks out random girls he does not know.

This actually elevated the script for me and made it more intense. The fact that he's so arbitrary with his actions make it even scarier in my opinion.



Apologies, English is my second language.:)

I had wondered. Some of the dialog between the two women at the coffee shot doesn't really ring true. This dialog is really the only negative thing that I have to say about the script. It's a good read, and well done. I'm very impressed that this is your first script. If you're starting out this far ahead then you in pretty good shape.

At the beginning of the script you do an excellent job setting up Alex as an innocent guy. He's just snapping pictures, sees a pretty girl, and takes her picture. When he begins following her I thought this would be an innocent script about courtship. The turn that you put in at the coffee shop with him being so secretive and stalker-like really makes the tone of the script change in a hurry and that's a good thing.

The suspense was there, the payoff was vagure, but in a good short film kind of way.