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View Full Version : BACKBONE - by Tim Joy



Tim Joy
08-24-2009, 10:07 AM
http://www.projectionfilms.com/backbone/Backbone-poster.jpg

Could you kill if it meant helping the lives of millions?



Logline-

A medical research doctor creates unintended consequences while on a quest to cure millions.

mookid
08-24-2009, 11:59 AM
looks like you already discovered the spine of your story

ZazaCast
08-24-2009, 12:12 PM
20 more drafts and you're there! :thumbsup:

Tim Joy
08-24-2009, 01:31 PM
... maybe I'll go to 21, for that extra 1 bit of scripty goodness.

Tim Joy
08-24-2009, 01:31 PM
looks like you already discovered the spine of your story

HA HA ! Give this man a cake :birthdays:

Tim Joy
09-09-2009, 06:17 AM
New logline----

A medical research doctor creates unintended consequences while on a quest to cure millions.

Can it get anymore vague than that? It doesn't say much or create any intrigue, but I hate giving away too much of the story beforehand. Maybe after y'all read it someone will have a better suggestion.

Chris_Keaton
09-14-2009, 04:31 PM
I liked it. The story wasn't bogged down with a bunch of backstory. It reminded me initially of 'The Tingler' which I think is being remade.

There was one line where the dude says, "I'm going to be so famous" That just didn't sound right for a scientist. Otherwise good job.

DarkElastic
09-14-2009, 06:02 PM
I enjoyed the read, Tim:

Spoilers below:






I thought it was a very good horror short, reminds me of invasion of the body snatches. I like the premise and the pressure on Alan to follow through on what he promised, so he decides to get the spines himself. And I love that the spine takes retribution.
I don't get why the Alan isn't doing the experiment. Something this important i would expect him there.

Overall, I thought this was a very good read. Well done mate.

MrKilloran
09-14-2009, 08:51 PM
It certainly feels like an old B-Monster movie, I enjoyed it.

Alan is at times passionate, self-obsessed, and immoral to complete his work and reap the benefits his work will bring. The many facets to his character play out nicely, I think he wasn't at the experiment cause he was so sure that it would work he could just have someone else perform all the tedious work while he was off being a narcissist.

The "I love you" bit is a tad cliche' but in this world it works. I especially liked the monster itself, how it maintained this sort of bizarre humanity hell bent on revenge was interesting. Nice work.

jmoschner
09-14-2009, 10:16 PM
When I read the part with the guy removing the spine I had flash backs of Repo the Genetic Opera

Tim Joy
09-15-2009, 06:28 AM
I liked it. The story wasn't bogged down with a bunch of backstory. It reminded me initially of 'The Tingler' which I think is being remade.

There was one line where the dude says, "I'm going to be so famous" That just didn't sound right for a scientist. Otherwise good job.

Thanks Chris! I took that "so" out, then put it back, then out, then in... like a hundred times. If you imagine it said with an evil tone, maybe it would work? :evil:


I enjoyed the read, Tim:

Spoilers below:
I thought it was a very good horror short, reminds me of invasion of the body snatches. I like the premise and the pressure on Alan to follow through on what he promised, so he decides to get the spines himself. And I love that the spine takes retribution.
I don't get why the Alan isn't doing the experiment. Something this important i would expect him there.

Overall, I thought this was a very good read. Well done mate.

Thanks for the read. I hoped that when Alan says, 'why didn't you call me?' it implies that he should've been there, but they had done the experiment so many times before, and failed, that they went ahead without him. Does that come through at all?


It certainly feels like an old B-Monster movie, I enjoyed it.

Alan is at times passionate, self-obsessed, and immoral to complete his work and reap the benefits his work will bring. The many facets to his character play out nicely, I think he wasn't at the experiment cause he was so sure that it would work he could just have someone else perform all the tedious work while he was off being a narcissist.

The "I love you" bit is a tad cliche' but in this world it works. I especially liked the monster itself, how it maintained this sort of bizarre humanity hell bent on revenge was interesting. Nice work.



Thanks. The I love you is definitely cliche, but I think it could be played subtly, almost like she's afraid to even admit it, (hence the title) with a suspenseful score and maybe it would work.

DarkElastic
09-15-2009, 09:54 AM
Thanks for the read. I hoped that when Alan says, 'why didn't you call me?' it implies that he should've been there, but they had done the experiment so many times before, and failed, that they went ahead without him. Does that come through at all?


Yes Tim, i do remember the statement by Alan now you mention it, but I don't think it gave me enough to recollect it at the time. maybe a bit more here. You have him secretly wishing for fame, maybe he could put her in her place on the phone.

Tim Joy
09-16-2009, 08:26 AM
Yes Tim, i do remember the statement by Alan now you mention it, but I don't think it gave me enough to recollect it at the time. maybe a bit more here. You have him secretly wishing for fame, maybe he could put her in her place on the phone.

Originally, I had a longer phone conversation where he really gave 'em hell, but I had to cut some to make the 6-page limit. Maybe it would've been better to cut something else. If so, what?

The story might be a bit bland and generic, but my goal with this script was to write something that's a page turner, quick read, easy to visualize, keeps you glued to the page, leaves enough to the imagination, etc...

Is it? (If the answer is no, I can take it)

:dankk2:

DarkElastic
09-16-2009, 08:50 AM
Oh it definaetly keeps you interested, and reminds me more of the classic horrors.
I also totally understand your pain with regards to the six page limit, I just think a little bit more of a reaction, maybe an extra line of dialogue or two would have given a better/more acceptable reason for him not being involved in the experiment...
But this is a small comment, something to give you to improve on, as this is a fun horror script that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Chris_Keaton
09-16-2009, 09:13 AM
I would say you were successful at creating a fast and entertaining read.

Captain Pierce
09-16-2009, 05:06 PM
I hoped that when Alan says, 'why didn't you call me?' it implies that he should've been there, but they had done the experiment so many times before, and failed, that they went ahead without him. Does that come through at all?

You know, the first time through, I got this idea that Alan was the kind of guy who was not above getting famous on other people's hard work, and I kind of misinterpreted Jenny's "Yes, you are" as "Yes, you are." Now, I totally admit that this was a misinterpretation, and it does go totally against the idea that this is a dude willing to kill to further his research; but I guess for me, it doesn't really come through.

I don't want to sound too critical there, though, as I don't think it's a bad script. As MrKilloran already mentioned, it does have a certain classic feel to it, like something that back in the 50's might have had a line like "He tampered in God's domain" or something similarly cheesy. And that's not to say that yours is cheesy; Jesus, I am not doing a good job of reviewing your script, I apologize. What I think I'm trying to say there is that you do a good job of showing how Alan's obsession, and how he's willing to bend the rules to A) help people but mostly B) get famous in the process, leads inevitably and specifically to his downfall--without his own research, he never would have been in this situation. So it's definitely a success in that respect.

BTW, if this were ever made, it would need the song "Show Me Your Spine" from the RoboCop soundtrack (recorded by some version of the band Ministry, available from iTunes as part of the "Side Trax" album :) ) in the soundtrack. :D

seansshack
09-18-2009, 12:24 AM
Would later your slug lines from:

EXT. DARK ALLEY. NIGHT

TO

EXT. DARK ALLEY - NIGHT

Also would break up the description into smaller paragraphs. Was a great tip I was given to add more white to the page and make it a easier read. Also allows the writer to direct without using camera angles etc. When the description becomes a new shot i.e. look to someone, someone enters etc: make it a new line.

Dialog needs some work I think. I had the same voice in my head during the first few pages.

Story was very good. Classic horror with some tongue in cheek moments (I felt it was intended as such) - but I think as a not straight horror with comedy moments played (especially in gross final scenes) this could be a great short film. Well done.

mookid
09-22-2009, 08:41 AM
Loved the unique atmosphere, very entertaining script.
My favourite moment was when it turned out that Barbara's reaction wasn't just a sign of shock but the effects of the spine taking control over her body. This kind of ambiguity usually gets a strong reaction from the audience. At this point you probably would have won them over.

I also liked how you elegantly revealed bits of info about the main character during every stage of the script, even when he's absent and the women just have some small talk. When the monster finally comes to life we already know a great deal about his relationship with the coworkers and his lifestyle + motivations. The only thing that bothered me about the coworkers was that either Jenny or Barbara don't seem to have a real purpose in the story other than holding the camera or getting attacked by the spine. You could easily unite Barbara and Jenny into a single character without changing much of the story.

minor details


Alan smiles and locks the door behind her.I had to read this line a second time to understand that they both left the room. At first I thought he locked them inside the room and smiled because of some evil plan.



ALAN
I'm gonna be so famous!This is one of the great quotable lines in your short. But I think it's a bit over the top and odd for him to say it in front of his coworkers. If he is an experienced scientist who visited many conferences he should have learned by now that this kind of behaviour is frowned upon in the scientific community (although secretly everybody thinks like that of course).
It would be less odd if he muttered this line to himself during a private moment. Or with the words of DeNiro: "Real people don't emote, they try to hide emotions."



ALAN
Weird. Just stops here.
I think, this line is redundant since you would show the end of the blood trail on screen anyway and his reaction would be also the natural reaction of the audience. I'd rather let him silently look at his coworkers in search of an explanation, or change the line into something more idiosyncratic. The X-Files used this kind of silent exchange of looks very often, letting the audience think for themsleves and feel as part of the team.

well done mate.

Rustom Irani
09-25-2009, 09:16 AM
Why would the spinectomy be performed inside a car trunk? It seems awkward to visualize it. All dark and confined with the obvious blood pooling in the trunk.

A better location or an alley dumpster would be able to substitute.

I love your dialog and the word choices! "...break your neck", "...thought you were a murderer or something..."

The spine experiment between the woman, has to really go all out. Make it dramatic, with their casual dialog intertwined, add some corny implausible jargon, a, "Pass me the vertebrae di-polarizer" would be cool to hear.

I'm not a big fan of emotives and action cues in parenthesis with dialog, (Icily), (Yelling)

If you must use them, try 'em out in descriptions.

LOVE the reveal of the spine's first victim! Great image!

The sci-fi is plausible and if you've seen the digestive tract kill folks in "Brain Dead" then a spine can do so, much more adequately and brilliantly.

Good job! All the best!

Charli
09-25-2009, 02:10 PM
Techincal - masterslug lines use dashes -- not periods. after location to time of day: EXT. DARK ALLEY -- NIGHT

JUNKY needs to be in all caps.

I would cap KNOCKS him down to show emphasis that he just got smacked.

Now that you've named your character Tattooed Man, it needs to be as a proper name, Cap first letter of first name and surname.

Do you know how small car trunks are? Is the man on his side? cuz no way he's flat out unless it's a SUV.

...mysterious... show me that he's mysterious, you're telling me. How is a person mysterious? How do they look mysterious?

...murderer or something... Why would anyone make a statement like that? It would be more a robber or something.

If Rachel wasn't expecting him to be there, then why would she invite him to Hannigans? Remember, you said she thought he was a murderer or something. She wasn't expecting him to be there. Contradiction.

He's response, "Shit" made no sense. Why not say, "maybe later, when I'm through here?"

...Jenny, shy and awkward?... - How can we see that she's shy? Show don't tell.

..."I'm going to be so famous." - sounds contrived. Better to say something like, "Now everyone is going to know what I can do" sort of thing.

Content - I think the story would have worked better with less characters and you invest us in those characters. It is a classic 'thing-turns-to-life' theme where the experiment goes wrong, now make me care about what happens to the people. Cut out a character or two and it will work.

Nice spinal snake thingy.