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Sarah Daly
01-12-2012, 04:38 PM
She who is buried alive, wishes for death...

(I'll try to make a poster soon!)

Chris_Keaton
01-12-2012, 06:56 PM
Woot!

alex whitmer
01-13-2012, 06:48 PM
Woot Woot !

Sarah Daly
01-14-2012, 11:36 AM
Alex! I was just thinking about you yesterday! You know what's weird - if it wasn't for you introducing me to DVXUser: I wouldn't live in Scotland, wouldn't be getting to write and make music for a living, wouldn't have met the love of my life - I'd probably still be working in horrible office jobs and regularly puking on the bus with stress :P. Haha! So thank you!

Isn't fate a funny creature?!

Chris_Keaton
01-14-2012, 04:49 PM
Oh yes, I have to thank Alex for introducing me here. Otherwise I probably would still be hunting for people to produce my shorts and who knows what else may come of this relationship. So thanks! Of course I think Sarah made out better. ;)

alex whitmer
01-15-2012, 07:31 AM
Blushing!

So happy for you. Dang! Fate is such a funny phenom. You're where you're supposed to be (though surely you wax fondly over memories of puking on the bus).

I remember this connection, and see you and Chris have the same join date.

How's the 'ol chap doing, anyways?

a

Sarah Daly
01-15-2012, 03:00 PM
How can we ever repay you? :)

He's good! Playing some computer game beside me as we speak :P

Yep all is well - we're shooting our second feature in March so it's all go for that!

themightyshrub
01-15-2012, 03:40 PM
Alex introduced me her as well - unfortunately I graduated with a crappy film degree and now work in a bank. HOWEVER, that's basically my own fault for not getting off my lazy ass and doing the stuff I love, so from here on out, it'll be no puking on the bus from me.

Not that I ever did that in the first place, but you know what I mean.

Sarah Daly
01-17-2012, 01:49 PM
Yes I remember you themightyshrub! And oh I have a crappy film degree too that was no use whatsoever hehe. And I worked in many offices before luck threw me a bone and I escaped! But yep just keep putting stuff out there and eventually something happens. The keep going and hope route seems to be the only one unfortunately.

Chris_Keaton
02-07-2012, 05:41 PM
Notes:
- It has been a long time since I've read a Sarah Daly masterpiece.
- I don't like 'we'. But I still haven't figured out how to pull that off without it.
- Using VO in a trapped situation is the easy way out...yes I did it. But Sparling didn't use it in 'Buried'...of course this is more interesting.

Seriously, this is sick. This is the first thing that comes to mind when anyone mentions immortality. I can't complain about much if anything. This is a nice chilling tale, something I would've come up with....not sure that's a compliment. :) Great Job.

DarrenJSeeley
02-07-2012, 06:38 PM
While the We Sees turned me off, and that last passage "And in the sky, the sun burns, as it has for many billions of
years and will for many billions more." is forgivable since it is the last thing written. still, 'the sun burns' says everything.
I can see the sun. I can't see billions of years in the past or future.

When I read stuff like this and I start thinking of "Serpent and The Rainbow". "The Vanishing", "Buried" and "Kill Bill vol2" (quick: what do they all have in common?) it's not a bad thing. The script was very viscreal and, in spite of the we sees and the sun burning for a billion years...the horror-thriller concept/fear of being buried alive still works in spades.

Great job.:happy:

Eric Boellner
02-07-2012, 07:34 PM
Wow, that was pretty good! Reminiscent of "Buried," but with an interesting twist. The last shot and particularly the last line nailed the point home, which is what counts in a short script. I did feel the voice-over waxed a little poetic at times, but considering there appeared to be some sort of magical/religious/otherworldly slant to the turn of events, that fits the tone of the sub-genre you were working in.

-JMT

DarkElastic
02-08-2012, 04:57 AM
Hi Sarah,

As always, thanks for the read.

Good:
Good idea.
Well written.
Simple.
Easily filmable for a little budget.
One of the worst trapped to be in, in my book.
I like the time jump at the end. I can imagine panning up to see the future.

Not so good:
A recent film made about this subject.
I thought this was a little safe for you (I sound like Simon Cowbell). I've read your stuff before so it's a little unfair as I automatically think of what's come before and I just expected something a little challenging, that's all.

Overall, it is a good script. Thank you.

taylormade
02-08-2012, 08:42 AM
Wow, I was hoping someone would write a comedy for the fest! But, seriously, this dark little piece really worked. I like how the story flowed from thinking she was terrified at being buried alive to the horrible realization that she was buried for eternity and would never die.
This is one of those stories that moves along so well, I didn't notice some minor discrepancies until I started to write this. In the beginning she is buried in a field and, at the end, this field has become a great city. Many, many years have passed, but in the beginning she has a lighter? This seems a little modern to me. Also, visually - to be fair - she would have to be wearing clothes from another time period. These are minor nitpicks, but I think it goes to the rather literary nature of your script. At times it reads more like a short story than a script. I especially point out your beautiful, but non script-like, description of the sun at the close. It reads beautifully, but I wouldn't want to be the director trying to tranlate that up on the screen.

My complaints aside, I really liked this - very moving and totally creepy.

Bill Clar
02-08-2012, 09:20 AM
Don't say "We descend" or "we move". Describing camera angles pulls me out of the moment and reminds me that I'm reading a script.

Can you tell us anything about Anya? Age? Appearance?

"Anya is quieter now." Don't say "is". Use present tense: "Anya quiets down".

"1,2,3...". Spell out numbers use in dialogue.

You have a good pace and tension. I like the fingernail scratching. Very primitive and brutal.

I'd like to know how she ended up in the coffin. She found a way to cheat death, so what happened? How did she get buried?

Your formatting issues are easily corrected. My only concern is the lack of a solid ending.

Sarah Daly
02-08-2012, 10:39 AM
Thanks for the feedback all!

Darren - cheers! Re: the use of 'we' - yep against the rules and all that. I used to avoid it but I've stopped being so anal about the rules so much since lately I'm writing stuff that I'll actually be making. But you're quite right. Not so great for a reader as it disrupts the diegesis, but functional for a film blueprint. Will get out of the habit again. Sorry bout that!

Same goes for the poetic line at the end - all these books and lecturers tell you 'don't use poetic language - don't tell, show' but then you read scripts by the greats that have been made into successful films and they're just packed with language like that - so I just thought f*ck it. If it adds some drama to the script, and helps it to go out with a bang, then I'm doing it. And it's up to the director how he gets it across i.e. with a time lapse or a slow zoom in. it's not impossible to express visually - mister director just has to use his/her noggin. He's supposed to be the auteur after all :P

I'd have to say, after a long time playing by the rules, I would now encourage folk not to be afraid to be a little flowery with their language now and then, at key points, in order to elicit an emotional response in your potential director/producer. And let the director figure out how to visually express your point later, after he's optioned your script. We give em too easy a ride sometimes :P Remember most directors won't know the nitty gritty rules of scriptwriting, but if they read something that captures their imagination, or creates an emotional response, then I reckon it's worth breaking the rules for. Us screenwriters hang each other over rules that directors mostly don't give a crap about. And I've been guilty of it myself in the past. but I think it's counterproductive.

And that's my two cents!

Bill, thanks for the feedback! For me, the whole point is that there IS no solid ending - only eternity stretching endlessly ahead of her. I tried to create a natural book-end with the opening and losing shots to frame the story. Sure, it;s not a satisfying ending and I get that one normally wants that - but this film is supposed to leave a feeling of unresolved unease with the viewer. You can get away with that in short films so why not. Re: how she got there - yep I did wonder about that - whether I should have given more backstory. But I decided to leave some mystery and not spell everything out. Also I wanted to make this easily shootable so chose not to include flashbacks etc. But I get where you're coming from - if this was expanded to a feature or part of a series then you would include more back story. I just don't think you could show the build up to this point in the time frame without it seeming rushed or superficial - the time seems better spent immersed with the character at the most dramatic point. But yep I see your point - it does have some of the feeling of a scene from a larger story rather than a short.

I realise Buried was quite recent - haven't actually seen it though. Was the person immortal? Marketability-wise, it's not necessarily a bad thing when a similar project has been successful recently, as long as the second incidence has some unique quality. For the B-movie market, many thrive on having similar subjects/themes to recent blockbusters.

Taylormade thank you! I get your point about the lighter/city. I sort of imagined it would be a new city something like Dubai so that it hasn't necessarily been 100 years but more like 20 - but you're right, she could perhaps initially be wearing 70s style clothes (cheaper than creating a futuristic city) :P Good catch!

DarkElastic thank ya sir! Haha I'm not normally that challenging am I? I write pretty conventional stories! Anyway what could be more challenging than attempting to grasp the concept of infinity?! :P Infinity is aaaaaages!

Michael yep I went sorta theatrical with the dialogue cos I figured I'd get away with it given the genre/subject. There's an implication that she's possibly from a former era but mostly I just wanted to be dramatic because I find naturalistic dialogue difficult and a bit dull to write :P So hopefully I got away with it!

Thanks so much for reading and for the feedback, everyone!! I look forward to reading you guys' scripts too!

Chris_Keaton
02-08-2012, 11:26 AM
I agree with you Sarah, but you must know the rules before you can break them. I only point them out when the don't benefit the story and I didn't really see any of that in this piece. I think you suceeded in a short that would be chilling to the viewer.

The 70s clothes by the way is a great idea.

Harkus
02-08-2012, 06:30 PM
This is a nice, seriously demented, little story.

I think it would have been better with less or no dialogue.
My main problem was placing this in a time frame. At the beginning, she's buried in a field, at the end her grave is under many feet of earth and a busy city street. So we're talking a lot of years. Decades at least, maybe a century or more. Considering she was buried with a cigarette lighter, that rules out being buried way, way back in the past. And her dialogue is contemporary. But at the end there's no indication that the city is in some far-distant future. I know it's short description, but it could be New York today.
Another problem is something pretty common for stories where people are in complete darkness. After the lighter burns out, how do we see her?

"ANYA (V.O.)
And then the lights went out for
good.

Anya lies in the blue-dark of the coffin, glassy-eyed."

Since a big part of the horror is the darkness and her fear of it, somehow showing her glassy eyes, necessarily takes away a lot of the fear factor.
Of course, I might be overthinking this.

Good luck.

ZellJr
02-08-2012, 06:51 PM
Like others said, this needs timeframe. I had no idea she was immortal until I read these comments. But that's probably just me. I must have missed something.

The writing was good, not confusing really or encumbering. But I do like the liberties you took with your "poetry". It was good but not overbearing.

The story was way too similar to buried imo and that kind of diluted the effect, but then again, I didn't know she was immortal when i read it.

All in all, I liked it. Definitely did.

themightyshrub
02-09-2012, 11:12 AM
Loved this Sarah! It's a brilliant concept, and although it did make me think of Buried (which if you haven't seen, you definitely should), I really don't see how that should count against your script. Just because Speilberg made E.T., doesn't mean that you can't write about a kid who makes friends with an alien.

What I really liked was that it kept me thinking throughout the story. I started off wondering why she was buried - who did it, and why? Then I was wondering what it was that she wished for that would have put her in this situation? Surely nobody would ever wish to be buried alive! And then when she talks about discovering 'a way to cheat death', it all clicked, and that was nice. Yes, it's an open ended script, but I wouldn't say there was no resolution. There may be no resolution for the character, but for the reader, it answered all the stuff I really really wanted answering, and left just enough to keep me thinking about the story, which really is what you want.

I know a few people didn't like the line at the end as part of the action - I thought it was an amazing line, and the only thing that bothered me was that if it were actually filmed, the audience wouldn't get to hear it. Perhaps you could have included it in the voiceover as some kind of last line? I'm not sure how you cold work it in, but I'm sure you could.

Overall, it was brilliant, and it definitely one of my favourites so far.

Sunk99
02-09-2012, 01:33 PM
ALIVE by Sarah Daly

lawriejaffa
02-09-2012, 01:56 PM
Since we're disingh out marks here sunk, I think out of 10, i'd give your 'review' a 2 ;) .. i'll happily elaborate upon that alongside with feedback for this script and others so :) Don't worry folks im here to join the fest's feedback squad!

Sarah Daly
02-09-2012, 02:16 PM
Dear Sunk99, I'm sorry to hear that your poetic license has been rebuked but I've still got mine. :P

I apologise too that Final Draft, the world's most popular screenwriting program has formatted my script in a way that displeases you.

Stars can't look? Nawww! Clouds can't wander either but that didn't stop Wordsworth.

Re: 'It's dark how can we see anything?' Has nobody ever seen a scene in a movie where it's supposed to be pitch black where it actually IS pitch black?! Movie darkness is not the same as actual darkness. The audience has accepted this for many years and will for many more.

Perhaps you missed the fact that she is immortal? She doesn't die. That is the second plot point - that is the resolution. If you missed that then I understand how you didn't see it was a complete story but I wonder how you managed to miss that? Perhaps I was too subtle and should have hammered the point home with a blunter instrument. The arc is in our understanding of her situation - in how it is revealed that she will be buried forever, and that there is a fate even worse than death. It's supposed to make you think about your own fear of mortality, which I assume most humans, being human have, and perhaps make you reconsider whether you'd truly like to live forever. But I guess thinking about such grand ideas isn't everyone's bag.

And can I just ask - WHY are scriptwriters such b*stards to each other? We should be helping each other not hammering each other over the head with egotistical pedantry and petty one-up-man-ship. Directors don't give a damn about margins or 'We see' or whether you use 'she sings' or 'is singing'. We're the only ones who beat each other up about that and why? So we can feel like we're 'right' or smug or superior - well being right doesn't get your script sold - it only severs potential connections between you and other scriptwriters who may have been able to give you a leg up if you'd only been less of a condescending tool.

So let's put personal taste aside, put pedantry aside, and give unbiased, unegotistical criticism. PLEASE.

ZellJr
02-09-2012, 02:22 PM
Who was being a bastard? Lol

I liked the subtlety in this story. I'm a fan of subtlety. I don't like bombasticness. I don't like big explosions and yelling and all of that. I don't like in your face storytelling, or explaining, or heavy handedness. But that's just me.

So keep up with the subtlety.

Sarah Daly
02-09-2012, 02:25 PM
Harkus thank you for your review!

Yep I'm not often a fan of voice-over but for something stylised like this I thought I'd go for it. I like the idea of having no dialogue too but if I chose to go down this path to make the film more easily produce-able :) (To save on flashbacks/backstory scenes)

You're right about the timescale issues - I addressed them in my last reply and gave an idea for a quick fix - my thoughts were that the inital shots take place in the 60s/70s and the final shot is present day. Modern day cities can sprout up in 5-10 years so I figure that's a reasonably plausible timescale!

Thanks again!

ZellJr you're the 2nd person who didn't realise she was immortal but I'm sticking by my guns. I wouldn't want to spell it out anymore because I think it would make those who did get it feel like I was beating them over the head with it. Still, I'll take a look and make sure I'm definitely not being too vague. it's probably one of those things that's easier to miss when read than when seen on screen.

themightyshrub thank you so much! I'm really glad you liked it! Maybe it's a girl thing :P

Sarah Daly
02-09-2012, 02:26 PM
Who was being a bastard? Lol

I liked the subtlety in this story. I'm a fan of subtlety. I don't like bombasticness. I don't like big explosions and yelling and all of that. I don't like in your face storytelling, or explaining, or heavy handedness. But that's just me.

So keep up with the subtlety.

Hehe not you :) Mostly a general complaint about when ego comes into these things and how mean writers can be to each other. but your comments were very nicely put so thank you :)

ZellJr
02-09-2012, 02:35 PM
Harkus thank you for your review!

Yep I'm not often a fan of voice-over but for something stylised like this I thought I'd go for it. I like the idea of having no dialogue too but if I chose to go down this path to make the film more easily produce-able :) (To save on flashbacks/backstory scenes)

You're right about the timescale issues - I addressed them in my last reply and gave an idea for a quick fix - my thoughts were that the inital shots take place in the 60s/70s and the final shot is present day. Modern day cities can sprout up in 5-10 years so I figure that's a reasonably plausible timescale!

Thanks again!

ZellJr you're the 2nd person who didn't realise she was immortal but I'm sticking by my guns. I wouldn't want to spell it out anymore because I think it would make those who did get it feel like I was beating them over the head with it. Still, I'll take a look and make sure I'm definitely not being too vague. it's probably one of those things that's easier to miss when read than when seen on screen.

themightyshrub thank you so much! I'm really glad you liked it! Maybe it's a girl thing :Pi re read it and i understand it now. it was never a knock on you. i can miss things and i did. dont dumb it down. its good as it is. i like it.

Sarah Daly
02-09-2012, 03:10 PM
I know - it's easy to miss things when they're revealed in just a line or two of dialogue - I do it all the time. :) And thanks! You're very nice!

MML
02-09-2012, 06:24 PM
Holy crap...now that is trapped!! Jesus. That messed with my head. :Drogar-BlackEye(DBG Written very well and it became just horrifying when you realize she's never getting out of there. The only thing I would suggest is to elaborate a bit on who it was that told her "be careful what you wish for" and also why and how she became who she was. Also maybe why she was buried. Not even full explanations...just a little hint.

This was great. I need to get some air now. :laugh:

csetten
02-09-2012, 07:29 PM
Sarah,
I admire your writing: your word choices , the way you choose to describe things. The best part of this story was the end twist, which knocked my socks off. Anya's line about the horrors of her waking hours was just great. But, I guess we all are required to come up with some critique so here's my two cents. Everything is going great for first couple of pages but once I get into the rhythm of the story the tension plateaus on p 2.5 and you sort of repeat from there until we hit the twist. This was short enough that I hardly noticed it and your end was great, so I guess it works. By the way, I liked your ending line, it emphasized the immortality theme. Thanks for the read.

Rustom Irani
02-11-2012, 03:33 AM
Screenplay writers need to have unique voices, otherwise you might as well toss in templates into a software and let it churn out films to let the pop-corn businesses generate their zillions.

You ma'am, have a great written voice.

The conflict presented in "Alive" is inherent from the title and has the quickest set-up I've seen in the contest.

Does Anya need to allude to her predicament in back-story?

Well, it'd solve two of the plot devices that don't work so well for me.

a) The surreal fairytale hardiness of "no deterioration" both in her physical self and her coffin.

b) The cinematic source of lighting that I could plausibly accept. Blue light is so fairly generic for good ole' moon-light that its inclusion here doesn't work for me. (Matches would work so much better than a lighter, by the way.)

If you establish some kind of time period and whether her situation arose out of fantasy/sci-fi, I think this would be pure brilliance.

For example, her coffin has some magical quality or inscribed runes, that glow when she screams and kicks but otherwise just dull down and change color with her mood. This could also explain why no bugs burrow into her chamber or why the coffin doesn't show any great weakness to the pounding and gouging.

Other than that, this was just sublime and a real treat in terms of character development.

Me, I'd reveal the coffin is actually buried vertically and all she has to do is push the lid which is above her head and it'd pop off easily. :D

Great writing, one my favorites!

derekw
02-12-2012, 03:36 AM
This one gripped me from the get-go. Great writing kept me immersed. I like that you didn't get too existential and abstract given the topic. Not that that is necessarily bad, but this felt grounded.

I almost would have preferred to hear only Anya's V.O... maybe no on-screen dialogue. Your subtlety is great, but I could have used more... subtlety that is. Maybe another hint to the details of her Faustian deal... nothing too revealing of course.

I really enjoyed this. Thanks.

Sarah Daly
02-12-2012, 06:33 PM
Thank you all so much for the great feedback! I'm glad you liked it and you all made some really great suggestions too. Cheers!!! :)

Derek, thanks!! And yeah I see what you mean about only hearing the V.O. - I thought about that too. Her spoken dialogue certainly isn't necessary.

Rustom you are too kind :) So glad you liked this. I LOVE your idea about the lid - that adds a whole other dimension and ramps up the tension. (Rhymey!) Her lack of deterioration is supposed to be due to her particular brand of immortality but yep some explanation of the coffin's sturdiness makes sense. Also your idea to more clearly place this within a timeframe/world. Thanks!!

Csetten thank you!! I see what you mean about the conflict plateau-ing a little. I could probably have done with making this a half a page shorter or so.

MML sorry to mess with your head haha! Thanks for your comments and yep I think a hint or two wouldn't go amiss.

Thanks all!!!

KhamIsk
02-13-2012, 03:43 PM
I really liked this - it's beautifully suspenseful. So she's immortal... - nice idea for a short. The simplicity of it is catchy and I really liked the fact that you left it at that - she cannot escape, just her with her thoughts in the coffin she'll never get to escape. Man, gives me chills not that I worded it out.

I was longing to see why she feared death and what she did to escape death. She was talking so much about it that it picked my interest. Please tell:)

The pacing is great - really slow, makes me feel sick (in a good way).

Mobie540
02-17-2012, 02:30 PM
Needs a bit of a rewrite. Lighter seems out of place. This set with me for awhile after I read it. I really liked it.

vincent6805
02-17-2012, 02:49 PM
If Alex didn't make the introduction, do you still get to live happily ever after? bummer if you don't. This is my first post on this site. I suppose I should have found the intro forum, however, if you've ever jumped off a pier in order to learn how to swim...You get the point.

EVH
02-25-2012, 11:16 PM
I really enjoyed this. I'm kind of a newcomer around here, so you'll have to forgive me for repeating a bunch of stuff that everyone else is, apparently, well aware of:
You have an easy style, but you're not afraid to get poetic. A very cool voice that I think I could read for many pages.
A little disclaimer, just so you don't think I'm a straight ass-kiss: I'm the biggest V.O. fan on earth, and I love scripts with secrets that never really get revealed. So this one was right down my alley.
Very cool visual with the hair growing and filling the coffin...a great way to reveal immortality.
There was an aspect that left me feeling empty. I was fine with the mystery of HOW this immortality was achieved...totally fine with that. But I found myself disturbed that I didn't know WHY she was buried. Was it a betrayal, was it punishment? For some reason, that secret ate at me...go figure.
Anyhoo...nice job. Very fun.