View Full Version : Monsters at Dawn -- by Michael Traven

Eric Boellner
01-19-2012, 12:37 PM
First time entering. Started the script a few hours ago, and just finished at 4.5 pages. It's okay to send it off to friends/fellow writers for critique, right?

Also, is it okay to use a Google image for the poster or does it have to be original? I'm assuming since the poster is voluntary and not part of the judging, it's okay to use a plate background image. If not, let me know and I'll change it!



written by Michael Traven


Eric Boellner
01-19-2012, 12:39 PM
Poster's a little small, but apparently that's what you get when you crop an image three times...

01-19-2012, 12:43 PM
Welcome to the mad house!

No worries about reviews prior, we all need them. As for the poster, I don't see a problem with since I doubt you are going to sell the poster, but you may want to consult your lawyer. :)

02-07-2012, 07:15 PM
Didn't know what to make of this, but I liked it. A lot. A vampire and a zombie (I would have though more of a ghoul, but I'll roll with it) on the run from hunters/army. Daylight's coming. Trapped under a tree and other debris. Love it. A little B-film/Corman-esque but in a good way. One of my early favorites thus far.

Only minor downsides...some repeated words aren't needed I think, also, the use of 'then' isn't needed.

02-08-2012, 09:19 AM
I liked this one, but have to agree with Darren that a ghoul would be more appropriate. I'm no expert, but aren't zombies souless automations on the hunt for human flesh. Seems more like he'd try to eat McCaver than be his friend. And at the end you have him being hefted up and dragged away. Why save him, he's a zombie! They'd shoot him in the head! Plus (I watch The Walking Dead, so I know) nobody would get close enough to a zombie to lift and drag him. They would never risk being bitten. Also, don't vampires have superhuman strength? Why is McCaver trapped under the tree, and why is he bleeding?

Technical problems aside :) this was a nicely written story that did a good job of turning the conventional hero/badguy scenerio on it's head. Good descriptions, good, dialogue and a fast pace. The scenes of then running through the woods would make a terrific visual up on the screen. Thanks for a good read.

02-08-2012, 05:02 PM
- I like the way you show the piece through the view of the monsters.
- Not sure how to show a silver bullet, but that bullet-time effect could do this just fine.

I probably would've enjoyed the ending if they put the beasts out of their misery. I just didn't feel it, because you just took normal people being hunted and changed it to monsters. I figure their emotions and stuff may be similar to ours, but expressed maybe differently. But then again I doubt you could get that out in a short. Overall a nice script.

02-09-2012, 05:55 AM
Hi Michael,

Thanks for the read.

Nice twist to classic legends.
I like the characters that you have created. I like that you have Tommy unable to form words.
The tension is built up so well and you really get behind these two usual villians.
The battle scenes really come out from the page. Easy to visualise them.

Not so good:
I suppose this is trapped, but it is loose.
Would blood loss effect a zombie?
It ends well, but feels like there is more to this. And that makes me think how we came into the script, that there is more before.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. I think you could really have something good here if you develop it further. Well done.

02-09-2012, 07:41 AM

Overall: 5
Plot: 4
Characters: 6
Dialogue: 5
Structure: 6
Originality: 4
Style/Quality of Writing: 6
Entertainment Value: 4
Cinematic Quality: 6

Synopsis: Various monsters flee from soldiers. A zombies and a vampires, who are friends, help each run.
The vampire is trapped by a falling tree. The soldiers arrive and taunt the zombie as they watch the sun rise
and cook the vampire. The soldiers drag the zombie off.

Pg 1
trees, explodes
***and explode
Hordes of creatures
***Needs defined even if simply "various" I would drag the Zombies and Vampires from the next line and add it with the creatures.
his friend
***This is a character and must be introduced by description for visualization. Can't wait until the next action to descibe.
around, races
replace comma with and
***Side note - I thought vampires were super strong?
Pg 2
again, again
***and again
Tommy, come here!
***I thought he was right there
Listen, you’ve got to go. Run, just go. Just go!
***Realistic dialogue?
Yes, the buttons.
soldier - DOUG.
***Reason to name a soldier?
***why didn't they shoot both of them?
Pg 4
I wonder, are those your cousins?

The story isn't a complete story. It's more just a single plot point of something bigger.The dialogue is not realistic and too much.
Monster scenes such as this should have non-stop action. Sorry - didn't work for me, but you can write.

Bill Clar
02-09-2012, 12:00 PM
Great opening. Very intense.

Soldiers are not capitalized when introduced.

Unnecessary use of "(cont'd)" in Macaver's dialogue.

Great action, but the story is incomplete. You have the second and third act, but no setup. I need to know why Tommy and Macaver are running from the soldiers. Without it, I have no attachment to the characters.

02-10-2012, 02:20 AM
Hey Michael - really liked this! There's going to be plenty of people pointing out things like 'vampires can't bleed' or 'zombies and vampires can't be friends', but when writing something like this, I'd bear in mind a conversation that Max Landis (son of John Landis) once had with his Dad about writing with supernatural creatures -

John: Son, how do you kill a vampire?
Max: Stake through the heart, garlic, crosses, sunlight ...
John: Wrong. You can kill a vampire however the fuck you want, because they don't exist.

I think that's basically what you've done here - taken two types of monsters and created your own mythology around them, which is really hard to do in this amount of space. The friendship between the two felt real, and I really felt for Tommy. You did a really good job of fleshing out his character without the use of speech - actions really do speak louder than words!

I liked the ending, and I think the dialogue between Walter and MaCaver is brilliantly twisted.

There's only a couple of things I'd pick you up on though. I didn't see the need to name all of the soldiers. They're not real CHARACTERS, we get no back story or personality from them, they're just bodies to move the story along, so I think you could have gotten away with just referring to them as SOLDIER, and saying things like "two soldiers hold Tommy back". Giving them names made them feel important and like I was supposed to have an interest in them, when really they were just necessary fluff.

The other thing is that it really felt like part of a bigger story. I didn't particularly care why the zombies and vampires were getting chased by the army - that's kind of obvious really, but I wanted more. It seemed like it was over too soon for me. I don't really know how you could have changed that within the word limit, so you won't be getting marked down for it, it just bugged me a little. If you're thinking of doing anything at all with this, I'd flesh it out a little more (which you can do without a page limit!), and then it'd be great!

Overall, a really entertaining read, and I loved the way you put your own spin on some classic monsters.

02-11-2012, 07:07 PM
This was a breezy read, kept me engaged until the end. There was some good imagery and I think some good ideas sprinkled throughout. The cruelty toward the end was really well done. On the other hand, there were some awkward similes (cornered boar and trapped wolf: i couldn't relate the two very well, it's either one or the other unless they are similar to each other) and (like a curious dog or a snake eyeing its prey: in this context I get "curious dog" but wasn't so sure about a snake cocking its head). I wasn't clear on the point of the story. Was there a moral lesson? was there some theme I didn't pick up on? I agree with others (frankly wish the commentary was anonymous so I wouldn't be influenced) on the segmented feel to this. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the read and wanted to know more. In my book, when the audience wants more, you've done something right. Good job.

Rustom Irani
02-15-2012, 01:19 PM
With all the Zombie and vampire variants that films, TV and games throw at us, you have to really, really get specific about your creatures. Are these generic Zombies and vampires? What do they wear? How old are they?

The idea is for me to empathise and care about them enough to buy the premise you're selling. I don't mind that you take liberties with the myth about the creatures, in fact it's very cool to see a caring Zombie and "Fido" did it well too.

This story needs some setting and time frame reference. Tell us if this is earth or maybe a fantasy world, futuristic or ancient?

Could any other creatures work? Well, if it's like a Narnia setting, I don't see why not!

So, for me to relae to specific Zombies and vampires fleeing the forest, give me some subtle exposition via dialog about the back-story.

This is viceral, well-paced and quite original, but needs a bit more exposition to really work well.

Polish this! The genre is quite popular and you could take it places if you expand the premise.

02-20-2012, 06:40 PM
Interesting hodge podge of monsters. Seemed a rehash of the angry villagers chasing Frankenstein or the wolfman or insert monster. I wasn't sure of the men's motivation for killing all the monsters, other than killing all the monsters but they drug the zombie back into the forest so that confused me. You can probably cut down your action, it seemed overly descriptive, when you talk about blinking eyes then it ventures into that territory. Overall it was an interesting dynamic between the two monsters.

02-28-2012, 11:04 PM
Here's my thoughts on this:
* First and foremost: beautifully written action. Great flow. Flies by. Great description.
* The Zombie/Vamp "love" story is fantastic. I'm really cheering for these two.
* Love the exploding-silver-bullet-shrapnel things. Coolness.
* I did feel like the ending left me wanting something. I'm okay with a tragedy, but I think there was even more closure available in that area. Give these two pals a moment then kill them both off. Having the vamp go up in flames and leaving the zombie standing there gave the feeling like...I don't know...like it just wasn't quite finished.
* I gave you a pretty high score though...your action sequences alone warranted that. Nice work.