View Full Version : A Shadow at the Door - Andy Olson

Andy Olson
02-04-2012, 09:57 PM
Logline: Trapped in a janitor's closet by a gunman killing at random, a group of strangers must agree on the right course of action.

It's my first scriptfest. It was fun writing. Good Luck, everyone!

Submitted tonight!

02-05-2012, 07:12 AM
Sounds like a killer concept!

02-05-2012, 02:48 PM
Just because you're a Mod now Keaton does not mean you can get away with puns!

02-08-2012, 06:25 AM
Hi Andy,

Thanks for the read.

The Good:
A very good trapped situation.
There was tonnes of conflict here, with good characters. Or Matt and Sally were anyway.
I think this is quite an easy one to make. 5 actors. One location.
I loved the ending.

Not so good:
Jerry was a little bare when it came to character. You gave the interesting background and trates to the other two.
I would say work on some of the dialogue (the hardest part of any script to get right) it did come across a little on the nose.
Break your action up to make it read better.
Capitals appear in the latter stages of page 6. We don't need to be shouted at. We get it.

Overall, a goods script. Well done.

Sarah Daly
02-08-2012, 05:31 PM
I really liked this! Clever, engaging idea and well executed. I found myself asking philosophical questions while reading it so that has to be a good sign! You gave the characters plausible motivations, had a clear antagonist and a strong central conflict. Yep you could make the dialogue a little more natural/less on the nose but it does the job. Also one recurring typo: 'I had too' should be 'I had to'. But overall, great job!

02-08-2012, 05:49 PM
Pretty good. Definitely trapped, and the conflicts are strong.

The caps were incredibly distracting. Capsing the items, especially, was unnecessary. Then capsing the whole last page was just overboard. It added nothing and instead seemed like you were drawing attention to yourself. Never a good thing.

As for the story, I enjoyed it and felt the sense of urgency and conflict. The dialog wasn't very good imo, far too on the nose and robotic. Cheesy at times too. I wondered why the killer didn't open the door after killing the lady who was trying to get in. I'd imagine that if this lady was banging on a door yelling "let me in", that someone was in there. Hard to believe he didn't open it to check. Also hard to imagine that Sally got killed from getting pushed down and hitting her head on the pavement...in a closet.

There were some confusing sentences here and there. Sentences that could have been simplified "jerry looks at and unlocks the door".

All in all, I like that you tackled issues of morality and gave your characters tough decisions to make in a tight situation. That's life. Good job.

02-09-2012, 10:09 AM
A shadow at the door by Andrew Olsen
Overall: 6
Plot: 6
Characters: 6
Dialogue: 8
Structure: 7
Originality: 5
Style/Quality of Writing: 7
Entertainment Value: 5
Cinematic Quality: 5

Synopsis: A gunman is shooting people in the mall and a small group of people hide out
in a broom closet. They argue should they go out and attack the gunman or stay. A woman
tries to enter the closet and is denied and killed by the gunman. The group decides to
attack. At the last second one reneges and kills another to stop him from opening the
door. The gunman does and kills them anyway.

Pg 1
***For some reason I can't cut/paste from your pdf so references not provided
A visual is required prior to the sounds even if a black screen.
Good opening page.
Pg 2
A guy wants to leave to stop the bad guy and another guy fights to stop him.
Seems a bit improbable.
Pg 3
How did the woman know people had locked themselves in a cleaning closet?
How many closets lock from the inside?
Huge crack under the door - in a mall? Plausible?
So the woman the guy shoots was trying to get into a room with people and the gunman moves off?
Pg 4
So they wouldn't leave the room prior, and now all change their minds? Reason?
The mothers statement is not very plausible.
Pg 5
I thought the gunman went away shooting others?
Oh I see he is back
So one guy changes his mind and kills the other.

Hmmm…seems a bit too simple and questionable as to probability.
The writer is pretty good. The story is just not there.

02-09-2012, 04:15 PM
- I thought it was OS.
- You use 'is' too darn much. Switch to the active voice, we will thank you for it.
- What the hell happened to your caps lock?

The crazy formatting is distracting. This was a serious trapped piece. Blood everywhere, that'll make the cleaning lady mad. I like that Matt got it in the end and I can't say I really saw him turning to murder, so that was a good twist. Overall nice job.

Bill Clar
02-12-2012, 12:17 PM
Good opening. The action has me hooked.

"Sally looks over at the body and starts breaking down" should be "Sally looks over at the body and breaks down".

The dialogue doesn't quite flow. The characters don't sound as scared as they should be. They're not talking phrases and fragments and they're not cutting each other off.

"A darkness washes over Matt". Can you visually describe this darkness? What characteristics does Matt exhibit? Show us, don't tell us.

A couple of grammar and spelling errors.

Remove the "(ashamed, defensive)" wryly. Let the actor decide how to play it.

Do not capitalize your action lines unless they are sound effects.

Most of your problems are formatting issues and those are easily corrected. Above all, you have a very good story with a great antagonist. My only concern is your dialogue. Make it believable. Scared characters stammer, trail off, yell, and cut off another person's dialogue.

Andy Olson
02-15-2012, 11:17 AM
Hey everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read my script. I appreciate all the feedback. It really helps.

I've already made some changes to the script from the suggestions and criticisms. I got rid of the whole paragraphs and sentences of caps letters. I had seen this technique in a working writers feature script where he just capsed parts of sentences for action scenes., but I went a little overboard. However, I was taught to caps any special item, person, or visual/sound fx as common practice for screenplays.

Chris, O.C. stands for Off Camera and I used it because Finaldraft has it in the pulldown list, but I don't think it means anything different from O.S. Off Screen. I'll just use OS from now on since everyone gets that one.

Oh, dialogue! I always have trouble with that. I read it aloud and act it out to make it sound natural, but I guess that doesn't work too well sometimes. Can I get an example of any specific lines that stood out and would anyone have any rewrite suggestions for that line?

Sorry about the grammar and typos and 'be' verbs. It's been a long time since I was in school! I've hopefully found them all and corrected them in this latest draft.

A couple people have mentioned formatting...besides the paragraphs and caps, were there other formatting issues? I'll split up the paragraphs some more to make it easier to read. It might have been because of the 6 page limit. I usually keep it to 2 or 3 lines max unless it's all the same action then I'll go to 4.

Thanks again everyone.

02-20-2012, 07:01 PM
I really enjoyed this but I hated the caps. I thought you need a great job establishing a baseline of tension which I thought was going to be difficult too build from. But you did a great job with undulating tension. There was some skilled descriptions laced throughout, especially the bottom of P3. I see what people mean by the on the nose stuff but I didn't really notice as I was reading it. i also liked your twist at the end.

Rustom Irani
02-21-2012, 05:14 AM
This has a really strong set-up and a twist that I didn't really see coming and it surprised me quite a bit. Great sense of structure in that regard. What you need is to work on some of the dialog areas. Primarily ask yourself if your dialog tells us something about plot, about the character or about back-story, which is plot again but you get my gist.

So, if Sally tells us "the whole mall must be trying to call." then again she reveals it's busy, you could've trimmed the earlier bit about it being busy. Just leave "the whole mall must be trying to call" and her next response would be "it's stll busy."

Similarly if you already tell us Jerry's disturbed on seeing the body, then your purpose for him to say that dialog is dilute. Instead, if he just stared at it and says, "She's so young." You make an instant reveal about his sensitive nature.

Also, they won't use complete phrases in a panic situation. Introduce questions, leave some unanswered, make us feel as helpless as them.

This needs a re-write and I'm sure you've already started on it. Hope you took out those paragraphs in all caps which are highly distracting and unnecessary.

Otherwise, a great execution of the theme, pun intended. :)

02-24-2012, 06:41 PM
Sorry about the grammar and typos and 'be' verbs. It's been a long time since I was in school! I've hopefully found them all and corrected them in this latest draft.

Sometimes, we spell a word correctly, but after looking at it quickly, fail to realize that the word is spelled roght but used in the wrong way. Like to. Most of the spelling errors came from 'too' when 'to' is the correct word. Hopefully you corrected these things.

As for the script itself, I asked:

- How big is the janitor's room? Why isn't one of the trapped the janitor? Someone mentioned in the comments about the door. In a janitor's room, there are paper products and trash bags for bathrooms and such, a mop and bucket, a drain...organized but not meant for the amount of people in there. It would be crammed. Because cleaning chemicals would also be present, the door would be locked. Only the janitor and/or the manager would have the keys.

Yes, it could be locked from the inside, I'll give you that one.

The CAPPING at the end, the OTN dialog the occasional passive writing and odd discussions rob the piece of being really good. That said, it really got the theme down and not a bad effort.

Eric Boellner
02-27-2012, 07:32 PM
I liked this one. Good set-up (though the first line is confusing: I don't know if I'm supposed to be seeing people running or just hearing them). You can drop Matt's first line, "That guy just started shooting everyone." We've already assumed from the sounds of gunfire that something like this is the case. Also, toward the end you use "too" several times in place of "to" and the all-CAPS bit doesn't need to be capitalized like that -- if anything, it's distracting. Some of the dialogue is a bit stilted, and Matt's character was a little... typical, but overall I really enjoyed reading this. Good job!