View Full Version : Target Rich Environment - by Chris Keaton

08-26-2012, 11:01 AM
Target Rich Environment
A sniper team finds an abundance of kill opportunities.

*gotta make a poster now.

This is my entry unless I can come up with a better idea before the deadline.

Russell Moore
08-26-2012, 09:16 PM
Liked the title....loved the title after I saw the logline.

Don't know where it's going, but can't wait to find out.

08-27-2012, 05:39 AM
Agreed. Great title!

I've got to get me one of these threads. :)

Reef dreamer
08-27-2012, 10:19 AM
I like the title but wonder what the game would be?

Mind you it sounds like a computer game. Kill the bad guys etc, hope there's a spin on it.

Ps gave your last MP script an excellent!

Bill Clar
08-28-2012, 12:21 PM
I like the title and I like snipers. There's an abundance of suspense as the sniper waits for an opportunity to present itself.

Egg Born Son
09-03-2012, 08:07 PM
How are you tracking Chris? I've been thinking a lot about the abundance of kill opportunities....a moral target? zombies? war time? or darker still....militia gone mad? a mall (easy to get in, hard to get out)? a park? a school? Can't wait to see which way you jump.

09-04-2012, 03:26 PM
Rich environmentalists at Target?
Sorry, Chris. Not very scary.:(

09-05-2012, 01:42 AM
It's a good title. Yes, it just grabs me - I know you know what I mean:)

09-05-2012, 12:19 PM
It's a good title. Yes, it just grabs me - I know you know what I mean:)

It doesn't matter, I'll just let my imagination run wild. ;)

Egg Born Son
09-05-2012, 04:47 PM
Rich environmentalists at Target?
Sorry, Chris. Not very scary.:(

I'm retarded. Just got it. :)

Reef dreamer
09-11-2012, 06:00 AM
That was short and err...sweet, well maybe not that part.


it hinges on the simple premise that the reader thinks they are shooting at enemy soldiers rather than a shopping centre, but other than that, there isn't much else. Great for a two page competition but I thought they were meant to have up to six pages?

Other points - no real motive suggested or foreshadowed. Even an old battle scar, head wound for example, would suggest something unbalanced

"Hit the jackpot" - they pretty much know there is a shopping centre there so would they say that? More likely, "targets as per intel" ok something better than that!!

As it happens I think the premises is quite sound for something longer which could play along the lines of a town being stalked, then the killer(s) being stalked when they shoot the wrong person - eg child of a witch etc etc, who's stalking who?

Horror? I suppose so but as said before this is not my genre.

Easy to shoot

Egg Born Son
09-11-2012, 06:04 AM
I love your scriptwriting style Chris. So economical. Doesn't draw attention to itself or its writer, simply does its job. It inspires me. On face value it seems pretty thin on the ground but by the end you always realise that everything you needed was there, it read as fast as it plays and it made it's point. Most importantly anyone could pick up your script and make it. You don't clutter your idea with craft. Actually that sounds bad, it's not like it isn't crafted but reading your scripts and others like them make me realise exactly how prose and scripts are different.

I write with so much density, layer meanings and symbolism that noone except for me is going to put even 10% of into the movie. I do too much. You understand your medium. I try to write an epic movie in six minutes. You write something the audience is going to be able to stay interested in for a couple of minutes to see the punchline. You don't waste our time with a 'brilliant' turn of phrase, you just write plain and well and keep us moving. When I watch short films on vimeo and youtube the ones that grab me tend to be more like yours. 2 pages...

I hope by the next fest I'll be closer to coming up with something like this, that understands what it is for. I think I've improved in this respect on this entry but I have a way to go. I've written maybe a dozen scripts now but still haven't come up with something within my means to make as my first scripted movie, a major driver in realising my prose style doesn't translate so well. Always end up trying to do too much. Taking some holidays in 2 or 3 weeks so I need to come up with something by then! I need to get a narrative into my NLE, enough camera tests!

Now I realise I'm supposed to analyse your film and give you feedback and I've just talked about myself. But I'm hoping it is clear that I'm doing so in attempt to pay you the kudos of the impact and the ongoing influence you have had on me (the other main one being Alex's review) in showing me the direction I need to go. I have never put so much work into developing my writing as I have between this and the last fest. I hope it shows. And I'm sure in both cases you threw your scripts together in five minutes flat but that doesn't lessen the lesson any (see what I did there?). Thanks.

Hope you take everything above as the compliment it is intended to be. My only criticism of this one is that I didn't feel it was really horror. Definitely a pass on games and affordable, one location etc. At a stretch it is topical at the moment of something horrifying but I wouldn't be able to guess the genre in isolation.

Well, there you go. My (very non-standard) review!

Bill Clar
09-11-2012, 07:33 AM
I like the names "Watch" and "Gunner". They sound like code names which help build the atmosphere.

I don't know if it's a typo but Watch says "thirty foot" instead of "thirty feet". It could be a character quirk because it's consistent.

I like the tension and not knowing the targets. Your payoff is ominous but I'd like to know more about the game. If Watch and Gunner are racking up a score then
primary targets must be worth more than secondary. Could the duo tally up their points after each gun shot? Make the viewer think it's a friendly rivalry and the reveal exposes something more global and horrific.

09-11-2012, 08:36 AM
I am glad that I'm not the only one who approached horror in more ... um ... I don't know. Human terms. Maybe? The horror here is derived from the question of how could a human being do that to another human being. The coldness of the characters gives me pause to think. They value their points and their notebook more than a life. In that sense, very frightening.

As flash fiction goes, this is about the shortest flash that I've ever ready. It's almost too thin for my tastes. You successfully delivered an idea and a question to me, but it feels like only one idea and one question. As personal preference I prefer a larger narrative. But that's also probably why my script is 18 pages and yours is 2. :)

Regardless, I always enjoy reading your work. Thanks for entering and thanks for being a driving force behind these fests.

09-11-2012, 01:36 PM
Thanks guys. I know there is no monsters in this, but when can indie filmmkers pull off a good monster? But seriously, I almost tossed this idea, because it creeped me out with all that is in the news lately. I honestly would've did something else, but I didn't have any time.

09-11-2012, 05:47 PM

1.5 pages! I love it! That's a short!
I did have a feeling before finishing the first page that this was a shooter story. I do like it. It is extremely well written. But I have a few issues.
First, you have them dressed in camouflage and was trying to trick the reader into thinking these were military looking guys rather than civilians. I like fooling the audience.
But, you can't trick the audience on the big screen that way in this case. Was that military camouflage? Either they are dressed in full military garb and they appear military or they are not.
Next- a shopping mall in panic. For a low budget short? Realistic?
I know you used pregnant woman to achieve higher viewer revulsion. Actually somethings are just over the top, not that it can't happen. Where is the entertainment value?
Last, since there have been recent real life stories as such, is it proper to show this? Not that you can't, but should you?
I feel it would bother a lot more people than entertain them.
Again, well written and very concise. I applaud you for a very short, short.
That would be a challenging fest - one page complete story.

09-11-2012, 05:59 PM
2 pages, yep. I really don't have time for shorts anymore, but I will participate. I keep telling myself that. :)

I agree with you Sunk. It disturbed me writing it. And some of the suggestions could make it worse. The mall with people in panic should be cut, maybe just a shot of a mall and the sounds of the chaos as these guys head to their Honda.

09-12-2012, 12:05 AM
Hey Chris,

I guess you were having a laugh when told us "up to 20 pages" and was going only for 2:)

Their names Watch and Gunner are funny (just me?) and I thought it will be a comedy. The feeling didn't leave me up until the very end. In the end - the shopping mall reveal I still thought I misunderstood or missed something and that they were playing games in an arcade or something.
I don't know what my reaction would be if they were not Watch and Gunner.

Maybe a second twist - they are in a video arcade, playing a game?

Russell Moore
09-12-2012, 12:11 AM
Disturbing stuff...because of the world we live in. Short and to the point, easy to read.

Horror I don't know...horrific, yes...if there's a difference. I don't think it matters.

I like that we don't see the violence or even the end result, just names crossed off on a note pad, like a shopping list. That's cold and calculated.

Short, but effective as is usual for your work. Glad you entered it.

09-12-2012, 08:23 AM
As usual, if you haven't read the script yet, don't read this review as it contains spoilers.

Short and sweet. And, finally, some commas! (Although you don't need one after distance in the first sentence. You don't really need "in the distance" either, just him spying through military binoculars. I assume you mean a spotting scope and not binoculars as this is what a sniper's spotter uses.)

I had some problems with the dialog. Military guys don't talk like this, especially on a sniping mission. I know, they aren't really military, but we are supposed to think they are.

It would be more like this:


Two primary, three hundred and one hundred yards. Secondaries available.

And when Watch locates one of the primary targets, it would be his job to determine range, windage and so on, but Gunner just says he sees the target and fires. Why bother with Watch?

I know you want the payoff to show that these guys aren't on a military mission, but are actually shooting civilian targets at a shopping center, but wearing full military garb is going to make getting away kind of hard in a suburban environment.

Hey, Jack, do those two guys in that speeding truck wearing full military garb look suspicious?

Yeah, let's pull them over. You think they'd be stupid enough to dress like that in this neighborhood?

After a mass killing by sniper attack at the shopping center? Only in a movie, buddy, only in a movie.

And they're carefully hidden behind the berm at the treeline and then after the shooting they just stand up instead of crawing off into the woods?

As usual, well written, good, short descriptions, correct format and an interesting concept. Not sure about the horror angle. War is horrifying, but does this script really fit the fest requirments? The games angle is fine.

09-12-2012, 09:31 AM
Thanks guys. I know there is no monsters in this, but when can indie filmmkers pull off a good monster? .

Oh, let me see...

Night Of The Living Dead
Evil Dead I and II

Sorry. Just had to remind you...you probably meant it in jest anyway.
At first when I started to read this, I was starting to think it was close to that scene in the Dawn Of The Dead remake from 2005 where some of the survivors played a killgame with another survivor, shooting/sniping zombies that resembled (or were?) celebrities. Nope- it was actually normal people in a shopping mall and two killers. Horror wise, I found it slightly disappointing. Thriller-wise I also found it disappointing. There's two characters missing.

Even if you still heald the reveal what or who is being shot at, the "checklist" suggests that there is another set of people somewhere - maybe even at the same location- having the same 'scavenger hunt' if you will.
I don't mean it as an entirely bad thing, but I know you have done better.

09-12-2012, 04:19 PM

It's difficult to be fair to a script with such subject matter.
If someone thinks it is a good script, it doesn't mean they support the actions portrayed.
And someone shouldn't dismiss it just to save face.

So, technically, you did a good job.
You set out to trick the reader/viewer into believing they see two soldiers at war.
You create a perfectly acceptable situation. We are conditioned to even cheer on the characters when they begin shooting because we believe they are fighting for a cause or their country, whatever.
Then you do something very wonderful in your reveal.
You take a seemingly acceptable situation and turn it into something horrific and totally immoral.
The reader/viewer is thrust into a 180 degree turn. How could someone do this to their fellow man?

But, there's the paradox.

The only difference between acceptable and horrible is the identities of the victims.
We don't see the horror in two soldiers shooting at enemies because those victims are not us.

So on that level, you succeed and make us look at ourselves.

However, if it were filmed...I doubt many people would stop to ponder that point.
It would appear to be a heartless and mean-spirited film because there is no punishment for the snipers.

So, off the record, I think you did a good job.

I may be giving you too much credit, by this is what I derived from it. :)

09-12-2012, 04:39 PM
Thanks, dtroop, I like doing this little switcharoo sometimes in the hopes it makes people think.