View Full Version : ScriptFest XIV: HolidayFest : Anthony Todaro's HOLIDAY CHEER

Anthony Todaro
12-15-2012, 08:22 PM



Egg Born Son
12-16-2012, 08:21 AM
Aw, it finished just as it got started. I'm all for scripts that don't explain everything but I felt this didn't explain much at all. In such a script I think it is important to trust that the writer knows exactly what is going on, even if I don't. Not just in the big picture but behind every word, and each word must underline the theme and symbolism. I definitely believed you had the big picture worked out but felt some passages were merely transitional and didn't contribute to the point. With a cryptic script theme and symbolism is paramount. Perhaps there is some subtext I'm missing.

After a few reads my best guess is that they were killed and she disappeared (off to heaven?) while he goes before the beast (hell?). This explanation is problematic. First they have a good relationship, unless his sin is shown his judgement is arbitrary. For her to be saved and he cast down, the nature of his sin is central. A hidden gun is too vague. Their (mortal) assailant is never seen. We only actually see him as a good man. We see the consequence but not the crime, effect but no cause.

I think part of the lack of structural focus is that it didn't know what it was trying to be: thriller, suspense or horror. You had introduction worked out, created sympathetic characters - the first two and a half pages function very well. You knew where you wanted to take it, the back section works well too, top of page 6 onwards works. But the middle section doesn't hold up as well and with the lack of explanation it needed to. It seems merely a transition between the two. It was unclear whether the themes and symbology were at play in the middle section and made it hard to trust in what I'm sure was a deliberate symbol - the two matches (only one of which is lit) representing the two of them and their ultimate fates.

What are "backmasked MOANS AND HOWLS"? Is it just a typo or editing error?

In spite of a slight lack of clarity and some arbitrary seeming steps in the structure I enjoyed this a lot. I started bored on the first page and got drawn in to the point I was left wanting more by the Fade Out. Only at the end did I feel it didn't add up. My criticism is driven by the fact that this was almost spot on, something I find far more frustrating than way off. You build atmosphere impressively. The pacing was well timed. While the dialogue seemed written rather than spoken, other than fleshing out David's character with his 'sin', the characters themselves were otherwise well drawn. Your handling of the supernatural events was very clear and easy to imagine. Overall I thought this was quite good and nothing a rewrite couldn't focus and tighten up.

Anthony Todaro
12-16-2012, 09:54 AM
Thanks for the read. Here's my retort.

The main claim here is that you didn't understand what's happening and that the piece lacks stucture. A fair claim.

But, through speculation, you explained exactly what's happening and that you indeed followed the structure. :)
Guessing you wanted to know for sure. Most do. I purposely didn't want you to, but am glad that you did figure it out.

Thanks for all the nice the compliments, BTW.

I didn't realize 'backmasking' was such an obscure word. Maybe I'll just say something municiple like, "evil moans..."
I thought everyone who was a Beatles, Ozzy or Hendrix fan knew what backmasking was!!! lol


Reef dreamer
12-16-2012, 01:38 PM
Hi anthony,

i like your writing and thought you handled the script very well, particularly the first half. The relationship had a natural feel to it and we could easily picture the scene. I have to say I didn't expect the outcome which on the one hand is good, indeed the scene whilst in blackout had a nice tense feel to it. What's going to happen etc ? But, on balance, it is too much out of the blue for my taste.

I went back over the script to see what foreshadowing I missed out on and didn't really see any other than the flashing clock but that was so well woven into the debate on time and guesses arriving that it doesn't give much of an idea of what could happen, but i accept it is there.

he has a gun, we assume its his, behind the plant pot with a black bag. He has had a "past" but appears to beyond this but our suspicions are nicely raised. What's going to happen? When it turns out they are dead, we don't know quite how or why, and actually in a mirrored dream world, it just did feel a bit, well...surprising.

A bit like the sixth sense where he has to learn he is dead, this is what they have to do, but we don't quite know why, how or what the power cut has to do with this journey.


A little more foreshadowing - strange events going on etc. talk between them of a bad night to have guests round.
more dispute between them, more unsaid and him needing something. If he is the killer, then some form of underlying anger/possessive emotion may help to add up to motive. If a third party, then again more suggestion.
A broken mirror - a sign of a fight plus the fact they are within it?
The heaven hell thing at the end - each to their own but it wasn't my thing. I could picture him having a what have I done moment, wanting to go to her for comfort, to say sorry, but she rejects him and disappears and he is left on his alone, without her, with the memory of what he has done - a haunting prospect. Real hell.

just thoughts.

All the best.

Anthony Todaro
12-16-2012, 01:44 PM
Thanks man. Much appreciated feedback.

I never said Heaven or Hell... You did! ;p muhahahahaha!

12-17-2012, 05:54 AM
Hey, Anthony.

You should have submitted to Bloodfest. Fits there very well.

Interesting take on altered reality. Made them think which is real, check out the other world and find their death, right?

One thing to consider - you could give us more hints for us to think if it was him who killed them in the altered reality (since he had a gun) or someone else. Otherwise I think it's someone else. But looked like he was cautious, kept his gun close and all - so he knew. But I want it to be him who killed them. Suppose in the altered reality they had a fight when in the real one they were a perfect couple. But then a perfect couple gets curious, and then the perfect couple can't go back home?

Anthony Todaro
12-17-2012, 11:50 AM
What's 'Bloodfest'?

Thanks for the compliments and suggestions!

12-18-2012, 04:34 AM
What's 'Bloodfest'?

I mean BloodGames Fest

Anthony Todaro
12-18-2012, 06:03 AM
I mean BloodGames Fest

Ahhhhh. Gotcha.

01-01-2013, 09:44 AM
You've already got my feedback. Now go film it. :)