Thread: Dead Men

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    Dead Men
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    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Throwing my hat into this ring.

    Dead Men

    When a recently deceased man runs instead of going into the afterlife, a preternatural being pursues him and discovers what he's really chasing.
    Chris Johnson


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    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Wow! Good logline, I'm hooked. I look forward to reading it.


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    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Thanks. This post has been delayed several weeks as I've tweaked that one blasted sentence! Still, good practice I guess.
    Chris Johnson


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    Senior Member mentatDUKE's Avatar
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    krestofre, this was an interesting take on the grim reaper story. I like how you seamlessly set up the "rules" of the universe through the staging and description. Your addition of humor to the gim proceedings was a good choice and brought some texture to the Dead Man. "Looks like you've been a good girl" and "Sorry about that one, buddy." were my favorites. It shows that he does this day in and day out, and often has to humor himself in order to stay "sane".

    Introducing Daniel into the story definitely helped with the exposition, as he was essentially a stand-in for "the audience". My only problem with this section was the fact that Daniel seemed to accept that he was dead, but kept trying to talk to the waitress. It seemed like you wanted to use the "Stop ignoring me" gag, but couldn't really justify it in the context of the story.

    Another minor complaint is the fact that Daniel's girlfriend died the same day he did. This is fine, but the fact that she died from a totally unrelated slip in the shower didn't really work for me. Firstly, not many young people die from slips in the shower. Usually only elderly people do. Secondly, it may have worked better from a storytelling perspective to have the deaths be more tightly coupled. I think it would have worked better if her death was a suicide in response to his death. That way, you'd have a red light (instead of a blue one) when the fingers snapped and Daniel's decision to follow her into the tunnel would have resonated more. As it stands, the ending doesn't seem to work for me.

    Very creative ideas with a lot of good execution. Just a few sticking points here and there. Looking forward to seeing more from you. Good job.
    Last edited by mentatDUKE; 05-03-2008 at 01:40 PM.


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    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentatDUKE View Post
    My only problem with this section was the fact that Daniel seemed to accept that he was dead, but kept trying to talk to the waitress. It seemed like you wanted to use the "Stop ignoring me" gag, but couldn't really justify it in the context of the story.
    Interesting comment. It was actually the "Where's my wallet?" "With your body." dialog that I struggled to get into the script, but your point is well taken. I was so enamoured with the "With your body." line that I probably didn't vet that portion of the script as well as I should have and came up with some contrivances to get it in there. I'm not entirely sure that it doesn't work, but you make a valid point and one that I'm going to spend some more time pondering.

    Daniel's decision to follow her into the tunnel would have resonated more. As it stands, the ending doesn't seem to work for me.
    I see where you're coming from. My thought process was that this is the Dead Man's story, not Daniel's. Daniel doesn't really change during the course of the story, as you pointed out, being dead doesn't even really phase him from a personality or character stand point. Instead it's the Dead Man that actually grows and at the end of the script sees hope for the first time in a long time. That is what was really important to me, so the fact that what happens between Daniel and his girlfriend at the moment of death is really inconsequential and why it happens off screen. You get it from the setup of the story, but we stay on the Dead Man leading up to, during, and after the climax to maximize the effect on him as a character.

    So that's my justification for how things play out. As far as the cause of death, well, the suicide thing is a little over done in my opinion, and coincidences don't bother me as a writer or viewer. I've seen coincidences in my own life that I wouldn't believe in a million years if they were in a movie, so I guess I've built up a stronger suspension of disbelief.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read the script and post your comments. I can't express how valuable the feedback is.
    Chris Johnson


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    Pain in the ass Mark Harris's Avatar
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    Good stuff. Nice take on an OLD idea. And good characters. So far, I am impressed with a lot of these, and wonder why so many DVXUser fest films have such bad writing if we have so many decent writers here...anyway.

    I think if had any suggestions, I would illustrate the two in one light idea in action, instead of having him describe it. I know it works fine describing it, but I thought it would be nice to take the new guy through one job first and then have the subject come up.

    Also, as far as the girlfriend goes, I hear what you're saying about coincidence and I am right there with you. The problem is, it feels like the characters are doing what the writer wants them to do instead of what they want to do.

    And a simple way around it is, why is this his first? Why not have him settle into the job for a while and then she dies like 10 years later? Have it like No Exit where time on Earth goes by faster than time for these guys. Give some opportunities for nice visuals too. Seems to me that would get what you want and silence any critiques on that subject. What do you think?


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    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    First of all, thanks for calling me a decent writer. That means a lot to me.

    Secondly, your suggestions are strong ones. I really like the idea of letting time pass between Daniel's death and his girlfriend's death. That strengthens the impact of the scene simply because she's had to live without him, then there's longing from both ends. And you're right, that it solves all of the problems in one simple swoop. I wish I'd thought of it.

    Point well taken on the diner scene as well. Show them don't tell them. I have to repeat that to myself constantly while writing a script. I don't know about you, but the first draft of my scripts are nothing but long soliloquies that I mercilessly tear to shreds on the first rewrite. Practically all of that exposition could be rewritten as action which would make for a stronger script.

    Thanks for the suggestions and time, Mark.
    Chris Johnson


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    Vacuum Tube Member Paul Hudson's Avatar
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    Good Job!
    Paul
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    Phoenix Video Productions


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    Senior Member mjjason's Avatar
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    I really liked the concept and the overall story though I think Daniel's portion kind of hurt the overall script. Mark Harris' idea is a great one. It allows the story to grow and gives it more depth. I think you have something that you can flesh out here a bit further.

    Format and writing wise I thought it was ok though in some portions the tone seemed off. The story and dialog had a lighter tone but for some reason I was expecting something darker. I think the first few sentences with the heartbeat and death clock set a dark mode but the dialog countered that. It made it awkwards at times.


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    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    I like the new take on the grim reaper scenario. I really liked the character (Dead Man) you created.
    When I read it, the coincidence of her dying didn't bother me, but the way she did. I just didn't really buy it, anything is possible, but for anyone(especially someone young) to actually slip in a tub and break their neck. I think it takes quite a bit to break a neck. Maybe if she died some other way.
    But really, I feel like I'm nitpicking, because it really wasn't that big a deal for me and I don't have any real criticism. I thought it was solid throughout.

    I agree with the idea stated above about letting some time pass, that would certainly add depth to it.

    Overall I thought this was an excellent and well executed script.


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