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    The Cult (11:49)
    Plot Outline - a former mental hospital patient returns home to find out that his ordeal isn't over.

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    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    West Michigan
    I think you have an intriguing script. It kept me interested throughout.

    One minor suggestion, you're using stocker, spelled this way it indicates a person that stocks shelves. If you were going for a person that follows someone, then it would be "stalker".
    I think you could eliminate the Ryan character, it just slows the pace and takes away from the suspense you're building. Jake could have called the cops himself, but I'm assuming that the antagonist would have told him not to call the cops in the first place.
    After they getaway, why would they go home? I think they would go straight to the police. Maybe you could make it so that they getaway initially, but then they get caught again. Something like, the wife loses control of the car or gets hit by another car leaving the alleyway or something along those lines.

    I think you have a good idea here, it just could be developed a bit more.
    I was hooked from the beginning and you did a good job building the suspense. I really wanted to find out was going on and what was going to happen to Jake. Good job.

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    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Springfield, MO
    I agree 100% about eliminating Ryan. He muddles the script for me and I had to slow down my reading during that point to follow the action. Keep it simple and let it flow.

    I personally wasn't that interested in the script until you revealed the cult stuff. Then it started to pick up and I wanted to know why they felt the visions were holy. I get the impression that you left that intentionally vague, but it was the main sticking point of my curiosity.

    Also I don't really feel like the motivation for Jake to toss his medication was really there. If I were in his shoes and there was a cult built up around something that happened to me I'd make darn sure not to be in that position ever again, hence I'd probably overdose on the meds instead of throw them away. I guess Jake tossing them made it feel like he was interested in his role, or was starting to believe the clut business as well. I didn't get that feeling from him at any other point in the script. It's some food for thought anyway.
    Chris Johnson

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    Thanks for the constructive criticism!

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    Senior Member
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    Sep 2007
    I like the concept. My main comment would be that I would like to have learned more about what Jake's hallucinations actually were. As it stands, his hallucinations are a McGuffin (a plot device that moves the story forward but isn't important in and of itself). It might be hard to do in so few pages, but I would like to see an ending in which Jake has to use his hallucinations to evade or defeat the cult leader and save his wife.

    I agree with Krestofre that there really appears to be no motivation for Jake to ditch his meds. I suppose one potential motivation would be that Jake intends to induce and record his hallucations in order to find out if they have any hidden meaning or if he indeed has a special power. Either way, his motivation needs to be explained or at least hinted at.

    Does Jake have a ghost/demon (in the metaphorical sense)? The reason I ask is that you could incorporate it into the script by having Jake think that the reason he's being followed because of something he did in the distant past. This would fit in with the line the Stalker says, "I think you know what I'm here for." I think it would add another element of suspense to the story.

    Lastly, there was awkward phrasing throughout the script that slowed my reading down. For example, "Jake stares him down, but the stocker keeps on coming, eventually stopping and staring back at Jake on the other side of the car." Potential alternatives could be "but the stalker doesn't break stride" or "but the stalker pushes forward." This is more a style issue than anything else, but I thought I'd point it out since no one mentioned it yet and I noticed such phrasing throughout.

    Good luck in the contest and please give the Reunion a read if you have time.

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    Senior Member Captain Pierce's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    I'm from Iowa--I only work in outer space
    The biggest problem I have here is with the Stalker's speech at the top of page 7. Not only is it a big honkin' chunk of exposition, it also goes against probably every hospital privacy law on the books. I think it would be better to have either the Stalker (or even better, another member of his cult) have been involved with Jake's case somehow, and then that cult member could have taken it to the Stalker.

    I also agree with btangonan that it would have been good to know more about what Jake saw in his hallucinations.

    Also, just who the heck shot the Stalker? It seems to have been Jake's wife/ex-wife (which, by the way, you're a little inconsistent about), but it's never really spelled out for sure.

    Finally, why did Jake throw out the meds? As krestofre said, it's hard to imagine that nearly getting killed by some psycho who wanted him to stop taking the meds would actually make him stop taking them. (Especially when he's just said, "I don't want to be a part of this anymore." Although, honestly, that "anymore" is odd--has this happened to him before?)
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    I'm trying to get all the scripts I've read commented on so sorry if i repeat what others may have said but I didn't read comments.
    Anyway I really like the concept. Like my script I didn't guess that was the direction you were going in until i read it so that's a good thing. The whole script felt like it was quick which is also good because that means the pacing is well done. I think you may even be able to cut alot of dialogue out, some dialogue seemed repetitive at times. Overall the only problem I did see was some spelling mistakes but thats 90% common in writing. I wish we knew a little more about the cult as well. Maybe if you shorten the dialogue that seems repetitive a bit you can add more dialogue to give more of a backstory for the Cult. That's all, well done!!! Hope you can take some time to comment me back. Thanks. Sorry for grammar mistakes i'm typing very fast at work lol.

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    But for a first-time script that I didn't have time to revise, it's okay right?

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    Junior Member
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    May 2008
    Nice job. I can see this movie, you've succeeded in painting a picture in my mind. With a rewrite of your action/description paragraphs the flow will definitely improve, but yes for a first draft, I got the gist of 11:49.

    I wrote the notes below before reading others' feedback here. It seems I'm in agreement with some of what has already been said...

    My notes:

    I think you could focus your first story rewrite around plausibility and logic issues...

    Jake physically assaulting Stalker with crow bar seems extreme reaction to a verbal taunt... escalate conflict before responding with violence

    publishing Jake's medical/psychiatric condition in a newspaper would go against his privacy rights... find another way for cultists to know about Jake (did Jake publish his hallucinations himself? on a blog, or other media? was Jake out of his mind when he did this, and is he feeling the repercussions now?)

    we have your wife… Jake accepts this very quickly, with no questioning

    wife, or ex-wife?

    Ryan disappears from script - use him again, or cut him

    feels like a zombie movie - Shaun of the Dead - Jake bashes cultists with crowbar, gets away a little too easily

    Jake-worship not explained fully enough, find it difficult to believe that they would kidnap his wife (and plan a cell phone delivery three years earlier); also, parcel out the exposition

    where did Jake get his pistol from?

    wife shoots Stalker through the wall? - give climactic action to Jake... wife can still support Jake, but if she does it's because Jake's earned the right to her support; right now they've got no lines together; right now, I'd believe it if she ended up shooting the Stalker and Jake; show some moment of reconnection between husband and wife, before climax

    Jake tosses his meds at the end? Why? Because they were suppressing his gift? Doesn’t he want to suppress his gift? Especially if his gift means that crazy people will stalk him, kidnap his wife, then force him to reveal his "signs"?

    Jake's gift has created a dilemma for him. What has Jake lost as a result of his gift? Conversely, what has he gained?

    We hear about, but don’t see any of Jakes hallucinations - perhaps he should still be struggling with them… perhaps his hallucinations are telling him that he has a higher power and must lead people to salvation, but he struggles with believing this (inner conflict)... at the end he must make a choice, accept what his mind and his followers are telling him, or reject it and come back to the world of sanity and his wife.

    What happens at 11:49 PM on this day?

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