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    Member DarrenJSeeley's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Michigan, USA
    While the We Sees turned me off, and that last passage "And in the sky, the sun burns, as it has for many billions of
    years and will for many billions more."
    is forgivable since it is the last thing written. still, 'the sun burns' says everything.
    I can see the sun. I can't see billions of years in the past or future.

    When I read stuff like this and I start thinking of "Serpent and The Rainbow". "The Vanishing", "Buried" and "Kill Bill vol2" (quick: what do they all have in common?) it's not a bad thing. The script was very viscreal and, in spite of the we sees and the sun burning for a billion years...the horror-thriller concept/fear of being buried alive still works in spades.

    Great job.

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    Wow, that was pretty good! Reminiscent of "Buried," but with an interesting twist. The last shot and particularly the last line nailed the point home, which is what counts in a short script. I did feel the voice-over waxed a little poetic at times, but considering there appeared to be some sort of magical/religious/otherworldly slant to the turn of events, that fits the tone of the sub-genre you were working in.

    "Trying to make a movie in Hollywood is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it." - Douglas Adams

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    Senior Member DarkElastic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    Hi Sarah,

    As always, thanks for the read.

    Good idea.
    Well written.
    Easily filmable for a little budget.
    One of the worst trapped to be in, in my book.
    I like the time jump at the end. I can imagine panning up to see the future.

    Not so good:
    A recent film made about this subject.
    I thought this was a little safe for you (I sound like Simon Cowbell). I've read your stuff before so it's a little unfair as I automatically think of what's come before and I just expected something a little challenging, that's all.

    Overall, it is a good script. Thank you.
    Last edited by DarkElastic; 02-08-2012 at 05:19 AM.

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    Senior Member taylormade's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    St.Louis area, USA
    Wow, I was hoping someone would write a comedy for the fest! But, seriously, this dark little piece really worked. I like how the story flowed from thinking she was terrified at being buried alive to the horrible realization that she was buried for eternity and would never die.
    This is one of those stories that moves along so well, I didn't notice some minor discrepancies until I started to write this. In the beginning she is buried in a field and, at the end, this field has become a great city. Many, many years have passed, but in the beginning she has a lighter? This seems a little modern to me. Also, visually - to be fair - she would have to be wearing clothes from another time period. These are minor nitpicks, but I think it goes to the rather literary nature of your script. At times it reads more like a short story than a script. I especially point out your beautiful, but non script-like, description of the sun at the close. It reads beautifully, but I wouldn't want to be the director trying to tranlate that up on the screen.

    My complaints aside, I really liked this - very moving and totally creepy.
    "If they move, kill'em!"

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    Senior Member Bill Clar's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Lake Mary, FL
    Don't say "We descend" or "we move". Describing camera angles pulls me out of the moment and reminds me that I'm reading a script.

    Can you tell us anything about Anya? Age? Appearance?

    "Anya is quieter now." Don't say "is". Use present tense: "Anya quiets down".

    "1,2,3...". Spell out numbers use in dialogue.

    You have a good pace and tension. I like the fingernail scratching. Very primitive and brutal.

    I'd like to know how she ended up in the coffin. She found a way to cheat death, so what happened? How did she get buried?

    Your formatting issues are easily corrected. My only concern is the lack of a solid ending.
    So, you hate your job? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYONE. We meet at the bar at 5:00.

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    Senior Member Sarah Daly's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Thanks for the feedback all!

    Darren - cheers! Re: the use of 'we' - yep against the rules and all that. I used to avoid it but I've stopped being so anal about the rules so much since lately I'm writing stuff that I'll actually be making. But you're quite right. Not so great for a reader as it disrupts the diegesis, but functional for a film blueprint. Will get out of the habit again. Sorry bout that!

    Same goes for the poetic line at the end - all these books and lecturers tell you 'don't use poetic language - don't tell, show' but then you read scripts by the greats that have been made into successful films and they're just packed with language like that - so I just thought f*ck it. If it adds some drama to the script, and helps it to go out with a bang, then I'm doing it. And it's up to the director how he gets it across i.e. with a time lapse or a slow zoom in. it's not impossible to express visually - mister director just has to use his/her noggin. He's supposed to be the auteur after all :P

    I'd have to say, after a long time playing by the rules, I would now encourage folk not to be afraid to be a little flowery with their language now and then, at key points, in order to elicit an emotional response in your potential director/producer. And let the director figure out how to visually express your point later, after he's optioned your script. We give em too easy a ride sometimes :P Remember most directors won't know the nitty gritty rules of scriptwriting, but if they read something that captures their imagination, or creates an emotional response, then I reckon it's worth breaking the rules for. Us screenwriters hang each other over rules that directors mostly don't give a crap about. And I've been guilty of it myself in the past. but I think it's counterproductive.

    And that's my two cents!

    Bill, thanks for the feedback! For me, the whole point is that there IS no solid ending - only eternity stretching endlessly ahead of her. I tried to create a natural book-end with the opening and losing shots to frame the story. Sure, it;s not a satisfying ending and I get that one normally wants that - but this film is supposed to leave a feeling of unresolved unease with the viewer. You can get away with that in short films so why not. Re: how she got there - yep I did wonder about that - whether I should have given more backstory. But I decided to leave some mystery and not spell everything out. Also I wanted to make this easily shootable so chose not to include flashbacks etc. But I get where you're coming from - if this was expanded to a feature or part of a series then you would include more back story. I just don't think you could show the build up to this point in the time frame without it seeming rushed or superficial - the time seems better spent immersed with the character at the most dramatic point. But yep I see your point - it does have some of the feeling of a scene from a larger story rather than a short.

    I realise Buried was quite recent - haven't actually seen it though. Was the person immortal? Marketability-wise, it's not necessarily a bad thing when a similar project has been successful recently, as long as the second incidence has some unique quality. For the B-movie market, many thrive on having similar subjects/themes to recent blockbusters.

    Taylormade thank you! I get your point about the lighter/city. I sort of imagined it would be a new city something like Dubai so that it hasn't necessarily been 100 years but more like 20 - but you're right, she could perhaps initially be wearing 70s style clothes (cheaper than creating a futuristic city) :P Good catch!

    DarkElastic thank ya sir! Haha I'm not normally that challenging am I? I write pretty conventional stories! Anyway what could be more challenging than attempting to grasp the concept of infinity?! :P Infinity is aaaaaages!

    Michael yep I went sorta theatrical with the dialogue cos I figured I'd get away with it given the genre/subject. There's an implication that she's possibly from a former era but mostly I just wanted to be dramatic because I find naturalistic dialogue difficult and a bit dull to write :P So hopefully I got away with it!

    Thanks so much for reading and for the feedback, everyone!! I look forward to reading you guys' scripts too!

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    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Tucson, AZ
    I agree with you Sarah, but you must know the rules before you can break them. I only point them out when the don't benefit the story and I didn't really see any of that in this piece. I think you suceeded in a short that would be chilling to the viewer.

    The 70s clothes by the way is a great idea.
    Chris Keaton - Writer | Website | Email | imdb |
    Samurai ScriptFest: A Dream of Electric Revolution (1st Place)
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    Junior Member
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    Jan 2012
    This is a nice, seriously demented, little story.

    I think it would have been better with less or no dialogue.
    My main problem was placing this in a time frame. At the beginning, she's buried in a field, at the end her grave is under many feet of earth and a busy city street. So we're talking a lot of years. Decades at least, maybe a century or more. Considering she was buried with a cigarette lighter, that rules out being buried way, way back in the past. And her dialogue is contemporary. But at the end there's no indication that the city is in some far-distant future. I know it's short description, but it could be New York today.
    Another problem is something pretty common for stories where people are in complete darkness. After the lighter burns out, how do we see her?

    "ANYA (V.O.)
    And then the lights went out for

    Anya lies in the blue-dark of the coffin, glassy-eyed."

    Since a big part of the horror is the darkness and her fear of it, somehow showing her glassy eyes, necessarily takes away a lot of the fear factor.
    Of course, I might be overthinking this.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Harkus; 02-08-2012 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Clarity

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    Like others said, this needs timeframe. I had no idea she was immortal until I read these comments. But that's probably just me. I must have missed something.

    The writing was good, not confusing really or encumbering. But I do like the liberties you took with your "poetry". It was good but not overbearing.

    The story was way too similar to buried imo and that kind of diluted the effect, but then again, I didn't know she was immortal when i read it.

    All in all, I liked it. Definitely did.

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    Senior Member themightyshrub's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Liverpool - UK
    Loved this Sarah! It's a brilliant concept, and although it did make me think of Buried (which if you haven't seen, you definitely should), I really don't see how that should count against your script. Just because Speilberg made E.T., doesn't mean that you can't write about a kid who makes friends with an alien.

    What I really liked was that it kept me thinking throughout the story. I started off wondering why she was buried - who did it, and why? Then I was wondering what it was that she wished for that would have put her in this situation? Surely nobody would ever wish to be buried alive! And then when she talks about discovering 'a way to cheat death', it all clicked, and that was nice. Yes, it's an open ended script, but I wouldn't say there was no resolution. There may be no resolution for the character, but for the reader, it answered all the stuff I really really wanted answering, and left just enough to keep me thinking about the story, which really is what you want.

    I know a few people didn't like the line at the end as part of the action - I thought it was an amazing line, and the only thing that bothered me was that if it were actually filmed, the audience wouldn't get to hear it. Perhaps you could have included it in the voiceover as some kind of last line? I'm not sure how you cold work it in, but I'm sure you could.

    Overall, it was brilliant, and it definitely one of my favourites so far.
    Don't Say I Didn't Warn You! - Top Ten - DVXScriptFest III, Top Three - Zoetrope Short Script of the Month

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