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    #21
    Member dtroop506's Avatar
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    Chris,

    I liked this one. If something like this would happen, how would we react as humans? We absolutely would turn on the TV to see how the media reacted.

    Just some notes as I was reading...

    Tear drop shape? Tear drop shaped UFO? Cloud?
    Lasers begin firing... (Lasers fire)
    You are too good a writer to write in the Present Continuous Tense.
    Lasers begin firing from the tips of the tentacles, shootingdown to the Canyon floor. (wimpy)

    Lasers fire from the tips of the tentacles and strike the Cayon floor. (awesome)

    UNDETERMINED It's around three am, so it's kinda night time, but technically it's morning, but the sun isn't up yet, so really it's still night. Like, whatever.


    Most scientists in movies wear white lab coats.


    Okay, the Jay Leno joke is great. The high point for me. Kudos.


    But, the ASTRONAUT can see the numbers from space?


    I liked the bit about the liberals using this to take attention away from the primaries.

    O'Reilly on Fox News would have blamed Obama (by name) of using our tax dollars to pay illegal workers to carve the numbers in the canyon and claim he had proof.


    Why is Planet Silos number 1379? It's not even in our solar system.


    I also agree the numbers should be symbols. But if this alien race speaks English we should be in the clear.


    Okay, what I get out of this is there is a supreme being who has the capability (and time) to travel throughout space and number all the planets. Sort of God's census taker.
    Should we fear this being? Are we and others planets being catalogued or numbered for invasion?
    I have no problem with ambiguous endings. We should be able to think for ourselves and have our own opinions.


    So, overall, very good. Thanks for the entry. And good luck.







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    #22
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Man, two knocks for "UNDETERMINED". I was taught that undetermined was a valid script element and a reference to a specific type of lighting. Namely you couldn't see any indication of what it was like outside. No windows in the shot. No unmotivated lighting to give away a specific time of day. Etc.

    But that's cool. I am genuinely greatful for all of the feedback!
    Chris Johnson


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    #23
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    As always, script comments are more opinion than anything else.



    Opening scene ...


    This …

    BLACK SCREEN
    Thousands of voices scream out in panic.


    I’m not so sure five-thousand voices would sound all that different than one-thousand. There must be some critical mass quotient at work, like along the lines that one can only fall so fast.

    That said, what about …

    BLACK SCREEN
    A Thousand panicked screams.


    Three less words and no redundancy (scream and voices). That and voices don’t scream, people and other living creatures do. And, ‘voices scream’ hinges on passive use of the verb. Make it a noun and all is well. Not that any of this would change how it translates to film, just a smoother blueprint.

    This …

    A gigantic tear drop shape hovers in the sky above the Grand Canyon. Tentacle-like structures extend from the shape on all sides. Each tip of the tentacles have a device
    resembling the nozzle of a fire hose.


    First the grammar …

    You are using tear drop is a compound adjective, so should read tear-drop.

    ‘Each tip’ is singular, and dictates the verb HAVE to be HAS. If it were ‘the tentacle tips’ then it would be HAVE.

    Redundancy …

    Your slug already has GRAND CANYON, so you can lose it in the text block. Hovers would by default be somewhere in the sky, so you can lose that as well. A few too many ‘the’. You have already established we have a shape, so you can toss that, too.

    Odd bits …

    Not sure a tentacle would be classified as a structure. Sounds off somehow. That and a teardrop is more or less round, so it would not have sides.

    Okay, a cleaned-up version might read something like this …

    A gigantic tear-drop shape hovers. Tentacles extend in all directions, each tipped with a fire hose-like nozzle.

    38 words down to 19 to say the same thing.

    This …

    The crowd of tourists and park workers split. Half of them
    run away screaming and half of them stay to watch and take
    pictures.


    You open with ‘THE’, which assumes you have already introduced the crowd of tourists and park workers (I would cap both). You introduced screams, so you need ‘A’ crowd …

    So, are there thousands of them, as indicated in the opening black screen? I think for that reason you can also lose the word ‘CROWD’. Are they screaming as they take pictures? And a 50/50 split sounds unlikely.

    Maybe try something along these lines …

    TOURISTS and PARK WORKERS run in chaos. A few BRAVE SOULS stay close, take photos and video.

    24 words down to 17.

    These …

    Lasers begin firing from the tips of the tentacles, shooting down to the Canyon floor.

    More panicked screams, fewer and fewer people remain behind to witness the event.


    They begin, or they ARE firing? Lose the ‘begin’ and you can also lose the ING form verb. And you’re slipping onto passive again.

    The word down can go as it is obvious the canyon floor is below the shape.

    Maybe along these lines …

    The tentacles fire lasers to the Canyon floor.

    More panicked screams, a few Brave Souls flee.


    28 words down to 16 to say the same thing. Always strive for brevity, without sacrificing clarity.

    Above I did cap BRAVE SOULS as I would see them as a unique group a casting coordinator would separate out as featured extras. I cap the first letter thereafter as I see a role the same as a character name, and you would cap that name just the same. John Doe, Brave Soul.

    All this …

    The tentacles continue their intricate patterns of moving
    and firing. Bits of rock fly out of the Canyon and a cloud
    of dust begins to hover.

    The lasers stop. The tear drop shape ascends into the sky.
    Gone.


    The tentacles continue their intricate pattern? When were we told about that? I’d add that up where it would first be seen – either in the first intro, or when they fire for the first time.

    There’s that word ‘begins’ again.

    The laser stops? Passive use.

    Along these lines?

    The tentacles continue firing. A plume of rock and dust moves skyward.

    The tentacles stop firing. The shape ascends straight up.
    Gone.


    Note the rare use of ING, but continue is one of those words that like an ING verb to follow, as is stop (stop smoking, stop eating, stop complaining, continue editing).

    Anyways, just things that jumoed out.

    On to story ...

    This is very clean and has a great pay off. Kind of like delinquent aliens tagging heavenly bodies for kicks. At least that's what I got from it. I think the dialoue could be a little more crisp and current. This, for example ...

    YOUNG SCIENTIST
    I’m suggesting that I don’t know
    what happened or what it means.
    Anyone saying differently is
    selling something.

    The whole 'is selling something' is really dated. My Grandfather used it, and I have rarely heard it since. This is a young scientist, so I just don't buy he or she would use that old phrase. Also, maybe carve the newscaster speak down to info bits more in line with how they really deliver news.

    Enjoyed the read, well paced and structured. I really wasn't expecting the ending, and the punch line was short and sweet. Not over-played at all.

    A
    Last edited by alex whitmer; 06-21-2012 at 11:26 AM.


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    #24
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Excellent, detailed, and helpful critique. Thanks a ton, Alex!
    Chris Johnson


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    #25
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Hey Chris....really enjoyed this script. I see some have already brought the "Lasers begin firing" type of stuff, so I won't.

    It didn't distract me from the story anyway....I love the premise, very original perspective to set the story. You cover all the bases, science, politics , religion, comedy and even the crackpot gets his say.
    I like how it all comes back around at the end, didn't see that coming. Sure, they used earth numbers, I'm kind of torn on that. It didn't really take away from the story, so great job, enjoyed reading this one. Thanks.
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

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    #26
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris. Hope it was useful.

    The rest of page 1 ...

    This ...

    INT. APARTMENT - UNDETERMINED

    A television is turned to the news. A NEWSMAN, 50’s, is
    broadcasting.

    Can't say I have ever seen UNDETERMINED. If all we see is the television at an undetermined time of day, why even put apartment? Reading forward may answer that.

    You have A NEWSMAN. Newsman is this character's name, so you don't need to put A. It's like saying 'A SALLY reads the letter'. Next, Newsman isn't braodcasting, the station is. Newsman would be reading or shuffling notes as he delivers the news.

    NEWSMAN
    It has been fourteen days since the
    mysterious vessel left us a message
    on the floor of the Grand Canyon.


    I think this can be trimmed to news-speak ...

    It's been fourteen days since the
    mysterious vessel left what appears to be a message
    in the Grand Canyon.


    This ...

    The image on the television shows helicopter footage of the
    Canyon floor. Carved into the ground is the number "1378."


    Hmm. Helicopter footage would be of helicopters, or at least that was what I thought when reading it. Maybe '... shows canyon footage from a helicopter. The number '1378' is cut into the canyon floor'. Or just 'ariel footage of the canyon'.

    NEWSMAN
    Scientists are baffled and split in
    their opinions.

    I think a news reporter would use 'disagree'. They always dumb down and simplify the word choice to appeal to the mid and low end, and 'baffle' is not in common usage these days. You sometimes hear this less-common vocabulary when newscasters exchange a few thoughts outside the straight delivery. People being interviewd will also have a different vocabulary than standard news-speak.

    Scientsts disagree.

    This ...

    An OLD SCIENTIST in a while lab coat appears on the screen.


    Here again, lose the article when introducing a character.

    This ...

    OLD SCIENTIST
    The question has finally been
    answered. We can say with absolute certainty and scientific accuracy
    that we are not alone in the
    universe.



    'absolute certainty and scientific accuracy' feels redundant. I think it has more punch with just absolute certainty.

    a
    Last edited by alex whitmer; 06-23-2012 at 10:16 AM.


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    #27
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Great feedback Alex...I always get a lot out of your critique and the great thing is...it doesn't even have to be my material.
    I know I made some of these same errors in my own script and now I want to go back and fix them.

    This script was one of my favorites of the fest.
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

    Need a short script?
    Have an idea? Want to collaborate? Contact me.

    screenwriter75@yahoo.com


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    #28
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Congratulations Chris! Well deserved finish, I really liked the unique angle you took with this script. Well done!
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

    Need a short script?
    Have an idea? Want to collaborate? Contact me.

    screenwriter75@yahoo.com


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    #29
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    Congratulations, Chris! It was lovely.


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    #30
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    Pop that feather in your hat!


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