Thread: Transmission

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    #11
    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    Review Follows:




    - Gotta learn to tighten your descriptions. At first luck a reader will grown by the huge descriptive blocks. For example:
    Lightning flashes illuminating a small weathered home at the base of a radio tower. (1 line verses 4)
    - One key to compressing and basically making an active and easy to read block is to avoid the words 'IS', 'ARE', etc. and any word ending in 'ING'.
    - Radio reveals are an easy, but terrible way to give out back story. In this case I would suggest just shortening it to a blurb about remnants of a supernova and then have the radio short fade out into static to emphasize the point.
    - what's an unsealed road? and why does it matter?
    - You can leave the Continueds
    - You used 'an almighty' as a description twice now and once was probably too much.

    I like the concept and the ending. It got a little confusing because I thought the couple was in control of the alien. I would say leave it a one location thing. Leave it at the house and then have the agent show up. Overall a good effort, just keep writing.
    Chris Keaton - Writer | Website | Email | imdb |
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    #12
    Senior Member Egg Born Son's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments Chris. An unsealed road is a road without the tarmac/asphalt layer, common in country Australia and used to indicate they are a long way from anywhere. The 'continued's were added by Celtx, couldn't find where to turn them off at the time (was delirious with fever when I wrote this). Have found the option since - future submissions will not contain them! In full agreement on all other points, thanks. Coming from a background of writing prose it is really hard to curtail my language and get those descriptions to flow like yours do. I love your script writing style and hope to one day achieve the same efficiency. And if I'd compressed 4 lines into 1, I would have had the room to expand the bits I wanted to. Doh!


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    #13
    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egg Born Son View Post
    ..... And if I'd compressed 4 lines into 1, I would have had the room to expand the bits I wanted to. Doh!
    That's the trick. ;)

    So instead of an unsealed road... how about a 'gravel road'. I guess you do have to use language your readers will understand, so if unsealed makes more sense than gravel, use it.
    Chris Keaton - Writer | Website | Email | imdb |
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    Samurai ScriptFest: A Dream of Electric Revolution (1st Place)
    Suspense ScriptFest: A Clockwork Darkened(2nd Place)
    Trapped ScriptFest: Trapped (3rd Place)


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    #14
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Chris (not me, the other one) is spot on about the descriptions and that was the first thing I was going to critique you on. Now I don't have to.

    Aside from that I really, really enjoyed the story. I liked how you tied in the history of the NASA message sent out and how that came back to us. I also thought your dialog was very well written. They felt like real people to me. This especially came to mind during the coffee discussion that Carol and Wilson have. I can see that playing fantastically on screen.
    Chris Johnson


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    #15
    Senior Member STYLZ's Avatar
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    That's how you execute an effective "Aliens are sending us a message" story. I enjoyed this. Although some people are mentioning your big descriptive blocks, I found this easy to read/follow. Not much to add here, very entertaining. Good job.


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    Senior Member Egg Born Son's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris(s) and STYLZ for your positive comments. It gives me a genuine buzz. I've been an active writer for a good 25 years but this is the first time I've submitted anything and my second script. It feels good.

    Without wanting to dwell on it an unsealed road is different to a gravel road. It is constructed as a normal road with drainage layers etc but unfinished without the protective seal of tarmac/asphalt. It doesn't really matter, I only made note of it because official sites all have unsealed access roads, more expensive than gravel, unfinished with a soft shoulder. I'm a tv distribution tech for my dayjob, this location is amalgam of a couple of actual places I work so I'm describing what's actually there.

    Chris K, I've re-read my script with new eyes since absorbing your criticisms. I keep coming back to your sample simplifying my description. Awesome. I realised that I used advice taken about writing action points and applied it inappropriately to descriptions, so huge lesson there. Just because they're written in the same place doesn't make them the same thing! After re-reading, I want to defend my use of the radio reveal (actually a tv reveal) and get your opinion on whether it is justified but not until after the votes are closed. I want it to stand on it's own merits for judgement.

    Thanks guys


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    Man, I'm not gonna lie. I was scared to read this. There is A LOT of black here. I can tell you came from a prose background(so did I, but my prose was already sparse. I was never a description guy).

    Good News: This can easily be remedied by breaking up the paragraphs into shots.
    Bad News: The pagecount will overshoot the limit.

    The bad news isnt so bad since it's already been submitted. So really, there's only good news! Yay!

    "The other side, a line of telephone poles stretch out like a string of tall crucifixes." You've done it. With this one line, you've successfully built tension, atmosphere, intrigue, and mystery. Well done. All the other lines of description are unnecessary. You could cut everything else and just leave this and the description of the field and the story would be stronger.

    "He stalks out". Don't think "stalks" is the right word.

    There is A LOT of room for tension and suspense in this story. Even the whole phone ringing thing towards the end. Can be done really well on screen. Utter silence. Everyone watching a ringing telephone, hypnotically. There's something frightening about that. Something eerie. Spooky. But utterly fascinating because it's been built up. It carries weighted implications.

    "Itís not a message, itís them!"

    It's not a message. This line, and the things leading up to it sent shivers down my body. I say end that trade of dialog there. We don't need the "what do you mean?" and the stuff after. Some confused looks will do just fine.

    I don't know what to make of all of it, but I do like the skill on display. I'm not sure how the manila folders tie in and I'll read over it to see if I can find out. I'm also not sure what role the boss played in all of it, but he sure seems suspicious. And the electric arc in Wilson's eye, I suppose represents the aliens(in the form of energy?) and perhaps they have possessed his body?

    I'd like the full explanation of this story if you dont mind.

    But overall I liked it. Very strong display of suspense and poise.

    Just shorten up those paragraphs.


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    #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by STYLZ View Post
    That's how you execute an effective "Aliens are sending us a message" story. I enjoyed this. Although some people are mentioning your big descriptive blocks, I found this easy to read/follow. Not much to add here, very entertaining. Good job.
    Oddly enough, I agree with this. Though the passages were big, they weren't hard to read. They were merely a cosmetic issue(not to say they're okay) as opposed to indicating overly wordy writing. The descriptions and action lines were simple and lean.


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    #19
    Senior Member Egg Born Son's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZellJr View Post
    Good News: This can easily be remedied by breaking up the paragraphs into shots.
    Bad News: The pagecount will overshoot the limit.
    Honestly you nailed it. I had to remove some whitespace to make it fit 8 pages. I could rework it now using Chris's tips to the same effect. I had already cut a page of description so I was nervous about cutting any more once it fit. I'd been sick in bed for almost a month and wrote it during a fever riddled couple of days which may have added to the atmosphere. It's a bit raw, normally I like to do a dozen revisions before I feel good, this was four. I felt I should have revised it once more, I submitted with 2 days to go - never hit a deadline before in my life! On the other hand I'm glad I didn't because I've received some valuable advice regarding mistakes I'm prone to.

    I'll be happy to give a full explanation after voting closes. Thankyou very much for your review. It seems it had pretty much exactly the intended effect on you. A writer can't ask for anything more.


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    #20
    Member dtroop506's Avatar
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    James,

    I'm glad you are feeling better.

    Just a few notes while I was reading...

    I saw your explaination about the huge blocks of description. I realized a good writer like yorself would never have a block of description thirteen lines long if it weren't for the fact you had to squeeze everything into eight (HA!) pages to please that tyrant Keaton. (Please don't tell him I said that.)

    I realize you realize the acceptable block is no more than four lines long.

    Having said that, your description and action lines are a bit flowery in a novelesque way. Remember you're writing a screenplay, not War and Peace. A location scout could never find these places as you describe them. Don't waste your words.

    Carol is a real smartass. I love that. The coffee scene rocks.

    Okay, so I really like this.

    Cut the scene with the Boss at the office and the drive to the Repeating Station. This will give you some space to separate your blocks of action without taking anything away from your story.

    I like everything in the middle.

    Cut the dialog after the Wilson "It's not a message. It's them." line. Have him pick up the phone and get zapped. End with a shot of him on the floor with the arch of electricity in his eye.

    Cut out the ambulance business. This will provide more space to separate your blocks of description.

    Final result... A WINNER! Good work!!


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