Thread: The First Night

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    The First Night
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    Finally got this in.

    I want to apologize for submitting this late, and for going a page over the limit. Things came up pretty late that forced me to rewrite this from scratch(laptop charger broke). Couldn't quite manage to get it down another page without losing something vital.

    Logline: Tale of a young girl possessed by unknown forces, shown through her perspective.
    Genre: Horror, Mystery/Suspense
    NOTES: It's in the script already, but I'm sure many people will forget. But...NOTE: THE REST OF THE EVENTS OCCUR THROUGH THE PERSPECTIVE
    OF SHELBY. HER DIALOG IS ALL VOICE OVER. ALL OF IT(until a part at the end). They are her thoughts.

    dark-forest_00223493.jpg

    Hope you enjoy.
    Last edited by ZellJr; 06-12-2012 at 12:39 PM.


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    #2
    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    I look forward to checking it out.
    Chris Keaton - Writer | Website | Email | imdb |
    ______________________________________________
    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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    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    I think the whole Shelby's perspective thing actually hurt you. During the script there were several times were I think the audience would be better served with a change in perspective in both a storytelling way and a shock sort of way. It's hard to do reveals as POVs and you have several reveals in the script. I know you were going for a stylistic choice with the majority of the script as a POV, but I'd reconsider it.

    Perhaps it's my fault, but I didn't really follow the transition from Day to Night. I didn't understand how Shelby went from her first situation, arguing with her mother, to the chaos that ensues in the rest of the script. Her mother is telling her she has to leave and can't stay, but apparently her mother lost the argument because Shelby is in the same place and time has passed? With any script, clarity is really important. I get the feeling that you're holding back so that the reader gets the same surprise that the audience would. It's important to build suspense and interested in a script, but it needs to be balanced with a clear understanding of what's going on and sometimes a surprise has to be ruined in order to communicate that so that the film on the screen will have the intended effect. Does that make sense? Maybe I'm rambling at this point.

    Anyway, thanks for entering the fest. You've clearly got a strong vision for what's happening in this story. I just don't think I understood all of it.
    Chris Johnson


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    Quote Originally Posted by krestofre View Post
    I think the whole Shelby's perspective thing actually hurt you. During the script there were several times were I think the audience would be better served with a change in perspective in both a storytelling way and a shock sort of way. It's hard to do reveals as POVs and you have several reveals in the script. I know you were going for a stylistic choice with the majority of the script as a POV, but I'd reconsider it.

    Perhaps it's my fault, but I didn't really follow the transition from Day to Night. I didn't understand how Shelby went from her first situation, arguing with her mother, to the chaos that ensues in the rest of the script. Her mother is telling her she has to leave and can't stay, but apparently her mother lost the argument because Shelby is in the same place and time has passed? With any script, clarity is really important. I get the feeling that you're holding back so that the reader gets the same surprise that the audience would. It's important to build suspense and interested in a script, but it needs to be balanced with a clear understanding of what's going on and sometimes a surprise has to be ruined in order to communicate that so that the film on the screen will have the intended effect. Does that make sense? Maybe I'm rambling at this point.

    Anyway, thanks for entering the fest. You've clearly got a strong vision for what's happening in this story. I just don't think I understood all of it.
    Shelby and her family were intended to leave the following morning. I might not have specified. I wasn't really holding anything back, especially not for surprise.

    Shelbys motivations after being possessed are going to be the alien's of course. So with that you wonder what their motivations for going back to the house would be.

    Thanks for the read. Sorry for any confusion.

    Can't wait to get home to read the rest of these.


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    Senior Member Egg Born Son's Avatar
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    I'm not a huge fan of this sort of thing but this story sucked me in and drew me along to its conclusion. I actually enjoyed the forced POV experience. A whole film would be too much but a short, that's okay. The first time I played half-life, the beginning sequence where the controls are locked down were amazingly nerve wracking. It created a sense of unease, not knowing when the controls will be released and wondering whether I'll notice when they are and how much time I will have before being attacked. The forced POV of this script recalled that feeling.

    The building sense of dread was fantastic. I really enjoyed being pulled along and my imagination was going nuts. The ending seems a bit abrupt but after re-reading I think it would play out well on the screen. Maybe it's just the absence of THE END or FADE TO BLACK that makes it look unfinished on the page. Otherwise the script flows and it paced very well. Even though there wasn't much of a plot, just an execution of an idea, it was lean and mean and very well written.

    Unfortunately I had to mark you down on 2 counts. The first issue is you went overlength. I'm glad you were allowed to submit it but it has to be penalised for not meeting the requirements. An 8-page script would have ensconced this firmly in my top 3. Sorry. Second is the alien struck me as more a demon. If it wasn't alienfest it would not have crossed my mind that it was an alien. I read this as a monster movie regardless of any extraterrestrial origins. That said I loved your monster concept. Final thoughts - I can definitely see this script on the screen, well done.


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    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    Review thing.

    - Marge says 'We cannot stay' - unless this is a period piece 'can't' would work better.
    - Hmm, a full POV piece. Could be claustrophobic and ramp up the tension.
    - Try to lose the word begins from your screenwriting vocabulary.

    Uh, I just couldn't follow what was going on. How did she get to the weird place... heck what was going on. I think this may be one of those things that works better filmed than on paper.
    Chris Keaton - Writer | Website | Email | imdb |
    ______________________________________________
    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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    Eggborn Son, thanks for the review. For whatever reason I always forget to add "fade out" and "then". Glad you liked it.

    Chris, Marge was shouting that line. So it seems more than reasonable to use "cannot". What did you have trouble following? The logline explained that she was possessed by an outside force. And because she woke up in the strange place while still under foreign control, it's a good guess that she was taken there by that force.


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    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZellJr View Post
    Eggborn Son, thanks for the review. For whatever reason I always forget to add "fade out" and "then". Glad you liked it.

    Chris, Marge was shouting that line. So it seems more than reasonable to use "cannot". What did you have trouble following? The logline explained that she was possessed by an outside force. And because she woke up in the strange place while still under foreign control, it's a good guess that she was taken there by that force.
    Oh damn, now it makes sense. Unfortunately, I didn't read the logline. I like to watch a movie raw. However, everything I need to know should be in the script.
    Chris Keaton - Writer | Website | Email | imdb |
    ______________________________________________
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Keaton View Post
    Oh damn, now it makes sense. Unfortunately, I didn't read the logline. I like to watch a movie raw. However, everything I need to know should be in the script.
    I see. I would say you are the exception. Most people find out what a movie is about before watching it.

    Everything you need to know is in the script, it will just be harder to understand when you don't have anything to associate it with(other than the title).


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    Senior Member taylormade's Avatar
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    Sorry to disagree, but I should be able to get everything I need from the script without having to read a logline or other off the page explanations.

    To be honest with you, I found this to be a bit confusing. We start in Shelby's bedroom during the day. Is Shelby a girl or a boy? With that name it could be either. You never tell us leaving us to figure it out several pages later when she is identified as a "she.". We are told that the family has to pack up and leave, and there seems to be some urgency in the departure. A power failure is the main motivation, but Marge hints at some other danger. Shelby seems to realize this as her defiance "softens." Fine, I'm ready for the move.

    But now it's night and Shelby is in a cavern. Did she just blink and this happened? Has time passed? Not a deal killer, but confusing.

    She can't move her body but she can rise assuredly? Or did her body rise assuredly without her help?

    Since this is all Shelby's POV, how can there be a face jutting from the wall when you clearly state that Shelby doesn't see it? If she can't see it, neither can we.

    Shelby comments that, "This is a dream..." Then YOU tell us in your description that it is not a dream. How is the audience going to know that? Since we see everything from her POV and her thoughts, it could be a dream. We have no way of telling. There is no external confirmation being provided visually.

    I'm not sure what a "symphony of shrills" is.

    You state Shelby proceeds. Then she asks, "where are you taking me?" I'm still not clear if Shelby is moving on her own or "floating" since before she couldn't move her body.

    A glimmer of light would peek not peak.

    Shelby says, "Anybody! Is anybody out there?!" Then you tell us her words never escape her mouth. So is she talking or thinking this stuff? If it's all her thoughts, no need to tell us she never really spoke.

    She sees a body dragging across the woodland floor but doesn't bother to follow it, even with her eyes?

    On page 5 Shelby sees her home from the rear. How is the audience supposed to know this is her home? The only thing we've ever seen is her bedroom. Since it's her POV (as I continually point out), the only thing the audience will see is the back of some house. They can't know it's Shelby's place.

    She shuts the door, blowing the candle lights out. How can we know this since she's in the hall and the door to the room is closed behind her?

    How are we supposed to see a machete in Shelby's head in a POV shot?


    Most of this is so overwritten and literary, it's hard to wade through it. For the last few pages, the entire soundtrack seems to be made up of heavy breathing and Shelby's endless whimpers, cries, shouts, and screams. On screen this would be audio overkill to the extreme.

    Where is the alien encounter? The first alien encounter for the human race, by the way.
    Is the alien the ball with teeth and a tail on the floor?
    Why does Marge attack her daughter?
    Why does Shelby wake up in a cave and then float/walk back to her house to be butchered by her formerly concerned Mom? It's a long, long trip home with no real tension along the way. You could have easily cut three pages from the script by tightening descriptions and dialogue and come in under the 8 page limit. I think you need to retool the alien angle. It's like you had a horror script in mind and tried to force it into this fest's requirements.
    In its current state, this reads like a low-budget slasher movie with no other motivation than to put the typical helpless teen through hell before she ends up skewered on some piece of sharpened steel.

    Still, it had it's moments and the germ of a good script is in there. Thanks for the read.
    "If they move, kill'em!"


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