Comments Made During the Contest
Aimee Parrott (Level 4)
I thought this was well-written and creepy. But in the end I wondered why a thief would stay in a house looking for a confrontation if his whole goal was to sneak in, grab the goods, and sneak out? It seemed like he was asking for trouble.One small formatting note (and I noticed this on another script, too, so it might be something that's getting messed up when you're saving it as a .pdf): your parentheticals are not formatted correctly. They're showing up on the same line as the dialogue, instead of centered under the character's name.
Alexia Glock (Level 3)
It reads like a ghost story at first. With doors opening, scurries. Even if we are willing to suspend disbelief that Graham can't see the old man, once we learn the old man can't see, the likelihood of such agility becomes unbelievable. And where the heck does the bone saw come from? His house has been broken into before which explains the gun but a call on a cell phone (traceable) to a cohort with whom he's obviously dismembered someone before? It just doesn't add up to a satisfactory conclusion.
Antonio Gangemi (Level 3)
Eerie as all hell.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Very good this was with tension and things happening on screen and the twist - at first thinking Graham was the householder and the other guy was the interloper...unpredictable and exciting.The thought occurs to me that the screen will be in blackness for most of the time - but I guess the eerie light from the phone will be used to good effect.Liked this a lot.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
This is really good. A real page turner (even if the pages are online). I love the mood you create and the attention to detail. The use of lighting and sound is fantastic. This would make a wonderful short film. My only complaint; I'm dying to know a little more about the old man, just another detail or two.
David D. DeBord (Level 5)
Reads like a shooting script at times, then a director's script.
Dino Barlaam (Level 3)
Great script! Tight, fits the thriller/suspense genre perfectly. Kept me going to the very end...love the revelation of the old man at the end, too! Well-structured, and very well written. I love the use of the cell phone as the only illumination...plays into the suspenseful story perfectly. Wonderful job!
Don Riemer (Level 4)
Very well done. Excellent visual atmposhere. Love the cell phone as flashlight. Scene description is a bit choppy, but very vivid. Great action throughout. I imagine the old man as a retired Mafioso, too stubborn to keep a bodyguard in the house. Neat.
Julie Stewart (Level 3)
Kirsten Bischoff (Level 3)
Agh! (that was my scream at the end) lol. I liked it. It moved very fast. I think you might take a little more time to set up the thief. Maybe make us look at him a little more like a "bad guy" in the beginning - make us think he is about to do something wrong to someone - so that when he gets his comeuppance from the old (dead?) guy - we are a little more surprised. But nice work.
Liz Messineo (Level 4)
This was well written and had a nice twist. I could picture the glow of the cell phone and the surrounding darkness.
Margaret Avnet (Level 4)
I like the fact that the writer keeps you in suspense. The writer is also fairly good at the descriptive aspect of the script. However, I think they should work on the formatting. I use FINAL DRAFT and things such as there was a pause would be centered not put to the left margin. It makes is look as if one is reading a novel rather then a script.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4)
Good stuff. A very suspenseful short with a great premise. Well written. I'm not sure if it's plausible that a burglar would go out without a flashlight, but it's necessary for this story to work so I think we can suspend disbelief on that one. I love how you use the dim light of the cell phone in this short. "Don't forget the bone saw." That line cracked me up. Not sure why :)I think this works just great the way it is, and I don't have any real criticisms. It'd take some clever direction to maximize the suspense in such a dark setting, but if done right it could make a good little shocker film.Nice work.
Melissa Mitchell (Level 4)
Premise and execution were handled well.
Nick Sidorovich (Level 3)
Nice ending. Reasonably tight story, but I'm not clear if the old man was a ghost or just old and blind. If he's old, he moves damn well for a blind geezer! Somewhat improbable action if it's not a ghost story. Minor gripe, but there is more than one way to say "turns quickly". You're a good writer, so try not to repeat yourself.
Pia Cook (Level 5)
This was the second script I've read so far that involves an intruder in a home. I liked this one and actually did get startled when Graham turned the phone on and the Old Man's face was right next to Graham's. Didn't see that coming. Great!
Rich Keel (Level 4)
I enjoyed this very much. Dark and sort of demented. But i wanted to know more about the old man. Why his eyes are tissue covered, you had two more pages to use...But the rest of it was well done.
Richard Bell (Level 3)
Kept me reading - quite suspenseful. I liked the use of the cell phone light - excellent way to set the scary tone - a modern-day candle in a haunted house - quite creative and effective. Good pacing - it kept me on the edge. I do have one or two thoughts. I found the use of exclamation points a little annoying - the action itself creates its own exclamation point. The other thought has to do with the entrance of Graham. At first I thought he was a father checking on his child - his "rather pleasant face" lead me in that direction. Of course, the switchblade gave other indications. Also, when he says "jackpot" I thought it was because of the lamp, not the jewelry box. The ambiguousness may have been intentional, but knowing that he is there to rob the place from the get-go I think would have added to the suspense. The imagery of the ghost is excellent and the final image is quite effective. Good work.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
Cool. I really felt the tension. Nice action. Would be a great short to film. I didn't buy the line "I tried it nice." Who says that? I always find it awkward that people call into the dark, not knowing who's there or how to confront them. I understand the drama of the situation but I find it tired. I'm not sure you need the Older Man talk on the cell phone to tell someone to bring the bone saw. Wouldn't it be more chilling to have it appear -- even if it's by the light of the cell phone -- just the gleen of the silver blade would be enough. I love the suspense genre and this one delivered.
Tracey Brown (Level 3)
Quite eerie and atmospheric. The capitals and exclamation marks were unnecessary, though. Liked the tissue over the old man's eyes.
Wenonah Wilms (Level 0)
Your writing is tight and you have great visuals. I think you setup good suspense with a nice payoff. For some reason, however I saw the ending coming with the whole "no lights" premise, like I'd seen it before somewhere. So, while the twist was good, it didn't surprise me. I know 5 pages is short, but I think you could have used that extra page for even more suspense, as the old man clearly knows his house in the dark better than Graham and he really could have been scared further (me too) :-) I liked your dialog and each person had their own clear voice. It was a fun read and I really enjoyed it, nice job! Good luck!
Wes Worthing (Level 5)
The descriptive writing worked to excite me at the right moments--well done. Nice creepy feeling being in the dark and only having a cell light to guide you. Leaves me wondering what painful near-future this thief will have!
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
The writing was solid. Both the pace and tension were constantly building. Not my type of story, but well done regardless.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 3/1/2007 12:14 AM
Charlie, Congratulations on second place. I really loved your script. The visuals are fantastic and I think it would make a wonderful film.
Julie Stewart (Level 3) ~ 3/1/2007 2:33 AM
Charlie - this would be a great film, as I said before, "scared me". Congratulations.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 3/1/2007 10:54 PM
Thanks, guys. It was a very pleasant shock, the scoring was so close with so many great writers, I really didn't think I'd be in the running. Can't wait to fix it up now with all the comments.Love this site, Chris.Charlie
Wenonah Wilms (Level 0) ~ 3/4/2007 12:46 PM
Charlie!!! Congratulations, man! Well deserved for a fantastic writer. :-) I look forward to all your scripts in the months to come. Wenonah
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 3/12/2007 1:31 PM
I really did enjoy this one.Congratulations!Pia
Joe Randazzo (Level 1) ~ 8/21/2007 6:20 PM
This was an excellent script.