Comments Made During the Contest
Amanda Sidorowicz (Level 4)
This is very good. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Your format is almost perfect. Just put a space before the dash in the scene headings. The voiceovers work well, and your story is fantastic. I like how much your developed Harry in five pages. I also like the parallel of the "nobody ever talks ill of the dead" thing. It really brings the story full circle.Great job!
Ashley Croft (Level 3)
Great work. I like your writing style and the way you laid out this macabre setting, very good indeed.
Ben Verschoor (Level 1)
The use of two not-often-used "occupations"--an albino and funeral director--in one character, and in a way that complements the story works very nicely. There are some great lines ("bringing the dead back to life"), and information is revealed quite effectively.Narration was overall strong, though the bit about Albert Lackey having been a jerk could be stated less obviously.Mother doesn't need to scream; she's probably used to Harry receiving such treatment.Also, you should almost certainly opt for a taunt other than Casper the Friendly Ghost, as this is a copyrighted theme song and may limit production chances.On the whole, though, well done.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
Well written and paced. Solid story, very sad. Nice work on this one. I didn't notice any room for improvement here. Very nice work!
Calvin Peat (Level 4)
This script is a little cold and depressing, although perhaps that's the tone the writer wanted to evoke.The ending is good, with a surprising twist, and regains the reader's attention in a script that otherwise seems to drift slowly. However, I think that the script would have played better in a more chronological order, perhaps with this still as the last scene, but revealing the "twist" much earlier, so as to make the reader more aware of Harry's conflict in his attitude towards Marcus.A dash should have a space on either side of it, so "EXT. GRAVEYARD- DAY" should be "EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY", for example."A cold winters day." should be "A cold winter's day."
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
I thought this was very good. I DO like interesting characters and stories that are out of the ordinary - get weary of reading the same old same old - so this ticked the boxes for me.I wasn't QUITE sure what Marcus DID do to Harry, apart from joining in with the bullies, or not protecting him, but there was a gap in the story for me - why did Marcus go away? I thought the opening scene, with the details, even the name of Albert Lackey mentioned, was superfluous, at least too long, too much weight given to it. You could have achieved the same effect and not unbalanced the script with a fraction of this.You say that Young Harry was meant to be about 8 years old? In that case I think slashing his wrists would be unlikely (as a means of attempting suicide) I feel that hanging would be more credible, and would still fit into the story.Neat twist that Marcus was his brother.Well done!
CarrieAnn Lee (Level 3)
I feel for albino children and teens. Once when I was walking into a gym with my girl's BB team; we passed by an albino teenage boy. Just about all of my girls took long second looks at him and made hushed remarks that I'm certain he heard. This was one of the nicest group of girls I had ever worked with. I was surprised by their unkind reaction to this fellow. It was so out of character for these girls to do something like this. If you were hoping to pull on some heart strings - you succeeded with me.What the %#@8 is wrong with Harry's mom? Her boy is humiliated and assaulted to the point where he wants to kill himslef and she doesn't find out who is responsible? The woman isn't worth her own salt. I have a hard time beleiving that a mortician would be expected to work on his own brother's body. As the reader of your script, we know when you are indicating who Marcus is, but you need to show this on the screen (in the action or have a character say his name). How will they be able to tell that the child Harry is actually the adult Harry(especailly a dead one). Give some little clues.This was a good attempt, but not entirely convincing for me. Your formatting was good except for a few dashes and dots.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
Very nice work here.I figured Marcus was his brother half-way through, really like the idea. Not sure I like or buy the reveal, though - the picture graveside of Marcus and Harry as boys with their Mom - doesn't seem realistic but a way to make sure that the viewers get that Dead Marcus and Marcus the boy are one in the same and Harry is his brother.Not sure how someone viewing the movie knows the young boy is Marcus (you tell us, but no one on the screen says his name - nothing to indicate who he is). I found this a very original piece, with some really sharp dialogue LOVE the tie back with the closing line. Keep up the great work.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Brilliant. I loved it.The style of this is phenomenal. The way you move effortlessly from location to location and through time. The voice-over dialogue is excellent. The story is haunting and the twist is perfect.My only suggestion (a small one), find another way to say "We don't see his face." Don't inject your audience into the story.Excellent.
Courtney Love (Level 2)
Hon ron! That's homerun in Spanish. I loved every bit of this one. Well played, well written, thoughtful, fulfilling work!
Dan Lennox (Level 5)
This was excellent! You did an amazing job in capturing and drawing me into the story. I couldn't wait to turn the page and see what happened next. Nothing more to say on this one. You have excellent style and clearly good command of your craft. I look forward to seeing this in the winners circle. Well done.
David Birch (Level 5)
well structured, well written, nice formating...generally speaking, it is best to avoid sentences with "and", also those "ly" words...so, writing "slowly and softly" might be better done another way...but, more than that it might be done better by not assigning any specific voice unless it will be "out of the norm"...we expect a therapist to speak "slowly and softly"...inform us if he speaks differently...the old "don't tell us that water is wet" axiom...that being said, with a few left to review this was the best submission so far...thanks
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
This entire peice read like a funeral dirge. Tones of black and grey. Very creepy and unsettling dialogue. Good job.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
"A cold winters day." Should be: "A cold winter day.""Young Harry (8) ..." Try: "Harry (8)" Don't need the word "young" - we know he's eight so we know he's young.
Javier Torregrosa (Level 4)
It's interesting to a point. You need to tidy your script, starting with your format and then your grammar. You need to add a FADE IN: after the first dialogue has been spoken because as it is now. The coffin is getting lowered with a black screen still present. Your slugs need to be tidied up. I.E. INT. OFFICE - DAY If you write like this then there's no problem. Start the FLASHBACK on your next line and if the next scene is still in the day, don't write 'same', write CONTINUOUS or drop it altogether.You do a have mysteries story that lacks an explanation at the end. I haven't a clue what's gone on. Marcus has done something and it's a secret from the reader and viewer that only Harry and his mother knows. Otherwise I've missed a vital point and this'll have to be highlighted to me.All the best.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
This was a nice character study, and I liked the situation. The idea of an albino mortuary worker was good, figuratively and visually. A creative director could do a lot with this. You had a rich situation, but I had trouble finding the story. Too much is explained in voice-over, and the other kids picking on Harry just doesn't seem to have enough magnitude. I liked the "ghost" references, but I would have liked to see more plot.
John Brooke (Level 5)
A true black and white film-script about the slights and hates directed at an unfortunate albino. I could not detect much grayness in this depiction. You cast a wonderful macabre Gothic feel to your story. This is a lugubrious tale to be sure. Your have conjured up a potpourri, a conglomerate of images and emotions and delivered them up on a Monochrome Wedgwood platter. Maudlin and butter are words that spring to my mind. Lots of beautifully described detail, but I had trouble understanding what you wanted me to see and truly feel..
John LaBonney (Level 4)
Very nice, I enjoyed this story thoroughly.
Jonah Yarden (Level 4)
woahhhhh! man! you pulled that one back right before the end i have to say! Even though some of the devices felt like you were fleshing out a story meaninglessly waiting for your reveal the reveal was totally worth it. This was the kind of short that i can't really say much about because it did it's job and with a good DP and director it would look awesome! I think minimising the misdirection would give it more punch. the cut wrists felt like a short cut instead of trying to illustrate his emotion scars. The doctor was a nice device but it felt disconnected. Asking Harry if he believed in ghosts was an unneeded device of misdirection that you repeated, which annoyed me because i knew you weren't going to use it :) But, man! it was his brother argh...very nice. With a rewrite this would be really cool. I'm looking to read all entries this month. I'm 1/5th in and yours has given me the most enjoyment thus far!Concept Very GoodTitle GoodStory Good-Very GoodCharacters Very goodDialogue Fair-Good
Jose Batista (Level 5)
This was truly an excellent film short. Definite beginning and ending. Sharp dialogue with excellent descriptions and smooth flowing connections made throughout the story using the flashbacks very nicely. I completely enjoyed this script, and the subtle teist at the end was completely perfect. The fact that Marcus and Harry are brothers just made everything fall into place and made them all so human. The scenes in the mortuary were solid and with the little descriptions still sprang into my minds eye because of the well crafted dialogue.I would love to see this turned into a film some day. I'm pretty sure this will be a first place winner here in MP and abroad.Excellent work.
Ken Dawber (Level 2)
When reading the film script we know in the end that the two boys are brothers as it says "two young boys with their mother". When we see this as a film, just because there is 2 young boys in a picture with an older women, will the audience understand that they are brothers. They may just understand it as being two young boys together with one of their Mums. We do take photos like that.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
"Requiem" is one of my favorite words, so evocative.A very powerful script, wonderfully visual and weaving. You make a new art of subtlety. Very, very good job. Excellent.My only wish that is somehow Albert Lackey was meaningful to the script. Since we open with his funeral, I thought he'd tie into the story somehow. Instead, I figure he's just the way into your story to introduce the graveyard and funeral home. But Harry focuses two meaningful paragraphs of dialogue on Albert, which makes him seem important. Couldn't Albert at least have been the grade school teacher or something, adding the hinted element that perhaps Harry had figured out a way to get back at both Marcus and albert simultaneously? Or something. All your loose ends are tied up except the beginning.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
This is really, really good. Reviewing is easy when I come across this quality of work. Only one suggestion - Don't tell us what we don't see. Describe why we don't see it. Excellent work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
WOW! That was really, really, really good. So very well written and a great twist at the end. This should definately place. For me it's easily one of the best SP's I've read on Movie Poet since I've been here.When you described Harry, I liked the way you revealed he was an albino, although personally I'm not a big fan of the "we see" thing. I don't feel it's necessary to say "we see" since we see things as you reveal them to us so why say it? I might tighten up that paragraph a bit. And there is a line in the beginning where he says "that's what my mother called it"--that made me think she was dead so I was a little confused.There are some amazing things you did here that made it appeal to me. The voice over was done so well and I love how you came back to the "do you belive in ghosts" line. the whole story was so haunting. It was sad and beautiful...EXCELLENT job. :) Can't wait to see who wrote this one.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
"We don't yet see his face." I would change this to "His face is hidden." or "He hides his face." so as to not interrupt the continuum of the story, and not to give anything away. But seeing as you reveal it in the next paragraph, it shouldn't matter too much anyway. Nicely shaped. However, some practicality issues - a lot of albinos have eyesight problems and so must avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, also to avoid sunburn, which they are also particularly susceptible to. Mentioning him wearing sunglasses and/or a sun hat in the opening scenes or in the flashback scenes will clear that up for me. Otherwise it was very good.
Matias Caruso (Level 5)
Ha! What are the odds? We both rewrote a SS one week challenge script for this month. I knew I wasn’t the only hack. :)You did pack a lot into five pages but, nevertheless, it didn’t feel rushed.I especially liked the twist at the end (I read the original so many years ago that I didn’t even remember that).Only one small complaint: The flashbacks with bullying scenes started to get repetitive at one point.Besides that, IMHO, this one should be a contender for one of the top spots.
Michael Cornetto (Level 5)
I thought this was very good. The first issue is get another pdf writer, the way you are making your pdf causes problems while reading it. Second, I'm not sure about the 'Marcus you did it' theme. On closer examination it's Marcus throwing rocks, but on my first read through - which is all you usually get - I thought it was Marcus who cut the boy's wrists. It was a bit confusing, so try to make things clearer.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
Beautifully written and I was surprised by the reveal at the end. An interesting premise and well executed. Good job, well done.'winters day' needs an apostrophe: winter's day
Neal Barringer (Level 0)
I would rate this Excellent except for a few sentences where the structure was not active:- Graveyard is overlooked by...- the room is decorated...- pointing at Harry and sharing a joke.- an ambulance is parked.... (in addition, ambulances don't typically deliver deceased bodies to the funeral home)other sentences included adverbs:- Lowered slowly...- Snow falls lightly...- children who play happily...- ...scrubbing his hands thoroughly.- He walks slowly...Plus, I question the order of the opening image. the voice over is fine. the black screen is appropriate. however, you have a subheading of "A Coffin." how will we see the coffin when we're still on Black Screen? move the "EXT. Graveyard" slug to replace the "A Coffin." "A coffin lowered slowly into a grave." is plenty enough to grab the focus you intended.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
I liked this one a lot- the mood, the tone, the narration, the visuals, the twist. Good job!There are a few inconsistencies with the (CONT'D) after the a character's name above the dialogue and a couple very minor typos throughout.Maybe a different title could work better. I'm never good with them, so I don't have any suggestions.Again, very good job.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
This is a good idea and it plays out thoughtfully. I think that perhaps it is over explaining some aspects of the story and the result is to slow it down. What I mean by that is that maybe some parts of this could be taken out and I don't think the story would change much. Is Harry in his 20s or 70s. Without an age it's hard to picture.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Wow, is all I can say. This was most excellent! It will win! I loved the story so much. I felt such sympathy for Harry. I loved how you had him as a mortician. Wonderfully poignant. And twist after twist, I never saw the ending coming. It was perfectly unraveled in this tender tapestry that you have woven.I am very impressed. I suspect who the writer is, but I'll wait and see.my sincere and utmost admiration!
Sasha Clancy (Level 4)
I am generally not a fan of VO so I think that has shaded my view of this story because so much of the story is VO. The reason that I don't generally like VO is that it is often used as a shortcut to get necessary background into the story when there would be a better way to do it. I think this story would benefit from being told in a more linear way, with less back and forth and less VO. If you want to start and end in the present, that could work but you have a lot of jumping around for a 5 page story.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
This is very well written and definitely a unique story. But, after reading it a couple times, I'm still not sure what happened -- specifically, what Marcus did that Harry forgives him for. Did he slit Harry's wrist? If so, it's a little confusing, because a cut wrist usually suggests a suicide attempt. But if Marcus did cut his wrist, why? Why did Marcus hate Harry? Was he embarrassed to have an albino brother? There's just one small piece missing (for me) in an otherwise good screenplay. Good job!
Stephen Brown (Level 5)
I would stay away from the 'This is...' introduction. It takes up space for no reason.I thought this was a really good story. It was well thought out and was well told.One things I would change; I wouldn't have him cry in the morgue. Might just be me but I would keep him cold.That's my one little nit-picky complaint.
Steve Monger (Level 3)
One of the best I have read so far, an excellent narrative with a very good ending. Great story telling and a very visual description. Good work!
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
I was predisposed to like this because I also have a short called "Requiem" the title conjures up a lot of interesting ideas. In the end, I found the concept intriguing and the story is solid - this could be so much better and have a stronger emotional impact.One one hand, the imagery is well drawn, but the attention to detail in the exposition right down to the set design and costume (four-poster bed, black leather gloves) slowed down the story at the expense of character development. The use of passive voice "we don't yet see his face" threw me out of the story - and the description of Harry is redudant (ie, His skin is ghostly white, lacking pigment -- pick one. Then it goes on, His eyes are pink. He's Albino.) Well duh - I can see he's Albino this from his white skin & pink eyes - so the over emphasis on this didn't really add much to his character. I suggest starting with the flashback so I can connect with the child Harry on page one, and then fast fwd to Marcus on the slab. That's your set-up. LOSE ALL THE VO. Focus more on the relationships between Marcus & Harry, for example instead of Harry talking to the audience and explaining everything, have Harry talk to the corpse while he works he can get it all off his chest, "Marcus you finally smoked & drank yourself into an early grave... I heard you gambled away everything and your wife is filing bankruptcy. Think your mistress will show up at your funeral?" Then we know what a jerk Marcus grew up to be without being TOLD. I would have also liked to see more of Harry & His Mom, Harry & His Doctor as well, lose the Police and Priest characters aren't really necessary.
Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)
I don't think this did it for me -- it could, but it just didn't.So much going back and forth between flashbacks and reality get to be quite distracting. Still, it should be doable in a more pleasant way, so all I can say is that maybe the format needs work so that the story reads better.Also, the end, it feels not right. It is like you go through the whole script (yes, I know it's just 5 pages; but it still is the whole script) to find there's no resolution at the end. After all the builup, the reader (in this case I) wants to know more of what happened between Harry and Marcus.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
You know what makes me happiest?When I read a script so good that I have nothing to say but, "Thank you for writing this".Thank you for writing this !Good luck in the competition, although I don't think you need luck.Tim
Travis DeStein (Level 5)
Very, very good writing. I liked the images like the kid on the merry go round or cornfields. I thought it got a little confusing with your constant flashbacks and flash forwards. I didn't think it was necessary to show the scene with Harry's sliced wrists right after you showed his wrist in the present. You explained everything we needed to know with that shot, the flashback wasn't really necessary.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 2/1/2009 12:04 AM
I loved this. Congratulations on your first place finish!
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 12:16 AM
I'm sure you got this by my comments but this story knocked my socks off. I loved it. Congrats!!
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 12:20 AM
I loved this story. Beautifully crafted. Congratulations.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 2/1/2009 12:23 AM
Great job, Martin. A well deserved Congratulations!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 12:37 AM
Congratulations Martin! Very nice work!
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2009 12:38 AM
I knew this would do well ! Congratulations!
Travis DeStein (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 12:41 AM
I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan of this script at all. Congrats on winning, though.
Amanda Sidorowicz (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2009 1:03 AM
Congrats on first place! I only had the chance to review 10 scripts this months, and yours was my favorite one. Congrats, again. This is great stuff!
Michael Cornetto (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 1:58 AM
Congrats Martin. This was one of the better scripts I read this month. Well done.
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2009 2:07 AM
Beautiful Beautiful amazing script. I loved it. It is fantastic!!!
Wes Worthing (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 6:03 AM
I'm thrilled to see your name at the top! When I get the time, I'll read the story. Congrats!
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2009 6:09 AM
Wow. Thanks everyone. Some of these comments are very flattering.I wrote this a few years ago for a contest on another website. People seemed to like it back then so I thought I'd dig it up for a rewrite. The original was 8 pages long and I guess the trimmed down version works better.I'm currently working on the script with a director and we're applying for funding from Filmbase in Ireland. This gives me hope that it might get selected.Thanks for taking the time to review, and sorry I didn't get to review more scripts myself this month.
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 9:23 AM
Ya baby! I knew this was gonna kick ass.You even got Marnie all excited about your identity. I'm officially jealous. :)Who's the director? The one directing Placebo?
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2009 9:35 AM
Congratulations Martin!! Glad to see you up on the winners podium here at MP. You're an amazing writer. I think I remember this one from before, but I read this one again and I liked this shorter version. Very well written and great scene transitions and the perfect ending.Well done! :-)
Ashley Croft (Level 3) ~ 2/1/2009 10:27 AM
Oh! I'm so happy this won. I read, only about 4 screenplays for this competition and I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. Congratulations. I hope to learn from your writing.
CarrieAnn Lee (Level 3) ~ 2/2/2009 12:53 AM
This was unique - definitely pulled on my heart strings. Congrats.
Erich VonHeeder (Level 4) ~ 2/2/2009 10:44 AM
Great work, Martin. A very worthy first place.I enjoyed this one a lot.
Wes Worthing (Level 5) ~ 2/3/2009 6:30 AM
I just finished this and I'm still trying to get rid of the goose-bumps. Great transitions between the scenes. Excellent work, Martin.
Nick Miranda (Level 4) ~ 2/3/2009 10:17 AM
I did not get to read this one when I was voting, but I'm glad I finally got to.I enjoyed all of the imagery. It really set the tone of the scenes and of the entire piece. My favorite part was the opening, actually. I thought it was somber but honest, and I felt like I could trust the main character.My only point of note would be that I don't think that there was any character growth for the protagonist. He was developed mostly through flashback. I was hoping for just a sentence or two where he learned something. I know that he forgives his brother, but that was really for our benefit.And, just briefly, the twist ending was predictable for me...but I watch "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits" all the time, so I've picked up on a few things.
Tim Aucoin (Level 4) ~ 2/3/2009 2:16 PM
Great imagery. I love to visualize in my head when I'm reading anything and I had vivid images floating around the noggin' while I read this. Decent surprise ending though I guessed it 5 seconds before if was revealed.
Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 2/3/2009 3:41 PM
I felt that this was the winning script when I read it. The whole thing was alive in my head as I read it. Great writing and congrats on placing first.
Peter Tolosa (Level 3) ~ 2/17/2009 7:24 PM
I hope I don't sound thick for asking if his brother was the one who slit is wrist as a child? What did his brother do that was so out of the ordinary? I don't get it. Did his brother slit his own wrists? Why can't he talk to his mom? What? Good format. Congrats on the win. B+
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 2/18/2009 12:25 PM
Thanks for all the comments.Peter, Harry cut his own wrists after he was relentlessly bullied. His brother stood by and watched the bullying happen, and even participated in it. That's why Harry feels that his brother betrayed him. He never told his mother that his brother was a part of the bullying.Re-reading this I see it's not entirely clear. I cut a couple of pages from the original draft so the story is a little condensed in this version.Thanks for reading.
Shedric Bragg (Level 3) ~ 5/21/2009 10:37 PM
Really good. The descriptions were right on and the story was excuted very well. Good j.o.b.
Victor Ojeda (Level 3) ~ 5/23/2009 8:32 AM
Credit where credit is dew. Aa enjoyable 5 pages. I am not a big fan of voice overs but you made effective use of them. I definitely learned things from your work. Thank You.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 5/24/2009 4:22 AM
Thanks, guys, glad you enjoyed it.