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"Little Red Riding Hood" by Victor Ojeda

Logline: It's thanksgiving day on downtown Newark, NJ. A little girl wearing a red hood rides her bike to grandma's house. The dangers of the city roam around, specially Jonas Wolfe, who was just released from jail.

Genre: Crime - Drama

Cast Size: 7

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: A Grim Tale (May. 2009)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
12%67%18%3%0%

Comments Made During the Contest

Adam Grage (Level 4)

I'm sorry but this is one of the worst I have seen. 'Little Red Riding Hood' is a pretty well known so if you're gonna take it on you have to have something that makes it 'jump' out and bring something fresh to the story. There were no surprises, twists or real hooks that would keep something intrigued since you pretty followed the story too rigidly.

In addition there were several spelling errors and format issues. Also, you capitalized a word in the middle of a sentence that didn't need to be capped.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

Lots of typos and missed grammar. The story was okay, but there are thick chucnks of dialogue and description that need to be tightened up a bit. A lot of the dialogue was expository and should be eliminated in favor of actions relaying what is going on in stead of characters telling us. I like the core of the story, but this is really rough around the edges and needs a lot of polishing. Always use a spell-checker and remember to capitalize things like Snickers or Thanksgiving. Mistakes like those make the reader sit up and take notice of any errors that may exist.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

You did a good job updating the tale, but the script needs a lot of work to bring it to maturity, excitement and filmability.

I do feel that your dialogue is 'on the nose' (no subtext) and quite stiff and formal. For instance - your opening...

Grandma can’t make it to dinner
with us today honey, she’s not
well. Please take this to her, I
will stop by after the rest of the
family has arrived.

From the actions you have written, we don't NEED this and the little girl would KNOW this already. You could have started instead with something like 'Now, don't spill a drop. You know how grandma hates that' - and told us ALL we needed to know without this expositionary speech.

Be careful to trim your descriptive passages down to the bare minimum - they tend to be rambly and repetitive. You used the word 'look' countless times.

breaks - you mean brakes? You have quite a few mistakes. Get your work checked!

you are in my way - this doesn't sound like natural speech. She'd say 'you're in my way' - listen to people talking! same for 'I will wait' and 'I will be right back.'

my name is mi ?

When he is half way he hears a loud scream, sounds like a
little girl.
LITTLE GIRL
Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! - you don't need to tell us AND put in the scream.

Use of too many exclamation marks is unnecessary and makes your work look like a teenage girl's Facebook posting! So does this! Noooooooo!!!! Stop it!!!!Help meeeeeee pleaseeee!!!

The ending...almost isn't one!

Chris Bradford (Level 1)

Neatly written and formatted, however several problems that prevented me from really engaging with the story.

- Dialog was very wooden and failed to create any sense of realism for the characters.
- Character descriptions could have been more creative. e.g. Mr Wolfe could have been imagined through careful descriptions of his body, face, teeth etc, perhaps removing necessity of using Wolfe in the name.
- While the modern setting is a great idea, it wasn't developed far enough. e.g. Red Riding Hood could be more of a back-talking teenager.

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

What the hell? Sorry, there is an art to screenwriting. It isn't just formating a short story into a form that looks like a screenplay. Action blocks represent what the camera is seeing in a brief moment. If you want the camera to focus on an action it will be in it's own action block. If a person is talking it's obvious they are, we don't need to be told. If it is unclear who the person in talking to you can put the name of the person in parenthesis under the speaking characters names. There is also a style of writing short, concise, but still interesting. Writing should always be in the present tense and active. Hell, I can go on all day, but I'm sure others will help. You can also pick up a book and read other screenplays.

This story went for the straight 'Little Read Riding Hood' story. Nothing new, really. I do think this story could be written and formatted properly in five pages and I'm sure you'll get to it.

Notes:
- What no title page?
- What no Fade In?
- Why start on a bad foot.
- Wow your action lines are too thick, break up what the camera is seeing.
- You don't need to write 'he says', this is a screenplay not a novel.
- mi Jonas Wolfe?
- She lives ON a building? I hope she goes in from time to time.
- You don't need to tell us exactly how many seconds the character thought about it, that would be a directors decision on the spot.
- We can't tell what's in someone's mind, because we can only SEE the character, so describe what the character does that will clue us in on what they are thinking.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I love this story and I think it's ripe for adaptation.

I think you can start with the girl meeting this tattooed man on the street and that scene with him should be much quicker.

I do wish you had somehow included the classic scene between the girl and the wolf, where he tries to trick her. I definitely miss it and the scene with the snickers bar feels forced in its place.

Cindy S Duvall (Level 3)

ok..."Little Red Riding Hood"...

First of all, I believe it is the contest rules which state that the work must include the original title...which in this case is "Little Red Cap".

Secondly, this effort is very flawed in its grammar and basic format. Understanding that perhaps this is a beginners effort, I will try to be fair...

There is a decent story here... however, I do not see the child being this naive in these modern times, especially in Newark, NJ! Kids today are a lot smarter than this character. So, I'm left wondering if this story takes place in another time other than the present.

There is a lot of exposition and unnecessary scene desription which takes away from adding more dialogue or action to make the story richer.

Furthermore... there is really no ending... it just sort of stops.

Keep plugging away at this script, tighten it up and really consider how kids really act and this becomes a much better story.

All and all a fair effort.

David Birch (Level 5)

the first time "suspicious looking man" is going to be "mr. wolf" you should format it as "suspicious looking man/mr. wolf"...otherwise you might not be clear to your reader that this is the same person...too many big block of description for my liking, probably not the sort of story that can be adapted properly with a five page limit...

David R. Harding (Level 3)

Well, several entrants in this contest chose the tale Little Red Cap. It's certainly a familiar story to many of us.
This is still another modernized take on the old story.
While I think this writer had an interesting idea here, it didn't read all that well for me.
There's quite a few obvious technical errors, includung a lack of speaking character identification with caps.
This one needs considerable work.

Dawn Calvin (Level 5)

I liked the pace of the story at the end. It started off a bit slow and you added descriptive things that didn't move the story, such as it being Thanksgiving. That added nothing. The man at the counter in front of the little girl added nothing as well. There were other things that just were unnecc.

I noticed quite a few typos too.

The story kept my interest and I thought the Woodsman store was clever too.
Good job.

Erin Arbogast (Level 3)

I think this could be really terrifying - Jonas Wolfe is super creepy! The dialogue feels a little bit awkward to me, perhaps too much exposition? Naming the shop "The Woodsman" was a really cute idea.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

Nice adaptation of an old favorite! Pay closer attention to your writing. Here are some suggestions.

"He asks:" In my opinion, this is not needed. Same comment for "and says:" and "then replies:" Remember, this is a screenplay, not a short story.

Much of the dialogue seems stilted to me. I believe that if you were to use more contractions in dialogue, this could be easily corrected.

I believe "thanksgiving" should be capitalized.

"Does grandma live by herself?" Since the word "grandma" takes the place of a name, it should be capitalized.

In my opinion, some of your action paragraphs are too long. I would try to limit the length to three to four lines.

"he almost trips on the bicycle on his way there." Either he trips or he doesn't. Don't know how an actor would "almost trip".

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

That's a flat ending and a very predictable adaptation. When I first read what this contest was, I thought to myself, maybe I should redo "Little Red Riding Hood" with a Mr. Wolf. It's just the first thing that comes to mind without much deep thinking.

Jeff Ferry (Level 5)

This was a very good retelling of the classic tale. I liked the wolf recast as a crook and pedophile. The clerk samaritan was an interesting addition to the story. I would like a different version of the grandma prognosis at the end. I would prefer she was moving or dead and that I didn't need to be told she was alive

Jeffrey Slocum (Level 4)

The problem with doing a well known tale is that I feel the adaptation should be pretty out there. I felt this was too predictable. I already knew what was going to happen, for the most part.

Jess Flower (Level 3)

I'm sorry. This didn't work for me at all. It seemed just like a modernized and direct port of the original tale. The dialogue needed to spark some interest and excitement for something new. Instead, it just kept the reader saying, 'We've seen this before.' Try to SHOW more than TELL and create cool visuals. Remember, this is screenwriting!

John Brooke (Level 5)

You’ve presented me with a well adapted old Grimm tale wrapped in contemporary violence. It’s a good take although your characters are stereotypical. Only Mr. Wolfe has a name the rest of the cast just have labels devoid of individualism and character. MOM, LITTLE GIRL, CLERK and so on, sort of robotic, like they were things to be manipulated. Your approach makes it difficult for a reader like me to actually care about the people in your story.

I do think that individual names help a reader to identify with the characters, either warmly and caring or coldly. Just take the one character you honored with a name: he goes from SUSPICIOUS LOOKING MAN to MR. WOLFE, his name alone in combination to the actions we have witnessed conjures up a chilling negative feeling towards him. This Wolfe guy can’t be trusted. I believe names are important for the key players in a story, or a script, no matter how damn Grimm it might be. Good job.

Jose Batista (Level 5)

This felt more like a modern-day-retelling of the story than it does an adaptation. The predictability factor was off the scale, as every single element was delivered on queue from the opriginal tale. The dialogue felt on-the-nose and the pedophile Mr. Wolfe was simply too typical and cliched.

It would have been nice to change a few elements around and make it a better fit for the modern day. The entire premise of Thanksgiving dinner being sent to the grandma was also a little too easy and the final confrontation between the Clerk and Mr. Wolfe was extremely forced.

I would like to suggest a more lose retelling. Allow yourself the libetry of personalizing the story and making it more unique at the same time. Also, some grammar checking is in order, although it was not a major point of detraction. Good Luck and Keep Writing.

Kathleen Clevenger (Level 4)

Wow! Intense story. Very dramatic. I thought including “Woodsman” in the name of the shop was a clever idea.

I was distracted from your story, however, by the lengthy dialogue and spelling/punctuation errors. You are using commas in odd places, and you have several run on sentences. Also, I think descriptions should always be in present tense.

Kevin Carty (Level 4)

I'm choking,I'm choking on your fat description/action chunks. I know that sounds gay, whatever. This is really by the numbers as well the story is just way too regular. Maybe its cause I watch too many cartoons and anime but this is just soooooooo..... boring. The challenge was not to rewrite that would be way too easy. The challenge was to reimagine a story that could happen not to copy the entire story. That is what this felt like. I'm seeing alot of that lately. I can't even talk about this one all I can say is use your imagination. Just lay off the wordy action and description. Try this exercise when editing if you go over 2 lines ask yourself is this relevant or does it hinder my readability. My eyes wander sometimes so... forgive me I'm only human and as far as I know so is everyone else on this site. So 1 line 2 line 3lines ???? do I need this or can I say it in a more concise manner, it will do wonders for your economy of writing.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

Rape is the last thing I'd watch, I always tend to avoid movies like that. so it was very hard for me to read your story. I'd prefer Grimm's tale, there's no attempt at a rape there :)) But this is my problem.

I was kind of missing their names and ages. Little Red's age is pertinent to the story. How old is she to be so naive?
I'm surprised to see her mother let her go alone, but again I don't know the girl's age.

I think when you name your characters you own your story. Left as is makes it look more like Grimm's.

Your paragraphs are large for me. Actually, the point is not that they are large - there are different line of thoughts/actions in one paragraph that better be separated. I've been guilty of this a lot and often after I'm done with my story I go back and separate those thoughts. For example on page one you have "The little girl pedals away, as people move out of her way,
she stops at the corner, waiting for the light to change. She crosses the street." Then right away "A suspicious looking man leans against a wall, he smokes a cigarette, he takes a look at a cheap wrist watch, it reads 6:37 P.M." And then "A pedestrian walks by him."
All in one paragraph. I would separate it to three different paragraphs.
No big deal but helps the read.

Kirk White (Level 5)

I think this is a good story to adapt. be careful of going to "prosey" with your writing...it reads more like a short story than a screenplay. I think you have a solid sense of the story so when you get the hang of the screenplay technique, you'll do quite nicely!

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Good job representing how evil people trap children. Kind of creepy. Characters interesting. No age given, but Little Girl's dialogue sounds like she's elementary age.
Character names should be in all caps when first introduced; ie, MOM, LITTLE GIRL, SUSPICIOUS MAN, CLERK. Then, capitalize first letter, "Mom, Little Girl, Suspicious Man."
Descriptions quite lengthy. Cut, condense, and rewrite so the important information pops.
An interesting, modern rendition of the familiar tale.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

I found the dialogue unnecessarily expository. Everyone in the world is already familiar with the story of Little Red Riding Hood, so with this adaptation you are free to use our expectations to your advantage, by passing over, changing, or twisting the obvious parts of the story: meeting Mr. Wolfe, having him spell out his intentions, etc.

The first really original part was how you followed the Clerk's movements instead of plodding through the whole "my, what eyes, etc." routine. I liked that thought process.

Oooooooooo. Ripping the little girl's clothes off? That's awfully thin ice, there. We're dealing with possible on-screen pedophelia? I'm not on board with that line.

The ending was a bit of a slammed anti-climax. I wish you'd thought of something biting, original, or clever there. Instead, it just sort of stops, no punctuation point or twist.

Leigh Smith (Level 4)

Her mother told her not to talk to strangers then she turns around and gives a lot of information to the stranger.

The clerk is now concerned after the girls response. Show by some action that he is concerned instead of telling the reader how he feels. I would take the sentence out complete because he mentions next for someone to watch the store. Also, later you say that the Clerk is confused. Again show with his action that he is confused.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

Your opening scene heading could be shortened. You don't need to say it's Thanksgiving day here. Work it into mom's first dialogue. The dialogue is very formal. Work in some contractions.

When you introduce "a mother" use all caps and use the name you'll have her dialogue under - "MOM." When you introduce the girl call her "RED" or something. She's your title character. Always use caps to introduce characters.

You're writing this like a short story instead of a script. You don't need to write complete sentences. Some of the action sections are too long. They shouldn't be longer than four lines. By cutting your sentences down to the bone you'll easily have room. Also, you go into details that aren't important at this stage.

I like the way you adapted this age old story. I think you could tighten it up by sticking to script formatting when you write. It will give you a lot more room to embellish the ending, too.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

Newark huh? Like Little Red in the Hood. First, how old was she? You call her a little girl and I find it highly unlikely a mom would send her little girl alone into the streets of Newark. And you never did introduce the Little Girl. You should intro every character in CAPS and give us some kind of description even if it's just their age. So all characters, even the Pedestrian should be capped when first introduced.

Then with the suspicious man...he has a name, Jonas Wolfe...you should intro him that way. You can describe him as suspicious looking but tell us his name if you're going to use it later.

I also found it hard to believe that Jonas would tell the pedestrain that he needed some money cus he just got out of jail.

As for the story, I think you had a good idea here but just missed on the execution of it. It just takes practice. Watch things like grammar...which I usually don't criticize cus I suck at it but you're missing capital letters all over the place. And trim down your narrative. The leaner your narrative is the easier your story is to follow.

Just keep writing!!! You'll get better every time.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

If "suspicious man" is the name he's known by and is how his dialog is attributed, then it should be capitalized for the first entry. Likewise with the mother and the little girl.

Some minor mistakes:
"there is not many people"
"did you said your Grandma"
etc.

There is also some strange or extraneous description and dialog. Some examples:
"The clerk is now concerned after the girl’s response."
"pauses for 2 seconds"
"Will" isn't abbreviated ever, which seems slightly odd considering it's appears to be modern day.
Some of what the little girl says is inappropriate for what her education/vocabulary would be.

Don't be afraid of starting new sentences and paragraphs of action, it will make it much easier to read. If you're not going to add more sentence breaks, then take away the unnecessary capital letters after commas.

Some of the descriptions break some accepted conventions of screenwriting, where you should be striving to present the material as if to an objective audience. You can then manipulate what you show them to make them see it subjectively from the point of view of a particular character. However, something like this: "what he sees horrifies him, The guy he saw earlier with the little girl" crosses the boundary.

Throughout your script I was enjoying the story, but these examples and others really prevented me from thinking of it as anything other than a traditional fairy tale. Which was a shame, considering how much I liked the idea of the wolf being made more sinister by being human, an idea which required a commitment to realism to work, and be properly disturbing to an audience (which seemed to be one of the desired effects). This idea, if executed well, would also need a twist or at least some change in the ending which would make it worth reading/filming/watching.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

This is a fairly straight retelling of the original tale without the wolf eating Grandma.

You have a peculiar cadence to your writing style with stilted and very on the nose dialogue which I found somewhat charming. It gave the whole script a rather surreal edge to it as the dialogue was so unnatural.

NOne of the characters have their 'own' voice - they all speak in the same manner. There is no subtext - for example when Wolf aks for change he reveals everything - prison, hungry etc where he could just have asked for change - the look of him would fill in the rest.

Your descriptive passages read like prose in a short story rather than the accepted style for a screenplay, for example:

'The clerk is now concerned after the girl’s
response. He looks out the window and all he sees is the girl
looking around for her friend, he is not around anymore.'

would be more acceptable as:

The worried Clerk rushes to the window. The little girl stands alone, looking for her 'friend'.

Shoot me if I'm wrong but I feel you're new to screenwriting and although this script is very unorthodox in it's approach I sense you will be producing some great work in the near future.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

I think this is a solid update of the famous story. It's good that you went for the actual story and worked with it.

The description in your script is quite heavy. There are big blocks of text and much of it is unnecessary literary style description. Thinning this out would make it a sharper read.

For me the set up of the bad guy was a bit on the nose. He immediately says he just got out of jail, which seems like an odd thing to say.

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

A fairly good update of the Little Red Riding Hood story, but your writing needs some work in a few areas. First and foremost, dialogue. The dialogue is VERY stiff and robotic. People just don't talk like that. People speak more informally, and they use contractions. For example, in your very first block of dialogue, the Mother says, "I will stop by after the rest of the family has arrived." More likely, she'd say something like, "I'll stop by later." That's just one example of many. The dialogue is stiff throughout. A tip -- get a friend or two to read your dialogue out loud, so you can see how it sounds. That ought to help you identify where it needs to be loosened up a bit. Secondly, there are quite a few grammar and punctuation errors. Not as big a deal as the dialogue issue, but still worth some attention. Here's an example that encompasses both issues: on Page 1, when we first meet the wolf he says, "Hey man, I just got out of jail, I'm hungry do you have some change?" That line is both stilted and has punctuation errors. Instead, how about something like, "Hey, man, I just got outta jail and I'm starving. Y'got any change?" Just a suggestion, but to me it sounds a little more like the way a street person would speak. Anyway, nice job with the story adaptation. Just needs a little work on the dialogue and grammar.

Shaun Bragg (Level 4)

This is a creepy tale. The innocent little girl and the ex-con who prowls on her. That scene was really creepy but in a good way. This is the best Mr. Wolfe character I've read this contest.

I liked the overall tone and descriptions weren't overly descriptive. Just enough. Good work.

William Dunbar (Level 5)

The idea of setting this famous story in this setting is good. Unfortunately, this script is pretty sloppy as it is. People tend to use contractions in speech, like "I'll" instead of "I will." Quite a few mistakes: "breaks" used instead of "brakes"; commas in the wrong place; "3 store building" instead of "3 storey building", etc. On a larger level, there doesn't seem to be much here that makes it into a self-supporting story. It goes through the famous story, we know where it's going, and without some twist or creative idea, it's hard to see why we would want to watch it. Anyway, it's a good start, but needs a bit more work.


Comments Made After the Contest

Kevin Carty (Level 4) ~ 7/1/2009 5:13 PM

I thought it was ok just reign in anything that is too wordy or too descriptive. Keep working on it. I'd love to read a rewrite.

Laura Downton (Level 0) ~ 4/23/2011 2:35 PM

sorry i didn't think it was very gripping i lost intrest in it at the begining


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