Comments Made During the Contest
Andrew Stone (Level 3)
I think what I like best about this is how you incorporated the last two lines. They seem organically a part of the script, which is hard to do. The talking dummy thing is a bit overdone - I've seen similar things already even in this contest. The character of Parker is interesting - the old vaudeville type performer. I was waiting for something a little more exciting to happen to him. This is another reason the dummy character doesn't work. If Parker goes out into the world, there are more possibilities of what you can do with him.
Aralis Bloise (Level 4)
The script has a cool old school Twilight Zone vibe which I like, but I feel like there is something missing. I wish Taylor would have either actively talked the old man into commiting suicide or given him hope in an afterlife. That way there would be more of a direct relation between the dummy speaking and what happens at the end. Ye, I know he does say "it's over, old man" but I would up that a bit more. It's just a small change but I think it would add a lot to the impact of the script.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Great title.This was sort of sweet and creepy at the same time. I really liked it a lot. I think you did a great job with the tone and atmosphere. I really felt for this old man at the end of his life and career. Great dialogue.I absolutely love how you used that final smile.Excellent.
Christopher OConnor (Level 3)
When reading this script, I felt like I was reading an old Twilight Zone script (I was imagining everything in black and white and could wait for Rod to come out and talk). You accomplished a very original way to solve the criteria of this contest. I would have liked to see a bit more of the man's decent into insanity before he killed himself, though. The ending, as is, feels very rushed. I like the beginning framing device, but Sunset Blvd. came to mind the second I started reading (which is not a good thing for another story to come to mind when one is going for originality).
David Birch (Level 5)
most of the story was done well...one suggestion i would have (and i'm guilty of this as well) is try to avoid giving directions between each line of dialog...it smacks of over writing and turns off the actor/director if you wish to sell a screenplay...refer to page pg. 28 of this month's "script" magazine (the article: scene fix: andromache)...anyway, nice try...good luck in the voting...
Denise Sodaro (Level 2)
This started off with a bang! I was expecting more creepiness - an evil dummy perhaps that was moving on to his next showbiz gig and no longer needed an old man. The shock and surprise of knowing that dummy was really alive wasn't pushed far enough. It's a good concept and I thought that was the direction it was going. A bit disappointing not seeing that. A bit anticlimactic as the dummy is merely folded back away into the trunk. I wanted more.
Javier Torregrosa (Level 4)
A good story that meets the challenge. Well written and wasn't a laboured read. I just feel that the first page isn't really required and that the story on the Dynamic Duo is all that we needed. For what it was it was a good effort.All the best,Javier
Jay Simms (Level 3)
A story that goes nowhere. It was written fairly good, but I didn't really like it.If your in a hallway of an apartment building, would their be a window to peek into? I'm pretty sure that there isn't.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Good format. Story a bit dull though. The final line of Taylor smiling certain fit and didn't feel strained like some of the others.
John Brooke (Level 5)
SYNOPSIS: Parker (70’s) has died destitute and alone in a dreary apartment in a dreary building. Parker is an out of fashion ventriloquist with his crazy dummy Taylor. The story of the dummy becoming human and taunting the ventriloquist is not a new story. It has become a cinamagraphic cliché. You did a good job here creating this emotional downer. I wish I could be more objective reading this. There is a certain familiarity with old theatrical trunks and a ventriloquist’s dummy.You’ve shown us the end of the line of the old trouper. You did it well but it’s so sad.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
The title betrays the scriptreader into believing there's gonna be some action...LOL!!!The old man and his marionette are out of work, and as he contemplates his situation the puppet comes to life (or the whiskey is really, really good). Not much going on here, no plot or story. The puppet's animation comes and goes with very little life and no surprise. The script is relatively boring. I wish the old man and the puppet would've atleast gotten into a confrontation for not having spoken all this time, that perhaps could have been more exciting.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
I don't know about this very weird (creative). I don't know how I feel about this alot the dialogue seems well not exciting. Its over old man. It just all seems strange, it just never convinced me that Taylor is a doll. You do somewhat of a flashback and it didn't work for me it felt useless. I guess it was interesting but it just never got entertaining for me.Don't say: That's Mr. Parker. There's room for subtlety or at least for an emotional reference sort of like that's just mr. Parker. The story kind of just... ok for me. I know you have to tell a story but it still has to be compelling for me.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
A very touching story. Poor ventriloquist (I got it, right?). Very well written, I think.page1 - I don't think "(to Manager)" is needed. should be "(to manager)" perhaps.I was going to say "no need for a bunch of looks here, there, stares and frowns" but as soon as I finished reading I understood that those small actions are pertinent to the story.I'm putting Very Good for it.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Heartwarming story. Concise, tight. Not a wasted word here."No one wants us." Gulp. Good writing.Did wonder, though, if Taylor needs to talk. Mr. Parker talking to himself the entire time might add more impact.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
Another ventriloquist script. What are the odds? :)I confess that I don't really know police protocol. But is it truly customary for Officer Stevens to have already unholstered his gun? There's no evidence of foul play.Spelling error: "peak" should be "peek".Would a man in his mid-70s ever use the phrase "Yeah, that would be sweet"? That line yanked me right out of the story and away from your character.I missed the stuttering later on in the script. Perhaps it was just 'cause he was drunk in that early scene, but I wish it had kept on. It was lovable.Not sure I'm a fan of the delusion, of Taylor coming alive like that. It didn't seem to fit the story, or perhaps the other scenes didn't fit it. It was a very different type of scene from the surrounding fare, shall we say.
Leigh Smith (Level 4)
This script is wonderful. I wanted Parker to have a few more quirks. I don't know. I wanted him to be a little more over the top. The beginning description are well written.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
Very interesting. Kind of creepy, but in a good way. "Magic" was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid and it came to mind as I read this. I realize you were going for something totally different than that, but I actually started seeing Anthony Hopkins as Parker. Good story, and sad.I think you're overdoing it on the all caps. I usually find them distracting and they definitely lose their intended impact when used often. They have their place, but use them sparingly. Good work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
I knew someone was going to do the dummy in the trunk. :) This was a pretty cool story. An old guy with nothing else to live for. Sad. I your opening scene you don't have to say (to manager) when they're in the hallway, since they are the only ones there. And I was a little confused by your opening description. You have these two guys walking down a hallway in what I assume is an apartment building...how are they looking through a window then? A window in an apartment building hallway? Unless it's outside but you have the hallway carpeted...just confusing.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
That was quite sad at the end. I read the other script about a ventriloquist's dummy before this one, but they have quite different styles. The squalid way Parker was living was very well done. I like how you managed to emphasise the importance of the trunk, from the very beginning. Very good.
Maurice Charlot (Level 3)
I liked this story a lot and towards the end it started to really get intense. The actions here were really good and the dialouge was pretty sweet. This is a really good look into the mind of a vanquilatrist. Dark story with a satisfying ending...The only thing I didn't understand was this passage:A yellowed handbill features a youthful Parker, hugging ashiny new trunk to his chest. Several handbills show thepassage of time and, as the years pass, Parker’s hair growswhite.But after a second read I got it. I understand what you were doing but it was clunky. Overall a good script.
Micah Ricke (Level 4)
GOOD This has the makings of a very good story, but it just doesn't quite get there this go-around. I think you could delete the entire first sequence with the police officer and apartment manager and go right to the real story. You also need to expand the dialogue between Parker and Taylor. Give their conversation some meat, make it meaningful. You have a wonderful premise but as it stands it's rather trite, Taylor has no real purpose.Best regards.
Michael Hoffman (Level 4)
Really liked this one. It was simple and effective and took a unique and less mainstream approach to the subject matter.I liked the structure. Starting with discovering the body adds a dose of intrigue that carries throughout the script. I enjoyed the way you built Parker's character as well. The dingy setting, the phone call, the lack of food. This all helped to solidify the image of a deteriorating old man whose nearing the end.The twist with Taylor was a nice addition too. It was a subtle, yet fun way to show Parker's mind was on the way out along with his body. I was also glad you kept the dummy pretty restrained. It would have been easy to overdo it with too much madness but you kept things toned down, which made it even more creepy and effective.Well done screenplay.Only complaint is that I don't really know what a 'handbill' is. I figured it out but maybe others were unsure of it as well.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
I thought the concept and parts of the execution of this were great. You used real creativeness and inventiveness with the contest, I applaud you for that.I like the sadness of this and identified with Parker and his longing for the good old days.You are good in using visuals to tell your story.I had three issues that stopped me from scoring this Excellent:Title: Upon seeing the title prior to reading, I thought this was gonna be a superhero story, which I'm getting a little burnt out on. Of course, this is not one. I understand the tie-in with their old act, but I felt the title didn't fit this melancholic, sad story.Page One: The entire page is dedicated to showing that Parker has committed suicide, and has been dead for some time. This added two superfluous characters (Manager and the Officer) and could have been relayed in a half page, at most. A half page is very valuable when you only have five total.Taylor speaking: I kinda wished Taylor remained silent. I understand it would seem weird and expositional after a while with Parker speaking to him unanswered, but for me that would have added to his sadness. I also understand that this is probably all in Parker's head, but Taylor's dialogue takes on an almost sinister tone, which I don't know if that was your goal. This made it feel too similar to "The Twilight Zone" episode and other stories with these evil dummies.Your screenwriting overall is good. Format appears in order. Didn't detect any typos.
Peter Tolosa (Level 3)
Quite depressing, this screenplay, but that's what I like. I did have a hard time understanding what kind of dummy Taylor was, I'm thinking a ventriloquist's dummy, but I could be wrong because it's not specified. On page five there is a misspelling, "...covers Taylor with a blanket, tucks him it." I'm thinking it should be "...tucks him in." As far as the use of QUIET. on page one, I think you could have saved space by writing something similar to, "Officer Stevens KNOCKS on the door, no answer." I'm not sure if it's the pace or maybe a lack of action but I wasn't really on the edge of my seat, that's just my personal opinion, though. Good job.
Rob Dianora (Level 4)
Your formatting is top notch. It's great to see that. As is I felt the scene at the beginning could use a little more bridging. I think you may have been handicapped by the closing line. In other words it didn't really connect for me. I liked your Parker character. I thought he was really well written. Good job here.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
There were so many great parts of this script, that the ending was so disappointing, because it really seemed contrived to fill the assignment's rules. I loved Parker and Taylor and I loved this story. The two old friends.. it was magical in parts. I think this needs to be a longer story, this seems like it's unfinished. I think maybe if you had cut a little more of the fluff from the beginning, you'd have the space to fill those pages with more meat.This is a good story, waiting to become great. I did enjoy it very much. I like your writing style very much.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
This screenplay is quite well written, but the story is really cliched. An old washed-up ventriloquist whose dummy comes to life? There was an old episode of The Twilight Zone (starring Cliff Robertson) about a ventriloquist's dummy coming to life, and that was in the early 60's. There have been a lot of them since. And, speaking of cliches -- finding curdled milk in the fridge and dumping it down the sink? I wonder how many movies that's been in. Okay, enough about the cliches. You really did a good job writing this script and putting the story together. It flows well, reads easily. Nice job with that. But the story is so-o-o-o-o....well, you know.
Shaheryar Ahmed (Level 3)
Visually a stunning piece. I loved the way you set the atmosphere. Really nice... That is all I can say... Bravo! I loved the character of the old man, Parker. the way he is reacting towards the situation he is in... I guess he is lonely... you know... he wants to talk to people...socialize with them but no one gives him any attention.... that is why in his mind he has created taylor! I liked the way he stammers while he is talking on the phone... it gives an edge to the character! I think he has sociophobia... a person who has difficulty in talking or in general socializing with someone.
Shane Shearer (Level 4)
It is my opinion that you could have used a little more dialogue to further this story rather than rather than spending the las page and a half focusing on "smile damn it, smile". It became a bit redundant at that point and could've used a little more flair or drama. Or even suspense. As it stands, he cuts himself, then the dummy talks, then he puts the dummy away and kills himself. You didn't flesh out the character, which you could've done more of without the repetetive nature of the guy wishing the dummy would smile.
Shawn Cottrill (Level 3)
I thought that your idea for this screenplay was very clever. You fit the requirements into your story istead of forcing them in. My favorite past was the interaction between Taylor and Parker. It has a is-this-really-happeneing-or-isn't-it type of feel to it. Taylor was obviously reflecting Parker's own emotions back to him. I liked it.
Steve Monger (Level 3)
Some very nice features to this script. It's well written, I like the concept. It's tragic, but it's nicely done. I particularly like how you handled the passing years through the flyers and the touching scene where he calls and is turned down. Well done, a good job!.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
Well I enjoyed this, well written and I liked the way it drew me in from page one. The story lost points because the talking dummy thing has been done to death, and the end wasn't very satisfying since there was no twist, and nothing really new. I gave it a Good.This could be better if Taylor were more evil, or if he could actually MOVE in addition to talk maybe fight with Parker... or if Parker KNEW he could talk and then we can guess if he's psycho OR SOMETHING original to amp-up the tension and surprise me.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
This is an interesting piece, and even more interesting as it's the second one I've read revolving around ventriloquism. The script is well written. I'm not sure about the scene at the beginning. It might be nice to give the reader/viewer leeway with your ending. Noting pill bottles and the guy's obvious alcoholism are great hints toward the ending you envision without flat out exposing it right off the bat. Good job regardless. Cheers!
Tim Aucoin (Level 4)
Nice one! Very original concept and I like that it isn't revealed until page three that Taylor is a dummy. You made it easy to sympathize for Parker who longs for the early days when he was, I'm assuming, a well known ventriloquist. There's nothing sadder to me than a character living in the past. Formatting was perfect from what I can see, but another reviewer might catch something my amateur eyes may have missed. The only issue I had was I didn't know what a handbill was at first. I had to google it to make sure as I figured it was a flier/pamphlet but I've never heard anyone call it a handbill. Maybe it's the norm where you're from, but maybe a more universally accepted term (flier/pamphlet) would make it more clear to the reader. Other than that this is a great script.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
This script is extremely well written.About the only complaint I have is that the ending falls kind of flat. There is no true resolution, we don't come back to the present for the close.But overall, an extremely well written story. I enjoyed it.
Tyrone Banks (Level 3)
That's a pretty dark story and "I'm in" with the ending. Enjoyed it a lot, took me awhile to get understand the description of Taylor though dummy is he slow or is he a puppet or what? I was a little thrown off by that. Other than that I had fun reading your script.
Wes Worthing (Level 5)
It doesn't seem necessary for Parker to cut himself with the shard of glass--it doesn't seem to play out anywhere else in the story; and cleaning up his mess would probably be the least of his concerns after just hearing Taylor talk outloud. Typo: tucks him "it". "Winks, tinkles, dials and click" are the four all caps words that could easily be left alone, and if you're going to use 9 all cap words for a five pager, then look for consistency--you didn't all-cap "slam". You did a terrific job laying out the setting and scenario: I could easily picture the room and tone of the story, felt sorry for Parker. It takes a turn for the worst when Taylor comes to life because he really doesn't say anything important that would give us insight into his pent-up feelings for or against Parker. I think this would be more engaging as a buddy story with two old friends reminiscing instead of being rude without clarity.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 9/1/2009 12:25 AM
I loved this. I thought you captured the mood perfectly. It was haunting. Definitely one of my favorites this month.
Paul Williams (Level 5) ~ 9/1/2009 2:00 PM
Hi Faith, this was one of my favorites of the month. I loved the theme touched upon and just wanted to reiterate my above comments. Great job!
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 9/1/2009 2:02 PM
Faith, I appreciate how you always tackle meaningful and weighty themes. Your stories are always refreshing, and I get the feeling you're right on the cusp of placing big one of these months. Keep it up!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 9/11/2009 6:57 PM
Faith, I didn't get a chance to read any scripts last month so I am catching up a bit right now. I just read this and thought it was great! Excellent characterization, great flow, no formatting issues. Powerful, yet depressing script. Very nice job. If I had scored the scripts, this would have gotten an Excellent out of me. Nice work!