Comments Made During the Contest
Brian Howell (Level 5)
This is fairly disturbing, and I like that. I'm not so set on the title, though. I mean it fits, but it reads awkwardly a bit.Anyway, everything flowed nice and makes sense. There's a lot of meaning in everything we see; you've done a good job of making the most with your words.There was something odd about the one sided conversation we hear. It wasn't way on the nose, but I guess just a little.Anyway, this is VERY GOOD for me.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
Hmmm.... This is a tough one for me to grade. The story is pretty cool, but there are a lot of things I don't like about this script. The title should be capitalized, but it should also coincide more with the story. You seem to be confused as to when to capitalize words. Only capitalize character names upon introduction and important sounds. Things like mailbox and frying pan should not be capitalized.Old Man's dialogue could be trimmed down. It didn't flow very naturally for me.I didn't understand his motivation really. He's on house arrest at his crappy trailer, but why is suddenly deciding to kill himself? Something must have triggered it, but no explanation is given.The biggest problem though is that this entire script is basically just a one-sided phone conversation. In my opinion, that would not make for a very interesting film, even though the core story in there is very cool.Nice effort. Cool story, but the script could still use a bit of polishing.
Calvin Peat (Level 4)
This is a well-written, but very sad (even depressing) script. It makes effective use of subtext and foreshadowing to create a sense of foreboding, emphasised by the dramatic irony that the reader knows what’s going to happen, but the son doesn’t.The old man’s last line, saying “I love you” to his son, is ambiguous. He may mean it, but is he being truly loving?His last act, making his son the beneficiary, is in his son’s interests (financially at least), although his actions are still morally grey at best, because he’s arguably committing insurance fraud as well as suicide.What’s the ankle monitor for? Is he dying of some disease, or what?The title adds something to the screenplay, making it even more depressing. It seems that he hasn’t been a very good father, and he’s perhaps trying to atone for this in some way. However, he’s not forgiven. (As a Christian, I believe that everyone is sinful, and ultimately only Jesus can forgive, through his perfect sacrifice which was his death on the cross, taking the punishment for sinners. But it seems that the old man in the script didn’t repent of his sins and accept Jesus’ salvation, so he’s not forgiven.)Is the title meant to be in all lower case letters for a particular reason? Just wondering.Anyway, it’s interesting to note that changing just two letters in the title (changing the second “not” to “but”) would give the title an overall sense of hope rather than despair, but the story would also have to change to reflect this.The next paragraph has possible vague Gran Torino spoilers. Moderators, feel free to delete it if it’s too spoilery. I’d be happy to discuss the parallels with Gran Torino with anyone by email, if that’s necessary to avoid spoiling the film for anyone else.This script is similar to a scene in Gran Torino, in that an old man who hasn’t been a great father, and knowing that he’s going to die soon, talks to his son on the phone about other things, trying to pretend that everything’s normal. However, in Gran Torino the theme of redemption is more significant. It’s complex, though, because in that film, the old man also takes on a redeeming role, sacrificing himself for other characters. And his own redemption is unclear, because it’s ambiguous as to whether he goes through true repentance or simply regret.A very good, thought-provoking script.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Is there something wrong with using capital initial letters for your title? "not perfect, not forgiven" indeed!right now, Son. officially say, Congrats. - now you use capital letters in a seemingly random (and incorrect) way.I don't need you to underline stuff. I have a brain!Sorry - didn't quite get this...the story, the drama.I did like the speech and the setting and the character of the old man, but I still couldn't get the story!
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
Wow, I really liked this one. So much packed into a short little script. You have very good imagery and such visceral emotions. The dialogue is spot-on and really does the work of making us hear the regret in the old man's voice.Good work here, hope it does well.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
Ahh cute. Wait huh? Suicide. Yeah I wrote a suicide to. I like yours as well good job. And it was as near a full story as I would expect. You get a very good from me.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Phenomenal script and story. I wouldn't have thought a one-sided phone call could work this well, but it really does. If anything, the fact that we don't here the second voice makes it that much more poignant.Your descriptions are wonderful. Not a word wasted. Simply excellent.Lastly, your title is wonderful - it illuminates the story that follows it.
Dan Delgado (Level 5)
A well done, depressing story. You could definitely get the backstory. Nice dialogue. The matter of fact way the old man talked reminded me of the opening of "The Net". Formatting was well done. No obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. I gave this a rating of "Excellent". Thank you.
David Birch (Level 5)
a little predictable...nice backfill on the phone call...you hit it right on with "disgusting"...everything else that comes after that is pretty much covered by that...also how bout him having a rotary phone?...formatting was spot-on...nice...thanks for the read...
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
This was done pretty well considering your protag was talking on the phone. That is hard to do - you did it well. His intentions were not exactly clear until the very end and that was good too. Maybe a little more suspensful and more of a shock or somehow get us to care about this gross old guy or the son, before torching him.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
This was an excellent entry into this month’s challenge. Wish I could suggest a way to improve it but I think it is just fine as written.
Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)
I really liked this screenplay, well written, believable dialogue, a nice set, great development and a good twist at the end. If I have any criticism, and it's a small one, I'm not so sure about the title "not perfect not forgiven" which strikes me as awkward and wordy in the way that doesn't flow. An excellent job.
Herman Chow (Level 5)
I think this is good. But I might want to know more about why the OLD MAN's son hated him in the first place. And what makes the OLD MAN so desperate to give the insurance money to his son? Is he dying of some other illnesses? It's quite a drastic measure to kill oneself and commit fraud.You might want to give your OLD MAN a name, even though the audience doesn't know, the reader does.GOOD.
James Hughes (Level 5)
I think you can get rid of "dirty" because disgusting says it all.I like that he waits and sniffs. This gave me a good image.I like the way the seemingly average or pathetic conversation happens in between his matter of fact execution of his plan.I'm glad you put the ankle monitor because it explains why the son has deserted the dad.
James McConnell (Level 3)
Good, short and concise action lines. Dialogue was great. I'm not sure what the ankle monitor was for. Is he a criminal? For monitoring because he was elderly? Not sure about the whole conversation being on a telephone. It's not a very cinematic way to tell a story. And I can also think of easier ways of killing yourself. Not bad overall.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
I think the designate beneficiary give away should be closer to the end than the middle. When that line comes, we know the end and therefore are not as attentive afterward.
Jonah Yarden (Level 4)
slightly comedic in the completely congenial conversation, obviously his son has no gripe with him so his actions seem over the top in contrast. Walking back into frames is, again, slightly comical but also an exciting and devastating image. As im not sure whether this is supposed to be slighly funny i cant mark it as high as i'd like.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
Excellent touching piece. The visuals told a story all on their own while the dialogue added another layer to the script. This would be visually impacting, especially if ended with a shot of the trailer going up in a kaboom, yet the mailbox will stay untouched.Great characterization, especially the way the one sided conversation was handled. A straight scene that got to the point, but also managed to tell a deep story. A sad, but truthful tale. Cheers for a great entry.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
This is very heartwrenching. One page and reads very powerful. I loved it. can't say more - when the story is powerful and good I don't notice typos and such.It's easy for me to relate, I came very close to watching an old man ask for his son over and over when the son never even called. Excellent, I think.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Terrific story idea and execution. All sorts of ways for this guy to end his life; the fire in a mobile home is original. Caught off guard with that ending.Real picky -- Could omit "Yeah" after the Old Man says "...and I'll let you go." Initially thought his first dialogue was a bit long. After re-reading it, it's perfectly clear -- maybe the "Wow" isn't crucial -- and the words explain the strained relationship between father and son. Asking for his son's address for the beneficiary information is quite clever. Complete story on one page. Excellent.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
Must be a script by e.e.cummings. Why do you hate capital letters?Of course, the beneficiary is also going to collect this old guy's debt, which is probably considerable given the state of his mobile home.It's touching in an odd way that this old guy is calling the day before the "big day", in full knowledge that he's not even bothering to go there.But, the script is dragged waaay down in my eyes because it's one of these "I get to choose the way I die" scripts. Man, these types of stories really bug me. Instead of the guy getting his act together, he takes the "easy" way out, as though that's the better route anyway. These stories are getting really cliche, and I think you have enough imagination to conjure something better.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I'm not in love with the title, but it's okay.This is well-written and complete. I'm not overly fond of one-sided telephone conversations, but this works. Everything you want to convey is here, and it's presented in a moving way.I didn't notice any problems with spelling, punctuation or formatting. This would be easy and inexpensive to film.Good work.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
Not sure what the title means, but I really liked this script. The ending to this was genuinely surprising, but also emotional. I began to see it coming from the 'Designate Beneficiary', but I was still wondering how you were going to have it end because typically life insurance doesn't pay out for suicides. You handled it very well. Excellent.
Matias Caruso (Level 5)
This was cool. You packed a lot into this page.At first I was confused. I wasnt't sure if the old man was commiting suicide because there are less painful ways to die that being burnt alive.But then I got it (I think). He was filling out insurance papers, so his death was supposed to look like an accident, so his kid could get the money (I think).Very Good (I think). :D
Matthew Fettig (Level 5)
Good title.I think many of these will be predictable in such a short space, so I won't grade on that.The story was well done. You quickly developed a good outcast character trying to make amends. Visually it was easy to see.The only negative for me is buying into a guy walking into a burning mobile home as a suicide. Visually it's interesting, just a bit hard to believe.
Michael Alberstadt (Level 4)
It's a good story but I'm a little confused by the title. Who is "not perfect, not forgiven"? Is it the man, or his son? And I'm assuming he designated his son as a beneficiary of something, but I don't know what. And what is the ankle monitor for?Too many questions and loose ends.Also, having the entire thing take place over the phone robs the audience of the chance to identify with his son, or discover who he is.Refine your idea and consider a rewrite.
Millar Prescott (Level 3)
Hey, pretty good. I liked it. Good dialogue. Very visual description/action lines. I had a suspicion where this might go even before the checkbox, but I was entertained, nevertheless. Good writing style. Very good job.
Patrick Rochel (Level 2)
I liked the way that you develop the story visually (i.e. using the ankle bracelett to denote reason for dispair). Also the way that you show what the old man is doing with the document is a very efficient manner of showing the direction to the ultimate destination the story is going. However the description of his son's situation is all done with dialouge and it is a bit wearing for it's brief tenure. Perhaps another visual to show the situation his son is in as a counterpoint to the situation his father is in. There were so many great visuals that it just makes the dialouge seem tired.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Odd title but excellent story. Love the visuals, love the dialogue. I think you have it all covered. If anything, i'd give the guy a name, just so we know.It's really sad, and you imply so much with the little details.Only thing I can add is that you build up the suicide just a bit more. So you don't instantly know it's all wrong.Other than that, perfect. You are forgiven for the title.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
Sad story packed into one page here.I wish there was a different angle or spin on the story. These are themes and plot-points that have been portrayed before. Telephone conversations are generally a frowned upon device used to expose plot, but I understand you only have a page to work with here.It's not really important, but doesn't suicide generally negate insurance policies?I'm not sure why you've written your title without capitalization and punctuation.Your screenwriting is very good. Format overall appears acceptable. Didn't detect any major typos.
Rich Keel (Level 4)
Preety good story. Sad...but good. I would think it would make people wonder why the situation is the way it is...was the dad a criminal on house arrest then?But it isn't that important since you get the hwole idea. The Dad still cares enough to leave everything to his son who doesn;t have time for him.Good luck to you this month. One of the best I've read.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
In your opener, pick one of the three - dirty, disgusting or roach infested. All the same. Wy not give the Old Man a name, establish a bit more character. Chilling ending. I'm not sure why you threw in the Ankle Monitor since he was clearly planning this. I think it's more empathatic without it. What will change between now and October anyway? I liked the closing visual for such a short piece.
Rob Centros (Level 3)
Pretty strong story. Good description -- dialogue sounded real. Flowed well. Not sure why he would light the trailer, then walk out to the mailbox and then come back -- when he could have just done started the fire when he came back -- but's that's niggling.
Roberto Gonzalez (Level 3)
I'm no sure I understood, but I believe the Old Man decided to buy an insurance designating his Son as a beneficiary, them committed suicide to have him receive the money. That is not quite clear for me, because in my country you have to turn in the insurance prime, and then it has to be approved, before you are actually insured and have a beneficiary designated. So the story is not clear, or things work in a different way in the country of the writer. I liked the Old Man having a casual talk so naturally when he was about to kill himself.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I assume that the man's son is getting married. The old man is on house arrest? Makes me wonder if he did something to his own son or not?The son never vists, so the old man sends him a present of being the beneficiary of his will. Then he goes into a burning mobile home to basically commit suicide?Why? Because he's lonely and his son isn't going to visit him? It was a sad tale for sure, a little bit hard to follow, because we're getting the story mostly from a one sided dialogue on the phone.I did feel really sorry for the old man.
Stephen Brown (Level 5)
Burning yourself to death seems a pretty extreme way to commit suicide. An explosion or something maybe but not a fire. That would be an awful way to die and I can't imagine anyone 'choosing' to go that way.I thought the dialogue was excellent. You packed a load of subtext into those few words and you really got me feeling sorry for the old man, nevermind what his crime was which led to him wearing his ankle monitor.My only criticism with this is the method of suicide that the old man chose. Dialogue, descriptions and concept were all top notch for me.
Susan Lower (Level 2)
The story line is good. However the first three descriptive words could be a little more excate. Especially disgusting and ditry. What is? the mobile home or the old man? Without being told how so, I can't picture on screen what should be disqusting and dirty. Is it dirty dishes? grease splattered walls? are their roaches crawling over his hand? or his papers?
Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)
Excellent work. The subject matter is not the most cheerful around, so I don't know how others will feel about your entry. I hope that it places. Congratulations on a work well done and best of lucks.
Tim Ratcliffe (Level 4)
I liked this, you've got a solid story here for only a page. Not a big fan of the title though, I think you could come up with something punchier. Very good overall though.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
Pretty good story. Sad. But I don't get the title. It doesn't seem to match with the words in the story.I think this will do well.
Travis DeStein (Level 5)
I don't really get it. Seemed like the old guy was getting his son's hopes up as he plots his own suicide. Why bother?
Wes Worthing (Level 5)
This is a deep, dramatic, dark story. A slice of life moment that, in my opinion, works. I really felt like a fly on the wall, witnessing this man's depression. Perhaps he didn't feel like he could be redeemed. This one will stay with me for awhile. Thanks.
Will Pepper (Level 2)
I like that this story shows that father is a deadbeat from the one-way conversation, and the ankle bracelet. The finality of the conversation is very good. The problem with the script is the predictability. If there was a way to find a way to not have the old man give up, or find some note of hope, then you can keep the audience surprised as opposed to bummed. Watch the Season Two first episode of Rescue Me to see that done perfectly in the last 10 minutes. Consider
Comments Made After the Contest
Wes Worthing (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 12:07 AM
Great story Kirk!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 12:30 AM
Congrats on 2nd place Kirk!
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 8/1/2010 1:01 AM
This was wonderful. I truly loved this and I'm so happy to see it win second place. Congratulations!
Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 1:04 AM
Congrats! Good to see one of my VG votes made it.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 1:49 AM
Congratulations, Kirk. Really good work... What was I thinking?
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 8/1/2010 2:19 AM
Great job, Kirk. Knew this one was headed to the top. Congrats!
Kirk White (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 1:03 PM
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 1:22 PM
I liked this one. Glad to see it kirked some ass!
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 2:23 PM
Congrats, this was my month's favorite.
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 8/1/2010 2:31 PM
Key Kirk,I just read this again and became very perplexed... by the vote I gave this.I remember liking it a lot, commented that I thought it would do well, but only gave it a Good.That has to be a mistake on my part. I should have clicked "Very Good".Sorry, man. This is a fine story and well written. And I suck. :-(
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 8/1/2010 11:37 PM
I didn't get to this one this month. I loved it! Definitely making this a favorite.
Dan Delgado (Level 5) ~ 8/2/2010 11:22 AM
I read this one four times and it went up in scoring each time I read it. Fair to Excellent. I have no idea why I didn't like it the first time I read it -- maybe the subject? But it definitely grew on me. Congratulations.
Mike Senkpiel (Level 4) ~ 6/29/2011 2:54 PM
I would so love to shoot this.I am interested in the significance of the lower case title, though. Seeing that this is the only script of Kirk's on this site that has a lower case title and that it is repeated on the title page, I can only assume that it is intentional.I like how the title adds to the story, even if ambiguously. This seems to be a trick used by many of the winners and honerables on the one-page scripts.