"Letting Go" by Marnie Mitchell Lister ~ Second Place

Rewrite: 11/2/2011 12:00 AM

Logline: AVAILABLE. Please contact me if you'd like to read. LOGLINE: After a horrible accident, a young girl's mother has a very hard time letting go.

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 10+

Production Status: Unavailable

Contest: The Undead (Sep. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

Some English:
. page one, I would write "labors up the STAIRS".
. page one, "his eyes fixate on a portrait of HIM, his wife . . .".

You don't have to have Jason fixate on the portrait on page one. You can just say he rushes past it. The director will know to film it. You want to introduce his family, not direct the way the actor should act out that scene I think.

And then the story picks up! First I was wondering about the grandparents, were they ghosts too? Then the punchline on the last page. It is Jenna and Jason who were killed!

It is very Sixth Sense, but different and I was surprised by the ending, didn't see that coming.

Nice story!

Bill Clar (Level 5)

Your opening is terrific. Everything is visually stated.

Wow. Your script really tugs at my heart strings.

I didn't see the twist coming. I guess I was so immersed in the characters and drama that it blindsided me. Great job!

I wouldn't change a thing.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

Monster = GHOST

This was expertly written, paced and formatted. No typos or errors that I detected whatsoever.

The story was a bit cliche and predictable. And by that, I just mean the ol ghost switcheroo tactic popularized by the 6th Sense where the person we think is human all along turns out to be the ghost. I predicted Jason was a ghost on page 1 when he walked up the stairs without speaking to anyone.

This is a short review because it's a pretty well done script that I don't have a lot to comment on. Technically perfect. Storywise, I think if the twist was less obvious from the start, the middle of the script does a sufficient job of disguising it so the only issue for me was really that first scene giving it away. I think this will do pretty well and wouldn't be at all surprised to see this one come away with a top 3 spot or an HM.

Nice work and good luck!

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

*Applaud* Pretty darn good. *Applaud* I'll have to be honest with you; I had a different ending in mind, so I wasn't expecting the one that you threw at me. I also like the title very fitting. Script format was nice and crisp; easy to follow and understand where you were going. As for writing, I didn't notice any noticeable grammar mistakes. As for the story, I really enjoyed it, and I might make it one of my first favorites -- it was that good in my opinion. This was a short that I could see taken further -- great job.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

No issues with the format or writing.

A portrait of he? Himself, please.

I think I'd like some idea of how the two ghosts look...or do they just look like regular people?

I'm sure this will do well though it's a bit too gloopy for my taste!

Darren Seeley (Level 3)

Not what I expected; well- handled and touching. I liked this script a lot. It could go either way: as a "ghost story" or a young girl truamatized by a tragic memory and thus the ghosts are memories or hallucinations. I actually wondered where this was going, if you were going to get to the 'undead' in the story. You did in an effective and indirect way. The only mild nitpick for me is "INT.UPSTAIRS" - you didn't need the INT for UPSTAIRS is understood as a sub-location of the house.

Still, a terrific entry, great job. Thumbs up. Could be in a shortlist. Got my vote anyway.

David M Troop (Level 5)

This contest has had its share of ghost stories. "Letting Go" is one of the better ones.
Jason and Jenna Miller are at a wake in their home. They talk upstairs away from everyone about missing their daughter Lily. Then comes the "surprise." Their daughter is not the one who has passed on.
I seriously doubt an audience would be surprised by much anymore. "The Sixth Sense" has taught us not to believe anything we see. We expect the unexpected.
So, that leaves us with very good writing and emotion. "Letting Go" has both, without being sappy.
I found myself caring for the deceased couple and the daughter they left behind. Overall, I thought "Letting Go" was VERY GOOD.

David Patterson (Level 3)

nice twist. But maybe you revealed it too soon. The last page was anti-climatic...maybe a good way to wrap it up in a longer film but as a short piece it felt sluggish. I wanted more dialogue...something more revealing about the couple that had nothing to do w/ their daughter. Maybe they could have an argument? Anyway...it had a great tone to it. Haunting. Keep up the good work.

Dawn Calvin (Level 5)

This was written quite well. Nice flow to it. I had an inkling what was coming and thought that you pulled perfectly.

The only part that seemed forced to me was the sign letting us know the couple had died and left a daughter... I think that needs some thought.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Good luck!

Debra Johnson (Level 3)

Mid-way through the story, I gathered it was the parents who were the ghosts. Reminded me of the movie The Others. It was well written though. You didn't put if it was day or night in the scene headings and one time I noticed you wrote "morning" and didn't think you could do that. Perhaps write in the description the morning sun came through the windows to indicate that.

Otherwise, nice story and well written.

Donnetta Williams (Level 3)

At first I didn't know whom was the spirit and or ghost of the story which is always good for it adds to an intriguing twist. Good story, the pace of the story line flowed smoothly. The emotions behind the characters were detailed enough to have the audience feel for the characters and relate to them as the story unfolded.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

A couple have to let go of their daughter

Another very good ghost story! This one had me thinking the daughter had died when in fact the parents had died. Nicely constructed, nicely told.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

Title - the title is good and appropriate for the story but doesn't even hint at the genre.
Craft - your craft is nearly flawless. One very minor point is fade out needs a period.
Dialogue - the dialogue is realistic and seems natural for these characters.
Action lines - your actions lines are very good. They and descriptive, clear and concise.
Story - the story is very good and I like the twist as I thought it was Lily and the grandparents that were dead, not the parents.

Javier Torregrosa (Level 4)

For what it was, it's fairly decent. The title is fitting too. There are a lot of these types of scripts of ghosts that never let go, so the unique factor isn't there. I'm sure you know this already. As for improvements, well what can you do? No point making it longer or shorter, it'll still have the same overall feel.

I can see you must of used word and used a PDF program to convert, as your alignment is a little off. Use a free program like Celtx or spend the big bucks on FD.

All the best,


JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)


OH! That was GOOD! You pulled a fast one on me!! HAHAHA!

That was really nice man! Damn, that was nice! Aw, this is probably going to be the winner. Wow, this needs to be made! Haha, I'm still smiling and shocked by that ending.

I loved the characters, the writing was smooth, man this was good.

Excellent, excellent job.

Jordan Littleton (Level 4)

This was a predictable story and twist. It was told well for the most part. It just wasn't anything remarkable. It had somewhat of a Beetlejuice feel but it was more somber. The story was just average.

Kenneth Hurd (Level 4)

This was great! I loved it. The whole time while I was reading it, I was expecting that Lily was the ghost, so I was surprised to find out that it was Jason and Jenna. My only recommendation would be to change a few of the characters' names. With every character having a name that starts with a "J" it can cause some confusion. I knew who everyone was, but when you mentioned John towards the end of the script, I had to go back and make sure that you weren't referring to Jason. However, that didn't make me take any points off of this script. This is an Excellent!

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

This is a very nice misdirection. Drama wise - it's good but not as good as Sally Meyer's The Shroud. I thought that compared to that one yours have some exposition. But I didn't expected that twist at the end! The parents are the ghosts.
I think if I was watching it I'd love the ending! And thus the story. Good Luck to you with it!

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Wow. A simple story that's so well done that the mislead should have been obvious.
Congratulations on pulling off a great surprise. Thought for sure this script was going to reveal the obvious -- parents attempting to come to terms with the death of their four-year-old. "She has to come back. This is her home." Brilliant.
No suggestions for improvement. When it works, it works. Excellent.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

I thought this was going to be a typical script about the parents getting in touch with their dead daughter, but I liked the reversal.

"a portrait of he" should be "a portrait of himself". Also eyes cannot "fixate".

"This isn't right and you know it!"
This is a cliché.


Michael Berg (Level 4)

Interesting story. I enjoyed the misdirection of the beginning and story twist. Nothing pops out in terms of distinct dialogue, but it serves the story well enough. (one exception is Jenna's sudden acceptance to let her daughter go. Not enough was presented to believe the 180 turn in tone, not even the daughter being scared.)

Format was generally good, had some minor slugline issues, and spacing. You were a bit all over the place in formatting the secondary headings, and remember not to capitalize
the word on the next line when using a secondary heading in the middle of a thought.

Had a good 6th Sense tone to it.

Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)

Great story. Really well done.

Very emotional, but not overly sentimental. Great twist.

I can't think of anything to improve upon what you have submitted. Everything fit together perfectly.

Definitely my favorite script this month.

This was a joy to read and I feel I am a better writer from reading it. Thanks.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

This is nicely done, well written and poignant, the emotions are strong in it.

It did however feel familiar and the shift from thinking it was Lily who had died to the parents wasn't surprising, although I'm not sure why as it is deftly handled.

Great dialogue.

Rather a lot of J's - Jenna, Jason, John.

Well done.

Olga Tremaine (Level 5)

Pretty nice story. Nice twist at the end. I don't see any flaws in the story or writing/formatting.
The concept itself is not new, but it's well written.

Good luck.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Wow, we think ALIKE! Both ghosts and parents and letting go, and the name JENNA. Nice going here. Really.
Makes me wonder if I was really all that original...hmmm...

Oh well.

Well written, good story. Like the twist that the parents were dead, but then you kept on going. Adding pages and such. Just too much fat.

The ending just hammers the point home. I like the part where she is afraid of her. Maybe that should be the twisting point.

Pia Cook (Level 5)

Very Good. You had me fooled until the very end. I thought the girl was the ghost. Great work. Not much more to add or suggest. I might come back and bump this one up to an Excellent. :)

Reginald McGhee (Level 0)

You did well describing the living room.

I like the atmosphere that surrounds the story. It tends to add tension in one room (the kitchen and bedroom) as I read along.

The dialogue between Jenna, Jason, and Lilly is realistic.

I am getting the feeling that either Lilly or Jenna could be ghosts, where Lilly wants to see Mommy (it's just a guess without reading through it).

The story is touching and heartwarming. I enjoy reading the interactions between the characters. Granny wanting to comfort Lilly.

Your writing is good. On the side note, I had to read it twice to get an understanding of what the movie is about. I wasn't sure exactly what the central premise was. I think it's a Drama.

I will rate this as good.

Ryan Lee (Level 3)

I thought this was well constructed enough to keep me guessing who was dead here, the girl or the parents. It's a simple twist, but I think it was pulled off quite cleverly. The story flowed right along and the dialogue rang true. Very solemn material, but I think this would make an effective short.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

aww this was so sad. I sort of guessed the ending, but it still was well written and I felt the pain of the parents and Lilly.

Nice job. Easy to follow and I enjoyed the story.

Sean Chipman (Level 4)

Well, it's apparent that this is written by a regular on the site. It's just one of those things that you can feel when you read a script. The sluglines, story trying to be more than it is, the ending; all signs of someone who spends a lot of time, here.

The writing itself was a little irritating, though. I'm not a big fan of those room transitions where you don't finish off the prose and cut straight to the slugline. Also, almost every chance you got, you skipped out on a comma. You missed 20 at the absolute minimum. Also, I saw the end twist coming a mile away. Not a real surprise because that's been the case with all of them this month, but still...

You gave a real try, but I can't like it any better than GOOD.

Shaun Bragg (Level 4)

Tightly constructed little script with really good verbage in your details and actions.

Nice characterization as well.

Liked your story. Keep it up.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

Bravo - nicely done & well constructed ghost story. The set-up was superb and the character relationships believable. Methinks a winner - excellent!

Comments Made After the Contest

Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 12:14 AM

Awesome congrats on 2nd place!!!

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 11/1/2011 12:16 AM

Many congrats Marnie!!!

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 12:18 AM

Nice job Marnie! Congrats!

KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 12:25 AM

Nothing better than being surprised while reading. Congratulations.

Michael Cornetto (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 12:43 AM

Congrats Marnie, well done.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 11/1/2011 12:57 AM

Marnie, Marnie, Marnie, this script was absolutely phenomenal. I loved every bit of it. Definitely, definitely one of my favorites. This is top notch at its finest. Why would anyone give this just a good? I'll read through the comments later. I definitely thought it was better than my entry. Excellent job.

If you go back to the undead thread and look under my posts, I said:

"OHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Haha! I just read my second to last script. It was amazing, haha."

That was yours. :)

Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 11/1/2011 1:00 AM

Go Marnie! Congrats, chica!

MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 4:23 AM

Way to go Marnie!! Congrats!

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 7:47 AM

Wow! Thanks all! I'm really surprised because I thought for sure I had screwed this up and revealed the twist too soon. I knew some people would guess right away, nothing I could do about that. They're probably the same people who weren't fooled by Sixth Sense. Personally, I was floored by that film, I'll never forget it...I screamed in the theater I was so shcoked. LOL.

And thanks JP...your reaction was exactly what I was hoping for! :D

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 11/1/2011 9:22 AM

Marnie, I stood up out of my seat in the sixth sense. A first for me, so maybe that's why I really liked this. :D

Byron Matthews (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 11:39 AM

Thumbs up!

Denise Jewell (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2011 12:04 PM

Congrats Marnie! I love your writing because it is so visual. The image at the end of this is wonderful. Well deserved win!!

Michael Berg (Level 4) ~ 11/2/2011 12:44 PM

Congrats Marnie!

Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 11/2/2011 9:52 PM

The second rewrite looks better now. We understand the conflict between Lilly and Jason. Congrats on being second place.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 11/3/2011 12:49 PM

Marnie - Didn't get a chance to vote on this, but it ROCKS! Congratulations on the win.

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 11/11/2011 9:00 AM

Congratulations on winning Second Place. I love these kind of ghost stories. Great script and really powerful ending.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 11/12/2011 12:32 PM

Thanks for the kind words everyone. So many great entries for this theme! :)

Masoud Soheili (Level 4) ~ 2/5/2012 6:54 AM

Is it available or not?
You could find both in top :D

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/5/2012 11:42 AM

Hi Masoud. Just click on the rewrite to read. :)

Masoud Soheili (Level 4) ~ 2/6/2012 10:45 AM

i did .thanks

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The following members have selected this script as one of their favorites:

KP Mackie ~ JeanPierre Chapoteau ~ Mike Senkpiel ~ Bill Clar ~ Byron Matthews ~ Reginald McGhee ~ Zach Jansen