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"Orange Mound Park" by Shedric Bragg

Logline: An unexpected event changes Cameron's life forever with help he must comes to terms with loss the best way he can.

Genre: Crime - Drama

Cast Size: 10+

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

Contest: Fifth Year Open (Dec. 2011)

Contest Scores
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Comments Made During the Contest

Ammar Salmi (Level 5)

You approach to the problem is way too flowery. The writing is clear. It was a smooth read. But when tackling problems that complicated you need to be more real. The story may end as a tragedy but the impact of it will be stronger.

Also, montage shots should be in separated lines.

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

I think you got the mood just right. A drug killing, sadly killing young kids before their life really begins.

Then what appears to be a gang initiation rite, Cameron has to apparently kill some one.

And then it turns out Cameron was dead too and we were following his ghost for the second part of the story. Great surprise!

This was a pleasurable read.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

When you say the boys are "having a good time", what exactly are they doing? Laughing? Dancing? Joking? Be specific.

"Duvall trifling as hell for this!" I don't know what this means. British slang?

"Black" is not a good name. It blends in too well with the other objects in the sentence. I keep expecting to read "Black house" or "Black car". It's confusing.

The second and third scene can be unified.

If the hooded man searches Black's pockets, then what is the state of Black? Is he moving? Dead?

"Three suspicious men stand under a stop sign" What makes them suspicious? Wouldn't any suspicious person attract Cameron's attention? This doesn't further the story.

"Levante drives as he tries to force Cameron to drink from a RED CUP, Cameron refuses
until Levante’s persistence wins him over and he drinks." You're glossing over details. Cameron's hesitation to drink and Levante's insistence are powerful character traits. This is a huge revelation in their relationship, as it establishes Levante's domineering attitude and Cameron's weakness. Either flesh out the scene or omit it.

Remove the "(earnest)" wrylie.

What's the point of the flashback? It doesn't tie in with Lil' Craig.

Build up the drink/don't drink scene in the car to establish their relationship and maybe incorporate Lil Craig into the flashback. If Cameron knew Lil Craig as kids, it can tie into the story. Give us closure with Cameron and Levante. Don't say "What's the point?" and leave it at that. Levante wants blood. Have he and Cameron argue or throw some punches to settle their differences.

You have a good, gritty tale, but your slang and lack of details work against you. Don't worry though, everything is easily fixed. You have the story, which is the most important part. Next comes formatting, and smoothing out the pace.

Bill Sarre (Level 5)

Powerful story, convincingly portrayed.

It was nice to have an upbeat ending, most descend into the usual bloodbath and futility of it all, so well done.

Clearly their is power imbalance between Cameron and his cousin. If he is to betray this and fight back I think this may need to be more powerfully portrayed. It seems like a bit gentle how this comes across. Maybe a fight afterwards when he stands his ground, although I appreciate you only had five pages.

Good stuff.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

I understand that some of the grammar errors are in here because this is how your characters talk, but that should be limited to the dialog, some of the problems are in the action and description lines. I'm sure others will point specifics out for you, if not, contact me after the contest.

Anyway, the story... Well, it's brutal and violent, but it kind of lacks drama and focus. There was some good tension building in the end when Cameron pulls the gun on Lil Craig, but then you cut away to a flashback (which isn't formatted correctly, by-the-way), and the tension slips away. I wanted to see the change happen in Cameron's face, not through a flashback. Those are moments that can be gold for your actors and for the film, but you cut it out of the picture.

To me, the focus here should be on what Levante says to Cameron, "I know how you left them!". That is your story right there. That is the emotion and regret that Cameron is living with, but that was sort of swept under the rug here. Instead you focus on Cameron not being able to kill someone.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was formatted pretty well with no typos that I noticed. I thought the pace could be tightened up a little. There were several non-speaking characters introduced without CAPS.

The story was okay, but I think the character arcs were way too drastic to seem believable in 5 pages. Levante is hellbent on killing this fool, but then he's suddenly persuaded against it for no real reason. Why would Cameron's objection at the scene of the crime be any more well received than they were beforehand? I get the story... A little slice of life tale about an inner city kid doing what he can to break the cycle of violence. I get it. I'm not really sure how interesting of a film that'd be though. I felt like the ending was kind of sappy. I didn't believe Levante would be there.

Overall, I thought script just needs some tightening and the story could use a stronger climax. Nice work and good luck!

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

First impression, it was good. It didn't feel like anything new. Kid's friend are murdered, he seeks vengence (cousin in this case), but he finds a higher power within himself. I wonder why you didn't describe a single character in your short; I'm assuming they all look the same. The flashback montage could be shortened.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

Intriguing title.

I find it quite hard to understand stoner terms! Sure it's realistic.

Whose attention, not who's attention. Same goes for whose eyes.

I expect you meant glassy-eyed not glossy-eyed

Hole in wall, not whole. It's important to get your work PROOFREAD!

Characters should be capitalised when they first appear even if not named. E.g. three suspicious men

You created a great setting with your use of dialogue and character. Somehow, the ending needs ramping up. It feels a little flat compared with the rest. I wasn't sure what feelings we were meant to be left with at the end.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I really love what you are trying to do here. The idea that violence leads to more violence, until someone finally has had enough. It's beautiful.

I think this script is good, but it also feels a tad rushed. It's tough to do something like this in just five pages. I hope you expand it and really explore why Cameron chooses to break the cycle.

Best of luck with it.

Christina Kishpaugh (Level 3)

Overall it is an effective script. It works for a particular crowd but might be lost on others. Everything flows really well, some of the dialogue is super clinical but the majority of it works and reflects the atmosphere of the piece well. The only thing I would comment on that is inconsistent is Levante and his sudden and dramatic character change with no real reason at all. He was so hell bent on Cameron getting revenge and was hard core enough to put a gun to his temple but Cameron has a personal flashback and a change of heart and suddenly Levante does too? It doesn't match what we already have learned and been told about his character.

Christopher Pedersen Cook (Level 3)

Very suspensful, and ultimatelly touching. I really like the direction the story takes. I thought I had the story figured out from the opening. This is headed towards revenge and violence. And I feel like stories of this kind usually go that way. Revenge must be taken, and the theme seems to be about pointlessness. It's a vicious cycle of violence that can't be stopped. Here, however, the cycle comes to an end, and the ending felt very refreshing and uplifting in that sense. And I really liked the montage when Cameron is pointing the gun at Lil Craig. Nice job!

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

"A 2-on-2 game in progress. Next to the court JUICE (17),
CAMERON (16) and BLACK (17) sit on a park bench smoking pot
and having a good time."

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I want to be introduced to the characters. This doesn't do it. I have to try to fill in the blanks. You don't need a ten paragraph character sketch of each character but give me SOMETHING I can see, please. I'm willing to bet you saw a picture of your characters when you wrote this. Let me in on it.

"A 2-on-2 game in progress. Next to the court, three high
school age kids sit on a park bench smoking pot and having
a good time."

There's your setup. Now tell me something about JUICE, CAMERON and BLACK. I need to see them.

JUICE, wiry and alert, doesn't miss a thing. (Or whatever paints a picture of your character.) It doesn't even have to be that long.

The rest of the story was written competently. Nothing stood out as bad formatting, or bad grammar. The story was a little too familiar, but it still had a good message.

Thanks for entering. Good luck.

David E Harding (Level 2)

Intense. Great action and dialog gives and emersive feel into the world of teen gangs. I liked that Cameron was able to rise beyond the pressure and perpetuating cycle of his world. Though this story puts the spotlight on senseless violence this story could be improved with an elaboration of Cameron's struggle to do the right thing. I never had the sense that he was conflicted with his decision and, while pressured to make a difficult decision, he never entertained the thought to cave to that pressure.

Powerful story overall. Keep writing, you've some good stuff here!

David M Troop (Level 5)

Orange Mound Park

If you are familiar with the film Boyz in the Hood, this will seem like the Reader's Digest version.
You have the gangs versus the good kid who stuggles to get out of the hood and have a better life.
Not that this is a rip off, but all the elements are there.
The formatting has issues. There are many ing verbs in your descriptions.
Typos - he punches a whole in the wall
My favorite line is - Cameron takes in the neighborhood as he eats Captain Crunch.
If you are introducing a new character, it should be CAPTAIN CRUNCH. However, I hoped you were referring to the breakfast cereal.

And once you introduce Lavante, the dialogue gets real interesting.

I know you were trying to deliver a good message, and non-violence is always a great message, I just thought it fell short.

Debra Johnson (Level 3)

Good message here. Formatting could use some tightening up and there are spelling errors. Keep things in the present tense "starts to sob" to "sobs". Using INTERCUT would work better too. The montage should be broken up in sentences with white space between them. This paragraph is mroe than the 4 lines.

Good job.

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

Nice job. I was very sucked in to this story - you do a good job with describing the scene and using language that fits. I was a little confused by the names Black and Juice at first, with Cameron having a normal name, but I got used to it. You might think more about the characters names and make sure your reader doesn't get distracted by them.

There are a few things I would tweak, just so it reads more smoothly, but all in all this was very engaging and enjoyable.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

-- An urban teenager runs when his two friends are killed --

Favorite line: Keep playing pussy you gone get fucked,

Format needs tightening, awkward word choices (beholds). Dialogue had too much dialect, not easily understood. Scene selection was odd, I wanted to see the death scene! This story seems to be more about Levante than Cameron. Levante's transformation to peace wasn't quite convincing. When did Cameron sit on the couch? I didn't feel the impact of this but it is a good effort. Nondescript title - didn't feel the park as a character.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

Title - the title is okay but it doesn't tell us much going in.
Craft - your craft is fine but why would you have a fade in and not a fade out?
Dialogue - the dialogue is good and seems realistic for these characters.
Action lines - your action lines are fine.
Story - the story is okay but I think you may need to expand this into a longer script for it to really shine. I don't think you had enough room to explain all the behavior.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

"Cameron crosses over glossy-eyed to notice..." I had to read this a couple ties to understand it.

Why specifically Captain Crunch and not just cereal?

A derelict, not AN derelict.

You have the hood dialogue there, but this was just another Master P production type movie. It didn't really bring anything different to the genre. Cameron would be a dead man anyway. Lil Craig would definitely retaliate, or whoever sent Levante over there. Especially since Cameron wrestled the gun out of his hand.

I really wish it was a different twist on this. I've seen this kind of film several times.

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

This was good, I wasn't so sure on first read, but once I got past all the slang I could see that there's a compelling story here. To be honest, I think it could expand well into a feature.

However, I do have a few criticisms. I think you can make Camerons emotions a little less obvious and heavy handed (for example the punching the wall). Some subtlety would make this feel a lot more poignant.

Also, this would have been better if it were clear why exactly Levante changed so dramatically at the end. You could say "he was influenced by Camerons actions", but I don't think we see this influencing happening.

Again, I think this may be worth expanding, Well Done :)

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

I didn't like the montage on top of page 5. I think it comes a little too late. By that time I should be invested in Cameron, I should root for him, understand his problem and I don't. That's why you have montage in - and it's too late for that, I think, the short is almost over by then. So, given like that on page 5 it doesn't accomplish much, I think.
I think montages are too much for 5 pagers. Especially if they are in there to explain something to us, or to give backstory. I think there are other ways to present backstory to us, more efficient ways.

Kim M Brantley (Level 3)

Orange Mound Park is full of gritty action and moment-to-moment tension. The scenes flow very well in the story. The audience is drawn into Cameron's plight and we quickly see the world through his eyes.

We feel anger and remorse over the death of his friends, and outrage over the pressure placed on him to get "payback" for their murders by taking revenge on their killer.

Minor suggestions are to remember to put periods between sentences in order to avoid confusion. Write using active verbs, Ex. Pg. 2 "Shots ring out," not "Shots are heard."

Also, montages can be extremely costly to film since you have to shoot all of the scenes and locations with many different actors, including children, as in this story, so make sure they are absolutely essential.

Remember to write only what the audience can see. Lil Craig "counting sheep" cannot be seen, unless you actually want to have that scene shot.

Readers at production companies and screenplay contests are sticklers for all of these little details, so two books that every screenwriter should have are "The Screenwriter's Bible," by David Trottier and "The Elements of Style," by Strunk and White.

Otherwise, Orange Mound park is a good read.

Please feel free to accept or disregard all suggestions I make.

Kirk White (Level 5)

A little after school special for my tastes, it's still a solid slice of life script, well written and crafted. The dialogue at times seemed a weeeeee labored, almost like you were more focused on capturing the rhythm and syntax of the "street" than giving us full fledged characters but still a powerful story.

I think the length restriction doesn't give you a lot of space to develop a struggle and true arc with Cameron so I would hope that this is a script you consider expanding.

giving a good

Kisha King (Level 4)

This story has a very fast pace to it. I wish the story slowed down when Juice and Black is getting killed. I think more time should have been used to describe that part of the story.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

This story seems to capture what reality is like on the streets. It's familiar, but still elicits emotion when young people are killed for no reason.
The characters feel a bit predictable. The young Cameron is influenced to retaliate by the older and street-wiser Levante. Perhaps something out of the ordinary needs to be inserted after Juice and Black's deaths to influence Cameron more positively. Maybe Lil Craig's mother intervenes, or there's a pastor, or maybe even a geeky kid that Cameron knows from school. There's some very good raw moments, but there probably needs to be a new element of some sort injected to make the storyline different.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

A nice script. Cameron attempts to break the cycle of gang violence.

I got the impression, though, from the opening scenes that the violence didn't stem from gang warfare but from a drug deal gone wrong. Perhaps there were too many themes to be adequately dealt with in a five page script.

I didn't understand how the montage advanced the story. The vignettes from Cameron's life seemed unrelated to the decision he makes to spare Lil Craig's life.

The dialogue seemed well-written. It flowed very nicely with only one exception: "I wish I could erase what happened..." That line seemed too convenient and out of dialect.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

Love the title. I like the story, too, but it seems a bit rough around the edges.

You can turn off the MOREs and CONTINUED feature in your writing program if you're so inclined. It's acceptable either way, but turning it off ends up giving you more lines for story. Story is good.

You've chosen some character names that are neutral gender. One of my daughters' nicknames is Juice; Cameron could be female; and Black could be anyone. They're watching some (assumably) young men play basketball. I thought the kids on the bench were girls.

You have some punctuation errors. Watch how you use semicolons. Avoid them if a period will work instead.

Reading the dialogue is like reading a foreign language for me, so I really don't feel adequate in judging the quality. It does get the gist of things across, though, and that's what really matters in the long run.

All in all, this is a really nice effort. The story is solid, the characters are pretty will thought out. You've got some great visuals. It needs some editing, though. Not much. A basic polish will do nicely.

This will be relatively inexpensive to film. The locations are easily accessible and won't require a lot of set dressing. Wardrobe will be a non-factor in budgeting. There aren't many characters, and the roles are pretty meaty.

Nice work. Get editing.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

This was a good story and I liked the resolution.

A few times you use "who's" when "whose" should be used. "Who's" means "who is".

I'm not an expert but sometimes your slang sounds a little confused.

Good.

Michael Hughes (Level 4)

This was very well written. Nice descriptions and the visuals helped tell the story. the dialog worked well too, it did not seem forced or faked for the characters. I thought the description of action during the intitial shooting worked very well being from Camerons point of view. I was confused when you mentioned juice crawling and didn't realize that Black had been shot until we see the Hooded Man (thru Cameron's eyes) going thru his pockets. I think this really added to the feeling of the chaos in the scene.

Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)

Wow, this was powerful, very emotional.

It makes me so sad that some people have to live through this kinda shit. I hope there really are Camerons out there who have the courage to put an end to the cycle.

Great title.

There were a few typos, but nothing major. Excellent work!

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

Good visual descriptions and you have a strong message to put accross.

Too much detail in some places and not enough in others. for example on page two you describe Cameron´s neighbourhood but give not one word to describe Levante.

Too many characters also make it hard to connect to the protagonist.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Title:
Interesting.

Pg 1:
Interesting hook. Typical stoners, but besides that a sudden good hook. Bit weird with the names.

Pg 2:
Interesting visuals. Good athmosphere. So Levante was the hooded guy?

Pg 3:
Oh, he didn't do it. He wants him to man up. Dialogue feels real here.

Pg 4:
Strong, tense. Like the detail with the mask. Really heightened tension here.

Pg 5:
Hmmm, really weird change of athmosphere. So dark before, now there's a sudden change of heart? Even from Levante? Where did this come from.

So, well written story. Feels real up until the final page, the sudden shift just feels awkward. Not in line with the rest of the script.

R. L. Robinson (Level 3)

Good. The story is interesting and the action is a driving factor to the story's overall feel. The characters experience a range of emotions and make for interesting relationships. Violent though articulate. Good work.

Reginald McGhee (Level 0)

I haven’t found any formatting errors so far. The pacing is somewhat fast, and the scene transitions run smooth in the screenplay. You have a few run-on sentences that can be fixed up. I understand that you want to show empathies on the story, but it makes a quick read if you break down the sentences with periods.

By reading the first line when the three people are, smoking pot having a good time is already deemed either a funny or crime type movie. Keep up the suspense, please.

The dialogue is real. You can remove the pause and “MORES.” Producers already know who’s talking in the next line of dialogue. You don’t need to capitalize RED CUP. We already know what your intensions are, at least I do. “Cameron’s eyes well up,” is the grammatical meaning of your sentence, not “Cameron eyes well up.”

The story is about two gangsters, one coward, shooting off people they cannot stand. Then Craig and Cameron end their career as a gangster and turn themselves to God. The story is entertaining and good. The ending is straightforward, but the surprise twist is stable but predictable. I enjoyed the read.

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Uneven but I liked the message behind the story. The title wouldn't be my choice, something more pointed to the message might work better but as far as the writing -- Maybe cut the opener down to just have Juice and Cameron, maybe Levante observes? Occasionally, the wording in the stage direction strayed too far from the atmosphere created by the dialogue. The inner city slang would be jolted by words like "maneuvers" or "hygiene" and I was felt my brain shifting worlds between the script and the action. I would suggest dropping the flashback. Cameron's reluctance is evident and the montage just stops the action cold. It would be much more dramatic without it. Still, I enjoyed the message here and I sense that you can picture this very clearly in your mind - nice visual style of writing.

Robert Newcomer (Level 4)

Right off, we have format problems with this one. Your use of CONTINUOUS is incorrect, and this convention is becoming a bit of a dinosaur anyway, as good writing often makes this directive intuitive and a little redundant. Many of your slugs are downright odd, particularly that final one on page 3, and your montage is not a proper montage. You should brush up on these things.

Turning to the story itself, the grittiness had a movie familiarity that interfered with its authenticity. It did not feel like the streets, but rather, numerous films about life on the streets. The instant conversion of Levante at the end was a big part of this. The author is encouraged to dig a little deeper into this rich scenario and extract some of the fresh details that are surely there to be found.

What I did like was the dialogue, and I found some of the intentional misspellings and mispronunciations an effective technique to help the characters feel real, despite the surrounding story in which they found themselves.

Fair.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

The only part of this I didn't like was the flashback of Cameron growing up. I don't mind flashbacks in scripts, but this one really didnt show anything pertinent to the story.

The story is strong. I felt that it was good for Cameron not to kill Lil Craig in retaliation. Not really believeable in this world of violence, but it was a good thought.

The writing is clean and I didn't see any errors. The title doesn't really tell us much about what this story is about. I'd consider choosing something that has a meaning to the film.

Good job.

Shaun Bragg (Level 4)

Wow, this was an amazing story and the concept was simple enough. I was blown away by how this writer was able to make this fit in another facet. It's fresh, orginal and touching at the same time. This is some deep stuff.

The characterization of Cameron and Levante is done really well. Didn't approve of Levante's tactics but he gets Cameron to do what he needs him to do by force despite Cameron's concerns are. In the end we see that Cameron has more self control than Levante has.

And this montage at the end almost was the touching that I spoke about earlier. Man this was by far the most entertaining and powerful read during this contest. Exceptional writing and impressive dialouge and professional structure.

Would definetly love to see this story expand to ten pages, excellent script!!!!

Tim Westland (Moderator)

This is a little choppy. The dialogue works well some of the time, but then other times it doesn't sound right, tonally. Your descriptions seem cut up and missing words. Not sure if this is intentional. All I know is that it is noticeable. The transitions need some work and the ending seemed a bit rushed.

The events seem real, and that helps the story.

Good.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Sorry, but there was nothing new we haven't read or seen before. Plus, Levante's conversion is way too abrupt at the end - and since Cameron is the focus of the story, we need to see a change in him, if possible.

During the rewrite, pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation during the action sequences.

William Phibbs (Level 2)

As far as structure goes and the flow of the actual script, everything was put together very well for a 5 page script. The only problem I had, which again is hard to muster in 5 pages is the apathy I felt for the concept. The montage and events preceding didn't really strike a chord of interest. As I said, don't take that the wrong way but I just had no real interest in the subject matter. It felt more like a commercial for an anti-violence campaign as opposed to a drama. I don't know, I feel like the more insight into the main character's thoughts would have drawn more interest as opposed to the topical images of his childhood as a montage. Once again, for 5 pages I know that is hard but just stating my opinion.


Comments Made After the Contest


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