Comments Made During the Contest
Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)
Ow that is a sad ending! The man gave his son a briefcase for his birthday. Resourceful though.So Don has been lying about having a job, up to the point where he now can't even afford a present for his son. And he gives his briefcase! Why didn't he give his belt, or his watch, something cool. I hope Jane leaves him!I felt a bit cheated in the end because giving the briefcase felt like a bit of a cop-out for Don. He's a bit of a weak character....The climax has not been reached, it is open-ended.
Bill Clar (Level 5)
I feel Don should say something to Jane rather than smile and wink. It comes across as aloof and uncaring.Good transition from the bus, to the street, to the pawn shop. Good ending. It's uplifting.
Bill Sarre (Level 4)
A sad but well told story. A nice quick set up of expectations, hope, sacrifice and decieit. I could picture the day the man went through. How far would you go etcNot much room on one page but i did wonder how his wife doesn't know but that happens.Otherwise not much to add, well done.All the best.
Byron Matthews (Level 4)
Great piece of writing. Excellent imagery. I thought the story and the work were very good. I really enjoyed it. Crafted an excellent story in a one pager.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Joseph House? Is this the name of the family? You don't say.This is a heart-warming tale but I feel it is perhaps too much to cram in to one page. I was left wondering about the deception and how it fits in around getting the child to save his pennies. A more important lesson, surely, would be Tell The Truth?!
Chris Setten (Level 4)
There is some really good subtext in the dialogue but I'm not sure what the writer wants me to take away from this. I think the story has been done before and the end left me trying to figure out what Buddy was supposed to learn (am I being dense?).
Christina Anderson (Level 4)
My dad would have given me a coffee can.I like it. Good imagery to tell the story. Would like a little more emotional cues-- body language with the wife (has he told her he's unemployed?). Not sure if it would be better up front (foreshadowing), but definitely at the end after a day like that-- can he meet her eye? VERY GOOD.
Daniel Ackerman (Level 3)
I just joined this site so take my comments for what they are worth. This was a little sad yet somehow warm story. It has a familiar theme - unemployed man trying to hide the facts from the family yet still make his son's birthday happy. Your format was good and you got a lot in to a one page script.
David Birch (Level 5)
nice sweet (almost too sweet) story that is written very well...did about the most you could do given the one page limit...would have preferred a little more at stake (c'mon...a briefcase?...not much of a choice there)...anyway, writer knows his/her craft very well and one of the better submissions i've read so far...nice...
David D. DeBord (Level 5)
A simple, straight forward story. Nothing wrong with that by the way. I like the newspaper imagery, particularly when I read the script a second time and picked up on the deeper meaning of the newspaper wrapped gift. It’s wrapped that way not to be cheep but because that was the material available.
David M Troop (Level 4)
An excellently executed one-pager.You were able to convey strong emotions without melodrama and a social commentary without preaching.The characters and situations were (unfortunately) so real.And the ending ...beautiful.
David Serra (Level 4)
Hmm, this got a mixed reation from me.You should add SAME or CONTINUOUS at the end of BUS, STREET and pawn street just to show that the scene is following.Good
Derek Anderson (Level 4)
I liked everything about this. Even the title was fitting.Your craft is strong and you told a really good story in just one page. Job well done... this should place really high this month.I'm not even half way through with this contest, but this is my first EXCELLENT.My only lingering question: the slugs have "JOSEPH HOUSE"... who is Joseph? The protag is Don, his wife Jane, and his son Billy. I'm confused...
Derek Collins (Level 4)
Great job, The first couple lines combined with the title immediately made me think you were going to do something with the old cats in the cradle vibe. So as I got further along I started to realize what you were actually doing and I was pleasantly surprised. Very appropriate script for the times also. I wouldn't change a thing about this one. So again, great job!
Donnetta Williams (Level 3)
Story adaption was on point, concept was great. Main character was believable helped bring the story to life. Very well written story. I enjoyed reading it.
Elaine Clayton (Level 4)
A nicely formed linear structure. The characters are developing, but would benefit from further examination. A revelation from the father, or a successful call at the end of the day to change around his bad fortune to good, would have developed your character a little further, or the wife working it out, are all possibilities for enhancing your story and drawing it to a firmer close. Scene headings were good and used well to create a good visual story. The action lines and little amounts of dialogue were well thought-out and well applied to the script.
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
So, what was the gift... a penny? What was the lesson? I really thought this was going somewhere, and probably does, but such an abrupt ending left me scratching my head. I feel dense for not getting this, because it sounds important, compelling. Bummer.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
Well written story with a nice solid message. This one earned an excellent from me.
Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)
I stand in complete awe at your gift for writing screenplays. Five!!! scenes, a minimum of dialogue and brilliant visuals that propel your storyline forward - AND!!!a charming, humane finish. Excellent. No other word for it. Continued good success.
Gary Rademan (Level 5)
I liked the way you showed us a penny saved without telling us. Sad commentary on the boy's future. This couple is up shit creek and a flood is on the way. While selling us on the father's secret unemployment, the wife looks like an simpleton not knowing things are that bad. "Buddy" should be "buddy."GOOD
Greg Tonnon (Level 5)
Title - the title works well for this. Craft - your craft is perfect. Dialogue - the dialogue is realistic and believable for these characters, Action lines - the action lines are clear and concise. Story - the story to me isn't very realistic but only because Billy is only five. It seems too young for that kind of life lesson and I would think Don would want to shield his son until he is older. He is still shielding his wife and she is in her thirties.
Heidtmann Oppong (Level 4)
Well done. Guess "His future" is about Billy's future here. How do i summarize this: "Unemployed Don was shocked to know how some employment-seeking firms looks attractive on paper but worse on actual grounds. Isn't it???Anyway, good effort. Congrats!
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
WHAT WAS THE PRESENT?!Ah... This story was amazing up until the ending :( I mean, I get that he's going to teach his son how to manage or save or his money. I get that. But since you showed him in the pawn shop then showed him without his briefcase with a wrapped present in his hand, you can't really expect us not to want to know what the present was. I couldn't wait to find out. Sigh...But I loved everything that lead up to him coming home. Took me for surprise and I had sympathy for him. Poor guy.
Jeff Ferry (Level 4)
A charming story. I enjoyed this one a lot. It was well constructed and it had a beginning, middle and end. The end was very strong and the beginning was very strong while the middle was okay. I thought it could have been a bit more explicit at the end about the package, I missed it the first time what the gift was. A great story.
Jordan Littleton (Level 4)
Title: 6Story: 6Originality: 4Action: 7Dialogue: 4Readability: 8This was pretty good except for the lack of time in you slugs. It was a very quick read but it was nothing new.
Joseph Conway (Level 2)
Good. Very realistic and therefore very depressing.Nice important lesson at end. Very much relates to the current economic climate (especially for us writers).Like many others this would make an excellent commercial.
Kelley Allen (Level 3)
Initial Gut Reaction: Poignant. Delicately written. Although some awkward moments. Story: Reminds a little bit of an O'Henry story. Ending is a bit flat. Need something to tie the beginning to the end. Perhaps hinting at the beginning at the script that the result why Don is in his situation is because he didn't save his pennies. Formatting: Good. Although I think one still needs to add the time of day in the Scene Headings -- but now I am nit-picking. Dialogue: Good.Characters: Good. As good as an one-pager can be. Nit-picking: "He kisses Jane on the back of the head." Sounds awkward. Make it a bit more sensual. Perhaps, he kisses Jane on the base of her neck or he gave her a peck on the cheek. Rating: Very good. Good luck and keep writing!
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
It's clearly written. Dad lost his job and wants to start educating his 5 year old son early. I'm sorry for preaching but that's not right to do at all. Kids need to have pink dreams. They'll see what life is about when they grow up. So, I had a chuckle when Dad did that.That doesn't mean I didn't like your script. I just don't agree with what he did.But, good job on the script.
Kirk White (Level 5)
kinda a pisser, but very very well done! giving a very good
Kisha King (Level 4)
I like the sad twist at the end of this story. I like your description of Don. It really brings the story together at the end. I like the story because it is the state our country is in right now which makes it a good story but at the same time it is a very common story line. I wish there was a twist like the cops arrest him for sticking up the pawn shop during the son opening his gift the piggy-bank.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Tugs at the heart. Terrific job eliciting emotion. In the economic climate, this story is likely more common than imagined.Might need to add some strength to the sparse dialogue. Jane's line, "Can you get out early," makes it clear that she thinks Don still has a job, but may need a little punch. Don's final line about teaching his son, a five-year-old, "something very important," also may need a bit of tweaking. Wonder whether there needs to be any dialogue at all. The emotion comes through loud and clear from Don's action. Nice optimistic title.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
The title is good. It really fits the theme, too.I didn't notice any formatting, punctuation or spelling errors.The descriptives are good and contribute to the telling of the story.Nice work.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
I like how you convey this situation (that he's lying to his family about still having a job) visually, and in a very short time. The ending was good as well. Excellent.
Masoud Soheili (Level 4)
LOVE it..nice and pretty story. The whole messages in the story is successfully delivered.The way you tell how responsible this father to his family is greathow he keep this family smiling with his act..well written and very nice script
Michael Hughes (Level 4)
I thought this was very good. I am not sure the title works that well.I think you did a nice job of telling a story with just the visuals. I think the final line, however hurts. It might be a little too on the nose and preachy. Since everything else worked visually, I would suggest just letting the gift of the piggy bank and the penny speak for itself with "Happy Birthday, Buddy."
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
This felt unfinished until I realised he had actually traded the briefcase for the piggy bank. I don't know why it's not clear enough to me that the package would contain the piggy bank.A good moral lesson!
Olga Tremaine (Level 4)
Huh, it's a good one. The story is great. I guess his wife has no clue he's out of work? Sad. Formatting - even if it's INT. you still need to put DAY/NIGHT at the end of the scene heading.Overall, good job.
Pete Barry (Level 5)
I like how each part of the visual story - told without dialogue - is an integral part of understand what's going on. I'm not sure that the piggy bank present on the kid's birthday is the best way to spring the "I've lost my job" news, but I basically understand the sentiment. Maybe that's not exactly what Don's planning, but there's still a slightly distressing feeling in the back of my mind, knowing that he's deceiving his family, even if it's for a (theoretically) higher purpose.Still, with those issue taken into account, it does exactly what it's meant to do. Well done.
Reginald Beltran (Level 4)
For a one pager, this has some strong elements, symbolism here. It's easy to sympathize with Don, especially in today's environment.My only complaint is the last line "Happy birthday, Buddy. Time to teach you something very important."It's a little too on the nose. I know what the author is trying to convey, but he/she should be less direct. Maybe something like "Make good use of it, son. I love you."But this is just a minor thing. I really liked this and for a 1 pager it's a strong piece.
Reginald McGhee (Level 0)
So Don tries his best to give his son something for his birthday. But then he could only give him his last penny from his pocket and tells him that he needs to be thankful. The only thing that left me with a problem is that it isn’t original. The surprise twist did work though.The action lines and the montage did work. The invisible montage makes this a fast read, so is your writing overall. That’s good work. The formatting and pacing is good. I haven’t spotted any grammar errors.The characters are heartwarming and developed. I felt that I spent enough time with Don the protagonist. The dialogue has a lot of subtext to it. That’s what Don’s dialogue has different meanings. It adds color and makes the dialogue read natural.
Rich Keel (Level 4)
I loved it all until that last line. For some reason that last line seems to grownup or forced for a 5 year old on his birthday. The Dad takes that much time to hide he has lost his job from his wife but then chooses the kids 5th birthday to teach him how to save and be thrifty? Seems like he is caring enough not to try and ruin the boy's birthday, but that is just me. Still VERY GOOD, almost Excellent! :)Good luck to you this month.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
Jane's opening line ruined it for me. It seems like Don is keeping his status from his wife, yet trying to teach his son a lesson at the end. If it is Don's story, you build empathy from the reader if he's trying to be noble and not worry his family but the deception in the opening makes me think that there might be other things he's not telling his wife - like why he got fired or laid off. Decent title and idea for a short but the portrayal of the relationship left me feeling awkward after the read.
Rik Battaglia (Level 3)
This is good. Not epic or mind blowing, but good.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I liked the premise of the story. I like the idea of the Don trying to teach his son about saving for the future, but I'm not sure he would do it on his birthday, after all, he's only five years old. I was also confused about the conversation at the beginning, didn't she know that her husband was unemployed, or is he hiding that from her.When she says 'Get out early' I'm thinking that is the case, and that she has no idea he is unemployed, because she says 'can you get out early?". But I'm not sure if he could keep that a secret for long. I like Don, I like that he cares to not only give his son something for his birthday, but also to teach him something.Nice job.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
A very good story, and a very timely one these days. Lots of lessons to learn here, not just for Billy, but for the rest of us as well. (Lesson #1: don't hide things like this from your wife. There will eventually be a day of reckoning, and it looks like it might be tomorrow for Don and Jane.)And you presented the story well, through visuals and subtext, and without a lot of talking. Nice job. I enjoyed reading it.My score: Very Good.
Shane Harkin (Level 3)
I liked this. Very effective use of what little space you had to tell the story, you've actually fit quite a bit of pathos and depth into a single page.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
Very visual, nicely done. I like stories with a moral. I would have liked to see a little more interaction with the characters; the one-page constraint took some of the air out of their relationships.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
This is excellent. So much story here in so small a space. This has to place. Great job and can't wait to see who wrote it.
William D. Prystauk (Level 5)
Wonderful way to use props and theme in a one-pager. I'd seen things like this in the past, but your twist on the old theme worked.Very well written with great dialogue and visuals.
Comments Made After the Contest
KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2012 12:39 AM
Wow Wow Wow!Way to go, Matt!Second out of 50 is fabulous.Got a VG from me, and probably should have been excellent. :)Your writing keeps getting better and better.Congratulations.
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 8/1/2012 12:45 AM
congratulations Matt!! good job!
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2012 3:14 AM
Congratulations, Matt. Ditto!
Matthew Fettig (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2012 1:22 PM
KP, Sally, Maggie - Thank you! It feels good to finally break into the recognition tier :) This is one I'd like to see filmed and I think it should be a fairly simple project.I appreciate the feedback from everyone. I'm sorry it wasn't more clear to everyone that the gift was the piggybank, not the briefcase. That never even occurred to me. The hard part for me was that last line. I tried to find something that wasn't too on-the-nose but I guess I came up short. I didn't want it to sound too preachy.I'm surprised that several people commented on the idea of a person hiding issues from a spouse. Maybe it's just my cynical nature, but this seems so common in our culture. For anyone who cares, Don's behavior wasn't meant to be deceptive in an evil way. He simply hoped to find a new job before telling his wife to avoid causing her any distress. In my mind, that's actually a positive attribute.I suppose I should have introduced Jane as Jane Joseph. Don Joseph was just a play on the anonymous John Doe, but I couldn't very well call him Don Joe!
David M Troop (Level 4) ~ 8/1/2012 1:34 PM
Congrats to you, Matt. An excellent tale! One of my faves.
Matthew Fettig (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2012 1:38 PM
Thanks David. I said in my review that yours reminded me of my own!
Derek Anderson (Level 4) ~ 8/1/2012 6:18 PM
Congrats Matt! This one of three Excellents I gave out. Happy to see it place. It was fantastic
Austin Bennett (Level 4) ~ 10/20/2012 6:33 PM
I liked this. And I haven't read all of the comments, but I took it that the dad gave his son the piggy bank and the penny. A "Don't turn into me" type gesture.It'd be good to see this one expanded into a nicer short. You've got a good character with the dad but the mom and son are a bit stiff.