Comments Made During the Contest
Aimee Parrott (Level 4)
AAAAAaaaaaa! Oh, man, did this disturb me. I totally didn't see the ending coming. I'll be having nightmares tonight.I just came back and read this again, and I really like it a lot. The voice-over is very effective, and the twist is a stunner. Great work.
Alexia Glock (Level 3)
Riveting. Excellent use of voice over mixed with solid action. Good structure, interesting characters and a good close. Best of class.
Antonio Gangemi (Level 3)
Disturbingly good! I liked the juxtaposition of Shannon singing and Cole slaying...
Bobby Kegley (Level 2)
Beautifully chilling. Very well written, I found nothing wrong .Awesome job.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Very good, even though this sort of mutant horror violence is definitely not something I would choose to read - but you made the characters solid enough to evoke empathy for their plight, and the twist at the end was well-executed.When the singing of 'you are my sunshine' first happened, I thought it was a master-stroke - but then it went on....and on....Don't they say 'less is more?' I think in this case it would have been!
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
I liked the story and the twist, though I'm not sure how it works on screen - will we see him turn into a mutant? Very well written, my only real comment there is I think you might have gone a bit overboard on the voiceovers as some of the information you bring out could have been in conversation between Cole and Shannon to break it up a bit.Still, nice job.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
This was a great read. I loved the visuals and the pacing. This scripts was a real page turner. At first read, I loved the twist at the end, but the more I thought about it, it felt like it opened up some plot holes, like why was Eddie trying to get into the room. I think with some minor changes you could make it so that when you read the script a second time (or watch the film twice) the story would still make sense and in fact you would realize the truth about assumptions you made the first time through. One last thing, excellent title.
Dino Barlaam (Level 3)
Good job!Dark, disturbing...Shannon's singing and the V.O. really set the eerie mood & tone...You fit all of the necessary info. to tell this story into 5 pages perfectly. It could be a bigger story, but this works in this shorter format.The V.O. served a purpose, we needed to know what Cole was thinking, why he'd shoot himself, and the backstory.Although in the end, just my opinion, but we should hear the BANG! of the gunshot as you cut to black. I wonder if this writer is a fan of Frank Miller at all...I don't know why but I got that gritty feel from the writing...and mixing something like a children's song with the elements of horror & terror. Nice!
Harut Akopyan (Level 1)
Very Nice twist
Julie Stewart (Level 3)
Lots of action, great dialogue and a good story.
Kirsten Bischoff (Level 3)
I really liked this. I think it is a great idea. This almost read through at first like the trailer for a longer piece. I like the idea of the mutants thinking they were the control group. There is definitely some larger story here that you should think about expanding. Could be a great flick in the vein of 28 days later - however with the twist that it is the group that has been mutated thinking they are the ones on the run from the bad guys - when in fact it is reverse. This could be a great full length story.
Liz Messineo (Level 4)
It's a nice twist at the end, but I feel like I've seen this story done a lot: science gone awry, unable to control what it has produced. The writing is good - good use of voice over.
Margaret Avnet (Level 4)
There were a few formatting errors. For instance Eddie, when first being introduced should have been capitalized. Visually it was very well told. And the writer does keep a sense of suspension throughout the script. The fact that we find out Cole wasn't given the placebo but the actually drug, towards the end makes for a surprise. That is one of the key elements of a good script.
Melissa Mitchell (Level 4)
Read this twice to try to make sure I followed the story. The end so completely reversed the beginning that I didn't believe it. The voice contrasts really well with the action, and I liked that the narrator couldn't trust his own judgment in the end. One suggestion--drop the line in the beginning about the blood not being Cole's--you can't film that and it doesn't hurt to have the audience wondering about it's origin in the beginning.
Pia Cook (Level 5)
Nice sharp writing as usual Martin.Very nice action writing.I'm a little confused by the ending though.
Rich Keel (Level 4)
I thought this was really good. I didn't think it needed the twist at the end though. Because just the idea of the setup(unoriginal/used) but well written and executed making it very easy to read for a genre/story that has been overly used.Good luck to you.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
Awesome opening. Really grabbed me. Excellent use of Voice Over use in response to the challenge. I liked the way the background to the story is spread over the action. I liked Shannon singing to herself but I got lost with her narrative. I didn't follow her words in connection with her relationship (if any) with Cole. Overall, a strong piece. If you decide to rewrite it, consider more action at the end and less exposition.
Tommy Evans (Level 3)
Very good story kind of a "night of the living dead" would make a good move but Cole cannot kill himself he must kill Shannon. Well written good idea for a story.
Tracey Brown (Level 3)
Liked a lot of this one. The twist was great. I wasn't that convinced by the voice of Cole Kinsella. It was too erudite, and unreal in some places, ie 'the onset of their madness was swift...shocking'. Sounds a bit 'voiceover-ish'. I did not believe this was a down-and-out, reduced to eating trash out of bins, talking. (Sure, we mustn't stereotype down-and-outs, but if the alternative is a voice that sounds sterotypical anyway, and the down-and-out voice brings us closer to a real person...)Apart from that, good work in this.
Wenonah Wilms (Level 0)
excellent! Great use of voice over, fantastic twist ending and an exciting fast paced script. One of my favorites, good luck!
Wes Worthing (Level 5)
This definitely moves. Is appealing visually. Nice twist on the end. My nagging question is "Who's he talking to?" I'll use my imagination and say this is tape or cd recording, or a letter or e-mail someone is reading. Fine job. I could actually see this working as a TV series along the line of "Prison Break", or "24".
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
Very good example of Voice Over narration as well as genre.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 4/1/2007 12:27 AM
Congratulations on winning second place. This script was a fantastic read. You have a great sense of style. I'm really looking forward to reading more of your work.
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 4/1/2007 9:12 AM
Big Congratulations Martin!Chris,If you think this script was good, Martin can write a lot better than this! I've read some of hi stuff that was REALLY great.This was good too of course. :-)Pia
Wenonah Wilms (Level 0) ~ 4/1/2007 9:30 AM
Congratulations!!! As I stated, this was one of my favorites and I really enjoyed the read. Gotta love those twists. Please, take this fine cigar and strong drink and enjoy the limelight with me. Surely I will be thrown into obscurity next month.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 4/1/2007 9:38 AM
Thanks, everyone. I really wasn't expecting to make the cut with so many great scripts this month.I can't argue with any of the criticism, it's all spot on.Chris points out the biggest flaw in the story and it's one that I'm hoping to fix in the rewrite.A bit of background on this story:I've been kicking around ideas for a feature length survival horror script for a while now. This is the idea I had for the feature condensed into 5 pages, so if the story feels bigger than a mere 5 pages, that's because it is. It was going to be set on an abandoned oil rig converted into a medical research facility. We'd follow the 'control group' - a rag tag group of misfits taken from the streets - and their struggle to survive. Since it's a pretty tired genre I wanted to put a fresh spin on it. That's where the idea of the twist came from. I thought this kind of shared psychosis would be an interesting angle to explore. However, I realized it throws up all kinds of believability issues and it'd be near impossible to keep up the deception for an entire feature. Also, it basically amounts to an "it was all a dream" ending in disguise. This is what ultimately turned me against the idea as a feature, but I thought it might work quite nicely in short form.Anyway, thanks for reading and apologies if some of my reviews were a little rushed. I've had a busy month.Oh, and I had no doubt that 'Teacher's Pet' would win. Hands down the best of the bunch.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 4/1/2007 3:24 PM
Congratulations, Martin, well deserved. I really liked the idea of the homeless people being used for the experiments, and the writing is really great. It being a feature condensed to five pages explains a lot - this is a big story.Can't wait to see what you did with the kids.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator) ~ 4/2/2007 6:54 PM
Congrats, Martin! I do hope there's a rewrite. There's a killer short film here. I'll look forward to hearing about its success on this site.
Julie Stewart (Level 3) ~ 4/3/2007 6:52 AM
Congratulations Martin - I loved the concept of this script but I was in awe of how much you got into 5 pages. a
Aimee Parrott (Level 4) ~ 4/6/2007 10:31 AM
Congratulations, Martin -- I really liked this script a lot, and I'm not surprised it did well.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 1/10/2009 10:16 AM
Updated the production website for anyone interested. This is being being filmed at the end of the month by Daniel Piatt who also shot another MP script, The Small Multiple
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 1/10/2009 10:19 AM
Locations look great. Hope this turns out well. :)
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/10/2009 12:24 PM
Daniel is an excellent filmmaker and I'm psyched to see what he does with your wonderful script.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 3/10/2009 1:38 PM
Placebo is now available to view online. You can download it here:www.dvxfest.com/lossfest/The cast and crew did a fantastic job and I'm really happy with the result. Of the few short films I've had produced this is probably my favourite.
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 3/10/2009 2:34 PM
I totally agree. That film rocks. I left my full comments over at DVXuser. Congratulations.
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 3/11/2009 10:36 AM
Congratulations, Martin. This looks pretty good indeed.Loved the dark mood and athmosphere. I can see why you're proud. :)
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 3/11/2009 1:53 PM
Thanks, Matias.It's a shame Invalid Directive was too long for the contest. Let us know when it's up online somewhere. I'm eager to see it.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 3/11/2009 1:54 PM
oh, and thanks to Chris as well :)
Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 3/13/2009 10:28 PM
Hey, great short. This is my new favorite for Lost Fest.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 3/18/2009 2:16 PM
Thanks, Chris, glad you enjoyed it. We made it into the top ten at LossFest and I've got my fingers crossed for the top three but there are some excellent films left in the contest.