"Argon" by Marnie Mitchell Lister ~ Honorable Mention

Logline: AVAILABLE. Please contact me if you'd like to read. LOGLINE: Two lonely people finally see the light with the help of a special dog.

Genre: Comedy - Romance

Cast Size: 4

Production Status: Unavailable

Contest: Chemistry (Oct. 2008)

Contest Scores
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Comments Made During the Contest

Ashley Croft (Level 3)

Aw, sweet nerd love. Well written, cute 'light' references sprinkled through out. Very Good job.

Audrey Webb (Level 5)

I liked this a lot! I think the only line I'd suggest eliminating is Terri's line to Argon apologizing for the belt. I think all viewers would understand that if she doesn't own a dog, she wouldn't have a leash. I'm sure you included it so that we'd know that's what she used, so that when Drew returns it, we'd understand how he got it. But maybe you could just show us that Terri takes off her belt to use it as a leash, and that way you wouldn't have such an awkward line.

Well done!

Brian Wind (Level 5)

Pretty well written, charming tale. I noticed one minor typo (isles should be aisles) but other than that, technically fine. The story itself was to the point with a pretty good pace. Pretty much everything in this script pushed the story forward, even the street names. Nice work.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

The beginning is a bit - well - dull, but I realise it's meant to show a dull start to the day - even so it could be more excitingly written. The trouble is it makes the whole thing dip before it's even started.

Mrs. - not Misses! Aisles - not isles.

I just don't think that Terri would talk in that way, either to herself or to a dog. It sounds unnatural.

Edison Avenue is clever, but in general I think you've tried TOO hard to make Argon fit into the story.

For me there were no surprises and it didn't work that well - for instance, you made Shawn quite important so I thought he'd have some function later on, but then he disappeared. What WAS his function?

I suppose there is potential love here but it wasn't really evident.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Wonderful story.

Your craft is great and I love how you pay everything off: the way Terri dismisses human chemistry only to discover it herself or the need for a new light bulb and Drew working with light bulbs. I imagine it might all be too coincidental for some, but I thought it worked great. I especially liked the dog, Argon. Having Drew train him to bring him what he needs is awesome.

This was all very sweet and romantic and that final shot, where their hands touch, and the street lights go on was perfect.

Well done.

David Birch (Level 5)

cute story...well written...i'm a sucker for anything that involves a dog...good tie-in with the title and the hook of the story...

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

How cute. I liked this and think it is a very good beginning for the sappy romance. Terry's character is very live. Her frustration/shyness is delivered well. The dog was a nice touch. The geeky Drew however could use more fleshing out.

A long set-up but it seemed to work fine. If some of it were pared down, perhaps Drew's character could get more exposure, and the relationship further explored. Sweet and tame, but good, and so is your craft, I saw no formatting errors.

Eric June (Level 2)

Very clever! How about making Argon's leash an extension cord instead of a belt?

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

A very sweet love story. I liked how you tied the light bulbs together throughout... Easy to read. Flows well.

A little housekeeping:

Page 3: "Basket in hand, Terri walks up and down the isles." Isles should be aisles. Isles refers to islands.

Page 4: "With a belt as a leash...." Consider: "Using a belt as a leash...."

Joel Davis (Level 5)

Really warm and funny. This script made me smile. "I trained him to bring me what I need". Grin. A few spots like "Terri's intrigued, but her nerves get the best of her" could be shown instead of stated.

I guessed that Argon would lead her to a fella almost immediately, but that didn't stop me from enjoying watching that unfold. But if there were some kind of "decoy" or something more unexpected, that would have been even better. There wasn't an obstacle to their romance, other than a little shyness. But it was well told, and a story like this is timeless.

John Brooke (Level 5)

Nicely and creatively told sweet love story.

The many details of your screenplay fit together neatly and believably. The pace moves along a an easy pace. The characters are neatly drawn and the dialog is nicely handled and lightly conversational.

There was no confusion understanding your script.

Using a named dog, Argon as a romantic go between was the perfect ploy.

A happy ending for a refreshing change, Terri finally sees the light in Drew’s eyes.

Jon Hill (Level 4)

Awwww, what a sweet story! :)

I loved the dialogue exchange in the classroom, how you revealed Terri’s loneliness with the Misses/Miss comments. The only suggestion I can offer is that Terri and Drew could engage in some argon related conversation, thus realizing how much they have in common. For example, instead of Terri telling the dog argon’s periodic number, she could tell Drew instead, thus impressing him.

Jose Batista (Level 5)

Excellent work. The chemistry between the two protagonists was well established. Argon (the Dog) made an excellent indirect cupid and added a nice element to the script. Argon the element was itself well inserted into the mix. I enjoyed this script very much and could very much see this made into a very nice short film.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

The alarm clock was never shut off. I imagine it's still there, ringing on the floor.

I don't believe there's any need to capitalize sounds make by a character. My impression was always that ALL CAPS was reserved (and not even in spec scripts) for sounds that were NOT produced by the character's voice. I reference especially Terri's clearing of her throat and students' laughter.

"Missus Hanson" or "Mrs. Hanson" are preferable over "Misses Hanson", which means multiple young ladies named Hanson. And "aisles", not "isles".

The last several pages move smoothly, nicely. However, the whole scene with Terri teaching seemed extraneous. The script focuses so closely on Shawn's hormones that when he doesn't show up again, it seems like there's a big void. I would merely suggest changing Shawn Ryan to Shawn Mitchell, Drew's son. Then you'd have several options to play with as far as his character goes. Otherwise, I'd suggest drastically rewriting that schoolroom scene to bring the attention squarely back on Terri, not even referring to any student by name.

Her dialogue with the dog seemed awfully on the nose, that is, why is she telling a dog what argon actually is? Obviously, only to relay information to the viewer. But monologues like that are generally considered uninteresting by viewers, and should certainly be reworked to give the information another way: such as Terri telling a passerby the dog's name, the passerby saying "What a weird name", and Terri explaining it.

Laureen Muller (Level 4)

Great story, nice chemistry that you could feel through the reading. Like the simplicity of the story and the connection of the dog. I like the play on the kids statement of her weekend excitement of grocery shopping and you find her grocery shopping. The light bulb connection is great. I really enjoyed the story.

Lewayne White (Level 4)

Well written. Cute, but not overly so. Nice cut from comment about teacher shopping to teacher shopping.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

I love this!

Your formatting is well done. Your dialogue is good. Your characters are diverse and individual.

Very good work.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

Your script was slightly dull, especially the scene in the classroom, setting up how average her life is. Although I did like the transition from Shawn's line to the scene with Terri in the supermarket, in the end the connection with her job was unnecessary.

I liked the continuing involvement of light bulbs. You could take out the Argon reference with the periodic table and just keep the common thread of light bulbs.

Drew's character is under-developed, and I'd like to hear what a science teacher would say to an inventor in this situation, after the quite average small-talk they make to become acquainted.

Martin Lancaster (Level 4)

Very good.

Good characterization and an interesting set up. You made us root for Terri in the first few pages which made the encounter with Drew all the more satisfying. I liked how you had references to Argon throughout the script.

Well-written, strong characters.

Matias Caruso (Level 5)

It’s well written on the technical side.

Story wise, I think more conflict is needed. This felt like the introduction of something bigger.

You did a good job in establishing why these two are meant for each other. What the story is missing is something that could set them apart. Some sort of obstacle to their relationship.

In overcoming said obstacle is where the conflict, dramatic tension, and the story lies.

Mike Dominguez (Level 3)

Loved the opening scene. Great scene in the classroom - perfectly establishes character and the humor is spot on. Nice transition to the supermarket, then connecting it to the opening scene. Overall, I think you did an excellent job, I was captivated and I really wanted to see what would happen next with these characters. Only complaint is that there may be too many mentions of light bulbs - it's clever to a point but I think there was one reference too many. I would probably take out the 'low-energy light bulb' project, although still leave in the lights suddenly turning on.

Neal Barringer (Level 0)

I liked this tale. I couldn't find any significant problems with your craft. there was one typo = aisles instead of isles. another fresh round of proofreading would have caught that oversight. I like the way you showed Terri's character (meticulously shaking each bulb in the store, snoring, pulls mousy brown hair into a ponytail) rather than telling. the integration of love and argon was creative. I was engaged the whole way through. and, found your piece very easy to read.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

Very good screenwriting, easy to follow and visualize, formatted perfectly, didn't detect any typos.

Light-hearted story, very straight-forward, good use of an element. The conclusion of Argon leading Terri to Drew became obvious very quickly. The light-bulb theme is good, maybe a little overdone in spots (Edison Ave.).

It's refreshing to read a story like this every now and again- no death, no heartbreak, no unrequited love, and a happy ending.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

Cute technique to use the dog Argon as a plot device for them to fall in love.

Your set-up however takes too long and adding three locations to set-up the story in a five pager takes away from the pacing.

Don't know if you need the classroom in the set-up because you already have the home. Or get rid of the home. Her light bulb going out doesn't really tie up to her meeting Argon.

She could have met him coming back from school as well.

I want more chemistry between her and Drew to develop. This has the beginnings of a longer love story or can be seen as a love story of someone falling in love.

Your descriptions do provide concise images that I could see on screen, especially the streetlights coming on at the end.

Tweak the opening a bit and flesh out their chemistry a bit more through dialog and actions. Give more information about Drew and Argon.

An enjoyable read. Script away.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Very nice! I really loved the way you packed a lot of story into just five pages. I got a feel of your protag, Terri right away. I was drawn to her, how lonely she must be. I thought the classroom scenes were really well done, just giving us an idea of who she is, without telling us. Becausse Terri meets Argon, the dog, I wonder if you really need the chemistry references in the classroom. I mean they don't detract, just wonder if they are necessary.
The dog Argon really was a sweet character and I thought you used him beautifully to connect Terri to Drew. I think like all movie love stories it's a little far fetched and maybe a little too sweet.. ahh but we all love a great love story.

Nice touch at the end with Argon and Drew following her.

All in all this was a really great story and I enjoyed it very much.

Title Very Good
Characters Very Good
Story Very Good
Dialogue Very Good
Concept Very Good

Sarah Daly (Level 2)

Really nice little heartwarming script. You build up empathy for your main character very well. The way you interweave the Argon topic is very clever too - it's embedded in the story effortlessly and ties it all together very well. The dog might be a bit much though - maybe don't have her know the dog's name at first...this is a little bit of a stretch anyway - how does she know the dog's name and where it lives and not the owner? Only a small thing!

This is a realistic story that has a great flow and an accomplished feel to the writing. Nothing distracted me from the story so it was a fast and enjoyable read.

Good work!

Sasha Clancy (Level 4)

Cute story. I like how you set Terri up as a stereotype using the kids. However, I think you spend too much time with the kids. To my mind, the story is the relationship between Drew and Terri so I think you should spend more time there. The screenplay would benefit from a good proofreading.

Shane Shearer (Level 4)

Well done! From the light bulbs, the classroom setting, the flowing dialogue and the catalyst dog. This was a well done screenplay. I really have nothing to offer you other than praise, so for the next few sentences I'll do just that.

What a great story. You've got it covered from all angles. Her belief of chemistry between people as a "myth" truly showed her bones. Transitioning with the kid saying about the highlight of her week being a trip to the supermarket, to the supermarket, was clever. At first, I thought it was contrived to find the dog named Argon, until I understood the nature of the fella who named the dog.

Just all around good, one of the best I've read yet.

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

This was quite similar to the last one I read. A nice love story.

The difference with this one is that there is a problem - Terri is lonely. That improves the script alot and I wish you had went with that a little more.

I liked your take on the element and it fitted the script well as the title.

I'm gonna give this a GOOD. Good writing and characters but a little too sugary.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

I liked the use of the dog, the light bulbs and the ending was cute. A few suggestions:

"Off to an excellent start today Terri" is a weak first line. People don't normally talk to themselves, and she's stating the obvious. Overall, I found the first 2 scenes a bit slow-moving. Besides, no science teacher would teach the elements alphabetically (that was writer's self-indulgence).

I suggest ditching the first two pages and have Terri shop for light bulbs and do a cute, awkward meet with the nerd who explains about Argon in the lightbulbs or something nerdish - there's attaction but inability for either to articulate or take the next step. Then Terri finds the dog on the porch, he gives the couple the opportunity to get to know each other etc.

Overall, I liked it, the best of the lot I've read to far.

Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)

I like this story. I like how natural and real feels I would just take care of some pieces of exposition that seem too on your face.

Travis DeStein (Level 5)

My favorite of the month so far. Very cute. Nothing more I can really say about this script, a few simple typos but other than that very well written with great pacing.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

This is a funny story. Not overly-written or forced poetry. Visually also, there is a lot of humor in what people will witness. An example would be the fun seque to the supermarket and the street lights turning on. I feel as if Drew should have been brought in earlier, so I would care more if they get together or not. Even if they didn't hook up, I would still be satisfied.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Cute and complete. Excellent setup in the beginning and spot-on transition from classroom to the supermarket. The only recommendation: Don't mention "Argon" in the classroom just leave it to the discovery of the dog and Terri's explanation (maybe she can say from "Actinium to Ununseptium" or something similar). Maybe a little too much dialogue with the dog?

Proofread and take into account comma usage as well as hyphens for some words (such as "queen-sized"). Also, change "Its" on page four to "It's".

William Dunbar (Level 5)

Cute. Sticky sweet, but cute. Good use of the five-page format. I wasn't too sure at first, because I don't think the classroom scene quite works. The dialogue sounds a bit unnatural, and it amounts to a loose end, since you never come back to it at the end. I'm not sure how I'd recommend you do it, but I'd like to see Shawn's arc come back around to a conclusion. It may need one more scene at the end. Good job.


Comments Made After the Contest

Audrey Webb (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2008 12:11 AM

Hey, good going! Congrats on getting one of the very few honorable mentions this round! Well done.

Travis DeStein (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2008 1:49 AM

Of the scripts I read, this one definitely should've won. I love simple little stories like yours.

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 12/1/2008 7:48 AM

Great story, one of my favorites this month.

Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2008 8:31 AM

This was one of the best this month. I'm glad you received Honorable Mention, but you should've placed; the script is excellent.

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 12/1/2008 8:52 AM

Congrats!! This was a favorite of mine.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2008 10:36 AM

Thanks so much. I was actually pretty happy with the way this one turned out. I'm so glad Chris added Honorable Mention! :)

CarrieAnn Lee (Level 3) ~ 1/6/2009 2:13 PM

I realize that I'm a month late in complimenting you, but I just joined this site. This story is absolutely charming and extremely well written. Bravo! This has become one of my favorites.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 1/6/2009 2:41 PM

YAY! Thanks Carrie. I'm so glad you liked it and thanks for adding it as a fav. :)

MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 1/9/2009 6:03 AM

Hey MArnie, this is lovely, I'm a sucker for anything with animals in it and this really tickled me.


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

Sally Meyer ~ Jose Batista ~ Mike Dominguez ~ Chris Messineo ~ CarrieAnn Lee