An American in Oman uncovers a mysterious fertility cult in the village where he teaches. Already laid low by loneliness... more
HOW IT RATES
When a little girl disappears in Nevada, circa 1883, her rough-and-ready Aunt Joy leaves her whorin’ days behind and sets out to rescue her. Finding her in the clutches of a cult of feral children, Joy must face down their evil secret to set her niece free.
Other Submissions by gordonkris
More in This Genre...
Matthew Hardmann thought his past was dead & buried. He was only half-right. DEADSLINGER is an action film that... more
Death is not the end.
A young man is caught up in a storm of prophecy and danger when he visits a town besieged by vampires.
Reviews of Think of the Children 21
by rjen on 08/24/2008Think of the Children is a script with good visuals, well written, tight straight-forward story, but a few holes in the story spoiled the fun a bit. The story basically is about Joy who saves her dead sister’s child Elsie from being sacrificed to the ‘Spawn of Satan’, a disgusting, huge, flesh eating larva. Okay. However, I had a bit of a problem with Hope’s ghost that appeared... Think of the Children is a script with good visuals, well written, tight straight-forward story, but a few holes in the story spoiled the fun a bit.
The story basically is about Joy who saves her dead sister’s child Elsie from being sacrificed to the ‘Spawn of Satan’, a disgusting, huge, flesh eating larva. Okay.
However, I had a bit of a problem with Hope’s ghost that appeared to help and save the day at critical moments. As the story revolves around the creature, the ghost of hope actually felt a bit like ‘foreign material’. Both ghosts and physical evil creatures play successful roles in horror movies, but I felt there needs to be more explanation as to what Hope’s ghost is doing there, how she’s supposed to help and which laws and rules govern her actions.
Also, there are quite a few other dead bodies in the pit. Where are their ghosts? Maybe Joy can only see Hope, because they were close when Hope was alive. Okay, but the ghost aspect needs to be developed more here.
Maybe in the end, when Hope battles the creature, some other ghosts could appear. Still, that would only really work, if other ghosts appeared before somehow and played some kind of a role.
There are many ways to do that. Maybe Joy could see them but not interact, she could only speak with Hope.
Also, how could Hope possibly help Joy. Joy asks for help, but I couldn’t figure out what she wanted her to do. When the gun backfires killing Hart, was Hope involved there? If yes, how could a ghost cause that? And what exactly is Hope’s contribution to the trembling walls and the destruction of the cave that kill the creature. Is she that powerful?
On my map ghost’s can’t do that - not just like that. There needs to be more emotional power involved here. There is Elsie, Hope’s daughter. Seeing her about to be sacrificed could be used to generate that kind of involvement. And the love between the sisters.
Without some of that Hope appears a bit like a miracle worker that saves the day conveniently.
Other questions that came up concern the rules behind the events. Where does that creature come from? On page 71 you write “wherever evil is strong the milk is sweet for the suckling.” That indicates these larvae exist in many places, but how are they activated? The scene with Peg and Hart in the cave could help to satisfy that question, by showing more of the interaction between them and the creature.
How does Peg know all the rules, the time schedule (666 days) etc. ? Is she possessed by an evil spirit? By Satan? If so, show something – probably at the initial scene in the cave.
You mention her being possessed on page 83, but that looked like it’s only during the ceremony. Her being possessed ever since they first met the creature would make a lot of sense and make for much more drama. To develop that more, turn her from the nasty bitch she certainly is now into human with the soul of a demon.
Why does Harriet and later others actually help Joy? It’s somehow clear that some of the children are rebellious against Peg. But you could develop that a bit more, maybe some open opposition. Maybe with Peg even killing one as punishment. That would make it easier to accept it when Harriet, Henry, Daisy oppose Peg openly with Henry finally killing her.
Some of the flashbacks didn’t seem to be necessary. Hope and Joy in the pond, with Joy saving Hope from drowning. Not sure if that really help the plot. It actually looked like Joy was performing CPR on Hope – quite a feat in 1883.
Real horror lovers might not mind a few holes, but the story is so well told that they somehow demand to be fixed. Still I gave the story a ‘good’ rating – albeit reluctantly.
Little to no complaints elsewhere.
Hope this helps. read
by the kad on 08/23/2008This piece presents itself well. The formatting is the best I've seen on TS, visually propelling the story forward on the page. The action lines are crisp, the descriptions terse and muscular, and the dialogue more than serviceable. With further attention to character and story I think this screenplay will kill. Joy is a whore with a heart of gold. She seems equally... This piece presents itself well. The formatting is the best I've seen on TS, visually propelling the story forward on the page. The action lines are crisp, the descriptions terse and muscular, and the dialogue more than serviceable. With further attention to character and story I think this screenplay will kill.
Joy is a whore with a heart of gold. She seems equally at ease gussied up running a brothel as dressed down camping on the range. She shoots, she screws, she schemes with aplomb. Men want her, woman want to be her. But she won't kill a blood-lusty feral child even if her life and the life of her niece are on the line. Other than the initial hipness of having a prostitute cowgirl protagonist, what does her character's position in life bring to bear on her interaction with these lost kids? Why does she need to be a whore for this story to work? Prostitutes at this time would probably have serious ambivalence about children. The social role of women would be maternal yet a prostitute would lose her vocation if pregnant. Is there a way to explore this with her confrontation with the children? Maybe she had a back-alley abortion to keep her station in life and that could help explain her refusal to kill the feral kids. As it stands, Joy smacks too much of wish fulfillment rather than characterization.
The thinness of characterization extends to Hope and her husband or rather to Joy's relationship with them. I would like to see a more complex dynamic of whom sides with whom. What if Joy tells them to take the route that leads to their death? Drama is created by the protagonist's involvement, even culpability, in the central conflict. If Joy could feel obliged to hunt down Elsie out of guilt she would come off as less of a comic book hero and more of a relatable human.
The first half of the second act is best plotted. Injan Billy, the killing of the horse, Mommy Dearest--there's a lot to like. For me, Joy in the hole is a dead end. I would rather see her kidnap one of the feral kids for leverage. She is ambivalent about being maternal, the feral child doesn't trust adults/wants to kill her. How does Joy navigate this? What kind of team could they make? Why bother?
Here's why - nothing within the flashbacks amounts to drama. In a horror western the introduction of a Sense and Sensibility type sisters-of-divergent-natures seems tacked on. The ghost of Hope doesn't help us know anything about Joy that we don't already. What if Hope is still alive as a sort of scare crow mother? Joy's relationship with her mother is immaterial.
I have nothing against the spiritual aspect of the script until it begins pushing the story instead of the protagonist. Hope tells Joy things I would rather Joy find out herself. The climactic cave-in seems to be attributed to Hope instead of Joy. If we have such a capable protagonist, it feels like a cheat to have her dead sister doing all the heavy lifting at the end. The kids, including Elsie, all come out of a trance at Peg's death. Everything is given, nothing is earned. The spiritual swamps the psychological. Joy is a witness, not the agent. What could be done to take advantage of Joy's ample talents? Could she try to seduce Hart to get to Elsie (sexual)? She could shoot a child at a necessary point (toughness). She could win over Elsie (maternal). When we see Joy doing things in spite of great odds we won't need expository back story.
You have plenty of the ick factor working for you. With detailed characterization and protagonist-driven plot, Think of the Children will disturb and intrigue.
by postmortem on 08/02/2008First, an apology, Chris. I know I’m way late to the party on this one, but I brought a four-pack of wine coolers, so let’s get crazy. I’m also aware that a newer draft of the script is online, so I’ll try to limit my comments to a few major aspects which apply to both drafts. (I did read The Weaning.) You get an A on mechanics. This is lean and mean writing, with just enough... First, an apology, Chris. I know I’m way late to the party on this one, but I brought a four-pack of wine coolers, so let’s get crazy.
I’m also aware that a newer draft of the script is online, so I’ll try to limit my comments to a few major aspects which apply to both drafts. (I did read The Weaning.)
You get an A on mechanics. This is lean and mean writing, with just enough color and style to make it fun without being distracting. Great job.
The concept is very cool, too. It has all the elements of a solid genre piece. I love the open, and the subsequent cut to the brothel. It’s cliché, but effective.
This is the second TS script I’ve read which incorporates a whorehouse and feral children into a horror-western genre bash. Cool. They’re different, and yours is better. Unfortunately, both veer off toward melodrama when they should be cranking up the horror or western.
Of course, solid character develepoment is an essential key to a good script, and you’ve really gone to great lengths to give us insights into Joy’s past and psyche, but it comes at the expense of some of the more important elements and expectations of the genre. Horror needs to deliver on fear and/or gore. Your script really needs to tip the balance back in that direction.
So, I’ll be blunt. Both drafts still need a pretty sizeable overhaul in terms of story.
It could be so much better, but it’s going to mean making some hard choices.
I’m sure you got hammered for all the flashbacks Well, there’s no two ways about it. For this script to make the leap from not bad to good, they need to go. No matter how much you love them.
You’re clearly resisting all the suggestions to cut the flashbacks and Hope’s ghost.
Even though they demonstrate some good work on your part, they’re not important to the effectiveness of this script. In fact, they undermine it by taking our minds off what we should be afraid of. Yes, we need to care about Joy to be afraid for her, but you've got both quality and quantity in this department. You don't need both, right? I know you can do more with less.
But, let me go at this from a different angle. Even if these flashbacks didn’t interrupt the flow of the story, it simply is not what your target audience wants to see. Period.
Horror fans want horror, not melodrama. Some might be tolerated in psychological horror, but this is a horror-western, and you just have to grab the devil by the horns and go for the jugular.
You can deliver all the backstory you need in Joy’s introduction, her first scenes, and Hope’s arrival along with their brief visit. You really only need a fraction of what you’re giving us right now in terms of backstory.
Why not replace some (or all) of the flashbacks with scenes that illustrate Joy’s character through action instead, by putting her in jeopardy and showing us how she reacts? More risk of bodily harm, please.
It kills two birds with one stone, because Act II gets a bit lethargic. I’m not a big fan of captures like you've done with Joy, unless you’re really going to put the prisoner someplace god-awful so she (we) can observe just how horrible her fate might be if she can't escape.
Either way, Joy spends too much time locked up, and it never really pans out. It seems like she’s just imprisoned to facilitate the Hope’s ghost thing.
Joy has the potential to be a terrific character, but she starts off strong and fizzles. Guardian angel Hope repeatedly showing up as a recurring dues ex machina is watering Joy down. . . severely. I’d also say that the changes you’ve made to Joy’s dialogue have made her too comical. I feel like I’m listening to Yosemite Sam a lot of the time. She can be a tough but vulnerable hooker with a heart without Hope’s ghost and without the silly dialogue.
To answer the question in your production notes. . . is it scary? To be perfectly honest, no. I’m never afraid for Joy. One, because too often just when you manage to develop some tension or suspense, you cut it with a flashback or Hope's ghost. It becomes more of a question of how long can the kids incapacitate her until midnight. A waiting game. And two, because you never push the limits or show the children to be capable of anything truly horrific.
Kill a few people with rocks, eat a kitten. . . ho-hum.
So, here are a few suggestions to pump up the fear factor.
Number one. Give Peg an overhaul. She’s the real antagonist here, and in a script that also includes the spawn of Satan, that’s quite a lot to live up to. Peg needs to be pretty goddam nasty, and I think you need to start with the open.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really liked the open when I read it. But it’s tame.
The chapel, the sermon, the sneak away, the mine, the spawn, the death of Miss Polly. . . it was my favorite sequence. But it could be so much more, and subsequently set the stage for more later in the script. Why not push the limits?
Show us Peg is damaged goods. Show us this place has fucked her up and made her what she is. . . Rotten to the core (but not beyond salvation, of course.)
Make Peg motherly, not loverly.
Show us an evil reflection of Joy in Peg’s character. Make Peg a mother figure, the way Joy becomes one for Elsie. But of course, Peg’s offspring is the spawn of Satan. Impregnated by old Lucifer himself through that old pedophile, Reverend Jimson, the stealer of Peg’s innocence.
In your open, the spawn has already been born, but I’d let Peg give birth to the larva in that first sequence. Show us the trauma of this cursed birth. Now we’ve got something really horrifying goin’ on. Just think about Miss Polly’s face (and Reverend Jimson’s) when they step into the mine and see the results of his depravity!
Peg was a girl. . . now she’s thrust into womanhood. And it has not been a pleasant or welcome transformation. But Peg’s motherly instinct is immediately fierce. Far more potent than the lust for evil power you’ve given her now.
I’m already being too specific with suggestions, but I’ll add one more here. . . you might want to rework this so the kids kill Miss Polly, not the spawn. Let the birth of this demon immediately exercise its power over the weak minds of the innocent. (Right now, you establish the spawn’s ability to kill, but it never does so again, though it has plenty of opportunities.)
So now the kids have this “spawn” to care for. And in 666 days they’re going to feed it it’s first “meat” in the form of that plump little cherub, Elsie. I like that.
But give these children some responsibilities. I’d utlilize that slave labor if I were the spawn of Satan. The spawn needs them all, but why? I don’t see it right now, but I think it’s something you need to come up with. Show us some preparation for the big event, at least. In these drafts it seems like everyone is just. . . waiting for the clock to run out. Kinda like the last few downs in a blowout football game.
It feels stretched. Give Joy more of a journey and give the children more of a mission.
Push Peg to the limits.
And I know it’s a dead horse at this point, but I see enough potential in this concept to risk pissing you off. Cut the flashbacks and write Hope’s ghost out of the script.
I hope these notes will jumpstart some ideas for you. It’s obvious you’ve invested a great deal of time in this script, and your talent shows.
But. . . (no pun intended) . . it’s time to kill your babies.
Best of luck. read
by UltimateScreenHero on 07/14/2008Think of the Children is a great story if you are into the Dark and Twisted end of the world type tales. The plot of the story is well thought out and the characters stick out in your head. I was able to picture the main character Joy so vividly. She seemed sexy and at the same time so dangerous. I think the best part of the story is how Joy faced the Antagonist so fearlessly... Think of the Children is a great story if you are into the Dark and Twisted end of the world type tales. The plot of the story is well thought out and the characters stick out in your head. I was able to picture the main character Joy so vividly. She seemed sexy and at the same time so dangerous. I think the best part of the story is how Joy faced the Antagonist so fearlessly and did what she had to do to keep her promise to her sister. I felt the Script could have went out with more of a bang but for the most part the story was awesome. Chris Simons is a master with words, his skills, in my eyes, are untouched. I would like to read more of his work. read
by MSchmidt13 on 07/10/2008I read a version of “Deadslinger” last week and contacted Quentin and Doug to let them know how much I enjoyed the horror/western genre. I am a huge fan of “Deadlands”, a pen and paper RPG and have always longed to turn it into a television program. I have plotted and planned the entire series, going as far as writing the first four scripts in spec format. So. I was pretty... I read a version of “Deadslinger” last week and contacted Quentin and Doug to let them know how much I enjoyed the horror/western genre. I am a huge fan of “Deadlands”, a pen and paper RPG and have always longed to turn it into a television program. I have plotted and planned the entire series, going as far as writing the first four scripts in spec format. So. I was pretty excited to check this script out. Quentin and Doug covered the zombies and now you are covering the western monster movie. It makes me want to write the ghost town/poltergeist story to complete the trilogy, so to speak.
I’ll start with my notes. I didn’t have too many to list.
13 – Early on in the script you establish both genres nicely, digging into the horror slightly. Joy is a spitfire and she jumps right off the page at you. The baby is a nice catalyst and we get an idea of where the story is headed.
26 – Act one round-up. Does our audience have the answer to these three questions?
Who’s the protag? Joy, a rough and ready to ride whore with a heart of gold. She’s dynamite with a pistol and probably better in bed( if you’re lucky enough to get her in the sack.)
What’s her goal? Rescue her niece. Along the way she’ll have to discover the whereabouts of her sister and brother in law, who could be dead by this point. I have to admit, I half-expected Hope and Calvert to be alive in some dreadful capacity.
What stands in her way? We’re not too sure yet. Peg and Hart are the antagonists focused on in the first 25 pages of the script but they shouldn’t have posed too much trouble to a woman like Joy. The Spawn of Satan seems pretty creepy but so far it just writhes in the darkness, waiting to feed or fully gestate. I never felt these characters were fearsome or powerful which lead me to feel like Joy was much weaker than you had me believing early on.
34 – Peg’s last line. Show instead of telling. Leave it a little vague so the audience doesn’t know EXACTLY what to expect.
55 – I’m having a hard time believing that a two year old child raised by illiterate, murderous feral siblings and borderline retarded teenagers is going to be as intelligent as Elsie seems to be, even if you somehow imply that she has been brought up “right”. Two year olds can’t really form complex rational thoughts in the first place, can they?
How does the whole thing add up?
Around the half-hour mark I was worried about how the tension in the story would hold up. Throwing Joy into the pit was great but we focused on that part of our story for a little too long. She spends around 1/3 of the movie trying to dig out of a glorified hole in the ground. That’s not that exciting. Scary at first but less so the longer she dwells there.
I’d suggest maybe creating a deeper labyrinth for Joy to explore and expose, possibly another sight of intense horror deep within. I wanted this to be a little bit more of a dungeon crawl.
The locations weren’t incredibly visually compelling or varied. That’s something that could work for you if this ends up being produced on a smaller budget but if you’re shooting for the moon is it something to consider re-visiting.
The dialogue really didn’t bowl me over. I expected a little more of the old-time cowboy slang that I love and out-dated expressions. It was all just kind of overly average. Joy started out with her own voice but became less and less spirited as her will was broken down. She talked to herself quite a bit, which I could forgive as a “character trait” but it always kind of says soap opera to me. The cult all sounded a little ignorant, saying whatever generic lines sprang into their heads. (“I feel happy! I feel free!”)
Structurally everything is where it should be and the audience won’t get bored waiting to figure out what this movie is about. The big reveal with the cache of dead cast members seems out of place. I feel like you should put this earlier on. It for sure has to happen before the climax in the mine.
As far as the characters are concerned there is only one character that is really fully realized. That’s Joy. She is great in the first 15 pages but she loses a lot of her swagger and attitude. Joy needs to be a real badass bitch. In our last ten pages she’s shaking like a leaf and whining to the ghost of her dead sister for help. Hart is killed by dumb luck and his own stupidity. He’s not defeated by our protagonist in any way. The same goes for Peg. She gets killed by one of the random kids. The kid is saving Joy’s ass again. I want her to save herself from these situations, show some of those cajones that she was ripe with in the first act. Have the kids distract the larva at the end but Joy should finish it off.
If you’re going to get these kids to turn on their cult masters you should probably give Joy some kind of “save the cat” moment with them. Maybe it is their first introduction to actually kindness or compassion.
Can’t say that I’m crazy about the flashbacks or the exposition between Joy and Hope’s ghost. You crafted the flashbacks into your story, so again I forgive that because it’s just my personal preference in most cases. I know I said that I wanted to do the ghost story western but I didn’t feel like it fit very well into the tone of the story. It seemed to come out of nowhere.
To me, every good western has a climatic shoot-out. Perhaps you can make Peg much more powerful when she is possessed and allow for Joy to pump her full of lead. The kids could even lend small helping hands to her overall progress. Maybe one tosses her some ammo to reload, another distracts Peg's possessed form, etc. Again, just personal preference.
I hope these comments help you in some way. This was a pretty entertaining script when all is said and done. It is easily read and professionally written.
Cheers and good luck! read
by QuentinAndDoug on 07/09/2008I'm biased :-). But, come on? Western horror?? And, a character named Clem??!! I'm in. I enjoy your prosaic and detailed writing style. Personally, I've always felt it fits the western genre. Break it up a bit and polish it...this script still needs tightening, but overall you really put the reader in the mood. I also enjoyed most of your dialogue. Pretty tight and... I'm biased :-). But, come on? Western horror?? And, a character named Clem??!! I'm in.
I enjoy your prosaic and detailed writing style. Personally, I've always felt it fits the western genre. Break it up a bit and polish it...this script still needs tightening, but overall you really put the reader in the mood.
I also enjoyed most of your dialogue. Pretty tight and snappy. Westerns typically have few, well chosen words and you emulate that.
I also like Joy quite a bit. It's a neat idea - madame/gunslinger. Better than Sharon Stone in Q&tD. However, you try to give her depth with an origin story of sorts, and that doesn't work for me at all.
Everytime you hit the flashback, I'm pulled out of the story. A western should really only flash back if there is an answer or important event we need to see. I don't think Joy's origin, her relationship with her mom, or with her sister as kids is important to anything here. That's all backstory. Joy has the chance to be iconic. And, western characters SHOULD be iconic. Let her actions speak for who and what she is.
I would prefer to see Hope stay the night when she visits. Spend some time feeling the characters out and show a little bit of their relationship. Hint at their past, show us their devotion and their tension. Within a day, you can give us a lot about Joy just by how she acts and interacts with Hope and with Calverton. You can also show us how the town respects her as more than a whore...because she IS much more. That will all work much better than flashback.
Also, the Hope ghost? Ugh. This script is better than that. If you set up Joy's character properly as well as her relationship with her sister, there is no need for a crutch to tell us how she should feel or act. We know it and she knows it. So, do it. Lose the ghost. Please.
Personally, I would also lose the demon-larva creature. Man, the feral kids chanting "meat, meat, meat!" and wacky, possessed Hart and Peg are WAY creepier than some creature. First of all, I don't get the timing of the creature. They discover it early on, but the kids are already there and something is already weird. That's sign #1 you don't need the creature. Then, they reference the arrival of Elsie being important...but, the creature arrived earlier. Why is Elsie important? You never explain that. Also, what are the kids doing? Why do they matter? I'd much rather see you create a new legend revolving around this fucked up, bizarre day care center from hell run by the two creepiest creeps in the west. Have them feeding the wild kids meat, using the kids as slaves to dig something up, and have Peg and Hart feeding off the kids. Maybe they have to eat one every once in a while to acheive immortality. I dunno...but, you have much more here to play with without wasting your time on a larval demon.
Watch RAVENOUS. Do they need a demon? Hell no. Love that movie.
I would also remove the horror from your opening tease. Just get us nice and creeped out. Weird place, weird kids, weird caretakers, and show us some strangers coming with a new kid. Creepy.
Lastly, and this is a tough one because it requires a big rewrite...if you do all I suggest (I hope you do), your script will be around 75 pages. That's because there simply isn't enough here for a movie. What this script sorely lacks is a dynamic character. A partner for Joy to play off of. You try to use Juanita early and then the Hope ghost later. It doesn't work. Either make Juanita a major character and flesh her out along with their relationship or give us someone else. You need someone for Joy to play off of. Someone to bring more of her character out. Maybe even someone to die.
Even The Searchers - a story about a lone man's obsession - has Martin for Wayne to play off of. Earp has Doc, etc. This script won't be great until you give Joy someone to ride with.
Good luck! read
by buttfrogger on 07/07/2008Hey Chris! Yet another most excellent screenplay to add to your roster of most excellent screenplays. your writing voice is so alive, descriptive, and colorful and you have such a rich imagination. one thing in particular that you did a great job with is locations: love the pit and the mine. Joy is a neat character and you get instant love from a reader for having a strong,... Hey Chris!
Yet another most excellent screenplay to add to your roster of most excellent screenplays. your writing voice is so alive, descriptive, and colorful and you have such a rich imagination. one thing in particular that you did a great job with is locations: love the pit and the mine. Joy is a neat character and you get instant love from a reader for having a strong, gun totin', female protagonist. Also, Peg is a neat villian.
I have thoughts, I see you already posted a revision -so this will be a brief critique and maybe i'll write something that will inform or whatever the next rewrite. But as always, I love what you're going for and ALWAYS really enjoy reading your work.
like the blend of the horror and western genres. Seems fresh. At times I bought the dialogue and at times it read too modern. but i have no clue what authentic western dialogue should sound like. "ungrateful trash" and "build your confidence" I don't know why, things like that seemed a little too educated or too modern or something?
Names: "joy" and "hope" and "hart" -- borderline allegory, a smidge easy. i feel like the entertainment value should always trump the message. my lame opinion but you might consider layering even more. The religious angle feels a touch too close to Children of the Corn but this is a theme in the body of your work so my opinion on that is only one opinion.
i don't think the flashbacks are doing enough work to warrent and i feel unsure about Hope's ghost. The flashbacks took me out of the story and Hope's ghost made me less trustful of the world, but that could just be me. the flashbacks convey the backstory and do inner character work (drowning stuff/father/etc.) but i guess i found myself wanting to be in the action and contained within the tension of the unfolding of the story. you lose tension in flashback and seems like you went to the flashback well quite a bit. my lame opinion, but i think if you write the script without the flashbacks you'll have a stronger piece. who knows though.
i think you might be well served to combine a few of the characters to create more clarity - I never formed a solid image of Hart, Henry or Harriet (could be the alliteration).
also, I had a bit of trouble trying to picture the larva monster.
format -- you might stick to convention and use four lines per screen note rather than five or six. i think that's standard at this point. also, underlining took me out - it's too much control over how the scene is acted.
you used the word "starts" 15 times. that's one of those words that can be eliminated almost completly from a script i think. like, "harriet starts picking the legs off the spider one at a time" could be, "harriet picks the legs off..." You have "begins" about 13 times and again, one of those words that can be mostly worked out. also, be careful about characters crying. oh, "just" is another word that can be a bit hairy. caveat: i'm mainly referring to the notes and not dialogue.
speaking of dialogue, your dialogue is great as always. concept is great. really neat protag and antag. and very well written, visual script. always a pleasure to read your work!
by bthielke on 07/07/2008Chris- good to read a new offering from you. You have one hell of an imagination, and it's exciting to see a "serious" script emerge from your fruitful creative mind. I'm a huge fan of your narrative and your sense of story, this story is a continuation of that chris simons style. As you can see in my page notes below, I have only a couple page specific notes. here... Chris- good to read a new offering from you. You have one hell of an imagination, and it's exciting to see a "serious" script emerge from your fruitful creative mind. I'm a huge fan of your narrative and your sense of story, this story is a continuation of that chris simons style.
As you can see in my page notes below, I have only a couple page specific notes.
here are my category notes:
Character- Joy, was a great character, strong female protag, which will draw interest from A list actresses. I'd maybe liked to see a couple more pages of Hope's character in Virginia city when she was alive, get a better feel for her. I think a good tension would be that alive, Hope maybe wasn't very brave and that her bravery in the cave at the end would make for a good twist.
Dialogue- really good, I don't have any specific complaints.
Story- I wasn't buying into to the flashback at first, it became integral to the story later on, but the first couple kind of slogged the story down. I think if you had a mention of Joy promising to take Hope to the ocean while she was still in Virginia City, that would be a good thing to do. Then you could have it be more organic in the flashbacks instead of having to throw this little bit of exposition in. The story itself about the spawn of satan and stuff was classic horror material, nice job. Also, with the thought of having opening and closing shots match up, I'd love for you to find a way to get the opening shot be of the exterior of joy's brothel, so that it matches up with the closing shot. Maybe just a scene of the brothel to set up Joy and Hope, then seque to the church scene, make it look like a contrasting scene? Just spitballing here.
Format/Structure- Act breaks good, scene lengths appropriate. I think you spelled weaning wrong, you had "weening".
Overall- Another fine offering from the fertile mind of gordonkris!! Good to see you back.
pg 37- it's rabid not rapid, I believe.
pg 81- need to explain why the gun backfired. I'm assuming hope had something to do with it but, happenstance to get out of a situation is not a good thing. Or else you need a scene early on where someone says the gun don't work right. read
by Lyn Singleton on 07/06/2008At first I was a little confused with the ominous start and then the switch to a Western genre, but the two themes became one story after the first few scenes. I was drawn into Joy's painful past and began to understand why she was a great hero for the story and why she felt such a committment to finding Elsie and finding out the truth. The ritualistic ordeal the baby and... At first I was a little confused with the ominous start and then the switch to a Western genre, but the two themes became one story after the first few scenes.
I was drawn into Joy's painful past and began to understand why she was a great hero for the story and why she felt such a committment to finding Elsie and finding out the truth.
The ritualistic ordeal the baby and Elsie were facing and the supernatural elements added to the excitement of the story.
I thought it was scary and the teeth were eery alone. If you have any say in the casting I get someone tough but very feminine for the lead role. It was a good screenplay.
by LBarbarell on 07/03/2008This is one of the most smoothly-crafted and readable scripts I’ve ever reviewed on T.S. Technically, it’s near perfect. Descriptions are brief but vivid with not a word wasted. Almost never does dialogue sound false or expository. And the pace is swift and involving. Right off the bat let me tell you, I’m rating this GOOD across the board and giving it a “Consider.”... This is one of the most smoothly-crafted and readable scripts I’ve ever reviewed on T.S. Technically, it’s near perfect. Descriptions are brief but vivid with not a word wasted. Almost never does dialogue sound false or expository. And the pace is swift and involving.
Right off the bat let me tell you, I’m rating this GOOD across the board and giving it a “Consider.” But I want to point out that I had two major problems with the script. First, I’ve never seen so many genres blended into one script. I could hear echoes and see the ghosts of Best Lil’ Whorehouse, The Searchers, Lord of the Flies, Ghost, Children of the Corn, The Blob, Rosemary’s Baby and others. Is it bad for a script to be a quilt of diverse patches? That depends on whether it’s a skillful blending or a hodgepodge and I’m not smart enough to know which this script happens to be.
I do know this: you lost me at the giant maggot. It reminded me of the controversial Beast inserted by producers at the conclusion of the cult film, Curse of the Demon, over the protestations of the film’s brilliant director Jacques Tourneur. Without that special-effects monster, Curse of the Demon would have been a much better film, relying for chills on psychological terror. Though I don’t sympathize with their actions, I can understand why money-motivated producers would do this to a film, but I can’t figure out why you’d do this to your own fine screenplay, unless you’re aiming it at the aforementioned kind of producers.
In my opinion, you don’t need the maggot; you don’t need Hope’s ghost. Draw on the twisted minds of the children for your terror and put away the mental CGI software.
The following are the probably the shortest page notes I’ve ever written. Beautifully crafted.
P. 6: I think the Peacemaker was made by Colt, not Remington.
P.30: “Man titties?” That’s the first thud so far in this script even though it’s only in a description line.
P. 37: “Rapid animal” looks like it should be “rabid animal.”
P. 43: Watch those pronouns. Which “she” snapped the kitten’s neck, Peg or Elsie? Grammatically, it’s Elsie because the previous pronoun referred to her, but I think you meant it to be Peg. By the way, snapping the kitten’s neck is going to be viewed by some as the injection of gratuitous cruelty into the script. Seems like a cop out to me; any writer can get a rise out of the audience by killing a kitten.
General: The fact that Joy relies so much on Hope to get her out of trouble seems unsatisfying in the end.
Good luck and thanks for the great read!
- Writer: Chris Simons
- Uploaded by: gordonkris
- Length: 93 pages
- Genre: horror, western
- This is a Western, my first. Please let me know if it feels like a Western. – I was aiming for grit, but with a tad of Django thrown in. But it’s definitely a horror script too. I tried to go the serious route this time, as opposed to my usual campy effort. I'm aiming to scare and disturb the audience (so please let me know if you're scared or disturbed). I reused a monster from an earlier effort and actually feel I’ve improved upon it. Tried to develop some serious arcs too. Also went for the happy ending. Maybe I’m mellowing…
- Bio: I teach filmmaking and film history overseas on the uni level. Back when I was living in the States, I used to spend days at a time on Triggerstreet. It was addictive, fun and motivated me to write. I don’t read or write many feature screenplays these days and the desire to actually film one is on the back burner, but I do write and make a lot of shorts. I’ll try to review on TS when I can. Don’t know why I’m changing this bio and pic - probably the whole 10th Anniversary thing has got me nostalgic.
More in This Genre...
Searching for her lost niece, a plucky madam fights evil incarnate in the Wild West.
Fate gives a cursed Gunslinger the opportunity to avenge his own murder.
An assassin, a fallen priest, and a Mexican samurai embark on a quest to return a legendary pistol to its final... more
Copyright © 2001-2013 Trigger Street Labs. All Rights Reserved.