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Genre: Found Footage Horror
Premise (from writer): A WikiLeaks-type website reveals classified footage of a Marine unit’s horrific encounter with a vampire in the wilds of 1971 Vietnam.
Why You Should Read (from writer): They say found footage is dead. I’m hoping the rumors of its demise are slightly exaggerated. This is my first crack at the ff genre, and I found the format to be quite challenging. I tried my best to avoid the common pitfalls of found footage scripts, and write a story with a good mix of action and horror.
Writer: S.D.
Details: 89 pages

url

Originally I was going to review Black Autumn months ago, after it won Amateur Friday. Then I realized S.D. was the same writer of a script I’d just reviewed on a previous Amateur Friday. Giving one writer two Amateur Friday slots so close to each other felt wrong. So I sent it off to the screenwriting netherworld.

Then something happened that had never happened before. A couple of weeks ago, we had an Amateur Friday where none of the scripts were good enough for a review. That’s not to say that any of the writers were bad. But the scripts weren’t ready. I decided maybe it was time for Black Autumn to return. So I called up the dragon gods of screenplay heaven along with Help Kitten, sent them on a journey to the Netherworld, and back they came with the goods.

Now before I start, I want to be up front. Thin horror scripts are my least favorite scripts to read. There’s lots of blood. A monster or two. A lot of running around. But that’s it. Now you may say, “Well, yeah Carson, but that’s 90% of horror movies. Why ya being so horror racism?” And there’s some truth to that.

But here’s what you have to remember: Everyone’s writing these things. EVERYONE. And if all you’re doing is contributing another thin horror script to the pile, why would you expect anyone to pick yours over the next guy’s? Blood, monsters, running isn’t enough if everyone else is doing it. You need complexity somewhere.

And I’m not saying it needs to be Oscar-winning complexity, nor do I think that would benefit the script. But there’s a reason many people still consider The Exorcist to be the best horror movie ever. It’s a movie that stays with you because of its depth. And that was my big problem with Primal (S.D.’s last script). It was too simplistic. Let’s see if his latest offering fixed that problem.

Peter Hastings is heading a documentary crew on its way to Vietnam. He’s joined by Chet Meeber, his sound guy, and Tony Dale, his cameraman. The plan is to get in there, get some footage of the war, and get out with all their limbs intact.

When they land, they meet the platoon they’re documenting, headed by Sergeant Frank Wyrick. While some of soldiers are excited about getting their close-up, the overall consensus is that Hastings and his boys are going to be distractions. And distractions can get you killed out in the shit.

So off they go into the jungle, eventually reaching a remote base. But that night, one of their men goes missing. Later, that soldier returns with super-human strength and a thirst for blood! Either he had some gnarly Vietnamese whiskey or the Vietcong jungle has itself a vampire problem!

When more men go missing, our crew heads out to look for them, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re drawn into an elaborate cave system, where all these Twilight motherfuc*&rs live. Pushed deeper and deeper into the cavernous tunnels, they’re running out of ammo and options. Are they going to make it out alive? Or end up like the rest of these chumps?

tumblr_static_dancingkitten-78_600The Help Kitten!

Complexity comes in two flavors. You can explore it through your plot or you can explore it through your characters. My advice is to explore it through your characters. Strong characters have a bigger effect on the audience than a strong plot. And when I look at Black Autumn, I don’t see complex characters. I didn’t feel like I knew anybody. The characters felt like chess pieces being moved from one square to the next.

The character development was so thin, in fact, I didn’t even know who the main character was. I thought that Hastings was the main character, since he was introduced as the new guy coming on the scene. About midway through the script though, I realized it was actually Wyrick.

If you’re fleshing out your characters appropriately, giving the big guns more time, more backstory, more conflicts, etc, this shouldn’t be a problem. The fact that I didn’t know for so long who was leading the story is proof that that wasn’t taking place.

So how do you achieve this so called “character development?” Well, I admit that it’s tricky when it comes to found footage. But if we look back at the Godfather of found footage, The Blair Witch Project, I still remember those characters to this day. And it’s because they talked to each other. They shared stories, chatted about their lives. The conversations they had made them feel like real people.

And when you think about it, that’s one of the nice things the found footage genre offers you. Is you can have your characters shooting the shit, and the audience will bear with the scene, even though it’s not directly pushing the story forward, because it fits within the expectations of the genre.

You can’t do that in a standard film. And now that I think about it, I wonder if the problem is that unlike all the found footage films we’ve seen so far, our crew here is using an 8mm camera. Unlike video, 8mm film is precious, and therefore needs to be used only when necessary. So you couldn’t naturally have characters sitting around and shooting the shit. It’d be a waste of film.

But that’s a problem that can be worked around. If you really want Black Autumn to stand out, I suggest you put a lot more effort into character building. I just gave this advice to a writer last week. I told him, for one draft, don’t worry about your plot. Don’t even think about it. All I want you to do is focus on your characters, making them unique and interesting and memorable – to the point where even if there was no plot, we’d still want to watch them. And I think S.D. has to do the same here.

Start with a flaw for Wynick. Maybe something in the realm of he always backs down, always plays it safe, and its cost him men in the past. This unique situation finally teaches him to take charge. It’s a common flaw for this kind of character but flaws don’t need to be that original as long as you explore them in an honest way.

From there, have your characters talk to each other more. Let’s get to know these guys. And cool “grunt talk” isn’t enough. Sly one-liners tells me more about the writer than they do the character. I mean I don’t even know why Hastings is out here. Does he want to be here? Where does he hope to be next? What does he want to do with his life? These may seem like small things, but they’re the things that tell us who a person is.

I’ve read two of S.D.’s scripts now and while he writes quick easy-to-ready scripts, I think to get to the next level, he has to put a lot more stock into character development, as do most amateurs. Character development is typically the main thing that separates amateurs from pros. Amateurs craft a story through their plot. Pros craft a story through their characters.

Script link: Black Autumn

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: In found footage, don’t be afraid to let your characters shoot the shit. That’s one of the nice things the genre offers you. Characters can talk about what they like, dislike, their past, their future. Especially in a script like this, where you’re actually interviewing characters. You can ask them direct questions about their life. That opportunity was missed here.

  • Poe_Serling

    BLACK AUTUMN

    >>Title: Hey, a two-for-one deal! Hits the right note on a horror level, and yet maintains the ring of authenticity if it were a hush-hush project in the black ops world of the military.

    >>In terms of style/format: All the vroom without the fumes. Meaning? Another quick and smooth ride from the writer of Primal. No problem for this reader to connect the dots and follow the story.

    The found footage aspect of the script flowed seamlessly for me. Just one minor quibble here: the Camera’s POV always seemed to be pointed in the right place and at the right moment. More on that later.

    >>Setting: The Apocalypse Now-inspired undergrowth of Vietnam. So, an inventive twist on the traditional trappings of our neck nibbler friends.

    I appreciated the writer’s obvious research of the locale and attention to the details. What I learned: Avoid the elephant grass, wading in water, and caves.

    >>Descriptive lines: Solid and clean. Exciting action sequences, especially in the tunnels and the final battle.

    Also, enjoyed the character intros such as this one:

    Hastings then turns to meet –

    SERGEANT FRANK WYRICK, (32), who looks like he tore his way out of a recruitment poster.

    >>Characters: A few that stood out for me. Wyrick, Tran, Hastings and his crew. The take charge attitude of Wyrick really kept the story moving at a brisk clip.

    >>Dialogue: Good tough guy banter among the players. The military lingo had a realistic tone.

    If the writer gets the urge to punch up the dialogue in the near future, I highly recommend the book “Welcome to Vietnam, Macho Man” by Ernest Spencer. It’s the author’s firsthand account during the 77-day siege of the Khe Sanh combat base. The book is loaded with a ton of raw language and phrases unique to that particular war and time in history.

    >>Storywise: Some familiar elements sprinkled throughout the plot. I picked up on a dash of Predator/30 Days of Night/The Descent/Etc.

    Did it still work for me? Yeah, for the most part. I thought it was an intense and scary hike into the jungle.

    And obviously there’s a market for this type of story. A few years back, New Regency and director John Moore were putting together a film based on the Virgin Comic Virulents. ‘A ragtag group of soldiers who search for a lost patrol in Afghanistan… stumble into a nest of vampire zombies.’

    >>Other things that clicked for me: Keeping the mystery of what the main vampire looked like until the very end, which allowed the story to wrap up with even a bigger crisis looming on the horizon. Is there a potential sequel in the works?

    ****Just a couple of suggestions:

    >>Since this project falls on the short side of 90 pages, I think the story would benefit from getting the ball rolling sooner.

    First off, I might move up the ‘grenade in the cave’ scene.

    Instead of tossing a rock and accidentally discovering the cave entrance, why not get the blood pumping with a short action scene? Maybe have the squad encounter some kind of odd ‘movement’ in the underbrush and then chase ‘it’ back to the cave. And with a tweak of this line and minus the back and forth about who has the stronger throwing arm:

    DEEKINS: Looks deep. Could be a whole slew of Cong in there. I say frag it.

    Wyrick ponders this as he narrow his eyes, looks into the darkness.

    WYRICK: Do it.

    Now … return to your original grenade toss moment.

    KABOOM!

    >>After the quicker start and to compensate for the fewer pages, you could possibly flesh out some of the characters and even expand a scene or two.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind a little more info (backstory) on the why/how the head vampire got stoned up inside the cave in the first place. Did the local villagers trap it in there? Was it held captive by some kind of secret religious ceremony or artifact (the totem pole)? Perhaps answering those questions would provide a hint in explaining the creature’s ability to knock down a reinforced steel door but not the pile of stones back in the cave.

    Even if the writer decides to implement these slight changes, it keeps the script in the lean and mean 90-page range.

    >>Finally, like I mentioned above, increase the edginess of the found footage angle… more blurred shots here and there, herky-jerky movements, only snatches of relevant dialogue, and so on to create a greater sense of dread and unbalance to the scenes.

    Well, that’s it…

    On my own ‘chills and thrills’ enjoyability scale, I’d definitely give this a [x] WORTH THE READ. Also, I found this script to be an overall stronger concept than the werewolf project.

    Once again, thanks for sharing your work and taking us on a journey into the Heart of Darkness. Keep writing and good luck with it!!

    • Bluedust

      Great notes, Poe. I’ll consider them all. And I’ll definitely check out the Spencer book you mentioned. Thanks again for the read.

  • Casper Chris

    My reaction was similar to Carson’s. I thought this was clean and well-written, but at the same time, everything felt very been-there-done-that, and the characters were wafer-thin. Which is also the main reason I usually stay away from horror scripts. I guess the writer was going for “same but different” (combining a Vietnam movie with a found-footage horror), but it was just too vanilla.

    • Scott Crawford

      It’s not really my thing, vampires on all, but it is very professionally written, without long, long scenes of people chatting like you find in other scripts – although as Carson points out, maybe it could have a bit of that.

      • Casper Chris

        Yes, like I said, it was a clean and well-written. S.D. can definitely write, there’s no arguing that.

    • Bluedust

      Thanks for reading, Casper. I admit I did find character building a challenge in this particular genre. I always saw Wyrick as the main character, but I guess I can see how Carson may have felt this was Hasting’s story up to a point. That’s something I’ll work on.

      • Casper Chris

        For what it’s worth, I also thought Hasting was the main character for a long time.

        Also, if you were going for what Garry’s writing above, maybe you could make it more clear by integrating some of that into his character introduction? That’s the great thing about character introductions; you’re allowed to cheat a little here.

        SERGEANT FRANK WYRICK, (32), who looks like he tore his way out of a recruitment poster.

        …while fun, just screams “your typical one-dimensional, hard-nosed buzzcut”.

        • Scott Crawford

          That’s a perfectly fine description; you only want to give the general physical description of this character at this stage. I’ve not read the script all the way through, but let’s say later the character pees his pants, THAT action contrasts with his initial description and… voila, character!

          It’s not as if Jim Cameron introduced Private Hudson with he looks tough but later on he’ll crack up, then he’ll redeem himself later on. In fact, looking it up, Hudson gets no introduction at all.

          • Casper Chris

            I’m not saying the description is bad, but Bluedust’s saying he’s been struggling with character development, so I see that character introduction as a missed opportunity to tell us more about his protagonist.

            You wrote:

            “That’s a perfectly fine description; you only want to give the general physical description of this character at this stage.

            Certainly you can do more with a character description/introduction.

            The best character introductions tend to include both a sense of what you see (the character’s physical appearance) and an intriguing tidbit about their personality and/or situation. – J.A.

            Here’s character description from Mr. Tarantino:

            “Lance, late-20s, is a young man with a wild and woolly appearance that goes hand-in-hand with his wild and woolly personality. Lance has been selling d**gs his entire adult life. He’s never had a day job, never filed a tax return and has never been arrested. He wears a red flannel shirt over a “Speed Racer” tee-shirt.”

            J.A. highlighted this character description in his article “How to introduce a character”, and wrote:

            “The second and third sentences of Lance’s introduction are the kind of details that often flummox newer screenwriters. After all, you’re not allowed to put anything in a script that can’t be seen or heard, right? How is the audience supposed to know this information?

            Tarantino’s cheating. Most good screenwriters cheat a little, particularly when introducing a character. Keep in mind that an audience watching the movie has the benefit of seeing the actor playing the role, and all the specifics that come with a flesh-and-blood person. Since the screenwriter has mere words, it’s generally okay to throw an unfilmable sentence or two at a particularly important moment. And there’s no more important moment in the script than the introduction of a key character.”

            I personally hate writing character descriptions, but then again, I think I’m fairly good at conveying character through action/dialogue.

  • Scott Crawford

    Nitpick alert! Scanning through the script – which is REALLY well written by the way, one of the best in terms of easy readability and a good dialogue/scene direction mix – the terms clip and magazine are used interchangeably. I wasn’t certain of this myself so I looked it up, and gun experts – and, of course, everyone in Hollywood SHOULD be a gun expert – a magazine is that box you slap into a rifle or submachine gun or pistol, and a clip is something that FEEDS a magazine, non-removable magazines like on some bolt-action rifles and broom-handled Mausers.

    Is this important? If you’re writing a romantic comedy, probably not. If you’re writing military stuff, possibly yes.

    • Bluedust

      You just taught me something, Scott. I also thought magazine and clip were interchangeable. I tried to get the weaponry details down, but that one slipped by me.

  • Matthew Garry

    I agree that the story is way too short. If you consider the bookends, and the cave part as filler, you’re left with less than half the original sparse 89 pages.

    In those few pages however, Wyrick, the protag, really shines.

    Wyrick is the friendliest, most heroic, and most stable character here. And, maybe surprisingly, that’s his flaw. It’s a flaw because being these things is easy for him, because gradually, throughout the story, it is shown (but never actually mentioned) that Wyrick is never going home again; he doesn’t want to go home. He just wants to remain, and probably die, in Vietnam, trying to be the best person he can possibly be, maybe trying to make up for something he did, or something that happened in the past.

    That’s the reason why he wants to go back to the base alone. That’s the reason he’s willing to jump headlong into danger first.

    Wyrick has an inherent tragic streak in his character. His heroism, indirectly caused by his flaw, will be his downfall, since his acts of heroism cause his men to be fiercely loyal, following him into danger and getting them killed, which again feeds Wyrick’s tragedy.

    Hints are fed to the reader as to what causes Wyrick’s refusal to go home: his reluctance mixed with joy when holding a young child.

    I didn’t feel like Wyrick is really the simple flaw-less character that he appears on a quick read. And that was my main problem with “Black Autumn”: the largest part of the story doesn’t live up to or support the careful character development. The fast and easy horror parts drown out the delicate drama underneath.

    • Bluedust

      I’m glad you picked up on the depth I tried to give Wyrick, Matthew. Your descriptions pretty much nailed his psyche, as I envisioned it.

      • Matthew Garry

        I liked how you didn’t resort to an exposition dump where the crew sits around a fire at night and have Wyrick tell his backstory, or even worse, have one of the camera crew asking “What’s the deal with Wyrick?” resulting in two characters talking about a third.

        It really was a nice buildup where at some point you realise, “Maybe he’s not that brave. Maybe he’s just infinitely more afraid of going home than staying here, even if staying means certain death.” And then all his actions up to that point fall into place and paint a picture of a very stricken man, consumed by something which is only hinted at.

  • Bluedust

    Excellent notes, Patrick. Regarding the excursion into the cave, Wyrick’s mentality was pure vengeance after losing his men and the massacre at the Nung village. Assuming it was a vampire, he thought they could could catch it sleeping. But I like this idea you have of a payoff for the cave sequence.

  • darren

    Hey SD, Carson is somewhat right but you need to look at it from another angle, the reader’s. Yes the characters work is poor, but the problems here is your assumption that realism equals entertainment, that plot equals tension and mystery. It doesn’t. You see you broke screenwriting’s No. 1 rule “Do not be boring”. The first 30 pages of this script doesn’t contain a single scene that entertained me. And by entertain, I mean conflict, mystery, comedy, empathy etc. Its obvious you needed to get all the players into position efficiently and realistically but you forgot to entertain us while doing it. Every scene should be designed with both emotion and entertainment in mind (the audiences) That’s why sequencing works so well as an outline strategy. Every scene should be driven by the characters, their wants and needs and their struggle toward them. Yes the commander doesn’t want these civilians around him or his men, but this is meaningless conflict in the world of the other characters. Having Hastings drive the first Act is a huge mistake in this draft and a missed opportunity (see below), clearly Wyrick is the main character but what’s worse is you don’t give Hastings anything to work with. Think of what an actor might want from this role (or any role) Hastings is a zero character because you didn’t give him any depth or back-story. Assuming his “function” is enough to perform the task.

    Can I suggest something? Have Hastings and his men already searching for the vampires. Same scenes, same set-up. Except they are secretly on a mission, posing as journalists, to seek and find these guys. It doesn’t matter for whom or from where. Their past activities should shape their attitudes towards Wyrick and the Grunts, they see them as just sherpas to get them where they need. And the resulting dramatic Irony has the added benefit of us wanting (and hoping) that a blisfully unaware Wyrick can get out of it. Drip feed us clues from Hastings in the opening scenes, where they are going and where they have been. Have them lie openly, mis-direct, and make sure we know he’s lying. Every scene and line of dialogue is then colored with sub-text, as we the audience, wonder what the outcome might be.

    never be boring. Always entertain. even just a little bit.

    good writing chops though.

    • Scott Crawford

      Outline. Outline. And again, outline. If the story DOESN’T work as an outline (I’ve not read Black Autumn all the way through, so I’m talking generally) it won’t work when you add the dialogue.

      Outlining will also make writing your first draft easier (not easy, but EASIER) and faster.

  • leitskev

    Love the name for this script. Won’t comment on the story because I only had time to glance, but very clean, pro quality writing.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yes, most of the comments so far have been on story and character, the writing has been mostly praised, and rightly so. But you can’t overemphasize the importance of making the script LOOK good, and READ well.

  • Scott Chamberlain

    I enjoyed reading this. It’s well written. One problem always have: what are the rules around who becomes a vampire and who does not? Why does the monster bite some people and only kill them (or even worse rend them limb from limb) whereas others become minions? If this was explained, I missed it.

    I’ve seen the comments about the story being too short and Wyrick being underdeveloped. Im not sure about that. All genre (generic) stories have their set-pieces. And you can’t leave out the set-pieces because that is what the fans want. Set-pieces chew up screen time, necessarily leaving less room for focus on character. Character development is necessarily thin.

    I think the MAIN reason Black Autumn feels thin is because there does not appear to be a ready thematic correlation between the different elements of the story. See, this is a potentially powerful story about America’s failure in Vietnam and its tragic failure to learn that lesson as it repeats its mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Some brainstorms, if you don’t mind…

    Consider, Wyrick’s heroism is his flaw and it will damn him and his men. So he is the US, in the same way Rick in Casablanca comes to represent the US, but he is a dystopian version of it, reflecting the US fate in the Vietnam War. That would make this story some kind of comment about the dangers of overcommitting. But this isn’t what emerges from Wyrick’s tragic heroism and suicide.

    First, for that theme to resonate, Wyrick’s men should be a rag-tag of all the different nationalities that fought in that conflict, a mishmash fighting in a forgotten eddie of the main campaign.

    Second, the monster should be some kind of reflection of the forces that doomed the American campaign in Vietnam. And I’m not sure Vampire is the right one. Vampires are typically aristocratic bloodsuckers and their bite is typically sexual. I’m not up on Vietnamese mythology. I don’t know what the Jiangshi is or represents. It might be a perfect vehicle for visually demonstrating the forces that made America’s over-commitment to Vietnam inevitably tragic. But Vampire doesn’t do it for me.

    I also think it would have been more powerful for them to be actively seeking out Cong and blowing up the vampire’s home – thereby unleashing it. It probably should destroy first TRAN’s village and then the soldiers, since the local population always suffers most when “liberated”.

    I guess, riffing off that, it would be possible to expand the story’s symbols to include Afghanistan with the Vampire being, effectively, the local dictator/taliban with whom they have learned to live and against whom they are afraid to act, because waking the beast and failing would be worse than the status quo. That would make the vampire, with its ability to create minions, a meaningful monster within the story world and current world affairs.

    Given that Wyrick has something of a death wish you need something else at stake other than his life. I think the life/fate of the village should always be at play here. There should always be the opportunity for Wyrick to back off and leave well enough alone AND THEREBY save the village/Tran etc. Someone needs to be pleading this “side” of the story, but you lose that opportunity by killing off the village at mid-point.

    Finally, I think the “supersoldier-serum” angle undercuts the entire story. It’s out of place. It feels like it belongs in a WWII/ill-gotten-gains-of-the-Nazis. It means not only was the Vietnam War a failure it brought evil into the heart of the US Government. I mean, I get that the vampire serum would be weaponized. But can you make it resonate with the overall tragic heroism?

    Alex should not be some random dude. He should be part of the story. His discovery of this project and his subsequent capture should have meaning. What if he was an escaped guinea pig? Proof the government had begun testing on its own citizens? He has four hours to tell his story and as the SWAT team closes in he transforms.

    Or what if he was Hastings? Heroic journalism at its finest, all these years later he has lived to tell the tale? Or Wyrick? He survived – heroically – never truly succumbing to the Commie vampire venom?

    Just brainstorms. Point is, this is well-written. But it could, I think, be so much more.

    • Bluedust

      Excellent ideas on theme there, Scott. I tried to use the Vietnamese backdrop as this allegory for an inescapable trap for the American soldiers, but you’re right there is certainly room for a lot more political commentary here. Very interesting notes on Alex. In my original draft, there were no prologue and epilogue pieces with him, the script was just presented as a secret military file, rather like Cloverfield. But somehow it didn’t feel “current” enough, like too much time had passed since these events occurred. This is when Alex came into the story, obviously standing in for Julian Assange. But in his first incarnation, Alex was actually the son of Hastings, who had somehow gotten his hands on this footage. I liked how that connected to the Black Autumn footage, but I just couldn’t make that character work and I went with the Alex character. However, maybe that’s an idea worth revisiting. Thanks for reading.

  • Brainiac138

    Has anyone checked out Coherence? While it is not a found footage film, it was largely improvised and shot on a very meager budget. However, the plot plays out like a Twilight Zone episode (which the director recognizes), and the characters do get pretty fleshed out and developed. Here is a story about how the film was made. Pretty inspiring stuff. http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/james-ward-byrkit-coherence-interview

  • Linkthis83

    Bluedust! Congrats on getting this 2nd AF review. I never ended up reading it all the way through and that is because of STORY alone (well…and real life time constraints). The writing is good, there’s just not enough STORY for me to invest in early. I did check out the first act of the latest draft and it does feel tighter and crisper = better. I like how you changed the mom joke around = great, this time it felt organic to the story and not forced. I will just copy and paste snippets from our discussion the day I thought it was getting reviewed (ARIEL day):

    -As of these first 25 pages, I feel that your story details are credible. I don’t feel that these first 25 are that interesting. What you have done is shown us a guy with fangs early and the rest feels like “hope” that people will hang around to find out. For me, it hasn’t worked. Sure we have “guy with fangs” and “kid who was tortured” – but that wasn’t enough.

    **I think showing us the guy with fangs earlier works against this script — I could be wrong though. I hope others weigh in with their opinions.**

    -I know this is story set up, but it needs to have some intrigue too. We know they go on routine patrols, make this particular patrol an actual investigation for something specific. Give us some more details that makes us invested in what is happening. Then we don’t know if they are going to find VC, or if they are going to find Vampires.

    -I think these characters need to be drawn out just a little bit more. I’m not talkingexternal goals/internal flaws either. Just more opportunity to allow us to witness this team of soldiers being this close-knit team of soldiers. By their actions, and interactions. I could just be full of shit too. Always possible in this subjective realm.

    -I don’t think I did a good enough job in my review of giving you proper credit. You set up the world awesomely. I believe everything about the setting. I believe everything about the time. The characters feel mostly real, with the exception of some things I noted.

    -But 50 pages in and I don’t feel like I’m experiencing anything unique. Also, once I know they are vampires, it feels like there aren’t many surprises. Now sure, if I kept reading I might’ve found a nice surprise, but nothing in those 50 pages makes me want to (other than the credibility you’ve created for yourself – I want to keep reading because of your ability, but not the story – it should be the other way around – or both :)

    -Maybe even throw in a legend. Put something in the air early that let’s us know something is off. Perhaps the team that was there previously ended their rotation early (intrigue/mystery) for some plausible, yet questionable reason. Maybe when we are learning about patrols, we learn that for some reason the VC are staying away from this region. That would be odd. Normally they’d be going straight at the American camp. I especially think that first patrol with Hastings team is when the should be investigating something specific.

    -I don’t know what’s best for your story. Only you know that. The world it takes place in is believable and I like the historic angle as well within that setting. And that it’s found footage.

    Congrats again!!

  • Linkthis83

    OT: Poe_Serling, I just want you to know that I’m excited to see the updated bucket list for 2014 :) Should only be a couple of weeks away…right?

    • Poe_Serling

      Thanks for the reminder, Link. I didn’t realize that the first anniversary of grendl’s legendary Real Monsters script review was just around the corner. Now I’m wondering if I should go traditional (paper) or modern (clock) for the gift.

      An updated bucket list for 2014? I don’t know about that… unless Carson revisits that particular day in SS history and does a Where Are They Now? article. ;-)

      • Linkthis83

        Well, my post is for selfish reasons only – my bucket list was short :) If I have to wait until 2015, I will – but I thought I’d throw it out there just in case!

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    Didn’t read the script, so the comments below are based on Carson’s review.

    I feel that it would be a bit hard for a film crew to get permission to shoot a documentary and have soldiers accompany it while fighting a war.

    Maybe there is a certain goal to it. Maybe the US is losing the war (which it eventually did) and on top of it, those damn protesting hippies are hurting the number of people joining the army.

    So, the government is sending a crew to make a documentary, but edit it in a way that will increase the patriotism and will get more Americans to join. A different version of what is really happening.

    This way, we can see why the crew has access to a place where no news crew can go as well as the protection of the army. It also gives a bit of depth to the whole story.

    Maybe this could also create a flaw for the guy that heads the documentary crew. He is a reporter that got paid to create some “propaganda” material. Maybe in the end, he needs to face the decision of putting out a raw, uncut version of the documentary or the one he was paid to shoot.

    Or… I went too far or this is an other movie. Anyway, my two cents.

    • Scott Crawford

      In any script you’re allowed ONE fudge. Can’t remember the name it’s given, central conceit, something like that. OK, there’s no such thing as vampires, but that’s built into the genre. In this universe, the US government filmed everything then locked it away.

  • Jim Dandy

    Words of wisdom from Alexander Mackendrick on character development:

    “In a well-told story, every character functions within a network or nexus, a cat’s cradle of character interaction. Certain characteristics of the protagonist and antagonist are revealed often only through relationships with each other or with circumstances (either external or internal) and events played out in action and reaction. Under the pressure of situations, conflicts, clashes of will or story tension, the ideas that lie behind a story’s themes cease to be merely abstract and become people actually doing things to each other or reacting to the action. Film dialogue is best when it has an immediate purpose and produces visible reactions in others. This is the essence of drama. Because character is not a static quality that belongs to a specific figure, rather than thinking of individual characters in the world it is far more useful for the writer to consider the notion of character-in-action-and-reaction. A story’s energy comes from the degree to which its characters are warring elements, complementary aspects that illuminate each other by contrast and conflict. The only practical reason for a particular character’s existence, in fact, is to interact with other characters.”

    • Scott Crawford

      Wow, that’s… dense text. But I get the point. Characters in search of a plot, a plot in search of good characters, or good characters in a great plot. I’ve found that creating a great character won’t necessarily lead to a great story.

      So, in this case, if S.D. had created great characters (not read the script, so I’m not saying he hasn’t, just going by feedback) but had no vampires and no found footage, then you’ve got a bog-standard Vietnam War drama.

      Character is revealed through action (McKee!) and a great example is Michael Corleone in The Godfather; he goes from loving his family but wanting nothing to do with the family business, to KILLING two men to protect his father, to TAKING OVER the family business but trying to turn it legitimate, to killing ALL his enemies, even his own brother-in-law, and LYING about to his wife. An amazing character revealed through his STORY CHOICES.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Sorry McKee
        Character is also revealed through dialogue.
        Through facial expressions which tell us what the character is thinking.
        Through changes in mood.
        Through mannerisms.

        Saw an example recently — the first three episodes of A PERFECT SPY.
        In it, the old man is a con man. But they don’t show the cons being played out.
        Because it’s not about the cons. It’s about character.
        And he’s a very complex character — all revealed through dialogue, facial expression, mood, and the mannerisms of the actor.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats on another slot. I am hoping the comments here draw you out a bit more. There is certainly much we can learn from you.

    I don’t remember all of what I said the first time around except there were plot points and turns I felt were weak for me. I didn’t like pulling out the old “wise” person telling us who the monsters were, for example. I’d seen that too often and it didn’t leave any room for me or the characters to figure some things out.

    For example, the Diaz incident which sets things off. BTW, This character hardly felt like a “chess piece” to me, damn, if I wasn’t devastated by what happened to him and we’re still in the early stages. I could see every character and felt for them.

    Anyway, without that “wise” seer, what if Diaz’s condition was viewed by the Americans as some pathogen, an ebola-like thing that they’re afraid of now. I liked the Nung scenes so maybe the group could go back to the Nung village for shelter and advice against this pathogen and the Nung know what it is and the cameraman can catch some of their conversation that was translated later by the government which hints that they did, but the Nung go along with the Americans’ theory and put them through some home remedy that seems more like a painful exorcism (which it is) than medicine. But it’s all to no avail, Americans lack a certain faith, and the group is there while the Nung get attacked. And afterwards whomever survives of the group can find artifacts that showed the Nung felt this was more than a virus and piece things together.

    It was all just too fast of a reveal for me as written. Otherwise for me [X] worth the read.

    • Bluedust

      Hey Randy, glad the characters felt that real to you. And I do remember your original notes and applied some of your ideas…but I did keep the old lady ;). Interesting thoughts on bringing ancient Nung culture more into the fray. Maybe I could establish a connection between Nung mysticism and the jianghsi or as you suggest, bring a pathogen into the story. Which would certainly be topical.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats on this script finally getting its day in the AF sun.
    I imagine it’s been a kinda nail-biting summer for the author!

    P. 5 Very clear opener so far.
    But You established the 40-foot antenna on two pages in a row.
    Lose one of those introductions.

    P. 7 I’d cut half a page out of the exterior scene at the start.
    Begin right after the CUT TO, covers all that superfluous dialogue.
    It’s kinda obvious they would shoot an intro. You don’t need that chatter.

    P. 18 On the way back, the patrol didn’t pass the moaning cave?
    That’s a bummer. I could see them backtracking past it on the way home.
    It feels like a set up you failed to pay off, for now at least.
    Or maybe someone goes missing in Tran’s village last night. He tells them.
    Someone can ask Tran about the weird statue, there’s a mystery box for you.

    P. 22 The last few pages feel like the story’s — treading water.
    You had a nice burn going until page 18.
    And I still contest that SOMEONE should ask Tran about something.
    The cave’s the most interesting thing to happen so far.
    But a mysterious disappearance is even better.

    Maybe the soldier that lingered at the mouth of the cave is the best choice.
    But someone’s natural curiosity needs to represent the reader’s curiosity here.
    Without that sole mystery to entice, the reader has nothing much to go on.
    And when we’re just along for the ride, our attention tends to wander.
    Get that plot kickstarted in the second half of act one.
    Then bleary-eyed readers will love you long time. :-)

    P. 24 It’s a big mistake not to TEASE the disappearance of Diaz.
    That’s how you generate SUSPENSE in your tale. Mmm, tasty tension.
    Show Diaz on guard duty. Then we see — something watching him.
    Moments like this are when you get to steal big time from Predator.
    Do it now! Get to the chopper! Sorry, reflex action.
    That’s what you’ve got to do. Prime the reader for your rewarding beats.
    Think I mentioned this as well with some deaths in Primal.
    Enticement keeps readers turning pages. Surprises, just surprise. :-

    P. 29 I like this beat with Tran, but it feels ten pages late.
    Start the mystery with the cave, then they’re told about a Nung disappearance.
    Diaz disappears that night, next morning there’s Tran. Another Nung gone.
    That escalation of events (15-29) feels more rewarding to me.
    After the cold open, there’s no fangs in the FIRST THIRD of your script.
    That’s a HEFTY burden of investment before the reader rewards happen.

    P. 32 I don’t recall a kid missing, thought it was just Grandpa.
    Did I miss something earlier? This would help the plot escalation.
    The missing kid should come up when the soldiers first meet the Nungs.
    But it’s dismissed as nothing serious by the troops. That works.
    Then later, they can realize the vamps were weeding out the easy targets.

    P. 35 Digging Diaz’s return. But again, feels ten pages late.
    That’s about 40% of the movie gone before a single attack. Bad call.
    I like what’s happening, but it needs a more rewarding escalation of mayhem.

    P. 40 This vibes better than The Thing remake handled similar scenes.
    Despite my misgivings about pages 15-25, this is good movie stuff here.

    P. 44 Wyrick mentions daylight as an advantage.
    This is the point when someone should mention — THE CAVE. It’s time, dude.
    You’ve been keeping the reader away from it for 30 pages.
    Don’t hold back now when the story’s gaining momentum.
    The longer you delay, the dumber your protags come off.

    P. 50 The cave eventually gets a mention here.
    The soldiers should be putting things together much faster than me.

    P. 54 One thing that NIGGLES me about the script…
    Not a single character ever talks about their homelife. Ever, not even once.
    In Carpenter’s The Thing, I get it. They’re in crisis all the time.
    But here, there’s lots of casual time upfront. But zero personal chatter.
    Maybe wrap a scene around a POKER GAME. Lots of opps for character beats.
    And I don’t mean dump backstories here, let their game decisions inform the readers.

    While their dialogue works, there’s not much else to distinguish the guys.
    This is compounded by a TON of demonstrative dialogue — Look out! Shoot!
    After a while, the high volume of spoken empty calories weighs down a reader.

    P. 66 Definitely feeling that we’ve entered THE DESCENT territory here.
    If the PREADTOR portion of the script was amped up, this part would work better.

    P. 68 I wish we had a taste of this gunfire in the jungle.
    It’s a rare organic opportunity to steal from Predator and innovate.
    Scenes like this prove there’s genuine genre allure to your concept.

    P. 75 Still reads off for me that the men never mention PERSONAL DETAILS.
    You’d think if the end is near, you’d leave a message for your family on film.
    Little bits of HUMANITY like that would enhance the story.

    P. 76 Trip flares are great. Now you’re stealing from Predator! ;-)
    There’s so much room for jungle intrigue to infuse the first half of your script.

    P. 80 The incendiary rounds are good fun. They’ll light up the trailer, big time!
    I think a DIRECTOR will cotton to the concept if the kinks are smoothed.

    P. 83 Four shots. That’s one hell of a bullet sandwich.
    Not sure I’ve ever seen that before in a genre flick. Nice and gooey.

    P. 84 Very satisfying imagery here, much of it can be teased sooner.
    For instance, look at LOST BOYS. That flick opens with a POV aerial kill.
    You can go streaking through the jungle, like a predator, then STRIKE!
    There’s much more visual juice to be squeezed from your concept.

    Finished. I dig how you set things up to continue the tale.

    CLOSING THOUGHTS:
    No surprises in the narrative, I was always ahead of the game.
    Red herrings and some redirects would’ve spiced up the mid-section.
    Maybe the cave starts out as a decoy. They just find animal bones.
    Thinking it’s a TIGER, the troops move on to introduce Tran.
    You’ve got to try and MISDIRECT the reader to provoke them into guessing.
    Because when readers are guessing, they’re turning pages, pal.
    We talked about this in regards to PRIMAL as well.
    Successfully misdirecting the reader into a rewarding scene gains their TRUST.

    Even 22 Jump Street is LOADED with misdirects and red herrings.
    Perhaps a MINI-QUEST or two will spice up the narrative here.
    Let’s say… The vampires took out a bridge that leads to Firebase Dagger.
    Now that’s a serious COMPLICATION that makes our protags rather vulnerable.
    That shows the enemy forcing the good guys towards a trap.
    Tension ensues. Tempers rise. Emotions get out of hand. All good stuff.

    I wasn’t emotionally invested enough in any single character.
    The POKER GAME proposal, it’s a great character-revealing device you can use.
    Show the men engaged in some SOCIAL ACTIVITY, it will hook readers into them.

    None of the men are jerks, either. They’re adults. And that’s a RED FLAG.
    There were also no POLARIZING PERSONALITIES in your ranks. Huge oversight.
    Spend time with ALIENS and you’ll see how rewarding that device can be.
    Readers are CONFLICT JUNKIES. The writer must bring it, like a good dealer.
    I think you know these characters better than they read on the page.

    Despite these development snits, the concept has a lot of visual bite.
    Pun intended. And I know that the author is up to these moderate tasks.

    Which for me, ultimately makes BLACK AUTUMN — [x] Worth the Read.

    • Bluedust

      Great ideas as always, E.D. I tried to make Hastings a “polarizing personality” as an egomaniac more concerned with his own fame than anything else. But I see what you mean about pushing this concept further in the script. Regarding a character talking about home life, Diaz does that to some degree when he talks about his short timers stick and returning home in the near future. But again, I think I can dig deeper in this regard to breathe some more life into these characters. I like your mini-quest idea as a tool for ratcheting the tension even tighter. Nice, I’m gonna use that one! Thanks for the read.

  • Mike.H

    My memory’s short, whatever became of the TWITTER LOG LINES CONTEST months ago? Did any writer or promising script emerge from the spotlight?

  • Tom

    VERY well-written script. I don’t know if this is the script that will break the doors down for you, but it’s certainly one that answers the “What else do you got?” question.

    The most impressive thing is that it’s in the hardest genre. And I don’t mean “found footage.” I mean “military meat-grinder.”

    Everyone is pointing to the thin characters. Well, character is revealed through choices, but the military system aims to remove as many individual choices from the process as possible. A soldier is given one choice – “Do your job, or be punished.” So, yeah, the choice of whether or not to disobey orders always exists, but that’s a BIG choice, a climatic choice, not one of the dozens of character revealing choices that occur through the first two acts of a script. That’s why military scripts, especially ones that strive for realism, are nearly impossible to write.

    Even the two most beloved movies in the sci-fi military genre – ALIENS and PREDATOR (two of my favs) – just threw in the towel. They spew out a laundry list of tough-guy soldiers in a page or two and then expect the reader to remember everyone. The soldiers are generic enough that in the draft of ALIENS I read, Hudson and Frost had swapped lines (sacrilege!). Amateurs could never get away with this.

    As for actual war movies, some are brooding pieces that use the characters only as philosophical avatars (APOCALYPSE NOW) and some just say, “Character? We don’t need no fucking character?” (BLACK HAWK DOWN). (both are great movies, by the way). SAVING PRIVATE RYAN has good characterization, but in a sci-fi/horror, your reader doesn’t want to sit around and wait for Tom Hanks to reveal that he was a teacher. We don’t care.

    This is a long way of saying – You’ll never get those red shirts off your military meat-grinder characters.

    And so I disagree with Carson. All the character-building in the world will probably only bring you to BATTLE: LOS ANGELES territory. The more they sit around the fire and talk about their ex-wives and abusive fathers the more hollow they’ll seem.

    My solution (caution: major spit-balling ahead) – instead of fleshing out 10% of a dozen characters, give us 100% of one character. Give us Wyrick, in all his glory. If you want Wyrick to be your hero, tell us that up-front and never let the camera waver from him.

    He needs to be special, and the reader needs to know that. I would have the camera crew come to the jungle to film Wyrick specifically. HE is the subject of their documentary. Why? Because he’s Sergeant-fucking-Wyrick! Maybe he’s a Medal of Honor recipient. Maybe he Forrest Gumped his entire platoon out of a battle. Maybe he single-handedly bayonetted 15 VC and saved a village. And maybe after all of that, he’s hid from the spot-light and prefers to stay and die in Vietnam. No matter what, Wyrick needs to be SPECIAL.

    He also needs a relationship. Someone he can be real around. Someone that can wrench the dialogue away from the officer-grunt exchanges that dominate the script. I would make that Hastings.

    I would give Hastings and Wyrick a backstory. They’re old friends, maybe from the same town. Hastings wants to make it as a film-maker and has pitched the DoD that he (or she… Hastings could be a woman) can get their most reclusive hero to open up. They agree to embed him in Wyrick’s platoon to film, essentially, a propaganda piece. And so we’re following Wyrick through Hastings’ eyes. We’re watching them interact and reveal things about themselves along the way.

    Build the relationship between them. Make us care about these two people. If you amplify them, it will overshadow the flatness of everyone else. The red shirts can be red shirts only if there’s a Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in the landing party. Because, let’s face it, we know most of these guys are going to die, so why bother to get to know them?

    Otherwise, the “flat characters” note is going to follow this script no matter how many little tics and accents you give everyone.

    • Scott Crawford

      OK, people seem to disagree with me, but… I’m pretty sure Dutch and the guys in Predator are MERCENARIES. No uniform, informal manner (though that’s characteristic of some special forces outfits), and they pick their own missions (they turned down Libya because they weren’t contract killers). Oh, and they’re “expendable”.

      • Tom

        I’d buy that.

        That small distinction is probably what gives them the extra wiggle room to reveal character. A real soldier wouldn’t shlep a gattling gun through the jungle. But Blaine? That guy’s a sexual tyrannosaurus!… just like me.

        But overall, the characters come alive on the screen more than they do on the page. On the page, you have a helicopter full of tough guys – one’s the leader, one’s loud, one’s quiet, one’s Indian, one makes dirty jokes.

        It’s a tough template for an amateur script to follow. Not that I think Black Autumn is trying to follow the Predator template, but I can see the note coming – Why don’t you make your soldiers more memorable, like Predator or Aliens???

        Well, those scripts don’t exactly nail it either. The movies sure do. But the scripts? Not so much.

        • Kirk Diggler

          I think you make a great point. We often ignore the impact an actor can bring to a role that, on paper, might be full of tropes. Sometimes it’s impossible to flesh out these small supporting characters in scripts like this one. Especially if they end up dying anyway.

          You want to know what brings humanity to a character? A live flesh human being. Even if we don’t know their backstory or simply view them as a ‘type’, if an actor can bring just a little bit of empathy to his/her role sometimes that’s enough to bring an underwritten character alive.

        • Malibo Jackk

          Have noticed that there are multiple trains of thought on what a script should do.
          In short, it should be like a movie — but not too much like a movie. More like a reading experience. It should satisfy all the reader’s needs for: theme, character, structure, format, proper spelling and grammar. It should make the reader laugh, cry, and jump out of his seat with excitement. But it must be brief and concise, descriptive, with sparkling visuals and packed with emotion. And most of all, It should be real — filled with scenes you will only see in a movie and dialogue like you’ve never heard before.

          • Casper Chris

            In short, it should be like a movie — but not too much like a movie. More like a reading experience.
            Exactly!

        • Scott Crawford

          A lot of people like to credit Shane Black for adding to the script but he didn’t change a word of it!

          I think it helped that some of the cast had been in the military, and I think two had been in Vietnam.

  • Sullivan

    Typo? Horror RACIST not racism?

  • Scott Crawford

    Yeah, a small twist on how you would expect that character to described, a joke. “A walking poster for heart attacks.” – Robin Williams character in Hook.

    “He looks like he stepped out of a recruiting poster but… he has a heart of gold?” Lame, I know, but I’ve not read the whole script so I don’t know how his character develops.

    Any casting director will read the entire script rather than just the brief introduction. It’s really there just to give an instant impression for the reader of how a character might look. But as you keep reading, that’s how you find out what the characters like.

    (Even in novel, when characters are introduced it’s not always a long description. People don’t like long introductions to anything.).

    Be careful – I’m sure you are – when using examples from Quentin Tarantino; he is an exception that doesn’t prove the “rule”. He’s had his successes – his last two films in particular, and Pulp Fiction – but he’s also had a few flops too (out of 8 films, only 3 made more than $100 million domestic – I know it’s not all about the numbers).

    • Casper Chris

      It’s not just Tarantino. Read that article I cited. There are other examples as well. And you don’t have to read a lot of pro scripts to realize this is fairly common procedure.

      Any casting director will read the entire script rather than just the brief introduction. It’s really there just to give an instant impression for the reader of how a character might look. But as you keep reading, that’s how you find out what the characters like.

      There are usually a whole slew of other people you need to impress/convince before a casting director ever reads your script. I just cited a screenwriting expert who disagrees with you. And in that article I cited, there are several examples of pros who don’t practice what you preach. Most pros don’t practice what you preach.

      In fact, giving important characters, such as your protagonist, a slightly more thorough introduction, can be a good way to clue the reader in to the fact that this character is important. And that’s another problem Bluedust had. Many of us didn’t even realize that Wyrick was the protaganist until pretty late.

      And if you think I’m suggesting that character should not be revealed through action/dialogue, you’re wrong. I’m just pointing out that this

      “you only want to give the general physical description of this character at this stage.”

      is blatantly false/terribly misguided.

  • Sullivan

    The devil is real? LOL Sounds like the sequel to “God Is Real.”

  • IgorWasTaken

    I wasn’t even going to open this script because it is NOT by genre, but I read so many positive comments here, so I thought I’d take a look.

    PAGE 1.

    OK, I’m often the guy here posting nit-picky notes about how page 1 doesn’t work for me. Not today.

    This script, page 1, from the top –

    The anxious face of ALEX MOREAU, (43), fills the frame.

    His brow wrinkles as he reaches forward to adjust the angle
    of the WEBCAM he stares into. He’s alone.

    Yes! And thank you. Doesn’t get better than that, on AF or anywhere. (And the action down the rest of page 1 works the same.)

    Of course, I cannot leave well enough alone. It is fine just as it is. But to S.D., just you MIGHT consider putting that action at the very top, and then use the scene header afterwards – that is, tell us we’re in the industrial basement only right before you mention the cement walls. Again, it’s fine as is; if you want to stick with the usual slugline at the top, great; just a thought.

    Now, I’m going to read more of it. (I may not have more notes; people who know this genre can offer better stuff than I can.)

  • Craig Mack

    As unapologetic horror buff, I really, really enjoyed BLACK AUTUMN.

    Character arc this, character arc that… blah, blah, blah… I just want to see Vampires ripping the military to shreds. Call me a simp — but not everything has to be The Godfather…

    Kudos.

    • Scott Crawford

      VERY important point, Craig. Not all scripts are going to appeal to ALL people, but if your script can get through to SOME people, you’ve succeeded. I’d like it if someone said they ENJOYED the hour-and-a-bit someone took to read my script.

  • Brainiac138
    • crazedwritr

      Thanks, I’ve already submitted!

  • Citizen M

    I had to give up my nice ADSL internet connection so I won’t be commenting much for a while, but I’ll try to keep up with AF and AOW.

    Black Autumn was well written and a fast read. The action escalates promisingly, but somewhere around p. 67 in the caves it started feeling like a video game. There was little emotional identification with interchangeable Marines. Traditionally in these situations they have a woman to protect to be reunited with her family or something. This story lacked any second story beyond bare survival for the Marines.

    Also, the vampires have superhuman powers but haven’t figured out that a frontal attack on heavily-armed Marines is a bad idea. I’d like them a bit more intelligent. They weren’t to my taste, but that’s a personal thing.

    The found footage element was well maintained but again about two thirds of the way through it seemed to go missing. There should be gaps in the record where they change film canisters, for instance. Not that it’s a big deal, but it would be nice to maintain the illusion.

    The twist at the end was predictable and didn’t compensate for the lack of emotional involvement.

    It’s well written with some good action scenes, but not quite there. It needs a bit more something. A loveable character, a surprise twist, a clever trap, I don’t know exactly. But it’s nearly there.

    • Citizen M

      I was one of the readers who didn’t realize Wyrick was the main guy. I thought it was Hastings.

      One idea I had was Hastings develops a man crush on Sgt Wyrick. He’s the man Hastings always wanted to be. In fact it becomes so embarrassing his camera and sound guy mock him behind his back. (Camera guy says he edits te film so Hastings will never see the clips.)

      Hastings could also interview other Marines about their opinion of Wyrick, and maybe get conflicting answers. The real Wyrick only reveals himself under pressure.

  • Poe_Serling

    Hey Bluedust-

    Just one more quick thought: If you haven’t seen the Korean horror film R-Point, I highly recommend it.

    Though the above story is totally different than your project, it is set in the same location and time period. Also, it does a bang up job in balancing the horror and war elements of the storyline.

    R-Point’s greatest asset in my opinion? Its unsettling, tension-filled atmosphere.