Shorts Week Continues: Welcome to the third day of Shorts Week, where I cover 5 short scripts from you guys, the readers. Shorts Week was a newsletter-only opportunity. To sign up and make sure you don’t miss out on future Scriptshadow opportunities, e-mail me at the contact page and opt in for the newsletter (if you’re not signed up already). No, this week’s newsletter still hasn’t gone out yet. But for SURE it will go out tonight. If you don’t get it, make sure to check your SPAM FOLDER. If it’s still not there, let me know tomorrow morning.

Genre: Drama
Premise: A young man struggles with having to face his best friend for the first time since his failed suicide.
Writer: Dan Sanek
Details: 9 pages

ArtGallery

So far, I’ve been talking about what works in a short script. However, we can’t learn everything if we’re only covering the good. In order to get the most out of Shorts Week, we must also take a look at what DOESN’T work. Now I didn’t want to put anybody on the spot here, but in order to do this properly, I have to put someone on the spot.

As I said, the shorts that are real killers are the ones where two people are in a room talking. I’ve read a lot of these. Here’s the surprising thing though: A lot of these shorts (including this one) AREN’T badly written. You don’t, at any point, say, “Oh my god. This is terrible writing!” It’s simply that the SITUATION isn’t interesting. Our writer may think it holds weight because death is being discussed, and death is a weighty subject, but here’s the easiest way to judge whether you’ve written something worth writing: Is anyone going to recommend your short movie to anyone else? Is anyone going to see this and say, “Oh man, you gotta see this short about two guys talking about suicide!” The answer is no. Nobody is. Even if you write the PERFECT VERSION of this screenplay. So no matter how deep you think it is, it doesn’t matter because nobody’s going to want to see it.

A short HAS to have something hook-y about it. It has to have SOME aspect to it that’s going to get people to tell others, to trade it around. Otherwise you’re just practicing how to work a camera and direct actors.

Art Imitates Life begins with a young man, Art, trying to slit his wrists in the bathtub. He succeeds with the slitting part. But apparently doesn’t slit hard enough to achieve the ultimate goal – to commit suicide.

A few days later, after recovering, Art visits his best friend, Max, who works at an art gallery. This is the first time they’ve spoken since the big attempt. Max is a very non-suicidal type, so he’s not sure how to approach this. He makes a couple of awkward jokes, attempting to lighten the mood, and Art seems to enjoy the casual atmosphere. They even make light of the fact that Art’s mom follows him around everywhere because she’s afraid he’s going to try again. She’s even waiting outside for them to finish so she can drive Art home!

But after awhile, Max wants answers. Why’d he do it? Or why’d he TRY to do it? I mean could things really be that bad? Art explains that he just didn’t see the point in anything anymore. Not exactly the most profound reason for killing one’s self, but hey, there’s no rule that says you have to be profound when committing suicide.

In the end, Max is just happy that his friend is okay. The two say their goodbyes. They’ll see each other soon. Art jumps in his car with his mother and she asks him what he wants for dinner. Art says anything is fine. He just wants to take a quick bath before he eats. Pan down to see Art has stolen……..A BOX CUTTER from Max. Looks like Art isn’t done with his little side project after all.

Okay, a couple of things here. I’m not saying that suicide isn’t something worth discussing. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there dealing with the same problems as Art and therefore people who won’t relate to this subject matter. But by and large, people are going to see this as, “The short where two guys sit in a room and talk about suicide.” It’s depressing. It’s boring. There’s nothing unique or special about it.

If you really want to explore suicide in a short film, find a bigger canvas to do so. Not only will you get to tackle your serious subject matter, but you’ll get to do so in a way that excites others. Irony is one way to do this. What if, for example, your story centers around a zombie who wants to commit suicide? A zombie’s already dead. Zombies aren’t supposed to think about suicide. Which all of a sudden makes your short unique, different. Or maybe a robot wants to commit suicide. It could even be a humanoid robot to keep the budget down. Again, robots aren’t supposed to want to commit suicide. They’re not human enough to deal with it. This allows you to play with serious subject matter but on the kind of canvas that’s going to get a lot more people interested.

It’s no different than what a movie like, say, District 9 did. Sure, they could have made a straightforward film about apartheid, about segregation and discrimination. But that ultra-serious uber-pretentious film would’ve made about 10 bucks at the box office. You had all these deep things to say and yet none of them mattered because no one came to see it. By using alien segregation as a metaphor for real-world discrimination, however, you now get to explore the complicated subject matter of discrimination in a much more audience-friendly format.

Another way to play with irony is to have your characters discuss the deep troubling subject matter of suicide in an environment that’s COMPLETELY THE OPPOSITE of suicide. For example, why not write a comedy short where Art, Max and their dates are at a football game? The environment is exciting and full of life. It just so happens this date was set up before the whole suicide attempt and Art and Max haven’t had a chance to discuss the attempt yet. So in between plays, while the girls are talking amongst themselves, Max is discreetly asking Art what the hell happened. Why did he try and off himself? The midpoint twist could be the girls overhearing them and Art having to come clean. Art is being depressing and a total downer amongst thousands of people cheering and having the time of their lives. Again, irony makes this situation a lot more interesting than two people in a room talking about how life sucks all by themselves.

But even if you strip away all that and just look at this as a simple short about suicide, I still don’t think it works. Whenever you’re tackling something as ubiquitous as the subject of suicide, you NEED TO GIVE US SOMETHING NEW TO THINK ABOUT. If all you’re going to do is rehash a common argument, then there’s nothing for us to sink our teeth into. We’re basically told that Art wants to commit suicide because, “life sucks man.” Well yeah, we’ve already heard that reason a billion times before. Instead, try finding new angles to old subject matters. Make us see the subject in way we haven’t before. For example, instead of Art being depressed, maybe he’s the happiest person on the planet. He loves his life. He lives every day to the fullest. He sees suicide as an adventure – he wants to see what’s on the other side. I’m not saying this is the best idea. The point is – IT’S DIFFERENT. You’re attempting to see the subject matter in a way that hasn’t been explored before. Think about it. If all you’re doing is writing/shooting something that’s already been said thousands of times, what’s the point?

Two people in a room talking about “serious” subject matter is almost always a recipe for disaster in the short world. Even if it’s well written. My advice is to think bigger. You have to stand out with your short somehow.

Script link: Art Imitates Life

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

What I learned: It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are if you’ve picked boring subject matter. Never forget that, whether it be in creating a short or in creating a feature.

  • Poe_Serling

    Carson has suddenly become the Master of Suspense… no newsletter, no hints into the madness of how he chooses the short scripts… biting my nails is now my favoritie pasttime. ;-)

    Round three…

    • carsonreeves1

      Newsletter is coming. I think. No. No. IT IS. I promise. Maybe. No definitely. I’m probably sure it is. No guarantees. But yeah, I think I might send it out. If I have time.

      • Poe_Serling

        It sounds like you need to see a PSYCHOtherapist. I wonder if gazrow has any good recommendations. :-)

        • Keith Popely

          Don’t you mean a PSY-chotherapist? To do a little Gangnam therapy?

          • http://www.facebook.com/john.bradley.71066 John Bradley

            I did an experiment where I wanted to see if watching Gangnam Styls 327 times in a single weekend could drive me, a perfectly normal person to insanity…………After the 327 viewings I came to the conclusion that my experiment was flawed because no sane person would watch Gangnam Style 327 times in a weekend…………Oh well, on to a new experiment=D

        • gazrow

          LOL!

    • ripleyy

      Art contemplates whether or not to commit suicide because he can no longer handle the suspense of no newsletter.

      The suspense, let’s just say it’s ‘killing him’.

    • CyclopsRobot

      It is really simple why he hasn’t released his newsletter……. he never read any of the shorts.

      Now everyone will skewer ME for saying these words. They will be really clever and say something like “Does a Cyclops Robot……….” Because that has never been done before.

      We wait 3 months, or 4 months, or whatever, and he never even read them and is trying to make up for it by reading them as he goes to “see if he can “DISCOVER” something great as he goes. It never works, as we see. Instead we get middle of the road drivel. Had he read all of them he could have come up with at least something better. than. each. of. these.

      Then he says he is going to give us a terrible one, because we need to see what it is like when someone really SHANKS it, except, wait, no, he isn’t even going to do that because, well, he doesn’t want to upset anyone, so he goes middle of the road (like this script) and just picks something average, that doesn’t push the envelope (like his choice). He even steals an idea of how to make it better. The idea of putting the whole thing was done in When Harry Met Sally. Harry tells his best friend his wife Divorced him while they are watching a football game, and participating at the same time. Except of course even When Harry Met Sally did it better than his idea.

      If he really REALLY wants to skewer one, he is welcome to choose mine, it is under a pseudonym i used _________ which is in the script called “

      • JakeBarnes12

        Um, Jägermeister ?

  • ff

    Go watch the freshman Film class shorts at NYU and you’ll see 10 of these every semester.

    • bert0o0

      Not just NYU, but any film school.

    • Fiona Fire

      If you went to NYU, you would know there are no actual film shorts when you are a freshman.

      • ff

        Nope I didn’t got to NYU but I had many friends who did. So you made yours Sophomore year then?

  • GYAD

    Well, that was…depressing. It’s 90% dialogue, leanly written and there is an interesting mystery (why’d Art try to kill himself?) so it speeds along. But, as Carson says, there isn’t anything new here to make the script stick with you. Middle class kid from the city gives in to the nihilism of post-modern life and tries to kill himself is too familiar. It needed something fresh. Maybe a religious aspect or more of a class/social aspect (Theodore Dalrymple’s early essays on being a doctor among the working classes might prove inspirational) or even a subtext (perhaps Art is secretly a homosexual in love with Max, who tried to commit suicide because Max didn’t respond to his subtle overtures – the whole meeting is therefore a sort of test; Art wants to see if his near-death has unlocked any romantic feelings in Max).

    I don’t know about others but reading these short scripts has made me reflect more on why short stories work at all. In particular, I dug out my dog-eared old copy of Lawrence Block’s Collected Mystery Stories to re-read the two stories from it that had stayed with me (“Like a Dog in the Street” and “Looking for David”). Anyone else got any memorable short stories and want to share why those stories struck a chord?

    • JakeBarnes12

      “Weekend” by Ann Beattie.

      ’cause she knows how to throw a curveball.

    • ChristianSavage

      “Last Night” by James Salter. Four pages of utter devastation. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t forget this one anytime soon.

      Here’s the link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/11/18/021118fi_fiction

    • http://twitter.com/KennyNOL Will Vega

      I agree with you. Once I read that, I pictured the climax with Art kissing Max and Max doesn’t respond at all (except for surprise, maybe disgust). Then Art says “This is why I wanted to kill myself” and leaves. With the box cutter missing, I can imagine leaving Max an interesting dilemma as to whether or not he should call Art’s mother…and ends on that note, not knowing if he did or not.

      The script started out interesting but then went on auto-pilot after page 3 or 4. The dialogue is better here but it doesn’t really go anywhere. There are no real stakes, and what they talk about is not very interesting. I dunno, with things like suicide you can spice it up somehow. Woody Allen could do it. Make you laugh and think.

      • Citizen M

        Or, to make it really melodramatic, Art walks in as Max is unboxing a picture. When he sees Art he tries to seal the box again. Art gets suspicious and wrests the box cutter from Max. He opens the box to reveal a portrait of the girl he is in love with, naked, painted by Max. In a fit of rage he kills Max with the box cutter, then slits his own wrists. Final shot: the bodies lying on top of each other, their blood mingling and symbolically coating the portrait.

    • Citizen M

      You’ve probably read it, but “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce remains one of the all-time greats.

      • GYAD

        Oh, yeah. That’s a classic. I’d never ready any Bierce (being British) until a buddy of mine who was fascinated with the American Civil War forced to me to. Never looked back. I should probably throw in Alexander Baron’s “The Victors”, which is a series of (mostly) linked short stories – the great screenwriter Carl Foreman rather loosely adapted it for the screen, his only work as a director.

      • Poe_Serling

        An excellent film version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is the one from 1962 and directed by Robert Enrico.

        This French short subject won the Academy Award for Best Short Film the following year.

        It aired once on the original Twilight Zone in season 5 of the series.

        • ThomasBrownen

          I was just about to comment that the film version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek is really good, but Poe beat me to it. I can’t say I’m surprised.

          That said, it’s really good. They do the part where he snaps back to reality at the end really well — they have a shot of him running, and then they cut a shot of the woman he’s running to, then back to him, then back to the woman, then back to him… and the shots are the same over and over again. Then just as you realize that, it cuts back to reality. Really well done.

          • Poe_Serling

            Here’s a fun fact I found over at wiki about the broadcast rights:

            “Producer William Froug saw the film and decided to buy the rights to broadcast it on American television. The transaction cost The Twilight Zone $25,000 – significantly less than the average of $65,000 they expended on producing their own episodes. However, Froug’s purchase allowed for the film to be aired only twice (the first airing was on February 28, 1964). Consequently, it is not included on The Twilight Zone’s syndication package…”

    • ThomasBrownen

      I was about to reply with a list of all sorts of short stories that I like, but I think I’ll just post a link to this one instead:

      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WGo5RgOeoEP-p4WJwu8co-0OALInpFyO_e-aC4D5yG0/edit?hl=en_US

      It’s “Papa’s Parrot” by Cynthia Rylant.

      It’s geared toward teenagers, but it does in 2.5 pages what this story tried to do in 9. I wonder if other people recognize this story? For some reason I seem to think that it’s a great story I read a long time ago, but not one that lots of other people have read.

    • carsonreeves1

      I like making it personal. Art is hiding something from Max and this suicide finally brings it out.

  • ernstdegeer

    While I mostly agree with you Carson, I have an example that is actually two people talking which works. I guess it kind of has a hook, but mostly it’s just good and really suspenseful:

    http://vimeo.com/3323482

    • ChinaSplash2

      Thanks for the link. It’s nicely made and I see that a lot of people loved it, but it didn’t work for me. I’m afraid I just found it too writerly, too actorly, and altogether unconvincing.

      Here’s a short documentary(!) that covers similar ground and imo is much more effective. http://vimeo.com/16532592

  • ripleyy

    I feel like I could give good advice to this because I sent in a short – completely the opposite in tone – about death. But death is difficult to write if you have in mind that it actually *ends* in death.

    Death, in any film, can work. Can “Art Imitates Life” work? Sadly, it can’t. Like many amateurs, Dan wrote this with the sole purpose of *making this* about Death. You can have Death or you can *write* about Death and those two are completely different.

    The best way to make light on a dark subject matter is either going along with it (“Requiem for a Dream” and in some cases, “Detatchment”) or making light of it (I can’t think of anything but there are plenty)

    Either you are an incredible writer who can pull of dark subject matter perfectly, it’s best desired to find an angle that works, either through irony or comedy or even drama (for the intermediate).

    “Blood Brothers” and Shakespeare pulls off the dark subject matter of tragedy by creating characters while films like “My Sister’s Keeper”, “Now is Good” and “Leaving Las Vegas” is achieved by keeping the audience entertained because it’s built to end the way you think.

    Basically, I’m saying tone, characters and subject matter all matter. Clearly, or at least it seems to be, Dan wrote this with the sole purpose of making it “dark” and I can respect that but you have to be a really good writer to balance even dark subject matter. You need – in fact it’s absolutely *essential* – that even in films dealing with dark things (like alcoholism and cancer) you need a love interest.

    I have no ideas in mind to fix this but perhaps make Max a love interest. You can still make this about Art wanting to die but you can give us hope.

    Simply put, the moment in “Sunshine” when after the garden is destroyed, through the ashes, there is a shot of a single sprout growing. The ash is your dark subject matter and the sprout is that single bit of hope that makes us want to read through the depressing, soul-crushing, heart-wrenching stuff we’re reading.

  • carsonreeves1

    Sadly, there were very very few! :( To the point where I don’t know if I’d have an “almost made it” list.

    • The Mulberry Tree

      Seems fitting. A short shorts list.

    • GYAD

      At the end of the week, could we have a special post so that people whose shorts didn’t get chosen can put a link to their short in the comments? That way other members of the SS nation can read and talk about them.

  • JakeBarnes12

    I’ve just read it.

    Ugh.

    You have Max using the box cutter at the beginning, that’s set-up.

    You mention the word “box cutter” six times in nine pages, that’s bludgeoning the reader over the head with a very blunt object.

    Trust your reader not to be a complete goober.

    Why should I care about Art (see what Dan did there? Art? Get it?)? Some self-obssessed depressed kid who exhibits zero positive traits.

    In a similar vein (see what I just did there?), why should I care about Max? I know nothing about him or his relationship with Art.

    Audiences do not relate to self-pitying losers. They relate to people THEY KNOW who get the crap kicked out of them but get up and keep trying.

    Do it right this time, Art! Cut deep, kid!

    • max

      lol.. harsh but true

  • ripleyy

    “Skeleton Crew” is by far the best anthology book I’ve read in ages (my copy is browning with age, because I got it off e-bay so God knows how long that person had it)

    But I couldn’t get into The Jaunt. For me, I found “Beachworld” sad. It really struck a chord with me.

    Hey, is it a coincidence that there’s a book in Skeleton Crew called…”Here There Be Tygers”?

    *simultaneous gasping sound*

    • http://twitter.com/FlanaganCRK C. Ryan Kirkpatrick

      True story: That’s where I got the idea for the title. *more gasping* Some of King’s creepiest stuff (love “The Jaunt”, “Word Processor of the Gods”, “Gramma”, etc.) in that collection. Not to rattle off subject, but if you guys ever come across it, check out “This Year’s Class Picture” by Dan Simmons, excellently f*cked up zombie short story.

      • ripleyy

        I’ll have a look for it and I thought you got inspired by the title. Gramma is brilliant and so is “The Raft”. :)

        • http://twitter.com/FlanaganCRK C. Ryan Kirkpatrick

          Ah yes, “The Raft” is fantastic! Damn, now I’m going to have to dig through boxes to find my copy of that. And “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” and “Night Shift” while I’m at it…

    • Poe_Serling

      A really topnotch short story (50 pages) to seek out is T.E.D. Klein’s ‘The Events At Poroth Farm.’

      “…a college lecturer, isolated in the countryside and
      reading horror literature for teaching in the next semester, gradually
      realizes that genuine supernatural horror is taking place around him.”

      A delectable slice of rural horror… or your money back.

      • ripleyy

        Thanks for the recommendation, I’ve been in a mood to read short stories since this week began and I haven’t found any. :)

  • CyclopsRobot

    King is, well, King. He invented the idea of Reality television 30 years before it was thought of with his short The Long Walk, and I guess it could be said The Running Man, but, really The Long Walk was written when he was 18 and so came first.

    In which book was The Jaunt? I haven’t read it, and can’t believe I missed it. I have read just about every single thing of Kings, but somehow missed that one, and as always, it sound Awesome…

  • JakeBarnes12

    “No Compassion” by Talking Heads

    In a world
    Where people have problems
    In this world
    Where decisions are a way of life
    Other people’s problems they overwhelm my mind
    They say compassion is a virtue, but I don’t have the time

    So many people…have their problems
    I’m not interested…in their problems
    I guess I’ve…experienced some problems
    But now I’ve…made some decisions
    Takes a lot of time to push away the nonsense
    Take my compassion…Push it as far as it goes
    My interest level’s dropping, my interest level is dropping
    I’ve heard all I want to, I don’t want to hear any more

    What are you, in love with your problems?
    I think you take it…a little too far
    It’s…not so cool to have so many problems
    But don’t expect me to explain your indecisions
    Go…talk to your analyst, isn’t that what they’re paid for
    You walk, you talk…You still function like you used to
    It’s not a question…Of your personality or style
    Be a little more selfish, it might do you some good

    In a world where people have problems
    In this world where decisions are a way of life
    Other people’s problems, they overwhelm my mind
    They say compassion is a virtue, but I don’t have the time
    (Here we go again)

  • Poe_Serling

    One of my favorite short stories – Richard Matheson’s ‘Long Distance Call.’ Here an elderly, disabled woman keeps receiving frightening phone calls.

    It’s a glorious nine pages long.

    Like most of Matheson’s short stories, the writing is lean and almost cinematic in nature. With this particular story, he takes an ordinary device – a telephone – and crafts a tension-filled, supernatural tale that we all can relate to in a very primal way.

    A stormy night… tossing and turning in bed…. a jarring, late night call to jumpstart our nerves.

    This short was later adapted by Matheson into the classic episode ‘Night Call’ on the original Twilight Zone.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Just got done reading The Distributor.
      RM is my favorite author.
      Lots of unanswered questions in this one, but that’s what makes it great.

      • Poe_Serling

        I’ll definitely check it out. Based on this old interview with Matheson from Cemetery Dance magazine, I guess there’s even a script version of the story floating around out there.

        “In your screenplay The Distributor (based on your novella of the same name ), a man whom we know nothing about moves into a neighborhood and through manipulation pits neighbor against neighbor, leaving to do the same elsewhere when he has accomplished the chaos he desires. What was your interest in writing this story?

        RM: It was a Playboy novelette at first. It has never been made into a movie and my screenplay has never been used, and at one point a writer wrote a speculative script and that was not made either. When I wrote the story, I just thought it would be interesting to do a story of an evil that wasn’t going to be identified. The evil was going to be approached in such a banal everyday way. Nothing supernatural or mysterious about it. The protagonist just methodically demolishing the neighborhood.”

  • Keith Popely

    I think this is my week of disagreeing with Carson. Not on the script, but on the premise. I think the notion of a first meeting with a friend after a failed suicide attempt is a terrific subject and a great hook. I also don’t think an all-dialogue movie is boring by definition. Most movies are just people talking. I’ve got a cold today, so I can’t think of good examples, but KRAMER VS KRAMER or ORDINARY PEOPLE. Those are old. Recently…I don’t know. GOOD WILL HUNTING. But any story about relationship is going to be all talking with very few alien invasions or subway trains exploding.

    But, yeah, it’s all about the execution. I think Dan’s story idea is entirely viable. It could even be the anchor of a feature story idea. He just needs to work on it.

    • EZ

      Stretch this out to a feature? There have been to many failed attempts of fleshing out short movies to full length and as far as I remember – it usually fails. A short story is just that. If you’re interested in a full feature length, I think it’s better to start from scratch.

  • Max

    Hey Carson,

    That was an awful short. Let’s never do that again, ok?

  • LemuelG

    That logline is bad IMHO. “A young man struggles with having to face his best friend for the first time since his failed suicide.” So who of the two had attempted suicide – the young man or the best friend???

  • Citizen M

    This is a short about nothing. Nothing changes. Art was suicidal when he walks in the gallery and he’s suicidal when he leaves. How boring is that?

    If he walked in all bouncy and full of hope and walked out depressed and suicidal, or vice versa, you’d have a story. Others have suggested a love affair. That sounds pretty good. Or maybe the paintings. It’s hinted but not made clear that they are Art’s. Maybe he got a bad review on ArtShadow and tried to off himself. Now he wants to find out if he’s sold any paintings. Nope. How does he deal with it? There’s a story. You have to have your main character faced with a decision.

    It would be nice to have a double twist. He climbs into the car with the box cutter and we think oh no he’s gonna kill himself. Then he trims the carpet and gives it back to Max with a smile. Something like that.

    I know several people who have committed suicide. Some of them I just know to say hello to, I’m not friends with them or anything. And in every case when I heard of their suicide I asked myself if I could have treated them better or been more sympathetic or more observant, or done *something* to avert it. In this story Max would have strong survivor guilt as Art’s best friend. We see none of that.

    To end on a lighter note. True story. I knew an older lady who tried to commit suicide. She knew you sat in the car and put a pipe from the exhaust through the window. But she didn’t know what kind of pipe. So she phoned her plumber for advice, thinking she’d have to buy bends and angles and all sorts of plumbing supplies. He told her use the hosepipe, thinking she was joking. So she did. Half an hour later, nothing happening, she realised she had to switch the engine on. She started the car and the smell from the exhaust was so terrible she decided not to kill herself.

    • fatherdope

      Plumbers… what can’t they do?

    • bert0o0

      Is it just me, or would that true story make for a funny short script about suicide? And it’d mainly be two people talking. I guess I imagine a hard of hearing and bit on the slow side old lady and the plumber having a funny conversation. Also, I think it’d be funny if she had to google or youtube it to figure out that she has to have the car on.

  • carsonreeves1

    I don’t know. 1000+ easily.

    • Bad Jelly

      Oh so you didn’t read all those, just the logs that stuck out to you?

  • AdamG

    Hey MK, could you send a copy of the script my way by chance? I read the logline awhile back, seems interesting. I liked Splinter back when it was called Tooth and Nail. The writer has my attention. email: black_eagle_movies@yahoo.com

    • AdamG

      Er, sorry Camus. Disqus messed up, kinda weird. I literally saw MK under your comment and it claimed it was only up for 3 minutes. Disqus now tells me your comment is under Camus and it was posted 3 hours ago. Man Disqus why you f*ck up like this!? But still, if anybody can send me a copy of this script I have plenty to exchange in return. Much appreciated!

  • ChinaSplash2

    I watched ‘Dead In The Room’ a few weeks back — and recommended it to all my buddies. It’s one of the best shorts I’ve seen, and I can’t believe it only has 7000 views! I mean, I appreciate that the general public isn’t especially interested in writers pitching ideas, but even so.

    To be honest, I don’t think the actual idea is especially unique or original, but the execution is superb in all departments. Including the writing. Anyway, great job!

    • mk

      Thanks, China! And thanks for recommending it to your friends. The director and producer are busy with their day jobs, so no one is really marketing it. We rely totally on word of mouth.

      • carsonreeves1

        Yeah, Dead In A Room is good. I wholly endorse. :)

  • jridge32

    “You don’t, at any point, say, “Oh my god. This is terrible writing!” It’s simply that the SITUATION isn’t interesting.”

    True, this situation isn’t the least bit compelling. But I dunno, Carson.. about the writing?

    Max summons the courage.

    Max becomes angry.

    Art takes a moment.

    Max becomes annoyed.

    Max looks shocked.

    MAX
    How does it feel “getting back” into
    your old life?
    ART
    Super awkward and uncomfortable.
    So, I’d say it’s just like old times.
    MAX
    And all the worries and pressure?
    ART (shrugs it off)
    Right back where it belongs.
    MAX
    I guess all you can do is believe
    it’s gonna get be better.

    It’s kind of flat.

    • carsonreeves1

      Right, the writing isn’t exceptional. It’s not super descriptive like in, say, Here There Be Tigers. But I wouldn’t call it bad by any means.

      • jridge32

        Good point, Carson. Perhaps “bad” is the wrong word to use in this case. I should have gone with forgettable.

  • lanzoweyn

    My review is a quote from page 5: MAX: “I expected something more… something.”

    Yikes, reads like a first draft and 98% of the dialogue is on the nose (please look up the word “Subtext”). Two guys standing around talking for 8+ pages… that’s not gonna spark anyone’s interest.

    I like Carson’s ideas of Zombie or Robot — actually kinda clever, really. Might be funny to see a Zombie continually fail at trying to kill himself.

    Or, I remember reading about a guy who would take ANY bet (this was years ago). He even had Breast Implants put in for a year to win some $$$. How ’bout Art make a suicide bet? What’s the point, if you’re dead you can’t collect the winnings? Exactly — oh, the irony! But, as (the new) Art would say, “You got the money, I’ll take the bet.”

  • TGivens

    I won’t say Art Imitates Life is bad, no, it’s lazy, seems unfinished. It’s well written, actually I enjoyed reading it. But I can’t imagine watching it. Dan makes his point, I just didn’t like the way he does it. But it could work as a play.

  • Citizen M

    Forgot to mention:

    The first scene is unnecessary. We don’t need to see him in the bathroom and the blood-filled bath. When he walks in the gallery and shows his bandaged wrists and mentions suicide we can work out for ourselves that he slit his wrists.

    The last scene with his mother is unnecessary. We know all we need to know when we see him leave with the box cutter. He should complain a bit more to Max about no sharp objects in the house and what problems it leads to. Then we understand that he hasn’t been able to slit his wrists a second time even if he wanted to.

  • Zadora

    Stephen King is my favorite author. He’s a true master. I have not read The Jaunt, so thank you for bringing that one up. Now I will have to check it out.

    In regards to King’s shorts being available for amateur and student filmmakers, I looked into that at one time and found that far from all his shorts are available for that. Still worth checking out though. :)

  • david_pg

    It’s great how Carson can make the act of writitng a script something so professional.

    I think the script it’s not bad. It has some things that make it interesting, like the cutter end. But I agree with Carson that the situation hasn’t enough conflict in it. First of all, I want to know what Art want by seeing his friend. Like somebody said, Art could be in love with him and now, after his attemp, he needs to know if his feelings have changed. Art’s goal is to know his friends feelings, and after seeing that this feelings haven’t changed, he decides to try suicide again. This time harder.

    The action needs conflict, so if you have a guy who wants to talk about deep feelings, you need another guy who hates talk about deep feelings. The idea of putting them on a football game (as viewers) is great. They have to play like machos, but perhaps all the suicide idea started with a stolen kiss and now they have to talk about all this thing. Of course, the end wouldn’t be the same, but perhaps it can be better.