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Suave View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Nov 2020 at 9:36pm
Hi all. thought I would start a post so that we can post our feedback
where we don't have to go hunting through the forum to see who 
posted and who did not.
I get a lot from reading others feedback from the judges, sadly not 
so much on my own, haha.

Here is mine. some of what was mentioned by fellow forum users
is covered, but then some of the judges seemed not have followed the 
story, perhaps when they realized they were not reading Avatar they lost 
interest and just scanned it.

Anyway, here is mine: Horror, no points awarded.

''Encounter''  -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1651}  I really enjoyed the concept of alien you gave us in this story and how they communicated with Dave. The ending was terrifying.  {1689}  I like your opening: the way Dave talks to his telescope is hilarious and believable. Good idea to bring in Kenny: having him at the eyepiece while Dave is being possessed by the Alien works really well. Strong choice to have the Alien focused on creating fear.  {1830}  I liked the conversation that Dave was having with the alien, because the alien had its own way of talking. It felt ominous and mysterious, and worked to play up the horror of the scenes. I also appreciated the strangeness of Dave's loner behavior at the beginning, and how he even hints at that to Kenny, claiming he needs Kenny there because he's tired of talking to himself, and for "security" purposes. But ultimately, he is the one who should be feared, because he killed Kenny (even though the alien had possessed him). It set up some strange irony. I also thought this sort of alien possession keeps the lines blurred on who is actually the murderer. Is it Dave losing his mind? Or is it really an alien? It seems like it could be both.  
WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1651}  I think you can get into this story quicker. I'd recommend starting with Kenny's entrance so you allow yourself more time to build the horror in this story.  {1689}  Consider giving the alien a weakness, so Dave and Kenny have some way of fighting back -- even if they fail. I would love to see you take even greater advantage of the sequence when Dave is being possessed and Kenny is at the eyepiece: make us believe there's a moment when they can turn this around. Consider making your ending less about violence and more about domination from the inside: those moments are terrifying.  {1830}  At first I was confused on what was happening to Dave, when he becomes "possessed" by the alien.  I think a sense of mystery here can be helpful, but would be even stronger paired with some more detailed descriptions of what might be happening to Dave. Specifically I would consider revising the paragraph that begins with "Dave's body begins to luminous . . ." seems like there might be a missing key word here.


Edited by Suave - 13 Nov 2020 at 3:24am
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MattyG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattyG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2020 at 1:06am
Happy to share my feedback as well (Ch#1 screenplay in my signature for anyone wanting to read it; I did not place for Gr#8):

''In the Beginning...''

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1651}  I enjoyed Jordan's funny story about accidentally setting off the bank alarm. You do a good job setting up that Ava has a crush on him.  {1927}  Ava is a likable character that you want to root for. Jordan is a perfect fit for her.  {1772}  Jordan and Ava's dialogue helps shape their characters and builds the romantic possibility between them. Rich detail and action crafts each scene, making it easy for the reader to visualize and feel Ava's anguish.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1651}  Initially you set up that Billy is a middle-aged bank teller, so when we hear Jordan's story that he's the only male bank teller, it feels confusing because we've just met Billy. Overall, it feels as if your characters are "shooting the breeze" rather than having a real conflict with stakes. If you set up Ava's goal in the story (which should be external and specific because film is a visual medium) as something like, "Ava's goal is to get Jordan to dance with her," then what would be the obstacles standing in her way? For example, is Billy hogging Ava's attention, so she can't get to Jordan? Is Jordan surrounded by the other middle-aged women bank tellers fawning over him? I'd find a way to introduce a conflict here.  {1927}  The opening scene with Billy goes on a bit too long; it doesn't push the story forward. 
Feel there needs to be a little something more between Jordan and Ava. Some kind of awkwardness, conflict, misunderstanding. A little something they need to get over to get together. Also think for a visual medium, it may not add more to the story to show some of Jordan's story elements.  {1772}  Billy is a good source of outer conflict early on, but is quickly done away with. It might make the plot a little more suspenseful, if we get more outer conflict while Ava and Jordan talk. This can help to bond them further and keep the reader invested by making their ending feel earned. For example, Billy could come back in and start some trouble.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2020 at 1:38am
Hi MattyG,
Have not read your story yet, so do not know if this is accurate feedback, or 
if you find it helpful, but it quite detailed and specific in areas - this is not a 
bad effort for judges here, if it is indeed relevant. I think it would be helpful if
you included what you thought of it? Sorry you got no points, me either, sigh...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anansi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2020 at 6:52am

First time I've placed in a screenplay competition for NYC, so overall I'm pretty happy. It's only my fourth screenplay.


I'm interested to see what others think of Judge 1943 by the way. Its the 3rd time i've had them and the overly effusive 'cut & paste' praise is starting to loose its lustre shall we say.


To be fair, they do do detail, which is good for an NYC judge. Although they also often seem to suggest a random edit that would totally change the character of the screenplay, just - because.



''Perfect Lives’’ (5th Place) 



 WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 


{1865}  Original, yet made me recall the Matrix pods. Well done. The technicians were a nice twist to the 'perfect' romance between Henry and Tibbs.  


{1689}  I like your premise: nice choice to have the glitch cause Tibbs to get stuck just as she is saying I love you to Henry. Good idea to reveal that Henry is living in a simulation. Fun solution as cricket players -- the technicians -- are added to the scene to explain why Henry was knocked out.  


{1943}  Oh my gosh! I was captivated by this clever, original screenplay. The concept of the Perfect Lives being controlled by the company's technicians was disturbing and very unsettling. Henry's proposal was extremely entertaining. I loved the total British-ness of the setting, his accent, and his behavior. The cricket ball "accident" was hilarious. A very entertaining, fun script to read. I'd love to see this play out on film - very well done.  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK 


{1865}  Well, a good problem. I wanted to read more, since the world kept growing and growing. As a standalone short film, the dialogue would need to be scaled back a bit more (maybe pg. 5) to make room for more world-building, and more time for, say, 'mutant birds'. 


 {1689}  I would love for you to find some time to show us the real Henry. How did he end up here? Was there a real Tibbs in his life at some point? I think you can answer these questions without disturbing your premise. Those answers will deepen the emotional impact of your story. Aside: Be careful -- a rooftop is supposed to be your predominant location.  


{1943}  It might be helpful to clarify in your action lines that when Henry was hit by the cricket ball we had just returned to the moment when he'd glitched. Could you mark this moment very distinctly so we know that we're back at the same point in time just before the cricket ball hisses through the air?

I wasn't sure that you needed the Technicians to be assimilated into Henry's world. I think it might work better if they're still controlling the events right to the end from their rooftop control center.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lylahersh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2020 at 12:16pm
My screenplay placed 4th, which I was so surprised and very excited to see. Still trying to figure out how to link it in my signature, but I have it posted if anyone wants to read! Judge 2017 gave amazing feedback!

''Where The Caged Birds Hang'' by Lyla Hersh -   

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 


{2003}  I liked the offbeat creativity of this story. While more normally, the ghosts are humans, an occasional animal ghost may pop up - the decision to make these ghosts birds was very Alfred Hitchcock with a dash more surrealism. 


 {2017}  Beautiful, striking details about the sirens hitting the water. It creates a transitional moment of urgency that parallels Luca's decision to go back for the paint or not.

I also love the image of the two decaying buildings.

Red/blue and two decaying buildings, like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Great use of the verb "zig zag" on page two. I love seeing more active verbs rather than drier language when it comes to the screen.

I love the scene with the Alley and the birds. Very surreal. I would watch this in a heartbeat at a film festival or on YouTube with all the appropriate fancy snacks.

I love how the birds become more vivacious and lucid as the night wears on, and then they calm down, waning like the moon before the sun rises. The fading into "regular seagull cries and sparrow chirps" is particularly great. It goes back to the conversation the group was having--awesome connections!

Oh, I want to read the Encyclopedia of Birds, now! It's like a mystical tome when it is introduced.

Bird ghosts, I'm here for it.

Wow. Powerful ending. The empty, still peace of open bird cages.

A regular seagull kind of lingers as if an accidental villain or willing savior. These kids were going to go create something, make their mark, and instead, Luca uncovered something that inspired him to create in a different way.

Please make this happen.  


{1942}  The pacing of this horror story works so well. Luca desire to rescue the birds is endearing, and this will help the audience connect to him. 


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 


{2003}  Why is Luca interested in the birds? There needs to be some kind of connection between Luca and the birds or it feels a touch too random. Did he have a pet bird at some point or is it an artist's curiosity. Try making that more clear.  


{2017}  Page 2 is great, but the exposition takes on a short story feel to me. A helpful tip is to diverge from passive language and stick with active language, such as eliminating some of the "begin to" types of sentences.

Luca points out how the birds sound later on page 2 when they are in the cafeteria, but the sound is not a feature form that scene. This would be great to include to build up that previous scene and how surreal it is. What kind of birds? Do they caw or make other memorable sounds? An array of sounds? A menagerie of uncanny sounds. The sparrow chirps, so, to me, it feels important to point out how unique this group is and the mood they evoke strongly in that first introduction of the magical Alley. Apparently, on phys.org, tropical hummingbirds make cricket-like sounds--cicadas and the south come to mind with the New Orleans waterfront.

We lose the details of the decaying buildings; perhaps a little something about how the "gray and decay" comes to life?  


{1942}  The final moments of the birds flying away is beautiful. Describe further the colors, sounds and visuals of this moment. Even if the writing takes a poetic nature, this moment deserves it, so that readers can take this great moment in. This moment is also poetic to Luca.



Edited by Lylahersh - 13 Nov 2020 at 12:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2020 at 8:45pm
Originally posted by Lylahersh Lylahersh wrote:

My screenplay placed 4th, which I was so surprised and very excited to see. Still trying to figure out how to link it in my signature, but I have it posted if anyone wants to read!

Hi! Here is a link to figure out your sig problems. Also, in order for us to find your screenplay in the master list we need to know what heat you are in if you still can't figure out the signature. Hope this helps!
Suave.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emmageek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2020 at 10:29am

I placed at the lower end, but I'm okay.  2021 and 1628 lambasted me lol.  They obviously don't know bike terminology lol.  


''I'm Not Just A Cute Pussy!'' by Libby Mitchell -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1774}  There is such a sense of humor laced through this piece. The unexpected package...a (magical?) kitten...and the colorful backdrop and all its participants add such flavor and visual richness. A fun romp, but maybe not for Ms. Scarlet. Great job!  {2021}  I like that you inserted Al's son, Robbie into the story. He's not just there... he allows the audience to see part of Al's nature, as a dad, making Robbie a window character. And that relationship is resolved in the final scene.  {1628}  Blue’s reactions could be comic gold if done as animation.   Much more could be made of Blue as he winds up the central piece of the film but is given relatively little to do.  Setting the action amid the Pride Parade affords great colorful extra characters and action to play off, but it’s not fully utilized. Since Al’s after a cat, the tone of the piece figures to lean toward comedy but  it’s not manifested much. A minimum there’s a lot of campy humor to be had that’s neglected.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1774}  Shed more light on the "powers" of Blue. Reveal the nature of the factions desiring the kitten.  {2021}  Save exclamations like Smack! and Slam! for a TV Batman re-run.

You're the writer. Try not to take the jobs of director, set director, or wardrobe manager. The wardrobe manager will dress the characters. The set director will decide what a SF alley near a pride parade looks like.

Try not to tell the director or the actors the obvious or what they already know... or have the actors tell the audience what everyone already knows. They're in the middle of the parade of colors and floats... no need for Al to say... "Yeah, I noticed all the rainbows and floats." Al is the main character. Let him say something interesting.

The ! loses its effectiveness with overuse. Once in a five-page screenplay, twice max. The ! means a character is shouting, or an earth-shattering event just occurred. If you could only keep one ! which would you keep?  (Allow actors and director some of their own interpretation of emotions based on the story you're telling. So, only one ! is so important you have to inform actors and director--which one?)

Try to avoid cliché… down for the count... where else can you delete cliché?

Most people speak with contractions, so keep the dialogue realistic. Instead of... where do you think you are going... where do you think you're going? Where else can you use contractions?

What's missing is the theme. Each character's introduction should come along with an adjective/descriptor, often one that reflects their main character flaw. The main character's descriptor sets the theme of the screenplay. The theme is represented by the internal struggle—the character arc—and is the emotional journey the main character takes, beginning to end of the story, resulting in either growth or redemption.

(You may be wondering, if the MC's adjective describes the theme, why bother to give the other characters adjectives/flaws? Because all your characters are human, they all have flaws, and if you can have characters in addition to the main grow/resolve their flaws, that enriches your story).

You're a good storyteller. Work on your craft. Watch a variety of movies. Keep writing!  {1628}  You’d think a film based so heavily on the Pride Parade would feature positive LBGTQ characters.  Could/is AL (despite being a parent) gay?  It’s unclear. If not, it comes across as a little odd given the setup. It might help if AL has a brief call with Mr. Yellow so we are able to find out what the search for Blue is all about.  There is casualness in the writing which leads to obfuscation in the reader – “A CRACK across the jaw by Al garners various catcalls from the crowd.” – who is he hitting? Goon#3 is carried away by the crowd --so we wonder who Al is fighting! On p.4 he holds Red back but steps TOWARD her? He’s trying to evade her so that push-pull visual makes no sense. Earlier “A drag singer gives it her all as the float hits the man…” and “…from the down tube …”—what is a down tube?  And starting a sentence with a character not the focus of the action scene generates a lag time to interpret “her all” which jars. O.S. goes on the Character line, not under it.  Intro characters in CAPS – MR. YELLOW; TWO RAINBOW DRESSED GOONS.  Employ more SLUG LINES when you change locations – “Near Civic Center...”etc.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lylahersh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2020 at 5:45pm
Thank you!!! Will be sure to use that for this upcoming round.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Helen248 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2020 at 8:09pm
First time entering NYC Midnight and I didn't know we got feedback! Here is mine, I was in Gr24, Horror, Observatory, Doorbell. First time writing horror. Admittedly didn't do a great job incorporating the observatory location. No placement.

''Smart Bell'' 
WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{1651}  This scenario is absolutely terrifying, from the moment we see the glove wave at the children playing, and especially when the parents realize that their daughter is in bed and the grandmother is nowhere to be found. The delivery person's motive for kidnapping the baby is clear. 
{1689}  I like your opening: great choice to build your story around the very common and very real fear of leaving one's child for the first time. Good use of the video to show Ben and Sarah what is going on -- and make them feel helpless at the same time. Terrifyingly strong motivation -- being robbed of her ability to have children -- that you give the woman who is stealing the child.  
{1830}  I liked the little hint at what is to come - when you created a small scene of the delivery person waving at the children. It really worked as a chilling yet mysterious short scene. I wanted to see how that tied in with the conflict of the horror. I also thought you did a good job of setting up Sarah's already heightened anxiety about leaving her baby. It set the mood and progresses throughout the screenplay as the delivery person becomes their threat. There was a steady increase of tense conflict that worked and helped to move the story. For example, the scenes where the delivery person is rocking the baby, totally creepy and totally worked!  
WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{1651}  I think you can make Sarah and Ben stronger opposition. I'd try to find ways to escalate the situation from their end, to threaten the delivery person or to deal her an emotional attack ("If you were a real mother, you wouldn't.."). We want to see them truly fight for their baby because it's the most important thing to them.  
{1689}  First, you've written a really strong story: I am sorry that the predominant location is not an observatory. I think you can let the parents do everything they possibly can to stop the kidnapping: consider splitting them up -- one talking, one acting. Explore giving us a moment when they are hopeful about getting their baby back -- until suddenly they don't.  
{1830}  I liked the mystery around the delivery person, and that definitely worked in the beginning. I liked that you slowly reveal more about her motive to steal the baby. All strong - but I almost wanted to know a little more about her appearance, maybe even to heighten her level of creepy. How old is she? What kind of facial expressions is she making? These could be some interesting details to reveal later in the screenplay, once she is talking to the Sarah and Ben and it could help to play up the drama/horror of the moment.
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