Comments Made During the Contest
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was written and paced pretty well. It's only my 13th review of the month, but I'm guessing this will be a candidate for most disturbing subject matter when the dust settles.A few of the descriptions are unfilmable. For example, "psychopath". Describe how he looks that makes him a psycho because I don't think there is any specific way psychopaths need to look. John Wayne Gacy dressed up like a clown. Ted Bundy looked like a very regular guy. They were both psycho's for sure, but they didn't look alike at all so that character description doesn't paint a very strong mental image at all.Overall, I liked this. I have a feeling the story will probably repulse a lot of your reviewers, but not me. I like a cool dark story. Nice work!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
A gray-haired psychopath? We would know he had gray hair but how could we possibly know he was a psychopath? Apart from you telling us, and us knowing this story from the media.This is powerfully done and gives a good sense of the horror of Leisel's life. I THINK!Somehow, it's difficult to judge how much you rely on our knowledge of the back story and how well it would stand up without that. The jury's out - so I'm giving it a Very Good.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
You know, some things are just really difficult to read - like this. I know this is based on a true story, but why this part of it? What do we get from it other than loathing? The writing is good and it draws out some hard emotion, but I think it needs more of a story - a purpose. Same incident, different timing, something of import - would make it work.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
That was creepy. But not creepy enough, because it happened so fast. You could probably stretch just this to a few more minutes and we would really care making it much worse.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Your craft is good, but honestly, this story feels hopeless and I have to ask the question, why?Inspired by true events, only makes this more horrific. With only one page to work with, what does the writer hope to inspire in the audience?I can imagine you doing something very powerful with this with more pages, but in only a page it feels a bit exploitive.
Christopher Castle (Level 4)
Fair atmospheric script about a daughter kept in a cellar by her father. You call him a pyschopath but better to show him as one. It is a short space to write a full story but the trajectory seemed to be down with no twists. I was rooting for the daughter but never felt she would escape. Some of the description could be cut down to make it run quicker and more succinct.
Colin Searle (Level 2)
well written the atmosphere is full of suspense and threat. The use of the word DAD brings the horror and also the pathos of the scene into full view. The fact that it is inspired by true events is all the more horrible.I was not sure about the part where Leisel's face is smacked as even in a script this short it felt like filler to me, but overall a nice dark piece that sent a shiver down my spine. It made me think about how very horrible it would be for anyone to be in a position like that, and how strong bonds are between families, even when one of them is an abuser.
Dan Delgado (Level 5)
This may be "(Inspired by true events)", but that doesn't make this slice of cruelness anything close to "an entire story". I drive by car wrecks, some fairly gruesome, almost every week, but describing what I see when I do, isn't even close to telling "an entire story". Of course any decent human being is appalled at the mistreatment of a girl by her father, but it doesn't become a story until she tries to fight back, tries to escape, tries to get revenge, or at least someone else tries to do it for her. In fact these kind of scenes always seem to glorify cruelness and that makes them completely repulsive to me. You have the ability to put words together and create visual images, but it would be better to try to write a story than to glorify cruelty. No glaring spelling, formatting or grammar errors. I don't understand how a director is supposed to film "Suffocating blackness", or how he or she could distinguish it from just plain "blackness"? But that is stylistic thing, open to opinion, and I didn't take any points away for that.I gave this a rating of "Fair". Thank you.
Dave Kunz (Level 4)
A glimpse into hell and the sicker corners of the human psyche. Effective at conveying a sense of innocence shattered in the face of depravity and hopelessness. The piece starts out on a down/scary note and then goes straight through the floor into nightmare land. Would have been nice if there was some positive or hopeful element at work in the story to go along with all the psycho sexual creepshow stuff.
David Birch (Level 5)
feels like you devoted a little too many lines to "creaky stairs", "low ceiling" and such, rather than giving us a story to get emotionally attached to...not that someone being held hostage isn't a compelling image, but it's not a story...the story is in the how we get to that point and how we get out of it...all the details in the "set design" are, literally, window dressing...more dialog would have provided some backstory, motivation, and conflict...a decent try...thanks...
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
Wow, if this was inspired by true events somebody is in trouble... very scary thought.But moving on, the writing was tight the title was okay, did it fit? Not sure, but there is def. something or someone broken here.good luck.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
This entry earned an excellent from me. It is a very disturbing story but well-written. I have no suggestions on how to improve it.
Ferdinand Casido (Level 2)
The story is a true horror but a bit of a cliche'. With recent news of similar events, Jacie Duggard, this story doesn't really add anything new or different to what the audience expects. Even the movie Chinatown took this a step further where the father wanted the granddaughter. I would have wanted to see a reason as to why this event happened?
Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)
Not sure quite what to write. If you're going for a strong visceral reaction in the audience you've succeeded admirably. "Broken" is a strong story with clear, well written visual images but oh so grotesque. Somehow I can't quite bring myself to give it an excellent although I'd look forward to reading another screenplay on a less off puttingg topic.
Georgia Buchert (Level 2)
This is almost unbearably sad, especially as the screenwriter notes that the story is "inspired by true events." It was hard for me to read this script. Technically, I think the story is told very skillfully. The visuals evoked are effective in building terror and describing a sinister and sadistic darkness. It's succinctly written. I think it reaches it goals and captures the mood it's after. Powerful characterization. It would be unlikely that I would want to see this film. If this is the screenwriter's own story, then I cry for her.
Herman Chow (Level 5)
I think this is very haunting and heart-breaking. You have a very good vocabulary and a talent to describe the setting and the situation. It really helps us to get immersed into the atmosphere.You caught me by surprise that the psychopath was actually her dad, and you did a good job in making me hating him even more. Leisel being pregnant was a good reveal, and explained why the vomit by her mouth.I see can this as a very effective film.Just one suggestion, in order to keep the suspense, you might want to start with SUFFOCATING BLACKNESS as a slugline, and then introduce the INT. CELLAR - NIGHT after Dieter turns on the light.VERY GOOD.
James Hughes (Level 5)
The descriptions and dialogue at the end work well together, especially the yanking of the string to turn off the light.
James McConnell (Level 3)
This had some cracking action lines. Great, vivid descriptions of what was going on. The story itself didn't feel like a stand alone story but rather a scene from a longer story. The ending felt forced in that the writer wanted to conceal the twist but I don't think it worked. It might have worked better if we knew from the start that it was her dad. There would have been more emotion to it rather than just watching something out of a torture porn film.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
This feels like a very well told and descriptive scene, not a full script. It is hard to feel like you've told an entire story in 1 page, but that's the challenge of the month, right?
Jonah Yarden (Level 4)
Why would this be a story you would want to write and/or shar baffles me. Anyway, your action text was not spaced properly. Based on true events doesn't legitimise this exercise.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
A troubled dude with no reason to be a father and now he’s gonna be a grandfather… Damn! You went for some shock and it registered. However, why the daughter is there and why he gets happy upon hearing he’s gonna be a father to his own grandchild I just don’t get. This would have probably worked better if the script had a few more pages to justify the scene somehow. Good job, overall.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
This is a bit too dark for me. Well written. But not very subtle. By the way there's a short Princess in a Thousand Words challenge and I recommend you to read that one. It's also about Dad... very dark. I'm not comparing - just because these two are alike. There's also It's a Dolls Life (forgot which challenge) - also about it. Both very very subtle and I'm not sure if it's a good thing for everybody but for me it's better be subtle if it's this dark. and maybe it's just me.Pretty visual and all the visuals are powerful, I think.
Kirk White (Level 5)
this is a TRUE story? hopefully NOT autobiographical!! I think your craft is spot on...very brutal, vicseral, visual style!
KP Mackie (Level 5)
A story that causes cringing and squirming while reading it probably means it's a success. This one is well written and visual, but begs the question why it needs, "Inspired by true events." Perhaps it is true -- how very sad. Unfortunately, Leisel's situation is so abhorrent that it's difficult to address the details. A brutalized 17-year-old, imprisoned and impregnated by her "gray-haired psychopath" of a father, is likely incapable of uttering anything, much less apologizing.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
The reveal of "Dad" wasn't unexpected. Unfortunately. It's rather a common twist among abuse stories, simply because abusers tend to be relatives.This story is taken from recent German headlines, if I'm not mistaken. Ugh.I think the first half of the story was too bogged down in location details. The story is about Dieter and Leisel's relationship (or lack thereof), but the focus is too much on the blackness and the basement and the vomit and her hair and her dribble. Sketch the surroundings quickly, and then dive into your story.I think it needs a better title.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
This is killer good. It would make an incredible opening for a feature, and I think you should really consider doing one. It won't surprise me to see this in the November film contest. Excellent work.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
"(Inspired by true events)" You don't need to say this. I don't see much in this story other than you trying to shock the reader. It doesn't work, because we hear about this kind of thing in the news anyway. Beyond the shock factor, I don't see much story or character here.
Matthew Fettig (Level 5)
Excellent title.This was very disturbing and vividly told. Sympathy and hatred are quickly developed. What a disgusting reality.Good job.
Millar Prescott (Level 3)
Okay, I know this one is trying to mitigate the lack of originality by the caveat - 'Inspired by true events', but, my God, is there nothing else to write about? I've read so many of these things. It's incredible. Trying to shock or surprise us with these things is just not.The writing is pretty good. The tension is good. Not sure why Dieter smiles at the end. He could just as easily not smiled. Or spat on the ground. Or given her a high-five. What else can I say?Sorry. I guess.
Patrick Rochel (Level 2)
Based on true events? Good lord is that true? Well I didn't mind the darkness of the tone and you did a good job of showing the scene visually. However I can't figure out how any of the visuals play in to the story. Why was she vomiting all the time and why was he so upset that she had already puked. I understand the Dieter is a psychopath becuase you told me he was, perhaps if (like the scene needs any more hints towards this) there were confirming pieces of evidence visually that might guide the reader towards this as a confirmation it may have felt a bit better. In the end I don't understand the vomit and what significance a piece that seemingly depends so much on this bit of evidence has to make use of it.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Yeah, I guess this is really dark. I mean, it's a tricky thing to pull off a darkstory in sch a short time and what happens is that you start to rely on easy shocks: 'the father-daughter'-thing & the 'pregnant'-thing.We don't know this Leisel (great name btw), and we don't know what life she had beyond this. The reason we care is out of instant humanity, not because there's emotional investment. It's a bit shocking, but because it's only dark consistently and never funny or amusing, the whole thing kind of dwells in it's own emotion and darkness too much.Nice but wasn't for me.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
My God, that was disturbing. These are images and plot-points that we've seen before, but it's still a brutal story to read.The title might be a little too generic for this story.Your screenwriting is good, maybe a little bulky. Format overall appears in order. Didn't detect any major typos.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
Gripping and made even more horrific by the 'inspired by.' The is one of those gut-wrenchers that will stick with people long after viewing the film. My only comment would be to maybe reduce the stage direction words a bit. The page is crowded and were it not for such compelling action, it would be hard to read. The camera will convey so much but you've enabled the reader to feel empathy for your character and convey so much in so little time.
Rob Centros (Level 3)
Pretty well written, but nothing to like about the story. Leisel is a victim -- that's all. Aren't heroines and heroes supposed to do something besides be victimized -- at the very least struggle before the "ax falls." So much "horror" today is like this, sadism and not much else.
Roberto Gonzalez (Level 3)
It is well narrated. I wish there had been something different from common psico films. It was not clear to me if the phrase below the title, "Ispired by true events", is already part of the script and should appear on screen, or only a note for us readers. I'm not sure if such a short film is enough to portay complex psico characters.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Wow, very dark and creepy. I wonder who is Broken, as per the title. Both of them seem broken to me, the victim and the perpetrator.Not sure of the significance of the smile when he finds out Leisel is pregnant. Another victim?So dark, and not a bit of hope or spark of light in the whole story. Very depressing.
Stephen Brown (Level 5)
Is this based on Josef Fritzl?Honestly, this didn't really sit very well with me. I don't mind dark, unpleasant scripts but there has to be a point to it. All you have here is two reveals - 1) It's her dad doing this to her. 2) More than likely, it's his baby she's pregnant with.There needs to be some turn that the plot or character takes to make it a complete story.As it is, you have a well described unpleasant incident but it isn't a complete story.
Susan Lower (Level 2)
Very vivid, descriptive, and I can picture this easily as if watching on screen. The graphic nature, however, of this screenplay is far beyond what is written on the page. We see more than what is written when we read it - a very intense and dramatic moment that you have captured very well.
Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)
This one doesn't work for me.It portrays an awful, despicable, and deplorable (to say the least) situation. But the bottom line is that it doesn't tell a story.You do a very good description, but you don't include any conflict. I mean, nothing happens. As it is, a good story would tell how these got there. Or, maybe, it would tell what is going on, because, if you look at it objectively, all the reader can do here is speculate: Is he the worst father ever (I gues so because you "tell" he's a psycopath), or is she got pregnant in a satanic rite by sect to which she belongs?Whichever it is, that is what I think it would do this a good story. The way it is now, all I can say is that it is a good slice of a story.Good luck.
Tim Ratcliffe (Level 4)
Creepy story here and the dad character is really sick. Pretty good effort in creating that creepy tone and a horrible villain in only a page. Overall I thought it was very good.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
You gotta remove the "Inspired by true events" line on your title page. It's distracting and not needed here. The story is tragic, true or not.Your descriptions really need to be broken up, as you have several action events occurring in each paragraph. I think you can make it leaner. Additionally, you had some more room at the bottom of the page, so breaking up one or more blocks would be easy.Overall, although the story is true, I'm not sure it's a complete story. You spend SO much time on setting the mood/scene that there isn't a lot of dialogue and interplay between characters. There's no character arc, no redemption,it's just an... eventuality.Grade: Good
Travis DeStein (Level 5)
What was the point of this script? What am I supposed to take away from it? You paint this depressing, sinister story but there's nothing really of interest here. Twisted just to be twisted. You write very, very well and your descriptions are great, but the story could use a lot of work.
Wes Worthing (Level 5)
Dark. Absolutely dark and disturbing. Trying to capture a moment in time, especially this powerful, is difficult, especially since there isn't a whole lot of page to bring us into it. It's a little easier to pull off in a story that has a beginning/middle/end feel to it. The rawness of the story doesn't bother me; it's the fact that there doesn't seem to be much story to try to feel pulled in by. I feel tragically sorry for Leisel, her dad is a monster, and we've all seen the news reports that this happens all the time. So since this is an unfortunate common event, how can you make this more original. Maybe by making the dad's feelings about the pregnancy clearer? Is the dad happy that she's pregnant so he'll have another victim to brutalize? I think the success of this story depends on who's POV were supposed to pay attention to. I'm guessing it's dad's because Leisel is a character in a horrible position and nothing more. Dad is the complex character that seems to gain from this moment, so I should feel like I was in his mind, but I didn't. I'd love to read this as a bigger piece.
Comments Made After the Contest
Brian Howell (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2010 2:23 AM
Thanks all. For two contests in row I have delved into very disturbing aspects of humanity. Thank you for playing along. I'm not always this disturbing, I promise.For those who wondered, yes this was inspired by the story of Josef Frizl. Not so much him as his daughter.Anyhow, I totally failed in my attempt with this one. Thank you for the feedback and positive notes. What I wanted to do was tell the story of the captive's will being broken; the moment when a person being abused or kidnapped actually begins to sympathize with their captor or abuser. Stockholm Syndrome is what it's called.One page is tough! Thanks again to everyone for your reviews.
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 8/1/2010 3:10 AM
Brian - one page IS tough. But I don't think you 'totally failed'. Dark subject matter is tough with longer screenplays, so a one pager is very difficult.Ultimately, I believe the old saying that you should write for yourself first and for others second. If you liked it, then that's enough. If others liked it, that's gravy.I recommend you write this again, but in a 5 - 10 page space so that you have enough room to really tell the story the way it needs to be told.Best of luck.Tim
Brian Howell (Level 5) ~ 8/2/2010 9:03 AM
Tim - yeah, 'totally failed' was a wee bit of hyperbole. Thanks for the encouragement and the advice.