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"Hit" by Jem Rowe ~ Third Place

Logline: A hitman's latest contract comes from a mysterious source.

Genre: Action - Crime - Thriller

Cast Size: 10+

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: Tick Tock (Oct. 2010)

Contest Scores
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Comments Made During the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

The good:

Very well written. Descriptive short sentences. Enough for me to visualize your story in my head. Good job!

Superb twist when Anne discovers the photo of herself and the reader suddenly realizes she was not in on the grander scheme. Anne killing David sets it up, and then comes the surprise, Anne didn't know either. Good one!

Love love love your ending where we see it was just part of a roulette gamble, the gamblers watching it on television. Yet another surprise. The surprises kept on coming, great!


Could be improved:
Spelling mistake page 1: it is "straightening a tie", not "straitening a tie". Identical spelling mistake on page 3: it is "Straight-faced", not "strait-faced".

Spelling mistake page 1: Thankyou is not a word.

I found it unlikely that the client booked a room next to the target's room. If I were the murderer, I would want to get out of the building conspicuously, not having to carry 50.000 USD would be important to me. Also, I'd want to plan the murder beforehand, do my homework, instead of hearing about it a minute before it had to take place. Perhaps find some reason, mentioned over the phone, why it had to be done now now now.

Page 5: The sentence "Anne begins shouting into the phone and ..." could be removed I think. Just capitalize her dialogue below it.

This is a wonderful story and a well-written script! I read it with pleasure, and loved the surprises that kept coming.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

Your title is too generic. Try to spice it up.

You don't have to tell us that David is talking to the receptionist.

Several grammar and spelling errors.

Any professional hitman would use his or her own weapons. Supplying David a gun on the food tray is redundant.

I like your ending. I guessed that Anne would kill David but I didn't foresee your bigger picture.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

This is cooly written and a fantastic idea. I'm struggling with one thing though...

The characters are so comfortable with their roles as assassins, almost like they are professionals. While reading, this was great, I love hitmen stories for some reason. But when it ended showing this to be a very twisted gambling game, I got the sense that thses weren't professional hitmen but instead regular people really hard-up for some cash. Maybe I understood wrong, but here's my thinking: I'm not sure how long this "casino" would be around if they are betting on actual hitmen; eventually they would run out of hitmen, either by most being killed or word getting around the assassin circles not to accept jobs at this hotel. So for me, the man and the woman were too cool and comfortable with what they were doing. Perhaps just a single moment of hesitation when Dave picks up the gun from the platter.

This is GOOD, but the idea of this twisted gambling game is awesome! Good luck.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was written and paced pretty well. A few minor typos that I noticed, nothing major.

A lot of the hotel stuff was hard for me buy, but I manage a hotel for a living so a lot of what I noticed would go unnoticed by others. The people working at the desk aren't receptionist's, they are generally referred to as a fropnt desk clerk or a guest service agent and they should never announce someone's room number aloud because it's a security risk. I'm certainly not going to mark you down for any of that, but I just thought I'd point it out so you can keep it in mind when you do a rewrite.

Anne's reaction to finding the picture was a bit over the top. She's supposed to be an assassin right? I had a hard time believing the way she freaked out.

The story here was pretty cool. It reminded me of a film called The Tournament, but it was a little different.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty cool script. Nice job!

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

Impressive. Actually quite impressed. In this day of Reality TV, this would be a short well worth puting into action. Great job. I don't have much in terms of critcism.

B.M.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

A clever story especially the twist ending. I didn't really get to empathise with any of the characters, not even David - thhey were perhaps a bit thinly drawn. Excellent idea though.


INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
The lobby is...don't tell us lobby twice!

re-straitens - straightens

strait-faced - straight-faced

payed - paid

it’s bulbous lid - you have written 'it is bulbous lid'

Calmly yet cautiously,sexily yet respectably, gently yet firmly - you seem to like this construction! It gets repetitive...

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

There are a ton of mistakes in this and poor screenplay language. Loose 'is' and 'ing' words and while you are at it replace 'ly' words with more visual and engaging descriptions. And things don't 'begin' in screenplays they just happen. Your dialog is even what I would call OTN and I'm the OTN king.

After all this you rewarded me with an interesting twist, it's somewhat redeemed in my eyes.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Honestly, I wasn't digging this story to much - it all felt a bit too bizarre and irrational, but then the ending made it all pay off (pun fully intended).

The story is still a bit strange, but it has a kind of stylized and heightened reality that I think would work very well in a film. The idea of the rich betting on the outcome of these "killer" scenarios is very cool.

Well done. I would love to see this get filmed some day.

Christina Anderson (Level 4)

Very formal, very sophisticated, very well written.

Sometimes your writing style is a bit too indulgent--a character’s manner is quite clear in their dialogue and actions. Spelling it out makes you seem too controlling, I daresay, borderline directing.

Also try to be extra concise at the beginning. These first pages are your first impression, and for somebody not in the best mood an overly stylized sentence structure might be just the excuse a producer needs to move on to the next script (I’m talking about that thirty something sentence--go conventional and sell yourself as a screenwriter rather than novelist).

--But don’t totally abandon it! It created this James Bond feel later, but at first lure them in and hook them--then dazzle them.

I’ve just realized it’s this month’s rules, so that’s why you were showing us every move around…

One last thought, who puts a hit on a hooker?

Claire Fishman (Level 3)

Fantastic. The plot is exciting, the ending left me wondering, but in a good way! The descriptions and actions are excellently written. Barely any errors, no typos. Really fun to read and I can see the visuals perfectly. Truly a brilliant and original idea executed superbly. Well done.

David Johansson (Level 2)

You do several things well with this script. My favorite is the twist where she kills the main guy.

Always beware of killing off the main character and switching protagonists though, it makes it way harder to empathize with that character, and I feel that too much time is spent on Anne after she kills.

I think the script is good, but just needs some extensive cutting, try to get it as compacted as you can. One example would be that you spend a lot of time describing how calmly David does everything. If you simply introduced him as a calm character (which you kind of do) you wouldn't have to explain how calmly he does everything.

Great job.

Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)

In my mind, a perfect screenplay. Entertaining and engaging from beginning to end. Good introduction, solid development that builds interest with an unusual and unexpected twist, followed by a very clever, unexpected resolution twist. Wouldn't change a thing. Continued good success.

Heather O'Connell (Level 4)

That's very clever. A fun, easy read, I could visualize the whole story. I liked the twist, although I think Anne's reaction is a bit over the top. Also, I was a bit unclear about her going back to the phone - did the VOICE stay on the line while she was going to get the rest of her money?
Overall, very enjoyable.
:) Heather

Heidtmann Oppong (Level 4)

I love the twist of the tale...everything and the best part is that you showed it and not told it. It is also simple and clear, i felt i was watching a real movie as David and Anne got involved in a gun shot. I even felt the flaring anger of Anne! The most part -a TV show at the hotel! Wow. Good job done.

Herman Chow (Level 5)

Quite chilling. Kinda like Hostel (and Saw) in a way. People get their excitement by betting on who will be killed.

I didn't really expect Anne to kill David, and it all made sense at the end.

Something you might wanna try is to start the script a little bit later. The first page didn't give us much except a guy checking into the hotel and going up the elevator. Maybe you could start the script at the hotel hallway or maybe inside the room.

I enjoyed the story. I liked it.

There are some formatting issues and typos though. Like capitalizing names in the dialogue.

VERY GOOD.

Jamie Collins (Level 3)

Great script. The story moved along nicely and kept me interested the whole way through. The ending had a nice twist that I wasn't expecting. Well written.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

thirtysomething is not a word. But if this is a comedy then it'll work.

You have a strange way of writing. Not bad... but just strange.

"...thumbing through one of the wads of money, it seems acceptable." Place a period between money and it.

You don't need to put (through phone) more than once, especially since the characters name is VOICE.

everyone likeS games...

I've seen this done on some Asian movie. I forgot it's name. There were plenty of errors throughout and your story didn't feel complete. Who were these people? They were just empty shells killing each other. And then the casino thing came out of nowhere. I think if you had mentioned the hotel was in a casino from the get go, this would have ran smoother.

You don't capitalize the name in dialogue when they are first introduced, only in action. It's when you first SEE the person.

You use the word "yet" a lot. It's noticeable. Try and switch it up a bit. and how do you do something gently and firmly? It's impossible.

"There is no doubt that this....." There is no reason for that. The sentence doesn't push the story forward so you scrap it. We already know this is the lady because David enters the room.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

It's a fun story. Them placing bets - very inventive - and I'm glad you showed what's behind it all. I remember that movie (or there are several) where the rich inscenerate a man hunt, for real - I'm a fan of an idea. Yours is quite an original take, I think.

What didn't work for me - I did not feel for either of them. Probably because you just brushed off on them. Or maybe I'm not supposed to but I'd like to (to feel for them I mean). Good switch to all the guests - that's two scenes happening at the same time - I struggle with those.

The beginning of it could be tightened I think. And Anne's reaction is a bit over the top I think. Good job.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

A double-cross and an interesting twist. The unorthodox exhibition and betting in the hotel's conference room is an intriguing idea. If a hint with a few details could be introduced at the beginning, it would create nice bookends with the ending. There's a lot of time spent on David's appearance at the hotel, interaction with the receptionist, and entry into his room. His character description is complete enough, but it seems the essential information is that David ends up in his room, receives his assignment, and subsequently goes next door to Anne's. By contrast, Anne is rather stereotypical when described as, "dressed sexily yet respectably."

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

The title is good. The story is Wow!

At first I was thinking that the writing was stuffy... Formal with flat emotion, and details I didn't see the relevance of. Then I realized you were setting the mood, and it worked perfectly. Very reserved. Very business-like. Very in control of the situation. And everything written was part of the picture.

I did NOT expect the twist, and I love when that happens.

Excellent work.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

The adage "Enter late, leave early" would apply here. On the first page we don't know that David is a hitman, so there's no tension or story being told. On film you would probably start with an establishing shot of the hotel, then you could cut to him opening his door.

"I’m payed" should be "I'm paid". "it’s bulbous lid" should be "its bulbous lid".

This may sound like a nitpick, but it does build up: there are a lot of redundant words. Actions like "examines closely", "David gently yet firmly pushes open the door", "shoots him twice more to be sure of his demise", "telephone is audibly hung up", etc. There are many more examples. Instead of building suspense or giving us a better idea of what's happening, this kind of description has the opposite effect.

Nice ending. There have been hitman-on-hitman stories before, but I liked this twist. I still don't think it merits the full five pages though.

Matias Caruso (Level 5)

Awesome concept! (reminds me of "The Tournament"). The ending, which revealed what was going on here, was definitely the highlight for me.

The beginning kind of dragged for me, though. You open with a guy checking into a hotel. I know you must establish where and how the game works but there must be a more gripping way to start this tale.

Maybe you could open with David getting "room service"?

Very Good, though.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

This is extremely predictable until the final scene of the croupier room which is a strong twist.

This is written well but for me lacked pace and tension.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

A thriller-esque short about hitmen and backstabbing, the age-old combination.

Concept:
The idea that's buried in this script: Setting hitmen against each other, voting on their outcome through a casino game, is good, but really old. This has been done many times and if I had to pick a recent example, it would be 'The Tournament' with Robert Carlyle. It needs something extra, even that movie had another hook. I'm not saying the concept is bad, it just needs a little bit more.

Title:
Simple, stylisch, I like it. Would look good on a poster and covers the story. Well done.

Execution:
The way you change characters is harsh, but feels alright. We don't particularly feel for David either, so it's no emotional loss. The twist is, once again, alright, but not as strong as it could have been. Personally I pegged Anne instantly as another killer, just because I was expecting a surprise.

Also, dont use the name Anne Darrow (which later changes into Anne Barrow), it's a name from King Kong, and it's so intimately linked with that movie that you can't use it anymore.

You execute this all quite well, but the feeling that it's all just a bit unoriginal keeps lingering.

Requirement:
Yes, you switch a few times from location, but its all within the 5 minutes. The final switch is a bit of a stretch on the requirement and I like that, gives it a bit of an edge.

Writing:
Clear and crisp. There is a bit of tone lacking and you never really sweep me along. It's all quite functional and i'd love to get a bit more detail on these characters, even just snippets of their lives would be okay. Tattoo's or something. Something to give a hint that they have a life beyond this story.

The dialog is well done and the story flows quite good. There's never any confusion and all is clear. That's talent too. It could use a little bit extra though, just something to set it apart from the rest. Maybe the hotel has a certain theme, like loads of aquariums, or a specific type bed. That would be more visually interesting.

Potential:
Yeah these things are quite filmable, and I know there are plenty of people who want to produce these types of scripts. Not many locations, handful of actors, not many lines, simple concept. Spice it up a bit and I'm sure this thing will be made.

Overall:
There's little to nothing wrong with this, it just lacks it's own vibe. The characters are nothing new, the twist is nothing new, the locations are nothing new. It's written well, but it needs that extra push. Give Anne Barrow green hair, give David a stump. ANYTHING unique to give this script something more.

Biggest flaw: Bit dull(visually) for such a smooth cool story.
Best moment: Well written with a strong executed twist.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

The last page with its final reveal saved this for me because the previous pages didn't really explore any new territory and page one doesn't really add much to this story overall.

Your screenwriting is good, but it could be tightened up in spots. Format appears acceptable overall.

There are a few minor typos throughout.

Very Good.

Pete Barry (Level 5)

This is a good twist on the old "hitman hits another hitman" routine I've seen quite a lot. The payoff is very intriguing, and while you could probably make a whole movie based just around this depraved casino, the piece works as is. I like the possible double meaning of "hit" as well, though I'm not sure it quite comes through, or if that's even what you intended.

I don't understand David and Anne's motivations: are they really assassins? Or just regular people given a chance to make some blood money? They're pretty cold for regular people, but Anne comes apart at the seams pretty easily for a ruthless killer. I feel like you're playing both angles, hoping to trick us but still get your payoff.

Also, because I see the double-cross coming, I spent a good chunk of this thinking it was just that: a double cross. I'm sure you were hoping for that, but if so, you've really got to get me into these two characters so that I'm willing to play along. There's nothing particularly interesting or commanding about either one; they're your typical James Bond or Mrs. Smith types, well-dressed with guns, not much to really get me hooked. You might have even been better off showing both of them preparing to kill the other, because then you're showing me there's nothing up your sleeve: you don't expect me to fall for the old hitman-gets-hit routine, you're making me think who's gonna kill who is the major plot, and leads me to wonder who really is on the end of the line - and then your payoff really works.

I hope any of that was helpful; still you've got a very good piece as it is.

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

I think it's best to start off not repeating things. Right off, we're told we're in a hotel lobby, then the first words of description are: The lobby is.. Not needed. Using 'Whilst' in a screenplay is a bit unusual. A few typos and misspellings. The slick game of the assassin has been played out a number of times. Nothing new or unique here. I liked the betting chips and casino angle but overall I felt this could have withstood another draft. Great title but read each line backward before submitting. Surefire way to catch things the eye might gloss over.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Good story. I liked the concept and idea of these people, totally unaware that they are the target of this gambling on who will win the hit.

Your writing needs to be tightened up a little, for instance when David walks into the lobby, you tell us in the script that his manner of speaking is cold and abrupt, when we can already see that from the actual dialog.

Trimming descriptions of what actors are feeling etc, would help the story move faster.

Having said that, I thought the script was good, and I enjoyed it. The twist at the end, was what made the script stand out, for me. It's sort of like a 'Twilight Zone' feel.

nice work.

Scott Goldwater (Level 1)

I rather liked this screenplay and would say that it was excellent. The script was well written and had me guessing about the outcome. My only criticism would be to flesh out the voice on the phone a bit more. Another thing would be to explain what drove David to the job in the first place.

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

This was a cool premise and very well written. I figured that Anne was going to kill him but didn't know why so the ending was satisfying for me and a nice twist.

My one and only complaint would be to drop a few more hints - just imagery - at the start. Make it a casino hotel. Show some gamblers. Set the scene a bit more for this high-stakes casino game. The twist would still be a surprise but I think it would feel less jarring with a bit of subtle foreshadowing.

I'll still give this top marks though. Well done.

Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)

Pretty nice story. The twists surely keep it going, although I wish there was some sort of explanation for the insanity -not something a la Dexter but deeper.

But what I really think you don't need is the dialogue
"VOICE (THROUGH PHONE)
The woman in the photograph is your
target."

Not only I believe many readers already guessed what the voice says, but, for those who didn't, the not-knowing would add s bit of suspense -which would pay off once you actually show that she is his target.

You get a very good from me.

Good luck.

Tim Aucoin (Level 4)

This was a good story and well written, in some parts. Other parts were not written as well. "David redundantly re-straitens his tie" First off it's straighten and how can it be redundant if he hasn't done it before? I see what you meant here but it needs to be re-written.
"She is dressed sexily yet respectably." Sexily?? You could have found a better adjective than that. I had to google sexily to make sure it was in fact a word.
"Her words and manner are drenched in salacity." I actually have no issue with this line I just wanted to point out how awesome it is.
This is a good story and has some good writing but needs a rewrite to clean up a few weak areas.

Travis DeStein (Level 5)

Well-written. I think the ending is a bit too unbelievable for me. All these assassins arranged in one hotel? That's stretching it for me...

Zach Jansen (Level 4)

Is Anne's name Darrow or Barrow?

Proofread as there are many typos... Missing punctuation, misspellings, etc.

I like the twist -- clever.

(THROUGH PHONE) should be a wryly, or paranthetical, and not occupy space on the character line.

Some the action seems sped up, but it feels like 5 minutes.


Comments Made After the Contest

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 12/1/2010 12:05 AM

Congratulations on winning third place!

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2010 12:14 AM

Congrats on the 3rd place finish Jem!

Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2010 12:33 AM

Congrats on the win, but really this has to be the roughest script to place ever. I guess the old adage, it's the story that matters is true!

Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2010 12:39 AM

Jem, I loved this! And Yes, it was a little rough. Great story!

Tim Aucoin (Level 4) ~ 12/1/2010 6:30 AM

"Her words and manner are drenched in salacity." One of the best lines ever. Nice work Jem.

Heather O'Connell (Level 4) ~ 12/1/2010 9:22 AM

Congrats! I loved this one.
:) Heather

Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2010 12:27 PM

Congrats Jem. Very entertainning script. Well deserved.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2010 1:48 PM

Congrats Jem - fantastic twist ending, great idea.

Jem Rowe (Level 4) ~ 12/1/2010 7:49 PM

Thankyou all ever so much. The reviews for this script were superb, the feedback was very consistant from one review to the next so you've all given me a good map of my strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully the weaknesses should improve as I travel along the screenwriting learning curve, after all this is only the second thing I've written.

Thankyou all again. A good month for me, finished High School and now this :)

Rustom Irani (Moderator) ~ 12/2/2010 11:25 AM

Love the title, Jem. Congratulations! Could you share some insights with the participants at our winners Q&A forum: www.moviepoet.com/reply.aspx?thread=2732&forum=1

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 12/3/2010 8:20 AM

Congratulations Jem, this was a really strong script with a great twist at the end!

Jesus Placencia (Level 0) ~ 12/6/2010 2:07 PM

Really good. My complaints (aside from grammar) are: the line "The woman in the photograph is your target." seems unnecessary; since you show us he is a pro and he knows what he's doing, it's very obvious. Apart from that, it's very well written. The ending is very good. Keep up with the good work!

Caroline Bucholz (Level 3) ~ 12/19/2010 10:01 PM

Loved it, the ending was great, loved the pacing of it


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