Comments Made During the Contest
Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)
The first line, "A woman's voice sings." could be replaced with parentheticals in the first dialogue, eg. (singing).You have one slugline: "INT. SUITE". You need to put the time of day there too, eg. "INT. SUITE - MORNING".Great first page! Young couple in total luxury, we immediately think "how did they deserve that?" Then they wake up, Merrick is confused, we wonder why, and Jada mentions "Everyone is dead." Now we're hooked for sure, and want to know more. Good job!On page three, in dialogue, you use "O2". You should probably spell out how you want the actor to pronounce it.The clock counting down is a great time bomb, and keeps me reading because I want to know how it ends. But then it sizzled off. I was expecting Merrick to die. He'll run out of oxygen any way whatever happens.This is a story where a human passively undergoes something bad happening to him.And why don't they try to get the oxygen reserves to be responsive again? They have at least a few minutes? And Merrick, he prefers kissing a robot over trying to get more air? I'd say he deserves to die. You are not giving us any reason to root for Merrick. You don't give us a reason to care for him. Have him do something nice!This feels more like the end of a story actually. The climax. Here is a man who is a slave to his sex robot, and he dies because of it. The story could be "Relying on robots will lead to your demise." or some such, and here we see the climax and emotional unraveling at the end. So the story would start with Merrick getting the robot, and end in his death at the hand of that robot.But I think you need to tell us more about what happened up to that point. Right now it is not a climax because we have not seen the protagonist fight to get something. The protagonist has to want something, and has to do everything he can to get what he wants, and then he has to either succeed or fail due to a character flaw. And you have to make us care for him I think. Right now it could be a lazy bum. He's passive in the face of death! I kind of find he deserves to die...This story starts well, but ends in a bit of an anti-climax. Oddly enough I think it needs to be solved with more story prior to this event.
Bill Clar (Level 5)
What purpose does the alarm sound because if it's not quickly disabled it will annoy the hell out of the audience.What gash does Merrick have? You need to present this information when you introduce him.The escape pod is a hotel suite? I like sci-fi, but this is pushing the boundaries of plausibility. Your story is incomplete. It feels like the ending of a blockbuster film. A good ending, but still an ending. Merrick has no conflict to pursue. All he can do is flail about in despair that the pod will explode. That's not interesting.If Merrick were to fight Jada for control of the ship or find a way to defuse the bomb, that would be a story. Give him a goal to work towards. Whining to Jada isn't enough.
Brian Roberts (Level 1)
After "INT. SUITE" it says "Total Luxury" and then goes on to describe the luxury in some detail. I re-read the sentence pretending as if "total luxury" wasn't at the beginning and found that doing so actually added more depth to the visual impression, at least in my mind. To be honest, I didn't realize the red flickering lights were part of the alarm at first until the humming of the alarm is mentioned after. I only say this because I am finding a frequent number of beginnings that don't paint a clear picture in my mind without me having to stop and re-read it. Not easy to do, I know.And then what happens? Boom! The story hits a stride. I like the use of descriptive words like "Brunette Goddess" because it forces me to conjure her image from my own imagination, making her an actual "Brunette Goddess" in my mind. So much better than describing her measurements, etc for me. Most writers aren't bold enough to leave so much to the reader's imagination. I love sci-fi and this reminds of those old 60's short stories I used to read. Also, I didn't realize Twinkle Twinkle Little Star had such cool lyrics.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was written and formatted very well. No problems that I detected.The story was interesting, but lacking something for me. Not sure what, but I didn't feel any attachment to Merrick whatsoever. There wasn't any real twist or climax to the ending. About halfway through, we learn he's going to die and then he does, without so much as any effort to try to save himself. He doesn't cycle through the stages of grief, he just accepts it, dies and the sotry ends.It was well written and had an interesting plot, but the lack of emotional attachment to the only human character kept this script from getting in Excellent from me. Nice work nonetheless though. Well done.
C.S. Torres (Level 1)
I thought this was a perfect little short. It starts ominously and mysteriously, evolves, but ends ominously - as promised - but with a twist. I really enjoyed the twist at the end, when Jada says, "I'm not programmed for sex." - She speaks softly. Tenderly. Caresses his hair. - "I'm programmed to love you."I was afraid this was going to be another robot in space blathering, but yours is fresh. Very nice.The title is fitting.P. 2, it's should be its -
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
The title is...perhaps a little pretentious? Is the script pretentious too?Stares dumbfound - dumbfoundedA vista to outer space manifests - now that IS pretentious!it's hull - it's means 'it is' - YOU mean its.I think this is excellent - very well executed - but the title is STILL pretentious!
Chris Messineo (Founder)
This is beautiful.I love how you open and close with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". The way we feel it resonate in the end is so different from that feeling at the open.I love science fiction and this is a very cool end of the world tale. A man left alone in his final moments with his robot and the only love he has.Your craft and writing are awesome. I loved this.Excellent.
Dan Delgado (Level 5)
This is a story of futility, which are common for tragedies. But this one is pointless futility. A man discovers that a womanish/robot may sort of love him, but apparently not enough to attempt to do anything to rescue him. And the man gazes at his naval (figuratively) and waits to die. I guess you could say he had no choice and was just accepting his fate but an inert character doesn't make an interesting one in my opinion. (And I admit this probably is a large part subjective and that this isn't my cup of tea.)Some people might love these kind of stories, I just want to shake the guy and say: "Do something, dammit!"Thanks for entering. I gave this one a rating of "Fair".
Denise Jewell (Level 4)
Well written and I can see it visually. The image of Jada blinking to produce the view of what happened is very nice, but it gives away that she is not human, so the scene of her robotic forehead being revealed is lessened. My complaint is that I want more story - I imagine there is something to him looking at the picture, but I'm having to guess way too much. Did he leave his father to go to space? More info on why he is here, what he sacrificed, and why he sacrificed it, would help. I know it's hard to do in five pages, but I really want to know more of his story so that I can care about him as he takes his last breath.
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
Excellent title. I really love ALL your descriptions, especially that of the space cruiser breaking up, excellent, I mean, that's spot on how it would be. You don't hear explosions, or anything in the vacuum of space. You would hear debris hitting your ship because of the atmosphere inside, but I digress. Point is, your taking the time to make this authentic, and so far, I'm feel safe in saying that this one will be in the winners circle.I really enjoy a sci-fi story that leaves you feeling just a little disturbed, and questioning the reality of the things we believe. And a robot in the story? Oh man, this kinda reminds me of "I sing the body electric," in a way. This was entertaining, and even has an undercurrent of sentimentality, but it's not the usual, "aw how nice," or "oh how sad," yet it contains elements of both. I love a sci-fi story such as this. It leaves a little pit in your stomach.I could go on, and on, with the mood, setting, characters, pacing, damn. This was just excellent, from title, to fade out. Excellent.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
This one earned an EXCELLENT from me. Well written. I only have one suggestion to make. On page three the dialoge for Merrick reads: “What about the O2 reserves?” Now, I know that O2 is oxygen but you might have an actor who doesn’t know this. That is the reason a “rule” says that in dialogue we must always write numbers out unless that number is a date. Would an actor read O2 as “oh two” or as “zero two“? To make sure they say it correctly, write out the numbers!
Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)
The title seems a bit awkward. The story is well written with good visuals and it's clear that the writer had a thorough enjoyment in exploring this sci-fi fantasy world. The script was engaging but many of the themes that were introduced were soon dropped and left unexplored. So my main criticism is the lack of development of many of these themes. Was your feminine robot Jada actually more human-like in her emotions than the Merrick who didn't seemed particularly frightened about his impending doom. Also, by having the man die at the end, I was left wondering what was the real point of all the other bells and whistles in the script. A script should offer more than a photo opportunity for am exploding spaceship. I very much enjoyed the introduction of the philosophical question of whether the robot was merely "a sex toy" or capable of human emotions, but I question if that would be foremost in the mind of a man who has suddenly realized that he's about to die. These are my best criticisms and I hope they're of some help. Be well.
Gavin Bale (Level 3)
Damn good. I loved it. Great characters. Wonderful story. It felt much longer than 5 pages, which is a good thing if the story absorbing, and yours is. The tension you build throughout the script is palpable. Very visual and fluid writing. Nice twist. Overall, fantastic.
Heather O'Connell (Level 4)
I'd like to know more about Merrick. There was just a glimpse when he looked at the photo, but I feel like we need to see more of him to make an emotional impact. I like what you've done with Jada and the sequence of events and the description of the ship/escape pod are realistic. I think this piece is just lacking a bit more emotion from getting to know Merrick a little better.
Heidtmann Oppong (Level 4)
Wow, so much to learn from, so much to tell from...I enjoyed the script. What marvels me is the choice of words. How simple and self-explanatory they are! I must say the diction of the script paints more picture than the words itself. Congratulations, you really got my attention, every bit of it. I enjoyed myself.Good job done
Herman Chow (Level 5)
I enjoyed this, but at the end it left me feeling a little "emptied".The opening scene is intriguing, makes me curious about the alarm in a hotel suite. And to be honest, after reading the first page, I thought Jada is some sort of crazy bitch who trapped Merrick during his bachelor party or something.So when I got to page two, I was surprised that they are actually in an escape pod in space. However, after this reveal, there isn't anymore things that require me to anticipate. I know they're going to die and that was what happened at the end.The last two pages is basically more characterizations between our two leads in the countdown to their impending death. I just wish there are more things happening during those two pages. I think that would make the story more compelling.The writing and format is top-notch.GOOD.
James Hughes (Level 5)
This seems to be part of a bigger whole because I do not know why any of this is happening. He was just in a party of some sort. Not sure where they are, who he failed, why she is doing this to him (is she the one that blew up the big spaceship).But ignoring that, this was written well, I loved the visuals of the elegant room opening up to a vista of the spaceship disintegrating and the darkness of space.The writing was very good. The only thing keeping it from excellent is that I am not sure it is supposed to stand on its own.
Jamie Collins (Level 3)
This was great...I like the use of the timer counting down throughout. It gives the perception of an impending disaster.I did notice a couple typos:page 1 - an stern old manpage 1 - a overly theatrical way
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
I never would have thought that I'd rate a sci-fi piece as excellent, but I did. Your verbage is captivating!Wonderful build!Bittersweet ending!
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
This was very well written. I loved your descriptions. I do have mix feelings about the actual story line though. Although unique, I wish the stories somehow connected with each other. Here is a guy who's facing the end of the world, and then we find out that his sex robot loves him. They had nothing to do with each other. More should have been added to link the two, because the way you wrote it, the reveal that she was a sex robot could be placed in any story.Your story: A man finds out his life will come to end, all while his sex robot gives him comfort. Random story: A man finds out that his parents die in gruesome car accident, all while his sex robot gives him comfort. Again, find a way for them to mesh, and you'll have something here. I'll give this a good.
Jem Rowe (Level 4)
A good yet over-explored idea here, the emotional depth of artificial intelligence is certainly an interesting topic, but it has been covered soooooo many times.The first big problem with your script in my opinion is that it is so very melodramatic and takes itself so very seriously, to me, especially because of the sci-fi edge mixed with the melodrama, this approach comes across as a little ridiculous. This issue goes for the title as well.Secondly, the timer seems suspiciously convenient. I think it's too obviously there for dramatic effect, atleast make it a little less of a see-through plot device and put some explanation on it.Good! Well done, keep writing.
Josh LaMar (Level 2)
I really liked how you made it mysterious. I was wondering what was going on in the very beginning. You could really feel first the anger that Merrick felt and then all hopelessness. It was actually quite depressing. It sounds like something I would write actually. lol You have a very good imagination.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
Very Good on your short. I think it's very interesting, very atmospheric. The rhyming was just perfect and so in tone - I guess that's what won me over the beginning and the end. The middle - I think you could tell us more, otherwise it's not too round for me, doesn't give me a feeling of complete. There are unanswered question which I prefer to be answered - who is he, why they are there, what happened at all. I know something but not enough. And why does she "love him"? Why? She's a machine...But still it's no less than Very Good - the tone is great.
Kirk White (Level 5)
this was everything I want in a script! sci fi, pathos, the whole shebang. my first excellent of the contest...please make this! change the title...but MAKE THIS!
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Lovely well written descriptions of space. Particularly fond of the last scene in outer space where "Stars...Like diamonds spilled upon an infinite black velvet." Nice visual.Did have some trouble with the storyline. After a couple reads, it seems Merrick and Jada are in an escape pod, having just jettisoned from a spaceship. The pod is losing oxygen and apparently Merrick and Jada are doomed. But, Merrick asks about "other survivors" and Jada tells him, "The remaining will succumb to the lack of oxygen." She told him earlier, "Everyone is dead" and "There's nothing behind those doors anymore." So, she's referring to the inhabitants of the space cruiser Merrick sees outside in space that then ruptures?Wondered about the backstory too. Feel like the story was started mid-stream and am curious who Merrick is and how he got in this predicament.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I like the title. It has a nice flow and is loaded with story potential.I've read this several times, and it seems disjointed and a little confusing... I'm not sure what to make of the alarm. You aren't clear whether it's loud or shrill or humming or what. Humming doesn't imply warning...Why is there a statue of a stern old man in the suite?.. In the overall story, the suite seems to be a room for romance, but you have a personal photograph included... Is this his private room? You introduce the gash on his forehead as if it's been introduced earlier. I checked... I'd really like to see this written more visually. a/an - Use "a" before a word that begins with a consonant, and "an" before a word that begins with a vowel. I think that the English might use "an" in front of some "h" words, too. Don't quote me on that, though...I'm not sure what the point of this is supposed to be... I need a point.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
This was pretty cool although everyone dies. You created an interesting atmosphere and there was definitely some tension. I didn't really understand the motives of Jada though. She was Merrick's sex robot but was really programmed to love him yet she killed him and everyone else. Why? Sorta went over my head but I liked it anyway. :)
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
Very thought-provoking. I like the themes about artificial intelligence and other philosophical quandaries, and how they're kept in subtext rather than being too obvious. I was sceptical of the inclusion of "Twinkle twinkle little star" at the beginning, but I think it worked well at the end, enough to justify its use. Very good.
Matthew Fettig (Level 5)
The title is fitting although I had to look up the word elegy.My first thought reading this was that it was written for the Tick-Tock contest since you were using the timer countdown from 5 minutes.I think the structure is fairly decent here. I'm left with more questions about Merrick than answers though. What was the relationship between Merrick and Jada? Was she some form of robot prostitute? Had he abandoned his family? I wasn't really sure.I do have some writing items to point out - "Jada thinks. Calculates." at the bottom of page 2. What are we seeing her do that let's us know this? Also, top of page 3, Jada says "...casualties are 99.68%." I think that percentage should be spelled out in the dialogue line - ninety-nine point six eight percent.I wanted to give this a very good and I think you're close, but I just couldn't quite get a grasp on Merrick and the relationship.
Michael Berg (Level 3)
Wow! Love the title, love the script. First one I've read that I could say is Excellent in my book! There were a few fragmented sentences I'd rework, but nothing major. "Like the world coming to an end."I would think ... would indicate longer than a second so to me I'd rework those countdowns with commas.Story has a nice setup, and interesting twist at the right moment, and written like this person knows what he (or she) is doing.I guessed the woman was a robot, before the reveal, but it was a great visual way of doing so. Some of Merrick's lines don't come off as sounding the strongest, but I can't suggest any alternatives.
Michael Cornetto (Level 5)
Congratulations! You got my first excellent this contest. I thought that was beautifully written.
Michael Hughes (Level 4)
The title doesn't work well for me.I like the idea of the pod being lost in infinite space. Does it matter to the robot that she is alone for eternity?I was not sure why the escape pod was decorated as a lavish luxury suite. Did the party Merrick needed to return to have something to do with the destruction of the mothership? Is Merrick the boy in the old photo? How has he "lost everything"? I guess there were too many unexplained points for this to come together for me.
Nick Miranda (Level 4)
Everything was pretty good. This kind of story is touchy ground. Can an android be programmed to love? Well, it can be programmed to say that it has been programmed to love--if that makes any sense, but impossible to prove. However, in this particular instance, I don't think Jada loved him. Otherwise, why not try to save him? If the mortality rate is 99.68%, then being in love mean trying to achieve the other .32% and survive, beating the odds. I don't think that there was anything in there to make me actually question Jada's statements. I had my simple answer of "no, she does not love Merrick." Being more ambiguous may help alleviate this problem, and not revealing her to be an android until the very end may also benefit the piece.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
I like the revelations along the way, but after two reads, I'm not sure I fully understand everything that happened or the significance of it. I apologize if it turns out I am the only reviewer who experienced this.Your screenwriting is very good. Format overall appears in order. There are a few minor typos.Good.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
It is a really strong premise and I like the way the story twists several times as it goes along. The drama in this is well written and I like the poignant ending.“I lost everything.” – This is an example of dialogue that might be a little on-the-nose.“Like the world coming to an end.” – For me this doesn’t help me picture something on screen.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
Knew I was in trouble when I saw 'Elegy.' Still, this one kept me intrigued and had wonderful pacing. The ticking clock element worked wonderfully. I was confused about how much Jada knew. It seemed Merrick had possibly created her, so I wasn't sure what her motivation was for just focusing on him if everything else was blown apart. The Man in the photo that captures Merrick eluded me. I assume it's a father figure but if he has lost everything due to self-indulgence, why is he sorry to someone else? I felt that the 'I'm so empty. So alone' dialogue was a bit on the nose but it worked in the contest of completing Merrick's arc. I liked the lacing of 'Twinkle Twinkle' throughout. I think it carries a haunting tone -- the sweet lullabye contrasting the supreme devastation. Really nice piece.
Robert Newcomer (Level 4)
This was an interesting piece, though I was never quite sure of their relationship to the exploding cruiser, what position Merrick held on that ship, or why some sort of escape pod, if that is what it was, would be so ornate.There was so much going on outside the confines of this tale.But I suppose none of those issues is vital to the story, which at its heart was some sort of ongoing relationship between Merrick and Jada. That relationship, however, is at least somewhat vital to the story -- and the story suffers somewhat in that it is never made clear. Jada was kind of subservient and kind of in charge at the same time, lending confusion to her role.Perhaps this needed a few more pages (though not too many) to clarify this relationship. I think that if we knew what these two actually meant to each other at the outset, then what they meant to each other at the end might carry a little more weight.Very good.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I enjoyed this story. I'm sure with great CGI you can make this short film. I love the 'Twinkle Twinkle' poem all through the script.I connected with Merrick as your main character. He was well written and strong, yet vulnerable.The good thing is that you could probably shoot this on a low budget because of there only being basically one location and two characters.Well done, I thought this was well written, with good dialog and a good solid story, all in five pages. That's not easy to do (as we all know)Very Good
Tracey James (Level 1)
I thought the script was very good. I liked the concept and how you started the script off with the reader believing Jada was some sort of seductress/assassin. The srcipt was easy to read, it really flowed well and I could picture everything in my mind. I could hear the alarm and Jada's calm, silky voice singing to Merrick. I'd like to read a full script just to see what happened for them to end up in space, on a faulty ship.
Valentina Reiken (Level 2)
This is well written and flows very well. The descriptions were real to me and the dialogue also. A bit of a tragic ending though. I think the moral of the story (dont trust a robot?) could have been clearer.Maybe this could be a scene in a longer screenplay as it sounds like the end of a longer story that we didn't get to see - e.g.the significance of the picture of the man and boy, and the reason he ended up in this predicament.
Wayne Morrical (Level 4)
Great script. Descriptions were strong and clear. Unusual environment and situation was easy to follow. Dialogue was clean and believable. Nice reprise of the song from the beginning at the end. Overall great job.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
Love the title. Beyond that, it just didn't interest me, though I think the writing is good. It feels like a script that has been done before and I do understand that it's very difficult to be original with this genre and "end of it all" theme.The "twinkle, twinkle little star" gave it a campy feel and I don't think you were going for that type of mood or setting.If Jada is programmed to love Merrick, why is she not concerned with the end, especially the end of Merrick?Try and stay away from on-the-nose dialogue or speechifying. Even though Jada is programmed bot, if she is indeed programmed to love, she is programmed to be more than logical or rational -- she is advanced artificial intelligence and more tension could exit beyond the emotions of finality.Again, I think the writing is good and title is fantastic.
William Wilson (Level 3)
Wow that was actually a really good script the idea was Ehh not that orignal but still it was executed very well...My only gripe about this script was the inclusion of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" I thought it wasnt needed and probably would have been a better more interesting script without it.. But the drama and suspense aspect of this script was only enhanced by the countdown which i thought was really well doneOverall a VERY GOOD scriptAnd i Give "Elegy of Emptiness" a 8 out of 10
Zach Jansen (Level 4)
Very interesting. I wasn't sure where this would go, but instead of some twist is just went pretty straight. Good job.The foundation for a larger story is here, but the short form works for this quick glimpse. A few thoughts/questions arose for me, though: How did Merrick get the gash? I presume whatever caused them to be in the escape pod has something to do with it. I get the feeling that Merrick dies, but I'm it's quite ambiguous. I'm sure he'll die eventually, of course.
Comments Made After the Contest
Travis DeStein (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 12:00 AM
Thanks for putting up with me again!
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 2/1/2011 12:15 AM
Congratulations on Second Place! You two need to keep writing together - this was awesome!
Elias Farnum (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 12:17 AM
This is the one. Definitely should have won. I can't believe it didn't. Seriously. You got shafted as far as I'm concerned.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 12:25 AM
That's a nice script, congrats!
Michael Cornetto (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 12:35 AM
This was my only excellent this month. Congrats Elias.
Elias Farnum (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 12:37 AM
What? I think you mean Paul, Michael.
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 1:16 AM
Congrats Paul! Very cool script.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 2:12 AM
Thanks people, and course I thank my partner too. You guys will be seeing more collabs in the future.And congrats Elias. ;)
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2011 9:48 AM
This couple is dynamite. Congrats, guys.
Heather O'Connell (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2011 5:21 PM
Great job! :)
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 2/2/2011 10:20 AM
Congratulations on the win!!! Great job!!
MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 2/6/2011 2:58 PM
Congrats guys, really strong script. A dynamic duo for sure, hope to read more from you two.