"Friction" by Paul De Vrijer ~ Honorable Mention

Logline: An ambitious scientist has to save his family from his own recklessness.

Genre: Drama - SciFi

Cast Size: 3

Production Status: Unavailable

Contest: Mad Home Scientist (Jul. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

Great start, makes me want to know what he's going to do with the battery, and you start off with a conflict between Evan and Nicole immediately, so I want to know how that will end.

I think Nicole would leave without the money, and she'd leave during day time, and when it was dry. You need to find another reason for Nicole to follow Evan into the basement.

Very good story! Had me gripped! It is the type of story where a man has lead a not too great life, and redeems himself by sacrificing himself to save others, in this case his wife and son. A touching tale.

Very well written. I don't know what else to say. Great job!

Basil Sunshine (Level 4)

Very poetic writing. Don't let anyone tell you to change that.

Driveway is one word.

Oh, this time stopping thing is cool. That would be interesting filmed.

Typo "[built] for two"... having said that, I don't think it is quite believable that it is "built for two" when it wasn't originally meant for humans... How about "It will only support two."?

This sentence doesn't make any sense to me: "On a nearby safe, largely unscathed, burn the numbers ‘3 8 2’." And yet, I think I understand that the suitcase from earlier in the story (with a coded lock on it) was lying on the ground with the combination burnt onto it.

Great story, great visuals. I give it a VERY GOOD.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

You have an eye for scene descriptions, but the added lines do slow down the pace.

"Shit, she’s right" How will you tell the actor to play this? It is Evan's inner thought and it cannot be filmed as stated.

"pulls, Nicole down" This part is confusing. Is Evan pulling Nicole down or is he pulling something else and Nicole is down for another reason?

In what does Evan notice his reflection? A mirror? A piece of shiny metal? It matters because if it's a small shard, a passing reflection will be brief and any deviation will be difficult to notice. A larger surface area will be easier for someone to notice their reflection slow down.

I like your invention and the science behind it. The ending is both sad and touching.

If this gets made - with the right budget it will look spectacular.

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

I don't understand why Nicole's last line has to be a voice over; why can't she just say it to Timothy?

As for your grammar, there's a few grammar mistakes. Also, there are a few sentences that could be rephrahsed such as: (1) deep frown in her otherwise gorgeous face -- should be deep frown on her gorgeous face; (2) he looks on his watch -- should be he looks at his watch; and so on and so on.

As for your story, you have some good descriptive writing -- I had a pretty good visual for the setting. I don't quite understand what Evan was trying to achieve with his invention. Considering that this invention of his was costing him everything and eventually did, I would've like to learn more about it. Was it going to change the world? Bring him riches? Was is it the new age flux-capicitor? Etc.?

I feel there's potential in this story but right now, it leaves me a bit flat.

Calvin Peat (Level 4)

The science of this script is crazy. That’s fine, science fiction can be wildly implausible, and that’s often half the fun, but the script needs to make it clear what the rules are of the world the story’s set in. This one doesn’t, making it very confusing towards the end.

Also, the swearing is unnecessary.

However, the description is great, and the writer creates a sense of a vivid, intense world that the story’s taking place in. I also really like the James Cameron / Steven Spielberg approach of a broken family dynamic that plays out, and is somehow redeemed or vindicated or brought closure to, when they’re forced to confront an intense, dangerous science fiction situation.

If this were made into a short film (the difficulty of doing so aside), some of the shots would look very impressive.

The writer clearly has a lot of imagination and descriptive skill; they just need to concentrate on establishing the rules of the story's world.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I like this very much, but this is also a lot of story for five pages. It's fascinating, but it feels a bit rushed and forced at times.

For example, I know you wanted the sense of sacrifice, but "I built this for two" feels a little too contrived.

Overall, your writing is great and I think if you expanded this, it would help a lot. I hope you take the time to rewrite it.

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

I liked the idea of this one and you did a good job of caring for the people and the man's sacrafice. It was well written and I'm rating it highly. Nice images.

The one thing that bugged me a little was the canned, standard argument between the husband and wife. Although this one had a purpose it just seemed kind of familiar. Maybe if it was a little shorter? (I know, I'm a broken record -- it's only a five-page script.)

But that's nitpicking I liked most of this. Thanks for entering.

David M Troop (Level 5)

Even though the screenplay "Friction" seemed to have more action than dialogue, I found it to be an easy, fast read. The author did a great job of separating all the action sequences to avoid confusion to the reader.
The characters were interesting and real. I liked the fact they were a family, and Evan was building his invention to benefit them as a whole.
I did feel the screenplay could have been better if the author had included a small amount of exposition. Why was the wife demanding money from Evan? How would Evan's invention benefit mankind? The author could have explained the importance of the invention (perhaps in an argument between Evan and his wife) without fear of the screenplay beginning to drag.
Overall, I thought "Friction" was very good. And for some reason, as I was reading it, I pictured it as an animated film (except for one needless f-bomb).
Good job.

Dawn Calvin (Level 5)

Really good. This is an Excellent. Very well written and I enjoyed the momentum and the storyline.

I hope you do well, you should. Excellent!
Good luck.

Derek Anderson (Level 4)

You have very good descriptions ("The foliage dances in the wind as colored exotic flowers hang on for dear life").

Get rid of the semi-colons, and you use more periods instead.

I liked the speed of light angle you took. But the beginning with the fighting seemed like too obvious of a setup for that sacrificial ending.

Good job!

Donnetta Williams (Level 3)

Enjoyable read. A few grammar errors but overall this was a good script. The characters were well developed, the plot was creative and vivid. The dialogue and scenes ran together smoothly. The story started off great, intriguing, and ended on a good note. This could definitely keep an audience in awe.

Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)

Imaginative, engaging, thoughtfully creative, entertaining and a genuine pleasure to read. Excellent use of visuals at the beginning with a minimum of dialogue. Might tweek the dialogue a bit to be more realistic. (Why wasn't the man more angry when his wife began to pull his machine apart?) Otherwise, little room for improvement.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

A man invents a machine to give him a quantum leap.


The story picked up after the couple goes in the basement. The sci-fi part of this was amazing! "colorful flowers hang on for dear life" not needed. The battery was a good hook. No need for "it's tapping electricity" it's obvious from the visual. Good use of the mirror. Fit well into five pages. Who plays with 1 TB batteries in a rain and lightning storm?

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

The title works well for this story. Your craft is mostly good but perhaps you don't need quite so many commas. For example "Evan dases forward, pulls, Nicole down." is better without the second comma. And "Soaking wet, Evan walks inside, exhausted." also seems better without the second comma. Also, I don't believe you should capitaize the first word after a semi colon. You don't do it after the first one but do after the second one on page one in the sentence where you introduce Nicole. Other than that, I thought this was excellent. Interesting story, good dialogue and clear action lines.

Javier Torregrosa (Level 4)

Hi, with what you were mentioning within the script. Quite an apt title. The ash figure of Evan. Was that him running, escaping the house so fast that he burst into flames and then into ash? I'm not 100% what went on. It was kind of all so dramatic for such a short script. I made some notes:

Page 1, don't need to tell me 'it's tapping electricity'. I get it already.

The shit, she's right line. Sounds more like dialogue rather than the impression he'll give off to the audience.

All the best,


Jordan Littleton (Level 4)

The opening description doesn't convey a violent storm. The word ripples makes it seem more tranquil. Showing the lightning first would set the tone right at the start.

Telling me that the device is "tapping energy" does nothing for the viewer.

Telling me that the system is "home made" isn't necessary. It being jumbled together is enough.

Describing Evan's reaction to Nicole being upset as, "Shit, she's right" doesn't work for me. Have him say, "Shit, she's right"

"Mommy's right back okay?" doesn't make sense.

I don't believe Nicole would just start ripping wires out of the wall. It's just not safe.

Nicole shatters a vase just by putting it down, so how does she move Timothy without shattering him?

The machine is designed to accelerate machinery so why is it "only build for two"? Two what? Also, "built" is the correct word to use.

The story has a lot of technical problems.

Good concept but unfortunately it was executed poorly.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

It's a very well written script. And a full story - I love the fact that it's a rounded story with the beginning middle and end. However, I knew something would happen to the father from the beginning and that a bit spoiled a read for me. Didn't know what exactly but it's kind of obvious to me that Nicole would be sorry later. One other thing - I wish he didn't explain that much and in such straight forward matter. It would be hard to go around it though... Well done I think. I mean it's still Very Good for me.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Wonderful description, especially of the setting. Vivid mental picture of the long grass, bending trees, and lightning in the first scene. Lovely line, "The foliage dances in the wind as colored exotic flowers hang on for dear life." The frozen objects hanging in mid-air and "Evan's awe struck face" from the lightening will look quite cool on a screen.
Probably need to move, "He points to the basement door," to before Evan's dialogue about "building our future..." Small typo"...only build (built?) for two..." May have missed the point of the punchline; don't know what the numbers "3 8 2" are meant to signify.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

This is a really cool idea. It reminds me of a story by H. G. Wells. I love the opening. The argument between them is well done.

"No, your building your ego in there!"
The first "your" should be a "you're".

"Evan dashes forward, pulls, Nicole down."
There's some comma trouble here.

"lot’s of electricity"
No apostrophe.

Very good.

Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)

This is really good - kept me riveted the whole time.

Liked every bit, except for the kiss. It's one of my pet peeves. I can't believe that anybody would really do this. It's probably just me, though because they seem to do it at this point in every movie.

Anyway, in spite of the kiss, this was one of my favorites. Thanks.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

I like the central idea of them moving super-fast and there are some great visuals in this.

For me the story that played out around this concept felt a little flat. Perhaps because I didn’t feel connected to the characters.

“The system looks jumbled together, home-made.” – This might be an example of how an alternate word can help. If it was described as a “makeshift” machine that would cover it for me.

“1 TerraWatt” – If my numbers are right, this is about 800 times more power than was needed to send Marty “Back to the Future”. That’s gotta be a spectacular battery!

Pia Cook (Level 5)

I wasn't entirely sure how this all worked. Regardless, the story is about a father/husband/scientist who's invention goes wrong. His wife and son thinks he's neglecting them for his work. He realizes that is true and makes good on it and saves them in the end. So, the story works. I just didn't understand the science. :)

I had one question though. Why on earth would a married couple have only the father have access to their money? That hit me as very wrong. Other than that good work.

Robert Hestand (Level 3)

Wow, this was good. I thought the story was suspenseful and above all well executed. The writer did a great job at keeping things tight and conveying a large amount of (necessary) info/exposition. I loved the contrast between the marital tension and the father's sacrifice at the end. Poignant. Well done. Good way to really use the title as a touchstone.

Rod Thompson (Level 4)

Wow! That was badass! Seriously, crazy, scary good. So good, I have nothing neg to say. It felt like a much longer read than 5 pages, but in a good way. Kudos...you should place well.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

Is the "Slob" a sound effect or adjective?

"...dumps his raincoat on the floor. Slob."

This reads too stilted, "I need the three-letter combination, Evan." Why would she be specific that it has to be three-lettered? Just calls atttention to itself and seems forced.

This is a big peeve of mine and takes me out whenever I notice the typo: "No, your building your ego in there!"


The good thing for you was that you didn't need to go too deep to explain the science as this was not the premise anyway, but focussed on the drama.

I'm afraid that your latter half then kinda melds into thriller category and seems very rushed as soon as he "collects" the electricity from the lightning strike. Those moments needed a lot more slow pacing than him kissing her and explaining it could only be him.

That is longer script content condensed to meet these five and I personally wouldn't sacrifice it.

The visuals are awesome and can be pulled of ably though we've seen them now in plenty of films starting with the "Matrix" series and even earlier.

Good job though!

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Wow, a lot packed into this story. I thought it was really good. I was a bit confused by the technical stuff, but the heart of the story is in the characters. They were all very good, and the story had a strong and heartfelt ending.

Tim Ratcliffe (Level 4)

I thought this one was pretty good. The writing was visual, and aside from a few typos, it reads well. The story was interesting, I was a bit unclear what the dad actually did at the end to save them. He somehow made his wife return to normal speed? It was slightly confusing, to me at least, but I got the gist of what happened and overall I think this was a solid effort.

Tony Oldham (Level 4)

Really great build up. It was always a difficult task, and science fiction is not my favorite, but I think you held the readers attention really well with the delay of information. It gives the script a degree of suspense.

YOu create a great deal of drama out of very little; the thunder storm, the wife's demands, the urgency of action, as well as managing to cram in a lot of chracter obstacles and multiple opposition to those obstacles at the same time. It's almost like you've crammed in the rules of feature writing into a short 5 pages.

Again, dialogue and characterisation very very good.

My only qualms, the poetic first sentence; this could be omitted completely I think. teh setting of a thunder storm is enough. And the script does go a bit OTT towards the end.

Your script works for me because it takles an unbelievable situation and makes it highly believable and you want to read on. It's a shame that it loses its believability a little bit towarsd the end because you are giving us a complete story and perhaps squeezing in a bit too much.

Comments Made After the Contest

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 9/1/2011 12:18 AM

Congratulations on the Honorable Mention!

Dan Delgado (Level 5) ~ 9/4/2011 12:13 PM

I could really see this story. And although now that I re-read my (nit-picky) comments it sounds like I didn't rate it very high, I actually gave this a "Very Good". The friction thing could definitely be used in a longer script.

Note: You must be logged in to add a new comment.
The following members have selected this script as one of their favorites:

Martin Jensen