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"Lost" by Travis DeStein ~ First Place

Logline: A man trapped in a dark place struggles to be heard.

Genre: Drama - Mystery

Cast Size: 3

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

Contest: Six (Oct. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
3%9%25%41%22%

Comments Made During the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

Surprising and original (at least to me) story as we crawl under the skin of a man in coma who can still hear his wife talk to him, and we experience the death together with him as the euthanizes him and he doesn't want to go yet.

A clear statement against euthanizing a coma patient. Makes the audience think about it.

I felt it went a bit slow in the beginning, seemsyou were padding it for pge length there.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

Great description of Billy.

The conversation between Billy and Heather is difficult to follow. I had to reread it to gain comprehension.

A very somber and powerful ending. If this ever gets made into a film it will be a tearjerker.

Bill Sarre (Level 5)

Small typo on page 3 - Billy lay in bed? fade out required?

Not the deepest use of the word Six, but I liked this tail.

Not sure why Billy is looking like he does in the world he occupies, but that's not a major point for me.

I liked the visual connection in the final scene and felt this had a haunting nature to it. Perhaps you could have him react more to this as he observes the approaching darkness. Possibly a chance for his character to make a realisation by the end thereby completing a change.

I enjoyed this.

All the best.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

3 Characters/ 3 Pages

Written, formatted and paced really well. No errors or typos that I noticed.

I've only read a handful thus far, but I'm guessing this one will be a contender when the dust settles. The story was cool. Maybe make the outcome a little less obvious at the start of the script, but otherwise this was pretty well done.

Short review because there's not much that needs work here. Nice job and good luck!

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

*APPLAUD* That was pretty damn good. Truly one of the better ones that I've read this month. Great characters. Suspenseful scenes. Great imagery. Nice script format. Nice easy flow. And it doesn't hurt, that the story was actually entertaining. I only have one question since Billy can see Heather in this limbo that he's stuck in; shouldn't her second dialogue be an "O.S." instead of "V.O."? I'm no expert and your writing is clearly better than mine, but I was wondering on that bit.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

While this was well-written, there was something missing for me and that was a contrast between the two characters - there was nothing to differentiate between the two of them that gave either a personality so it ended up with neither of them having a personality that I could engage with.

Billy lies in bed- not Billy lay

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

Wow, this was kinda nice. I liked it, but then I really liked it as he dies trapped in a coma. Great, but depressing, stuff.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

This is beautifully written. Your craft is excellent.

Very powerful story. I love the imagery, especially the use of white and black. Even the attention to sound is excellent.

Really well done.

Chris Setten (Level 4)

I've been watching the series "Lost" so perhaps this title is no longer an option for writers. The story is grim needless to say and I felt there could have been some more arc somewhere. Having said that, the writing was solid and the words chosen were vivid.

Christopher Pedersen Cook (Level 3)

The story conerns a very recognizable theme, but with a different twist. What compelled me about it was that for the first couple pages you weren't sure who was going and who was staying. In a way, it was like she was saying the words you'd expect to hear from him. Interesting, to say the least.

David M Troop (Level 5)

Lost is a very good 3 pager about a man on life support who crosses over to the other side - maybe a little prematurely.
My take on it anyway is that even though his body is in a veg state, his soul is very much alive and doesn't want to give up. I very much liked the white room with the millions of light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Then as his body slowly died, a row of lights dimmed until he is in darkness. Very imaginative. I would love to see that on film.
The writing style is excellent. A very visual script.
I have to mention the FADE IN over to the right instead of the left - the CUT TO BLACK instead of FADE OUT - and END instead of THE END - threw me off a little.
DOCTOR (20's) - was it Doogie Howser?
I don't care. I still give you an EXCELLENT.

Debra Johnson (Level 3)

Sad story but I like it. Well written. I don't really see anything wrong. So it's himon the table dying and his wife telling him good-bye. Sad. Good story.

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

Wow, wow, wow!!!

This is fantastic. I envisioned the whole thing and was absorbed into this world of white. Is she a ghost? Is he joining her? Is she not letting him? Then, I'm suddenly in a hospital room and I see what is about to happen and in my head I'm screaming "NOOOOO!!!"

So, I read it again. This time I know what's happening, and still, I'm moved beyond words.

Sometimes it's just the mood one is in when reading, but for whatever reason, at this moment, this really hit me emotionally, cerebrally, philosophically. I happen to be of the mind that a person who appears brain dead should be let go, so the survivors can get on with their lives. This script almost changes that mindset for me. I hesitate to say this because I think this could be very powerful and actually change the way people think, but this is screaming to be filmed.

Small nit-piks:
1.) In the first description, tell me that Billy stands in the room. I envisioned him laying down and it took me out of the story slightly when I realized he wasn't laying down.
2.) When Heather says "I lost the ticket stub from our first date." At this point, I'm thinking Heather is a ghost, so a less earthly line would keep me guessing. Maybe "And where did you put the ticket stub from our first date? I can't find it."

Make those changes and this is perfect.

Excellent.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

Excellent story and written in a professional manner. It earned an excellent from me. I can think of no suggestions for improvement.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

A wife decides to let her terminally ill husband go.

3 characters + 3 pages = 6

This type of story has been done before, however, your visual writing made it a new experience. Quite simply, excellent work!

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

Title - the title is appropriate for the story but doesn't tell us much going in or even hint at the genre.
Craft - your craft is nearly perfect, by why have a fade in and an "end" instead of fade out?
Dialogue - the dialogue is good. It seems to be natural and realistic for these characters.
Action lines - your action lines are fine. Thay are clear and concise.
Story - I like the story and especially the reveal about Billy dying and the meaning of the white lights.

Javier Ordonez (Level 2)

In this script, we see the outcome of an earlier action. There is nothing active since he's already dying. What's to make us care about his welfare? He has an inevitable death, which is not a dealbreaker by itself: numerous great stories have been spun out of the concept. Unfortunately, the only thing that makes inevitability interesting is the lengths to which a character will go to resist it. And resistance in this story is nigh-absent. A way to fix this glaring flaw would be to ditch the doctor (or not count him as a character since he doesn't do anything at all) and use that extra page to flesh out the conflict. You could even make it seem for a moment like everything is going to be fixed, only to rip out the ground beneath the audience with the reveal that he's lost the fight for his life.

Minor notes: You want to be using (O.S.) instead of (V.O.) since the character is in the scene but out of sight. The incorporation of the six was a little clumsy, but that doesn't matter too much outside the contest. Who puts something into hand of a dying loved one and leaves it? It strikes me as something blatantly symbolic but fairly unrealistic that a character, not a person, would do.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

Aw... That was sweet. I really liked that. I did think it was sort of predictable though, and I've seen the story told numerous times, BUT the writing was phenomenal. It read so smooth. I can tell this was written by an experienced writer. I just wish it had an extra umph. Something was missing. I think it was the element that makes the story unique. Nothing really stood out.

I'll give this a VG. Solid story, well told and written, and it kept my attention.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

It's very atmospheric and together. You can see the idea behind it right away. I also can see how it's going to be scored. For me it's a tiny bit melodramatic, I don't know enough about the main character, the word six is kind of out of place - in fact I'd suggest you take that part out, it reads kind of goofy, I think and disrupts the flow. I think the middle part where she talks about "little things" can be rewritten, think you could add more texture there. It's a nice work though.

Excellent from me.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Terrific opening. Heather's voiceover "Can you hear me?" is a real attention-getter.
The premise works. Felt the tug of emotion after the Doctor turns off Billy's life support, the sound of the WHIRR, then the screen goes black, "ONLY the DEEP HUM remains," and stops. Some powerful stuff.
Had some trouble with Heather's dialogue in Billy's last moments. Would she really put her wedding ring in her dying husband's hand and announce, "...I have to let you go"? Perhaps drastically cutting the talking would allow the visual and audio aspects to take over. The beginning and ending are superb; more of the same in the middle could be riveting.
Wonder if "I Can Hear You" might be a better title.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

Not a completely original idea, someone stuck in some type of coma/limbo, but I liked the way you approached it. The one thing that stood out to me as odd was when Heather said she couldn't even remember his favorite number. Out of all the memories you have of someone, especially a spouse, how important is their favorite number? So for me that seemed really off and just thrown in there to fit the challenge. I think you could have found a much better way to fit in the number six.

Nice writing, easy to read and picture. Good job.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

I liked the ending, where she turns off the life support machine although he's still conscious. It was very dark.

The "your favorite number" was a very obvious way to make the script fit into the contest requirements. I can't think of an adult I know with a favorite number.

"Billy lay in bed" should be "Billy lies in bed".

Heather's speech doesn't feel very authentic. I think in real life she wouldn't say as much, realizing that, medically, he probably can't hear her.

Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)

Wow, this was heavy. The mystery builds nicely.

For some reason, I thought Billy was in a hospital bed at the beginning until he "turns and steps toward her". The favorite number thing seemed a bit awkward. I think this could be changed in a rewrite.

The opening and closing scenes were really great. "...the lights begin to die off row by row" was very effective as was the cut to black, hum, then stops.

Nice work.

Moldovan Alexandru (Level 3)

I like the title,it's sublime and it fits the story.

The metaphorical room full of lights,the blinding whiteness and then when he dies all the lights go out and all turns into nothingness,pretty good antithesis between white and dark,kind of reminds me of a symbolist poem.

I have no experience to speak of when it comes to technical issues but to an unexperienced eye like mine it looks well formatted.I really enjoyed it.

Olga Tremaine (Level 5)

The title reminds me of LOST by J.J. Abrams... I even feel distracted now.

Why is the title "Lost"? I think Billy wasn't lost at all. Am I wrong?

The writing is good, but I don't know how many scripts I've read here like this one. The hospital scene, someone is dying. Honestly, it's tiring and nothing new.

So, what was wrong with Billy? Was he in the World Trade Center? Is he a marine and got injured in Iraq? Or is it just a staph infection? Who is he? I don't know. I don't know anything about him and it makes hard for me to root for him.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Atmospheric surely. Well written and good ending.

Biggest problem I have is that the emotion is constantly the same and the twist is telegraphed too much.
Little tension or stakes.

Reginald McGhee (Level 0)

Is Heather a ghost?

Your writing is good, and the dialogue is real too. I like the description you described about the white house and the lights in distance. The sentences are short too.
I like the plot where Heather breaks up with Billy and then disappears.
Do you mean, “Heather holds his hand tightly?”

You described Billy dying, and when he dies, the white house darkens as Heather disappears. The story development is right on point. The scenes line up and flow well.
I haven’t detected any grammar errors. You have minor formatting errors, though. I would say “FADE OUT” instead of “END.”

The title, “Lost,” fits the screenplay.

Robert Chipman (Level 4)

A very good, if very predictable script. Right off the bat, I assumed that this script was going to end the exact way it did end. Aside from that, and a doctor in his 20's, I enjoyed how you wrote this story. I didn't see any major issues with the formatting or writing in this script. Not a ton to say about this script. I rate this very good.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

The story confused me a bit. I get that he's on life support, but I didn't understand some of the dialogue. Heather lets him go, she can't wait for him. They take him off life support and he dies.

I guess I'm looking for some sort of story here, that I am not getting, with what you've laid out.

I think visually it would be strong, but lacking in any kind of solid story, makes it hard for me to be connected to the characters and feeling sympathy for their situation.

Sean Chipman (Level 4)

Some small formatting problems here but nothing worth taking points off for. This story was good. I like the ending and the darkness (if you'll pardon the pun) of it. I like your minimalist (for the most part) style of writing and it made this a breeze to get through.

Very good.

Shedric Bragg (Level 3)

The use of six in dialouge wasn't used effective in my opinion. The visuals in here were okay. Other than the visuals the story wasn't flowing the way I would've liked it more. Sad and moving. Liked the ending.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

Title: A little boring. Based on the writing in the script, I think you could have come up with something a little more interesting or inventive.

Story: This is well written. However, the overall impression of the script felt a little like something out of The Sixth Sense. You handled it just well enough so that even though I could "sense" what was coming, I wasn't dissatisfied. The best part of this is how you end it. That part stuck with me.

Very Good.


Comments Made After the Contest

Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 12/1/2011 12:05 AM

Congrats, Traverino. You continue to bowl the rest of us over.

Ya bastard !

Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 12:13 AM

Wow! I wish I'd had a chance to review this! Excellent work! Congratulations.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 12/1/2011 12:33 AM

Great work Travis.

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 1:07 AM

Congratulations Travis! My favorite of the month!

Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 12/1/2011 2:55 AM

This one has an excellent from me. I enjoyed the story.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 6:29 AM

A deserved "win". Congrats on an excellent job!

Denise Jewell (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 9:30 AM

I nailed it!! I knew this would win. Absolutely one of the best things I've read on MP. Great job, Travis!!

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 12/1/2011 10:51 AM

Congratulations on First Place. This was great. I love reading your scripts.

David M Troop (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 3:51 PM

Congrats! You may have won this one, DeStein...
Just kidding. I loved this script! Excellent from me!

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 4:29 PM

Congrats, Travis!

Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2011 5:39 PM

Got a VG from me.

Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 12/2/2011 11:24 AM

This screenplay reminds me of the movie, "Burried." Paul Conroy finds himself trapped inside of a coffin. The only things he have to survive is a lighter, flask, flashlight, knife, glow stick, pencil and a cellular phone with only a small amount of oxygen in the coffin."

I wish they had an American version of the movie. It's in Spanish.

Zach Jansen (Level 4) ~ 12/2/2011 3:03 PM

@Reginald:

"Buried" was Spanish-financed and made with a mostly Spanish crew, but the movie is in English.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 12/3/2011 2:51 PM

Nice one Travis - congrats! I didn't get a chance to read any this month but great to see you placing again.

Rich Keel (Level 4) ~ 12/7/2011 4:24 PM

Where's Loche and Kate!!!! :) You fooled me with the title. LOL

Congrats on the win. Just read this. I like it...I thought he was in a coma but I get the idea. Pretty quick and enjoyable read. This would be a nice film to shoot. :)

Felipe D. Machado (Level 4) ~ 12/14/2011 3:06 PM

This was very well written. The way you not only gave clear visuals, but also very descriptive sounds was very powerful.

My only complaint is that I knew exactly what was going on very early on and it's not the first time I've seen it, so it's not all that original in terms of the story. What was original is the way you played with metaphors and your idea of what a coma looks like.

Great job overall.

Ronald Ford (Level 1) ~ 12/16/2011 4:22 PM

It was ok. Few grammar mistakes. When Heather spoke at first it was actually an "O.S." not a V.O. I can tell you enjoy writing. Keep at it and you'll get better with practice.

David Serra (Level 4) ~ 12/17/2011 3:14 PM

Very interesting and creative. Although you have a few flaws in grammar, I thought it was cool.

Congrats on coming in first place.


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The following members have selected this script as one of their favorites:

Faith Friese Nelson ~ Denise Jewell ~ Chris Messineo ~ David M Troop ~ Khamanna Iskandarova ~ Byron Matthews ~ Reginald McGhee