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"In Ink" by Tim Westland ~ Second Place

Logline: An old man chooses a fitting way to remember his wife as she was in her last days on Earth.

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 5

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

Contest: Fifth Year Open (Dec. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

I loved the little tattoo shop details, felt you had experience placing tattoos. I think it added a realistic feel to the story.

The dark night setting added to the feel of the end of a life.

A very surprise ending, loved it! I'm not a native English speaker; is D.N.R. well-known shorthand for Do Not Resuscitate?

Bill Clar (Level 5)

"He look up" should be "He looks up".

"He can’t focus on his work." Delete this line. His groan is sufficient to tell us his dismay.

Good opening. An elderly gentleman knocking at such late hours. I'm hooked.

I'm unsure if you need a dash after "LATER". I'll leave that to more learned reviewers than myself.

The dialogue flows. Feels natural.

"He gets it and walks up to Paramedic 1." You have to visually tell the audience that Weezer gets it. A lost look in his eyes perhaps.

I like the characters and story. Your dialogue is strong and so is the pace. Any formatting errors are easily rectified.

Your ending with DNR is powerful. At first it felt forced. If someone wants to kill themselves, they shouldn't have need of "DNR". But then I thought of many botched suicide attempts and even a fall from several stories isn't a sure thing.

This is a great low budget script with minimal locations for ease of shooting.

Bill Sarre (Level 5)

Good story.

I am sure there are better ways to get DNR across as well as ending things, but that's a good tale.

Well paced, good characters, nice finish. I didn't see the ending so well done.

Maybe the woman could have a name if she knew the old man and relays so much information. Maybe the old man could relay part leaving less to the woman.

Tidy work.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

An interesting tale. A slight notice of detail... if his wife was on life support, her body wouldn't give out - it already has given out, that's why she's on life support. Anyways. If the man was set on tattooing DNR onto his chest, why would he jump with his shirt on? If Weezer wouldn't have done what he did, the rescuers wouldn't have stopped. I know part of part of Martin's plan is to leave his wallet, but what are the odd chances that Weezer decides to return the wallet the next day, at the exact time that Martin jumps?

I like the idea behind this, but it does stretch the coincidences a little bit. Also, Weezer's line about the man being Jewish and that he shouldn't get a tattoo? That was odd, almost like it was thrown in there just in case we missed that his name is a Jewish name. If a paying customer is willing to pay for a tattoo, I find it unlikely that the artist is going to doubt whether that person should be getting one for the good of their soul. Nice work, but it could use a little polish.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was written and paced pretty well. No formatting errors that I noticed.

The characters were pretty decent, dialogue was believable enough. I wouldn't really think they'd be trying so hard to revive a jumper. Usually that's a pretty firm DOA unless he jumped from like a 3rd or 4th floor, which would just be kind of silly.

Decently written, but the story didn't work for me just because I can't imagine them working to revive and 80 year old man that jumped off a rooftop and that kind blows the whole thing with the initials.

Nice work and good luck!

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

First impression, it was a good story; nothing that blew me away, but it was a good read.

I don't understand why you don't describe your main characters. You gave me a physical description of the old man but nothing of Weezer. What does a forty year old with a sleeve tattoo look like? Does he chain smoke, biker, hipster, a man who dresses like he's from the '50's, long hair, bald, etc. Tattoo artist come in all shapes and sizes. Such an important aspect that's often left out in short scripts. I understand that you want the reader to create their own imagery, but this is your story, desribe your character in this world that you created.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

I already like the title.

he looks, not he look at the clock.

wisp not whisp

heavens not heaven's

Great story, well-written. I like the minimal number of characters. I'm thinking I heard the story of tattooing DNR on a chest. I guessed that was it as soon as the siren sounded. Is there a way you could delay the reveal even longer?

Very, very good!

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Honestly, I was loving every bit of this until the final reveal of the tattoo. I was expecting more than DNR - which felt a bit forced. I still love this story and the image of an old man coming in for a tattoo, but I think there is a better (and more natural/subtle) twist to be had in the ending.

Still, your craft is excellent and I really loved these characters. Well done.

Christopher Pedersen Cook (Level 3)

Real gritty stuff. The atmosphere seems ingrained in the situation. Nothing is spelled out, but you get the darkness and the somber tone before the story actually turns sad. Nice characters, and the ending contains a nice reveal. Not overly complicated, but satisfies you entirely.

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

This was really well done and a completely unique story. You had two characters that I cared about and the dialogue seemed easy and natural. It easily kept my interest until the end. Well done. This is my last review this month and my fourth "Excellent".

Good luck. Thank you for entering.

Dave Kunz (Level 4)

Nice. This reminded me of an old Twilight Zone or Night Gallery episode. That's a compliment. The character's were a bit standard issue but clearly the engine that drives the story is: What did Martin have tattooed to his chest? And why? And you do an excellent job of paying that off in the end. I was a little confused about the time lapse between the "Night" scenes and the "Day" scenes (did just a couple of hours pass? Or a couple of days) but other than that I found myself totally immersed in this story. Well done.

David M Troop (Level 5)

In Ink

My initial reaction to this script was Wow! This is very powerful stuff.
Very emotional.
Then I stopped to think about it. Why would an 80 year old man go through all the trouble and pain of getting a tattoo just incase his suicide attempt went awry?
And I wouldn't picture him as a jumper. I would imagine him lying in bed with a picture of his wife and taking some sleeping pills.
This sounds picky, but it really is your own fault. You made the characters SO real that they came to life and I immediately connected with them. For me, this script was perfect until the final scene.
But, then when I think about it again, if Martin doesn't get the tattoo, there's no story. There's no Weezer. Just an old guy in bed asleep. And that's not a very good movie.

Your craft, as I said, is perfect. Your storytelling is excellent.
The characters immediately came to life.
You really pulled me into your story and made me care.

Overall, In Ink is EXCELLENT.
I still have a slight problem with the ending, but that might just be me.

Debra Johnson (Level 3)

Formatting was good. The story was good. Nice ending with the use of the 3 letters. Perhaps you could tighten up the scene headings. You repeat them when it wasn't needed.

You already established it was dark out with the opening scene. There was no need to repeat it in the description. Also, you were already in the tattoo parlor so there wasn't a need to do the same scene heading."Opens a sterile bag of needles" not begins to. (that's a flaw of mine too.)

Giving this a good. Good luck

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

-- A tatt man inks an old man --

Good script. Unique.

Title doesn't roll off the tongue. Maybe just INK? Don't start a story with It, esp if the line is "It's dark outside" Nice contrast that the man survived the camps but not his wife's death. Interesting that Martin wouldn't take his wife off life support - neat way to layer in character. Not the easiest short to film but it would be unique. Why no reference to his camp tattoo? Script reminds me of the song Tattoo by Janis Ian. Where would exposition be if there were no neighbors? ;)

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

Title - The title is fine as it is appropriate to the story.
Craft - Your craft is almost perfect. One very minor point is that FADE OUT should have a period after it not a colon.
Dialogue - The dialogue is mostly good but Weezer calling him "old man" even after he knew his name seems disrespectful and out of character because Weezer clearly was respectful.
Action lines - your action lines are fine, they are clear and concise.
Story - I like the story, it is sad yet somehow heartwarming at the same time.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

Jews aren't supposed to mark their bodies? Really? Wow, I never heard of that. That just opened up a whole new thought! I'm going to look it up!

That was pretty good. I see a lot of potential in this and that's why I'm giving you detailed examples of what I think could have helped the story.

- I think the Old man should have told his story too Weezer other than this random woman on the street. So then we would know why the old guy killed himself the time Weezer approached.

- You should have had the paramedics rip open his shirt and then suddenly stop trying to resuscitate him. Then Weezer will say something like "What are you guys doing?!" then the paramedics reveal what the words mean. The fact that Weezer deciphered it made him seem a little unrelated, because I can grantee most people don't know what that means.

But then again, this could just be a tattoo on his body and the initials could mean something else...

But I still like it. I'll give it a VG.

I also didn't like the dirver license but. It seemed convenient that the number to the building was on the side. I know some of them do, but most don't. Why didn't Weezer just LOOK at the old guy to tell if it was him.

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

An interesting yarn. The characters are well drawn, the plot moves foreward enough to hold my interest, the writing is clear and descriptive, my only criticism would be that it's all a little far fetched. It seems like an awful bother for an old man to go through when he's only going to kill himself anyway. I can see that there's relevence in the DNR because of his wife, but I find it hard to buy that he'd get it tatood on his chest.

Other than that detail, this way a very well written script. "Very Good" :) Well Done!

John Jones (Level 2)

Very nice. And it ends very respectfully. My only problem with the script was when Weezer wanted to cover the tattoo and he called it a "tat". Perhaps that's what he might call it when he was with a younger client but it felt out of place when talking to a man in his eighties. Tat just didn't seem to fit the flow. A great read. Was glad to see the little twist with the initials, too.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

I like your script.

I think the thing that may drag it down is the fact that your main man - your tattoo man - he doesn't have a drive, aim etc. The other one has a secret - he wants to die.

Better to leave a note perhaps, write it on the walls, on his forehead by a sharpie or else. But tattoo - not many can understand what it means plus if the tattoo man was not accidentally around, no one would, right?

Somehow it's a bit heavily plotted. On the other hand it really came together in the end and that's a huge plus. So, I think it's a nice job overall.

Kim M Brantley (Level 3)

Very well done. In Ink is written almost like an action script with its high tension and fast pace. I felt compassion for both Weezer and Rabinowitz due to the situations they were in, and the action lines showing the characters' reactions were light and spare enough so as not to slow the read down.

Kirk White (Level 5)

loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it! GO MAKE THIS! it is amazing.

giving an excellent.

Kisha King (Level 4)

The thing that I really like about this story is the build up, the suspense and the mystery. This is a great theme and I believe that it works great in five pages.

The conflict between the Weezer and Rabinowitz maybe a little too light hearted. Rabinowitz didn't fight to get into the closed parlor and Weezer didn't complain (that much) about the amount of work at 3:00am.

The conflicts and the suspense that are there are great but creating a little battle for the characters to argue over might just work.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Original and sentimental with an unique twist. Riveted to the story from beginning to end. Thought for sure poor old Rabinowitz was either getting the initials of his late wife on his chest, or a new girlfriend. The contrast between Weezer the tattoo-artist and the eighty-year-old gives the characters individual voices and adds a lot of visual interest.
Love reading a surprise -- never saw that DNR coming. Excellent.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

I can't help feeling as though your twist isn't entirely fair. You withhold the abbreviated letters from the reader, but you're a tad bit sneaky about it. You tell us that the letters are bold, thick, and dark: how do we know that if we can't see them? If a director is attempting to withhold the final info from the viewer, all they'll see is bits and pieces, or, more likely, nothing at all. It was obvious from the first that the letters were the twist, and equally as obvious that we readers were being held at arm's length. As a reader, I usually prefer the twist to be a surprise, as opposed to provocatively withheld information.

I'm also left wondering: why bother with the tattoo at all? Why not write on your chest in permanent marker? Much quicker and less painful.

Technically, the story is well written (but watch all those spelling errors!). And the similar final letters (Resuscitate and Rabinowitz) was a clever touch. Ultimately the story didn't really move or motivate me, though.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

I loved this.

Wonderful characters. They were so real. The dialogue was perfect. It's natural. It all makes sense. It all works the story forward.

There were no formatting, spelling or punctuation problems that I noticed.

Your writing is succinct and rich in detail at the same time. Very, very nice stuff.

Marjory E. Leposky (Level 2)

You wrote a really nice story here. It so sad happens to older people when the love of their life passes before they do. I live the flow of the story and the characters. I did not find any thing wrong with the script. I was able to get in to the story with out any problems.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

A great situation to open the script with. I like the contrast between the two characters.

I thought the conversation with the woman was edging slightly into melodrama, but the ending redeemed it. I like that you didn't go with an obvious choice of the initials of his wife or something like that. I'm not sure how it would play on screen; deliberately avoiding the letters would draw attention to them, but seeing them earlier would lessen the impact of the ending.

I'm not sure it's exactly plausible that he would get a massive tatoo for this purpose, but I didn't really think about that while I was reading it.


Matthew Scott (Level 2)

This is excellent. I don't have any negative comments. You set up two solid characters and a situation with a mystery. It unfolds effortlessly and any exposition comes as a payoff to questions we've wanted to get answers to. Cleverly, the last initial is R, which I assumed was for Rabinowitz. But the twist ending provides the old man's wish in getting the tattoo in the first place. Hope you win.

Michael Hughes (Level 4)

Well written. I thought the story had a good arc for a short five-page format.
Suicide stories are always tough for me because I end up over analyzing the person's method of getting the job done. There always seems to be an easier way if they are serious.

Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)

I liked the pacing of this. Nice setup. Good job conveying the old man's dispair. Nice reveal. Pretty good twist.

I realize this is nit-picky, but it seemed a bit overly dramatc when his legs go wobbly. And maybe the tie straightening, too.

But really, this was expertly written and a joy to read. Thanks.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

This has a great hook, I really wanted to know what the initials were and what the story might be behind them. Your two characters are also well done, particularly the old boy, he comes over as a real trooper and interesting dude.

I felt let down by the end, I didn't quite buy that Weezer wouldn't understand DNR before he saw the body; the hook was big and I felt the answer didn't deliver.

a few typos - some 's' missed off end of words and breath/breathe error.

Solid writing.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Okay, so it will be about some kind of deal or something.
Pretty cool title. In Ink. Like the sound and the look of the words.

Pg 1:
Okay, cool names, cool dialogue. Could use a little more description of the parlor or the effort Weezer goes through to tattoo himself. Does he pad the tattoo when he goes to the door? I'm interested what the old man's story is here.

Pg 2:
Getting more interesting. What is the story here, what's going on? I like this mystery. With the Jew-detail and such. I don't think they'd tattoo so much in a couple of hours, but okay, 500 dollars gets one motivated.

Pg 3:
So we (the audience) don't get to see the tattoo just yet? Just mention this a bit. Because I'm not sure if I'm seeing it, yes or no. Might cause some reader/viewer discrepancy. I know there's an R. Are we going for a DNR here? Do Not Resusitate? Old man, going against his beliefs. Oh oh.
Like the camp line.

Pg 4:
Bit of a stale page. Couldn't you do without the whole wallet thing? Just mention that he lives nearby? I mean, bit convoluted here with the matching adresses. Oh so his wife died okay. Yeah it's going to be DNR right?

Pg 5:
Catched 'sight' right? Okay, so I have known for a full page that the old man was the very same. Your audience will know too. You have to keep ahead here. And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the DNR. It was a bit too telegraphed anyway.
Odd that he puts the wallet back. You sure people would let him this close to a dead body? Bit suspicious isn't it? Guy just fell off a building and you put his wallet back.

So, well written. Cool characters, very good dialogue, but I mean that TWIST was so damn telegraphed. Cool idea for a story, but needs a different execution.
Very good, but barely.

Reginald McGhee (Level 0)

I haven’t notice any formatting errors nor spelling. At the beginning, you can omit “It is dark,” since we already know it is dark, indicated by the scene heading.

It’s nice that you minimized the number if scenes for a screenplay, which is good.

The story is about a suicidal man who lost his wife. He decides to have an owner to tattoo his chest (DNS) before killing himself. The story is unoriginal and clichéd, in my opinion. It has some good potential if you can tweak it to make it fresh again.

Your story is emotional and can touch many lives of other people. The only thing I didn’t like about the story is his intentions to keep the ambulance from resuscitating him. He can just kill himself already (I don’t mean to be harsh). What would be the point of him having the opportunity to live again, other than to see how people will react to his suicide attempt?

One more suggestion I have; title the story as, "DNS." It tells us what the story is about.

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Enjoyed this very much. Touching tale. Well told. Not crazy about the title but it works. Weezer was well-drawn and Martin resonated with me. This was a nice character piece that might draw some comments of cliche but I found it to be satisfying from beginning to end. What I appreciated most was the careful way you described the scenes without directing on paper. I could picture each scene but could also imagine what we, the audience, don't see until the final reveal. Nicely done. My first script but you've set the bar high for the remaining entries.

Robert Newcomer (Level 4)

So, this is one of those that reads pretty good provided you do not think too hard about it. There is an insurmountable flaw in the logic here, however, and that is why Rabinowitz would subject himself to such punishment when a simple magic marker would have done the trick.

You do establish a nice tone of dread at the outset, with sufficient curiosity to carry us forward as the tale unfolds. The Jewish angle was intriguing, though you did not really carry that forward. The same with the photograph.

Both of those details felt like they carried some sort of significance that would come into play later, and when they did not, it felt kind of odd that you chose to include them at all.

It was also a bit of a leap for Weezer to instantly realize the significance of the tattoo later, when its meaning was entirely lost on him before.

I think the final scene does carry some power -- despite the clunky exposition from the woman character -- but the pieces click together awkwardly when there should be a smooth fit.

The writing itself was tight, consistently engaging, and the tone was set very well from the outset -- but a few flaws in the telling bring this down a notch.

Very good.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

A couple of questions first, do you mean 2.44 a.m.? Or p.m.? If it's a.m., then why would Martin be out at that time?

I like the choices of your names of characters. Weezer is an awesome name.

The story is very sweet and poignant. I feel sad for Martin. I feel bad for Weezer too.

There's a great feel to this script, I can imagine both characters in the tatoo shop, I can see them there. It's very hard to write a script in five pages, yours seems so much longer than that, it feels like a complete story and I was sucked in from the opener until the ending.

I was a bit confused by the initials. Are they the initials of his wife? If so, maybe he could mention her name to Weezer at some point.

Gosh I really loved this, my first excellent. It will do very well I am sure.

Shaun Bragg (Level 4)

I didn't spot one error throughout the entire script. The structure was spotless.

The characters here don't have much going for them besides the woman we don't get to see. She has the most going for her and we don't ever see her.

The story here is underwhelming I didn't get much from it.

Shawn Cottrill (Level 4)

Good stuff. I always like a good thought provoking script. Good format and it was well written. I think it's clever that you mention the last letter is "R" because it could easily be his wife's last initial. The only thing I think would help this script is make the two characters bond. To some how make a connection. That would give the ending a little more impact.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

Very good story well told. Unusual and interesting characters. I liked the build-up to the finish. The only thing that I suggest is have the old man tell Weezer a little more about his late wife & her passing rather than have the random Woman explain everything in the end.

Trent Carroll (Level 4)

Holy shit!

Now this is what I'm talking about. This is definitely the best damn short script I've read this month. The setup and the realization. My god, the resolution, so clever. "Do Not Resuscitate" Genius. Normally a Holocaust background story feels forced into a script but there was only a mention and nothing else, just like you knew that's all the audience wanted to know.

Magnificent work. I can't believe how well done this was.


Purely excellent.

William Phibbs (Level 2)

The use of later as a scene transition seems to create more of a divide than anything else. Condensing that scene with more extensive scene descriptions would move it along just as well. It seems like there should be more dialogue from Mr. Rabinowitz. I know the mystery of his tattoo is part of the allure yet it seems necessary to create more sympathy for the characters situation. The flow of the script is broken up by these issues. I like the concept but it makes it hard to get to the bare bones of the script with these small issues that could greatly add to the flow and voice of the screenplay.

Comments Made After the Contest

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2012 12:03 AM

TIIIIIM!!!! Get it, mayn! Congrats dude. You took second! I really like this. I gave it a VG. I'm still curious on why Weezer didn't look at the old dude instead of checking his ID.

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 2/1/2012 12:08 AM

Congratulations on Second Place!

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 12:15 AM

Congrats Tim!! Didn't get to read this one but I will...YAY!!!

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2012 12:18 AM

Congrats! One of my favorites!! Well done.

KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 1:03 AM

My only excellent this month. Thought for sure this was going to finish first.
You are so talented. Congratulations on your second place.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 2/1/2012 1:03 AM

Great piece, Westland!

Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2012 1:24 AM

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments and for pointing out where the script fell down.

After submitting this, I didn't end up going back and re-reading it or anything. Just posted and let it stand.

Virtually every single comment pointing out the flaws are right on. I wrote from the hip and the bits that fail are the result. I appreciate your comments.

During the month, I did go through the script a couple of times and saw some of the same things you did. In the end, I think I needed another 2 pages to write the story as I wanted it to be. I'll be rewriting to include much of what's been suggested.

JP - Thanks! But I don't understand your question. Send me an email and we can discuss.
Chris - Muchas Gracias.
Marnie - get reading, girl.
Sally - Thank you.
KP - The only one! What about Jem's 1st place. That was way awesomer! But Thank you!
CC - Rusty was wrong. You do have taste! (Hee hee... thank you!)

Dan Delgado (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 3:31 AM

I really liked this one too. I need one more favorite this month.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 7:22 AM

Way to go Tim, congrats!!

Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 8:49 AM

I loved this, Tim. The short review doesn't really tell you how much. There was no doubt in my mind that this was excellent work.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 12:06 PM

Congrats, Tim! Good work!

Debra Johnson (Level 3) ~ 2/1/2012 12:49 PM

Congrats Tim! This was an awesome script!

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 1:39 PM

Congratulations Tim!

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/2/2012 8:10 AM

Just read this Tim and would have definitely given it high marks. Very unique and touching story with two totally different characters whose lives intersect. Great writing too. Congrats again!

David M Troop (Level 5) ~ 2/2/2012 2:36 PM

Congrats on Second Place! An excellent from me AND a favorite! The trifecta!

Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/3/2012 8:39 PM

Thanks again, all. I really appreciate the super kind words and that you took the time. It means a lot to me.

And I want to again mention how much I appreciate the constructive comments provided by everyone. Many of you pointed out weaknesses that absolutely need correcting.

Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 2/4/2012 8:30 PM

I liked this tory. It was a pleasure. In my reviewed, when I suggested you should title it as "DNS," I mean "DNR," since his main goal was to end his life.

I rated this as Very Good, and I look forward in reading more of your screenplays in the future.

Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/4/2012 8:41 PM

Thanks, Reg. I knew what you meant. :-)

However, I intentionally didn't title it DNR, because I felt that would have lessened the impact of what eventually happens in the script.

I appreciate the rating you gave it. And as for reading more of my screenplays... I have a number of them available in my profile, if you feel inclined to read them.


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

Trent Carroll ~ Kirk White ~ KP Mackie ~ Margaret Ricke ~ David M Troop ~ Debra Johnson ~ Zach Jansen ~ Justin Ryan Colon