Comments Made During the Contest
Ammar Salmi (Level 5)
"is the exactly the" page 2Man, that script kicked some ass. I like the translation you made for her reality. I like how you hold surprise for us in the end. There isn't much to be said about it. It was brilliant. The one thing I'd recommend is to put more symbols in the stories. Also was the new born dead or alive. You should make that clear.
Austin Bennett (Level 4)
I can't say anything bad about the actual writing. The scenes were written well. But as a filmmaker, I can't shoot this script. The transitions from fantasy to reality don't work. I would have to rewrite it to include transitions: either match cuts or what have you.I like the idea of this but the baby comes out of nowhere. Is the baby asleep the whole time? Or do we not hear the baby screaming, crying, yelling? What's the story? The baby is a pay off without a set up. The stakes aren't there in the beginning, so the reveal isn't rewarding. It could be good if it had another rewrite.
Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)
It won't be hard to cast an actress for the Sophie part, you describe her as being beautiful :-)I like the effect where you move from desert to city, from beauty to homeless. Fantasy versus reality. I haven't seen it before, like it. Original.Gut-wrenching detail, the baby in the shoebox. Surprising ending also. Very powerful story and well written.
Bill Clar (Level 5)
Interesting title.Great description of the desert and Sophie.Wow. A beautiful, original tale. I wouldn't change a thing.
Bill Sarre (Level 4)
Superb.Powerful, haunting and yet intriguing - which is real, are they both real. I think the message comes across clearly.The writing was good, sometimes quite poetic, always a fine line with screenplays, but quality all the same. It drew me on.If I had an issue it would be Sophie in the city is set up as an unappealing character, so how did it come about. Is t hers? It is an unaswered question but to be honest I'm not sure it needs to be.My favourite so far.Well done.
Brian Howell (Level 5)
Very well written and captivating story. My one criticism is I felt like we jumped between the desert and reality too much. I almost think the city stuff kind of brings this down. The fantasy world is so vivid and film-worthy. I want to be left in that world until the very last moment. I understand why you did this, it was a little distracting to me, that's all.You have a tremendous command over your words, and paint beautifully with them. Some might mention it feels a little verbose and crammed with detail, but for me this works very well. I hope this does well.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was written and formatted well. The pacing was pretty sluggish though. More white space would certainly benefit the flow of this script.The story was okay for me. I did like the twist of it being a baby in the box. I wasn't sure what the significance of the desert story paralleling reality was though. Why was she seeing everything in a fantasy world? Overall, this was pretty well done. The story was interesting, I'm just not quite sure I got what you were trying to convey with the desert stuff. Nice work & good luck!
Byron Matthews (Level 4)
First impression, EXCELLENT! I APPLAUD the effort and work.Excellent opening lines. Painted a great backdrop. I did notice a few grammar mistakes, but beside that, this script is pretty darn near perfect. Great action. Smooth and clear transitions between reality and fantasy. You had a great idea, and you nailed it. I would actually like to see this one on youtube or something.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
My second excellent in a row. I LOVED the juxtaposition between the desert and the street. Fantastic job!Its back - not it's back. It's means it is.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
This is achingly beautiful. Your descriptions are gorgeous (although maybe a tad overdone at times). Still, this read like poetry. I love the transitions from reality to imagination. The reveal at the end of the baby is heartbreaking. Fantastic script!
Chris Setten (Level 4)
A vivid portrayal, written with flair . The twist was unexpected and different, caught me by surprise. Beautifully written, but easily recognizable (not sure whether that's necessarily a good thing). Perhaps you could experiment a bit with different styles to match your stories in order to broaden your skill set.
Christina Kishpaugh (Level 3)
Very visual and I love the use of two types of realities for Sophie. It reminds me of the movie "The Fall"- with reality and then a parallel more fantastical world. I like the visuals of Sophie and the differences of her in each reality, she is more of a warrior/traveller in the fantasy and simply a poor homeless woman in reality. The realization that she has a baby in the shoebox was really good. I think I would have had the shoebox be something else in the fantasy world just because I can see it being pretty harshly out of place in that world- I feel like it would cause more confusion than it should. It's very sad at the end but it is realistic and somewhat bittersweet. Poor Sophie! :(
Christopher Pedersen Cook (Level 3)
I really like your action descriptions. It's difficult to find that balance when describing action in screenplays. If it becomes too rich, it feels bloated and you accuse it of belonging in a novel. If it's too sparse, however, it becomes flat and you have trouble envisioning what the writer intends. Here, I felt you struck that balance brilliantly. The story is also beautiful and heart-breaking. Did you ever see a crazy person on the street and wonder what's going on in their head? Well, one possible explanation is offered here.
Dan Delgado (Level 5)
I appreciate and often like these kinds of stories and this one was no exception. The main problem was it's a little too much story and a little too little screenplay. For emample:"And approaching it, with weakened steps, is SOPHIE (30s).She is dressed in mismatching cuts of scavenged material,the leggings of which are deeply blotted in blood. One armclasps her lower abdomen, while the other leads a PACK MULE.However, despite her injured and exhausted manner, Sophie’sappearance is unrealistically healthy for a desert traveler:"That's going to be hard for an actress to pull off. It kind of reminds me of the screenplays where the writer gives the age as 25, but he looks more like 40.I liked this but, in my opinion, it should have bee a little more terse.Thank you for entering. Good luck.
Darren Seeley (Level 3)
What's with the 'howevers'on p1? You get me a little worried with that. Just what I can see. Not make me second guess what I do. If you have to, just write 'mirage'. Thus, as the sight becomes 'clear' I can see more. Is that what you were aiming for?I did kind of like the "dream" hallucination of the sand creatures attacks and how it matched up with the Austrailian (?) clubbers (one one them says 'Oy') who harrased Sophie. I see this as part animation, if not entirely. The howevers and awkward opening stop me short of excellent.
Dave Kunz (Level 4)
Heartbreaking. I thought this story was wonderfully rendered. My only comment would be to be careful with the back and forth between city and desert. After awhile I found myself thinking, "Okay, I get it, she's delusional and her imagined world stands in stark contrast to the real world." It all gets paid off extremely well in the end but I couldn't help wondering if some of the sequences could have been trimmed for increased dramatic effect. But truly a well-written, emotionally moving story. Well done. I gave this script an excellent.
David M Troop (Level 4)
Sophie's DesertExtremely well written prose. I enjoyed the contradicting settings of the cold city and arid desert. The formatting was good except for some ing verbs and I saw an it's instead of its.pg 2 - The shoebox is the exactly the same...The payoff was very good. It explains everything and ties it all together nicely.I'm sure this will place. It's very well written and it's the type of script MPers love. The only problem I see is, I'm not sure I would understand it if I watched it vs. reading it.Overall, I thought Sophies's Desert was EXCELLENT.
Debra Johnson (Level 3)
This reads like a novel. What you write, you can film. You can't film a lot of the description. It was a nice and sad story. If you rewrite your descriptions where a director can film it, then it would be powerful. I did conenct with the character and even felt her pain. So good job!
Fall Mamadou (Level 1)
I truly like this story. Travelling throughout the desert is not easy, but Sophie's journey is very amazing. I think that the story is well builled from the biginning to the end. And their is the presence and differences of climat times, as from the desert to the city streets, with the snow, all build in a well cafted story. Good luck.
Gary Rademan (Level 5)
-- A newborn baby is delivered to a hospital by a delusional mother --Fascinating story. Dragged on a bit once we got what was going on.The final reveal was good based on the foreshadowing of the bloody abdomen but the story had an [insert any ending here] feel. The differences between fantasy and reality do not need to be pointed out. Too many shifts. Overuse of adverbs and the verb is.
Greg Tonnon (Level 5)
Title - the title is good and appropriate to the story. Craft - your craft is very good but I don't think you need to capitalize "PEDESTRIANS" or "PASSERBY" as they have no lines and are not defined characters. Dialogue - there is not enough dialogue to comment upon. Action lines - the majority of the script is action lines and they are very good. You spaced them well making it easy to read. Story - I like the story. You switched from reality to fantasy and back very well.
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
That's cool. I swear this could have been 3 pages. I just felt as though it dragged. It would be amazing visually, but story wise, the whole thing was just a big set up for the pay off at the end. But I still thought it was good. Very Good actually. I'm sure you'll get an honorable mention, or even place. :)
Keith Yount (Level 2)
Enjoyed the contrast of young and old and the vivide descriptions. I think the mule should of had a name which would give Sophie more opportunities for dialog. The clubbers dialog was a bit odd. When there is no descriptions of the people the dialog needs to be descriptive to help the reader get a feel for the character.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
Although it's melodramatic for me, I still like it very much and think it's a very good short.I think it's a bit overwritten. Too much of description, and reads like a novel but that's okay. The fact that she imagines herself in a desert is very entertaining and the comedic aspect does not get in a way of the drama. The clubbers - I think "look, she's talking to her trolley" is a bit on the nose. I think you can drop that line - we know they are entertained by this. The twist - the fact that she was talking to her baby is very good, I haven't expected that at all. And I really like the desert stuff - reads funny.
Kirk White (Level 5)
I love this. love the visuals. it would be dang near impossible to film without a crap-ton of money...but it's really powerful. giving an excellent
Kisha King (Level 4)
I really like the description of the desert and the city. I like how you used her imagination of the desert to replicate her circumstances in reallity. This story seems very relaxed and reposed. A part of me wish there was a little more action to the end of the story.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Imaginative, colorful, and riveting. Love the almost completely dialogue-free idea; forces a reader/audience to pay attention and pulls one directly into the story. The desert/city portions are equitable and well done. May be just a tad too many wordy descriptions early on. Personally love all the visual description, but so much may not be necessary. Tightening might speed up the pace a little.Wonder whether the last City scene is needed. The reveal that Sophie drops a baby off at a hospital and the transformation of her desert into the city, "skyscrapers sprout from the ground...sand become pavement," is so powerful that the last scene doesn't add any substantial information.Original and entertaining.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
An excellent use of fantasy/reality to deliver a powerful story. Love it. This is my only Excellent in the contest!When I got to page 3, I was actually disappointed by seeing dialogue. I think that hearing Sophie speak might destroy the finely-tuned air of fantasy/reality in this script. If her voice isn't exactly "right" for the script, it might destroy the tone and mood which you have so carefully crafted. I also think that the dialogue doesn't advance the script. A silent film could easily portray the drunks following after Sophie without the loss of a beat: instead of asking what's in her trolly, the drunks could just paw through her belongings, an even more visceral violation of Sophie's person. All in all, I'd recommend taking out the dialogue.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I like the title. As succinct as your writing is, and as well as you tell this story, there doesn't seem to be enough white space on your pages. I'm not rating on that, though. It's an opinion and a personal preference. Another personal preference of mine is to use exact ages for major characters, and I know I'm not alone in this. The whole point of a character description is to help the reader visualize the character and distinguish them from all of the other characters. Saying they're in their 30's is too vague. You explain things as you write. I just want visuals. Tell me what I see on the screen as it happens. It can be pretty, but it should be here and now.That said, keep the details you include limited to what's necessary for the story. When you have a busy city street at night, you don't really need to describe what the people are carrying unless the item plays a part in the story - like the hotdog.I really like the back and forth between Sophie's imaginary world and the world she actually lives in. Formatting is good. Spelling is good, though way English ;D. Punctuation is good.I love the story. Nice work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
Awesome. Amazing descriptions. Who the heck wrote this? I can't wait to find out. EXCELLENT!!!
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
I like the contrast between the same stories happening in the fantasy desert and in real life, but I'm not really sure what that's supposed to mean, unless it's how she imagines her life in which case she has some sort of mental illness and it's not very touching anymore. "claw marks on it’s back""it's" should be "its". Good.
Michael Hughes (Level 4)
Well thought out with nice visual parallels between Sophie's real world and her imagined world. The only parallel that didn't work for me was the red light of the hospital translating to a red light floating in the desert. all of the other parallels fit with the desert setting a little more cleanly. I kept thinking "oasis" would be a visual that would work.
Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)
This was excellent. Very vivid. I could see every scene clearly in my mind.Thanks for writing such an original and interesting script. I really enjoyed reading it.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
Lovely imagery and a simple story well told. Your visual descriptions are fantastic but very dense on the page - they don't pull the eye down for an easy read and are quite novelistic.But I was drawn in and enjoyed reading this. Very unusual, well done.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Title page:I hope this will be something like Sophie's Choice. Sand or Cacti? Oh the humanity.Pg 1:Weird, you use three lines to depict an ever flat desert, then you throw that all around by saying it DOES have variance and a unique thing and it isn't all sand by introducing the green patch. Couldn't you have opened with that?"A green patch admist an ever expanding desert. Flat, unnatural, safe for that single natural green cacti...blah blah"I'd change the tempo a bit here. Bit too much of a wall-o-text. Few single lines perhaps. Focus on different items. Okay cool juxtaposition. Interesting where this is going, hope the entire script wont be just two comparisons. She going to meet a stranger in this expanse? Pg 2:Okay, so this goes on for another page. Well written though. I like the shoebox detail. How it is the same in both worlds.Pg 3:Oh so, we're in Britain, how nice. Aw man, clubbers are so mean. Just sand creatures really. Pg 4:Another page full of descriptions. I do like them, but you don't really envoke much emotion with them. Could you mix up single lines and blocks a bit more? Just get more into it and focus on some details. Snow in the desert, nice touch.Interested in knowing what this red ball is, what it looks like in the real world.Pg 5:Very nice visuals at the end. Okay, so it's a hospital and it was her child (seeing as she clutches her stomach). Nice going with bringing it to the hospital. I wish we wouldn't have known sooner that she needed to take the shoebox to the red ball. Would have been a better goal.Very interesting short with nice visuals. I really like the story at the end. Not a lot of things happen through out, but it would be the execution that counts. Nice powerful story, very execution-dependable.
Reginald McGhee (Level 0)
The title sounds intriguing. The pacing can be tightened up a little bit. I see a small number of passive sentences. You are good at describing the sensory details of the story.I can safely say that Sophie is the protagonist of the screenplay. Right now, I can tell that you outlined the screenplay because of the way you written your scenes. I wonder if Sophie is lost in the dessert. I like the suspense going on so far. As I continued to read down, things become a little tense. I like the mysterious plot point where it suddenly snows on Sophie and only her. I don’t understand why Sophie just wouldn’t open the shoebox to realize who is inside. Did she already know that a baby was in there to begin with? I guess she did, since she knew where she was going and must found the shoebox lying in the dessert. So was this all a dream or was it Fantasy? I’m not quite sure what the purpose of the story is. Sophie lies in a dessert, finds a baby, takes it to the hospital, a group of people makes fun of her, and the dessert transforms into a city street. I’m not sure what’ s the story’s core theme is.
Richard Buckley (Level 4)
I liked this a lot, but I must warn you I almost gave up halfway because it was so dense a read. It was only until things became a little clearer that the message kicked home. The reason for this however, maybe because I too, am a little dense. VERY GOOD.
Rick Hansberry (Moderator)
There are some beautiful moments of imagery in this piece and I think it would make a moving and powerful film. I felt that the opening page could contain a bit more about what was to come later, maybe a foreshadow of the box or its contents. I also liked the way Sophie defends herself against the drunks and the resolution was satisfying to me. This would obviously be more difficult to shoot than most shorts but I applaud your originality. I also enjoyed your visual descriptions and found this easy to picture. Very good work.
Robert Newcomer (Level 4)
While I predicted where this was story was leading us, that does little to discount the skill with which you transitioned between the two scenarios.Movements from one world to the other were nearly seamless, and the substitutions of mystical items from those of her harsh reality were clever and even surprising at times. The clubbers into sand creatures perhaps the best of these, but there were several others.This was at times weighted down with descriptions that seemed longer than necessary. The entire first page, for example, does nothing but introduce us to Sophie and her surroundings -- twice.Having Sophie die at the end seems like overkill. It seems enough that she wander off back into her desert -- mission accomplished -- and tacking on a two-sentence death scene feels like forced expectations.Perhaps that is just me, but it felt like the author was attempting to inject added depth where none was really necessary, and in a way it undermined what had gone before. The very end is actually what brought this down a notch for me.Very good.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I really liked this one. Very visual and very well written. I think the title is good, except I thought at first it said Sophie's dessert (I'm always thinking of dessert)Good solid writing and I like how you go back and forth to tell the story. Well done.
Shaun Bragg (Level 4)
For a moment I thought this was going to be a dialouge-free script, it does serve a purpose I was rooting for no dialouge. This writer is by far from being just talented. This was a exhibtion of good writer and story telling. The structure here really done well a little back story would've served Sophie's character a little better.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
Wow - someone is channeling Stephen King. This was Excellent. Great visuals, a haunting, tragic, epic story.
Trent Carroll (Level 4)
I have to admit that I was anticipating a relatively boring script when I saw all of the action lines and the lack of dialogue but this was actually pretty damn good. There were three minor mistakes (the most important of which is, you missed your "FADE IN:") but beyond that I couldn't find anything seriously wrong with it. There was a moment that I felt the script might be a little pretentious but that ending was too damn good. This is just a remarkable piece of fiction and I hope it does well this month.
Comments Made After the Contest
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2012 12:01 AM
Congrats Jem! I said you'll get a HM. Ha! You took first place! Way to go!
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 2/1/2012 12:08 AM
Congratulations on First Place. This was really wonderful!
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 12:09 AM
I didn't read that many this month but I read this and knew it would win. This is some amazing writing Jem. A touching story, poetic, visual...all fit into 5 pages. Congratulations.
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2012 12:17 AM
Congratulations Jem!!! Well done.
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2012 12:17 AM
I'm one of the smarty pants reviewers that gave this an Excellent. I knew it would win. KNEW IT !!!Great work, Jem. You officially ROCK !!!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 2/1/2012 1:02 AM
Excellent from me too!
KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 1:55 AM
Congratulations on first place. Terrific visual quality.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 7:19 AM
Congratulations Jem, great visuals, well done
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 8:45 AM
Congratulations, Jem! Really nice work!
Chris Setten (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2012 9:45 AM
Congrats, I rated this an excellent, a real pleasure to read. I guessed wrong on who I thought wrote it, I'm done guessing so disregard my advice.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 12:02 PM
Awesome on the first place, Jem! I knew this was the best of the month!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2012 1:38 PM
Jem Rowe (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2012 8:10 PM
Wow! Thank you all so much. I'm sorry I couldn't reply earlier.I live in Sydney where the results come out at 4pm, but of course I had to work waiting tables from 4-12pm. So when I was finished working, having no internet in the crappy little room I just moved into, I stood outside of a closed cafe to steal their internet and get the results. I didn't have time to reply to anything but I shook with excitement all the way home. I can't thank you all enough for you kind comments and constructive criticism.For some reason both of my moviepoet wins have come at pivotal times, last year I'd just finished high school exams and was just about to go backpacking around Europe. This time, as I said, I've just moved out of home to start university having returned from Europe a few weeks ago.Thanks to all of your generous feedback I think I'll shuffle my university subjects around, a bit less politics to fit in some units of film and english. Why not give this writing thing a decent shot?!?Thank you all again, the entries were fantastic this month!
David M Troop (Level 4) ~ 2/2/2012 2:35 PM
Congrats on First Place! An excellent from me AND a favorite! The trifecta!
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 2/4/2012 3:28 PM
I read your post and think - you live such an exciting life! And you are fresh out of high school - unbelievable! Congrats on the first place!
Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 7/22/2012 2:16 AM
I'm surprised that this isn't in production yet.