Comments Made During the Contest
Adam Grage (Level 4)
A real interesting piece. Dialogue was tight and well done. Though the sight of someone digging things out of William bowels wasn't the most pleasant I enjoyed the way the story was presented and the split between the medical examiner and the circus performers made this story unique and sweetly put.
Adrienne Jorgensen (Level 4)
I really like the changing locations and think that the intertwined stories work really well together. The dialogue is really good though there were a few places where it could have done a little more work.Jack's line about hating the circus was a really good transition into changing POV to William (who, incidentally, breaks my heart) and also a good indication of Jack's character.
Austin Bennett (Level 4)
I think "Medical Examiner" is the more appropriate term than "Pathologist".Is Jack's first line supposed to be O/S? I'm assuming, since you don't introduce him until after. If it is, then (O.S.) or (O/S) needs to be next to his name.I think you need to mention that it's William on the table. Or, at least, DEAD MAN. William would be the more acceptable term, though.I like it. It's subtle. I don't think Jack really thought it was homicide. He just wanted to be with Emily. I think the dialogue is great. No complaints from me.
Austin Jones (Level 4)
Nice use of blending the two stories together. The structure kept me interested and I like carnies! Not exactly sure why she is crying at the end though...
Barbara Lewis (Level 4)
I think this is written very nicely. I don't totally believe that the pathologist would cry over finding a ring in there - if anything, she'd probably laugh - people who deal with death as a profession tend to have twisted humor :)I like the story. :) I think you could tell it with a lot less flashback.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was written very well. The only thing I didn't really get was how the coroner would know the story and be touched to tears. Nice work.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Seemed funny to me, the comment 'I hate the circus' when Jack looked at the body. It didn't seem to make the transition from autopsy room to freak show tent any smoother!This was an interesting and quirky story which I liked. I thought the ending was a little on the predictable side (William dying of a broken heart) I had it in my mind 'How clever! Annabella is going to say yes and the shock will be so great he dies!'The feeling I had was that there was a bit too much of the Carnival Barker - he was a very minor character but occupied too great a role with all that dialogue. I'd have preferred to know more about Annabella.Good stuff though - we should produce a series of autopsy room shorts! (ref. Mermaid-like Awhile)
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
I thought the story value here was excellent. Well paced and interesting, it moves along drawing you in, wondering who's on the table, what killed him, etc.Your writing is good, didn't really see any flaws.The main problem I had was with the dialogue. A lot of it just didn't seem natural to me. I guess people actually say, "How are you doing this evening, Emily," but I don't usually hear them. Especially when these people have a history. "Detective Taylor, what brings you to my lab?" Seems stiff. The fact that you immediatley use their names in the first lines also makes it seem like you're just trying to get their names out there. Considering their past and what she's doing in the opening scene, I'd expect him to start out with, "There you go, ripping out another guy's heart." and she'd reply something like, "Yeah, thanks to you I'm getting really good at it. I thought I told you to stay the hell away from me." To which he could reply, "I was trying, but you're elbow deep in my victim." yada, yada, yada.Anyway, think you did a good job, a little polish on the dialogue and you'd have a real keeper here.Good job.
David D. DeBord (Level 5)
Very concise writing. Well done.The interaction between the detective and doctor is fun, surprising, terse in a good sense, and great at establishing their charaters quickly. We get their personal history with just a couple of words.The simple back and forth between the doctor's room and the circus moves the story along.An most important - there actually is a good story. A mystery, love story that holds our interest.
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
The title fits well with this story. It is a true love story. I enjoyed it. Funny part when the detective said what kind of perfume and she anwered "disinfectent". FUNNY!Are you sure you meant Frog and not DOG when the lady tossed him the coin? Hard to picture a frog catching it. But it would work.I just thought the whole story, the use of the props and the writing style was really good.Good luck!
Deborah Mack (Level 3)
Good job on this one! I thought it was very creative of you to use the button, coin and ring as objects found in someone’s dead body. Wish I had thought of that! I loved the part; “You smell good. What is it?” “Disinfectant.” “It’s nice.” LOL! I also thought you did a good job letting us see William’s love for Annabella. (As opposed to telling us that he likes her.) I didn’t quite understand why at the end Emily got teary as she picked up the ring. Was it because of her own feelings for Jack or was she feeling sorry for William? I would think it is for Jack, but Jack has nothing to do with the ring. Maybe she is just wishing that someone would offer her a ring like that. But it was still a really great story. I only found one small format error that I’m not even sure is a real rule. I have just seen it this way all the time; the use of (CON’T) after or under the character’s name when their dialog is split by action. Other than that, it was a great, great story. Loved it! :D
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
This was crisp and well written, I liked the dialogue between Emily and the detective. The end threw me, I don't quite understand why Emily got teary eyed unless it was over herself not being married. You set everything up for that quite well. Very Good.
Graham Trelfer (Level 4)
Best use of the three objects I have read so far. A nice little story. but feels like there is something missing or something more that need to be pulled from it. I am not sure the detective was needed and wonder if it should just be Emily trying to piece together story, perhaps juxtaposing what she thought happened against what really happened.I don't think you should show William's death. actually that's it. don't show him eating the ring at all, that way when she produces it in the final shot it is a surprise for the audience. You need to direct the audience one way (ie she accepted the proposal) then reveal something different.OrHave her accept, put on the ring. Then after she pulls the ring out of his stomach she moves over to the second corpse, a hit and run or something and we see Annabella. Or something like that.But good job.
Jane Beckwith (Level 4)
This script was a lightening read, had great transitions between scenes, subtle and pointed dialogue, a great emotional center and a weird setting. Terrific. The only bit I didn't like was the opening. I don't know if cutting the guy open stem to stern is totally necessary, and it is a bit of a cliche these days.
Jay Knisely (Level 4)
Pretty good little piece of work. It grabbed me at the start and smoothly paced and transitioned me through to the end. The fifty-cent piece would be a nice place for a match cut. But my postmortem score is a very good thumbs-up.
John Foley (Level 4)
The use of the carnival as a setting was used in a few other scripts this month. I never thought all the items could be used at once to do in a character. I think once the first one came out of the bowels I knew the rest were there. I would have thought you may have the other objects appear in different parts of the corpse.
Kirk White (Level 5)
You managed to cram a lot of dense STORY into 5 pages. This thing has a lot of levels and depth. On the surface, it's a crime procedural but when you look beneath it's all about the sadness of two different people connected by unrequited love. I'm giving this an Excellent!! Lovely...gross...and lovely
Liz Messineo (Level 4)
Good use of flashback, especially when William swallows something and it's then pulled out by Emily. Nice parallel story lines. The relationship between Emily and Jack could be a little more perceivable - some may miss that they used to be together. A sad, poignant story.
Margaret Avnet (Level 4)
A sweet story of unrequited love. You do a nice job of going back and forth between the carnaval and the autopsy room.
Matias Caruso (Level 5)
This was a very good read.It was very creative to have a character swallowing the challenge’s props, haha! I don’t think I’ll see a similar approach in the rest of the scripts I’ve left to review.I liked how you used visuals to link past and present; those transitions would look pretty cool on screen. The non-linear execution helped to build some mystery here and it was a good story choice.Jack and Emily’s exchange was quite entertaining. I’m not sure, but did I see some parallel between their relationship and Anabella/William’s subplot? Seems like there’s a broken heart in both of them.Emily says William died of a heart failure, although I sense that Anabella’s rejection to him had a part to play in this. I wish this aspect was a bit clearer. I mean, why did he die after swallowing the ring? It seemed as if he was trained to swallow even more dangerous things.Anyways, this was one of my favorites.Very good job. And thanks for the read.
Michael Cornetto (Level 5)
I thought this was pretty good. You can hardly ever go wrong with a colourful film about a sideshow. The one issue I had with it was the end. Why would Emily cry when she saw the ring?
Pia Cook (Level 5)
I thought this one was great. My first read this month and a great one to set the bar.Loved the dark and moody tone and the great combination of a carnival and an autopsy.Great dialogue between Emily and Jack.Don't know what else to say about it. I really enjoyed it.
Rob Gross (Level 4)
I enjoyed this script very much. I liked your use of flashback. It was very subtle and very effective.I thought your dialog betweent the detective and the doctor was excellent. It seemed to ring true to me. Sounded very believable.I liked the originality of the story. I'm not sure why the doctor was sad. She must have seen this type of thing before. It doesn't seem like she would know about the story of William being rejected, so why would she cry?Other than that, I loved the story.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Wow! I really can't believe you packed so much story into five pages. This is going to be a favorite of mine. I love the way you managed to make two separate stories come to life simultaneously.This works on so many levels. I think the writing is tight, well done and you've told a really great story. I think what works is that the setting of the carnival, makes it sort of old fashioned and eerie. And the stark reality of the autopsy room contrasts so well. Then you have the story of Emily and Jack that parallels that of William and Annabella. Both are love stories, and both are of unrequited love in a way.The coldness of the autopsy room, against the colors of the carnival, really work well together.The writer knows her/his stuff, and how to craft a well written story in only five pages. Everything about this script works for me. Well done. A definite favorite.
Spencer McDonald (Level 4)
A great story. Very tight descriptions and good dialogue. The Circus Barker did seem a little stilted but that didn't detract from an awesome story. I liked the ending where Emily felt for the character. An emotional connection based on simple object like a ring.Sweet job.
Stephenie Ruffin (Level 4)
A story with nicely written descriptions and dialog to match. Great read and great story.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
Tragic. Nice development of the character relationships. I even forgive you for bouncing me between two sets of characters, usually I find flashbacks annoying but you made it work because the characters were well drawn & interesting individuals.
T. Joseph Fraser (Level 3)
Great mood and atmosphere. Nice graphic set-up with the autopsy...The only nit-pick is I think that Emily tearing up at the end is out of character, as no one but William would have known the significance of the ring, especially as it lies in the bowl with the other misc. objects.
Terry Huskey (Level 2)
I found this story interesting. The dialog between Jack and Emily seemed to flow well. I was easily able to feel the tension between these two characters.The only thing that I would suggest is to watch out for the scenes that happens at an earlier time. It looks like the AUTOPSY ROOM is the only scene set in the "Here And Now" All the other scenes, which were basically there to help the reader understand better who the dead guy was and how he got into this position in the first place, all happened in an earlier time frame. Even if those scenes happened only a few minutes or even hours earlier, let the reader know that. For example: INT. FREAK SHOW TENT - NIGHT should be written as INT. FREAK SHOW TENT - NIGHT - EARLIER. And when you come back to the PRESENT TIME, I would use: BACK TO SCENE.Be sure to always make it clear to the reader what is going on as to WHEN it was going on. It will make for a much easier read.Once again, great story idea. Keep up the good work.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
I really enjoyed this script. There is very, very little to critique here. It's very methodical, I love the subject matter, as well as the duality/dichotomy.Solid dialogue, great transitions and wonderful characters -- especially William.
Comments Made After the Contest
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2007 12:08 AM
That was really great Chris!!I only read about half of them, but all three 1-3 winners came up for me. Sorry you were outdone by my favorite Argentinian and Michael C, but you all were amazing!:-)
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 12/1/2007 12:11 AM
Loved it, as you can tell. Well done.
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 12/1/2007 12:51 AM
This was a fantastic script and I am glad it placed!!! I knew it would.
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 12/1/2007 12:59 AM
Awesome job, man. I liked this one a lot and I'm glad it placed.I remember saying the same thing last month. I think you're becoming one of my favorite writers :-)
AJ Smith (Level 2) ~ 12/1/2007 2:14 AM
Didn't get a chance to read this during the contest, Chris, but I enjoyed it immensely. I loved the flashback technique and there was some great descriptions in there.Thanks for the read!
Austin Jones (Level 4) ~ 12/1/2007 8:40 AM
Congrats Chris! A well deserved win!
Michael Cornetto (Level 5) ~ 12/2/2007 5:39 PM
Rick Hansberry (Moderator) ~ 12/3/2007 5:11 AM
Way to go, Chris! I feel badly. This is the first month that I couldn't get to review all of the scripts and sure enough, I missed getting the chance to read yours. I'll be checking it out later today. Awesome job, placing against such a strong group. Best of luck with this one!
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 12/4/2007 12:27 PM
Thanks everyone for the kind words.I really liked this script and was hoping it would do well.For those who are curious, I wrote it while listening to a lot of Tom Waits.
Kirsten Bischoff (Level 3) ~ 12/6/2007 9:20 PM
Congratulations! Nice job - You have such a terrific ability to pull someone along in your stories - and I never ever know what is going to happen next or what story you are going to write about - the settings, characters, and details are always so different. And how many people could give such a melancholy feeling of sadness to an ironic story such as a circus character who swallows broken glass - swallowing his sadness and dying of a broken heart. There is always such a wistfulness to your stories - and I think it comes from the way you put words together.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 12/14/2007 3:48 PM
Congrats, Chris, great job. Loved the story, but the dialogue just seemed a bit stiff to me. Re-reading it now it doesn't seem so as much. Oh well, the downside of the anymous comments is going back now I cringe thinking about giving you a lesson in dialogue.Cest la vive. Did you enter November? Thought you said you had not, but read one that I could have sworn was yours.
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 12/14/2007 4:04 PM
I think that is the benefit of anonymous reviews - the fact that no one pulls any punches because they know whose script they are reviewing.Who says I can't use a lesson in dialogue? We are all here to learn and hopefully, I am slowly improving.I did not enter November. I needed a break for a month.
Michael Berg (Level 3) ~ 1/21/2011 11:15 PM
Nicely written, good subtext. Fast read, always looking forward to what happens next. A lot of story packed into 5 pagses I like the banter between the detective and mortician. Thought William's expression of love went on a bit too long. For as much dialogue as Carnival Barker says, he could probably been introduced/described more substantially.
Heather O'Connell (Level 4) ~ 1/22/2011 11:58 AM
This is a great story. You really showed a lot about Jack and Emily in their dialogue and actions so that the end had a big emotional impact. I really liked this.:)
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/23/2011 9:01 AM
Thanks a lot for the new reads and comments.It's been over three years since I wrote this and it's still one of my favorites. I really like the characters a lot (especially William) and the way his and Emily's story connect.I wish I could shoot this one, but the locations and the dead body make it very challenging.
Abel Zerai (Level 2) ~ 1/24/2011 7:06 PM
This was a very interesting piece. I liked how the story was unique and how it intertwined two past romances. The only problem with the story that I particularly had was the ending and its meaning I feel the resolution is not clear enough. Did Emily regret how things ended with her and Jack upon seeing the ring or did she regret interfering with a marriage and saw how heartbreak can kill a person? There are other scenarios as well but those we're the two that stuck out with me. I'll give the story a "Good" rating based on my confusions but if the resolution became more clear I'd definitely bump it up to a "Very Good" because the dialogue and interchanging stories was very well done.
Bill Sweeney (Level 0) ~ 9/20/2011 10:15 PM
Very nicely written. Smartly paced. I think the biggest problem is that the characters have so much to tell us, that they're begging for a more pages to show us who they are. But for the limitations you had, it was very nice.