Comments Made During the Contest
A.M. Wallace (Level 0)
Good story. You developed Joey very well. You also set the scene for his horrendous family life very well without being over the top. You made your points without being preachy. Kudos to you! On a formatting note, whenever one character speaks back to back without another character speaking in between, you should put "CONT'D". Also, you have a lot of sentences that could be broken up into smaller sentences. It makes it a smoother read. Also, it increases the tension/emotions of the scene. Instead of "His hands cover his ears, he rocks back and forth while he hums" you can try "His hands cover his ears. He rocks back and forth. He hums." Try playing with it and see what you like.
Adam Grage (Level 4)
I thought this one was going to be a rough one to read but the writing so done so well I really felt Joey and his little boy innocence. And the last bit with Walter was done very nicely. No back story on Walter is needed, because the visuals say it all. Great job.
Adrienne Jorgensen (Level 4)
Really sweet and sad. The characters were well realized and the dialogue feels natural. I love it!
Barbara Lewis (Level 4)
Wow, this is a really sad story. I like the contrast of Joey's horrifying situation with the sweet ending. Because the beginning is so dark, I think the end isn't over the top. It balances each other out. I guess I didn't totally believe Walter's character. He was just too good. But it's not a major thing.
Bob McFarlane (Level 3)
I liked the kid and the descriptions of what he tried to do to drown out the sounds of mom getting abused. But when did he call 911? When did he get in trouble for it? He said he did but when? All I saw was him trying to drown out the sounds, then he looks in on mom and she's asleep. If his actions to protect his mom was the reason for the vet giving him the medal, why didn't we see him in action?
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was really good. The writing was great, dialogue was spot-on, and the story itself was very engaging. Nice job all around. I won't be surprised at all if this one ends up in the winner's circle this month.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
This is surely 'Santa's Gift to Joey'?It's excellent, but not anonymous! Either that, or we have a serious plagiarist...
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
Excellent. Not much I can say, great story, expertly told. You really made me feel something for Joey and Walter both.Think this one will do well.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
This is wonderful.A beautiful, heartbreaking story, very well told.I love how much you let the visuals tell the story.
Dave Kunz (Level 4)
A very touching story. I was moved by the opening sequence and the description of Joey's circumstances, that part had a powerful emotional pull. And then when Joey meets Walter who bestows his old war medal on him, that entire section felt genuine and heartfelt. You chose to not show the 911 call. An understandable choice, but it did interrupt the flow of the scenes, for me anyway. Also, I think you could have gone right from "He was hurting my Mommy," to: "You were trying to save her..." I liked this one. It felt real and conveyed a lot of deep emotion.
David D. DeBord (Level 5)
Like it. Decent story. A bit over the top for me (Medal of Honor?), but still, it's Christmas.
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
This is awesome. Just plain beautiful really.I loved the story of the little boy and his whole conflict.I don't think I would change a thing except when he "skips" with the chocolate milk and cookies. Maybe show him skipping afterwards, away from them or something else to show that childhood joy. I could be crazy, but maybe he would drop a cookie or his milk and that would have broken my heart, he didn't have much! ;-)Anyway, besides that very small detail, I would love to see this filmed, it has the capacity to bring a tear.Good job and good luck!
Gary Murphy (Level 3)
Why did I like it? It was incredibly well written, for a script with little dialogue it worked so well, your descriptions and actions were spot on and I had not trouble whatsoever imagining being there watching. The story was simple yet effective, It had a beginning, a middle and an end - which so many 5 pagers I have read cannot seem to get right. It was a perfect Christmas story.Thanks
George L. Heredia (Level 3)
What a sad sad story...but it works and I liked it. I've read this story before...perhaps on another site? Zoe? And I still like it. This is what drama is all about. Strong images, moving sequences, you really feel for the kid.
Graham Trelfer (Level 4)
Very well written, a nice little story, good images, I just feel a little manipulated. The ending was predictable, but it was an easy read which is hard when there is that much description - but you kept it simple and it worked.
James Cheatham (Level 3)
There's a lot of promise - real promise - in this script, but it's not there, quite yet. The first three pages of the script really had me, I mean. I was ready for a Little Ted Bundy shock ending where the kid really was a monster and that's why Santa didn't come, etc.I love the imagery of the medal. I think that plot element falls a little flat as is because we don't really get the emotional connection Walter has with it (after all, the script is only 5 pages - not a lot to work with).I would challenge the writer to really strengthen the relationship between the medal and Walter, so when he gives it to the boy, the audience are reaching for the Kleenex.This script really has promise. I would love to read a longer version.
Jane Beckwith (Level 4)
The Medal of Honor - nice job. Sad recognition that not everyone who lives in a war zone has been officially deployed. I think the kid's character could have been deepened somewhat by giving him another characteristic or attribute beyond his situation. Please change "don't loose it" to "lose", and give this a going over for typos.
Jay Knisely (Level 4)
Well told tale of pathos. Hope and innocence of youth surrounded by despair and problems of others' making. Question marks for me appeared around the some-other-day 911 call and who was sharing in the noise of the evening. Emotionally well-squeezed read.
John Foley (Level 4)
This was a really dark script at the beginning. You did a good job of describing Joey and his home life. I liked that you did not show us his Mom being beaten. The sound of it was good enough here. (Sorry for the choice of words in this case). The character of Walter was a good relief at the end. I liked his explaination of being Santa's cousin.
Kirk White (Level 5)
Giving a very good! I thoroughly enjoyed this story. very real and touching. The only thing keeping it from being excellent in my books is the amount of "black on the page" It was work to read in some points and I think you can consolidate your words. other than that, the story was top notch.
Margaret Avnet (Level 4)
A nicely told story. I think it's sweet that a war vet would give Joey his Medal of Honor, though I'm not sure why he was carrying it with him in the first place. And I'm not sure if it were necessary to get into so much detail as to what was wrong with Santa's reindeer. But overall a very good job.
Matias Caruso (Level 5)
Very touching, very well crafted. No major complaints here.I really liked Santa’s Gift to Joey :-)I wouldn’t be surprised if it places.
Micah Ricke (Level 4)
Perfect form. Engaging. Sweet as hell. Damn good.
Michael Cornetto (Level 5)
This is an excellent Christmas script. The only issue I have is that him giving Joey the medal is unlikely. However, it's the thought that counts. Well done.
Paul Jaworsky (Level 4)
Overall a very good story. However, the lack of dialogue from the end of page 1 to the beginning of page 3 threw me a bit. I had to go back and read it several times to stay with the story. I'd suggest maybe breaking it up a bit and adding some dialogue. Otherwise a good story. Interesting.
Paul Young (Level 3)
The action moves along smoothly. Well written and it reads easily. Too bad the boy still has that kind of hopeless situation to go home to. Guess he'll have to suck it up until he moves out.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Just a beautiful story. I really enjoyed this one, and it's one of my favorites. I sort of wished that Walter was not a greasy drunk guy. I sort of pictured that he would just disappear, as if he were a Christmas Angel or something, I wish he'd been just a regular guy.I loved the story, sad as it is, and I love that Joey got something for Christmas.I gave this an excellent, because of the story. The writing could be a little more crisp and clean, but the story is what caught my heart, and I would like to see this one filmed.
Spencer McDonald (Level 4)
Little Joey... I know you and as I read this story, it played in my head. Like small voices from... well you know.Hey... I love this story. Very well told or should I say shown. You are one of my favorite writers.Well done grasshopper.
Stephenie Ruffin (Level 4)
That was cute. It was a simple story with lots of meaning. Nice story and great job.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
Great intro & solid story, pulled me in immediately & had me very sympathetic with Joey. Nice job on painting the poor kid's life, and the dialog with Joey & Walter was very good. I would suggest tightening this up a bit by eliminating some of the shorter scenes altogether.
Terence Ang (Level 3)
I like the idea of Walter's character being a disillusioned war veteran and passing on something mystical and special to Joey. The criss-crossing of two perceptions is really poignant and definitely, inspiring. Great job.
Vitomar Souza (Level 0)
Your script grasped my attention through out. Very good!
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
Interesting, depressing and even a bit uplifting. It was very well written and real. You can feel the pain of both Joey and Walter, and how a small Christmas moment can do a world of good for both of them.Well done.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2008 12:13 AM
Congratulations. This is a great story and script.
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 12:19 AM
Congratulations, now you have an excuse to get even more drunk.Now let’s discuss your suggestion about kicking winners out of the site :-)
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 12:23 AM
Wow!!I guess I'm happy with this!! ;DI guess I should mention that this might be the best one of mine so far. Two weeks ago it won the Gimme Credit competition http://www.gimmecreditcompetition.com/winners.htm . under a different name...I noticed there were some "fair" votes on this one. I would lke to know why you people chose to vote "fair" if you don't mind. IMHO, there's nothing about this script that warrants a "fair" vote. I could be wrong of course, but I still would like an exolanation. I'm always eager tolearn..
Michael Cornetto (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 12:27 AM
Congrats Pia!!! I expected this because this script deserves it. Well done.
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 12:30 AM
Thanks Mr. ZI'm currently drunk enough to call you zzzzzzzzzzz.anyway, you're tops! just curious why some would vote fair on this one. Not because I wrote it and I'm biased, but honestly what those reviewers thought was wrong with it.I personally don't see a "fair" vote as fair...
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 12:32 AM
Thaks Michael!!I was slowly typng a response, but you were quicker than me, haha
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/1/2008 12:36 AM
Congratulations -- very well written.
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2008 12:37 AM
I wouldn't get to caught up in individual votes. Honestly, I don't think it's possible to write something that everyone loves. I think if you look through the reviews you will see that those who didn't love it offer their reasons why.Personally, for what it's worth, I loved it.
Rob Gross (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 12:48 AM
Pia, congratulations on the first place finish!
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2008 1:34 AM
Congratulations Pia! I loved this one. I'm so glad it placed first. what a great Happy New Year present!!
Gary Murphy (Level 3) ~ 1/1/2008 1:39 AM
Well done Pia, It was a great story and nice to see that you get rewarded for good work.
Graham Trelfer (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 3:01 AM
Well done Pia, and seriously you won, don't worry about the two people who voted fair. Who wants to be a populist. If it still bugs you check any film on IMDB.com, almost every film no matter how good or how bad gets peeks at 10 and 1. Personal taste will sometimes get in the way of grading.
Barbara Lewis (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 5:55 AM
Congrats Pia! Now that's a way to start off the new year! :)
T. Joseph Fraser (Level 3) ~ 1/1/2008 10:09 AM
Holy smokes, Pia! Fantastic set-up that seemed very real to me; brutally honest but with strength of character that is absolutly inspiring without sentimentality. Excellent from me, too, and well deserving of first place this month! (The %6 must have read a different script, or just been jealous)
Spencer McDonald (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 11:01 AM
Morning Pia.... Well once again I have to congratulate someone else for taking home the first place trophy for story. When I got up this morning I screamed with vengence, PIA! GOTTA BEAT ER THIS YEAR. Damn, not even that Fair vote helped defeat her. ; )Truthfully, you are a wonderful writer. You are focused on what you do best and keep doing it month after month. I only hope I can bring myself to your level this year. As of now, I am in a month long writers block. Every morning I wake and attempt to shake out of it and wind up kicking my own ass after I read the dribble I pounded out on my new MacBook keyboard.Again, great story and great job! Keep up the pressure.Spencer
George L. Heredia (Level 3) ~ 1/1/2008 11:18 AM
Great job Pia. A very deserved CONGRATS!!!
DW Pollard (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 1:55 PM
I didn't get a chance (or rather make the time) to read any scripts last month, nor enter one for that matter. Yours is the first I read and I can certainly see why it placed first.Excellent job, Pia. Very heartfelt! It would be wonderful to see this made into a short. In the script, I think you should capitalize sounds: THUD, BANG, SLAP, BOTTLE BREAKING.Very well written and well deserved. Keep up the great work this year.
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 2:53 PM
Great work Pia! I really liked this script. Congratulations!
Alex Hollister (Level 4) ~ 1/2/2008 1:37 AM
Hey, Pia. I got halfway through your script and didn't need to read the rest and I've just realized who you are.A fellow DD'er me thinks and a fellow Writing Exercise veteran, Miss Indieme. It was your post on Done Deal that first alerted me to Moviepoet site.My Name on Done Deal is Harbinger. Currently winner of...ahem.....two Derek awards for writing exercises. :)I liked this script when I first read it. I like the sentiment and it's a real heart string tugger (if that's an actual phrase). Great stuff.
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/2/2008 8:29 AM
Great job, Pia. Congrats, well deserved. In my opinion it's the people who gave the fair or even good scores who should concerned about their scoring more than you about receiving them. You can never please everyone and certainly never figure everyone out.
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 1/2/2008 12:43 PM
Hey all!!Thanks a lot! I'm blushing. I don't deal well with praise...Alex, Welcome to MP! Glad I got you to come over. Yes I did write this one for DD last January I believe. It was one of those things where I found the contest going on there on the last day and thought it would be fun to participate. I sat down and wrote it in just a few hours. It just came to me. No planning or anything. Sometimes that's how things work.Spencer,I am blushing....I'm waiting to see you placing too, because I really love your style. You probably know that by now.DW Pollard,Thanks for reading and liking it.About those CAPITALIZED sounds. I believe I originally had those in the script, but over time I received suggestions to remove them so I did. Thanks again everyone.PS. Some of you who said especially nice things about my writing here may wish for that edit button after next months results are revealed. ;pPia
Nick Schumaker (Level 1) ~ 3/23/2008 1:15 AM
Well done. I couldn't read it fast enough, and even in my semi-asleep state, I was able to appreciate the beauty you have here. Keep up the good work!Cheers!
Tommy Merry (Level 4) ~ 11/4/2008 1:29 AM
Wow Pia, I saw some of your comments on the board and just wanted to take a look at some of your writing and saw this one. Again Wow. This story is so good on so many levels that it makes me sick :-PI was hooked on every bit of it and didn't want it to end.Wow.......
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 11/4/2008 7:40 PM
Tommy,Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting.I'm glad you liked it. This one has been a favorite by many of my friends. However, it's not really one of mine. I like it, don't take me wrong. Just not one of my favorites. I have over 30 shorts now btw. A lot are crud, but every now and then something turns out okay.Nick!!I feel terrible for not having noticed your comment before even though an e-mail is sent whenever there's a post made. Thank you so very much and please forgive me for not having responded earlier.Thank you both! :-)
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 11/4/2008 7:42 PM
Forgot to mention that this one has been produced by several filmmakers in other countries outside of the US. It is still available because the films do not compete over here.I'm currently waiting to see one version from a filmmaker in Puerto Rico. :-)
Tommy Merry (Level 4) ~ 4/23/2009 3:40 AM
Just re-read this one - Still lovin it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 4/23/2009 6:32 PM
Hey Tommy,thanks a lot!!I don't think anyone ever reread anything of mine before.Thanks for making my day! :-)
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 4/24/2009 7:46 PM
Pia,I didn't get to this one during the competition.WOW! What a moving story. I'm gettin' all choked up.Well done.
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 4/25/2009 11:22 AM
Thanks Tim!!Some will say this is my best script and I went downhill from there. :DThis one just came together on it's own. Kind of strange how that happens sometimes.I'm glad you enjoyed and thanks so much for reading and commenting.Pia :-)
Travers Lee (Level 0) ~ 5/21/2009 1:17 PM
Sweet story, captures the spirt of christmas, me thinks...the strong visuals. Im thinking what other items you thought to give the kid before deciding on the medal? Overall, killer script, well done. T