Comments Made During the Contest
A.M. Wallace (Level 0)
Nice story about a kid searching for his past. An interesting twist that a Christmas gift is a dreidel but it works. You open the possibility of a new person in Michael's life with Grandma and Emily and then don't follow up on it. It just hangs there. I would say to get rid it.
Aaron Williams (Level 4)
This was cute without being too saccharin.(I'm sure misspelled that). The kid seemed totally earnest and his speech rang true...the only question I have-- why wouldn't his Jewishness have been discussed earlier in his life.. even earlier in the script when he asks if Jews are magical (great line).
Adrienne Jorgensen (Level 4)
I LOVE this! It's a beautiful story that would make a beautiful short film. I gave you a 5 and really hope you place. From where I'm standing, this is just about perfect.
AJ Smith (Level 2)
This was great. You really captured the straight-forwardness of children that often catches adults off-guard. I appreciated the scene between the mother and grandmother, too. A touching moment that was interesting without blowing the ending.Congrats on an excellent script!
Alex Hollister (Level 4)
Very good stuff. Great dialogue and admirable characterisation considering the 5 page restrictions. I don't have a paternal bone in my body, but I found myself liking the kid and hoping that whatever present his mother had got for him was exactly what he asked for. In other words within the space of 2 pages I was emotionally invested in this family. As much as you can be in a short story. Excellently written and though the whole religeon theme is a little wasted on me, I can appreciate that these themes resonate with a lot of people. A smooth, enjoyable read.
Barbara Lewis (Level 4)
Top marks from me. Very charming and very touching. I love the idea (I would anyway, but particularly since my mother is catholic and my father jewish). Michael's lines are fantastic, the scene at the movies is kind of magical. All of the description is nicely rich without being cloying.Great work, I gave it an excellent and would love to see this made.
Bob McFarlane (Level 3)
I liked the kid and his fascination with the movie and his questions but I felt let down when he finds out his dad was a Jew. That seemed like the beginning of the real story, not the end. And I don't quite understand the scene in the middle about Grandma having to share him. It sounds like they've been hiding the fact that dad was Jewish and keeping the kid away from the dad's grandma? Because they are Jewish? Is this a story about religious prejudice and mom gives up her prejudice by giving him the toy and revealing his heritage?
Brian Wind (Level 5)
Well this was very well written, but I feel like I missed the point or something. The kid likes The 10 Commandments, the kid is curious about the Jewish religion, the kid finds out his deceased dad was Jewish. I felt like this script was missing something... There wasn't any conflict or climax to it. It was an extremely well written script that didn't really keep me interested towards the end. Nice job.
Caleb Parazette (Level 3)
This is a beautifully told story. The description is very rich. Reads a bit like a novel - in a good way. Read it twice. I think I'm a bit too daft to really get it. It was a pleasurable read nonetheless. Very good work!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
I loved this! Professionally, tightly written and full of the Christmas spirit in its truest sense, without descending to mawkishness. Perfect!
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)
Deep and beautifully told story.Really liked this one a lot.Love the fact that Michael is ten and going to the movies alone - the good ole days. Love too, how he slips when he comes in the door, very natural.And I thought this was a BEAUTIFUL image, so well written:"Emily, in the far doorway, smiles through her tears, watching Michael stare at the photo. Christmas lights reflect in her face as, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” sounds from the cathedral radio."I wish there were a bit more explanation on the estrangement of Emily and Michael from his father's family and why it's all been kept secret from Michael for so long. Other than that, I find very little wanting. Very well done.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
This was wonderful.The story is beautiful. The characters real and layered. The writing is excellent.I love it.
Dave Kunz (Level 4)
It was hard to tell if Michael was enamored by the world of the cinema, or entranced by the concept of Judaism. I'm sure it was a little of both, but that split focus muddled the story. Also the multiple variations of the "Behold, his mighty hand" line, for me, weakened the ending. I thought your opening description of Michael was highly effective and allowed me to gain a clear image of his character from the outset.
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
Loved the story, the writing was clear and concise.I thought you satisfied the gift requirement nicely and it was satisfiying to see the intangable gift that the little boy really recieved.Good luck
Deborah Mack (Level 3)
Very good job on this script!!! Good dramas are hard to do in five pages because that is usually not enough time for people to learn to care for the main character. However, that was not the case with this script! I immediately fell in love with Michael and wanted what he wanted. I felt just as frustrated as he did when his question wasn’t answered at school and I felt just as happy as he did when he found out that his dad was a Jew. At first I felt that the scenes were moving too fast maybe, just because they were kind of short but after about the third page I found that I actually really like it that way. Once again, great job! I loved this one! :D
Jane Beckwith (Level 4)
I liked the story, and the theme. Michael comes across as a sweet curious kid. Great use of Christmas present. I think I noticed a few typos (Our Lady of Mery instead of Mercy), so you might want to go over it again. The "behold..." etc. dialogue works on on several levels to make the script cohere and matter.
Jay Knisely (Level 4)
Nice tender story. Discovery from reflected curiosity. Now inner conflict will start. I guess I have a little conflict with a char gap in the story - Levy must have been gone for some time, re: the paternal grannie, but beautiful Emily throughout her twenties has not remarried nor, I gather, dated much with a picture displayed. But generally it was very well told.
Jenn Cavanaugh (Level 1)
Really beautiful - I can totally hear the little boy doing Charleton Heston imitations as he washes his hands. Just a couple notes - the really short 0-2 line scenes read well, but would probably come off a little herky-jerky filmed as written. Father Hanlan could have a slightly more on-topic thoroughly unsatisfactory non-answer ... about being Christians rather than Jews or something. Great writing!
John Foley (Level 4)
I liked the boy here and how interacted. I wish i knew more the secret Gram and his Mom was holding back.
Jonathan D. Greene (Level 2)
Clever, charming, nostalgic, well-written. Excellent!Sorry but I love to guess... And so far though I have only been wrong.dr? cm? wb?
Kirk White (Level 5)
strong script. great characters. nothing much i can say to add to this. I liked it a lot. Giving a very good
Margaret Avnet (Level 4)
I hope you decide to do a rewrite. What I would suggest is that if you feel Emily thinks it is now time to tell her son that his father was Jewish, she should have brought a Menorah as well. I don't know if you intend Emily to what her son to learn more about his father's religion or not. If so she can explain Hanukkah to him and allow him to light the Menorah. I'm assuming Michael's father has died and you do hint that Emily wants to take Michael to see his other grandmother. Has this other grandmother ever met Michael? This would be another way in which Michael could not only learn more about the Jews, but his own father as well. In the rewrite perhaps you can get into the background of what happened to Michael's father. Was he killed in the War? How much does Michael know about his father?
Matias Caruso (Level 5)
Your writing style is excellent, as this piece shows. Very visual. Reads like a breeze. It reminded me of the Weeping Willow. It wouldn't surprise me to learn it was written by the same author.It’s remarkable how much detail you managed to flesh out of your main character within such a restricted page count. We do learn a lot about this boy. And even he learns something new about himself in the end.My only problem is that the main conflict is a bit hard to spot in here. The set-up of this story shows that this boy likes movies. That he has some admiration for Jews. And has some religion concerns unaddressed by his teacher. And he seems to need a father figure (as the scene with the picture suggests). As I said you tell us a lot about this boy but none of these angles stand out enough in order to become the main conflict to drive the story.The payoff (the boy finding out that his dad was jew) seems to be linked to the set-up just by coincidence; despite his admiration for Jews the boy didn’t know his father was one.I did like this piece but I think it’s got potential to be better.
Matthew Phillips (Level 4)
I looked over this script carefully to find any mistakes, but I can't. It's pretty much perfect. Great story, and very well crafted. I'd also like to mention that it certainly captures the holiday spirit. Great script.
Micah Ricke (Level 4)
I like the undertones, it's very well written. The mother and the kid are playful and cute. It's hard for me to relate to the story though.
Michael Thede (Level 4)
I'm scoring this one a VERY GOOD because I think you've got a nice coming-of-age story here. I like that, perhaps without realizing, what Michael is really doing is questioning his own identity throughout this story. That said, I really didn't feel as though there was any real hinting toward conflict until the bottom of page 3 when his grandmother said she might have to share him with someone else. I would suggest alluding to or foreshadowing some conflict earlier on to get this moving sooner. Nevertheless, well done!
Paul Young (Level 3)
Well written. Well formatted. The relationship between the boy and his father could have been explored more in the beginning of the script. Maybe referencing the boy's curiousity about his dad in the beginning could have made it for a better story. There wasn't a whole lot of conflict which made it less eventful than it could have been...
Pia Cook (Level 5)
My laptop is having some serious issues... I read this one on Christmas Day while traveling in my car. Made a comment back then too...I thought the story was good and it was well written.Sadly that's about all I can remember at the moment, but I'll give this one a Very Good.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I'm giving this excellent because the writing just draws me in, and I loved all of it. I feel like this is just the beginning, that this could be an opening scene to a movie, (one that I'd love to see) As it is, it feels rushed to the end to deliver the punch.I LOVE the title. I just love what you've done here. It's a true Christmas story, the kind I wanted to read, when I started reading all the scripts. I wanted the feel of Christmas and all it's wonder and delight, and you delivered it. So thanks.. a little Christmas gift just for me.I think five pages just limits this, and that there is so much more there that you can write, if you turned this into a longer short film, or even a feature film. I really loved this story, the sights, sounds, smells, were all there. It's really wonderful and I predict it will place, if not win.
Spencer McDonald (Level 4)
Behold, a mighty story. Great job. You turned a christian religion into a jewish religion, and you did it without pointing fingers at who is right and who is wrong. You story had a lasting power.I loved it, Dad was a jew, yet the family celebrated a Christian holiday. The only feedback I have is this, you misplaced a period. Take a look.And said, “Behold His mighty hand”. Most excellent!
Stephenie Ruffin (Level 4)
I thought this was a beautifully written script. I felt like there were three stories in one. 1) Michael not knowing his other grandmother 2) Michael and the picture of his father 3) and for some reason, Michael wanting to be Jewish. I'm not sure if 2 and 3 go hand in hand but, I'm not getting it. When questioned if Jews were magical, Michael's grandmother said everyone is magical in the eyes of the Lord. I'm still unsure why he wants so much to be of Jewish descent. Also, I'm not sure why the scene with Emily and Gram are part of the story. I'm thinking these three stories should come together somehow, but I can't make the connection. Very nice writing though.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
This could have been pretty special, a little boy discovers his "roots" and learns the truth about his dad - so I got the intention but the tale fell short of the mark and I'm not feeling it. There was too much attention to details & action that didn't pay out (for example, the boy's cowlick, the fact that granny and mom are attractive and beautiful, the boy hanging up his coat in the hall - yawn). The scene with Father Hanlan especially needed to be stronger - and I needed more conflict when the boy started questioning the difference between Christians and Jews. Make me care about how these people feel! Might have worked better if Granny or Mom had gone to the movie with the boy, and subsequently to church where the concept could be emphasized and immediate in the relationships of the people. Since this is a post-war era story, I expected some of that to come into play - more than a photo of a Marine and MIA dad (how about some Granny disapproval that the child is conceived out of wedlock? or rachet up the drama with the Jewish side of the family?). I had no clue if boy had ever met his father or remembered him - make the ending MATTER more to the boy.
T. Joseph Fraser (Level 3)
Holy smokes. That was great. I'm tearin' up over here. Regaining composure.Beautifully illustrated moment in time, capturing the wonder and innocence of youth in regard to religious questions that are hard to understand...Merged the two worlds together in mighty fashion...
Terence Ang (Level 3)
Well written dialog and good perspectives for the characters. I didn't really get the conversation the grandma had with Emily, her daughter though. The Jewish reference and the way the story ended may upset some people, especially with the implied association in the story. Good read anyways.
William Coleman (Level 5)
I liked the gentle quality of this script. Michael's curiosity about the magical and Jews vs. Jesus was a natural thing for an intelligent young boy. The bridge to the conclusion is a bit of a jump. I am a little vague on Grandma's worry about sharing. Thatcould have been clarified a little more.However, the last two pages are natural and unassuming as we move to a touching conclusion. If I have a qualification, it is that the piece could have had a little more conflict - perhaps Michael overhearing a conversation between his Mom and Grandma. That would have eliminated the slight sag I feel in the middle of your piece.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2008 12:14 AM
Congratulations. I loved this and I'm so happy this made it into the top three.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/1/2008 12:16 AM
Thanks, Chris. I appreciate it.
Michael Cornetto (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 12:30 AM
Well done. I haven't read this one yet but I will.
Rob Gross (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 12:49 AM
William, congrats on the finish...I haven't had a chance to read it, but I probably will tomorrow!
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2008 1:34 AM
I KNEW IT! I loved loved this one. Congrats so much!!!
Barbara Lewis (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2008 6:42 AM
Congrats! Really loved it.
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 7:02 AM
Big congratulations to you!!I'm sorry I didn't write a better review, as I mentioned earlier, my pc had serious issues and I had to try to write a new script last night before the deadline. If I had voted low on this one I would have reread it today and try to offer some help, but as often happens, the good scripts only gets praise since there's little to complain about. This obviously fits into that group. :-)
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 10:55 AM
Well done William, congratulations!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2008 2:59 PM
Congratulations Mr. Bienes! Well done!
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/2/2008 8:33 AM
Billy Boy, way to go. Great job. One day...
Bryan Mora (Level 4) ~ 1/2/2008 10:31 AM
Aww i really liked this one. Like a coming of age story. I'm glad this entry placed in the top 3.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/2/2008 6:10 PM
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/3/2008 12:40 PM
Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/3/2008 1:30 PM
It's about time, you sexist pig.
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 12/2/2009 8:14 AM
It's a beautiful rewrite. I love the additions. The "Sister Agony" moment is hilarious and the new ending is really quite lovely. This will make a very special holiday movie.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 12/2/2009 8:30 AM
Still good. The one moment that made me wonder a bit and have to re-read a few times was when Emily says to Abe 'Does she even mention my husband's name?' It sounds clumsy to me - just - don't think she'd say that. If she said 'Does she even mention his name?' wouldn't that serve the same purpose (the Michael/Michael motif) and be less ponderous?
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 12/2/2009 8:31 AM
Still good sounds mean - still EXCELLENT (which is what I gave it!)
David Cannon (Level 0) ~ 12/2/2009 8:58 AM
Rustom Irani (Moderator) ~ 12/2/2009 11:53 AM
To take a setting and insert characters that one can empathise with within confines that could veer into cliche could have led this into mediocrity very quickly.I'm glad it didn't. The opening is cinematic and pays an homage at the same time, a nod back to stylistic kitsch with an adorable character in Michael. Excellent.The two dialog scenes separated by the meeting between Emily and Abe in the Diner are well placed as far as pacing is concerned. Enough time to digest the information supplied. The one scene that seemed slightly out of place was the silent one with Michael looking at his father's picture. It is a lovely moment but seems staged rather than ocurring naturally. Coming soon after the church scene between the boy and the priest this seemed a bit off. Being set during daytime and followed by another day scene it needs a different time of day or another scene after it before you go to the Christmas day scene.Great idea, well executed.I didn't read the original but after the re-write I don't think I have to.Seeing as how this is in production I think it'd be a great cinematic treat.