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Old 09-15-2005, 01:40 PM   #1
ComicBent
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Default "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

SPOILER - IF YOU HAVE NOT VOTED, DON'T READ.

HURRY UP AND VOTE!!!

Well, I think everyone has probably voted by now. People have had LOTS of time. Derek said he would take votes till midnight (give or take a few time zones). It is mid-afternoon here in Tennessee, so it is several hours later in Britain.

Derek will post results of the voting when his Diebold machine finishes the processing. Derek, whenever you want to, as far as I am concerned.

If you have not voted, then do so quickly. You might not want to read the rest of this if you have not voted yet.

Here is a list of titles and the corresponding authors. Are you surprised?!

1 : A Poetic Summer's Tale (Fortean)
2 : Dryad (AaronB)
3 : Last Temptation (dpaterso)
4 : Even Bad Boys (Voxel)
5 : Summer's End and Friends (Voxel)
6 : Brotherly Rivalry (cmmora)
7 : The Picture Frame (cmmora)
8 : The Enemy (dpaterso)
9 : Happy Trails (JesseNC)
10: Into the Fading Light (AaronB)
11: When the Wood Is Dry (ComicBent)
12: Last Summer in Paris (prescribe22)
13: The Summer of My Discontent (Fortean)
14: The Feigns (J off Course)
15: War With Strippers (Voxel)
16: Lifetime in a Microwave (habronic)
17: The Sting of the Wily Frog (habronic)
18: I Wanted to Ride ... (Dave H)

Discuss!
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Last edited by ComicBent : 09-15-2005 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 09-15-2005, 01:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that some people submitted more than 1 entry! Shocked.

I think we're still missing a couple of sets of votes from contestants, and hopefully non-contestants will continue to contribute, so voting's open until midnight tonight Pacific time, which roughly translates to whenever I sign in tomorrow morning!

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Old 09-15-2005, 03:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ComicBent
Discuss!
I enjoyed all of them (I'm discounting all mine) and voted.

Brotherly Rivarly bothered me because of the last few pages felt like the writer tried to explain the complex plot to the audience/reader. From the same writer, I loved "Picture Frame" - mostly for the cool concept. Same with "The Enemy". Still, "The Sting of the Wily Frog" is tops in my book - and setting it in my favourite city helps too. Taste affected my votes - I did not understand "Happy Trails" at all even though I could see it was well-constructed.

Overall 12 page is a little skimpy to tell a complete story, so many of the scripts feel unfinished or that the ending was rushed. So how did everyone decide what to write?

Some of these pieces feel like they've been ripped from working-in-progress scripts and re-jigged to be "summer-like."
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Old 09-15-2005, 09:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

Regarding my own script, "The Wood Is Dry," I offer the following comments:

I knew, going into the script, that the time period would be a problem for most of our members, who are too young to have any personal memories of Earl Warren, who was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1950s and 1960s. He was Chief Justice at a time when he and most of the court were liberal (somebody stand by to resuscitate BillyThrilly and Dave Clary if they happen to read this and maybe choke on a pretzel ).

Consequently Earl Warren became the object of much hatred in our perennially benighted country in the early 1960s. It was common to see billboards on highways declaring "Impeach Earl Warren."

I knew that most U.S. members would have some vague idea of when JFK was President. So referencing JFK helped to put the script into some kind of historical context. However, that was not my main reason for using the handbill with a threat to JFK on it. I wanted to convey an air of hostility and a sense of the "calm before the storm" on the national level and in the lives of these high-school seniors who were obviously facing all sorts of personal challenges as the country itself lumbered stupidly (but idealistically) into the Vietnam War and would soon have to deal with the assassination of JFK (a watershed event, related as it was to the subsequent commitment to the debacle of the Vietnam War).

The figure of the town idot, an unfortunate fellow with cerebral palsy and possibly a drinking problem, was meant to serve as a symbol of the imbalance of the time, on the national and personal levels, and to act as a bookend symbol at the start and end of the script. Come to think of it, the town idiot (and probable drunk) probably has even greater symbolic political significance, but I will pass over that.

I don't know how much of all that came through. One thing I learned in this experience is how TOUGH it is to pack everything into twelve pages!

The incident of a mother using a dog to beat her son really happened! I did not see it, and in fact I did not know about it till thirty-five years after the fact. A friend of mine from high school told me, a few years ago, that she had gone to pick up a classmate of ours for a party and that his mother did pretty much what I described in the script. She also told me (darn, I never knew about anything!) that during high school she had carried on an affair with a classmate who fifteen years later "came out of the closet," left his wife, moved to New Orleans, and became HIV positive.

Ay! Life was right there to be presented. There seemed to be some kind of story to tell that would deal with those times and with the personal lives of those kids just starting out in life. I did the best that I could do within the constraint of twelve pages.
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ComicBent
I don't know how much of all that came through. One thing I learned in this experience is how TOUGH it is to pack everything into twelve pages!
Even though I am completely unfamilar with the era, the characters felt believable and the dialogue had plenty of good subtext. Only page 9 bothered me (there's no action for a long period of time there). The script reminded me of Big Chill, but with characters I actually gave a damn about.

Again, everything was great then it ended. It's like you can only raise one or two small questions in 12-page short...
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

Notes on my scripts:

Summer's End and Friends

- I wanted to subvert the meaning "End of Summer," so I free-wrote and ended up with bunch of valley girl butts having a hissy fit over an Italian axxhole.
- Plotwise it doesn't go anywhere and I kinda just gave up on it assuming others would free-write too.

Even bad boys can cry their way into heaven

- Started with an image of a mentally-challenged boy on death row and a bit of dialogue "Ma friends call me stupid, but I don't like dat name. Dey say I killed a man, but I am only a boy."
- I free-wrote this one too, trying to forget Slingblade and focused on all the southern bits I've picked up elsewhere.
- Originally I considered writing a novel just with the above, but I realized this isn't the story I'm meant to tell.

War with strippers

- A mockumentary short I wrote a few months ago (one of ten), but only realized I had a character named Summer in it a few days before the deadline.
- Too bad the ending sucks balls.
- Too bad it relies on bad stereotypes to get cheap laughs (if any at all).

Last edited by voxel : 09-16-2005 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 09-16-2005, 05:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

For what it's worth, here are my comments on the contest entries. The usual "My humble opinion, use whatever you find useful and throw the rest away without a second thought" disclaimer applies.

1. A Poetic Summer's Tale

I liked the writing and I liked the history mystery aspect lots, 12 pages hardly seemed enough, I could happily have read more. But, the story left me with a couple of uncertain thoughts. The only person I "knew" here was Poe, and he was only a passive asker of questions. Which made me wonder whose story this actually was. The answer, of course, is Mary's. An introduction to Poe and Anderson, then a documentary of Mary's last days with, perhaps, narration from Poe and Anderson, could have been far more effective and certainly more dynamic, reducing the "talking heads" delivery. I often felt that names and facts were being thrown at me, these were obviously related to the girl's murder and therefore important, but because there were no visuals, just faceless names I couldn't relate to, drama levels remained low to medium instead of high. Despite these potential failings I liked it; with some adjustments it could be something, I'm sure, and would have earned a vote.

2. Dryad

Sweetly told, but there's no apparent logic in Edith's returning as a young woman, the story failed (in my opinion) to present her as some kind of nature spirit connected with the tree. Methinks some broader hints are required to make the story work, e.g. specific damage to the tree causing mirror damage to old Edith, it loses a branch, her arm goes numb, a forester goes to work with his chainsaw, Edith faints. The interplay with the ER Nurse turned needlessly sinister, "I'm the only person who cares about her," or similar from Ben could easily have make this scene touching instead of oddly out of synch. I'm just saying. Could easily have got a vote with just a minor tweak or two.

3. Last Temptation

I assume this is a near future where the ozone layer is depleted? Maybe this could be made more clear, there were little hints scattered around but tying them together felt like too much work, spelling it out in plainer English might get you more. The casual execution of the "felons" left me bewildered. Having said this, this entry would have got a vote if others hadn't squeezed in front.

4. Even Bad Boys Can Cry Their Way Into Heaven

Short and sweet, but too simple for its own good, and consisting mostly of static talking heads. You could'a easily written the backstory about how and why Ricky killed the two guys. Why didn't you?

5. Summer's End and Friends

Amusing little once-funny SNL skit, tho' the limitations of talking butts became obvious when the first fart joke made an appearance pretty early.

6. Brotherly Rivalry

A potentially clever double cross thriller, whose resolution was adversely affected by its simplicity, and by the fact I wouldn't have shed a tear if everyone, both the brothers and the nurses, had all died. There's not a likeable character in sight.

7. The Picture Frame

A potentially clever Sci-Fi romp that draws from the Heinlein era classics but ultimately loses itself up its own orifice.

8. The Enemy

It's clear the author has no education in, or concept of, history. This farcical attempt at writing Science Fiction is simply embarrassing on far too many levels. What's the story got to do with the end of summer? Maybe author intended some kind of seasonal link between summer and the nuclear winter? (Now THAT is what I call tenuous!!) Just too bizarre. Despite those negative thoughts, this entry would have got a vote if others hadn't squeezed in front.

9. Happy Trails: A Tribute to Hunter S. Thompson

Funny in a lot of places but not much in the way of a climactic finish, and Cindy didn't take her clothes off which disappointed me lots. Having said this, this entry would have got a vote if others hadn't squeezed in front.

10. Into The Fading Light

A good enough read but a complete downer of an ending, I would have liked for someone I cared about to have come out of this alive and ride off into the sunset feeling melancholy. Still, this entry would have got a vote if others hadn't squeezed in front.

11. When The Wood Is Dry

I liked the writing style lots but I found content to be disjointed and bizarre, it failed (for me) as social commentary, coming of age, slice of life, or whatever it's meant to be.

12. Last Summer In Paris

"Maid Marion" says it all: "That is totally insane." This flight of fancy had a couple of smile moments but in general, with all due respect, it's nuts. By page 8 or 9 I'd lost interest and was skimming.

13. The Summer Of My Discontent

I didn't "get" this one. It had the makings of a readable drama but kinda came apart, as if it needed more time to build itself to a climax (that didn't come). Maybe, and I'm not sure, there isn't enough plot? These people sure are f*cked up in the head, I don't envy the kid his adopted parents and grandparents.

14. The Feigns

Builds nicely, tho' often I didn't understand why Meg and Walter said some of these things to each other. The Little House on the Prairie comment for example, WTF? Almost a comedy vibe, when the subject matter is anti-comedy. Using their obscure name as the title lacked pulling power. But the setup I liked, and maybe the feeling of potential.

15. War With Strippers

Clever idea, and threatened to be entertaining, but ultimately turned out to be fluff floating in swirling limbo between obtuse political statement and white collar comedy.

16. Lifetime In A Microwave

Good read, had me from start to finish. I'm guessing Charlie sold his organs or similar to finance their last months together but I'm worried I could be totally wrong; a couple more words just to confirm the situation might not go amiss. Would easily have got a vote if others hadn't squeezed in ahead.

17. The Sting Of Wily Frog

Not bad at all, could be something, at the moment it's just waiting for Guy Ritchie to come along and sprinkle a tad more spice over the dialogue, and supply a triple-cross back-stabbing twist ending. I half-expected Jimmy to find himself holding something extremely valuable and recognizable, and a posse of coppers to swoop on him. This entry would have got a vote if others hadn't squeezed in front. And I dunno if this is worth mentioning, but it's the only entry that felt as if it had enough story and character potential to be expanded to become a full length spec script.

18. I Wanted To Ride The Ferris Wheel, She Wanted To Ride The Rollercoaster

You had me thinking this guy was an aloof intellectual serial killer, or maybe a hungry vampire, or even worse a psychology student playing mental games, but the ending turned out to be a puzzling damp squib that made what had come before seem pretty pointless.

-Derek
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Old 09-16-2005, 07:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

My scripts...

Dryad wasn't properly thought through. Basically the entire point of the story is "Here is a dryad," which is interesting enough for a page or two, but not enough for a whole story. If I had taken a little more time to brainstorm it I could have made it meatier.

Into the Fading Light was re-worked from an old short story of mine, and its point is "Beware of the man who has nothing left to lose." Harry, in the process of losing the only thing in the world that he cares about, isn't capable of fearing anything less than that. Jeff and his buddies simply suffered an acute failure of the victim selection process.

And if you didn't get at least a little surprise when Harry shot Ann in the head, well...then it takes a better writer than me to get your attention, 'cuz that was my best shot.
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Old 09-16-2005, 08:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronB
And if you didn't get at least a little surprise when Harry shot Ann in the head, well...then it takes a better writer than me to get your attention, 'cuz that was my best shot.
I was actually expecting it. "Speed" (where Keanu shoots his partner to make him a non-viable hostage) was running through my mind because the relationship between Harry and Ann felt disconnected/cold at that point.
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Old 09-16-2005, 09:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: "End of Summer" - DISCUSSION!

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxel
I was actually expecting it. "Speed" (where Keanu shoots his partner to make him a non-viable hostage) was running through my mind because the relationship between Harry and Ann felt disconnected/cold at that point.
All right. It wasn't meant to be disconnected and cold, but I didn't warm it up because I was trying to execute the scenes with that minimalist writing style that everyone says is the only way to do it.

If you thought Harry and Ann had a disconnected and/or cold relationship, one of us wasn't doing his job...and I'm not assuming it's you, just so you know.
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