Results - Bring Me The Head contest

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Results - Bring Me The Head contest

    Here be the results of the July 2016 "Bring Me The Head" contest:

    Code:
                                1st 2nd 3rd Total
    A Nearly Terminal Case
     Of Death - StoryWriter      1   1   2     7
    Bring Me The Head - Centos   4   1        14
    Throne Games - dpaterso          2   2     6
    Chilled - WriterNZ           1   1         5
    Leviathan - crayon               1   2     4
    Join me in offering Centos congrats for attracting most votes with the aptly titled Bring Me The Head.

    Thanks also to SBdeb for taking time to read and vote.

    Don't be disappointed if you didn't score as well as you hoped, these contests are all about practicing to write to theme and deadline. Just because you didn't win doesn't mean your script was crap, it just means other entries happened to get more votes from this particular group.

    Thanks all for participating, hope you had fun.

    FYI, 1st place vote earned 3 points, 2nd = 2 points, 3rd = 1 point. No need for voting bonuses to be included in the results, since all the contestants voted.

    Feel free to discuss the entries in this thread, expound upon why you think your entry should have received far more respect, and generally help other writers to improve their craft.

    For posterity, the discussion thread is here and the entries thread is here.
    Last edited by dpaterso; 07-17-2016, 11:21 PM.

    Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

    Oh Those Hot Summer Nights script contest
    5 pages, deadline next Sunday

  • #2
    Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

    Some thoughts on the entries, sprinkle salt to taste.

    A Nearly Terminal Case Of Death

    I may have cracked a smile reading this. But once Piff's status is confirmed, the humor started to deflate. I couldn't help but wonder how this would play out if the doctor and receptionist acted more realistically instead of treating this as an everyday case and Piff as a minor annoyance. Still gets a vote though.

    Bring Me The Head

    This was quite the mind f**k but I ended up liking it lots. I wouldn't like to have to bankroll your FX budget, though. :) Gets a vote.

    Throne Games

    Mine. Seemed a really good idea at the time but upon reflection it seems, uh, much less of a really good idea.

    Chilled

    I liked this epic Tarantino-esque tale of bloody revenge in the snow, which took on a twisted feel when the stolen item that's the focus of Naomi's relentless mission turns out to be a beer keg. I dunno where you're going to find a cat actor with enough talent to portray Bob, maybe he'll end up being played by a hand puppet or an animatronic. Gets a vote!

    Leviathan

    I liked the specfic monster content but the style, the relentless over-descriptive paragraphs, made me think this might have started out as a short story that's been adapted into a screenplay almost word for word. Methinks (note: what do I know?!) it might benefit muchly from being pared down, given a lighter touch.

    Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

    Oh Those Hot Summer Nights script contest
    5 pages, deadline next Sunday

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

      Here are my ratings and some notes I made during/after my second readings, and before voting. I'm a rank amateur, so pay no serious heed.

      A NEARLY TERMINAL CASE OF DEATH
      CONCEPT: 3/5
      EXECUTION: 2/5
      TOTAL SCORE: 5/10
      NOTES: The problem I have with a purely comedic, single scene short is that it's inherently more of a comedy sketch than a short film. So for that reason - even though it's a funny and well written comedy sketch - I can't rate it too highly. If the premise of a guy who doesn't know he's dead was written over several scenes with pathos, as well as some black comedy, then it could be a good short film.

      BRING ME THE HEAD
      CONCEPT: 3/5
      EXECUTION: 3/5
      TOTAL SCORE: 6/10
      NOTES: It's somewhere between a mini anthology and a dog's dinner. And the boy's imaginings make it puzzling. I'd prefer just one story - probably the grandad/grandson/gnome one.

      THRONE GAMES
      CONCEPT: 2/5
      EXECUTION: 2/5
      TOTAL SCORE: 4/10
      NOTES: A drama that suddenly tries to be a comedy. I'm not sure if it's one thing or another. And with only one scene, it's more a dramedy sketch than a short film. I was left oddly unconvinced and unaffected. Although, a Game Of Thrones parody is a potentially rich idea.

      CHILLED
      CONCEPT: 2/5
      EXECUTION: 4/5
      TOTAL SCORE: 6/10
      NOTES: You certainly made the most of a very weak, beer-pun-based premise - and crafted an actual story, with a beginning, middle and end. Other than Leviathan, it's the only entry that I consider to be a short film. Some of the action was a little unclear. I would have prefered if Bob the cat were not so completely useless.

      LEVIATHAN
      CONCEPT: ?/5
      EXECUTION: ?/5
      TOTAL SCORE: ?/10
      NOTES: It's like a condensed The Name Of The Rose (1986) meets The Thing (1982) - and who the hell could ask for more than that? When pondering the contest's theme, the premise came from answering: what if someone gets beheaded but they don't die? And for that premise, I thought the English Reformation was an ideal context for execution-themed conflict and horror. Not that anyone around here cares ... bloody heathens.

      BTW, for the previous two DDP contests I entered US set/language scripts, but this time I thought I'd spoil myself by writing one set closer to home - most literally. Those God-forsaken marshes lie at the edge of my village. It's grim down south.
      Last edited by Crayon; 07-18-2016, 03:29 AM. Reason: added waffle
      Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
      "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

        Originally posted by dpaterso View Post
        Leviathan
        I liked the specfic monster content but the style, the relentless over-descriptive paragraphs, made me think this might have started out as a short story that's been adapted into a screenplay almost word for word. Methinks (note: what do I know?!) it might benefit muchly from being pared down, given a lighter touch.
        Did the story not count for anything in your evaluation?

        I wrote Leviathan for the contest - it was wholly inspired by the theme. And I really enjoyed the research and writing once I'd settled on the English Reformation setting.

        Can you please do me a favour and quote one or two of my worst over-descriptive paragraphs? It would be a great help because I felt sure I'd written it lean enough for the needs of the story. Although, I don't doubt it would benefit from another cutting rewrite, or six.

        Thank you for the feedback, and many thanks again for running the contest.
        Last edited by Crayon; 07-17-2016, 01:27 PM. Reason: typo
        Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
        "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

          As you all do, I too provide a caveat that I know nothing [but that what I like and don't] but seeing as how you were so gracious to put yourselves out there, I did want to give these a read and see what the rest of you could do with this theme. (I didn't join in because nothing struck me upon hearing the title outside of basic horror, which I don't enjoy, so kudos to you all who figured something out that didn't involve a lot of blood )


          I picked 1) Bring me the Head, 2) A Nearly Terminal Case and then 3) Throne Games as my choices.



          Throne Games had really lovely descriptions and I could see the scenes well enough, but the old English stuff isn't my cup of tea. I thought the adoption wasn't solid enough to hang your hat on it (which you did twice), and it seemed kind of heavy on dialogue (relative to this lighthearted story/contest). Perhaps you were hoping to capitalize on the Game of Thrones popularity, which is clever of you.


          A Nearly Terminal Death-- fun, easy read. Nicely written, good details funny ending. I think it might have been stronger like Dpat said, if the doctor and nurse hadn't been so blase. The contrivance about the voting rolls could have been more solid too. But it was cute, and of course a very fun tie in with the theme/title.



          Bring me the Head. I liked this, though it seemed too long. Too many dream sequences; didn't think they were all necessary, and getting rid of one of them would have made for a tighter script. I didn't see where things were headed so I liked the fun, out of the blue ending. I thought it would be stronger without the trolls, just with the guy knocking the kid in the head and telling him he's sick of having to keep asking for the head and pointing to the lettuce in the garden... No trolls or head chopping was needed in my opinion.

          I'm afraid that I really didn't quite get "Chilled" at all. I found it a bit overdone. I didn't understand the roll of fat cat, why there was a burning car, what had been stolen (if anything), the ending or why she'd killed these people to begin with? Again, probably my fault for a too-quick read?


          Finally, I fear that I'm just not smart enough for Leviathan, which struck me as far too long and too narrative for this type of easy-going contest, and perhaps if I might suggest, a bit esoteric: ("Lateran cenobites" "grey fens," "roadside gibbet"?) Frankly, reading this script made me feel like an illiterate idiot-- which I may be-- but I don't like to be reminded of it Too many British words, names and places which threw me off as a reader. Ultimately the effort tired me and I couldn't see where it was going so I quit. At risk of offending, this is beautifully written, but scenes such as this (below) I thought the author should ask himself--were they necessary? did they forward the story? Might they have been done in another [shorter, easier, more clear] manner?



          EXT. CREEK ROAD - DAY Fog lies heavy on the marshes, no sun to be seen. Speedwell leads the way ... Balham and Perry follow ... Locke trails behind, eating an apple. BALHAM Where be your horse, Serjeant Speedwell?! Balham smirks and Perry sniggers. SPEEDWELL She is lost! Drowned in the mire between Feversham and Gravewick! Shadow scours waterlogged ditches for carrion. LOCKE Shadow! ... Shadow! Get up here!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

            Here's my quick feedback, for what it's worth:

            A Nearly Terminal Case of Death - I enjoyed the concept, and especially enjoyed the pay off of the theme at the end. My only gripe was that this was very dialogue heavy - there's a long back and forth of questions and answers that could be cut as it doesn't really add anything. It was an easy and funny read though.

            Bring Me the Head - It took me a while to get into this, as the whole scene / genre jumping element confused me initially. But once I got to the end, it all made sense, and I realised how good everything was. Nice visuals and a clever double-twist ending scored this my number 1 vote.

            Throne Games - Really nice writing style, action and dialogue flowed nicely and the characters felt genuine. I think this suffered a bit from the page limit - with more pages I could see this being a really good story, but as it is the events felt a bit rushed.

            Leviathan - I actually think this had the best story, in the traditional sense, and it got my second vote. As others have touched upon, the writing style / language is more suited to a novel than a screenplay, and hence it made this story a "heavy read". The characters, action, and story were all solid though, and that's why I ranked it high. Crayon, you asked for some examples of over-descriptive paragraphs, so here are a couple that stood out for me:

            "A branch off the Coast Road leads around the lake to
            Lychmere Abbey. PEEE-WIT! PEEE-WIT! -- a flock of Lapwings
            flitter over mirror-bright waters. Speedwell strides onward,
            but the three fellows hesitate before taking the turn. The
            fly-blown corpse of a horse festers on the verge. Locke
            calls Shadow to leave it be."


            There are a few examples like this - it's important to set the scene visually, but your script gets a bit lost with you describing added detail that doesn't move the story forward (e.g. the lapwings or fly-blown horse - they're nice visual/tonal touches, but slow the reader down).

            Also all the action at the end is written in big paragraphs, making it a chore to get through. This scene is full of great action, and should be written in a way that conveys this - shorter sentences increase the pacing of the read, and keep the reader wanting to read on. As an example:

            "Headless Morton's lethal spine jolts out from Perry with a
            spray of blood. Perry's lifeless body drops to the ground.
            Balham dashes towards his fallen friend, but headless
            Morton's serpentine spine -- now twenty feet long at
            least -- whips around and slices through Balham's neck,
            lopping his head clear off. Balham's headless body runs on a
            few feet, stumbling to the ground, blood gushing from its
            ragged neck."


            This sized paragraph on a page is a killer when you're hoping to get read by an assistant / agent / producer. Make their job easier by adding white space.


            Chilled - (my script) - I wanted to avoid the obvious of having an actual head, hence the beer pun. Evidently it wasn't as clever as I'd hoped. I also suffered a bit from not having enough pages, so the motivations and depth of some of the characters isn't where it should be. Still, I had fun and it was good to get some pages written again. Appreciate the feedback from everyone thus far.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

              Please don't let my comments (below) upset you. I've been a bit nitpicky, but I'm being honest about what stood out for me in regards to your scripts (negative and positive). Be aware that my comments are all subjective -- the story to me is much more important than the execution. And, if I don't like the story, it doesn't matter how good the execution is. And again, though I can pretend to be objective, I'm not going to do this. So other folks will like what I don't like. What follows are my OPINIONS -- I don't claim to be neutral reviewer. Take this all with a huge grain of salt.

              Leviathan

              I gave this one 3rd place, even though (as a Catholic) I wasn't thrilled about the anti-Catholic bent. Although I liked some of the images (especially the earlier ones -- and the monster was an interesting idea), overall the script was overwritten and too "dense" for a screenplay. It might even be described as "overwrought." I think the author would be better served to use simpler, more concrete descriptions. For example ... what is a "strangely protean figurine?" It means nothing. Protean, by definition, means "exceedingly variable; readily assuming different shapes or forms ..." -- so I have no idea what this figurine looks like, or why it's strange. I can't "see" anything. Worse (in the same paragraph) we find a "cruciform trident." That's a direct contradiction. A cruciform, by definition, is cross-shaped ("having four parts arranged in the form of a cross"). A trident is a three pronged fork or spear. So which is it, a trident or a cross? Also, earlier, a "macabre crucifix" is mentioned. What is makes this particular crucifix "macabre?" And what makes the meat "weird" at the monk's table? Show me, don't tell me. I'm also wondering why the calls of three different kinds of birds are described (not counting the raven). When you draw the reader's attention to details like these, there's supposed to be some kind of a payoff later on in the script. If you have no payoff, these details are just a distraction -- they don't move the story forward.

              Chilled

              I didn't vote for this one. The writing flowed well enough, so it wasn't the execution, it was just a story that didn't appeal to me at all. I don't like violence and cruelty for the sake of violence and cruelty. I also didn't quite get the point of the count down (when shooting) or why the cat started mewing on cue -- or why it mattered. I pretty much didn't get the cat at all -- except maybe as a vehicle for dialog when Naomi was on her own. And the "Bob the Cat" / "Bobcat" pun seemed odd and out of place. I also have a few nits (take all these with a grain of salt). Spiked boots in snow drifts? Wouldn't snowshoes make more sense? "Frozen" -- I think - would have been a better word than "crystalline" for the frozen river -- it's more direct and concrete. The "BAM!" sound doesn't work for trying to open a door into a snowdrift. First, most doors open inwards not outwards (beside the point) -- second, snow mutes sound. It would be more like a "whump" -- a dull, "thudding sound." I've had to open car doors into high drifts of snow and there is definitely no "BAM" sound. This sentence stopped me in mid-reading, "Specks of loose gutter snow drip onto his bald head." Snow doesn't "drip." It drops, or falls, or floats, or swirls. If it "drips" it's water. Same issue with this sentence, "...the bobcat trundles through the pale mush, wet white waves billowing in its wake." Basically the same issue as above. If the snow is "mushy" it's not going to billow. If it's wet it's not going to be white. (I used to live in Montana, so I saw a lot of snow.) EDIT: I'm sorry to say, I completely missed the beer head pun. (Probably should modify my comments and would do so if I wasn't rushing out of here shortly. Maybe later.) EDIT 2: I'm just realizing how exceptionally nitpicky I was here about the snow. Sorry, WriterNZ. I guess I shouldn't write critiques when I'm this tired.

              Throne Games

              I voted this one 2nd -- the writing was solid (with a few nits) and it flowed well, but the story seemed ... "inadequate" somehow. Maybe I just didn't like it -- or, more likely, I just wasn't thrilled with the characters. I guess I should have been happy that Roger got his comeuppance after his betrayal of Henry but I ended up not liking either. The nits (take them with a grain of salt). The dialog snippets, "Wakey, wakey, rise and shine..." and "Mate" both pulled me completely out of the story. These words just didn't sound right for the time and place. Also noticeable (for me anyhow) was the on-the-nose dialog (bordering on "idiot") where Roger details where and how they went wrong with all their killing, and Henry explains how they are going to escape. I also find brother's reconciliation (once ghosts) to not fit in with the mood of the rest of the script. It seemed too easy (and a bit like the brother's ghosts in "Stardust"). At any rate, I think I'm taking this too seriously.

              A Nearly Terminal Case of Death

              This is the one I voted for 1st. I liked it, thought it flowed well, with good dialog and description -- and dry humor. Maybe a bit "on the nose" and drawn out slightly too long -- but, all in all, this was my favorite. I like this kind of humor, so I'm probably not as objective as I would normally be for something that didn't suit my taste.

              Bring Me the Head

              My own. Still surprised some people liked it. Since I wrote this, I won't critique it too much (there will be some "nits" at the end). The process for writing went pretty much like this ... Find some way to use the phrase "bring me the head" over and over, and fill eight pages up with lots of variety. It didn't take too long to come up with the basic idea -- maybe five or ten minutes to get to Randall, his imagination and the misdirection at the beginning ("head of lettuce"). Then I started writing, not knowing yet what Randall would imagine. In about 30 minutes I had the introduction and the short alien scene done. I thought the dark mood of the alien world would work well with the stormy back yard. Then, after typing "FADE TO BLACK:" I wanted some reason to type "FADE TO WHITE" -- to go into a whole different direction. I like medieval stories, so Camille and her Mom came pretty quickly (I found myself not really wanting to make Camille evil, but the story needed it) -- I think that scene (those scenes) took about 40 minutes, it kind of wrote itself. The preying mantis scene didn't come quite as quickly -- and, I think it turned out to be the weakest part of the story. Probably another 40 minutes to write this. Then I thought I would go back to backyard for a moment, then end with (yet another) "dream" scene. But when I got back to the backyard, the idea of the gnome hit me and I liked the idea of "book-ending" the story where it started. I liked the gnome, he seemed genuinely sneaky bad -- and then, to get the line "bring me the head" one more time -- I realized that this gnome needed to be one of many and (now) just a common occurrence in Randall's household. So, in another 40 minutes (or so) I had it done. Except I spent 30 more minutes (or so) editing. (I should have spent 3 or 4 hours, but when I get done with one of these I don't like to overthink it. It all took about 3.5 hours I think. (Nits) If I had it to do over again, I would 1) Find a different idea for Dream Scene 3. Or at least clean it up. 2) Edit Scene 2, some overwriting (probably all through the script). 3) Sit on it for a little longer before submitting it. Thanks everyone for your comments and reading this.
              Last edited by Centos; 07-18-2016, 03:40 AM.
              STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                Originally posted by Crayon View Post
                Did the story not count for anything in your evaluation?
                It did, I said I liked the specfic monster content, it came over as a fine Hammer horror style unholy creature flick. But the script also felt like a heavy read, too much like prose. Other folks have already picked out some particularly dense paragraphs in their replies.

                I wrote Leviathan for the contest - it was wholly inspired by the theme. And I really enjoyed the research and writing once I'd settled on the English Reformation setting.
                That's cool, I was fine with this setting and period. And I don't doubt that it was written as a script, but my thoughts strayed to the possibility that it may have started out as prose because of that dense feeling. Fun fact, forum posts are limited to 15k characters, everyone else's entry was under the limit and fitted into one post, yours had to be split into two posts. Significant? Nah probably not. And yet.

                Can you please do me a favour and quote one or two of my worst over-descriptive paragraphs? It would be a great help because I felt sure I'd written it lean enough for the needs of the story. Although, I don't doubt it would benefit from another cutting rewrite, or six.
                Bearing in mind that I'm just as rank amateur as everyone else -- methinks you could easily pat whole scenes into something more succinct, e.g. and just for fun's sake, pardon my insolence:

                Code:
                EXT. MARSHLAND - DAY
                
                Almost sunset. Mist creeps in from the sea. Birds caw.
                
                SUPER:
                               GRAVEWICK, ENGLAND, 1535
                
                A cloaked, hooded man, SPEEDWELL, marches along a rutted track.
                A tough, uncompromising soldier on a mission.
                
                He spies, through the mist, the distant yellow lamps of a tavern.
                
                A raven, perched upon a gibbet from which a rotting corpse hangs,
                watches Speedwell approach.
                
                With a SCREECH it launches itself and attacks Speedwell, who
                swings his wooden staff.  The bird comes at him again and again.
                Speedwell bats the raven to the ground and stabs it with the
                end of his staff.
                
                Speedwell hurries toward the tavern.
                ...Like I say, just a fun example. Don't feel obliged to agree with me or anything. But my humble suggestion stems from my being told in the past, often, that I was a wordy bastid and this was just slowing the story up, or hiding it completely. I felt this could true of your sample also. Shrug, I might be wrong (of course). Opinions are like arseholes, as they say...

                Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

                Oh Those Hot Summer Nights script contest
                5 pages, deadline next Sunday

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                  Thanks guys for your thoughts on the ill-conceived and not particularly well-executed (no pun) Throne Games, hindsight tells me it was a brain fart gone wrong, with the wrong balance of grim vs. humor, so it's kinda easy to take criticism aboard. :) This script was actually my second idea, the first was so profound I can't even remember what it was.

                  Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

                  Oh Those Hot Summer Nights script contest
                  5 pages, deadline next Sunday

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                    Originally posted by dpaterso View Post
                    Thanks guys for your thoughts on the ill-conceived and not particularly well-executed (no pun) Throne Games,
                    I don't think it was "not particularly well-executed," nor "ill-conceived" -- just not the kind of story I like. If you had a different audience the results could have been completely different. It was a pretty small group.

                    I'm tired of talking about this (past) exercise, when do we get do another one?
                    STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                      Originally posted by dpaterso View Post
                      Opinions are like arseholes, as they say...
                      Umm, do they say this? What does it mean?

                      Also dpaterso--I forgot to thank you for putting this together. Much appreciated and a fun exercise...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                        Originally posted by Centos View Post
                        When you draw the reader's attention to details like these, there's supposed to be some kind of a payoff later on in the script. If you have no payoff, these details are just a distraction -- they don't move the story forward.
                        Excellent point, Centos! Thanks for pointing that out, as it is a great reminder.

                        Also, huge congrats on your stellar performance

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                          Originally posted by SBdeb View Post
                          Also dpaterso--I forgot to thank you for putting this together. Much appreciated and a fun exercise...
                          I haven't thanked him either. Thank you, sir.
                          STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                            You're most welcome, it's fun for me too, it's not like I don't get something out of it. :)

                            Originally posted by SBdeb View Post
                            Umm, do they say this? What does it mean?
                            Everybody's got one, and some of 'em stink.

                            Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

                            Oh Those Hot Summer Nights script contest
                            5 pages, deadline next Sunday

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Results - Bring Me The Head contest

                              I'd add my two cents, but it looks like I'd be an echo chamber for most of the comments already made. They seem like thoughtful critiques, including the ones for my entry.

                              I liked the images for "Bring Me The Head". You could really see it (and almost smell it).

                              If these contests could be more frequent, there might be less of a tendency to overthink them. (Of course that's easy for me to say since I'm not putting in any of the work to run them.)

                              Maybe, as a "prize", we could let the winner "suggest" a topic, or criteria for the next contest?

                              I'd also like to thank you dpaterso. It was fun.
                              "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X