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From the Bench to the Beach

by Plume


EXT. BENCH. DAY.

Two strangers sit on a bench.

STRANGER 1

So. You come here often?

STRANGER 2

Hm? Oh, no. I’m in from out of town, actually. Visiting my mother.

STRANGER 1

Huh. That’s cool. Are you enjoying it?

STRANGER 2

Um… yeah? I like that sushi place. I don’t really have places like that at home.

STRANGER 2 smiles reluctantly. STRANGER 1 returns it, more genuinely.

STRANGER 1

It is really good. Yeah, um… I like it too. Have you gone to the beach yet?

STRANGER 2

There’s a beach?

STRANGER 1

Yep! Just around that corner. You can’t miss it.

STRANGER 1 gestures down the road, pointing at a bend.

STRANGER 1

There’s a pathway somewhere. It has sand, so… you shouldn’t miss it!

STRANGER 2

Thanks!

STRANGER 2 collects their belongings and goes down the road, following the directions given by STRANGER 1. Zoom on a newspaper kiosk by the bench. Headlines read “Three perish on South County Shore: Mayor discusses plans to close” and “Deaths caused by rocky beach lead Mayor to deliberate solutions”.

STRANGER 1 stays on the bench, studying their surroundings. STRANGER 3 approaches and sits next to them. STRANGER 3 looks down at their phone. STRANGER 1 studies them.

STRANGER 1

So. You come here often?


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Sun Oct 11, 2020 2:19 pm
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omer wrote a review...



Hey Plume!
That's. So. Creepy! I'm usually not into horror, and I think I do like this script because of the fact the scary part comes in the end, when you're the most interested to understand what is the twist. It's less scary (which is great for a coward like me), and more surprising, or spooky. In a way, I also find it funny! And if I get all of these different emotions from that script, it means youv'e done your job.
I like how Stranger 2 is impatient and wants Stranger 1 to live him alone already; it's very relatable and makes an amusing-akward sort of vibe.
I do have one note:
So we get Stranger 2 is annoyed by Stranger 1. He's clearly forcing himself to be nice. When Stranger 1 suggests he should go to the beach, Stranger 2 weirdly "obeys" him very quickly, with no time to consider it. He doesn't has to have a whole dilemma about it, because their dialogue is already long enough, but I'd put in a little more of him thinking about it. Even a short directing note will do!
Your'e creative and talented, great job!!




Plume says...


Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed!



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Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:04 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey Silver!

Happy RevMo! I don't review scripts often, so I apologise if some of my feedback is of no use to you. That being said, I do review an awful lot of prose so hopefully a lot of that should be applicable to your piece.
(Can I just thank you for writing both a script and a piece of horror thus enabling me to check off two things on my checklist?) xD

I really love how you've kept this so short and concise. I think in a script you avoid the need for lengthy description but that can also make it difficult to convey your message. You've still managed to get your scene across in this short manner, so congrats for that. Often, the scariest stories are told in the simplest way and the scary part is left to the imagination.

I would like to see stranger 1 told in a slightly more sinister manner. The way they talk, it doesn't make them seem very scary or mysterious and I think you could potentially capitalise on this more. Not in a super obvious way, but it would be good if the reader/ watcher? of the play/movie/scene learns about the deaths on the beach and then rethinks/rereads the scene and finds that the stranger 1 is actually a bit creepy.

It's this particular line that I think you could change up a bit to make stranger 1 seem more eerie:

Yeah, um… I like it too. Have you gone to the beach yet?

The use of 'um' just makes them seem very non-threatening.

Anyway, that's all from me! A really good piece here :)

Icy




Plume says...


Thank you!! You did a great job reviewing this script.



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Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:31 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya silverquill12,

Shady here with a review for you this lovely RevMo! I do have to warn you that I am not well experienced in reviewing scripts, but I am trying to complete the Checklist Challenge so I am branching out of my comfort zone and will hopefully be able to provide some helpful feedback along the way!

I don't really have any specific feedback, more overall impressions. But I really like this! It's super short but still eerie and well done! Great job!

At first, the conversation seems a bit bland, to be perfectly honest. Chit chat between strangers, what's so ominous about that? But then after the stranger walks off and we see the headlines, it becomes a bit more clear of oh no something bad is about to happen.

And honestly, the very last line is probably the most ominous part of this scene. It's REALLY well done that you have it be the exact same way this scene opened. It's like oh no this is becoming habit. Stranger one keeps murdering people. Stranger two is dead. Stranger three is heading that way. That's a super nice way to tie this up -- foreboding but not going over-board with the descriptions.

That being said, I do think it would benefit a bit to explain the cliffs a bit more. It seems odd that so many people died if it was just a rocky path? I'd like to see a bit more indication from stranger 1 that they were involved in the deaths beyond suggesting the path -- or, at the very least, a bit of description hinting towards what happens at the strangers once they follow that path.

But overall, really nice scene! I enjoyed reading it!

Keep writing and happy RevMo!

~Shady 8)

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Plume says...


Thanks for your review! Good luck on your checklist challenge!



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Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:28 am
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whatchamacallit wrote a review...



Hi there Silverquill! I'm here for a quick review on this script, in the spirit of #RevMo !

I love how concise and to-the-point this is, while you still manage to keep the plot twist a surprise until the very last moment. I often struggle to keep things short, so I find it super impressive that you made such a short scene so effective! I definitely wouldn't suggest making this longer - I think that would drag it out and ruin the snappiness of it. What could be interesting would be if you made a series of spooky short scripts like this, that weren't necessarily part of the same plot but just had the same theme ~ however that would require writing a bunch of other scripts which you might now be interested in doing, which is totally understandable! (And this script definitely works well on its own, too, so that's just something to consider if you want more work, I guess xD)

(OR what if you made a prequel script explaining the Stranger 1's motivations? That could definitely be super interesting. But again, not at all necessary.)

Anyway, returning to the script at hand! There are definitely a lot of stories/scripts similar to this general idea of someone spending their time luring others to their deaths, as Kassiani said, but I don't find that to be a bad thing in this case ~ the ending was still a surprise to me, so it's not like I knew what was coming, and the script feels fresh and is definitely something I'll remember for a while ~ so I wouldn't worry about it blending into other works of the genre or anything like that!

I could gush about how much I loved the plot twist for a while, and honestly I'm not sure how I didn't see it coming, but I love how you give the reader an inkling of what's going on with the newspaper headings, and then BAM, you end it with one morbid line. Super effective way to finish the script!

Critique-wise, I feel like the two strangers have really similar speach patterns - perhaps too similar? For example Stranger 2 says "Um... yeah? I like that sushi place" and then Stranger 1 says "Yeah, um... I like it too." I feel like it'd be even stronger if you gave them distinguishable vocabularies / speech styles - it doesn't have to be huge, just subtle, but that would help to differentiate the characters.

Having said that though, the dialogue definitely feels awkward and stop-start, like something you'd hear between two strangers, so well done on that!

STRANGER 2

Um… yeah? I like that sushi place. I don’t really have places like that at home.

^My only nitpick would be that I think it'd make more sense for Stranger 2 to say "we don't really have places like that..." instead of "I don't...".

Overall, this is a really clever script that I enjoyed reading! I hope you find this useful and if you've got any questions feel free to ask :)

Happy RevMo!

whatcha


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Plume says...


Thank you so much! I really appreciate your review!



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Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:26 am
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Nyla wrote a review...



Hello and Happy Review Day!

OOOH, this was spooky! I love that. I also really like that you didn't overdo it. This is my favorite kind of ghost story: simple, effective, the kind of thing you can actually imagine a friend of yours telling you during a round of "have you ever had a paranormal encounter?" It reminded me a bit of this short film, and I mean that as a compliment because I like that film a lot. This piece, however, was subtler and more simplistic, and I think that approach worked. It made the creepiness stand out all the more, taking the audience by surprise after coming across, initially, like a standard slice-of-life story. And I love the way it ends: so abruptly, with the opening line of dialogue now used as the closing line—a choice that suggests repetition in the ghost's (after)life, like maybe they're stuck there, in a loop, unable to move on. Good stuff. And I think it's cool that we don't see how that final interaction progresses: you've given us all the clues, we know what's up, there's no need to show us something more, so you're wise to end things right where you do.

The only "drawback" is that it does make for a very short piece, but I don't think that's an issue. I could see this making an effective, chilling short film. I suppose you could expand on it a bit, but I worry that if you did, it would ruin the simplicity. I like that this piece leaves your reader/audience with some lingering questions. I like that it's a tiny, unsettling, super-efficient mini-script. I don't want that to be interfered with because it's one of the reasons this piece even works. But I would love to see what you could do with an extended script—say, a short film that's not quite so short (like a 15+ minute watch)—that's unrelated to this story yet involves similar themes of subtle horror/supernaturalism. I'd definitely be interested in seeing more scary stories from you—this one showed a lot of promise.

Ordinarily I'd hassle you about the formatting, but one of the previous reviewers already mentioned that, so I guess I won't bother. Maybe one point of criticism is that the premise isn't particularly original—lots of stories have been centered on interactions with the dead, often set at (or involving) the place of the ghost's death, and many times, the ghost is seemingly "stuck" at the scene of their death and trying to lure others in. That doesn't bother me though. I mean, these stories exist for a reason: they're chilling and effective. I don't mind seeing another take on it, so long as the take is entertaining. In this particular piece, I don't think you did much to change the story or make it your own, but you did utilize simplicity in such a way to keep the piece engaging and prevent it from wearing out its welcome (which is another reason why that sudden ending—leaving the audience almost as soon as they've figured out what's going on—works so well).

Anyway, onto some nitpicks...

STRANGER 1

Yep! Just around that corner. You can’t miss it.

STRANGER 1

There’s a pathway somewhere. It has sand, so… you shouldn’t miss it!

So, you have the character say some variation of "you can't miss it" twice, and very close together. On the one hand, I get why you might've done this—there's something foreboding about this line, and a little bit of dramatic irony in suggesting that the beach is impossible to miss when it's also so easy to fall prey to—but I do think the repetition is unnecessary, and the line would be subtler (and arguably even more foreboding) if only used once. For that reason, I'd suggest changing the second sentence to this: "There’s a pathway somewhere. Just look for the sand." Or perhaps: "There’s a pathway somewhere. It has sand, so… it's easy to find."

Headlines read “Three perish on South County Shore: Mayor discusses plans to close” and “Deaths caused by rocky beach lead Mayor to deliberate solutions”.

The period at the end should go inside the quotations.

Anyway, I think that's all I've gotta say on this. Ultimately, I liked it a lot—gave me a quick jolt of "ooh, ghost story!" creepiness, without overstaying its welcome or laying on the paranormal stuff too thick. (No jump scares—yay.) Nice work! Hope to see more stuff like this from you in the future. :)




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Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:14 pm
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Alfonso22 wrote a review...



Thanks for sharing this very unusual composition. I like the simplistic approach. Reminds me of the way in which Hemingway sometimes had his characters reveal so much about themselves while saying so little. I also was very pleased with the manner in which such a simple scenario as a bench with strangers arriving and meeting stranger number one, can contain so much inherent drama that is masked by the seemingly simple and seemingly harmless dialogue.

The only thing that threw me off is that I found the pronoun usage of "them", and their confusing. You see, you seem to be using the singular noun "stranger" to refer to the plural pronoun "them" and seem to be using the plural possessive "pronoun "their to refer to the singular noun "stranger".

Of course, upon closer examination, one can unravel this apparent confusion. But unraveling it took me approx five minutes, when I should have been reading smoothly to the end. When I finally did, I realized that the story is indeed dramatic and I like the way that the action tells us all we needed to know about the motives of stranger 1, to send any other stranger who might join him at that bench to his death.

BTW
It seems as if stranger two returned to the bench unharmed since both are joined by stranger number three. That is a bit confusing. Also, why does stranger two feel he has the right to take THEIR belongings on his short walk towards the beach? One would expect stranger one to object to that gesture. Hard to come up with a logical satisfactory explanation. Care to explain?

I know it's a script but scripts must also be logical.




Plume says...


As someone who frequently brushes off technicalities of grammar, I understand your confusion. I am to blame for using plural pronouns. I wanted to keep the strangers' genders unknown, just for purposes of interpretation. However, the only way I could do this correctly would be to say "his or her" or "he or she" and so forth, which I find gets very wordy and doesn't work with my style. I just revert to using their. Sorry for the confusion. Just remember that whenever they or their is used as a pronoun in this, I mean it do be singular. To answer your other question regarding stranger 2: I never say they return from the beach (haha, there's the "they" again). Only stranger 1 is joined by stranger 3. Sorry if this was confusing. Thanks for the review, though. It is refreshing to see others' views on my piece.



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Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:55 pm
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koinoyokan wrote a review...



I really like the narrative and scene-building you are doing here. There are so many ways you could build this into a longer scene and or story. As this is a script your doing a good job of focusing more on the dialogue then the scene describes, which should always be seen as broad strokes for a director to interpret further. My only point of criticism would be the layout. Layout in scriptwriting is incredibly important if you were ever to write a full 120 so page movie script no one would take it seriously if the layout is not what is standardized in the community. You can look up what the layout should look like. Word has a pretty good blank templet to work with, its not perfect but it does the job. And there are some free sites that do the same thing. It also makes writing the script much faster since your not constantly changing indents and capitalizations. Another than that great start to a horror movie.




Plume says...


Yes, thanks for your concern! I do know how to format a script- just was feeling a bit lazy as well as out of practice. I have an account on CeltX. Also when you publish stuff on here, there is only one font and Courier is not it. Thanks for your review!




Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe.
— John Milton (Poet)