Author Topic: "The Smile on Forgotten Lips"  (Read 3355 times)

Offline muttonman

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"The Smile on Forgotten Lips"
« on: October 24, 2016, 06:34:57 PM »
Ok, I posted the whole thing last week as a download, but no one wanted to read it, even though it was only 14 pages.  So instead, I thought I'd try just posting the first part:

The room is dark.  Suddenly, light breaks through from someone breaking down the door with a small axe. As pieces of the door break apart, we see a pistol come through and tinted goggles looking through the door. 

The person breaking down the door looks around through the hole for a few seconds before pulling the gun back.  The person puts their hand through the hole, unlocks the door and steps through. 

It is a woman, dressed in dark cargo pants and a t-shirt, with a balaclava covering her head. Her clothes are visibly worn and dirty. She is wearing gloves and holding the pistol in one hand and a small axe in the other and a well-worn leather satchel over one shoulder.  She cautiously enters and scans the room.

The cabin doesn’t look like anyone has been in it for years.  Dust particles catch the light bleeding in from the separations of the curtains on the windows.  As she looks around, she sees upturned furniture and various items, including a stuffed animal, on the floor, as if they had been thrown about.

Visibly tense, she continues through the main room and notices a nearly skeletal CORPSE in the room and next to it, a handgun.  The back of its skull has been blown to pieces.  She steps over the body and continues to look around. 


She enters what appears to be an empty bedroom, also untouched for years. Her gun is still drawn.  There is a picture of a woman and a small child in a broken frame on the floor, covered with years of dust and debris.  She kicks at it to try and see it better, and moves on.  There is a bed with a small pink blanket on it.  She walks over to the window in the room and looks around outside before turning around and leaving the bedroom.


She re-enters the main room, slightly less tense than when she entered.  She holsters her gun and her axe.  She pulls down her balaclava and pulls up her goggles onto her head, revealing her face.  It is QUINN, a woman in her late twenties.  Her hair is pulled back in a down ponytail.  The dirt on her face indicates that she hasn’t seen a shower in days.  She walks over to the small kitchen area and starts to open cabinets and drawers, throwing items of no use onto the floor and taking what few canned goods there are and putting them in her satchel.  She starts to go through the mini fridge and finds that most of the food has long since gone bad.  However, in the back of the fridge, she finds an unopened can of soda, and her face lights up with joy.

                                  (to herself)

She leans up against the kitchen counter and opens the soda.  She takes her first drink and a gets a euphoric look on her face.  Thoroughly pleased with herself for this acquisition, she starts to walk through room to see what other treasures she might find. 

As she’s walking through, she’s lifting up various objects and looking under them, such as an overturned table.  One item that she picks up from the coffee table is a cell phone. She pushes the power button, but it is obviously dead, so she tosses it onto the couch.  She starts to walk away from the phone when she gets a look of uncertainty on her face. 

She pulls out a small solar charger from her satchel, tries a couple of different plugs, and plugs in the phone and sets it on the window sill.  To her surprise, the charging light turns on.  All of a sudden, she hears someone calling her.

                                  (off, yelling)

                                       In here!

NOAH comes through the damaged front door.  He is approximately the same age as Quinn, and is dressed similarly.  As he enters, Quinn turns towards him and hides the soda behind her back.
                              Hey, there you are, you got ahead of me.

                              Well, if you weren’t mess-assin’ around, maybe you could keep up.

                              I don’t know anyone that can keep up with you Quinn.

                              Whatever, quit being such a girl.

Noah laughs as he walks around, examining the room

                              So, d’you find anything?

                        (patting her satchel)
                             Yeah, found a few cans.

                             Sweet, that’ll help a lot.

Noah notices the corpse.

                            Geez, what happened to that guy?

                            Who knows? 

                            (points at gun)

                            Looks like he couldn’t cut it.

                            Sucks to be him.


                            Well, you wanna go over to the next cabin, see what we can find?

Quinn glances at the charging phone.

                             No, why don’t you go ahead, I’ll catch up.  I just gonna look around here a bit more, make sure I didn’t miss anything.

                             You want some help looking around?

                             Nah, go ahead. I’ll be fine.

                             You sure?

                            Yeah, I’m good.

                            Alright, don’t be too long.

Noah turns and leaves.

Quinn watches him leave.  Once she’s sure he’s gone, she grabs her soda and takes a drink, with a smile on her face.

She sits down on the couch with her soda to relax for a few minutes while she waits for the phone to finish charging.  She sees the dead body out of the corner of her eye.  She tries to ignore it, but after a while, she goes to the bedroom. She comes out with the blanket and covers the body up as much as she can.  She then goes back to sitting on the couch and enjoying her soda.
After a few minutes, she gets up and walks over to the phone.  She picks it up and it says that it’s about half charged.  She unplugs it, puts the charger back in her satchel, and sits back down on the couch.

She opens the phone and starts flipping through the screens.  She finds the “Gallery” app and clicks it.  She randomly scrolls through the pictures.  There are pictures of a man in his thirties and his wife and young daughter, probably about 4 years old.  In one photo, the man is wearing the same shirt as the corpse, and she puts it together that the phone belonged to the dead body.  She flips through some more pictures when she comes across a video.  She clicks play and watches the video.

It is a video of the man and his daughter eating at a fast food place and making funny faces.  This makes Quinn smile.  She then goes through a few videos, all involving the man, the wife, and his daughter.  Quinn glances over at the body, then looks back at the phone.

                      Cute family.  You did alright for yourself.

She watches a few more videos before she gets bored and tosses the phone onto the couch, ready to catch up to Noah.  As she stands up and starts to leave, she hears the phone.


Quinn’s eyes get as big as dinner plates.

(To be continued)

Offline muttonman

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Re: "The Smile on Forgotten Lips"
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 06:36:29 PM »
Anyway, this is for a contest that I'm wanting to enter where the winner gets to film the script, so I need some brutally honest feedback here guys (but constructive)...



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Re: "The Smile on Forgotten Lips"
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 04:45:23 PM »
I assume this is meant to be for a screenplay competition - in which case you will need to remove a great deal of the directions. I'll be honest - the first 471 words read like a rather badly-written extract from a short story.

What happens on screen? Someone breaks into an empty house, I guess. The problem is, you're writing the entire scene in so much detail, it's like you're watching the finished movie. But it's not your job to tell the director how to shoot the scene, what to show in each frame, or indeed to tell costume in such detail what your main character will wear. Your job is to simply give her something to do - lines to speak. Nothing more. . . except maybe a name right at the start. The way you introduce Quinn is bizarre since surely you (the script-writer) already know her identity.

However, a more basic problem is that there's nothing here worth getting excited about. If you remove the choreography and the stage directions you have very little left. The dialogue is barely passable as banter.

Memorable dialogue is the lifeblood of a great script. I suggest a major rewrite.


Offline Guerin1

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Re: "The Smile on Forgotten Lips"
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 03:17:31 PM »
Hey Muttonman

Just had a quick read. Gotta agree with the above. The whole intro is thick and a bit of a yawn. I kind of switched off reading it.

Once you get to the dialogue though I liked it. It's snappy, sharp and dynamic. It's not exactly high art, but then you're not going for that anyway. If I had to guess the genre I would say it's a post apocalyse/ zombie type genre so the fast dialogue and quips are right at home here. I think it actually reads better without any stage direction at all, maybe try to snip the stage direction to like one or two sentences and only the super necessary stuff like the corpse the phone etc.

I guess the challenge will be adding more substance to the fast dialogue you got going as the story progresses.

So in short, cut the stage direction and grow the story with the dialogue. Would be happy to read more if you want to send me a link to it. Good luck with the competition.

All the best,