The Waiting is Over!

I finally got my score back from round one of the Cyberspace Open and I think it’s unlikely that I will be (officially) advancing to the next round.

For reference, you can read my entry here. This is the review in full, with the reviewer’s ID and my email addy redacted:

Total Score–Calculated: [21+20+21+21]
Reviewer ID number:
Writer’s Name: Jerry Seeger
Writer’s Email Address:
Structure Score: 21
Dialogue Score: 20
Style Score: 21
Originality Score: 21
Judge’s Comments: The scene has a nice energy to it throughout, though the action feels a little hackneyed and familiar. The relationship between Tommy and Lenore is interesting but it never really becomes something easy to invest in. The dialogue is a little talky and the writing a bit wordy. Try not to open a scene with a large chunk of description – ugh! Apply the 4 line rule throughout (no more than 4 lines of description at any one time). A slimmed down writing style that shows rather than tells – using as few words as possible – would help to bring out the inherent drama and suspense. Less is often more! Good luck.

I knew some of this criticism was coming; the ‘hackneyed and familiar’ part was the subject of a previous lament in a comment somewhere. I failed to break the two out of the ‘modern Bonnie and Cyde’ mold and give the two their own identities. A pity. The opening wordiness demerit is a bit frustratiing; I had put in extra stuff to set the context of the scene better (in an actual script you’d know about the GTO already, for instance), and normally character descriptions would not happen there. They would have been taken care of long before.

As for the wordy dialog, there’s one phrase, “You got some drivin’ to do,” that I really dislike now, but I think the two are talky people. Once again without context the mercurial conversations don’t make as much sense. It goes back to me doing a better job establishing who these people are in the first few words. I failed at that.

Still, I think it’s a fair score and the comments are things I can definitely learn from as I work on other things.

Will I go on to round two? I have to admit that I’m pretty pessimistic on that front. I expect I’m firmly in the middle of the pack of competent entrants, but I think it’s going to take a little more than that to move on. Only time will tell, however, so keep your digits crossed!

25 thoughts on “The Waiting is Over!

  1. Congrats on your score! (Still waiting for mine…..) Thank you for putting yourself out there. Not just for the contest but for the rest of us as well! After all, making the attempt is really the biggest challenge – or so say some:

    “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt”.
    William Shakespeare
    “Measure for Measure”

    • Thanks, JV! It’s a fun exercise, and I intend to stay true to my word and write the next rounds even it they won’t be judged.

      Maybe sharing my feedback with something concrete to compare it to will help someone out there somehow.

  2. Dag Nabbit! I had a bit thing here, but didn’t post it before I restarted the browser! It was all about the factors involved in the competition that were not mentioned, cast, budget, etc. It was good. Really.

    Anyway, no scores yet. Looking at your criticisms, I might still be in the running. I am planning to post the bastard later today (it’s on my writing machine, no this computer) so you can judge for yourselves…


  3. I’m not sure I agree with the hackneyed complaints and the originality score. I mean it’s hollywood. Come on. Those should’ve been higher. Not being in da bidness, Iwon’t pass as much judgement on the dialogue and (especially) the structure scores. The dialogue didn’t bother me, but again, I’m not a film person who has to go and use that in a scene.
    Still on same topic genre, but segueing to different species…What is latest on Moonlight sonata and This is Awkward? Coming to a film festival near me? East o’ da mississippi? On earth?
    Whaddabou YouTube?
    On a completely differnt subject…I would like log in privileges so I can have myself loggined. But you say you need my email. Do I send you the flippant fake one I have been using here, or my real one, and then does the system require a real honest addy?

    • I think the flippant fake one (which I like) will work, but it really doesn’t matter since the email doesn’t appear anywhere. No physical contact info required at all. The only catch is that contrary to the documentation I have to give you lots of privileges before you get to the ability to edit your comments. (I have reported this to WordPress as a bug.)

      Giving those privileges doesn’t bother me in the least for people I know, but I will ask that you not make any crazy changes…

      I don’t know the current state of the short films, but I think they are going very, very slowly.

      • I will send you email asking for privileges. I have NO interest in editing anythinng other than my own comments. I wouldn’t dare to edit anything other than my own comments. That would be soooo unethical. I would probably rarely even edit my comments. It’s just that inn last joke I decided to change the phrase “…check out the..” to “look at the…” and I changed check to look but not out to at. (say that 10 times fast).
        It just bugged me at the time. I could say all this in direct email, but wanted to establish a baseline ethic for all those who want editing login perks. Not that I’m the big kahuna who gets to establish anything but I’m just sayin’ is all.

  4. One of the things that I found weird about the feedback they gave was taking you to task for “too much description”…. I deliberately kept that very light and spare so as not to fall into the trap of “directing on paper”, and they took *me* to task for not using enough description!

    I suppose in composite what they might be trying to say is: tell the story visually as well as via dialog, but intersperse the action throughout rather than putting it in all one big block at the outset. Just guessing? I still find it a bit conflicting.

    Anyway, thx for posting your score – hope you make it to the next round!

    • I think the trick with description is to provide just enough so that the reader can frame the scene, with judicious turns-of-phrase to appear clever but not overbearingly prosy. If your scene is really novel or weird, then the reader doesn’t bring much to the table and you have to do most of the setting yourself. If the scene is something more common, like a car chase, then the reader’s bringing a lot of “seen-it-already” and you either have to make the car chase really innovative (like the bike vs. station wagon scene in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) or just sketch it lightly and make damn sure there’s a reason you’re not breaking new ground. It becomes a shoe leather scene, a way of getting the characters from plot point A to plot point B (though maybe having characters shot at during exposition qualifies as a Blake-Snyderian Pope-In-The-Pool trick). I am reminded of the two lengthy, impressive car chase scenes in the movie “Ronin”; both are exemplary technical achievements but both ultimately fail because neither one advances the plot. Nobody is caught! No meaningful exposition! Just guys driving fast! The ridiculous chase scene in “Raising Arizona” is, in comparison, 4 stars: innovative, creative, and actually moved characters along arcs.

      Best wishes with the Open. It’s great of you to post your scene and judges’ comments.

      • When I first started writing the scene, I was worried about getting too much Raising Arizona in there. (Man I love that scene.) I sure did a good job cleansing it.

        Thanks for your comments. That’s something I can keep in mind in all my work.

        I hope the people stopping in who do make it to the next round keep us apprised of their progress.

        • I hope I didn’t hurt feelings with the Raising Arizona reference. That is a crazy scene involving a man with a panty on his head, a pack of housedogs, police galore, a zit-faced clerk with a huge handgun, and a wife who abandons, then has a change of heart and rescues, her husband. Probably way more than 3-5 pages to work all that in. It is, to me, one of the exemplars to aspire to in a “normal” chase scene (in a “normal” script), but it could not be equaled in the constraints of the CS Open format.

          I know they’ve been slow for some, but I think Coverage Inc is doing themselves a tremendous service for future business by giving everyone a good reading and thoughtful comments. I wonder how many entries they’ve had to read?

          • Oh, heck no, no hurt feelings here! I crack up just thinking about that scene.

            The one thing to take from the Ronin chase: the drivers are visibly frightened. I like that. But when I sat down to do my scene I told myself, “don’t go all Raising Arizona,” because the temptation was there. In the end I should have let a little more wackiness in and the scene would have sparkled more.

            I took your comments in the spirit of constructive advice by someone who’s thought about this stuff and has something worthwhile to say.

  5. Well, I got my score finally:

    Total Score–Calculated: [21+20+21+23]
    Reviewer ID number: 200904
    Writer’s Name: [redacted]
    Writer’s Email Address: [redacted]
    Structure Score: 21
    Dialogue Score: 20
    Style Score: 21
    Originality Score: 23
    Judge’s Comments: For starters, there’s no sound in space! Still, though, we’re drawn into the imaginative setting and unique characters – animal superheroes. The deception angle feels a little ‘tacked on’ and the dialogue feels a bit talky and backstory-heavy. The plot involving the antagonist gets a little convoluted and while the final note is a surprise, the story never really becomes believable enough. Good writing overall but try to stage things a bit more to break up the dialogue (though I know it’s tough in space!). Good luck.

    The comment about sound in space, I mean, does this guy watch movies? Also, the same problem, trying too hard to get the backstory into a movie that is already written. AH, well, I doubt this score will be good enough to get into the next round, but you never know!

    The scene itself can be found here .

    • We had the same judge! If I’d known breaking the first paragraph into three sections was all I needed to get past that criticism…

      Must be getting close to announcement time!

      • They have the new one up, weren’t you going to play anyway? I have been considering it, but have a feeling family will take precedence today…

        • If I can’t sleep tonight I’ll crank one out, just to get my head back in a literary place. Been way over on the geek side for a few days.

          I do notice that someone named Kevin D-something is in the next round. Way to go, bud!

          • Yup, that’s me, Kevin D-something :->. My Round 1 entry involved a half-rate magician getting in way over his head with a new, hot assistant. My Round 2 entry I affectionately think of as “Redneck Bomb Squad”. I don’t know how it compares with the 129 others :->. Appreciate the good word.

            (BTW, dug your anime round 2 scene above; worked better for me than the round 1 scene you posted. Seemed more in your wheelhouse — there was an obvious easy comfort with the dialogue and tropes.)


  6. I got a 91 on the second round, with barely any comments, so that is probably the end of the line for me… but we’ll see. Maybe they add scores together to determine the Top 10? Dunno.


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