Peer Review by maryse (United Kingdom)

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Where Time Stands Still

By: mirkat


Where there is quick dialogue in the script, there is a SLASH in the middle of the speaker's dialogue, representing where the next actor should begin. The following actor's line will be started with a SLASH to indicate that it is interrupting another line. 
A SLASH means actors are speaking on top of one another.
A DASH means speakers cut one another off in the middle of their sentences allowing the next actor to speak.


Hear birdsong and rustling footsteps as three teenage girls, BRYNN (16), WREN (14), and ELLE (13) come into view (BRYNN and WREN are on either side of ELLE as they walk side by side in a horizontal line). 

They tromp through the autumn leaves that have piled up on the ground. BRYNN carries some books in her arms, both BRYNN and WREN wear backpacks, and ELLE wears a book bag slung across her body. They are lost in the woods and a fight has broken out between ELLE and WREN.

ELLE: But I did it! I knew the combination by heart, and so, during his lunch period, I opened it!/ And do you want to know what I found?                                    

WREN: [Exasperated] /Elle! Come on! Sneaking into people’s lockers can get you expelled!
WREN jumps in front of ELLE and BRYNN, walking backward while facing them.

WREN (CONT’D): I told you not to do it! And no, I don’t want to know what you found!

ELLE jumps out to meet WREN. Now they are both bickering in front of BRYNN. All of them are still walking forward at a leisurely pace.

ELLE: [Annoyed] Oh come on! Did you really think I would listen to you? I was really careful, and--

BRYNN: [Cutting Elle off, speaking quietly] Wren does have a point. (BEAT) Okay, can we just find out where--

ELLE: [Cutting in, ignoring Brynn] Besides, I didn’t get caught! I really don’t understand the big deal here!

WREN: The big deal!? I'll tell you what it is! You broke into your boyfriend's locker/ and snooped around all his stuff! 

ELLE: [Outraged] /Boyfriend! Cyrus is my mortal enemy! That’s exactly why I snuck into his locker in the first place!

BRYNN is getting agitated. She stops walking and raises her arms in a gesture to get her sisters’ attention.
BRYNN: [Raising her voice] Guys! Just stop fighting! In case you haven’t noticed, we’re lost! In the woods! With no idea which way we came from or where our house is!

ELLE and WREN stop walking and fall silent. BRYNN walks up to them. They are once again in the horizontal line from the beginning (BRYNN and WREN on either side of ELLE) as they continue walking forward.

WREN: [Apologetic] Yeah… you’re right. Elle and I won’t fight anymore.

ELLE: Sorry Brynn. We’ve been lost for so long, and, well, Wren was totally getting on my nerves.

WREN stops walking as BRYNN and ELLE continue forward. When they realize WREN has stopped, they stop walking, and turn around to face her.
WREN: How’d we get into this mess, anyways?

BRYNN: I think it was after we passed Chestnut Street, and before we got to Wisteria Lane. Yeah… 

BRYNN trails off, remembering what led them to get lost in the woods. ELLE and WRENN glance around at their surroundings, periodically looking back at BRYNN. 

BRYNN (CONT’D): Elle suggested we find a new shortcut through the woods, and, well, here we are.

There is silence for a moment as the sisters look all around them. ELLE looks up at the tops of the trees and the sky as she slowly turns in a circle.

WREN: [Smiling] Elle always does have a habit of getting us into trouble. 

BRYNN: [Chuckling] Okay, remember when Elle got sent to the principal’s office for writing all over her desk?

ELLE: [Laughing] In my defense, that was the only time I wrote something worth reading. It was a fairy tale about a princess and her betrayal of her kingdom, and I didn’t have any paper, so what else was I supposed to do?

The girls smile and laugh. BRYNN reaches out and wraps her arms around her sisters on either side of her. They all follow suit until they fall back into a horizontal line, this time with BRYNN in the middle. They continue forward, their backs to the camera.

BRYNN: Come on, Let’s get out of here. 


BRYNN, WREN, and ELLE come into focus as they drag themselves across the forest floor. They are still lost in the woods. It’s late afternoon and the bright sun streams in. The sisters shuffle forward, looking every which way for a sign that might reveal where they are. 

WREN: I could’ve sworn that I’ve seen that tree before!

WREN points to a nearby tree, loudly sighing. BRYNN and ELLE glance at the tree from where they stand, a few yards behind Wren.

BRYNN: [Sighing, slightly distraught] You’re probably right, Wren. I bet we've been walking in circles for hours.

ELLE pulls her phone out of her pocket. She fiddles with it, trying to reach her parents.

ELLE: Hey, have you guys tried to call Mom or Dad yet? It doesn’t seem like there’s any cell service… 
WREN: Yeah, didn’t work for me, either. 

WREN sighs again. BRYNN walks over to WREN and tries to give her a reassuring smile. 

ELLE: I’m gonna walk up ahead a little to see if there’s anything that might lead to the street or something. Why don't you guys rest here?

BRYNN: [Glancing at tired Wren] Ok, just stay close and don’t wander off too far. We’ll be right here. Yell if you need anything.

ELLE gives a nod, readjusts her book bag, and trudges off into the woods. WREN and BRYNN sink down beside the tree as they take off their backpacks.

ELLE advances, stomping through the underbrush and leaves. Suddenly, at the crest of a hill, she stops. Her mouth opens in a gasp and she rushes down the hill.

In a clearing, there sits a low iron gate surrounding an overgrown graveyard. Vines and flowers snake up the gate and onto the extravagant headstones. It’s a little overgrown, but with some care, can clearly become beautiful again. The graveyard is cast in a golden light-- the last bit of sunlight dapples the ground and the mossy, vine adorned headstones. 
ELLE runs towards the iron gate, smiling. Her hair trails behind her. 

ELLE: [Whispering] Oh! Beautiful!

ELLE hesitates at the iron gate. Her smile falls and she looks hesitant. She glances around as if wondering if she should share this magical place with her sisters. She glances at the graveyard again and trails her hand over the gate. She stops, lost in thought. Finally, she calls back to her sisters over her shoulder.

ELLE: [Yelling] Brynn! Wren! Come see what I found!

WREN and BRYNN come over the top of the little hill. WREN is in mid-sentence, wondering what ELLE has found. When BRYNN and WREN see the graveyard, their seemingly hopeless situation is immediately forgotten.

WREN: [Mumbling, then speechless] -- our house? Or is it the street?/ I can’t wait until we get home. Oh!     
BRYNN: [Gasping] /It’s an old graveyard! Just imagine everything that has happened here…

ELLE: [Looking back at them, excited] I was right where you were, on the hill, and then I looked down, and… Isn’t it beautiful?

BRYNN: [Quietly] Yeah….

BRYNN’S comment hangs in the air and for a while. The girls just stare at the beauty surrounding them.

BRYNN (CONT’D): Old, abandoned things have such a… a hopeless beauty. So many things have happened here and… well, it’s almost like we’re witnesses to… this-- this little bit of history.

WREN: Yeah… time kinda stands still here, ya’ know?

ELLE: That’s what I was thinking, too. (BEAT) Do ya’ think we should go inside?

WREN and BRYNN walk over to the edge of the iron gate where ELLE is. One-by-one, each sister drops her backpack on the ground. Silence overtakes them for a moment as they look out on the solitary graveyard.

WREN: No, we can’t go in. It’d be like walking over dead people’s headstones and secrets and-- and lives.

BRYNN: You’re right. It doesn’t feel right to-- to go in. Let’s just watch for a while. 

ELLE: This is so unreal! I mean with the last bit of sunlight streaming in… This looks like a fairyland or something that can only be created in an imagination. It’s-- it’s just the perfect place to read or daydream or really anything! This could even become our secret meeting place.

WREN: [Sighing] Totally… Only one problem… we’re still lost. God, it feels like forever since we first dared venture into the woods after school let out.

BRYNN: [Gently elbowing Wren] Stop being so dramatic! But yeah… we’re still lost. This has helped, though.

BRYNN gestures at their surroundings. The sun has started to set and the graveyard is no longer brilliantly lit. It’s starting to look creepy as the light recedes. A gust of wind pases and WREN shivers, crossing her arms. All hope seems lost now. 
The girls look around some more. Suddenly, ELLE sees something in the distance and becomes animated once more.

ELLE: Hey… do you guys see the underbrush over there?

ELLE points to a spot in the clearing where the underbrush has been disturbed. It looks like there might be a path leading away from the graveyard. BRYNN walks over to it, now at the edge of the clearing where the forest creeps up. She studies the path and looks to see where it might lead.

BRYNN: [Hopeful] This might be a path! I think it’ll lead to the street.

WREN: Well, only one way to find out.

WREN and BRYNN slowly start down the path and ELLE stays behind for a moment.

ELLE: It’s about time we leave these woods. Goodbye, beautiful, wondrous graveyard! We hope to see you again!

BRYNN: [turning around] Under much better circumstances! Come on Elle, let’s go see where this path leads us. 

ELLE waves goodbye to the graveyard before joining her sisters. They all glance one last time at their own garden of Eden, the graveyard. Then BRYNN, WREN, and ELLE start down the path, disappearing into the woods. They talk about their day and start laughing as the sound slowly fades away. 



Sorry this is so long! I wrote this a while ago and just revisited it to make some changes. What do you guys think? 

Also just letting everyone know I am going away this weekend so will not be on WtW that much! I will miss you guys and make sure to check back in as soon as I get back home. Love you as always. Keep writing. Keep being. And let's just hold our breath.... (election). <3<3<3

Message to Readers

Just got back... gonna check up on you guys and read your latest work! Thanks for your kind comments! <3

Peer Review

The ease with which the screenwriting format translates to an understandable plot, as well as how lively your characters are! I loved the part where Elle gasps and runs down the hill, then it cuts back to the other sisters, very intriguing. I really enjoyed hearing about the sister's relationship, that was very pleasant. Of course, the most delightful aspect was the magical graveyard, but that almost goes unsaid. Very surprising feature but very interesting.

Elle's infatuation with the graveyard. I'd love to hear more about that. Not to mention the graveyard itself! What a beautiful, wondrous thing to stumble across! I'd be very interested in a series of short films about this one particular throughout the ages.

Reviewer Comments

Amazing screenwriting format, really high level. You do an excellent job of keeping the action lines brief but effective, making it a pretty easy read. Descriptions of characters and locations are top-notch, My one suggestion is that you read through the dialogue and make sure you're not repeating anything that an audience member would be able to infer from the visuals. Other than that, so, so good.
I tried to add as many notes as I possible to be as helpful as I could, as well as mentioning why I would alter things so you could understand why. Frankly, though, I was nitpicking. Any comment I made was based on personal preference so obviously don't feel obliged to change it -it's your script after all! I'd seriously love to read more when you write more.