An excerpt from my script review for The Belko Experiment which will be available 07/10/17:
2.) Plot Stability
Most of you know by now, but…
Big fan of contained here.
To me there’s nothing more challenging that creating a unique and interesting story for a minimalist budget and limited locations. (Really impressed if it’s single location!)
And this script succeeded in that.
One thing it did brilliantly well, and something I covered in our contained video, was consistently increasing the stakes.
Yes you should doing this in every script that you write, but when writing contained YOU MUST walk a the tightrope between edge of your seat exciting and over the top. You don’t have the luxury with these kinds of scripts like you do in others.
Minimal characters. Minimal locations. Maximum drama.
Your characters are trapped, and for this script that ends up being literally.
(The boss has been yelling at the boy and I lately for overusing that particular word, but here it works!)
After an almost “too long” opening, we hit page 15.
BOOM. The office building of Belko Industries is locked down tight and a mysterious voice comes over the intercom informing our characters they have 30 minutes to kill two of their colleagues or they face dire consequences.
Ha! Someone’s playing a prank…BOOM. People’s head explode! Whoever’s on the other side ain’t bluffing.
(On page 26, when Marty suggested this could be some sort of government “stress test” I was nodding along, thinking that a possible twist, but right on the next page is when heads start to pop!)
Okay, so the people outside are playing for keeps, but they can’t shoot them through the thick steel walls, right? How are they going to enforce their rules…
Ohhhh, each and every employee in the building has a “tracer” implanted in their heads, being told it’s in case they’re abducted, but no…mini bombs.
Fantastic because now there’s no escape! Our characters are trapped and forced to play this sick twisted game.
But, they’ll just cut the tracers out…if only there weren’t cameras everywhere, letting the captors know what people are doing. Any future attempts to cut them out will result in instakills!
Stage 2…the ticking clock, or technically, clocks.
So there’s the actual time limit the players are given versus the body count.
One ticks down…
The other ticks up via this execution scene where a sadistic ex special ops guy showing no remorse counting off the kills as his boss shoots innocent coworkers in the head.
As more and more time expires, here’s where lines are drawn. Some characters group up and choose victims “rationally” others want to find a way to call for help.
Eating too much off the clock, help isn’t coming, and no one’s allowed on the roof anymore.
Options for a way out dwindle.
While danger increases for our characters we keep getting hints and shadowy glimpses of these “figures”. This mystery keeps us reading! Who are these psychos? What do they really want?
The escalation and mystery combined is fantastic!
Finally, after characters consistently give in hoping the worst is behind them, here comes stage 3.
Last. Employee. Standing. Lives.
Madness ensues and humanity is abandoned by most survivors.
Lastly, two final twists…
*Stop reading if you don’t want spoilers!!!*
First, Marty gets the idea to cut out the tracers of his coworkers who were shot and use them all as a bomb to break through the steel doors. He dies.
I was nervous this plot point would go unused because I didn’t think it would work, but blowing something up was worth a try…luckily Mr. Gunn didn’t let me down!
Mike uses the bombs and secretly places one on each of the guards and triggers them racking up the last of his death count.
Second, it turns out the creepy Nazi-esque scientist guy was actually his experiment inside another experiment.
Did they have to conduct Belko in order for them, the researchers, not to die? I’d like to think so, as that just adds to twist’s payoff!
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