013 – THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL – Interview with Nick Morris

Title:  THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL

Genre: Horror / Thriller

Logline: After witnessing the murder of her Daddy, nine-year-old Becky and her dog set out to teach the scumbags responsible that Hell hath no fury like a pissed-off, little girl with nothing left to lose.

Script: THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL by Nick Morris_EtS

My Script Notes: THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL – Morris – EtS Notes – 7.17.17

 


 

On today’s episode, I got the fantastic opportunity to talk with Nick Morris on the same day that his script, THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL, was reviewed on Scriptshadow.

The guy is awesome and fairly early in his screenwriting journey. But even still, he’s had two AF reviews, placed well in contests, and has a manager. Sounds like this guy is on his way.

 


 

EMAIL: eclipsethescript@gmail.com

LINKS:

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  • Paul Clarke

    Great stuff Nick.

    And congrats on getting representation. That’s a huge step.

    PS – we knew it was 4 beers at the beginning, I’m curious as to how many were down by the end 😉

    • Nick Morris

      Thanks, Paul! Mike and I chatted for quite a while “off air” as well. So, including that, probably 7 or 8. 🙂

      • Linkthis83

        Then I should’ve been way funnier. Either you can handle your beers or I’m just not as funny as I think I am.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    Even four beers in, that went pretty well 🙂 I drink so rarely that even one beer in and the itw would’ve been very funny ^^

    Anyway, it’s great to get to know our fellow SSers a little better through these itws and it’s kind of reassuring to realise that yep, we’re all in the same boat and especially that yes, good or even great things can and do happen to any of us. I also liked the part about feedback, how important it is to balance the positive and the negative. It’s something that I do myself because it just seems logical. On a side note, I read somewhere that you should always end on a positive note because that’s what stays with the other person afterwards 🙂

    Congrats on getting repped and having a project pitched to SyFy! Ha, that’s a dream of mine – I know, I know ^^ But seriously, what’s not to love about their absurd ferocious animals 😀 I have so many ideas for them…

    And of course, talking about the script with the writer is always valuable so hopefully, this podcast will live long and prosper! And many good things to all of us as well 🙂

    • Nick Morris

      Thanks for listening, Marija! This is such a cool thing that Mike has created here. When’s your interview?!

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        Haha, let’s ply Mike with beers until he caves in 😀

        • Linkthis83

          I think it’s the other way around…you were on my original invite list if I recall 😉

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Oops… That’s the problem with us struggling amateur writers, we don’t think we’re interesting enough outside our heads 🙂 Sent you an email (to y a h o o) 🙂

  • Patrick Sawyer

    Another riveting interview. Keep them coming.

    In giving feedback I’m definitely guilty of concentrating on the pointing out the things that didn’t work for me while ignoring the things that did. I guess in the back of my mind I’m thinking I need to comment on the things I personally think were lacking so that the writer can (possibly) fix those and ergo the script hopefully gets better. But yeah, if you only hear about the “bad” things it can be pretty disheartening. And I have to say that it’s such a great thing that Scott Crawford does when he collects all the votes on AOW and puts quotes next to the voter as, not only does it make it easier to see the results, but it’s also made me realize that often I’ve only pointed out things I didn’t like about the script while leaving out the things I do like making me at least put a little more effort into the latter. It wouldn’t exactly explain why I voted for this script when there are only complaints in the feedback. That’s something I need to work on.

    • Nick Morris

      Thanks for listening, Patrick. Feedback is tough. I hate criticising someone’s work. You gotta do it, but I hate it and I really try to focus more on the things I liked. You need both or at least both types of critics. Agreed re: Scott’s list.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Another good podcast, Mike.

    Congrats to Nick on Carson’s review and all the notes he has received, hope they are put to good use. However, I’m going to take a contrarian approach here from the point of concept.

    I’ll echo Carson’s comment about ‘suspension of disbelief’, but even if we are able to get past that, and that will be tough for many, the ultimate question is, do we want to see a 9 year old girl commit grisly killings even if it’s done as revenge for her father’s death? What producer wants to attach his/her name to this unsettling notion? Typically, we want to shield children this age from the ugliness of the world because they’re our sisters, our daughters, our nieces…. and I’d say the same for a nine year old boy, as I do have a nephew about that age. I could not imagine a shotgun or any weapon in his hands, let alone him pulling the trigger and killing someone.

    With all due respect to Nick, I would not want to watch this film. I think the concept at best limits you to VOD. I do have a question for Nick. You have a manager. Did you discuss this concept with your manager prior to writing this idea? Because a good manager will snuff out bad ideas before they’re written. They’ll either say, “Don’t write that script, write this instead”. OR, they’ll say, “Okay, write this script, but make some changes to make it more palatable to a larger audience (note I didn’t say general audience, just larger).

    I truly think that’s what is needed here, and I think the suggestion to make the dogs do the killing because her father used to be an animal trainer is a far less queasy angle. It will allow for a little more character-building, which this story currently lacks.

    I found it interesting that when you guys brought up the notion of making her older, closer to 14 or 15. Nick said something to the effect of, “Well, would you find it as interesting if she was that age?”

    Well that’s the point, the 9 year old as a killer is a gimmick. It’s gives the story a lurid edge but does not in any way enhance the storytelling itself. Remove the gimmick and suddenly it’s rather ordinary. A teenage girl blowing people away is somewhat more believable. But if it means the story loses some of its appeal and originality, it tells me the script itself is built on a saggy foundation. The base story has to, on its own merits, be enough to hold our attention without resorting to contrivances.

    Now I do understand the concept of crafting something to fit a predetermined market. And as I said earlier, it’s in all likelihood a bargain basement VOD at best. But that would still be a writing credit and that’s what this game is all about. But if I were Nick, I’d take some of the suggestions he’s receiving to heart. There is indeed a more interesting way to tell this story without resorting to bottom-scraping exploitation. It’s just a question if you think it’s worth ditching the one thing that drew you to writing this in the first place.

    Good luck either way.

    • Nick Morris

      I happen to enjoy “bottom-scraping exploitation”. And I’m not alone. 🙂 Thank you for listening, Kirk. To answer your question, no, my manager didn’t know about this script until after I’d written it. And I’d be over the freakin’ moon if this thing made it to VOD!

      I knew when I started it and I know now that this wasn’t for everyone. I’m weighing my options for rewrites very carefully but it’s already generating some interest so we’ll see where that goes. Cheers, dude!

      • Kirk Diggler

        Fair enough. I know my post sounded rather critical but i think you’ll get similar notes moving forward. And yes I do know there is a market for this kind of story, and a credit is a credit, and VOD is a viable alternative and not something to be scoffed at. I just think there is a way to elevate the material and potentially widen the audience and that would only be helpful to you as a writer. Yes, that sounds like an artistic compromise, but we all know that ends up happening more often than not anyway. Like I said, best of luck.

        • Nick Morris

          Very true. Thanks again, Kirk!

  • Linkthis83

    OT:

    What are the upcoming screenwriting competitions that you are most looking forward to entering?

    Which competitions are we currently waiting for results on?

    • Kirk Diggler

      The two big ones, The Nichol and Austin, had their deadlines back in April/May. I entered The Austin as I was able to advance in that one once but the Nichol is tougher, hence I stayed away this time. I don’t think they inform you of 2nd round results until Sept.

      I also entered the Big Break Final Draft contest, whose deadline recently passed. I tend to avoid all others but that may just be a matter of taste.

      • Linkthis83

        Do you have any thoughts/experiences on The Launch Pad competition? It seems legit.

        • Kirk Diggler

          According to them, it’s “THE NEW STANDARD IN WRITING COMPETITIONS.”

          No, I am not familiar, but it’s association with The Tracking Board will give it some cache. And some cash.

    • Paul Clarke

      My personal favourite is the PAGE.
      It’s one of the big three (with Nichol and Austin) that have been around for a long time and consistently get 6k+ entrants. The difference is the Nichol and Austin favour a certain type of script, whereas the Page has genre categories, which helps greatly as you shouldn’t really be comparing apples with oranges.

      The other key difference is that they allow you to submit a new draft if you make the semi finals. Which is great, because judging takes months, and everyone will be working on their script during that time. And it’s only the plebs judging the early rounds anyway, so they may as well let you submit the best possible version for the big time judges. At least it worked that way for me 😉

      The Launch Pad has a good record for signing people. It’s newer, and does cost more, but has some strong connections. Byron might be able to tell you more about that experience.

    • Levres de Sang

      Haven’t forgotten you, Mike. Will send everything later today!

  • Edward

    Great episode. Nick was a very entertaining guest.

  • Mayhem Jones

    This was so awesome. And the way Nick got his manager is literally the coolest thing I’ve ever heard, EVER!!!!!!

  • Nick Morris

    Big thanks to Mike for inviting me on the show and to all of you for listening and for the continued support. You guys rock!

    I also wanna acknowledge my good friend Jeffery Stackhouse. He’s not a Scriptshadower but he’s had my back for a long time and provides the best notes I’ve ever seen.

    I could write a very long list of names, both from ScriptShadow and otherwise, that have helped me along my journey. And I probably should but in the interest of brevity, I’ll just say thanks all!

    Keep up the great work here, Mike! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • ScriptChick

      Congrats Nick on the episode, very entertaining! I hope the producer(s!) interest leads to a great announcement on SS and Eclipse and if anything, what a great connections you were able to make through the writing of this script (I wish any the Nick/Disney kids could break their contracts and do this project as the perfect opposite to their happy TV careers/personas).

      • Nick Morris

        Haha! That would be awesome. 🙂 Thanks for listening, ScriptChick. You rock!

        • ScriptChick

          Hey, can you email me the contact info of your cover page artist? I have a writer friend looking for something similar done to the cover of his family fantasy script and would like to put them in touch. 🙂 botts100 at gmail dot com

          • Nick Morris

            Absolutely!

  • Linkthis83

    OT: Anybody using a Mac and already own Highland? I know a writer needing to convert a PDF to Final Draft. Thx

    • Justin

      What’s Highland? I have a Mac, so maybe I could look into it and possibly be of some help.

      • Linkthis83

        Highland is a screenwriting app available on Mac only. One of the great features of Highland is its ability to take PDFs and convert them to a Final Draft file. So lets say your hard drive crashes and you only have the PDF of one of your scripts in an email attachment – you could use Highland to convert it back to a Final Draft file and you wouldn’t have to retype the whole damn thing.

        It costs $30, so no need to buy it. I was just checking to see if somebody had it, and wouldn’t mind converting the file for a fellow screenwriter who had reached out to me.

        • PQOTD

          Don’t know if this helps but I have an idea that Fade In may also be able to open a .pdf and save the output as a .fdx file.

          If someone has it, perhaps they could confirm / help?

          • Linkthis83

            Thx. I will need to look into this further. This option did not appear in my initial research.

          • Paul Clarke

            He’s correct. Fade In will allow import from many formats, including PDF. And export to many formats, including Final Draft.

            Plus you can download the free trial and it will still allow you to do this.

          • Linkthis83

            So I passed along this info and this is the reply I got:

            “Tried it. Thanks for passing it along, but just so you know, it doesn’t really work much better than other non-Highland options. In case you’re ever in this spot.”

            @pqotd:disqus

  • Scott Serradell

    Full-on meant to come on and finally give some notes to this script but I’m in my new digs without internet till Friday (slugging this out on my phone.)

    As always, great interview. Nick sounds like a guy I’d like to a beer (or four) with. Funny though: All this time I thought his avatar was of Charlie Humman (Sons of Anarchy) but looking on his Twitter, no, that’s him; he looks as bad ass as he sounds. Again, funny.

    • Nick Morris

      Haha! Too funny. Thanks, Scott. We’ll have those beers one day.

    • Linkthis83

      My appeal to the audience for note givers was ill timed, since the next available script had been read and noted by like 40 people 🙂

    • ScriptChick

      Another great episode I’m catching up on. I love how you stuck to your guns, Nick and wrote There Was A Little Girl even though it wasn’t the highest rated of your loglines (hope do those too!). There’s something to be said for passion and not being able to get characters/images out of your head that drive a person to put it on the page. Glad you acted on instinct and personal preference.

      I’m actually not finished listening but heard the mention of me and Scott’s loglines — Cratchit was actually the highest of the ones I submitted (which only got a 6 — execution dependent is what C was worried about). So maybe Mike you are referring to Scott?

      Okay, back to the episode! Yay! Great Saturday so far. 🙂

      • Linkthis83

        The more I think about it, I think there’s a chance it was actually Brett’s logline for GOLDIE that C liked least. Who knows? I’m just always searching for reasons to mention you guys any chance I get. lol.

      • Nick Morris

        Thanks so much for listening, ScriptChick! Cheers to you. 🙂

  • Stephjones

    Great fun! Usually have intermittent internet but today the stars aligned. Congrats to Nick and thanks to Mike for making this happen!

    • Nick Morris

      Thanks for listening, Steph! 🙂

  • JeffreyStackhouse

    Ha! I do not understand the format here, so forgive me.

    Nick’s got a big passion for Horror and he writes a fun read; I appreciate the shoutout, but I’m always thrilled to have him ask for notes since that passion shines though.

    Good podcast with a host who obviously cares about his interviewees and has the knowledge to drive it forward. Kudos to Mark.
    Great to hear your voice again Nick. Keep killin’ ’em.

    • Nick Morris

      Thanks for listening, brother. We’re way overdue for beers, huh? Wish I knew exactly when we’ll correct that, but we totally will. Till then, cheers to ya!

      • JeffreyStackhouse

        The beer’s cold any time brother. Have a good time on your trip.

    • Linkthis83

      Hey Jeffrey —

      Thanks for showing up to support Nick. That’s awesome.

      Also…thank you for the kind words. And just so this doesn’t get awkward in the future if we get the chance to meet or speak, or interact again here on the boards…my name is Mike 🙂 (unless you were giving kudos to a guy named Mark…if so, ignore most of this comment)

      • JeffreyStackhouse

        Thanks Mike. Easy to support good people.
        No, I saw links to Mark’s Twitter and website and figured that was you.
        Thanks for doing such a nice professional job advancing your fellow Creatives.
        Edited above.

        • Linkthis83

          It’s turning out to be a real privilege having people like Nick willing to show up, share their work, and talk about their journey. And feedback like this is really important. Cuz unless the people tell you what they think…I have no idea if anybody even cares.

  • Justin

    So, late comment…

    Gotta say I love how you have Scriptshadow writers on your podcasts. It makes them feel more real and personal, rather than just people over the internet.

    Nick seems like a pretty chill guy people would love to hang out with and kill a couple beers, maybe?

    Great podcast.

    • Nick Morris

      Thanks, Justin! Appreciate you taking the time to check it out. Cheers!

    • Linkthis83

      Thx, Justin. One of the reasons I wanted to create the podcast was to hopefully highlight the reality that the avatars sharing their work are real people. And if possible, better engagement.

      Which is one of the things that’s happening here on this site…which was really important to me before I even launched.

  • JeffreyStackhouse

    From the interview, and on his previous (Shriekfest Finalist) script, and the notes on that (which, these people do massive feedback dude):

    “I remember the first handful of notes coming in, and they were decidedly negative … and then I get this awesome comment, and he really endorsed it, really liked it, pointed out all the things he liked, and I think that was the turning point, I think that was it … that’s a real motivator. If the negative comments had just kept coming in, maybe I would have just stopped.”

    Gentlefolk
    This is a Truth:
    By all means, say what doesn’t work for you on something, but perhaps pick and choose the most important of those.
    But realize that you *can* improve something by showing what *does* work, by celebrating and perhaps dissecting the positive moments.
    The *best* Scene Study teacher I ever had could find 4, 5, 7 ways to improve your work by telling you what was good. He might – often – never even get to the things that were negative.

    And something I try very hard to do with notes:
    Don’t try and make it *your* script. It’s not. Always see what fulfills *their* script.

    Negative notes are fine and necessary, but maybe infuse them with your own realization that Editing is easy. — damn near anybody can seem clever pointing out what’s wrong.
    Creation is hard.