Three Days At The Gate
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Rating: 4.1/5 (5 votes cast)

Three Days At The Gate

Jay Nelson has died, and that’s not his biggest problem. Because of a SNAFU Mr. Nelson is stuck in stuck in bureaucracy between this world and the next and his very presence is crumbling everything around him.

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  1. Profile photo of Lisa-C
    Lisa-C says
    February 15, 2014, 10:51 pm
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    Like many of the reviewers before me, I like this concept and the new twist on an often explored topic. I disagree, however, with the criticism that the protagonist lacks interest or development over time. He is faced with the ultimate dilemma: Save humanity as we know it or potentially suffer beyond imagination for eternity. Of course it takes him time to make the decision, and once he does he overcomes his passivity in the boldest way. The characters are interesting and highlight the complexities of human nature. At times the explanations become a bit confusing, but this could be ironed out in revision. I found myself eagerly reading for the conclusion, which I found quite satisfying.

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  2. Profile photo of Jennifer
    Jennifer says
    February 14, 2014, 3:15 pm
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    Good Screenplay and Interesting Concept. Deals with universal themes but with a diff twist. Scary concept being “outside the presence of God” for eternity, that someone would “pray for hell”. Seems to heighten the tension without being obvious.
    Characters are likeable and I like the idea that the people he knew on earth are represented in spirit form in heaven.
    There are grammatical and spelling errors but these are an easy fix. I like the flow of the story, but if I can agree with another reviewer, perhaps more change in the character would further increase the tension. Occasionally the protagonist is a voyeur. He needs to be angrier with his plight, especially with Mr Johnson or more desperation with the other characters.
    All in all, I really like this script. Conceptually it is among the best that I have read in this Fest. I think minor reworking and this could go pretty far.

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  3. Profile photo of adriennerealestateagent
    February 10, 2014, 11:49 pm
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    I REALLY liked this screenplay.

    Boy, what a decision for Jay! I know that it would be hard, but you don’t really get to know him until late in the movie. Maybe that IS him…. I don’t know.

    The spelling errors were a bit distracting.

    The dialogue truly intrigued me. It’s so hard to write really good dialogue and you’ve nailed it.

    It’s nice to see a human changing the minds of non-humans. So often, movies and books are quite the opposite. I really enjoy how the author dances around the “idea” of heaven…but never really goes all the way to heaven with the story. It seems to play on many different belief systems all rolled into one idea.

    Jay certainly handles the pressure of the decision. He is human after all – the author writes him as such. He knows the right thing to do, but it does take him a little extra time to truly come to the right decision.

    This screen play is very thought provoking and truly made me think. Any form of writing that can make you think about it afterwards is a good piece of work.

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  4. Profile photo of AdamRBradley
    January 17, 2014, 7:24 pm
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    I really wanted to like this script, because I really like the idea of a man who gets to ‘heaven’, whose humanity rubs off on the ‘angels’ around him, causing serious problems. I think that’s a fantastic idea that would make an incredible movie.

    Unfortunately, this script has two fatal flaws: first, there’s way too much expository dialogue. I like a fish-out-of-water story as much as the next guy, but the conversations that bring the fish up to speed have got to end early in act 2. (Think of The Matrix – once Neo’s takes the red pill, Morpheus explains to him how The Matrix works, and then we’re done with it and back into the action.)

    The second flaw is, as pointed out before, that the only obstacle is Jay’s inability to make a decision. There’s really nothing preventing him from making a choice, other than his own fear. But why is he afraid? That question is never explored, but it’s the central issue of the drama.

    The drama of this story is built entirely around the protagonist having to choose: A or B. Why doesn’t he just choose? We don’t really know why.

    Why can’t he choose to go forward? Because Mr Johnson says so. Why? We never find out. Why do people confide in Jay? We don’t really know. They just do. Why do people give him lots of time to make his decision? We don’t really know. They just do.

    There are no obstacles in front of Jay as he progresses forward through the story. He dies, then he spends a bunch of time hanging around getting to know some people, then he makes a decision. But he isn’t really changed by hanging around those people – he doesn’t have to argue with someone or fight with someone or change someone’s life. He’s basically the same guy on page 90 as he is on page 20. And that makes him very passive. And a passive protagonist is a boring protagonist.

    Minor issues: there are a number of spelling mistakes and typos.

    As I said above, I really like the concept. I’d love to see the story fleshed out with an exploration of why Jay has such a hard time making a decision; then his time “at the gate” would be spent confronting that obstacle, such that by the end of the film he is finally capable of making a decision.

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  5. Profile photo of Dot1.618
    Dot1.618 says
    January 15, 2014, 9:19 am
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    Although I love the concept, the execution felt short. It might be caused by the absence of structure. The screenplay felt disjointed, more of a collection of incidents than a casual and effect structure. I understand that Jay is riddled with indecision, one of his pitfalls as a human, but because he constantly takes the back seat, we can’t experience the story through his eyes, his actions. And in turn, this affects the progression of the story. I was engrossed by the imagination and the religious/philosophical aspect of the piece but it lacked the necessary structural ingredients to make it an appealing screenplay. Think of Momento, where it’s heavily laid in philosophy but also in action and reaction. Three Days At The Gate is told to us by the characters, instead of showed to us by their actions. The screenplay needs the right formatting too, often the writer uses the Parenthetical instead of the description line, absence of page number, typos, etc. But I still like the concept!

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  6. November 4, 2013, 4:17 pm

    This was a good story. I just thought it was…can’t find the word to use. There was no climax, there was nothing that kept Jay from obtaining his goal except his decision. If there was something that could have happen to him and he had a short time frame, the three days, to decide what he wanted to do, may by that could have been the climax. Other than that, I enjoyed the story.

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