'iMessage' by Josephine Samson (TC)


With a meteor heading to earth, the clock is ticking for anxious Miriam to see her daughter one last time, but tattered communications systems and a fatal accident threaten to end her world before the meteor does.
'iMessage' by Josephine Samson (TC)
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Comments: 12
  • #1

    Christopher Dane (Monday, 03 June 2019 18:54)

    My only comment for a possible rewrite of this one would be that, considering the world is about to end, the message Miriam leaves for her daughter seems extremely everyday and measured, maybe it needs just a little panic? And maybe, just to add to the drama, you could make Miriam's call stop Jasmine and that's why the car hits her... adding the irony that she was very careful when she crossed the road and now her concerned parent basically has killled her?

  • #2

    Tiffany (Monday, 03 June 2019 19:06)

    An interesting twist could be that in her desperation to find her daughter, Miriam rushes out to look for Jasmine. She keeps redialing her number, but nothing is going through. Her cellphone drops. She reaches down to grab it and bam she runs over Jasmine. Would not be expected.

  • #3

    Michelle (Monday, 03 June 2019 21:08)

    Hi Josephine,
    First of all well done on your story and how terrible for Jasmine to end before the END.. or maybe it was for the best! Had you thought about bringing a little tension into the piece by having Miriam call while Jasmine was walking? As Christopher mentions above, perhaps there could be a correlation between the call and Jasmine getting hit – cause and effect etc,
    There are a few repetitions in there such as; ‘The television provides background noise’ .. there’s no need when you’ve already told us in the first line that - “The television is on.” Maybe condense a little; if you’re telling us that Jasmine is walking with headphones on and texting at the same time, you probably don’t need to tell us that she can’t see where she’s going, get straight to the action instead, it’ll give you more space for the story. Also, check your spacing, especially with visuals such as iMessages, it’s always good to leave a space for the BEAT it will take us to read the message on screen. You can also save space by removing FADE IN and FADE OUT, since two pages gives you very little space to start with. Good luck with your rewrite.

  • #4

    Neil Elton (TC) (Monday, 03 June 2019 21:32)

    Hi Josephine, I wanted to start by saying your story is amazing and moving. It's heartbreaking that Miriam can't spend her last moment with Jasmine. I loved the pacing of the description at the beginning.

  • #5

    Leilani Holmes (Monday, 03 June 2019 23:08)

    I like the tragedy of this. I wonder, given the circumstance how quickly ambulances and police would get there, or if they would even come. Perhaps, you could ramp up the drama and tragedy by having them connect just before the car hits? Perhaps as a result of the mother calling, Jasmine isn't paying attention on the road? Or would that be too tragic? Anyway, it certainly goes to a dark place so you could consider how dark you want that to be.

  • #6

    Josephine Samson (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 01:13)

    Christopher, thank you. The reason Miriam's message is so measured is because she is not aware that the world is about to end. I don't think I've made that clear in the script. The television is on but she's not watching it, she's watching the window, waiting for her daughter get home by the designated time. Saying that, I like the idea of Miriam's call being the reason why Jasmine gets run over so I'll give that some thought.

    Tiffany, thank you. Already your suggestion takes the tempo up several notches :)

    Michelle, thank you. Yes, now considering Miriam calling jasmine as she's crossing the road. The reason for the repetition was that I was trying to suggest that the television is on but it's not being watched. I need to have a think of how to convey that in a subtle way (if that's even possible). And again, with Jasmine texting and me saying she's not looking where she's going, I think that's me being a bit too descriptive I guess because I imagine some people text whilst walking yet are still somewhat aware of their surroundings but some people text whilst walking and they are so consumed with their texting that they walk into a lamp post or something, oblivious to what's going on around them, and Jasmine in that moment was the latter. Again, perhaps I need to communicate that differently. Thanks for the tip on spacing.

    Neil, thank you.

    Leilani, thank you. No, ambulance and police probably wouldn't get there given the circumstances. The ambulance and police that go past are coincidental, a hint at the chaos of the time. I had an external shot after Jasmine gets knocked over and you see ambulance and police going past, people panicking, and the beginnings of chaos, but I cut it. Yours makes the third suggestion about the mother calling as she's crossing the road, I'll see how that plays out.

  • #7

    Simon Olivier (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:32)

    There's a nice irony skirting around the edges of this... and almost a Black Mirror-type of premise as to the girl's phone causing her demise... I think - particularly as your script uses less than the two pages - you could perhaps flesh out the characters a little more. Something to make Jasmine stand out a little more at the start, perhaps. And it might be more ironic if, instead of mother and daughter being very close, as they seem to be from the messages that are sent, there could be some conflict between them, that is then belittled by the bigger impact of the world ending.... I also agree with comments above about the ending... it seems that in such a situation, emergency services would be too stretched to get to Jasmine so quickly, and also how would Miriam know they were for Jasmine, unless the accident takes place right outside their home? I also didn't get that Miriam didn't know about the impending doom; as the news was on, I assumed that she'd been watching it... maybe you could make that the point... Miriam knows nothing about the impact coming, and has received a terrified message from Jasmine (who does know about it), which makes little sense to her... she tries to get hold of her daughter and in doing so, causes her demise.... plenty to work with in what you've written I think!

    (Lastly, I think two lines of 'tick. tock... etc.' might be overkill.... we get very quickly that Miriam is waiting. ;-) )

  • #8

    Thandi Lubimbi (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 14:43)

    Hi Josephine,

    I really loved this. The bitter irony of losing a child before the inevitable end of the world is touching.

    I also liked the every day ness of it.

    My only criticism is that two lines of tick tock was a bit of a waste.

    Other than that, a lovely story.

  • #9

    Harriet Riley (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 17:45)

    Very funny dialogue that feels authentic. I love the build, and the fact that Greg gets to be right in the end.

    That said, he was sad when he first walked onto the pub, maybe his transition to happiness needs to be a bit more nuanced, for example, perhaps he's shocked that they are hurting each other, then just shakes his head and continues with his pork scratchings. Alternatively, maybe he is happy from the start because he has been proved right, and continues to be happy throughout (I am partial to the later approach).

    Also, the extremity of the violence feels a bit much. Why is there a baseball bat behind the bar? Why does she actually pick up the knife to make the threat? Maybe to make it feel less contrived, she should be chopping limes, and he could have been playing baseball/cricket, so the violence doesn't come out of nowhere.

    That said, you should absolutely keep the fight. It's such a good 'be carful what you wish for' message that mirrors what Greg has been going through as a profit of doom.

  • #10

    Harriet Riley (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 17:50)

    OMG, I'm so sorry that comment was meant for a completely different script and I posted it to the wrong page. Please disregard, Josephine!

  • #11

    Jonathan (Wednesday, 05 June 2019 18:49)

    This is a simple and delicately told piece that says quite a lot for its brief length! I like the tragedy of it. Even with a global event, the characters still face unrelated personal challenges. I was a little confused by the heart sign on page two - is it by text or is she calling? I also agree with some of the comments above concerning the dialogue. Given the scale of the situation and the limited time left, I feel the mother would be using her words a lot more carefully or may be at the other end of the spectrum and a lot less comprehensible. Something to think about for the next draft at least!

  • #12

    Chris Aronsten (Monday, 10 June 2019 06:32)

    I really like the way you are examining how dependent we are on technology, and how it works against us too. I think if you refine this irony in the next draft, it will really come together. For example, Miriam is finally able to get through to Jasmin using iMessage, but the distraction of Jasmin reading the message causes the accident. Could be a really tight and potent one page script.