'Sorry I didn't try harder' by Deborah Espect

As the world around them collapses, a mother finally learns how to bond with her daughter.

'Sorry I didn't try harder' by Deborah Espect
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Comments: 13
  • #1

    Christopher Dane (Monday, 03 June 2019 18:34)

    Must admit that this one doesn't quite work for me because the fundamental premise is that a mother doesn't know how to sign with her deaf daughter and that simply would not happen... any parent of a deaf child would learn how to sign... this story might however work if you have the girl sitting somewhere at school and a boy/girl who likes her comes running... just a thought :-)

  • #2

    Tiffany (Monday, 03 June 2019 19:12)

    I like the idea of capturing the difference in how potentially a deaf person would react to chaos vs a hearing person. The issue is that it is unrealistic for a mother of a hearing impaired person to not know sign language. It is a nice space to play in. The idea of no words and the audience trying to figure out what they are saying to one another through their emotions.

  • #3

    Deborah Espect (Monday, 03 June 2019 20:26)

    Thanks for the feedback - when I worked as a teaching assistant in a college, I learnt that a majority of parents who have a deaf child do not know sign language. I found that to be very shocking but experienced this first hand with the students and their parents. However I did wonder if maybe this was not common knowledge enough for people to believe in the story. I'm not sure how to get around this without it being too 'on the nose'!

  • #4

    Neil Elton (TC) (Monday, 03 June 2019 21:41)

    Hi Deborah

    I loved the idea, it was very moving. You may want to break down some of your description paragraphs into small blocks. But you are a very impressive writer.

  • #5

    Leilani Holmes (Monday, 03 June 2019 22:58)

    I like this, it could be a premise that would also work with an autistic child, perhaps? I found the family photo with the dad in uniform a bit odd, I'm not sure we need to know his occupation. I also found it shocking that the mother didn't know sign, I think while it's a fascinating topic, it's hard to get across in a two minute script, maybe streamlining the descriptive passages which are a little chunky might give you more space to let the child's disappointment in her mother's lack of sign ability show.

  • #6

    Deborah Espect (Monday, 03 June 2019 23:19)

    Thanks Neil and Leilani - the uniform is linked to the mother saying to her daughter her dad was at work - implying that he’s one of the ‘good guys’, helping others even in his last hours. But I agree it did feel a bit pushed and I’ve tried to convey a lot in such a short script, I’ll have a go at reducing the descriptions to try to it more in!

  • #7

    Josephine Samson (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 00:51)

    Hi Deborah, I was moved by the story towards the end but I had to read the beginning again because I thought I'd missed something, and I did. I missed the bit in the description where you introduced the daughter communicating in sign language. Perhaps you could consider breaking your description up into smaller chunks to give space for the action to set in. I wasn't phased by the mother not knowing sign language as there could be any manner of possibilities in the backstory for that so I bought into the idea you presented. I guess the only thing I am curious about is why it's called, 'Sorry I didn't try harder' as it wasn't obvious to me in the story.

  • #8

    Deborah Espect (Tuesday, 04 June 2019)

    Thanks Josephine, I'll sort out the chunks! The title is meant to be something the mother might want to say to her daughter (but doesn't, at least not in words), in those last moments :)

  • #9

    Thandi Lubimbi (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 14:51)


    That was beautiful and touching.

    Given that you didn’t use the full two pages, I think you could have split the action lines down to three to four lines at a time.

    Also think you could have said a bit more between mum and daughter.

  • #10

    David H Navarro (Saturday, 08 June 2019 19:49)

    WOW. I was in tears at the end. This was a clear example that less is more. You are very talented! Thank you

  • #11

    Navdip Sandhu (Sunday, 09 June 2019 16:25)

    Hi Deborah,
    Thank you for your effort. I can see the emotional hook you were going for but I wil also echo the comments others have said in regards to the mother not knowing how to say 'I love you' in sign language. The assumption is that parents will know the very least how to say 'I love you'.
    Also the descriptive paragraphs are long and difficult on the eye. May be break them down into no more than 4 lines at a time.
    I hope this helps.

  • #12

    Marie (Monday, 10 June 2019 21:10)

    This is worth developing. The hearing impaired can be incredibly isolated if family members don’t learn and practice inclusive communication. I wondered about the focus on the mother and wondered whether it would be more impactful told from the daughter's perspective?

  • #13

    Deborah Espect (Tuesday, 11 June 2019 13:04)

    Thanks everyone, much appreciated. I tend to do a lot of suggesting as opposed to saying but I realise now it didn't quite work for this script. The intention was that the daughter was always a lot closer to her dad than her mum, but it's definitely a work in progress!