Criticism on Short-film Idea

Hello, hello!

Recently I’ve been working on a script for a short film I’m trying to create. Mostly as a side project to keep my mind off blender (since it’s been so frustrating lately). Anyways, the story is a bit cliche but that’s fine for my first real project.

The plot revolves are around a troubled high school boy, who, for the purpose of convenience, will be named Steven. Steven lives with his dying, sick mother, forced to pay the bills through a low-pay job (yes, no government support) because his father passed away when he was little. As a result of working late everyday of the week, Steven’s academic goals are affected. He gets to school late, he can’t do much homework (even though it’s very evident that he tries) or even stay awake in class. Since he doesn’t go out much, he doesn’t have many friends and instead has some people bully him.

One day, when running late to work, Steven finds himself being stalked by an old man. The old man starts calling out his name, and tries to warn Steven about something but Steven isn’t quite sure what it is. Eventually Steven gets a little bit scared and starts running away from the old man, who has tried to pursue him. Steven finds himself running into an alley, and hiding. He hears some scream “Call 911” and soon enough the sounds of an ambulance fills the air. When in hiding he finds an envelope on the ground labeled: “Chronowatch - User has full control over the sequence of time.” He takes the watch out of curiosity and heads off to work after he thinks everything is clear. It’s now late though, and Steven’s boss is angry for the late arrival. Steven gets fired from his job. As a desperate attempt to get his job back, he uses the magical watch… and it works.

Steven finds himself using the watch for his everyday needs. Extra sleep, extra time for homework, arriving to school on time, etc. He makes some friends and starts having somewhat of a social life. Steven is able to work later hours at work because of the power to arrive and leave as late as he wants. Soon, though, Steven starts to realize that the watch has a side-effect. The watch ages the user and the user’s bloodline faster than usual. Steven starts to notice it on his dying mother, so he does his best to control the usage of the watch. A small social mistake “forces” him to use the watch again, and as a sad result, Steven’s mother dies because her sickness overtook her weak, old body. Steven obviously hates himself for it but now uses the watch to take out his anger on other people. The bullies that he’d been avoiding very cleverly now, somehow, find a chance to confront him. Through his frustration, Steven uses the watch to overcome them in a fight. After this day, he uses the watch to take out his anger. Steven loses his friends and social life, and is more overwhelmed. Finally his starts noticing that the side-effect of the watch started to catch up with him. He wakes up one day with white strands of hair and small wrinkles. At this point, Steven is just trying for a way to get rid of the watch, but he’s aging rapidly and is getting weaker and weaker. Soon enough, his hair is fully white and he’s very old. As a final desperate option, Steven grabs a hammer and starts smashing the watch, which eventually breaks.

Since the watch is broken, everything that has happened to Steven so far doesn’t make sense. Steven is sent back in time to the point where his future had been dramatically changed; the day Steven found his watch. Steven wakes up in the past, and he somewhat recognizes the day (since it happened over a year ago for old Steven). He sees himself walking to work, and notices that his young self isn’t wearing the watch. Steven starts following himself, and calling out his own name. He tries to warn himself about the watch, but his young self is just getting frightened and scared. His young self starts running away from him, and old Steven loses himself. Old Steven’s age has now caught up with him, and Steven’s old heart starts to give away. Before his heart stop beating, he sees himself running into the alley, someone screams “call 911”. Young Steven is shown finding the envelope but this time Steven is hesitant to take the watch with him. It ends with the audience not knowing whether he takes the watch or not.

Yes, very cliche. I took a lot of the plot mechanics from Chronicle, because I thought that movie was really good. I didn’t want to try to pull off a drama like Unforgiven or Inception because I don’t know how to write about love very well.

I’m looking for name suggestions or any criticism.
I’m thinking for the name, it should be something emotional that has more to do with the protagonist than time-travel. So before I was thinking “Shift” or “Chronoshift” but these names are lame and give away the entire movie.

Excuse my grammar and spelling mistakes (if you catch anything please say so).

Thank you!

  • Luca

I love this idea. It might be a bit longer than a typical short film but you can feel that out once you have a script. As for names what if you used the name of a watch part? Here’s a link to a list of names:

i like Escapement or Ebauche

I realized it was going to be longer than a typical short film. I was guessing 40 - 50 minutes… But as I wrote the script, it has bumped up.


I like the word Ebauche. But I think there should be more thought to the name of the film. Maybe something with more than one meaning, all which are relevant to the film.