Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Early in 2008 I had the idea to create a screenplay based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos that wasn't like the rest. Most simply adapt Lovecraft's stories or are just horror films using various elements from them. I wanted to leave the cosmic horror behind and create a story that was more of a personal and character-based drama, though still having its roots in the Mythos. And so was born, Tainted...
The screenplay began small. I wanted to write something that could be made on a shoe-string budget because I thought that some independent film-maker would be more likely to pick it up if they saw it was affordable. It had just two main cast, and only one or two supporting, and was set in only a handful of easily-found locations. There were no effects shots at all, though it did require some minor make-up effects. Everything seemed OK until I gave it to a few people to read and they had no idea why certain things were happening. It was only then that I realised I'd written it solely for Mythos-familiar Lovecraft fans. It made no sense to the rest of the world. So I decided to add a prologue.
I wrote a whole introductory scene for the screenplay that explained the necessary missing details, but in doing so, had added a handful of extra cast and the need for a boat, which I'm sure would pump up the budget considerably. Regardless, I handed it back out and everyone loved it... except me. I didn't like the intro. It seemed clunky and hammy. However, despite my dislike for it, I had no better ideas, so just left it. All 30 pages.
It wasn't until over a year later that I came up with a new and improved intro. I'd given up on the idea of anyone ever wanting to make it, so just thought I'd create it with no considerations of budget. I was still sticking with my initial concept of a character-based drama, but I now thought I'd spice it up a little. I scrapped the whole intro and re-wrote a new one, which now included a life-sized Deep One costume! The budget was now most certainly out the door. However, I finally had an intro I was happy with. I had to make a few other minor changes for this new intro to tie-in, and in doing so, ended up changing a few scenes I also wasn't that happy with, and eventually ended up with the resulting 44-pages. Now this in itself proved a problem because short films are generally less than 30 pages and feature-length films are at least 80... so mine, with its 44 pages, was in film limbo. Despite this, I handed it back out to a few people and they all came back with very positive comments. So not only was I now happy with the new story, but it seemed everyone else was too.
Note: If you're interested in reading the screenplay at this stage of writing, it can be found here, on Google Docs.
The Director's Cut...
Despite the fact that I had resigned myself to the fact that this screenplay would never be made, it irked me that it didn't fit into a specific length category. I knew I wouldn't be able to trim it down, so I decided to aim for a feature. I didn't want to re-write the whole thing, so I drew up a timeline of events to see what I could see. It turned out that there were three rather large gaps in time that I had not included. They were alluded to in other scenes, but the "viewer" would never see them. I decided that these would be my best shot at extending the screenplay so I jotted down what would have been happening during the missing time. I've currently written in the middle gap, but have yet to finish off the other two. I'm hoping I can scrape in 80 pages once I'm through.
In case anyone is reading this and is curious what the screenplay is about, I'll give a brief run-down...
16 YEARS AGO - Two men walking along a beach on their way back from a night's fishing when they stumble upon an apparently dead Deep One. They debate what to do with the creature and decide to take it home and figure it out in the morning. As you expect, the creature wakes up, killing the two men, but leaving the wife of one of the men unconscious. She wakes up in a hospital and is later informed that she in pregnant. She is elated as her and her husband had been trying to a child for some time.
CURRENT DAY - A teenage girl meets up with a boy and they walk down to a nearby abandoned church. They ring its bell for fun and then head home. On the way they discover a black goo in the water. The next day the girl is having her birthday party when she falls ill. I escalates the next night and she is rushed to hospital. She escapes the hospital however and returns to her friend who looks after her. She quickly starts changing - skin turning bluish, eyes un-blinking, teeth falling out - and runs away. The boy tracks her down to the beach where it is revealed that she has turned into a Deep One herself!
The teenage boy and girl in the story are the main characters and their personal tragedy provides the framework for the whole story so I just thought I'd provide a little appendix, as it were, to describe and show you how I envision these two characters if you choose to (or have already) read the linked screenplay:
She is one of the "popular" girls at school and despite her and Charlie's differences, the fact that she has known Charlie most of her life means that they are still best of friends.
Charlie is a bit of a loner and knows that if he hadn't known Marina for so long, they would otherwise have not have been friends.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
EXT. CITY RUINS - DAY
A MAN walks up to the edge of a lookout. Before
him lies the ruins of a large city. Most of the
city is rubble and the buildings that are still
standing have large sections missing. A giant
bipedal creature, the size of the tallest visible
skyscraper, is seen slowly ambling between them.
It is green, bat-winged, and has a face full of
tentacles. The creature casually brushes past a
building and its wall collapses.
The man watches on.
This is what has become of the
world: reduced to nothing more than
rubble and dust. It has been this
way now for over a year. Ever since
that abomination and its army
revealed themselves from beneath
the waves to wage war on humanity.
The man watches the creature carelessly destroy
MAN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I call it a war, however, truth be
said, it was more like a massacre.
For the most part, the attack was
unexpected, unprovoked and
The man looks saddened.
MAN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
There were some who were forewarned
of this apocalypse however. A
select few who were sensitive
enough to hear the creature's calls
through their dreams. I probably
wouldn't have believed it
possible... if I hadn't been one of