Monday, 17 January 2011

Day one

And it begins.

Early, as it turns out – a potent mixture of raw excitement and indigestion from the celebratory team-curry last night; a lamb tikka napalm that has proven considerably more challenging the day after than it appeared on the night.

And it starts, predictably, with the screenplay. Since our previous draft in early November, we have accumulated a substantial amount of (mostly) gratefully received notes and suggestions. Stuff we need to deal with before we can send the screenplay out to anyone. Good housekeeping.

At FrightFest last August, Adam Green ‘fessed up to writing the screenplay for Hatchet II in a week, and then shooting that first draft. I enjoyed the movie. Feel free to express any alternate views in the Comments section below.

Because we’re working on the slightly different principle that our script can always get better. We only get one block of clay to forge the movie from; I’m relaxed that time spent picking the crap out is well spent.

So, we went through the list and debated each point. Should our 50-year-old male protagonist be swapped to a woman? Answer: no – this doesn’t serve the narrative, and is only there to artificially differentiate our movie from the slew of other zombie films. Should we include more description of the world 15 months after the zombie apocalypse? Again – no. You’ll get just enough to figure out the story we want to tell; we’ve already been through and pulled out background information piece by piece until the barest cradle exists that can support the narrative, like a game of exposition Kerplunk. Should we add the line “gangbanged by a thousand toothless cunts”? Er, OK then.

One of our activities was a piece of pure screenwriting smoke and mirrors.

A couple of people that read the last draft didn’t pick up on who our protagonist was at the outset, and didn’t find him suitably likeable. Message received.

So we put our faith in formula (sorry – screenwriting “principles”). A couple of years ago I went to John Truby’s “Beyond Structure” seminar at Raindance. Truby is the master of screenwriting micro-analysis: lists of the 38 character arcs, 1368 adjectives from which to build a more interesting persona, 6 pages of possible plot twists. And 44 different ways to build audience empathy for a character. So that’s what we did – trawl through the list to find a few additional ticks and inflections to drop in over the course of the first 10 pages, cynically dialling up the love like the score to a Spielberg movie. Shocking.

With that slightly unsavoury business behind us, the next step is to organise a read-through with a bunch of actors, and see whether the character voices really work; if something entertaining emerges I may throw up some videos onto the blog for a giggle.

And the other start-up log-jam is finding a friendly accountant, so we can get our production company registered. It’s probably too early to crowd-source the head of dead bread, but any suggestions would be welcome. Pikey.


  1. Dude I hope that pikey bit isn't in reference to that exquisitely handsome dare I say it extraordinarily sexy little balding fellow sat next to you with the cheeky grin. Something in your eyes says it might be...

  2. Pikey; -noun; Generally referencing a poor fellow, usually one who seldom lives by any sense of morality defaulting their social status into that of the lower echelons of scum. Usually spends Saturdays in Lidl's with 5+ thieving smeg stain riddled children who use a traditional 5 finger discount to attain cheap foreign goods illegally. This can be a '6' finger discount depending upon the mated couples family history.