6.20.2010

FILM: Scream Until You're Hoarse: Early Conceptions Etcetera

While guiding various feature film ideas from their respective vats of primordial blooberty-gloob, Birdie Num Nums and I decided to develop a short film - something to tackle before launching into even more ambitious fare. We each contributed notions for such a piece, assembling better ones that surfaced into a Ouija-centered script to take place in a abandoned abode titled "House of the Demon" as an homage to classics such as Night of the Demon. It might be mentioned that at the time of this particular incarnation of the project, Ti West's House of the Devil was unknown to us.

Following several rather messy drafts involving apocryphal exposition, evil shadows, goats, goat poop and '80s-style short-shorts, the decision was made to scrap our beloved Ouija and transition into more William Castle-inspired territory seeing would-be, could-be victims with no prior affiliation invited to a mutual acquaintance's taxidermy-infested inheritance before being set upon by dead, damned bodies and seven demons - demons we would eventually learn brought end to the intended host. This version was titled "That Damned House" and boasted the project at its most extravagant... and subsequently its most problematic. For all the drafts we churned out, each with a slightly different motive and climax, we never quite created something we could commit to move forward with.

Characters like Bishop the kickboxing strong-arm and Jared the drunk Kaiju nerd came and went before we had a revelation - to set the proceedings not in an abandoned house (for which we had already found a more than fitting location) but in an old hotel. With this simple adjustment the script's overbearing tediousness was alleviated. Once completing a draft or three still centered around zombie-like damned and sinister demons (this time more apparently brought forth by a salesman's mysterious book of occult spells), possibly the most important writing-phase development reared its head in the form of several-year-old journal notes. The hotel setting was a match - there was no turning back there - but instead of a demon crossing the barrier of its own realm to enter ours, now a new source of evil would be drawing us into its domain. The story progression remained more or less the same, but for a final time we scrapped what we had to create what is easily the best version yet, titled "Scream Until You're Hoarse".

Today (June 20, 2010) was our first table read, attended by Lily Kelly, Lily Hazelton, Steven Schlussel and James Raposa (who inhabited the Donatello costume in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III). To state it briefly, it went well! We discussed possible character histories before moving on to three read-throughs, exploring various inflections and motivations. We talked technicalities and wrapped up with a list of films the actors could look to for inspiration including Hitchcock's Rebecca and the aforementioned Night of the Demon along with an assortment of British and Italian horror films of the '50s, '60s and '70s. We plan to meet next in two weeks for a more full rehearsal, hopefully accompanied by a fifth talent to fill the shoes of the only yet-to-be-cast speaking part.

Stay tuned for more updates as they happen, and view samples of the script's defunct drafts here!

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