Superlee!

So a few years ago I had a really bad pun I needed to get rid of. It was too bad to use on it’s own on facebook so I had to think of a way to make it somewhat acceptable. In the end I decided on this:

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 11.31.05

Okay it’s not the best method but it transformed a shit joke into a mediocre one. I then used the “reasons I’d make a terrible superhero” to dump out more bad puns, then shit changed. I started to use jokes about the format of superhero movies, about morality, and about vengeance. People really started to dig it, so I considered having it in another medium. We briefly had a webcomic (visible here) but I needed more. I eventually decided as a sketch show, albeit one where every episode has a running theme. It was when I was thinking of this that I came up with one of the most distinguished parts of the series: Lee would be a male character, but Superlee would be female. I’ll freely admit that this is because the one performer I trust with this character is a woman, plus I found the idea funny. It’s easy to justify too, just say “well, of course, I look different, that’s a point of a secret identity”.  That part has been kept, because I found it funny, and it’s unique. Plus it really sets up the weird pseudo-reality tone that I’m going for. There was just one issue; sketch shows are really fast-paced, and the way I write REALLY isn’t. So I put it on the backburner until last month when I needed to write a sitcom for reasons I can’t be bothered to go into here. It went through a few structural changes as I was writing it. I had a character who was originally supposed to be in one scene but then I decided to make him a season regular. I added a narrator, not so much for the benefit of this episode but it will really come into it’s own later in the season. The format is pretty much settled, and all but one major character. I’ve set up the first season with this episode and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve managed, especially since with the exception of one scene it’s filmable on a cheap budget. I know this isn’t the final draft, but I’ve definitely got the major parts down. I feel different drafts from here on in will be tweaks rather than complete rewrites. Hope you guys enjoy it too, here you go:

superlee begins

Headspace

So yeah, I attempted to write a sitcom. I’ve had this “gimmick” for a while now but didn’t really do much with it. The difficulty with it is how to sell it to people. Outside of the central gimmick, I don’t really know what separates it from others; the situations and characters are pretty standard.

The gimmick: the two main characters have a “Headspace” (Hey, that’s the title of the show). It’s essentially a monologue room/look inside their brain. Both rooms will be relatively blank at the start: containing just a chair. The room itself will be used to show how their minds are at the moment: as they get closer their rooms will start to share certain elements to showcase the closeness of the characters. When the characters start feeling depressed this will be symbolised by their rooms becoming more empty. Within the monologue room, the characters will be interacting with the viewing audience (for example at one point one of the characters will refer to something that a character just said and point out that the show will be coming back to it in a future episode).

I’m aiming for a slightly meta sense of humour, with the occasional joke made about typical sitcom tropes and conventions. As the series goes on these will get larger, so you have entire episodes that deal with tropes specific to a certain genre. For example, there will be a Halloween episode which is based around the characters telling stories. This will be mocking the different trends often used in the different types of horror films. As the series develops I’d be able to develop more emotional storylines which will tug on the heartstrings of the viewer. That is why my first attempt at doing this script failed. I was too miserable to delve too deeply into my own psyche and look at mental health issues. It just made it kind of hateful and cruel, and incredibly disjointed. I think I’ve done better with this, made the characters more likeable, have a much better first episode plot than I did last time too. The tricky thing is setting up the gimmick, I need to do it enough times that the audience grasps it, but not do it so much it becomes annoying. I think I’ve managed that but it’s not really for me to judge.

So, here’s the new first episode:

headspace

I know at the moment it’s not really there yet. I need to delete a few pages, develop the side characters more, and (most importantly) make it funnier. I’m going to need a MUCH higher joke ratio for this to work, but I feel for a first draft I’ve done pretty well here. I’m currently doing a pilot script for another sitcom, and I should be able to post that in a few days time, that one has a MUCH higher joke rate. Jokes are something I really struggle with, I’m okay with comedic situations etc, but I take way too long to get to them and for a sitcom that’s not really suitable. They really need to come thick and fast (title of your sex tape) and to be honest, I kind of suck at that (that’s what she said). It’s a unique skill, and I’m getting there, but it’s obviously going to take practice. I’m going to need to do drafts which are just putting in jokes etc. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it, notes and feedback always welcome

The Isolation Scripts: Script 4 (Three Kings)

So lately I’ve been working mainly on the Nightmare script, so haven’t really done any shorts. So again, I’m dipping into the vault. This one was knocked up over a weekend a few years ago, I can’t really remember why, though. I assume I had a reason for it, but I can’t recall. I think it did kind of change the way I write though, it’s probably the first script I’ve done where the actions outweighed the dialogue. It’s also one where I went kind of cliche. The “twist” is obvious, plus it doesn’t really have an ending. It has a reveal, but that’s not the same thing. Anyway, here goes Three Kings. Enjoy

Three Kings

Let’s See You Do Better: Update 2

Note: if you’re unsure what this is about, visit here

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated this, been busy on other projects. I thought I’d offer a quick update as to how the story is going. I have an idea of where it’s going and should probably do an outline to establish it. I’ve been reading some of the Nightmare On Elm Street comics too, they’re mostly terrible but there are a few really disturbing parts in them. The trouble with doing a script like this is that theoretically anything is possible, and when you’ve got no limits then it can be boring to do standard things. Like I was going to have a scene where someone dies by having their face held against a hotplate until the skin melts. Very gruesome and could be horrific if done right, but it’s also possible, so would be best used for another film (could work in a Halloween film I think). I’m posting my progress now because after this is when the actual horror starts. I’ve put some creepy moments in there but all of it is setting up the rest of the film. So, here’s the opening:

nightmare

I’m quite proud of what I’ve got here, but I know some of it will HAVE to change. I have to set up his PTSD nightmares more (I’ve got a great idea but at the moment it’s a bit too similar to a scene from Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark), so I’m going to need to think of a better way of doing it before putting it on paper. I need to set up the background characters more, specifically the ones in his class. This should be easily done, it’s a classroom so lots of chance for debate which I could use to showcase character traits. Overall I think I’ll have a better idea of how I want the beginning to go when I get to the end as I know what I’ll have to set up. I’m very wary of timing, I’ve seen A LOT of horror films which seem to take two-thirds of the script before the actual story starts. I hate when it happens and I don’t want to do it. At the moment it’s about 20 minutes, which I think gives me a good basis to start, especially since it is still relatively scare-heavy. I think if I keep that level of intensity up I could extend the beginning by about another ten minutes and keep the momentum going.

The Isolation Scripts: Script 3 (and 3.5)

I wasn’t sure what to do for this one, so I went into my folder of script ideas and tried to find one I could do. I found one:

Screenshot 2020-04-18 at 11.37.53

That was it, that was all I had. It was an idea discussed YEARS ago, just that one sentence and nothing else. We had that idea then quickly moved onto something else. So I did that, twice. The first one, I’ll admit the idea slightly ran away from me and I definitely went on too long. So I did a second one which was completely dialogue-free. I’m not sure which I prefer, or which one works better so I thought I’d show both.

Live

Live short

So, would I make these? I think I would. They’d need heavily adjusting, I think the general concept needs to come through more in the long one, I feel like the “gimmick” is sort of in the background a bit too much. I focused too much on the story being told and not how I was telling it. Plus it’s tonally inconsistent at times, and some of the background characters need to be fleshed out more. On the plus side, I feel it’s more mature than I usually do, in the end, the guy doesn’t get the girl as he fucked up too badly. There are some things that “I’m sorry” just doesn’t fix, some things are hard to get past. The short one is a little trickier to fix, especially since it was mainly made just by cutting out everything from the longer one that I didn’t need, so there are probably things that don’t make sense in it.

I feel these ideas may be improved if I worked on it with people. This idea was made for discussing over drinks with someone, bouncing ideas off each other and come up with it there.

The Isolation Scripts: Script Two

For more details on this read this.

So here’s the second one. I hesitate to call this “enjoyable” but hope you appreciate it

The Night

I had multiple issues with tone on this, going from too comedic to gross with no filter between them. Yeah, I had no idea what I was doing with this, I was mostly freestyling it to get to the moment of the neighbour not letting her in due to social distancing rules. But looking back at it that’s the section I’d cut. That entire section at that house doesn’t really add much, not once I got to the end. Now the end of this completely changed my enthusiasm for this. Before that, I thought “okay I’m not dealing with this script, but some of the deaths I could use in a slasher”, but as soon as I hit upon that final few pages (after she leaves the second house) I got excited. The idea of a film where a group of people (lets face it, it would be a group of guys) dress up as their favourite horror movie characters and go around killing people. There’s the traditional aspect could be fun, but crucially I could add in A LOT of detail about how we consume horror movies, about how horror focuses more on the killers than the victims, so it’s natural that people will end up idolizing them. Not only that but a lot of horror movie villains are shot like heroes, the angles are the same that were given to heroes in old Westerns. Suddenly I got very excited about this as an idea, and importantly; an idea I think I could write. In that context the tonal changes might not be as jarring as the villains will be movie-obsessed people, so will give me a lot of chances for comedic moments. Plus, just think of the number of references I could put in. The “Freddy” could mix and match costume aspects from the different iterations of the character.

In summary; I’m not that proud of this script as it is, it’s just a collection of scenes and spots more than a coherent narrative, but I can definitely change it into something very exciting if I put the effort in.

The Isolation Scripts: Introduction

So this is a weird time, we’ve done a lot of different post types here but mainly it is film reviews. So what do we do when there are no films to review? I thought I’d attempt to use this new free time to do something else; mini scripts. I realise when I write scripts lately I’ve been aiming for either features or television episodes, which are fine but will be impossible to make. I need to write stuff that I could actually make if I wanted to, but I’ve kind of lost the ability to do short scripts. So I might as well use this new free time to work on that. To stop myself focusing too much on it I set up a few rules:

  1. No longer than 20 pages.
  2. No longer than 2 days spent writing.
  3. No second drafts.

This could be a terrible idea, as one of the most important parts of writing is rewriting. But I feel if I do that I could let standards slip as “well I just need to put something down, then I can fix that in a second draft”. This way I will have to train myself to work on writing instincts. If I do end up feeling passionate about one of these then I could develop it first, but these are primarily a writing exercise. I’ll be posting the first one tomorrow, then from then on posting as I finish them.

Headlines: Episode One

Since this blog was started there’s been a Halloween tradition; a horror movie liveblog in the lead up to Halloween. Sadly this is the first (and hopefully, only) year where that won’t happen. For personal reasons (mainly lack of internet) I’ve been unable to do it in time (it turns out there’s a lot of films in the Halloween franchise, like at least 2). So to make up for it I decided to post something special. Years ago we made a short called 10:41, which was a romantic comedy set during a school shooting (to read about the logic behind it read here). Well I still like that idea and felt it had potential to be more than it was so. So with help, I came up with a plan to write it as a series, every episode focused on a different character caught within a tragic event, using the original film as the first episode. So here, as a treat, is the script for the first episode. I haven’t looked at it in about 2 years so I’m hoping it still holds up, I remember there was quite a bit of dialogue I’m going to need to cut out at some point, and I’ll do that in the future once I’ve finished the current scripts I’m working on. So until then, enjoy this:

Episode 1; Walter And Jenna

Let’s See You Do Better (Update #1)

So, last month I posted this. So since writing the opening scene, what have I done? To be honest, nowhere near as much as I feel I should have done. Still kind of finding the rhythm of what this story is. The main thing is I still need to plan out who the main characters are. I’ve got ideas for set pieces and general plot etc, but the characters will be what makes it work. So far I’ve got some ideas. One is Bruce and Carol. Carol is a middle-aged single mother who starred in some low budget horror movies in her youth. Bruce is her teenage son. This is what that leads to:

Nightmare Carol

I’m going to set up the abuse throughout the film. Decided on this because it’s not really something that’s seen that much in horror films, not in that way anyway. When we do see a parent sexually abusing a child it’s a father abusing his daughter, I wanted to showcase the horror of when the genders are flipped. I’m considering making Bruce one of the main characters, have him kind of bring Freddy back by striking a deal; he’ll scare his friends by telling them the stories of Freddy, leaving them more open to Freddy’s influence and danger. In return, Freddy will stop Bruce’s recurring nightmares. Essentially like a mafia protection racket. That scene, in particular, will be used to kick off the third act. Bruce being in a coma will also allow me to have an absolute mindfuck of a final act.

Now onto the second scene that I’ve done. This will be about halfway through. My plan is to set up two stories; a group of children being abducted and killed by Freddy when he was alive in the past (so essentially a slasher movie mixed with IT), and the same kids when they’re older being haunted by Freddy in their dreams. The two stories will run alongside each other, leading to this:

The Death Of Freddy

So yeah, I lie. It’s not actually them, it’s someone elses memory. I’m not going to lie, this is mainly because I was fed up with the number of horror films that have flashbacks of the main characters near death, I hate them as you know the characters are not going to die so the scenes have no tension. I’m going to set up the truth subtly, so characters we establish as having no siblings in the present, will have a brother/sister in the past, and characters who are allergic to certain things will be seen eating them in the past. The main focus of this section though; the death of human Freddy. My plan for this was to have it go from “yeah, get that bastard” to “this is kind of uncomfortable”. I think I can go slightly further with what happens to him, but not certain.

Lets See You Do Better

It’s coming up to Halloween and I’m preparing myself for this years blog, which I’m hoping will be the Halloween franchise (I know, doing Halloween films at Halloween, SO original). As I’ve gone through the past ones I worry I might have come off as negative. Writing a film is really hard, and writing a good film is even harder. It’s easy to tear down peoples efforts from behind a screen, mocking them and insulting them. It’s harder to create. So that’s what I’m doing. Most of my posts on here have been about other people’s writing, and it’s about time I showcased my own and opened it up for the same criticism I give others. I’m attempting a horror script from a well-known franchise. I present here the opening scene; let me know what you think, how you think the story will go, any suggestions etc. So read, interact, and hopefully, enjoy. 

First Draft