10 April 2014

12 in 12: The Long and (Mostly) Short of "Standers"

Something like this... but more ominous.
Much more ominous.
This month's script is called Standers, about a married couple staying at an isolated cabin in order to try and work out their problems only to notice strange figures standing around the cabin -- and getting closer...
Scary, right?  If not, give this a whirl:  Next time you get in a rural area, what until dark, then look out a window and imagine if you saw someone/something just standing there, staring at you.  And everything you checked back, they/it was closer than before.  Hey, it freaked the hell out of my mother-in-law.  She lives on Lake Michigan with neighbors living at least 100 or so yards away -- so not completely isolated, but there's still some distance between houses.

Oh yeah...  Title page.
Anyhow, I knew the script was going to be short -- it relies on quiet moments and a tense, suspenseful atmosphere -- and I was expecting it to clock in at 80-85 pages.  For those who don't know, in screenwriting, one page of a screenplay is approximately one minute of screen time.  Ideally, you usually try to hit at least 90 pages but no more than 110, 115 on the high end (especially if submitting to an agency or production company).

It's now looking like I over-estimated and it's I consider myself lucky if the script can even get to 80 pages.  That's not really a bad thing when you take into account that other than the first 10 pages, everything happens in one location -- and for the most part, contained thrillers (which this hopefully will be) run shorter than other scripts due to certain formatting aspects you don't have in a typical script.

Plus, I was looking at possibly producing the script myself, so the shorter it is the easier it is to shoot (knock on wood...).  And the true intention of the script is that I wanted it to just be the stepping stone, something to get the actors on the same page with me and the story I want to tell.  Ultimately, I'd cast a pair of actors and work with them for a couple of weeks, rehearsing and improvising (and recording everything), and then basically I'd re-write the script from those meetings.  It'd almost be like how Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke worked together with their Before trilogy.  

It's just a matter of writing a good enough script to get some actors interested and then moving forward with them to make the script even better.

Right now, I'm about half done with the script.  My kids (I've got two pre-school-aged boys) are staying with "Grandma and Grandpa on the lake" next week, so I expect to be done with the first draft on Wednesday or Thursday.  Anyone -- especially any actors in the Twin Cities area -- wanting to give it a read can drop me an email at f.no.but.theres.a.poster[@]gmail[.]com (remove the brackets, of course).

On a more general note, now that I'm writing in the basement I'm hammering away pages like nothing.  I get down there and two hours later I've gotten 7 to 10 pages done.  I don't know if it's knowing the stories or just being (mostly) distraction free, but I can write like nothing else when in that space.  I'd call "The Zone" to have the play on words that when I write I'm in "The Zone," but that's really a cheap joke.  Plus, there's only one Zone worthwhile, and that was canceled 50 years ago.


And now I know what I'm gonna do for the rest of the day...

I should be writing, I should be writing, I should be--  F*** it -- Twilight Zone rules.  No script pages today.


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