Friday, May 18, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 227 - Keep it Fresh

Later today, I have a call with my co-writer, W.A., and the producer who paired us on our sci-fi spec. It's been about three weeks since I last worked on that project - what with getting it out for review and setting up a phone call at a time convenient for all of us - so I've had some extra time on my hands recently. To fill that gap, I've gone back to the outline of my demon thriller.

It's been fun going back to that project, but of the four main notes I'm trying to incorporate, one is being a real nuisance. Without giving anything away really, the script involves demons living in the world we know. (On the surface, not the most original sounding idea, I'll give you that. But there are, I hope, some really unique things I'm doing with the concept and the notion of demons, hell, and the earth converging.) My manager's overall note was that the demon aspect of the story is really pretty fresh and offers some great visuals, while the human portion of it is fairly prosaic, almost to the detriment of the story as a whole. His reaction was that he loved the demon parts to much that he felt mired in the sequences that didn't involve them and suggested I try to elevate the temporal beats to match those of the supernatural ones. 

I understand his point. In my mind, it's not that huge of an issue; maybe I just see the full story more and know that the demon elements won't be as fantastical as perhaps he envisions them. Or, maybe having somewhat more everyday components will enliven and highlight the paranormal that much more. I'm still not 100% convinced of the need to change things out, but at least for exercise's sake, I'm giving it a whirl. (It's probably worth mentioning that the earthly sections take place in the legal world, so if nothing else, removing them from that arena will limit the number of parallels drawn to The Devil's Advocate.) 

In my quest for change, I'm looking at the unusual and unexpected careers found in "normal life." What haven't we seen on film that often? What creates and aesthetic that holds its own against that of demons and hell, while also being thematically linked to that world? Demonology and hell and good versus evil have certain tones, certain arcane elements that ideally will find a counterpart in the earthly setting I've established. It's tough going, as you can probably guess, mainly because the parallels were easiest to make when I kept the human interactions confined to the legal world. Court room showdowns and guilty versus innocent are the defacto temporal judgments we're all familiar with, so it's such an easy connection to make. I worry about losing those if I transition the setting somewhere else, but the challenge of determining how to retain them is one I'm enjoying so far.

Either way, the key to a solid script is freshness. I feel as though I'm about 2/3 of the way there. Hopefully, the remainder falls into place this weekend. 

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