Category: Screenwriting


My IMDB Page

My first official credit is now listed on IMDB. I wonder what I could add to the trivia section. What would be useful info…? I could look up old classmates Tony Sims who crewed a few films in the early 90s and most likely Ammar Desariah, who does some acting gigs here and there.

Being an extra on Chris Robin Hood’s thesis film ‘Count’ back in…oh when was that? 1992 or 93 I think. Worked at Merha Tube, Grand Blanc, MI in the late 90s-early 2000s. The Rabbit Lady from Roger& Me – Michael Moore’s late 80s doc- worked there.

Oh, there’s the “Dusty” gig at AutoWorld in 1990. The place is now the UM parking lot.

Hopefully, this is the start of good things.

In any case, “Forced Donation” my first produced short, will be screened at the Independent Filmmakers Convention
in Indiana next week, June 7th.

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Time For An Update…


It’s been awhile since I visited, much less posted on my own blogsite. I’ll be ramping things up shortly on this end.

Here’s what’s going on since:

One of my short scripts, Forced Donation, has been filmed. It is currently in post and will be finished soon. It filmed late last summer. The same folks behind this are also considering another short of mine ‘Mystery Of Mister Y‘ Matt Reilly and Kristian Steel are the first folks to interpret my brainwaves.

The Servant.
Things have changed a bit since the last post regarding this some time ago. While I am in contact with the previous party that was interested in this, another party has since stepped in – they even tracked me down – and they are doing most of the pitching at this time. As of now I cannot publicly say who they are due to contract (it’s not a ‘public announcement’) but I’m convinced this will happen someday in some sort of format.

The Clean Up Crew and Breaking Eggs are on the back burners for now. They are question marks.

Spring Comfort a short, has gotten some interest. I’m rewriting it to mold into the filmmaker’s needs. If it happens, it will be part of an anthology, and that’s all I can say about that at this time.

The Find
I can talk about this one a little bit. Hopefully, prep and pre-vis will happen in early 2013. The script originated as a entrant in a DVX userfest with an ‘Alien’ theme. The version at DVX is slightly different than the version on Simply Scripts – the latter more ‘Heavy Metal’ if you will. By ‘Heavy Metal’ I mean like a CG version of the ’81 cult film and/or graphic novel-fantasy magazine and not the Headbanger’s Ball. In any case, shortly after I posted the longer version on SS, someone from the Art Insitute Of Pheonix read it and made me an interesting offer. While payment is credit and a bag of mints, the script has a strong chance of being some sort of project over there. Cross your fingers on that.

When I’m not writing, I’m usually peer reviewing at Talentville or Simply Scripts. Or hanging out at Movie Snitch (formerly Reel Time)

-DJS

Vampires, vampires and more vampires! One of these days, I hope for a Moonlight movie...

There are a few new places which I am roaming around on the ‘net, and lucky for me, none of them are MMOs. Yes, I do my share of online games, but not as much as a few years ago. They are, for the most part, too time consuming and when I step outside to get the snail mail I feel like a Morlock. In any case, since The Movie Blog is defunct for me, I decided to add to the links ‘Reel Time Movie’ Blog’ which is what the old ‘Movie Blog’ used to be. (re: IQ). Most likely I’ll be joining back up with those folks sometime soon. The link to that will be up when it goes live.

But since I was updating the links section, I threw in one more. That’s the Castle Dracula Podcast which recently started up on Talkshoe. For anyone who has visited places like NowLive LA, it’s kind of like that: a call in Podcast and live chatroom. Castle Dracula is hosted by “Sword of Dracula” author Jason Henderson, “Halloween Man” creator Drew Edwards, “Clockwerx” manga creator Tony Salvaggio, and Julia Guzman.

It just so happens that at this time I’m expanding a short script of mine ‘The Servant’, which deals with Vampires, Vampire Hunters and one unusal Ghoul. The concept is simple: if vampires can be updated and re-invented, why not the hunters? Why can’t the Ghouls? So listening to this podcast helps me in a few ways by getting into the ‘vampire mood’ if you will. Yes, I could pop in DVDs of ‘Near Dark’ ’30 Days Of Night’, ‘The Lost Boys’, ‘Shadow Of The Vampire’ the ‘Blade’ films and the ‘Moonlight’ TV series to get some styles in mind. It always helps; when wanting to write action films, shouldn’t you watch action films to study structure and what’s been done? When I want to write Horror, I’m not going to watching three of my favorite films, Lawrence Of Arabia, Star Wars and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Know what I’m saying? Okay, maybe Jaws. But I’m most likely to watch Stephen Kings’ Salem’s Lot – both the one with David Soul and the one with Rob Lowe. Or at least a film-noir thriller like ‘After Dark My Sweet’ or ‘House Of Games’ (a different kind of vampire: a con artist)because I do find that film noir can lend itself rather easily into a vampire horror.

The Clean Up Crew

Coming soon to a Film Fest near you?

Okay, it seems like Breaking Eggs may not be the first short script of mine to roll before a camera after all. It’s still going to happen, as far as I know, but something else has happened. Unlike Eggs which is intended for a student film, The Clean Up Crew is another matter. This one, like Eggs, was found on the Inktip short script listing. The “pay” is still about the same (peanuts, almonds, copy of film and a written by credit) but…

Hello Darren,

I really enjoyed reading The Cleanup Crew. I loved the fact that it was a new take on a ghost story. What are you looking for in the matter of having this made? Although I don’t have money to offer up for short scripts; what I can offer is getting the project up on to IMDB, and once it would be shot, sending it to various film festivals around the country. I’m searching for a couple of scripts that I will be producing and having them either directed by me or one of my filmmaking partners. Anyway, let me know your thoughts. I love the script and I hope we can come to some type of arrangement to get it made this coming year.

-Zachary
(November 9th, 2010)

After a response from me which theses two words-

======HELL YES======

pretty much sums up my response, I heard back from Zachary soon after, and he already has reached out to an FX makeup artist and an actress he knows. The expected shoot date is between December 2010 and February, depending on availability of cast and film crew. The IMDB page will go up sometime during or just after post. IMDB is “cracking down” on various “announced projects” simply because many of the announced films (feature and short) fizzle out but remain on the site for extended periods of time.

This is just good news all around. I have generally kept the news low profile, because I also don’t want to jump the gun too much. I also want it as a bit of a surprise for some of my relatives, spring it on them next week during Turkey Day, or perhaps Christmas. (Probably the former; someone’s going to blab, I’m sure of it)

Anyway, for those curious, The Clean Up Crew deals with a haunted hotel, with one unoccupied room in particular. It’s nothing that jumps out and goes boo; but rather a paranormal mess of blood and ectoplasm left behind in the bathroom. A ghost named Sam, who was a homicide detective from the 1940s, cannot go outside of the bathroom. The after hours cleaning crew, Gus and Rick,having to go to the same room on a regular basis, is thought to be slacking off. Cassie tags along to supervise. However, Cassie’s no-nonsense approach ignores the rules that the two men are familiar with, as only one person can enter the bathroom to clean it. A disregard or these rules results in a bigger mess to clean the following night, Cassie is left to clean up the blood all over the bathroom. Rick and Gus can only observe, play cards and watch late night TV. Sam helps by talking Cassie through it- although Sam is mildly sexist in personality.

Breaking Eggs

Could this be the first filmed? Only those Down Under might know...

Over the past year (2010) I have joined up with another review hub, Talentville which some of my peers there encouraged me to list some of my short scripts on the Inktipsite. I’ve used Inktip before, listing my full length scripts from time to time, but I never bothered with short scripts. But I took writing short scripts as a challenge. One day I got an Inktip newsletter in the email. Someone was looking for a horror-thriller that featured a “Killer Nurse”. I did not have a horror-thriller script with a “Killer Nurse”. I have heard, seen, or know of horror films that involve crazy doctors, or a killer loose in the hospital (Halloween II, Visiting Hoursand then there’s ten minutes of Sly Stallone’s Cobra if you want to count that) and the only ‘crazy killer nurse’ that really comes to mind is Annie Wilkes, the stalker fan in Stephen King’s Misery and the movie based on it.

Now, there is a slight bit of truth being scared of nurses. When you get sick and have to go to the hospital as I did in late 1995, you are pretty much at the mercy of those on the graveyard shift. That said, they are there to help you. There’s nothing too spooky about a person trained to help save lives. It may be not the best of situations, but your fears are directed elsewhere. In any case, I have respect for those in the medical field. So writing a script about a “Killer Nurse” isn’t going to be easy. After giving it some thought, I decided to write a short script anyway. I made myself a general outline, and guides for myself. I need those guides in writing a short script. If I don’t stick to them, it is all too easy for me to plan a 10 page script and wind up with 100 pages. I’m always into fleshing out, expanding both character and story.

So I chose these parameters:

    – Mental Hospital.

This would take care of two characters. A central protagonist who is close to being released, and a central antagonist who releases herself. The latter will be a threat and dress up like a nurse on her night of terror. The former could be witness to some of these events and thus calls for help might be taken with skepticism.

    Nobody goes outside

I want only interiors. If someone films this, if they want an establishing shot, that’s up to them. I don’t write establishing shots in my scripts. I consider them a waste of time. I also want to be flexible.

    Focus on suspense, not blood

A lot of horror today has gone splatter-heavy. I don’t mind a few of them, but it’s gone way over the top. Also, in movie theaters, people may not be eating chicken soup or pizza, but they are still eating popcorn and Goobers. A short film might not be in a multiplex; it could be at a film festival or show up online. Folks by the computer still got a box of Cheez Its somewhere. I don’t want them to gag it up with the root beer. It’s not a pretty sight.

    Throw in a little bit of realism while keeping the surrealism

Yes, I did a small bit of research. I came across an odd fact. The majority of people in mental institutions…aren’t crazy. They are recovering addicts, usually drugs. I could use this background for the protagonist. The antagonist would also drug her up at some point as well.

However, I still want my dramatic license. Many people who watch films today, even those who are “sophisticated” should not be so stiff as to enjoy a few minor details in regards to suspension of disbelief. That said, I chose to write my script accordingly, and have it take place in one day and night. Day to introduce us to the heroine. Night to unleash her adversary. It’s still a slippery slope, I think I can get away with it.

So what now…?
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