Sunday, December 23, 2012

If You Dare...

We were sitting at lunch on the set of “DeadlyRevisions” when Bill* turns to me and says “Why don’t you write a film about a werewolf, a vampire and…?”

That’s how it began.  It was a provocative, almost crazy idea:  a film that would have a very limited audience, destined to the art house and movies-on-demand world; only big stars and an even bigger marketing budget could propel it into the mainstream.   But it excited us both: a hybrid of normally mutually exclusive genres, a heretofore unheard of relationship, and an opportunity to muse on the very definition of what it is to be a monster.   But who would be as excited about it as we were?  Possibly no one.  So it was madness to consider taking it any further than that conversation at lunch. 

But it stuck with me.  It needled me.  Eventually, I came to realize it literally haunted me:  this ghost of an idea, insisting to be given life in the material world, would not let me go until I succumbed to its cry.  And, I admit, I was excited by the folly and challenge of the thing.  Then, at a later meeting, Bill and I confirmed our passion for the idea, crazy as it was.  So the gauntlet was thrown down.  It was a dare…and I was going to meet it, head on.  Damn screenplay regularity!  Damn mass marketability!  Damn budget implausibility!  I was going to write the beast!! 

So I slugged my scotch and set to work.  And to my surprise and delight, it was unbelievably easy!  

At first.   

Then the challenges began to press their smug-ugly faces in—all around me.  

 So…ya got a couple of nice monsters.  Now what?”    


But I forged ahead, letting the characters I had created do the talking; they informed me what stories would be told, what struggles would emerge, what twists would force them to learn, to act, to change.  And so, slowly, the three of us found a narrative that moved us through the ghoulish parade of obstacles until, at last, I had the first draft of a complete script.  I gave it to Mr. Oberst to see if it in any way met what he had imagined at that lunch what seemed now long ago.  He was thrilled with it and begged me to polish it and have it ready to go by early next year to shoot in summer. 

So it seems I’ve been given another dare.  And it should be clear by now that, if you dare me… 

*Bill Oberst, Jr. -  2012 Shockfest Best Actor