Screenplays are my thing, horror more specifically.
I have this one screenplay that's based on an old dream I had. Well... not a dream. A bloody awful nightmare. It's about a cave below a town that has a Lovcraftian type beast residing in it. Yes, very similar to the beast in Dean Koonts' Phantoms.
Though this story isn't really about the beast, it's about the people that live with it and rely on it. What they have to do for it and what it does for them. And, this screenplay is about being trapped with love between two opposing forces.
I have been chewing on this damn idea for well over 5 years now and I've always struggled with the 3rd act. I've known the town, all its people, it's protagonist (me, I'm self centered!), her captor, the beast. Everything. But when it came down to the motivation I could never get it quite right. I couldn't figure out why the protagonist would stay. I couldn't figure out why the townspeople would feed people to a fucking thing in a cave.
Nothing ever sat right. This morning it all slid into place. It's love. Fucking love. Love and that awful strangle-hold it has on everything and everyone.
Yup, I know how bitter that sounds. But not even deep seated hatred will make people do the things they do for love or loss thereof.
I've written this same screenplay about 3 times to completion. The last time it topped 300 pages. In screenplay language that's a minute a page so... a really long movie! Every time it didn't work so I would try to rewrite, take it back to the beginning, start all over. Change the characters around, switch up the town from old school to modern back to old school.
I kept getting stuck up on the same question: What is the story question?
Uhh... I have no fucking clue. I could never come up with a good answer to that because the story didn't really have one. It just was.
The story question is this: Who is the real destructive monster here?
I think that everyone has this rose-tinted view of selfless, altruistic love. That, if mutual love between two people was destroying one of them, of COURSE the other would let them go.
No... no you probably wouldn't. And the one dying probably wouldn't let go either. Because that's not how love works.
Husbands shoot their wives over this.
Mothers kill their children over this.
People commit suicide over this.
Love is a crazy, irrational thing.
Most of the time it's beautiful and fun and everything it's talked up to be. But sometimes it's a nightmare. A heart rending nightmare.
So THAT is what this screenplay is about. Could you turn your back on love to save your loved one's life? How far would you push it? How far would you fight over that person? Could you let them go or would you keep pulling until you rip them in two?
Yes, it's a bitter screenplay. No, it's not based on any one specific event. (In my mind I can just imagine the big sighs of relief from a few readers.)
In all reality, this screenplay comes from me. I'm the thing in the cave. At first I thought I was the protagonist, but the more I started to chew on the story, the more I realized what I'd done.
A friend of mine recently hit the nail on the head when he asked me if I considered myself to me self-loathing. Umm. duh. ;-) Of course I am! That's where the original nightmare came from! The cave and the thing in it are my mind's representation of ME! I am the thing I'm afraid of. And God Forbid anyone else get near me/it. It's poison! Even if it does mean well.
I have this
It would be nice if I could just become a recluse, keeping everyone at arms length. But it's hard to be alone and it's so nice to find someone to talk to. It's even nicer to find someone to love. Then the fear sets it. The fear of rejections, the fear of driving them away, the fear of making them miserable.
I want to make people laugh! I don't want to upset a loved one that makes me so happy. But I do. Damnit!
So, that's what the screenplay is about. It's that poison on all sides. When it all goes terribly wrong. Something I doubt you'll find in the RomCom section of the video store anytime soon!
Oh! And just to lighten the mood a bit. Here's a joke!
What to Vegan Zombies eat?
(Thank you to TDS for that joke. It's STILL making me giggle! HAhahaha)