Today was productive, in its way.
Anyone who's read my stuff might notice I tend to work within my means. If I write a script, it's usually something that can be shot simply [framed, Clerks-style], with one or two people, and nothing too fantastical, that would take a great deal of makeup or special effects. Even "Nova" is pretty light on the crazy stuff, and what there is we'll probably be able to do pretty cheaply on a indie budget.
But lately I've had a sort of elaborate and complicated bunch of ideas in my head, and despite trying to push them back and ignore them, today I sat down with pen and paper and put together several pages of really good notes, and a sorta-outline that I could probably easily do up a script for. The idea itself is currently titled "PsyOps," which is really cheesy and will no doubt change eventually, and if I'm honest with myself [and if I take the advice of the few people I've talked about it with], then it would probably be far better served as a super-hero comic or graphic novel. But with the dearth of artistic-types in my life currently. I figured I'd take the MarkMillar route [God help me], and try to set it up as a screenplay instead.
The content is a little all over the place. On the surface, it's pretty much a horror film, with a bunch of crazy monsters modeled after some of what I call "neglected favorites" -- some Lovecraftian creatures I always thought didn't get enough play, winter-weather monsters like the werewolf and the wendigo, and a personal [and semi-local] fav, the Mothman. I've always found these creatures the scariest because of their vague connections to humanity itself, and as corny as it seems the Rod Serling-like indictments of humanity are always something I've gotten off on a little bit. It also felt really natural to go gruesome with them -- something that's been important to me as of late. I recently picked up the notes and pages to the project Casey and I were working on, a zombie movie called "Floaters," and have noticed that while what we had a good amount of humor in it for the genre, I sort of wanted to take another run at the script and just try and be as scary, depraved, and horrific with the subject matter as I could be, and then maybe have Casey or I do a rewrite later that puts the levity back into it. And while that's still in my plans, it occurred to me that the same sort of method could be used with this project too.
It hasn't helped that I've been sleeping a bit more. That always comes with nightmares, and while I thought I was used to it I've been surprised by how much they have shaken me up lately.Transferring some of that to paper hasn't been cathartic yet, but I've barely scratched the surface. I'm hoping maybe I can make use it, of maybe come up with a few good scares for others. This time of year always reminds me how much people like that.
The other aspect of this project is how much I've been thinking about inheritance since dad died. Not in the traditional sense; I've written before how Dad didn't have much to leave, and yet I feel sometimes like a great many things have come to rest upon my shoulders since he left. Simple or even silly things that I now have -- his comic books which have come trickling in to me, the fact that I share his name, or the handful of stories I am relatively sure he told me and no one else -- take on great importance, and feel like they come with not necessarily a burden, but at least a heavy responsibility [which is also funny, because Dad was not so big on the responsibility end]. These ideas of legacy and inheritance have become pretty pervasive with me, more so than anything has in a long while, at least since college, when I read "Tristram Shandy" and Sterne basically introduced me to Locke.
I've come to realize how much of this is all around us -- that there are so many things our parents, and their parents, all the generations before us have left, for better or worse. Sticking just to my interests lately, I've been reading a lot about the Cold War, and legacy of it, and just the general thinking of that time, and how all of that was based on the thinking of the generation before it. And many of these attitudes have shaped how the world we live in [and supposedly have control of, to a degree] functions today, which is as fascinating as it is depressing. But it's also staggeringly massive and broad, and getting a good handle on it has been hard. So I thought maybe simplifying the concept of legacy a bit, making it a little more one-to-one, and working it out on scale which I'm comfortable with [involving things like monsters and such] might help me get a better handle on it. So there's a lot of that in there, the idea of inheritance, and leaving things behind, and in the more literal sense some of those Cold War remnants as well.
There's also "Aliens" to consider. I love that movie [my second "R" rated film], and have wanted to do a homage to it for some time. Freaks and guys with guns? If it made me love "Pitch Black," I will never apologize for it.
I've also got some ideas to recycle for this. I wrote a treatment a while back for a "Doom" movie, mostly because of how royally they cocked up the "Doom" that came out in 2005. As an aside, while I was never a huge "Doom" player, or even a big fan, I always loved the novelty of the story idea -- that here are human beings, just starting to touch the heavens and strip mine it for fun and profit, and in order to do that more efficiently, we invent teleporters that shift things back and forth to Earth for us. And then our shining tools of commerce and progress, well, one of them malfunctions and boom: we accidentally open a gate to Hell on Mars. Seriously, how the guy who wrote "Cape Fear" and "The Glass House" wound up getting that wrong [and with the Rock in it as Sarge, no less] I'll never understand, but I guess we all make mistakes [Strick also did "Arachnophobia," which while cliche still managed to be entertaining]. So there's a little of that in there too.
Anyway, that was my day. A good one, really, when I can't get the pen moving as fast on page as the ideas are coming out of my head, and the only downer to it was when I hit the late evening and started running out of steam. I got dangerously close to a "I don't feel like working, what if I never feel like working?" anxiety attack, but luckily I was able to whip out those pages and read over what I had, and push a lot of that sort of thinking out of my head.
Doesn't always work out like that. But today it did.