The following is a journal entry written by screenwriter Kevin L. Powers as he rewrites the screenplay The Cleavers for producer & director Justin Sterns and producers Lynn McArthur and Cesar Aguirre. The following is meant to be a look into the process of screenwriting in regards to the re-writing process. Mr. Powers has contributed to the TFP Production Last Call (a vampire anthology) and has recently written & directed his film feature film through CenterSeat Entertainment.
10/12/10, TUESDAY – DAY 4
As is customary for me as a writer, sometimes I can produce a lot of pages in a short amount of time but then I take a break to rethink everything before beginning again. The one day in between writing on this screenplay “The Cleavers” is the fact that I am also in the middle of editing my feature film House of Secrets and filming my documentary feature GA10 (about female actors working in the Georgia film industry) What I’ve been trying to do is write 6-10 pages in the morning and then go edit for either the rest of the day or part of the day before going off to log footage for the film (I procrastinated and didn’t finish logging all the tapes prior to editing).
Today is one of those days where I need to get pages written. At one point of the writing process there comes a time in the screenplay where the goal is to get pages written and sometimes those pages will not be as interesting as you may want them to be. The middle of the screenplay may be the meat of the story but it is also sometimes the hardest to write. For me, on this screenplay I know what I want to say with the story, it’s just trying to get all of it in the script (and I’m sure that whatever is left out will make its way into the rewrites).
For me, today is getting to the scene where I introduce two more characters in the story that eventually are killed in the film. They may seem at first to be a young couple who are just eye candy for the film but in reality they play an important part in the theme of the film. The fun in writing today is introducing and setting these characters up so that I can kill them in a very elaborate scene that will hopefully hook the horror fans out there.
I’m saving the writing of the actual death scene for the next day of writing as it gives me something to look forward to. I’m also trying to craft relevant pages that will also stretch the length of the story. Since I am still converting a short screenplay into a feature I still have to add a lot of pages to not only stretch the story but also elongate the running time.
A have encountered one issue with the story as the characters of Greta and Marc do very little in the film once they are caught by the Cleavers. I don’t want the story to seem too cliché so I need to craft a scenario in which everything comes off naturally instead of seeming like it’s only there because it needs to be as part as some horror genre mandate.
I’ve strived very hard not to make this screenplay a horror genre spectacle since the director Justin Stearns does not want a gore film but a suspense thriller. I’ve taken out many of the more gory scenes and set pieces in favor of something more suspenseful and character driven but there are a few moments in which I hope to shock audiences.
Although I don’t get to these shocking scenes today, I will be looking forward to them on the next day of writing.