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.
10/17/10, SUNDAY – DAY 5
Writing the screenplay “The Cleavers” has been a very creative experience for me. I’ve not written a film with this energy since writing a first draft of the Friday the 13th fan film The Man in the Lake for Southlan-Films (my screenplay was not used for the final film). The two experiences are very similar in that I’m writing for someone other than myself and the characters are not my own original creations. Although I created the sub-characters on both projects, the real main characters were all created by other people.
The main reason why I wanted to tackle this project was because I enjoyed the original short screenplay so much. I want to honor the idea behind the initial screenplay while also adding a few of my own touches which I’ve done in spades. Although I did give a voice to the Greta and Marc characters (played by Lynn McArthur and Cesar Aguirre, respectfully), I also created the character of Blankface and added a couple more victims to the mix – which brings us to today’s writing – I get to kill a couple people.
There was four days in between writing on the screenplay as I had to work my full time-40 hour per week job which didn’t leave me with enough time to sit back down and get some writing done even though I tried at every turn. This is perfectly fine as the break got me revived up to hit the ground running for some more scenes. Today’s writing is exciting because I get to kill some people while also revealing Mrs. Cleaver as a very unbalanced woman despite the perfect façade that she displays for all the world to see.
This is the point in the screenplay where everything may seem to be coming to an end for the characters because Greta and Marc see a possibility for rescue but then it all falls apart and everything seems to be going well for the Cleavers but we finally see some vulnerability.
As of this writing I added the two characters of Cece and her boyfriend Rick in order to add some personal conflict with the Mrs. Cleaver character. Once Mrs. Cleaver encounters her and have her mini breakdown we then see Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver have an argument before Mr. Cleaver storms out on her because of her stubbornness. The writing for today ends with me having Mr. Cleaver encounter Marc in the basement of the house (also known as the “killing room”). I end here because I know that the following scene will have Marc escape from Mr. Cleaver. The plan is to have Marc escape and then run into the woods where he encounters Blankface, the forgotten and deformed son of the Cleavers.
I thought that this would make for a very good scene and a high point for the film itself.