Happy Holidays FEARnet fans, I'm giving you a short horror script for Christmas
Two weeks ago at an interview I was called "the John Carpenter of short form horror." And a few weeks before that I was called "Guillermo del Toro, for the-under-5-minutes set." I humbly accept each moniker, but at the same time I'm actually not making films (short, feature, web series, TV show or otherwise) for the fame or the attention. Nor for the money. I'm actually just doing it because I have no idea what else in the world I could (or would want to) be doing. It's a strange skill set that the filmmaker acquires or is born with, and an even more strange and specific skill set that comes with making good horror films.
That said, I get A LOT of emails, tweets and msgs asking me where to start, how to start, what is needed to get going, etc. And my answer is always the same - get yourself a good script. If you can write, then write your own, but if you just don't have that God-given talent, then start asking around, start reading scripts. There's a lot of shit out there, but if you keep reading, you'll find something that strikes your imagination and gets your adrenaline going.
Here's my rule of thumb. If the material doesn't give me at least one adrenaline rush when I think about making it, then it's not for me. It's an imperfect and unscientific judging system, but then again, film, story and art in general are nothing but gut reactions, instincts and emotions anyway, so I say go with your gut, shoot from the hip, all the usual cliches that essentially just mean: go with what you LOVE.
Because if you don't love it now, you won't love it later. You have to be willing to marry something.
Now, all that said, I know a lot of you don't live in Los Angeles or New York or one of the other entertainment hubs and you don't have screenwriters around every corner like we do here. Sooo...here's what I'm proposing to do for you filmmakers out there who are looking for a decent script. I'm going to give you one.
I'm writing a 3-4 page horror script that is easily produced, has minimal creature stuff, just a few simple locations, and which relies on creative filmmaking and good acting and not tons of FX and expensive shit to make it work.
I'm going to then make that script available to the public so you guys can HAVE it. Then, if you like it, go produce your version of it. At the end of the day, what we'll end up with is a few dozen (maybe more) films based on the exact same script, but produced at varying skill levels, budgets, and generational strata.
1) This isn't a contest. I hate contests regarding art. It's a celebration of the genre and of indie filmmaking. If all goes well we'll have a slew of VERY different visions of the same exact story, and THAT is cool.
2) You can't sell it or make money on it. I will retain ownership of the story and the concept even though you'll own the film, but this is not something where any of us will make any money. Make your film, post it online, enjoy the comments from your peers and have fun MAKING ART. Enjoy the journey of creation. It's an amazing gift that we've been given and it's shocking to me how many professional filmmakers are miserable in their work. So for God's sakes, have fun.
3) Okay, so no one makes a dime off of this, BUT... feel free to use your finished film as a calling card to get work, and otherwise advance your career.
4) This is not an officially sanctioned FEARnet thing, it's not a contest, and there's no prize money. It's just a thing I'm doing as an individual so you guys can have your own completed short horror script to go produce as a short film for fun.
5) All movies must be complete by September 1st, 2011 at midnight. I figure we can launch them all as they come in, but I'm going to try and find a single online venue where we can post them all in one location as a special Halloween thing for 2011.
So while I'm off writing, you think about it. See if you're interested. And next week, I'll be posting the script here on my School of Fear blog as a downloadable pdf. I'll make sure it's competent, professional and thrilling, so you guys can have a lot of fun shooting your versions of it.
There's a lot of excuses as to why you're not making a film. Having a good script will no longer be one of them.
Gaudium Per Atrox.