Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Veil Part II

In March 2011, Ian and myself decided that instead of getting rusty while waiting for the funding to come through for Dysphonia, we would first produce a horror feature quickly and inexpensively. If nothing else, we were going to make something we could take to horror conventions and sell directly to the genre fans. Hopefully good word of mouth would draw more interest in Dysphonia and other future projects. We both came up with a few ideas but settled on a tale that is relevant for both the times we live in and also the age and situations we find ourselves in currently. I married young at 23 and when I attended my 5 year high school reunion, out of a class of almost 200, I was the only one of my classmates who was married. Last fall, at the 10 year reunion, which I skipped, not only was almost everyone married, but most had children and some were on their second marriage. There is a desperate rush to pair off and have babies once you reach your mid twenties. Ian and myself decided to tell the tale of a man whose life is rapidly moving toward a wife, a house, and children. Feeling like he is unready for this change and with too many regrets of things left undone, he plans a late night rendezvous with a young small town girl he meets online late one night. She seems to be in a similarly unhappy place and is eager to have a discreet tryst. When he doesn't return, his best friend, along with his black sheep older sister, venture into the town to try and find out what happened. What they find is townspeople with contradicting stories of lies, abuse, and murder.

The major theme dealt with in "Veil" is dishonesty and how technology enables it. We are told to be honest, but when we are, there are consequences. We all have personas we have in anonymity and personas we show to the rest of the world. In a perfect world, our husband or wife would get to see the real person, but we are often too scared that the truth would make them not love us. People desperately need a connection, whether they find it in the arms of another person, a pet, or a stranger online.

In a burst of creativity fueled by alcohol and Camel lights, Ian and myself sat around a fire in his backyard on a chilly March night and fleshed out the story and most of the plot points. I returned to New York and began to write the script on April 21. I set a similar timetable to the one used for writing Panacea. Basically, I aim to have the first draft 6 weeks from the day I start. 1 week for filling a spiral notebook and 3x5 notecards (which will later be used for figuring out the timeline and structure for the 3 acts) with ideas for scenes, characters, reference art & photos, wardrobe/props, research notes, and any thoughts on the specific themes (In this case, marriage, adultery, sex, the internet, how we hide through false personas, etc). I won't start a script until I know there is enough there for a feature. Usually a full spiral notebook or about 100 notecards will be enough to get started. This helps avoid having to pad a story idea that was never meaty enough to sustain a feature. Then I write the script for for 3 weeks. If I get stuck, I just keep writing and there's usually a lot of placeholder scenes that I will go back and rewrite completely. Then I spend 2 weeks reading and making corrections. This first draft is usually extremely rough and may only be 60-70% of what the shooting script will be. I completed a 74 page draft in June and am now currently working on the 2nd draft.

In writing the script, I found myself watching films such as The Third Man, Frantic, Missing, Chinatown, and The Vanishing. Movies about disappearance and confusion. Movies where the protagonists question their own memory, sanity, and perception. While Dysphonia is influenced by Italian horror and Panacea is influenced by the films of David Cronenberg, "Veil" is about the real horror of everyday people who will kill to protect secrets and their loved ones. While "Veil" is a horror film, it is also a film about desperate people and what they do for a human connection

We will be launching an Indiegogo page very soon to raise the budget for "Veil" and are also looking for anyone who is intrigued by the concept who wants to volunteer their time to work on the crew. The budget has been estimated at between 2-5K and will be filmed on location in Virginia & West Virginia in the fall. We will be posting character breakdowns and screenplay excerpts soon.