My horror script, TOO MANY PREDATORS is undergoing its third rewrite since Chris Messineo and the New Jersey Film School (http://www.njfilmschool.com/) agreed to take on the project for the Advanced Filmmaking Workshop. The notes came from Chris this morning, after already cutting the piece from five to four minutes.
From the beginning, I had envisioned my tale occurring in Newark, New Jersey with a Black and a Latino actress. This was not premeditated; they just popped into my head as most things do when a story takes shape in my mind. However, by keeping the characters “ethnic-free”, so to speak, we have the potential to find excellent actresses beyond such limited molds. The actresses, wherever they end up coming from, can then add their own unique touches to the dialogue during filming. Regarding language, since this is for a school, and even though the students are eighteen and over, the curse-laden street language will have to go. This will enable Chris to show the film to parents with prospective younger students and not cause a stir.
Another change involves the floor. In one segment, a character looks down at the skanky cement and finds something quite horrid. In our new location, such a floor does not exist and what’s intended could never be filmed. As in all low-budget filmmaking, one must work with what one has on hand.
Chris also had recommendations for the opening and ending, which I agreed to make happen.
Why am I indulging in so many changes? This script is not my baby. Not by a long shot. In fact, even with those scripts that earned awards, I don’t think I have a “baby”. Film is a collaborative effort, and I’ve chosen to make changes in order for the film to work for cast, crew, school and later promotion. Plus, although a screenwriter, I have never taken part in having my own script turned into something for the screen. By immersing myself in the process as a willing team player, I will have the opportunity to learn as well, which I am looking forward to on a grand scale. Afterwards, when I expand the story into a larger feature, there may be an opportunity to be a bit more meticulous if I raise money to shoot the film.
But that last item is a long way off, and I have to get the script ready. No doubt, Chris will return with more notes, and that’s fine because I want this to be as perfect as possible for the end result, which is an audience. The lesson is simple: If you hold onto every word and comma as if an extension of your very soul, you’d best have deep pockets to bring a script to screen on your own – because no one will ever want to work with you, and you will never grow as a screenwriter.
Otherwise, write a book.