When I was in LA, I went to Loma Linda to talk with a guy who liked my writing and projects and wanted to look into making something. It turned out to be another bit of hot air; I guess I've lost my ability to suss that out, since I left the West Coast. But I did take the chance to go to Palm Springs (above) for "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor", because it's set there and I needed the visual to make sure I had things right. I then went to Riverside and checked out the courthouse area, since Jake has to go there. I found some things had to be changed while others worked okay.
Then I put it aside because I got my inner buzz going on writing some low-budget scripts and selling them to places like Troma and Asylum for whatever piddly amounts they offer. It'd be a way to bring in cash and get some things made, even if they were straight to video. Pulled together a dozen ideas, including reworking a few I'd already written.
I started out with "Carli Kills" because I could set that in four locations in an unnamed part of the desert that covers so much of the Southwest. Had it all planned out. She's out for revenge. Meets a guy who helps her. Things go too far. But she triumphs in the end...albeit with damage and the possibility of a franchise. A sort of anti-heroine out to rid the world of pond scum that's taken the shape of men and women.
This is where the life lesson comes in. Once I started working on it, and Carli got to talking to me...and Zeke joined in...within a week all dreams of simplicity and any idea of just dashing the story off vanished. Completely. Moments began showing up that you just cannot put on film. Moments that reminded me more of torture porn, though at least mine was about something more than just finding scary ways to hurt people before you kill them...in my mind, anyway.
You see, we're not talking "Hostel" or "Saw", here (which, to be honest, were sort of my templates, with a good dash of Wes Craven). We're talking Dante's "Inferno" and Milton's works of heaven and hell and the "eye for an eye" kind of tragedy that drives people to madness. And I couldn't keep it out. Carli developed into a near archangel gunning for Armageddon, when the innocent and the guilty are ripped to shreds. And Zeke became her only contact with humanity. Which threw my whole story off.
Nobody would have bought this script. Not even if I got the probable budget down to $150K. I finally got it through my thick skull that I'd just be writing another screenplay meant to go nowhere. I've got too many of those, already.
So...today after work, I dug back into VoOT. It's got a viciousness underlying it, but one that works within the parameters of the story. And which I'm leavening with some humor, dammit. Jake's got a wicked sense of fun in this one; mixing that with his "no bullshit" attitude should be interesting, at least. I'm going to give him full rein on it.
But the plans I had when I returned from LA were of the nonsense variety...again. Story of my life lessons.