Writing a movie script

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Back in 2007 I got back into contact with an childhood friend who is living down in the Austin area here in Texas. Turns out he went into marketing and does a lot of writing. He has had stuff published in books, websites, etc. We got our heads together and decided to write a script. I had some ideas floating around for a while about a horror movie I wanted to write. I had actually written about twenty minutes of it and decided it could use a more ‘professional’ touch. I forwarded it to him and we morphed it with ideas he had and we came up with the beginning of a fresh script.

I learned all I know about writing from George Lucas and Miguel (seriously). The first script I ever tried to write I referenced a copy of the script to Star Wars to see how to correctly format the script out. At some point in the early 2000’s I got a copy of Miguel’s Denton Texas script and studied how he formatted his script (from what he learned from college). Incase you didn’t know Miguel actually has a film degree from UNT so he knows his shit (even if he doesn’t use it much).

The idea we came up with was a haunted house movie. My original intent with my old script was to make a haunted house story to top all other haunted house stories. I wanted it to dement the viewer and keep them up all night, trying to erase the images they had seen at the movies. My thought was to mimic Sam Rami’s attempt to make something so grueling that it was a like a ride that thrashes the viewer’s psyche about. I knew I wanted (and would have to have) a lot of gore but not make the gore the focus of the movie. I wanted the movie to have scenes that might utilize it to emphasize the horror on the screen but not to take away from the fact that it’s a story about a house… potentially any house… potentially your house.

Haunted house movies have been done and over done. It was going to take something fresh and new to capture today’s jaded audience. I explained this to my friend before we started and he agreed. I was for straight up grueling action and he wanted some science thrown in as well. The things that appealed to me in the haunted house genre were the unnatural occurrences that happen in a place so private and so personal as some one’s home. Amityville pulls this off well (being more centered around the characters than the action). I also like when the character’s do the sleuthing and find out why their house if haunted (usually when it’s too late to turn back). I like scenarios were the house was used for something far more sinister than just being a dwelling (like in Amityville and A Haunting in Connecticut). I wanted to add these things to my story. I also like the stories/movies that build on each other. The horror the happened in Nancy’s house in A Nightmare on Elm Street has turned a rather normal home into basically a haunted house for the rest of the series. That’s a cool concept too. There are so many things to work into this script and so many ways to do it…

We began the script in 2009 (I think) on the website Scripped.com. It has a script formatting tool and you can share your scripts and such. We got almost an hour’s worth of movie out before we just lost interest. It sat for quite some time before I decided to peek in again on the madness I hoped would find an audience. I have pulled it out and started coming up with new ideas and hopefully the hook that will grab the audience and send them down that hole of insanity for just a few moments.

For fun here is a cool documentary about the Amityville Murders/Haunting:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

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