I have been writing (well, attempting to) screenplays since I was 13 years old. I had always written stories throughout primary school but it wasn't until I started high school that I became obsessed with script-writing. The very first books I ever purchased were published screenplays. Quentin Tarantino's Natural Born Killers and Pulp Fiction were the two that I turned to most. Upon reflection Tarantino's scripts probably weren't the most ideal ones to cut my teeth on because his method and style was in total contradiction to what film school would later teach me. Now as an adult, when I read his scripts again I realise that he was right and film school was wrong. Writing is personal and to hell with a specific structure when fleshing out a story. Everything can be structured later.
This evening I was rummaging through some old boxes and stumbled upon a heap of my own early scripts dating right back to 1993. Wow, what a hit of nostalgia! I've got more stored elsewhere and will have to dig them up too. Reading through these was quite confronting. The quality of my writing has obviously matured over the years but what shocked me was the way I told stories... and the actual stories I was telling. I think they're quite sophisticated for a 13-15 year old and a lot of the themes (and specific scenes) have found their way into my more recent scripts.
Below are various photos of the scripts I found. The first one dates back to 1993, titled THE POWER WITHIN. It was a short spin-off story to the Steve Miner film WARLOCK. I was 13 years old and practically plagiarised the Hollywood movie. Interestingly several years later I did actually pen a proper sequel in treatment form (around the same time that I wrote a treatment for ARACHNOPHOBIA 2).
The second script featured below was called RAMSAY. It remains incomplete at approximately 10 pages but the story was incredibly heavy for my 13 year old self to be telling. It was a drama about an 8 year old boy who accidentally kills his grandfather in a farming accident and the emotional toll it takes on his family. Being incomplete I am unsure where I was taking the story but I was clearly reflecting upon my own childhood in terms of description of the farming life.
The third script is titled THREE GLASS BOTTLES and tells the story of three old men who make a pact to surrender their life's savings to whoever survives a three way game of Russian roulette. They lock themselves in a store room and begin an amusing and intense game of chance. Again, the material is quite heavy for a young mind to have written and it demonstrates two major influences. I was obviously besotted with THE DEER HUNTER at the time but the style and structure better reflects my love of Roald Dahl's adult fiction.
The fourth script is titled BURIN'S BEND. Of all the early scripts this one was the most personal to me. It tells the story of two 4 year old girls who go missing in a small fishing town in the south of Newfoundland. Assumed to have been abducted the entire town, province and nation focus on the disappearance. When a prominent expert in folklore comes into the story he suggests that the children fell victim to the local legend of the fairies. The outside world thinks he's a loon but the town's people know the stories only too well and humour the possibility that their children were lead astray by an ancient myth. It's a difficult story to tell and it's a subject that I have been trying to elaborate on over the years. I still return to it every so often and hope to complete a feature length script about it one day.
And the final two scripts are both shorts, which I wrote and shot in my first two years of film school. SNUFFER told a comical horror story of a serial killer who video tapes his murders. The film depicts his final crime when all of the VHS cassettes in his lair come to life and exact a blood revenge on him. It was stupid and fun to make. Sadly the audio was destroyed and only the footage remains. Years ago i re-cut it into a music video, which you can see here. It's not at all good but fun to look back on. And finally DROP BOX. This was my homage to CLERKS and I took a lot of cues from a great little film called TOMORROW BY MIDNIGHT. It was autobiographical and depicted many of the stories, which I have since incorporated into the TALES FROM A CLERK section of this website. Sadly ALL footage from this film has been lost. Never to be found.
Posting this article has been a huge indulgence... and it's been cathartic. New ideas are now bouncing around my mind and I have a heap of new material to inject into some of my more recent scripts. Perhaps I will scan the whole lot and upload them for shits n giggles. We'll see about that. It's fascinating to see how so much of these early childhood ideas have influenced my style now.