Wednesday, 13 January 2016

@Phil Storytelling and Commission - Script to Screen - Initial Plans and Ideas

Character - Taxidermist
Environment - Graveyard
Prop - Candle

Initial Plot Idea Scribbles

Overlying theme: Taxidermist is in need of more animals to preserve, heads to a pet cemetery. Candle flicker and wind howl trope as he digs. Back in his studio, as he's putting the carcasses into a fridge to be preserved, ghost of a cat pops up and darts out of the fridge, drawn to the playful flickering of a candle. Cat ghost/poltergeist creates havoc in the studio, moving around, knocking over pots, jars, playing with putting out the candle, walking over the taxidermist and causing chills etc. POSSIBLE First scene we open on the taxidermist dead/knocked out on the floor, dark room and flickering candle, eerie music. THEN cut to graveyard earlier scene. (later find out they tripped over something the cat moved) OR instead house/studio ablaze? Taxidermist in or out? Looking up exorcists?  Final scene will be taxidermist breaking point/knockout. 

Short: Taxidermist is haunted by the playful ghost of the cat he dug up from the pet cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Pip,

    Apologies for delay in getting to this...

    There's a broadly comedic theme to this, which I like - though I can't help feeling that the candle isn't quite earning its keep yet. I'm just going to think out loud on here as I look at your components, but I suspect things may take a darker term (and you'll smile when you watch Psycho tomorrow afternoon!).

    I can't help but think, as you have, that this taxidermist is essentially a grave-robber, though I'm wondering why you think a 'character who stuffs things' should only be interested in stuffing animals... Maybe your Taxidermist has a whiff of 'Dr Frankenstein' about him - and is therefore sewing something together from human body parts? Maybe your taxidermist is a rather lonely character, and he's building for himself a companion; it's a short leap of logic for a character used to 'preserving the semblance of life in organic things' to seeking to 'restore life to organic things' (Cue evil laugh).

    Maybe your story begins with your ordinary taxidermist being approached in his shop by a customer with a very unusual request: a wife wants her husband's head stuffed and mounted on the wall; maybe a grieving husband wants his wife preserved for ever more; she's just been buried in the family crypt, you see, and he can't live his life without her...

    The thing about the candle; it feels like a device for a really good scare to me; I don't know, so, somehow, in ACT 3, your character is in the dark; he/she lights a candle, which reveals (not to them, but to us) the 'horror' that is in the dark with them; or it works the opposite way around; the candle goes out, and the final awful scenes of your story are played out with a black screen and just our imaginations...

    Maybe the taxidermist has an intern, who is useless?

    Oh, this horrible; maybe the taxidermist has a son/daughter who hates his father and his father's profession (always playing with dead things!); maybe, like some nasty little story with a twist in the end, it's a revenge story - so the son/daughter is mistreated by the skinflint taxidermist - who never allows his kid a candle at night, when all the kid wants to is read about some other life he/she imagines they could have away from this horrid house... the taxidermist is a complete shit etc. then some final twist; we see the child reading in bed by candlelight, only as the camera pans back back, we see the dead stuffed taxidermist is holding the candle - a human candlestick, no less, the kid now smiling, reading his/her book... or something like that.

    So the candle represents something, maybe - it has symbolic value...

    I do realise all of these are rather macabre, but there's something about your three components that make me feel that you should be developing a short, sharp shocker - like one of those Inside No 9 episodes, something building up to a nasty, memorable little twist.

    I do think you'll find it easier if you throw in a secondary character and some element of conflict...

    What about rival taxidermists, who resort to increasingly elaborate and ghoulish ends in order to win the National Taxidermy Award - character vs character always creates sparks! :)