The Piper: Beginnings

After seeing Atom Egoyan’s film The Sweet Hereafter, I wanted to try and understand it so I looked deeper and learned it was based on a novel of the same name and both were about the aftermath in a town where all the children had been taken away. In this case, due to a tragic school bus accident. Incredibly depressing.

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In their comments both creators referred to the legend of the Pied Piper as inspiration. I thought: ‘the legend can’t be that depressing.’ Yeah, it can. And worse. In the legend, the children are taken away and sealed inside a mountain forever.

I could not imagine a more depressing story to tell.

The Contrarian that I am wanted to turn the story upside down. Have the pipe make horrible noise instead of sweet music, and save the children. Make it as terrifying as possible but give it a happy ending. I set it in a post-apocalyptic future without electricity or machines. A medieval lifestyle set amongst the ruins of a future I call: The Future Past.

It was fun to write but when I came to my senses I knew such a screenplay would take forever to get produced. There are too many hurdles for movie makers. Working with children is difficult and requires strict rules of work hours. Horses and their handlers require food, training and shelter. Dogs even more so, although CGI work like that used in The Revenant would make it simpler, CGI actually raises costs. Fire effects and explosions, plus stunts, require even more time and effort.

But I still wrote it. It was entertaining. I just didn’t care how I would ever get the movie made.

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Then I saw Road to Perdition, a live action movie made from a graphic novel and realized that there was a way to tell this story without incurring all those prohibitive costs. A creative artist can take us anywhere with a few brush strokes. I could turn the screenplay into a graphic novel, except I can’t draw a circle. I had to find someone who could, and would, be willing to tell my story.

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What If #1

There have been a lot of ‘what if’s in my life, after all I am a writer and ‘what if’s are the stock and trade.

I will start by outlining my intention for these journals. I plan to write about the circumstances that led to, or surround, the projects I have worked on and am working on. There are always interesting circumstances.

Like the circumstances behind the screenplay of the movie Baltic Storm – and the movie that could have been.

The circumstances behind the screenplay of yet-to-be movie Flight To Oblivion: Anatomy of a Hijacking and the true events that inspired it. A movie that needs to be made.

The ancient Halloween traditions that were woven into the fabric of the story Ween.

The development of the story Scooter which began as an episode of the TV series The Littlest Hobo.

The circumstances behind Error-2000 and my discovery that the producers and director were unimaginative filmmakers.

To those Shakespeare fans who drop by I plan to write about the amusing discoveries I made about Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, and Hamlet while culling through 400 years of published arguments between experts about the meanings of certain words or phrases.

Inevitably a movie I see will spark me to comment on some aspect of filmmaking, screenwriting, or film editing under the umbrella StoryTelling_OnScreen. ST_OS.

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Occasionally these little ‘what if’s may appear. Sort of like Easter eggs. Because sometimes the ‘what if’ isn’t a story.

What if politicians who voted themselves a pay raise had to wait until after the next election before the raise took effect?

– JAG