Saturday, March 25, 2006


The movie script for Shriek is progressing nicely. Here's a close-to-final draft of the opening (some wording/dialogue will, of course, change)...I should mention this script is a collaboration between myself and Juha Lindroos (who is also directing the movie). Juha is very movie-savvy and it's been wonderful to bounce ideas back and forth.

Again, this is just the set-up. There's stuff on the war, on the Shift, and much else. But transformed--it's been interesting changing events and characters for the movie and made me appreciate much more just what you need to do to make something like this successful.

The movie will be a combination of old public domain footage, new live-action footage shot for the movie with actors, and still photography.



Black screen. Male voices, distant but getting louder, with even more distant sounds of a bar crowd beneath the voices.

Male Voice #1:
Do you think she can see us from in there?
Male Voice #2:
Naw—she’s busy.
Male Voice #1:
She’s deep in thought, she is—but what could she be thinking about, do you think?
Male Voice #2:
About the next word she puts her finger to.

Green light pixilating in the middle of the black screen, as voices continue, now with a light background sound of TYPEWRITER keys clacking.

Male Voice #1:
What can she be typing so furiously?
Male Voice #1:
How long’s she been in there?
Male Voice #2:
Seven days. I bring her food and drink. I take it out again. She’s got enough paper in there to last another week.

Male Voice #1:
Does she tip well?
Male Voice #2:
Well enough. I don’t mind her. She’s no trouble. Not like you lot.
Male Voice #1:
That’s a rough thing to say.

Green light coalesces into a vertical crack against the black background, still with the sound of typewriter keys, as JANICE SHRIEK starts speaking:

Janice Shriek:
They are beginning to annoy me. I can't keep them out of the text. Everything around me is going into the text—every dust mote, every nick in the floor, the unevenness of this desk, the clouded quality of the windows. I can't keep it out right now.

The vertical crack widens and within it an EYE, looking out, blinking. The voices continue, louder, and the crowd noises are almost gone.

Male Voice #1:
Wasn’t her brother the mad historian who went digging into the secrets of the gray caps? Didn’t he go under the city?
Male Voice #2:
He’s there now, some say, along with the snails and the gray caps.
Male Voice #1:
What’s she do, then?
Male Voice #2:
She’s an art gallery owner. Or was. Not much of anything now. Used to always be seen with that friend of hers—Sybel, I think.
Male Voice #1:
What’s she writing, do you think?
Male Voice #2:
The story of your life. A history of pubs and bars. How should I know?
Male Voice #1:
Whatever it is, it must be important. To her.
Male Voice #2:
Funny. That typewriter’s like an echo. It falls away when we stop talking.

Brief pause, during which the green light continues to widen against the black screen and the eye fades and typewriter keys can be seen in the widening space, very close up. Then:

Male Voice #1:
Yes, yes it does. Do you think she’s…?

The typewriter keys become more visible and audible:

Janice Shriek:
She’s what? Typing your inane speech, perhaps?
Male Voice #2:
Naw—I must be wrong. She’s not typing us. Hasn’t got anything to do with us.
Janice Shriek:
My hands are cramping. My stomach growls. The clock on the wall tells me I’ve been here much longer than I thought. And I’m sick of these fools. Even ghosts can take a walk, so why not me?

All the sounds die away and the green light completely fills the screen. The typewriter appears in its entirety, covered in FUNGUS. To one side, words appear. The CHURCH’S soundtrack begins to play.


Direction & Cinematography: Juha Lindroos
Script by: Jeff VanderMeer and Juha Lindroos
Music by: The Church
Janice Shriek played by ___________
The credits fade, leaving just the green light and the typewriter. Most dialogue from here on out is by Janice.

I was beginning to sound like a character in a book. I had to escape the words. I had to get away. From the typewriter keys. From my wrinkled hands. From the faces staring through the green crack where the corridors come together to form a fracture of seeing. From the feeling that I had begun to parrot on these pages, blandly reciting facts.

As Janice says “from the feeling…facts.”, the typewriter fades and the green light lessens as the screen opens up into a SERIES OF CITY SCENES, contrasting dark and light shots , vaguely based on what she’s saying—STREETS, BUILDINGS, then COMMUNITY SQUARES, etc. A jumble of styles and approaches, but still coherent. There should be a definite sense of movement, and of progression.



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