No, The Cabin isn’t a movie you can see at your local multiplex…yet. It’s a script, one you’ve probably never even heard of, even though you’re reading the screenwriter’s words right now. There is currently a small group of people that have had the pleasure of it being performed in a reading for them.
How long has it been? I could look to be certain but the first draft of this first screenplay I truly started in 2000, not counting the Punisher screenplay I wrote in High School or my first failed fantasy script in College which I still intend to rework. The Cabin came to me after a series of bad dreams. Leaving an image in my mind of a woman watching me from my closet that kept me awake at night for several months finally forcing my hand to the page. That and this idea that someone who thought they were a Father, never was. Somehow the two ideas married each other nicely.
Some 30 treatments in two weeks and countless drafts over the last 8 years led to an event earlier last week in which eight brave actors took my intentionally convoluted puzzle-like movie and gave it it’s first breath of life. A horror movie for adults, a psychological drama that will hopefully scare people without making them jump out of their seats.
It made me anxious, not nervous, but anxious. I haven’t paced so much before a performance, ever. I consider myself first and foremost an actor, so to give my words to other people had me on my feet.
At a certain point I don’t remember hearing the words or reading them on the script in front of me which I was diligently taking notes on. I became disconnected, seeing everything in my head. It was a strange out of body experience.
It was good, something I will do with everything I ever write. There’s nothing more helpful than a group of people taking the time to agree and disagree with what’s working or not in a screenplay. Even more helpful when they feel the same way about the same things. You can hear the problems in the script almost immediately. It’s something I wonder why they didn’t do when I watch really poorly written movies.
Even as a director it helped. Hearing sequences that weren’t working because the actors didn’t know how the scene should play out emotionally.
Ego, I assume, most often gets in the way. How many people do you think told George Lucas that Episode I sucked. And do you think Lucas would have listened? There comes a time in successful writers and directors careers when they stop listening to what they write, and that’s when you can hear the wind whistle through the cracks in their films. It’s such a simple process, gather eight people, that aren’t your actors, to watch and comment on it afterward.
It’s really a great experience.