Sunday, August 8, 2010
Carmilla Screen Treatment
Last week I was suffering through a bout of writers' block, when on a whim my fingers began opening Word and started putting words down. Inside three days I had produced a screen treatment for Carmilla, based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's famous vampire novella!
For those of you who don't know, a screen treatment is something akin to a detailed outline of a movie, a description of what the movie would be like to watch. Not a shot-by-shot, but a narrative to capture the "feel" as well as the story.
Cannot tell you how long I've been wanting to scratch that itch!
Don't know what I'll do with it, not yet. Perhaps if End of the Line really takes off, I'll be able to interest a movie studio. Hey, a guy can dream! For the record, I tried to make the title character both sympathetic and monstrous. Another goal was to remain faithful to the strange waiflike quality of the narrator, Laura. Part of that involved cutting one of the few characters and I know some folks will be distressed but so be it. Along the way I also found what I felt to be a good ending to this particular story. The novella's final pages are a good read but make for a poor set of scenes. But they do give a notion of what is in someways a straightforward destruction of the vampire coupled with Laura's own mixed feelings about her experience. Methinks I may have captured that, as well as suggesting a wonderfully spooky something as well.
Along the way, I also designed a coat of arms for the Karnsteins--that "wicked" and mostly extinct family from which Carmilla (and interestingly, Laura's mother) arose. Imagine if you will a heraldric wolf, pierced by two swords.
I'm also proud to have retained some of the my favorite little "bits" from the novella. Laura's insistence on having the portrait of "Countess Mircalla" in her bedchamber. The presence of both governesses as well as the advanced age of Laura's father (she was a late-life child clearly). The peddler/mountebank. The sleepwalking incident. Laura and Carmilla combing each others' hair.