Oh Please, Not Another Zombie Apocalypse Story. | Script Revolution

Oh Please, Not Another Zombie Apocalypse Story.

Introduction: 

Steve Sorenson, a long-time member of Script Revolution, has an interesting background in film production that's given him a unique perspective on the subject. In this article, he shares a few thoughts on better concept creation, focusing on entertainment, keeping scenes moving, and tugging at the emotional heartstrings of your audience - CJ

Be original, write something new and fresh. Another Custer’s last stand at the Little Big Horn isn’t interesting unless it is the Native American version or a story about Custer’s last failed sexual tryst before his great demising stand.

Stories can be found just about anywhere. I went to a Pow-Wow at the nearby Indian reservation here in Nevada. I saw their various Indian dancing. What struck me was some Indians of the Vietnam War era wearing old army fatigues with their awarded medals, two were missing limbs, and they held the USA flag high. – I found a story that day. Titled “Fire Dancer”

One day after my return from Rachel, Nevada, I was at my desktop looking at Google Maps. I searched Area 51 and found about a hundred atomic craters that scars the desert like a bad case of pimples. Over the nearby mountain range, I found the military base that many believe the flying saucers are kept and ‘em aliens are experimented on. Then on the northwest area of that secret installation in a Little League-style Baseball field. That got me wondering what’s the purpose of that field was. – I found a story. Titled “The Extraterrestrial Highway.”

Keep a pen and notepad in your pocket and it will seem that fictional stories will be slapping you in the face begging to be written.

I do NOT claim that my style in screenwriting is the right way. In fact, there is NO screenwriting standard other than the basic formatting conventions.

MILITARY

I spent most of my military career during the 70s and 80s making 16mm army training films. So I am very well qualified on how to make boring films. Although, the un-scripted film documentation coverage was at times exciting, challenging, and rewarding. As an instructor for about 4 years in the motion picture film course, I instructed the army, airforce, and marine students to consider some entertainment values along with the military needs in film. (My brief BIO is posted in my profile on Script Revolution.)

The military isn’t in the entertainment business. Filming in the military was for training, documentation, historical record, and intelligence. The entertainment ingredient in film-making I had to learn on my own.

I’ve learned and applied/instructed the various cameras of that time, sound recording, lighting design, several sound element editing/ interlock mixing, film editing, film conforming to workprint, and the many etcetera tasks.

BACK TO ENTERTAINING SCREENWRITING.

Don’t be B O R I N G.

How? Keep the story in motion. Keep moving forward unless you’re going back to the future, of course.

Show don’t tell. I’ve seen too many scripts with a character welcoming another into the house, sit down, and talk, talk, talk, blah, blah, blah, yak, yak, yak!

If two people are to talk each other’s head off, then a better way would be having these two motor mouths, one an optimist and the other a pessimist, face each other tied to their chairs with a wind-up clock attached to several sticks of dynamite on the floor between them. It’s nine minutes until the top of the hour. . . Tick-Tock!

When writing, I like to keep in mind the emotional states of, Angry, Happy, Sad, Scare. I try to show these states and a change from one to another state. Then add to or reinforce these states with what I call energy enforcers of Envy, Empathy, Enthusiasm. These are the emotional responses from the sidekick or by the on-scene observers. I suggest having your choice of EMOTIONAL words, including the LOGLINE, for your project on a writing pad nearby. They help me keep my story aim forward and my desk cluttered.

Another story example: Show him park his brand new car. Rush to the door. Ring the doorbell. Leads his date hand-in-hand down the driveway. They hear Police sirens. Then witness the police chase a garbage truck over his new car.

Now, that scene is loaded with many emotional responses.

AUDIENCE

Keep the audience in mind. I want them to scream at the screen. Drip tears into their popcorn. Drop their sodas while laughing their butts off. Run to the lobby until they regain their courage to return to their seats for more.

I covered just a microscopic part of storytelling and to conclude -- Entertainment is all about giving your audience a good time. While standing in line at the theatre and you see folks leave showing happy, or sad, or tearful, or frighten, etc emotions; then you know they’ve seen a great movie.

About The Author

Steve Sorenson's picture
Real name: 

Arrived on this planet right before the mid-point of the previous century. If any producer or studio wants to profit from my stories, well they better hurry the hell up before my departure from earth to my next big adventure.

Enjoys Writing, Photography, and Poker.

Graduated from the army film school that was then at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. (1969 for Still Photography & 1972 for Motion Picture.)  Afterward, served as a motion-picture cameraman and still photographer in...Read more

Tags:

Comments

John Hunter's picture

I share your aversion to Zombie Flicks, but they are soooo flexible and comfortable...Like a pair of old shoes: Five millennials trapped in a cabin surrounded by zombies, zombies in space, swamp zombies, I was a teenage zombie and so on. A couple of young ladies in bikinis, a few un-dead and your story writes itself.

On the flip side, truly original and non-derivative stuff is hard to come by and it hurts your head to come up with it...Don't ask me how I know, guys talk, you hear things.

Rick Dunning's picture

How about a comedy about vegan zombies who are being killed off by a religious cult and entice the help of two bored lads, titled SUPERMARKET ZOMBIES (You are what you eat!)....?

sendnudes