Especially when they’ve all been done before.
I am currently in the process of trying to write out the story for the feature length script I will be writing for University starting in September. I have finally settled onto an idea, one that I have been saving for a few years, but I can’t seem to complete it.
The idea draws on my experience of working as a photographer at an American summer camp a few years ago. What I have so far is this;
A photographer starts work at a summer camp in America. He takes some photographs of the campers at the lake, he then gets the pictures onto the computer in the office. As he is looking at them he notices something strange, behind a majority of the children there are shadowy figures looming over them. He is working late into the night and eventually falls asleep at the office. Waking up in the morning the pictures are still there but the shadowy figures are no longer there. He is quickly rushed to a task by his boss and forgets all about it.
Later he is by the waterfront for a social with the other counsellors of the camp. They tell him a story about a man named George Crosby, who was a counsellor a few years back. He got up in the middle of the night, took a boat from the lakes boathouse and paddled to the island in the middle of the lake. The senior staff went looking for him and found the boat smashed into pieces on the shore of the island but no sign of Crosby. They handed the investigation over to the authorities who turned up nothing, they presumed he was washed to the outlet of the lake and must have been dragged to the coast. But sometimes in the dead of night the counsellors have reported hearing shouts from the island. The counsellor who tells the main character this says it’s all just a folk tale they tell to scare the campers to have them not go to the island unsupervised.
[The details of the story are made up, but it is influenced by the tale of Cropsy. Cropsy was a man who lived on the island in the middle of the lake at the camp I was at. There was a row boat which you could see on the shore. It's been a while since I've heard the story so I can't remember the full details hence why I made my own up]
The photographer is interested in this story, putting the information in the same place of his mind which was pondering the shadowy figures in the pictures. He then gets up and walks to the shore line of the lake. He takes some pictures of the far island but nothing is showing up on the screen. He then places the camera down on a nearby wall and, using the self timer, takes a picture of himself. Getting the camera back he looks at the picture but again, there is nothing there.
And that’s as far as I have got really with the main meaty start of the script. All I know is I want him to go to the island and find some form of portal there to another world/realm/reality/time. My main trouble is deciding what the shadowy figures are. I have toyed with the idea that the shadowy figures, whatever they are, are harvesting souls but I can’t think of a reason why they would be doing that. And obviously I can’t have them kidnapping children because realistically the camp wouldn’t be running still if children went missing every year. Another idea was that they are using the children as vessels to escape their own reality because something bad is happening on the other side of the portal.
It’s just disheartening to know that you have an idea but you can’t seem to get past the cork in your mind that is stopping the flow of creativity. I was having fun developing the idea and then suddenly there’s this wall. And it’s all about cliche, but then, almost everything is nowadays, but obviously as a writer I want to avoid cliche as much as possible.
I have another idea that I may use that I can’t say I’ve seen done before, although it probably has and I just haven’t seen it. But again, I know the setting of the idea, but I can’t seem to fit a story into the world.
What I’ve come up with now since writing this article is that Crosby was actually a camper who wandered off at night, and what actually happened was he stumbled onto the island, a blank expression on his face and came across an archway. Upon touching the archway the blank expression left his face as was replaced with terror and confusion as he came back to his sense. Seeing the portal he stumbles back but doesn’t get far away enough to escape as a shadowy arm comes through the portal, grabs Crosby and pulls him into the portal.
I’m still working through what happens on the other side of the portal though, I do know Crosby becomes possessed and he will be the Antagonist of the film.
I have decided that there will be a scene later on where the Protagonist and his love interest, Elizabeth, are in the world beyond the portal and as they learn the plans of that realm, whatever they are, they run back to warn the camp, Elizabeth makes it through but it closes before the protagonist makes it.
So I now have more chunks just the in between bits I will fill out asap.