Screenplays

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week I wanted to share with you my new interest. Sometimes when you’re stuck in your current work, not sure where the plot should go or if your dialogue is stale or not, it helps to branch out and try something different.

Although I love reading, my current schedule makes it easier for me to watch movies.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I began and finished a novel without putting it down for several months or starting another book in between.  Since I love films, I thought I might try my hand at writing a screenplay.  The first step is learning proper formatting and some of the terminology.  After that, it’s just a matter of letting the words flow on the page.

Here is an extremely short screenplay I recently finished based on an extremely short story I wrote a year or so ago.

 

FADE IN:

INT. MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT

ADAM is in bed, fast asleep next to his wife, JENNIFER.  A thin line of saliva runs down his cheek onto his pillow.  A muffled THUMP comes from the direction of his son JASON’s bedroom.

ADAM

What was that?

JENNIFER twitches a little in her sleep but does not respond.  ADAM slides out of bed and glares at his wife. He shuffles down the hallway to JASON’s room.

ADAM

Everything ok–

ADAM sees a giant shadow in the corner of his son’s bedroom.  He opens his mouth but is interrupted when something brown streaks in front of his eyes.  JASON’s teddy bear, ROBOT, performs a flying side-kick into the nose of a massive creature in the corner.  Bones SNAP. ROBOT drives his fist into the beast’s chest and pulls out a pulsing, black heart. ROBOT screams in triumph and holds the heart aloft.  ADAM’s and ROBOT’s eyes meet. ROBOT grins and trots across the floor to ADAM.

ADAM

Robot?

 

ROBOT

Yes, Adam?

 

ADAM

Is this really happening?

ROBOT’s brow furrows.

ROBOT

Tonight it is, Adam.  Tomorrow may be peaceful.  The days and weeks following may be as well.  But some day…some day…

ADAM looks over at the dead creature then back at his son’s sleeping buddy.

ADAM

Oh.  Okay.  Uh, thanks…Robot.

ROBOT

You’re quite welcome, Adam; you and Jason both.  I swore to protect his precious life the day you brought me home and I plan on keeping that promise for as long as I am able.

ADAM nods at the dead beast.

ADAM

What are you gonna do with that?

ROBOT

Don’t worry about the Gorthok.  It’ll be disposed of before your son wakes.  Oh, and Jason whispered to me tonight that he wants toaster pastries in the morning.

ADAM

Uh…toaster pastries.  Got it.

ADAM turns toward the hallway for a moment then turns back again.  The room is back to normal. All four corners of the bedroom are empty.  Jason is tucked away under his comforter, a small arm clutching ROBOT close.  ADAM heads back to his bedroom rubbing his eyes.

ADAM

 (mumbling)

No more Italian food after eleven.

Advertisements

My Favorite Movie Plot Twists


My Favorite Movie Plot Twists

by Adam Huddleston

Even though this is a writer’s blog, I feel much more comfortable mentioning plot twists that have occurred in movies.  Without spoilers, and in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite film twists:

  • Unbreakable, The Village, The Sixth Sense (practically anything by M. Night Shyamalan)
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Soylent Green
  • Fight Club
  • Seven
  • Psycho
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Planet of the Apes
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Shutter Island

FLASH FICTION


FLASH FICTION

Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I wanted to give an example of the flash fiction that I used to write (and later judge). Specific keywords (decided upon by me or whatever kid might be within shouting range) had to be used and the word count could not exceed one-hundred words.  The author was tasked with doing their best in creating a beginning, moving the plot forward, and providing an adequate climax.

The five keywords (off the top of my head) that I will use are: envelope, basketball, horse, generous, and final.

Arthur wiped away a tear as he read the envelope’s contents. His beloved horse, Sprinkles, was to be put down in less than a week.  Although the majestic beast had won many races, his final contest proved to be his downfall.  As Sprinkles was coming down the back stretch, a stray basketball had bounced onto the track, causing him to crash.  The horse’s leg shattered.

Arthur offered a generous sum to whomever would identify the perpetrator of the crime.  Within a week, the accused was found; Arthur’s son.   Punishment was unnecessary; the loss was sentence enough.

My Favorite Horror Movies: Revisited


My Favorite Horror Movies: Revisited

by Adam Huddleston

Here’s a blog from 2017.

Favorite Horror Movies

by Adam Huddleston

Since this will be my last blog before Halloween is upon us, I thought I’d share some of my favorite horror films.  In no particular order:

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Living Dead

The Thing

Silence of the Lambs

Jaws

Coraline

Poltergeist

The Shining

Psycho

Alien

Creepshow 1 and 2

If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend giving any of these movies a watch.  They are entertaining as well as wonderfully written, shot, and acted.

Happy viewing!

Favorite Quotes: Revisited


Favorite Quotes: Revisited

by Adam Huddleston

     Here is a blog from 2015.  Enjoy!

 

Favorite Quotes

Writers love a good quote.  What classifies as “good” may differ between individuals, but most would agree that it should be witty and memorable.  That being said, here are a few of my favorite quips:

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

                                     Mark Twain

“When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did–in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.”

                                   Bob Monkhouse

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

                                  Douglas Adams

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

                                   Albert Einstein

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

                                    George Bernard Shaw

 

Happy writing!

Why I Write What I Write


Why I Write What I Write

by Adam Huddleston

The blog topics this month are concerning what it is we write and why.  Although I have published very little, my computer is full of different works.  Some are somewhat developed, others are nothing more than a sentence or two.  An old adage states to write what you know.

I know horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

At least I like to think I do.  The first novels I remember reading were “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  I also quickly devoured books by Michael Crichton (mainly sci-fi) and later the master of horror Stephen King.  I feel that I’ve read enough to understand the main pacing of these kinds of stories and be able to avoid their common tropes.  

I also have an average bit of experience writing flash fiction.  These ultra-short stories (often averaging around one-hundred words) can pack a serious punch when done right.  I even moderated a flash fiction website for a few years, judging multiple authors on their attempts at winning a monthly contest.  I loved those days.

My hope is that I will be able to complete some of my works in the future and possibly have them published.

Happy writing!

The Hobbit Movie Review


The Hobbit Movie Review

by Adam Huddleston

A few days ago, my son and I watched the first of the recent Hobbit movies, “An Unexpected Journey”.  I was extremely proud of him for finishing the book and excited to begin viewing the films with him.  I had seen the movies when they first came out, but that was admittedly several years ago.  

My first observation of the film is that the writers attempted to include much of the exact dialogue from the novel.  A lot of our favorite lines made the movie and that is always enjoyable.  Another thing I noticed is that the film makers did a fairly decent job of making Bilbo the main character.  However, it did irk me that they really pushed the character of Thorin Oakenshild.  I understand that he is important to the tale, but it seemed that the movie focuses a bit too much on him.

Another failure of the film is it’s overabundance of CGI special effects.  When done correctly, computer-generated images blend in perfectly with the scene and are not noticeable.  When not, they stand out like a sore thumb.  For example, the groups’ escape from the goblins near the end of the film is so scattered and cluttered, I had a difficult time distinguishing what was happening.  

Overall, the film is a good effort at capturing Tolkien’s tale in live-action, however, it could have been done much cleaner.  Still, if you are a fan of the story and/or fantasy films, I would recommend giving “An Unexpected Journey” a once over.  

“The Dark Tower” Movie Review


“The Dark Tower” Movie Review

by Adam Huddleston

So, I attended the premiere of “The Dark Tower” last night, and I wanted to throw my two cents in about the movie.  Due to the fact that there are many who have not read the source material, and I absolutely loathe folks who spoil the story for others, I will do my best not to ruin the plot for you.

Ok, after months and months (years actually) of speculation and chatting on Reddit about the movie, I went in cautiously optimistic.  If you read online reviews of the film, you will see a myriad of responses; some constructive, most destructive.  My overall impression was this: it was mediocre.

I understand that, when trying to appeal to a wide audience (most of whom have never read the novels), you have to make the story interesting without overwhelming people with exposition.  The filmmakers included a good mix of several of the books and most of the performances were great.  I felt that Matthew McConaughey’s portrayal of the Man in Black was sufficiently menacing.  Isris Elba and Tom Taylor did a respectable job as Roland and Jake, respectively.  

The action was probably the best part of the film, even if it did border on absurd a few times.  The dialogue was hit and miss, mostly miss (it seemed like sometimes they were just throwing in phrases from the books to try to make the “Constant Reader” happy).  I’m hoping that the movie will make enough to allow them to proceed with a television series.  According to the filmmakers, the series would be closer to the canon of the novels.

Anyway, whether or not you are a fan of Stephen King or have read the novels, I suggest you at least give the film one viewing.  You just might like it!

Favorite Works of Fiction- Book Review


Favorite Works of Fiction

by Adam Huddleston

For our book review month, I wanted to bring back an old blog of mine concerning my favorite works of fiction.  They aren’t necessarily detailed book reviews, but rather an insight into the types of works that I enjoy.

A couple of weeks ago I published a blog concerning my favorite non-fiction books for writers.  This week, I would like to list a few of my favorite works of fiction (in no particular order).  As you can imagine, me being a life-long reader of fantasy and horror, the list is full of selections from those genres.

Stephen King has always been a “fave” of mine.  He has a plethora of thrillers and chillers.  Some works seek to get you at the “gross-out” level.  Others are more intimate examinations of the inner-self.  My favorite novel of his belongs to the latter; “The Long Walk.”  Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, this story follows a young man as he participates in a horrific annual tradition.  The book is eerie and very well written.

Shifting to fantasy, you can’t find many works better than those of J.R.R. Tolkien.  In a world where new writers are shoveling their wares in both bookstores and electronically, this legendary author’s work stands the test of time and his “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is, to me at least, at the top.  It is the definition of an epic fantasy with a huge cast of characters, a sprawling world, and an entire language created by the author.

The late Michael Crichton penned a ton of great science-fiction stories, many of which were adapted into motion pictures.  My favorite work of his is “Jurassic Park.”  The movie, once it gets going, travels at a break-neck pace.  Guess what?  The novel does as well.  The author even goes into great detail concerning how they manipulated the DNA to create the stories antagonists.  

The last piece I’ll mention is one by Richard Adams.  One of my earliest cinematic memories is watching “Watership Down” on a VHS player in my parent’s bedroom.  When I was older, I discovered that it was based on a novel of the same name.  The book does a great job of personifying the characters, mostly rabbits with a black-headed gull thrown in for good measure, and bringing their adventures to life.  Like Tolkien, Richard Adams gives us a healthy dose of backstory, native language, and even a form of lupine religion.  

Whatever your favorite genre might be, these novels are worth looking into.  They will give insight into proper world building, plot, dialogue, and character development.

Happy writing; and reading!

“The Way of Kings”


“The Way of Kings”

Review

by Adam Huddleston

I realize most book reviews are written after a reader has finished the work, but I wanted to let you know a little bit about the novel that I am currently reading.  

“The Way of Kings”, by Brandon Sanderson, is an epic fantasy novel.  It is the first in his “Stormlight Archive” series.  At the moment, I am only a quarter or so of the way through, but I can tell that this is going to be a massive story.  The overall plot is told through the experiences of a multitude of main characters, each with their own motivations and colorful back-stories.  The book includes several maps of the fantasy world as well as artwork created by one of the main characters.  

If you are a fan of epic fantasy, or of Brandon Sanderson (whose works include the last few “The Wheel of Time” books and the “Mistborn” series), I highly recommend “The Way of Kings”.  I can’t wait to see where the story goes!