Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Turning your novel into a screenplay

A number of people have told me they think Hellbound would make a great movie (I'm inclined to agree, but then, I would!!!).

With this in mind, I contact the very talented Adam (louisadm85) at fiverr.com and asked him to have a go at converting Hellbound into a screenplay to see how it would look, how it would flow, and if it could work.

Seeing the final product was very exciting and makes you imagine how these things can happen, with a lot of luck and a little patience.  

A great man once said 'If our reach never exceeds our grasp then what is a heaven for'.

You never know....see what you think.


“HELLBOUND”

FADE IN:

EXT. ADX ABSOLOM – NIGHT
Rain streaks through the night sky as ADX Asbsolom in all
its fortified glory stands vigilant on the An Fear Marbh.

TEXT OVERLAY
The whole course of human history may
depend on a change of heart in one
solitary and even humble individual – for
it is in the solitary mind and soul of the
individual that the battle between good
and evil is waged and ultimately won or
lost. – M. Scott Peck.

A solitary vehicle pulls into a parking place in front of
the prison’s gates. The guards stiffen, tightening their
slickened grips on their weapons. A spotlight swings over
as a black leather shoe steps into the Irish mud.
RICHARD SABITCH, the warden, exits the vehicle, black
umbrella drawn out.
A guard opens the gate for Sabitch and his escorts.

CUT TO

INT. ABSOLOM, CHECKPOINT – NIGHT
Richard Sabitch greets the front guard with a curt nod. He
and his escorts pass through a metal detector and sign in
without saying a word.

CUT TO

INT. ABSOLOM, DEATH HOUSE – NIGHT
The warden and his escorts enter the death house. His
intense eyes scan the lethal injection room. His guards
stand by the door, wearing thousand-yard stares.
The death chamber is lined with green tiles and otherwise
of Spartan decoration. There’s a steel sink and folding
screen in the corner.
The warden catches himself in the mirror above the sink. He
straightens his tie and hair, his expression remaining
grim. He looked to the curtains in front of three viewing
rooms. They were closed, as they should be.

A prison worker sets up a camera.
Two men enter the execution chamber.

MAN
Sir, I’ve just got the call. We have a go.
The warden draws a deep breath.

CUT TO

INT. ABSOLOM, DEATH HOUSE HALLWAY – NIGHT
OBADIAH STARK, 37, clean shaven with green eyes, is wheeled
through the hallway. His gurney has his arms stretched out
like a cross, bound and unmovable. He is flanked by four
guards.

CUT TO

INT. ABSOLOM, DEATH HOUSE - NIGHT
A doctor and a nurse prepare the 2% Cholorohexadine
solution to prevent infections. The nurse hangs a saline
bag from a stand and rushes out.
Three guards exit, leaving one at the head of the gurney.
Obadiah leans up to look at the setup, nodding.

FATHER MICHAEL HICKS enters the room. Obadiah turns to him.
Hicks looks up to see the warden. The warden nods.
Hicks begins the Apostolic Pardon and Viaticum.

FR. HICKS
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
and leadeth me beside the still water.
The doctor prepares the pain medicine. Obadiah shakes his
head.

OBADIAH
No.

DOCTOR
It’s protocol, Mr. Stark. It will make the
process more comfortable.

OBADIAH
I said no.

The doctor looks up to face Sabitch again.

SABITCH
It’s his choice.
The doctor moves behind a folding screen, submitting to
Sabitch’s orders.

HICKS (CONT’D)
He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for his name’s
sake. Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and
thy staff shall comfort me.

Hicks shifts uncomfortably under Obadiah’s unbroken stare.

HICKS (CONT’D)
Thou prepares a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest
my head with oil, my cup runneth over.

OBADIAH
Hey, Padre.
Hicks stiffens, retaining his composure as he looks to
Obadiah. Obadiah is calm and does not seem even perturbed
by his execution, making the guard shift uncomfortably.

OBADIAH (CONT’D)
Let me take this one. Surely goodness and
mercy shall follow me all the days of my
life, and I will dwell in the house of the
Lord forever.

There are a few beats of uncomfortable silence. The silence
is broken by Obadiah straining against his ties, looking
around the room. He turns to the priest again.

OBADIAH
May I ask who you ticked off to get stuck
in this hell-hole?

HICKS
Faith brought me here.

OBADIAH
Well, can I be so bold as to offer some
advice? Consider it a parting gift.

Hicks’ brow furrows ever so slightly.

OBADIAH (CONT’D)
Think of this place not as a prison, but a
leviathan. Your faith alone won't cut it.
The beast himself will come along and rip
it from your soul. You have to fight to
keep it in there.

Hicks blinks, smiles and nods, unsure how to respond.
Sabitch nods to the guard. The guard holds Obadiah’s head
against the surface of the gurney, securing it with a
Velcro strap. The guard tugs gently on the restraint to
test it.
Obadiah has not stopped looking at Hicks.

OBADIAH
Are you afraid, Father?
HICKS

Only for your soul, my son.

OBADIAH
My soul? You believe my soul is tainted
with evil?

Hicks steps tentatively closer to Obadiah, attempting to
show he is not afraid of him.

HICKS
I do. But through no fault of your own.
There are people in this world who simply
respond with hatred in the presence of
goodness. They do so not with blind
malevolence, but simply because they lake
awareness of their own evil and wish to
avoid understanding it.

OBADIAH
So you’re saying I am the way I am because
I chose to extinguish the light in the
people’s lives? Because the light exposed
my darkness, my pain, made me aware? Au
contraire, Padre. Think of me as an
inevitable stage of human evolution. My
pure entropy simply conflicts with your
naïve vision of goodness. You and are
extremes, locked in combat. Evil hates
good, good hates evil, wouldn’t you agree?

HICKS
That may be so, but evil is ultimately
ineffectual as a social force. For every
soul you destroy, you become an instrument
of salvation for another. Your evil deeds
are a beacon, a warning light to steer
others away from its shores.
Obadiah breaks out into a photogenic smile.

OBADIAH
Remember, Father, evil is simply “live”
spelled backwards. It is a presence more
ubiquitous in the world than you realize.
We live in a world where world leaders
justify their perspectives by laying claim
to a higher moral duty, where the greatest
evil is to failure of the state to protect
itself and its citizens. Even Machiavelli
believed there was more safety in fear
than in love. He knew traits considered
good could lead to ruin, while other
supposed vices gain security and wellbeing.

HICKS
Refusing to acknowledge the weakness in
your own personality is why evil consumed
you.

OBADIAH
Maybe, but accepting that ignorance means
my soul would never go lightly. Isn’t that
right, Padre?

HICKS
What of guilt? Remorse?

OBADIAH
Guilt is a needless burden, a sack of
bricks to be set down when you deem it
necessary. Acknowledging my guilt means I
regret the things I’ve done. I don’t. If
God was so concerned about it, he wouldn’t
have given man free will. He gave us a
“get out of jail free card” to commit the
most grievous sins – in his name, no less.
On top of that, he allows us to repent. I
simply took my free will, laid down my
sack of brings and freed your people from
a pointless existence.

HICKS
And on whose authority is it pointless?
Yours?

Obadiah pauses.

OBADIAH
Well, all eyes are on me. No one else’s
authority matters, does it? You know as
well as I do that If God is responsible
for everything, he is responsible for
evil. Excuse the pun, but this isn’t your
cross to bear, but you’re a priest; you’ll
bear it anyway. Your primitive, religious
mind will attempt to explain away the
unknown. You’ll try to convince yourself
people like me don’t exist. You’ll never
accept there are some born into the world
who snuff out light just because we can.
Your smug offerings of redemption mean
nothing to me, Father Hicks. Take a good,
long look in the mirror when you get home.
I am the antithesis of you, and you of me.
Wrap yourself in the thought when you’re
alone in the dark. When you close your
eyes, I’ll be there.

Hicks stares at Obadiah, pity and sorrow in his eyes.
Sabitch frowns, wondering what’s happening.

SABITCH
Do you wish to stay, Father? I can have
one of the guards escort you to the
witness room.

Hicks shakes his head, never taking his eyes off Obadiah.

HICKS
No thank you, Warden. If this man has a
redemptive path, it lies elsewhere. His
soul rests with the almighty. May God have
mercy on him.

Hicks turns away and exits the death chamber.
Obadiah looks completely relaxed as the guards and the
medical staff run their final checks. Representatives from
news outlets throughout the world set up equipment and
begin to report.

The doors to the witness rooms open as relatives of
Obadiah’s victims file in, unsure of how to feel yet
anticipating closure to the horror that brought this new,
unwelcome chapter into their lives.
Sabitch briefly rolls up his sleeve to check his watch. He
nods.

Obadiah’s smile is gone, his green eyes wide open.
The curtains to the witness rooms are drawn back. There are
a few audible gasps. Some witnesses pray. Others weep and
comfort one another.

Sabitch nods to the technician, who raises the gurney.
Sabitch sighs, clears his throat and begins to speak.

SABITCH
Obadiah Stark, you have been found guilty
on multiple counts of murder and have been
sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Have you anything to say?

Obadiah looks around, his expression steady.

OBADIAH
I provided a blessing to these people; a
blessed release from the pointlessness of
existence. You all should thank me.
With those words, a woman starts to weep openly, causing
Obadiah to smile. An angry man escorts the woman from the
room, turning his head to shout back as he does.

MAN
Rot in hell, Stark!

In a small room, two executioners, unseen, press buttons
simultaneously to release the injection. The syringes
delivering the drugs activate.
Obadiah closes his eyes and clears his throat as the
anesthetic takes effect.

OBADIAH
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a man of
wealth ad taste, who’s been around for a
long, long year and stole many a person’s
faith. Observers, I am pleased to meet
you. I hope you guessed my name. But
warden, what’s puzzling you is the nature
of my game.

Sabitch, ever the no-nonsense type, signals to a guard.

SABITCH
Gag the prisoner, please.

The guard complies and secures a leather strap over
Obadiah’s mouth. Obadiah doesn’t resist.
There is silence for a few beats.
Obadiah lets out his last, hissing breath. His eyes slowly
shut.
Sabitch nods at the doctor.

The heart monitor lets out a droning whine, indicating no
pulse. The doctor closes his hand around Obadiah’s wrist,
moving it to get a pulse.
Obadiah’s eyes fly open, causing the doctor to jump back
and a few of the witnesses to jump and scream.
Obadiah’s eyes close again. The doctor remains still for a
few seconds, shaking. His watch ticking seems unusually
loud in the tense silence.
The doctor draws a breath and tries Obadiah’s wrist again.
He looks to the nurse, who nods. He nods to the warden.
Obadiah is dead.

SABITCH
Prepare the body for transfer.
Medical staff members take the body down as the curtains to
the witness rooms close again.

CUT TO

INT. ABSOLOM, DEATH HOUSE ENTRYWAY –NIGHT
Reporters continue to talk to their respective cameras.
Relatives of the victims walk through the doors and are met
with a flurry of microphones and camera flashes.
Most relatives remain silent, others say no comment and
still others plead for the reporters to get out of the way
so they can move on with their lives.
JOE O’CONNELL, reporter with The Kerryman, standing at 6’2,
towers above the reporters around him. He runs his hands
through is hair before noting an elderly couple sitting
behind him.
Joe writes a few notes, places the notebook in his pocket
and stands to leave.
The elderly woman looks up at Joe as he considers talking
to her.
Joe purses his lips, nods at the couple and heads to the
exit.
Joe stops for a moment as a shiver runs through him. He
looks around the room, finding nothing out of the ordinary.
Joe hesitates momentarily and exits the death house.