Thursday, July 18, 2013

New project - The Shack

Hey there!

So I need your help with something. I have been trying to make this blog a little bit more interactive so I don’t feel I’m talking all to myself and that someone is actually reading this stuff; so far I have failed haha. I didn’t get any comments so far, but maybe this time it’ll happen because I really need your feedback on this idea of a script that I want to start working on.

I already shared it with a few friends, but it’s always better to have as many opinions as possible, because everyone sees things from a different perspective and it’s incredible the aspects some of us can notice or come up with for any given situation.  

Sooooo… I haven’t really written the plot down in detail but the story should go something like this:

It all starts in the airport, at one of the gates, where you have about 400 people waiting to embark on a huge transatlantic flight. People that do not know each other, families, business men, students, tourists of all ages. They all see to their affairs while waiting to get on the plane. I haven’t decided where the plane is going yet, that’s not important right now (the research part always sucks! Haha Kidding! It’s actually the best part about writing!!!)

The announcement is made and everyone gets on board and the plane takes off, no problem. Eventually the day turns into night, some are sleeping, some are reading, some are talking to each other. Some are walking the long corridors on the plane. The flight attendants are having a small chat in the back over a coffee to stay awake.

In the cockpit the pilots seem to manage the situation so everything looks absolutely fine. Back with the passengers, I will focus one a few of them (a child laughing, being silly, an elderly couple remembering the good old days and looking at pictures of their grand kids, a young couple holding hands). Then something happens that there is a problem with the plane (I will have to watch more of Air disasters on National Geographic for this one – but I think I got one good cause actually, related to the tail of the plane).

Anyway, to make a long story short, the plane crashes in the middle of the night on some snowy mountains. There are very few survivors, out of whom only two make it through the night, and while wounded themselves, they are still trying to rescue the others. Morning brings in hail and more snow and the fires go out; unfortunately the two survivors (a young woman and a man – haven’t decided on the names yet: you could come up with suggestions for me) cannot bury the dead, because they are so many and scattered all over the place. Plus with temperatures going below freezing point at night they need to find shelter. They cannot stay with the wreckage because they fear wild animals will be attracted by the corpses. Plus, the young woman is pretty badly wounded (I figured a deep cut on her inner thigh, enough to prevent her from moving around freely, but not to immobilize her). So he makes some improvised crutches for her, they gather whatever they can from the scattered luggage and then they move out into the woods.
By night fall they manage to find a shack where two very dubious, shabby looking and kind of crazed brothers live. The place looks like it’s about to fall apart, it’s very dirty and only has one room. Two beds are on each side, a fireplace with a big copper bath tub in the middle. A little table in the corner next to the door and a few shelves with canned food (probably expired) stacked on them. The walls are made out of wooden boards which are put together so badly that the snow and cold can still come through the cracks and the fire cannot really make up for the loss of heat.
Eventually the two brothers accept to take them in but after a few days it is obvious they are not in their right minds and they try to take advantage of the young woman. So ultimately they get in a fight where the young man shoots them with a riffle they owned and throws them in a crevasse because the soil is frozen and he can’t bury them either.

So they are left alone, to survive in this God forsaken place, hoping that rescue teams will soon arrive to save them. There are no modern appliances anywhere, phones don’t work, they barely have any food and the shack could hardly be called shelter. The young man goes back to the plane after a few days to gather more supplies, clothes, canned food and flares to signal their position in case a helicopter flies by. He witnesses a very sad and heart breaking spectacle of frozen death.

For the next three months I will present their relationship as it develops in the constant fear, sadness and terror of the unknown. Two strangers, forced to live like primitives, hunt for food, cook, boil their clothes and bed sheets and hang them in the freezing cold outside to dry. Chop wood to make fire and fix the shack so they can make it suitable for living. I’ll present a woman who can no longer wax her legs, or pluck her eyebrows, who has no more make up to use and no hand cream to fight the consequences of the harsh cold on her soft skin. A woman who has to figure out what she can improvise during that delicate time of the month with nothing useful at hand like she did back in civilization, who has to endure the pain of bathing when she can’t do it herself because of her wounds and she has to be helped all along by this stranger she lives with.

I will show a young man who tries to keep calm not knowing what to do, fighting the urge to leave the shack and try to climb down the mountain in search for help realizing that after a month, no one is coming for them. He also realizes that even thought he doesn’t know this woman, she is his life boat just as he is hers.

They will fight and they will argue and they will never really take interest in sharing their lives outside this disaster and through the story you hardly ever find out what they do as a job, where they live, who their families are, or anything personal as a matter of fact as the focus will be on their struggle to surpass this tragedy and survive their nightmares. I will show the passage of time by presenting short flashes of the plane wreckage and how it deteriorates as weeks go by.

Meanwhile - the plane goes missing once it’s no longer on the radar and an investigation begins to look for the missing aircraft. Due to the fact that they lost contact long before the crash, no one knew exactly the location where the plane had crushed or how much it had deviated from course. More so, considering the heavily wooded area and the high peaks of the mountains, landing anything there was impossible. The extreme winds were also preventing the search parties and rescue helicopters to fly over and check for the wreckage. Plus, after the heavy snow falls, the landscape had turned white and it was extremely hard to recognize anything from a distance and sending in foot patrols was suicidal at that winter time. Eventually they considered the plane to have crashed somewhere in the mountains and that due to the accident and the mountain area, there were probably no survivors, so they decided to postpone the search for early spring when they could send teams in.

When spring does come and the snow starts to melt, the young woman’s leg is rather healed. Her partner stitched her leg and with the clothes they had available they decide to take their chances and climb off the mountain. They manage to come half way down before a rescue helicopter spots them and lifts them both up to safety.
The story ends with the two of them attending a reception where they are awarded medals for their courage and where they finally find out what each of them does in daily life.

Of course, some of your may wonder if there is a love story in all this. But of course there is! But that will be built through gestures and words and smiles, and the details in the script that would take too much to write right now. What I can say is that they keep fighting and at some point she leaves the shack to calm down and falls into a hole in the ground covered with snow and almost dies. He comes to her rescue and even though he’s pretty pissed at her for being so irresponsible, that is the time when he realizes how important she had become in his life considering their situation. That’s when things change for them. By the time they are rescued, they had fallen for each other, they just don’t know it, until the rescuer tries to pull her up on the helicopter and she swings back on the rope to kiss the young man. It’s a moment of utter desperation because after 3 months of doing everything together, trusting each other, crying together, fighting together, they are separated, even if it’s just for a few moments to be put on a helicopter. That kiss will be the summary of their life together during that winter and will stand proof to the strength of their feelings.

Well, this is the simplest possible version of the script, but the idea was to share my thoughts on it. There is a lot of work to be put in the details. I have to fill in three months of them being trapped in wilderness so there’s a lot of studying and research to be done to create many small yet important and tense moments that they will share. I have to watch a lot of Discovery Channel haha

I hope you like the idea. At this point it’s clearer in my head than I can probably put it on paper, but it’ll be better once I start writing it.

So, what do you think?

Xoxo
Mela

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