In some ways the writing process behind the first draft of 'Banshee' has been a lot like our preconceptions of parenthood. Firstly, there's all the potential complications and stress of a difficult birth.
We keep asking ourselves, 'Will it make it?', whilst we scramble for artistic direction and a logical structure for our story. We say 'our story' but the original idea, the spark that started the fire, came from Stuart himself.
Stuart approached myself and Madeline after he saw our short film, 'The Goblin Market' for the first time as part of the 'Film Devour 2014' short film festival at the Black Box. He came to us with the premise of a film, and by 'premise' we mean a single scene that involved the birth (and death) of a banshee, under the assumption we might create an interesting horror film.
Our aim was to drag the banshee kicking and screaming, from Irish mythology, through past cinema incarnations and into a bloody good horror film for today's audiences.
For the past several months, the two of us have been secretly re-writing the story, over and over again, fighting with each other over aesthetics, plot details and character profiles in a battle for authenticity.
We can tell you now that we've come out of the fire with a story we truly believe in.
Part of the problem with fantasy/horror, is it usually begins with a concept before it becomes a story. It can make it difficult to create characters within the limitations of a given scenario, scene or mythology, when it should have begun with a character. Thankfully, the original scene had plenty of character, all the character we needed in fact, to propel ourselves into this bizarre world of daemons, banshees and fairies. We just took a while to really see who that character was.
I would suggest for any first time feature writers like ourselves, to think very carefully about their characters before moving forward with the machinations of script writing. Forget about the first turning point, the point of no return and the big climax you can't wait to get to, just focus on your character(s) and get inside their heads.
They will never go anywhere, or somewhere noteworthy, if you don't think about the human story first. A hundred attempts at the first 10 pages of a script will tell you that. So what are the emotions and feelings you want the audience to think and feel, keep writing and take them there.
- Madi & Chris