Friday, October 19, 2007

Jesus loves the zombies too

I know, it's not a cat but it's so very appropriate.

Bill Martell's script tip for today is a new one about ways to make your vampire movie original in an industry saturated with vampire movies. Naturally I read this column carefully since I'm currently working on a zombie movie, which falls into many of the same problems as vampire films.

I examined my concept to see how it stacks up.

I'm always interested in the small story. So even though zombies are the central antagonists, most of the conflict in this script is internal. My humans conflict over the state of their marriage or religion or the proper way to destroy the living dead. My secondary antagonists are pretty much the protagonists.

Is it enough? Is the fact that my characters fight their own insecurities while also fighting zombies enough to make the story engaging? I don't want to crowd my story with more story and characters if it's not needed. I already have about 13 major characters, and none of them exists just to be killed, which I think is very important. No character should EVER exist for the sole purpose of dying. If killing them doesn't change anything in the other characters, they never should have existed in the first place.

So while I was thinking about all this in terms of the script I started researching Bible quotes. I have sort of this underlying religious tone in the story because one of the characters is obsessed with Jesus and quotes from the Bible all the time.

Then last night as I was reading sections, looking for quotes she might used, I realized she ONLY speaks in Bible quotes. A lot more work, but a much more interesting character. But then I realized if I had a character who only speaks in Bible quotes I'd need someone to interpret what she means. I already had some conflict with her husband that originally existed only to serve as a foil to another couple, but I suddenly realized her husband could interpret her Bible quotes. Why would he know how? Because he was a minister before the zombies attacked and now he's lost faith while his wife has become obsessed with God.


That's the sound I made when I came to this conclusion.

I took two minor characters and made them way more important. I took an issue that was sort of a background idea - religion - and made it a major theme of the script. And I made these two people infinitely more interesting and developed than they were before.

Now I can go through each of my characters and see how I can incorporate the theme of Christian faith into their experiences.

I don't know if it's enough to make my script stand out above all the other zombie films, but if I just keep having epiphanies like those it might be.


  1. Thanks for the link to the article.

    It was a very good read.


  2. I'm writing a rom/com that deals with THE CHURCH.

    Very funny stuff. Hopefully my theme will shine though.

    Thanks for this post. Very inspiring.


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