Read the Movie Script
The Hell Hole movie script was based on Hell Holes: What Lurks Below, the first book in my Hell Holes series of science fiction and horror novels. Note that it is Leland Jay Anderson’s creative re-imagining of the book rather than a faithful retelling of the original book. After Leland wrote the original script, I updated his script to produce the final version that you can now purchase as an ebook for only $1.99:
Amazon in mobi (Kindle) format
Apple iTunes in iBook format
Barnes & Noble in epub (Nook) format
Kobo in epub (Nook) format
Smashwords in mobi (Kindle), epub (Nook), and pdf format
Pitching My Book
Back in early April 2017, I had the opportunity to pitch my first Hell Holes book, Hell Holes: What Lurks Below, to Hollywood producer and script writer, Michael Chamoy (photo on the left). Mike is best known for his work on The Incredible Hulk movie and the science fiction TV series, Alphas. The following week, Mike and Hollywood Producer, Nat Mundel (photo on the right), contacted me stating that they would like to produce a full-length feature film based on the book. Roughly a week later, I granted them one year’s “shopping rights” to the book. That essentially gave them one year after the completion of the associated script in which to find funding from a studio and investors.
Initial Script by Leland Anderson
Mike subsequently hired Leland Jay Anderson to develop a movie script, and the three of us had an initial kick-off meeting in May 2017. Leland produced an outline of the script, which he delivered to me at the beginning of July 2017. Based on inputs from Mike and me, Leland created an updated outline and a punch list of things to be incorporated into the first draft of the script. Leland produced a first draft of the script, which he delivered to Mike and me in early September. Once again, Mike and I provided inputs, which Leland incorporated into the “final draft” of the script, which he delivered on February 12, 2018. This was followed by some final cleanup, and the actual final script was delivered on February 26th. As you can see, producing the movie script has been a long process, taking nearly a year to complete. I consider myself to be fortunate to have been involved in the reviewing all three work products, and Mike and Leland accepted and incorporated all of my major recommendations.
Accepting Another Writer’s Vision
It’s been very interesting to see how someone else could take my premise and characters and tell a different, though highly similar, story. Some things have been improved, such as the prologue and the resulting relationship between Dr. Jack Oswald and his wife, Dr. Angela Menendez. Other things, such as the introduction of the major antagonist, have been understandable, though I’m not as thrilled with the implementation. Still, I can definitely see the resulting script turned into a movie I would be proud of. Besides, IF (and it’s still a big if) the movie does get made, I am sure that the script will be rewritten by another script writer, and that the actors and especially the director, will make significant changes.
Second Script – My Rewrite
Although a good initial version, Leland’s final script still had some weaknesses that if corrected would improve the scripts likelihood of being optioned and maybe even made into a movie:
- There were a few remaining typos and grammar problems to correct.
- There were unnecessary camera and sound directions that made the script less readable for the story analyst (the reader who initially reads the script to determine if it is good enough to pass to the next level of reader) and didn’t belong in a spec script (i.e., one not yet sold to a studio or investors).
- There were some minor inconsistencies that needed to be eliminated.
- There were unnecessary differences between the script and the book series (especially with regard to the demons and their alien tech).
- The age of two main characters needed to be lowered to better attract a younger audience.
- As the central character, Jack Oswald needed a bigger part in the final struggle.
- Aileen and her role needed more explanation and a bigger part in the movie.
- Neuhausen needed to survive because she’s such a kick-as female character and Mark Starr’s love interest.
- The implicit underlying emotional stories needed to be filled out to increase audience empathy with the characters.
- The dialog and action descriptions could benefit from additional work.
While the producers and I discussed them hiring a second, more experienced and successful screenwriter to spend a month improving the script, it became clear that the funding just wasn’t there. I therefore volunteered to take a month and do the rewrite to come up with the second version of the script.
I started by buying and reading a copy of The Screenwriter’s Bible, which by the way is excellent and contains a great deal of information that applies to books as well as scripts. I have finished 108 out of 116 pages and intend to send the final version to the producer on 9 April 2018.
Impact of Script on Books
I’ve incorporated some changes into the book, while I’ve left other changes between the book and movie remain. For instance, Mike suggested that it would be difficult for studio executives to know how to market a film that combines three genres: science fiction (aliens), horror (demons), and paranormal (Aileen’s powers). Based on Arthur Clarke’s Third Law, “A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”, I replaced the paranormal abilities of Aileen and the demons with advanced demon technology, which resulted in replacing Aileen’s wand (magic) with an amulet (alien device).
Up until recently, all of my interactions with Mike, Nat, and Leland have been over the phone. On March 1st, while I was in LA for a conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Mike in person. We met for lunch and spent about an hour and a half talking shop including informing me of various ways of obtaining funding, possible actors and actresses for the different roles (e.g., a younger actor, such as Chris Pine for Dr. Jack Oswald, to attract both teenage and millennial as well as adult audiences), and other possible changes to the script to obtain a wider audience and better prepare for sequels (e.g., increase Aileen’s role to attract a more well-known actress). As before, it was excellent to be able to discuss things in a highly collaborative manner, and I think I was very fortunately to end up working with Mike.
Icing on the Cake
If the movie does get made, I have two major requests I would love to see granted. First of all, I want a short cameo (like Stan Lee in Marvel movies). I would love to be an extra, such as one of the oil men or protesters. Second, I want a prop, specifically, one of Aileen’s amulets.