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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Man Behind The Curtain Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: April 5th, 2015, 2:16pm Report to Moderator
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The Man Behind The Curtain by Mark Renshaw - Short, Horror - A child is haunted by a mysterious man behind a curtain who no-one else can see; a shadowy figure who wants to destroy his childhood by bombarding him with horrific subliminal images. - pdf, format


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pale yellow
Posted: April 5th, 2015, 2:31pm Report to Moderator
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First opened this thinking it had something to do with Oz...I mean I myself need to go see the Wizard right? Anyway, I liked this little story. It was a bit abstract but I like that. It makes me think. I still want to know more I guess not sure if the end felt enough for me. Good job Mark.


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PrussianMosby
Posted: April 6th, 2015, 1:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark,

You're in the feature category here, made me stumble across your work.

"Same child" should be "Ethan"

I think you can describe the poster without using Insert and breaking it up. In the end you go like that later anyway.

"humanoid shape" Ė Perhaps I'd capitalize here since it seems to be already a new character of the script even if it morphs into a man then.

"Every inch is filled with images designed to destroy
childhood; a black hole of innocence lost."

Do you want to give some space for creativity to the responsible artist here? If so, I like your decision and go with my imagination.


You can bring back some memories of how we translated or transformed fear as a child, don't know how to say. So, it doesn't have to be a supernatural angle that is forced here, there's a nice possibility for making it a real growing up experience, psychological; that the boy's not psychotic or something; and give it a happy ending like daddy's back all fine again maybe. But then the boy's too old of course...

The ending lacks punch IMO. The movie poster is an interesting subject if you can find somebody who brings some magic on the screen.

I don't know what's missing here but there's something's not running smoothly. Not sure about the rhyme, too.

Best regards

@ Perhaps you want to break up the quotation. I like it but the sentence reads complicated in one chunk. Just my taste to break it up in two parts maybe with ellipsis. A cut could help. I'm not a quick reader and it sometimes bothers me they pack so many words on the screen at once.


In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

Those Infinite Wolves††(8p - psychological horror)

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rendevous
Posted: April 6th, 2015, 10:50pm Report to Moderator
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I was gonna start with a gag about James Baldwin being one of Alec's lesser known brothers. But I won't bother. It was funnier in my head.

I'm inclined to agree the end lacks punch. It caught me unawares. I was expecting a bit more. It feels more like the start of a bigger story.

There's some nice imagery and writing. I do have to admit though at times I was a little lost. Maybe that's the idea.

R


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Dustin
Posted: April 7th, 2015, 2:57am Report to Moderator
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Interesting little story. I didn't see anything supernatural though I have to say... only metaphorical. Nice work.


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: April 7th, 2015, 9:58am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from pale yellow
First opened this thinking it had something to do with Oz...I mean I myself need to go see the Wizard right? Anyway, I liked this little story. It was a bit abstract but I like that. It makes me think. I still want to know more I guess not sure if the end felt enough for me. Good job Mark.


Thanks for the read and the notes. The title is indeed a nod to the Wizard of Oz but itís more about what the term ĎThe Man Behind the Curtainí has come to mean since that movie was released.


Quoted from PrussianMosby

Do you want to give some space for creativity to the responsible artist here? If so, I like your decision and go with my imagination.


Hi Alexander, thanks for the notes, they are very helpful. Yes, if I described in detail what we see here not only would it go on for a long time but the FX guy would want to put their own interpretation on it anyway so I give enough to fire up the imagination.


Quoted from PrussianMosby

You can bring back some memories of how we translated or transformed fear as a child, don't know how to say. So, it doesn't have to be a supernatural angleÖ


Itís not a supernatural story, although it could indeed be interpreted that way.  It is symbolic, metaphysical as Dustin has spotted in his comments. I have written this to make people think and maybe do some research of their own but I do realise some wonít get it. In the end I hope the imagery and symbolism is disturbing enough even if people may not realise exactly why.


Quoted from PrussianMosby

The ending lacks punch IMO. The movie poster is an interesting subject if you can find somebody who brings some magic on the screen.


Iím not really telling a story, more making a statement with this so the ending is not an ending as such but itís something I will think on and if I can come up with a more satisfactory ending I will try it.


Quoted from rendevous

I'm inclined to agree the end lacks punch. It caught me unawares. I was expecting a bit more. It feels more like the start of a bigger story.
There's some nice imagery and writing. I do have to admit though at times I was a little lost. Maybe that's the idea.
R


He Rend, cheers for the read and notes. This is more of a statement, more subliminal than substance. Itís quite experimental really and just trying something out.  I do indeed expect people to be lost and that is quite intentional. It could also become a bigger story if I can work out the angles. I even have a tagline in my head 'You Only See What He Wants You To See'


Quoted from Dustin
Interesting little story. I didn't see anything supernatural though I have to say... only metaphorical. Nice work.

Dustin gets it! Nice one mate. And thanks

-Mark



For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Iancou
Posted: April 7th, 2015, 8:48pm Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Ah, isn't this a shadowy reflection of our own world where the masses become that which is shown on both the big and small screens? How much are we products of our mass communications in how our thinking, sentiments, and behavior are shaped and molded by others? Finally, to what degree is our perception warped by our entertainment, so we can no longer distinguish between reality and the other worlds man created in his imagination?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this and I need a session on the psych's couch.

Ian


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Jean-Pierre Chapoteau
Posted: April 8th, 2015, 12:20am Report to Moderator
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I don't get it, but the image of the man behind the curtain was creepy so I guess I liked it.


I DON'T READ REVIEWS BEFORE I REVIEW!!
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TonyDionisio
Posted: April 9th, 2015, 12:15am Report to Moderator
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If no one else can see him then why does he need to hide behind a curtain? Lol. I couldn't resist.
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: April 9th, 2015, 5:42am Report to Moderator
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Thanks all for the read and the comments. I usually think if a writer needs to explain the story they have done something wrong but this is deliberately vague and open to interpretation so I'll share what the intention was.

Although technically it is banned, subliminal advertising is used extensively. Some of it is quite understandable and harmless like a company logo that looks like a smiley face. A real example is the FedEx logo , it has a hidden arrow in the space between the E and the X. The idea is this makes the subconscious think Fed Ex is efficient and drives it's motion forward.

Some of it is a little more devious. The letters S E X, as well as suggestive and scary images are hidden in plain sight in comics, magazines, TV commercials and quite often movie posters. These are well established marketing techniques. Sex obviously sells - http://www.businessinsider.com/subliminal-ads-2011-5?op=1&IR=T

While the scary images, well the idea behind that is they remind us of our mortality and therefore encourage us to say "What the heck" and go spend money lol. I'm sure some of these hidden extras are jokes from the designers as well, however there is the conspiracy theorists out there who believe the intent of subliminal images is to corrupt the young and is the work of devil worshippers or secret organisations like the Illuminati.

Here's a short video showing some of the alleged hidden images in the one of the Hobbit movie posters, which is what I based the poster in the script on - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNGrWNE1Nug.

I'm not one for the conspiracy theory but I do find it odd that most people are blissfully unaware of such occurrences and the law rarely cracks down on it. This was the inspiration for The Man Behind the Curtain. It takes the idea of subliminal images and the secret, dark people/organisations who may be behind them to the Nth degree in a metaphysically, almost subliminal way.

That was the intention anyway.

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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DanC
Posted: April 15th, 2015, 1:24am Report to Moderator
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Hi Mark
    I was kinda lost.  I guess I didn't get it.  I know it's abstract, but, it didn't achieve anything.  No one changed, for better or worse.  No one did much of anything.

Why was the kid in counseling?  Why did his actions influence others?  Too much is not dealt with.  

I know you were going with an Avant-Garde vibe, but, it's beyond me, I guess.  I couldn't figure out what your purpose was.

I'd like to have a bit more plot, dialog, meaning to go with the imagery.  

The ending lacked too.  I know it's very short, but, it doesn't do a lot either.  

What am I missing?

Sorry I didn't like it much
Dan

Although, I did enjoy the imagery a lot...


Please read my scripts:
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-series/m-1427564706/

I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

Thanks
Dan
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: April 15th, 2015, 2:59am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DanC
Hi Mark
    I was kinda lost.  I guess I didn't get it.  I know it's abstract, but, it didn't achieve anything.  No one changed, for better or worse.  No one did much of anything.

Why was the kid in counseling?  Why did his actions influence others?  Too much is not dealt with.  

I know you were going with an Avant-Garde vibe, but, it's beyond me, I guess.  I couldn't figure out what your purpose was.

I'd like to have a bit more plot, dialog, meaning to go with the imagery.  

The ending lacked too.  I know it's very short, but, it doesn't do a lot either.  

What am I missing?

Sorry I didn't like it much
Dan

Although, I did enjoy the imagery a lot...


Hi Dan,

Sorry you were lost. This is an experimental script and that is one of the reasons it is so short. The imagery is supposed to compelling and disturbing so I'm glad that came across. As for the story, there isn't really a story it's more of a statement about subliminal messages and images used in advertising. The Man Behind the Curtain represents the secret organisations some people believe are behind them. I decided to try and write a script which metaphysically gets that across at a kind of subliminal level. I don't actually expect most people to get it but the intent wasn't for people to understand it, it's more of an effect on the reader/viewer I'm after here.  

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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DanC
Posted: April 15th, 2015, 2:58pm Report to Moderator
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Oh, okay, that makes sense.

One thing that I will say, having taken some avant-garde classes in Grad school, if you are gonna use imagery, it has to be explained, or it has to be linked.

I'm trying to think of an example.

A lot of motifs work on that principle.  You juxtapose the child speaking with the images, then link them somehow, even if it's a drawing of people watching or a photo of a person behind a picture being taken of someone watching them.

I had no clue that this was about the "illuminati" sort of people, the ones that pull the strings.  

If you are going for that motif, then I might suggest showing stuff on strings to go along with your imagery.  

Oh, and I think intercutting would work easier here then the way you do it.  I'm looking at the screenplay again right now, as I read it for a second time.

Now, I understand the meaning of the RING LORDS now.  I might suggest showing a puppet master next to the poster or something.  We, the audience and the camera, needs to know what to focus on.  Perhaps have a big stain on the words Ring Lords or something.

So, the picture comes to life.  But, once again, you don't really connect the thought.  You say the bush turns into a spider.  You should perhaps show the spider on a web.  And the Web could lead back to the Puppet motif or whatever you choose to be central image to make us think man behind the curtain.

If you are going avant-garde, then you need to really explain what "teething mass of lust filled terror" means.  Writing avant-garde is very detailed.  Hitchcock was very detailed and plenty of his imagery was based upon avant-garde sort of images.  

And keep in mind, it all has to connect somehow.  Even the poem, actually, since the poem is the only spoken word, especially the poem.  

I thought it might be about possession b/c that is where the imagery led me.

Shoot me a PM and I can perhaps help you with imagery...

Dan


Please read my scripts:
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-series/m-1427564706/

I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

Thanks
Dan
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: April 16th, 2015, 9:24am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DanC
Oh, okay, that makes sense.

One thing that I will say, having taken some avant-garde classes in Grad school, if you are gonna use imagery, it has to be explained, or it has to be linked.

I'm trying to think of an example.

A lot of motifs work on that principle.  You juxtapose the child speaking with the images, then link them somehow, even if it's a drawing of people watching or a photo of a person behind a picture being taken of someone watching them.

I had no clue that this was about the "illuminati" sort of people, the ones that pull the strings.  

If you are going for that motif, then I might suggest showing stuff on strings to go along with your imagery.  

Oh, and I think intercutting would work easier here then the way you do it.  I'm looking at the screenplay again right now, as I read it for a second time.

Now, I understand the meaning of the RING LORDS now.  I might suggest showing a puppet master next to the poster or something.  We, the audience and the camera, needs to know what to focus on.  Perhaps have a big stain on the words Ring Lords or something.

So, the picture comes to life.  But, once again, you don't really connect the thought.  You say the bush turns into a spider.  You should perhaps show the spider on a web.  And the Web could lead back to the Puppet motif or whatever you choose to be central image to make us think man behind the curtain.

If you are going avant-garde, then you need to really explain what "teething mass of lust filled terror" means.  Writing avant-garde is very detailed.  Hitchcock was very detailed and plenty of his imagery was based upon avant-garde sort of images.  

And keep in mind, it all has to connect somehow.  Even the poem, actually, since the poem is the only spoken word, especially the poem.  

I thought it might be about possession b/c that is where the imagery led me.

Shoot me a PM and I can perhaps help you with imagery...

Dan


Avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm, it involves works that are experimental or innovative and yet it can be defined and taught at school and there are rules to it?

You do have some interesting ideas but all you have given me is a different interpretation of telling the same story, making the same statement. The Man Behind the Curtain is the Puppet Master, we don't need to then see a Puppet Master as well. The term 'Man Behind the Curtain' is well connected to conspiracy theories, the New World Order, the illuminati and such things. if you join the dots too much the visuals may lose some of their power.

However that is my opinion. If this was optioned then the Director would have an opinion, the producers would have an opinion as would the actors and certainly the FX guys tasked with creating the imagery would have an opinion. Everything except the core of the story could and probably would change.

That is why these days you don't put too much detail into a script. Alfred Hitchcock was the master but he was also the Director of his material and that makes a big difference. His era is also, sadly, no longer the way things are done. If you submitted a script to a studio with the level of detail say, Rear Window has, it would more than likely get rejected unless you were a major player.

The script is the blueprint, the start of a collaboration. If you define things too precisely it can put prospective collaborators off as they want to put their mark on the production. There's no need to go into precise detail what appears on the poster, just give an idea of the filth and horror.  Let the reader's imagination do the rest and trust that the FX guys will create something fantastic; watched over carefully by the Director of course.

The poem does link to the imagery, it's all a question of interpretation. In the poem, each day represents a childís temperament based on the day of the week they were born.

Mondays Child (fair of face) is associated with pleasing beauty as we are introduced to Ethan. A beautiful innocent young boy.

Tuesdays Child (full of grace) is associated with faith and purity and yet here we have the words SEX forming on the poster.

Wednesday's Child (full of woe) is associated with emotional empathy. Modern uses associate with the term with children in foster care and from broken homes. The child Wednesday from the Addams Family is based on Wednesday's Child and here we see the first horror image of the spider forming.

Thursday's Child (has far to go) Sometimes, ďfar to goĒ is interpreted as meaning a difficult path, such as children with special needs. Here we see Ethan trying to tell the Psychiatrist about the images but the shrink doesn't believe him. He has far to go, he is being seen by a shrink therefore he has special needs.

Friday's Child (loving and giving) Friday children are big-hearted and generous. However, in many traditional versions, anything on a Friday was held as bad luck. At this point we see the poster at it's most horrific, in direct opposite to the words loving and giving; bad luck indeed.

Saturday's Child (works hard for a living) - hardworking, responsible, and dedicated. Sounds more like an adult than a child doesn't it?  This is said when we see Dad turn up. This is Saturday's child, Ethan's dad who works hard for a living but has no idea what his son is going through.

And Sunday's child is just to sum up the whole thing. Basically Sunday's child is supposed to the luckiest child of all but at the end we see the subliminal messages have not only had a corrupting influence on Ethan (the black eyes symbolise this) but everyone else has been affected also over time.

I could work on the imagery to make it link more obviously to the poem (and I may tinker anyway) but in the end everyone who reads this may get a different interpretation no matter what I write and that was kind of the intent.

Phew that was a lot of words, well done if anyone read it all lol!

-Mark




For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK

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MarkRenshaw  -  April 16th, 2015, 9:44am
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: April 20th, 2015, 9:22am Report to Moderator
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Sorry for the shameless self-bumpage. Several people said the end felt a bit flat and lacked something.  So I've added an extra scene at the end which I think really gives it more of a satisfying conclusion. If you are interested it's available via the original link at the top of this thread. If not, move along....nothing to see here!

Thanks for all the input.

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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