Archive for the ‘the story’ Category

In Retrospect…

Monday, December 5th, 2011

…I should probably have kept my mouth shut. We were halfway through “day two” of our weekend shoot, and I felt the need to share how things appeared to be getting easier, making saying goodbye to the hotel, the headaches, and the hurtin’ on my wallet harder to do than I thought. Needless to say, our remaining shots took longer than expected, and there were a few rethinks on set-ups. Worst of all, poor Max had an early call-time the next day and had to grab some Zs while he waited on various costume changes and lighting tests. To his credit, he didn’t snore. To ours, we didn’t stack any random objects on his forehead and take loads of pictures.

All that said, everyone continued their run of outstanding performances, both before and behind the camera. And while finishing in style is our goal, there was something drab about closing room 1243 for the final time. I lost count of the scenes we shot in there – using every angle and piece of furniture to its fullest – and within those peeling, jaundiced walls is really where this film lives. Much like the famed “Room 237” in The Shining, it’s a place of troubling questions and horrifying answers. It’s also a place where Stanley Kubrick’s name was referred to more than once for inspiration; a habit that would spill out into the halls, and all the way down the stairs into the lobby.

A few of us have joked that the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ, has become our home away from home. For me, there’s far more truth than jest in that observation. I’m pretty sure I greet 90% of the staff by their first names these days, and voices raise markedly upon my return. I believe quite a few in our cast and crew enjoy similar relationships with various representatives of the hotel, from housekeeping, to engineering, to the smiling faces at the front desk. Back in March I was sure they would long to see our backs, but now I feel they enjoy our requests for early check-in, extra bell carts, and patience with strange noises and visions. For the most part we leave behind only footprints that are easily vacuumed away. There may have been a couple…scars left behind, as well. At least one we take with us (how’s that hand, Chris?).

Then there were five. Five scenes, two days, one weekend. After, no more “camera up” and “speeding”. Only countless moments of luck, brilliance and bravery forever preserved in a little movie about a little girl who learns that, sometimes, one must spiral downward to be saved.

Date: December 10-11
Place: Crowne Plaza, Cherry Hill, NJ
Call Time:
1 pm
Stills: in the usual place.

Let’s do this.

The End is Nigh…

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

…and in this case, that’s a good thing. We’re drawing on what little energy (and money) we have left to finish strongly, and then it’s time to hunker down for a long winter’s edit. We’ve come a long way – beginning our journey back in March – and a final shoot date has been set in early December, a few days before my birthday. That’s going to be some birthday, let me tell you.

For me, this adventure began on August 27, 2006. That’s the date of a draft email I saved about a film or a miniseries that would take place at a horror convention. In it, I’m hashing out characters in search of a story: a poorly aging starlet, a drug-addled child actor, a snobbish ingenue, a horror author widow, and even a pair of slasher fanatic newlyweds who make a plan to kill themselves on the last day of the convention. There was also a version that included a little vampire girl who fed on conventioneers in her father’s bathtub, and masked serial killers who end up stalking each other in order to claim their turf. It’s interesting to explore how far HorrorCon has come in five years, with those earliest images emerging from a black and white fog like monster films from the 50s.

And yet, rewrites continue to happen. Among them, the very first scene of the film – the very first image – has been drastically changed in order to fit it into our time schedule. I’m being truthful when I say I believe the scene is stronger and more memorable, and I’m looking forward to shooting it this weekend. Funny, also, to think how out-of-sequence our shoots have been. It’s a credit to my actors that they’ve managed to adapt so well. It’s a credit to us all that we’ve made it this far. Just a few more days – six, in fact – and we’ll have plenty to show for our collective efforts.

This movie bears little resemblance to the original ideas from which it was adapted, which makes me wonder if the story has grown or simply shifted focus. I can say that I’ve never lost faith in the story as it stands. I believe in what it’s become, and that’s where my energy comes from, flitting from finger to finger across the spiraling, hypnotic universe that is HorrorCon.

Date: November 19-20
Crowne Plaza, Cherry Hill, NJ.
Call Time: 11 am

See you, there.

HorrorCon: The Story

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

In a very real way, the story of HorrorCon is as much a shape-shifter as any element within the genre. It began as a screenplay, transformed into a novella, returned to screenplay form, and is at last being adapted for the screen with digital media. Its soul remained consistent throughout, however: a love song for the disenfranchised and beautifully macabre. I’ve spent many hours at horror conventions from Orlando to Toronto, and have always felt a thrilling kinship within their confines. What continues to strike me is how an affinity for the dark can be held by so many lovely people. What draws some of us to the night and its colorfully nefarious characters? It could be that, at its core, HorrorCon attempts to answer that question.

Structurally, I was fascinated with the idea of imaginary horror on the ground, and real-life horror above. Combined with an oddly charming friendship escalating into heart-tugging tension, I began referring to the narrative as “Lost in Transfusion”, as the film by Sofia Coppola from which the working title was derived inspired a compelling format: hotel + inner chaos = an ethereal mix of dramatic intrigue. Once I added the atmosphere of a horror convention, I was afforded a whole new vein of thematic material from which to mine.

But what, precisely, is there to explore? Could it be that horror and dark fiction present to some of us an arena in which we can lash out safely? Are the monsters outside meant to to do what those inside cannot? Or do we simply feel less alone knowing that suffering can be as important as traipsing blithely through this world? Perhaps, among the fearful and the feared, we can be counted.

To my cast and crew and everyone that finds this film, thank you for joining me in this journey.

Scott Norton


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

…there are cheat sheets available for those who may be a little confused by some of the details of the story. I understand a few plot points are getting lost in the script that I’m hoping will be clearer on screen, so if you’re one of those who would like to catch up, just email me and I’ll send the explanations out to you.

And if you’re planning on attending the auditions this weekend, the times are posted again below. A few self-starters have locked in times to meet with me, so if you’re pressed for time (I know, silly “if”) you may want to set something up sooner than later. If you’re not able to get it together, don’t worry. This time of the year is a real bear, and I’ll be posting new dates for after the New Year. But if you’re one of those who believe that getting in early and making an impression gives you the edge, hopefully I’ll see you at the Brooklyn space this weekend.

Really looking forward to meeting you all. Travel safe, and stay warm.

Dates: December 4th and 5th

Times: 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm (more or less)

Place: 231 Norman Ave., #201, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (Between Russell and Henry streets)

Other Stuff: Come in ready to read whatever you want: monologue, cereal ingredients, the riot act – my mind is open. I’m mostly interested in seeing you in your read, so I’m not expecting anyone to nail any of the roles. If you do plan on reading from the script, there will be a few available so no need to schlep one with you unless you have notes, etc.