Today I’m going back into my screenplay/graphic novel script about a teenage painter whose creations come to life thanks to their exposure to a new type of gasoline called Ultratest. The story is called The Collection: Legend of Fortunate Son. Why am I announcing it to you? I dunno, really. Maybe because the process I use to create my worlds puts me very much into a trance. My thoughts become so focused that I’m worthless when it comes to normal human interaction. I may respond to you, but like that brilliant line from Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, “I’m simply not there”.
So if you’re looking for me, come back later.
The Collection calls up a lot of brooding and isolating feelings that I have stored in my creative reserves and that also plays a part in my social self-exile. My main character, Patrick (oddly enough) is a lonely and angry 17 year-old on the cusp of drafting age. You see, the story takes place in the recent future where the draft has been reinstated and the world is in constant conflict over a new and very powerful crude oil that has been discovered. His brother’s been culled from society to fight in it, and Patrick could be next. However, he doesn’t strike anyone as soldier material, as he’s rather small and frail and spends all his time locked away in his basement bedroom/studio painting all sorts of macabre and horrific subject matter. To make matters worse, Patrick’s just been enrolled at a private school where the rich and connected are, for all intents and purposes, babysat, sheltering them from the horrors of the world. If he does well there, he may find his way out of the same fate that has taken his beloved brother. However, he’s strongly against attending the school, and in part due to the torturous bullying he receives there, seems bent on letting the opportunity to join the “favorite sons” slip right by. His only refuge is his art. With it, he channels his various demons into his creations, and if they are anything to go on, this boy is more than a little tetched. When by accident he discovers a way to bring them to life, he goes from powerless to powerful in an instant – like a terrorist cell of one stumbling across an arsenal of atomic weaponry. And believe me, this lad’s got a few bones to pick.
But instead of going on a huge, bloody tirade (and this is where things become more “fantasy” than “horror”), his attempted response is more thoughtful and muted thanks to the grounding influence of a few people in his life that love him – his mother, his uncle, and a fellow misfit at school. With some success he experiments with his new found power as he attempts to understand who he really is and even pursues a closeted square peg love interest whom he is convinced belongs in the portrait of his life. But despite his best efforts, his demons still have a way of touching his reality and tragically setting things in motion. As well as a fanciful and spooky yarn that uses fantastic elements to chill and thrill a reader, it’s a cautionary tale about sudden power and the dangers of possessing it without intensive introspection and meditation. Its also a story, I hope, about the effects a culture of ubiquitous violence can have on a family and one’s own indentity in the modern age.
Having already completed a very detailed treatment stage, all that is left to do is immerse myself into the myth and construct the blueprint in the most engaging and entertaining way possible. I want it to excite our imaginations, yet ring true somewhere inside. I also want its themes to resonate without preaching, forcing us to question who and what we are as individuals and as global citizens. But if I just manage to draw one person into where I’m about to disappear, I promise an extreme experience of kick-ass storytelling. That’s my first reponsibility, and really why I bother to do this at all.
Oh, and there’s a very good reason you see Edward Furlong up there. I’ll explain later.
See you all when I come up for air.