Writer Chris Sparling said here:
I planned on directing [this script] myself. I was going to make it for like five thousand dollars. It was conceived as a low-budget, or no-budget, indie movie.Unexpectedly, the script went out to producers and then into production all within SIX months!
It has the attractive elements for an indie project:
- Contained thriller story (guy in a coffin)
- One actor
- Clear urgency (he needs to get out)
- Excellent voice (I liked how the writer told the story with confidence)
But how do you keep it interesting for 90 pages without a big budget?
It's not obvious at first, but I think it's the writer's deft use of hope and fear.
Note how clear either hope or fear is in each line:
ex. "Paul is switched to an AUTOMATED MESSAGE.
AUTOMATED MESSAGE: The number you requested, 269-948-1998 can automatically be dialed for a charge of twenty-five cents by pressing the number one. [Another number to call = Fear]
Paul writes Donna's number and name on the top of the coffin and then pressed the number one. He is connected. [Connected = Hope!]
Her phone rings and rings. Paul's frustration is evident. [Fear]
PAUL: Come on! Where the hell is everyone? [Fear]
The phone rings some more. Paul checks the battery life still at one and a half bars. [Ticking clock = Fear]
DONNA eventually answers. [Hope]
DONNA: Hello? [Relief someone answered = Hope]"
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This script stood out to me because:
1) The story is told well. Voice. Point of view. Clarity.
2) It delivered the thrills that it promised, i.e., hope or fear at every step.
by Chris Sparling