Out of all eight of the screenplays that I have written, this one by far was the biggest surprise. Although I credit ‘Why Won’t You Die Miss Tutley?’ for getting rid of my writer’s block after a year or so of being afflicted with it and coming out of nowhere when I least expected it, ‘The Seventh Saint’ was the biggest surprise because I sat down one Saturday and wrote it in 2 days. Once I started, I couldn’t stop – the words, the plot, the characters – everything just rolled off my mind into my fingertips and onto the screen.
The genesis of ‘The Seventh Saint’ began a few years ago when I was looking for something to write for entry into the CBC Literary Awards – a short fiction contest. I actually wrote the story but had to stop when circumstances that befell one of the characters happened to one of my co-workers. I put it aside, then finished it, but I knew it had no chance at a literary award because it wasn’t high-brow enough, so it has remained on my computer for about 3 years.
A couple weeks ago, the Bluecat Screenplay Competition announced their 2014 contest – one that would now include short scripts. I thought, ‘hmmmm, I have an idea for one and it’s on my computer’. So I revisited the story to see if it had potential. It did and I was on my way to writing a short screenplay adapted from my short story. It was quite fun doing an adaptation because I had never done one before. Granted, I knew all the characters, the plot and how it was going to be written, so everything flowed very smoothly as a screenplay.
I wanted to get in for the early deadline, so I set a goal of finishing it in 2 days. Surprisingly, I had it finished on time and had extra time to give it a re-write and a polish before I sent it off. It worked out really well. Of course, if you’re a writer, after you finish what you’ve written, you think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I didn’t think that about this though. It’s just a nice, adult, dramatic piece that would work well as a short film.
‘The Seventh Saint’ is about an elderly woman with a terminal illness who attempts to stop her grandson from becoming the latest statistic in a town overwhelmed by teenage suicide. It is no comedy. I think a director with a deep social conscience and awareness of the human condition would do a great job with this script – someone like Sarah Polley. Hmmmmmm….
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