Making the Sausage

Last script I didn't write much about the messiness of the process. Mostly that was a result of that script coming pretty quickly and easily. I fear HACKSAW won't come as smoothly, but that's an excuse to get more into the process than with THE WITCH IN THE WOODS.

SO, here's where I'm at thus far. And just a reminder, below will really be laying it all out there, so if you want to actually read the script or be surprised or whatever, you know, SPOILER WARNINGS, I suppose.

Let's get hacky.

Let's get hacky.


I've got my main monster here, HACKSAW, who has made millions in the tech market and has developed a pet project: Mobile, horrific torture factories. The uses are myriad: Scare the hell out of a rival, teach someone a tough lesson, revenge, even just straight up murder. It's a grotesque playground for the ghoulishly rich.

What we're witnessing is the beta test, with INVESTORS watching remotely as HACKSAW sets out to emotionally, spiritually and physically destroy her old high school nemeses. There will be a handful of them she will torture alone, and then as a group. Within that group is a woman, THE SURGEON, who will be HACKSAW'S main antagonist. In the opening THE SURGEON will have her hands mangled in one of HACKSAW's traps.

The real fun will come when the group gets together, because collectively they will decide they're not going to take any of HACKSAW'S crap, and they'll join together to fight back. When it looks like this thing might be a bust, the INVESTORS will send in a CLEANER to...well...clean. Not just the test subjects, but HACKSAW herself, which will lead to the climax, where our SURGEON must join with HACKSAW in the most uneasy of alliances to defeat the CLEANER and escape the INVESTORS. Will HACKSAW free herself from her emotional bondage? Will anyone actually, physically free themselves, or will it all end in utter carnage?

Throughout, there will be a lot of touchpoints about people either moving on and maturing or being stuck either in the past or in cycles of behavior. And then some people will get stuck in cycles of giant, whirling blades or what have you. Literalizing the metaphor!

But that's all ramblings. I have to make that fit into the famous, patented Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. And I don't quite know if I've done it yet. Here's how I have it broken down currently:

Beat Sheet

  1. OPENING IMAGE (1): Surgeon waking up trapped in Jigsaw-esque contraption.

  2. THEME STATED (5): You can free yourself of this if you truly want to.

  3. SET-UP (1-10): Surgeon performs surgery on woman while HackSaw tortures others.

  4. CATALYST (12): Surgeon nearly escapes using acid.

  5. DEBATE (12-25): HackSaw and Investor argue while Surgeon works to free others.

  6. BREAK INTO TWO (25): All prisoners individually free, but they're now in a group torture.

  7. B STORY (30): The outside world intrudes. A cop? A homeless person? Interacting with HackSaw? The Limo Driver?

  8. FUN AND GAMES (30-55) HackSaw tries to retain control/Prisoners try to outfox HackSaw, beating her traps and breaking out.

  9. MIDPOINT (55): HackSaw kills Investor/Surgeon loses some of her cohorts to a trap.

  10. BAD GUYS CLOSE IN (55-75): The Remote Investors make moves against HackSaw/traps close in on the Prisoners.

  11. ALL IS LOST (75) HackSaw blackmails Remote Investors/Prisoners break out

  12. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL (75-85): The Limo Driver, actually a cleaner for the Investors, comes in to...clean. Chases Prisoners back into torture warehouse, comes for HackSaw as well.

  13. BREAK INTO THREE (85): HackSaw and Prisoners meet.

  14. FINALE (85-110): HackSaw and Prisoners fight Limo Driver (others?) together.

  15. FINAL IMAGE (110): HackSaw dead in one of her own traps? Surgeon free?

I'm not nearly as sure about this as I was about THE WITCH IN THE WOODS. So, you know, I guess we'll see? But this is what this project was about. Figuring it all out. So figure it out I shall.

Until then, play us out, Hacksaw Jim Duggan:


Until next time!

-Jake T.

Jake Thomas

Story Writer. Marvel Comics Editor. Wrangler of Squids.