HackSaw: The Grand Conclusion!

So, it's been nearly a month. Why haven't I been updating?

Well, I've been writing. This script was a bit more difficult than I thought it'd be, and it became a real wrestling match. I've barely had the time to do anything other than write, so I didn't get to do nearly the blogging I wanted to.

You know what I did do, though? I wrote a $#@!ing script, is what I did. A tight, brutal, 82-page gorefest.

I had a lot going on these past two months, and I figured I might dip into some of my two months of wiggle room on this one. BUT I was talking to the Soska sisters (as you may recall, inspirations for this script) and when I mentioned I might go over on time, they said hell no, get it done. And when the Soska sisters tell you to do something, you do it.

So the script is finished. I'd initially been thinking of this as a sort of Takashi Miike-esque low budget insanity-fest, but as it went on the hypothetical budget of this thing became, more likely than not, a bit beyond "low." But hey, when you're writing a script like this, just to get it out and put something on paper, sometimes you've got to just give over to it. Let it happen. Why fight it? The heart wants what the heart wants. And sometimes the heart wants a nightmare disco with a wall-to-wall Dance Death Revolution floor. And so, HACKSAW comes complete with a giant nightmare disco. I am, after all, only a man.

I've already got a list of adjustments I'd like to make, so I'm going to spend the remaining couple of days going back in and tweaking this a bit, developing this some more. Should be fun.

I also don't actually know what the next script is going to be. I have a few ideas, and I'll pull the trigger this weekend, but if any of you beloved readers have any thoughts, why not let me know? I'd love to hear from you!

Until then, I'll leave you with a song I played a lot while writing this script, and like to imagine playing over the end credits. Play us out, Social Distortion!

Until next time!

Stay Weird!

-Jake T.

HackSaw: The Grand Opening

IT HAS BEGUN! The first scene is written and this script is starting off with a bang, and by bang, I mean a pretty disgusting opening shot across the bow that hopefully says "This is just the first five minutes, you better not have eaten recently."

Seriously, those of you who are friends and family (which is to say, the only people who read this) who don't like horror, violence, gross things or foul language, or would just in general prefer to keep a pleasant opinion of me, I'd suggest maybe finding something else to cast your eyes upon. In fact, you might just want to sit this script out.

For those of you with a taste for the grotesque, here it is! The first scene of HackSaw:


More to come soon!

-Jake T.

HackSaw: The Detailed Breakdown

I was hoping to have this wrapped before April 1st, but it appears the April Fool is ME! I guess I could have used some...



Anyways, here it is, the detailed breakdown for HACKSAW! As always, this breaks down the whole kit and caboodle, so spoilers ahead. Proceed accordingly.

You should be able to download this for easier reading if needed. Let me know if you have any trouble:

In some ways I think this one is more complete and contained than THE WITCH IN THE WOODS, but in some ways I've felt more at sea on this script, so perhaps that was necessary. THE WITCH IN THE WOODS was pretty simple, and while this isn't necessarily complicated, there's a bit more juggling to do here as far as plotting and tone go.

Also, doing the +/- emotional change section was a bit bizarre to track here as this is a horror movie, so mostly whatever + you manage to find should turn into a - pretty quickly because, you know, horror and such. Ah, well.

Writing to commence imminently. My main concern here is fully conceiving and writing out these traps. I think that will be the most problematic aspect of putting this all down on paper, but we'll see how that goes.

Onward, onward, into the valley of scripting marches the brave Jake Thomas. To celebrate breakdown completion, I'll have Gainesville's own Tom Petty play us out. Take it away, Tom!


Stay Weird!

-Jake T.


Proof of Life

Hello all,

I haven't written in a while, but I just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive and working on the second script. As proof, here's the completed board, at least as it stands now:


I'm in the midst of the detailed overview now, I'm hoping to have that wrapped and begin the writing this week.

Things slowed down a bit when I ended up having a fun opportunity regarding THE WITCH IN THE WOODS that necessitated some revisions and a second, slightly more involved reading. Then I went on vacation, got sick, etc. etc., but I'm fully back in the saddle now, so expect more updates soon.

Until then!

-Jake T.

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.

What Would the Soska Sisters Do?

So, I'm starting up notes on the nest script, which, for those just turning in, is HACKSAW. Here's the log line:

A wannabe evil genius uses his startup millions to create a warehouse of murderous traps to teach his former high school foes some gory lessons, but things don't go as planned when his victims prove to be not quite as helpless as he'd hoped.

So whereas the last script was a PG-13 family spookfest (wherein I killed a fair amount of people, but, you know, not THAT bad...), this script will be a total gorefest. Which is why there will be one question guiding my writing this go 'round:

What Would The Soska Sisters Do?

For those who don't know, the Soska Sisters, also known as the Twisted Twins, are the horror making duo known for DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK and AMERICAN MARY.

I had the honor of working with the Soskas on their first foray into Marvel comics with an awesome 10-pager in the SECRET WARS JOURNAL anthology. They were a joy to work with and came up with a pretty bad-ass story.  

There's a certain go-for-broke quality in DEAD HOOKER and AMERICAN MARY that I respond to in a BIG way. It reminds me of one of my favorite modern filmmakers, the inimitable Takashi Miike, whose beautifully insane, id-centric filmmaking can, on his best days, reach a strange transcendence into near myth.

As I'm sitting down to begin planning out this script, one of the questions that's been nagging me is embedded deep within that log line, and that's the gender of that focal point. The main bad guy, potentially the main character, is a male. As I originally conceived him, he was a beta male, MRA type who felt the world owed him everything and held some pretty nasty grudges on his shoulders. BUT, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had a hard time thinking of roles like that, psychotic yet hopefully 3 dimensional horror maestros, that were women.

Now, of course, part of making the character male would be to play on that awful streak of chauvinism that seems so pervasive in the culture these days, particularly in online nerdy genre communities. So it's not like making the character a dude would be forsaking any interesting gender work.

And yet, I think about the Soskas. 

The trio at the heart of DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK are really out there crazy fun females (yeah, yeah, sure, there was also CJ Wallis, but come on, we know that was all about the ladies). The titular AMERICAN MARY is built around an incredible performance by genre staple Katherine Isabelle, and even their work for hire, SEE NO EVIL 2, has a pretty solid twist on the Final Girl trope at the end. And right now, they're celebrating WOMEN IN HORROR month with their annual MASSIVE BLOOD DRIVE: http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/massive-blood-drive/

I got to hang out with them for a bit when they were in town for Heidi Klum's famous Halloween party, where they were doing some awesome HELLEVATOR promotion. These ladies are the real deal, with a genuine interest in building up awesome opportunities and spotlights for the ladies.

So...what would the Soskas do...?

Looks like I've got myself a female psycho 3-dimensional horror maestro to write.

Let's get messy.


-Jake T.