Back in December of 2010, based on the Amazon Studios criteria for projects that they were looking to produce as major films, I decided to submit my screenplay EARTH SHAKER which is based on my own novel. Over the course of nine months, I did various drafts of the same screenplay that were based on notes by top reviewers on the Amazon site. As you can see below, there are six drafts. I might add that overall, the reviews of the screenplay were extremely positive. The Amazon process works, but in the final analysis, the writer has to make the decisions that affects the rewrites. He or she needs to separate the viewpoints and what works best for their work. At this point, I believe the screenplay is pretty much there. I might add that there are two original versions of this screenplay with the first one utilizing the take over of The White House and the present version which has the Smithsonian being commandeered by Asterius and his Centurion army. Also, at its core, it is a tragic love story, a sensual reversal on the Beauty and the Beast tale.
THE SCREENPLAY: EARTH SHAKER
“It's 1980, and monsters, both human and non-human have taken over The White House, and the President is a hero, sort of. I believe that heart is what sets great thriller films apart from just another monster story. There are plenty of creatures devoid of human feelings. I’ll take human insight with my chills and thrills any day. Asterius and Naomi's interplay provides that. ”
“Actually, I just tweaked a few words, making the read smoother. I was also concerned about the script's format in its transfer from Final Draft. So, I gave it a full read. I did tweak a romantic scene between Teddy and Naomi that cemented their relationship. It's basically the same screenplay as the Original Draft. Thanks.”
“I have eliminated the White House take over, as well as the Greeks that were bent on revenge. The story centers on Naomi, Asterius and Hackett. The focus is Naomi's battle within herself in regards to Asterius. Hackett is hell-bent on utilizing Asterius for his own malevolent goals. When Asterius' takes over the Smithsonian Museum we are thrown into a "bone awakening conflict." ”
“I decided to give the script another look. I utilized some of the great reviews I received and tightened the dialogue. I added a couple of elements that made the script clearer in its objective. I also added another dimension to Naomi's character which I believe works even better.”
“In this version, I utilized suggestions by top reviewers, Andrea Nix, Joe Laramore, Taylor Carmichael and Richard Taylor. I worked on Leeza and Artie's character, as well as on Naomi's decision to go along with Hackett because of her desire to make her mark in the field of archaeology. Also, I tweaked dialogue and strengthened the second act. This script is based on my own novel, EARTH SHAKER.”
“After the table read which we used for Woody's Test Film (both versions) I had taken notes as the Actors read. Most were minor, but I think in places, words here and there help improve the flow. I also had to fix two elements at the end that needed fixing. I won't say, only because it is a spoiler. ”
THE NOVEL: EARTH SHAKER
With success of the screenplay and test film, I decided then to submit my novel to Amazon Publishing. It was clear to me and to others that it would be a good move for the project. With Amazon’s worldwide net, the book could be available to anyone who wanted to buy it as a hard copy or a Kindle download. Besides writing the book, the submission of the manuscript requires a lot of work. This includes the editorial process, the interior design of the novel, even down to the book cover, to which I must thank David Melvin, a West Coast Artist that came up with the various art works for the film trailer as well as the final book cover. I wrote EARTH SHAKER a few years back. I researched Greek Mythology, and was intrigued by the ancient Greeks reasoning for Asterius, the Minotaur. I also spent time at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. There is more on the book in the audio video on this website.
THE TEST FILM: EARTH SHAKER
Below is the timeline on our submissions of the EARTH SHAKER Test Film for Amazon Studios. On our first version in June, we became a Finalist. From that point on, we have repeatedly tried to improve the test film. Our latest version is now 86 minutes.
Woody's EARTH SHAKER version 1 (Test Movie 4) 06/27/11 JUNE FINALIST
“In this version, we improved the dialogue voices, and eliminated much of narrative. We added more sound effects, as well as some additional storyboards. We also included at the end of the film the Director and Story board Artist, Woody Woodman’s comments on why he was attracted to Earth Shaker. ”
“In version three, we added some music for the opening, the ending and the climax. It took a lot of time listening to various tracts, but we finally found music that fits the story. It clearly helps to set the tone of the piece.”
“We added 14 minutes to the film to continue in the Competition. We removed all the narration (V.O.) and replaced it with new dialogue and music. We punched up the opening scene and the climax to create greater suspense and back story. Additionally, another sweet, subtext scene with Naomi and her pet birds reveals her inner feelings in regards to Asterius. ”
The radio interview with Alex Stylos and Richard Guimond.