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  • Michael Field

Memory Lane: It's Only Murder


This is one of my first screenplays. A dark comedy about two teenagers who murder someone, unplanned and out of some weird sense of self-defense. They almost get away with it until they realize that there was a witness to their crime. So, of course, they must kill that person and then another and another until it spirals into a killing spree that ends at a house party full of people. This story runs in conjunction with a serial killer on the loose throughout the area and of course, the serial killer also ends up at the house party.


As you can see this was not just my story. My best friend and I came up with this idea - as most young, aspiring filmmakers do - while sitting around and talking about movies. Our idea was to have two main characters that didn't have any sense of what they were doing was wrong. They were murdering people because they had to do it, in order to stay out of trouble. There was no crisis of conscience for them. They had no concern over the damage they were causing.


I remember trying to get this project off the ground. I thought, rather idiotically, we could shoot this on no-budget. Mind you, this script is 120 pages. Yikes! But I also remember falling out of love with the characters. I couldn't relate to them anymore. Most dark comedies deal with characters that are not good people, but there was usually one or two characters that an audience could root for. Not with It's Only Murder. I purposely made the two leads unlikeable and unapologetic. Then, after all of that, I didn't like them myself. A victim of my own writing choice.


Looking back, I wonder if this story would play well today. Maybe. I'd have to rewrite it because 22 year-old me has a different writing style then 44 year-old me. The ending would still work. The house party was an exercise in space management and character movement, but I always felt confident in the finished product of that section. Will I? Probably not. Some stories are best left behind. Then again...it doesn't take much to persuade me to revisit my stories.

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