As many of you are likely already aware, I’ve been writing a psychological thriller titled “Forever’s End” which we just announced a couple weeks ago, and a few weeks back I found myself wracking my brain to find the right “sound” that matches this particular story. The film (for the most part) takes place in a desolate post-apocalyptic world, following a lead character who’s been on her own for almost a decade. So, how do you write a highly-entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thriller about someone who’s stuck in the middle of nowhere? Then I realized, those are often the most intense, creepiest stories I like best… the trick is building, then keeping the tension high from start to finish. Now, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I always listen to music when I write, it helps me build a mental/emotional soundtrack to each scene, but this time around it’s been rough. Finally, after two weeks of banging my head against the wall, it hit me.
Now, for the last seven or so projects I’ve written, music has played a huge part in getting me in the right mood to create a specific scene with a specific emotion, and that’s worked to strikingly good effect. I have often spent long hours trying to find just the right song with just the right emotional impact that fits the scene I want to portray. In this specific case, however, no matter how many songs I played, none seemed to fit… when I’m in “the zone” so to speak, writing wise, I’m not easily distracted, but no matter what I played this time around, it would actually keep me from being able to write anything at all. Needless to say, this was terribly frustrating.
So, irritated, I shut my computer off and just sat there, staring at the wall, thinking. It was about 1am, I was sitting at my desk, half in the dark in my LA apartment. It was another beautiful night, so I had the window open. Now, I’m on the 3rd floor and given that this is LA, there’s almost always noise, cars driving by, helicopters, people, dogs, whatever– regardless of the time of day (or night), but last night was strange, at 1am there wasn’t a single car, not a single sound but the breeze ever so lightly blowing through the window. As I sat there, staring at the wall, the complete lack of noise is what finally struck me… “silence” is not a word I would ever relate to LA, so this was very strange, so much so that I realized exactly what I was doing wrong. It wasn’t that I hadn’t found the right music, it’s that what the scene needed was no music, nothing at all.
For the first time in a week, I sat down, grabbed a notepad and pen, listening to nothing but the breeze and started frantically scribbling down notes. In a frenzy, ideas and scenes started to come into my mind so quickly that I was rushing to put them down on paper before the next one made me forget the previous. Honestly, the whole situation kind of freaked me out, this is what usually happens when I find that right “song”, with my computer up, typing away… not when I open a window and stare at the wall. I wrote until I was too tired to keep my eyes open, but when I finally read all my notes the following morning (which was a bit of a task, when I’m writing fast my handwriting is almost impossible to read… even for me) I was astounded at how well all the pieces fit.
Now, for obvious reasons, I can’t tell you the entire story here (as much as I’d love to), and of course, I’m a little biased, but honestly I think this, my friends, is gonna be one hell of a story, and an even better film. Now, for all those of you freaking out about the music, there will still be a good deal of it in the film, it is a thriller, not a silent film, but the trick with music (especially in this film) is knowing exactly when to use it and when NOT to use it, since, if done right, silence can be just as powerful a tool to keep an audience on the edge of their seats.