Helen Van Deventer | Skillshare Projects

Emily Dannemiller

In love with life and all its possibilities.



Helen Van Deventer


Step 1: Selecting your text.

I fell in love with Chapter V of The Pastures of Heaven for its tender portrayal of Helen’s unending life of mourning.  Having experienced the loss of many loved ones in my own life I have seen those around me respond to death in very different ways.  I felt I could use my empathy and experiences to bring Helen’s character to life. 

Perhaps the most touching and heartbreaking aspect of Helen’s situation is her dedication to living her life for the memory and lives of her loved ones.  However, the ending of this chapter was very intriguing.  I was surprised by what was implied and then reread the chapter for hints of foreshadow or circumstances’ surrounding the tragedies that Helen experienced.  The ending of Helen’s chapter made the story that much more interesting.

Helen’s story could be taken in many different directions with more room to develop her relationship with the supporting characters.  For this project I focused on Helen’s sadness and the growing danger of her life with her daughter. 

Step 2: Drafting your screenplay

Here is my most recent version.  This is my final. 


Step 3: Logline.

Having lost many loved ones, an enduring woman struggles to keep her dangerous mentally ill daughter in her care, with tragic ends. 



Well I did some significant chopping and finally got it to the required 10 pages.  I think I was still able to convey Helen's life of sadness and devotion. I sacrificed depth on other character's, nonessential action, and tightened up the dialogue.  I would love additional thoughts/feedback.


I still have formatting work to do.  Does anyone know how to turn off the scene count in StoryTouch? Does it matter if the scene count stays on?  Would also love thoughts on end of scene direction and shot direction.  I don't have much and not really sure what I have makes sense. Do I need more?  Open to hearing all thoughts.




It seems I am arriving late to the workspace party.  I am having trouble loading my documents and keeping the correct formating so I am giving google docs a try:


I really fell in love with Chapter V of The Pastures of Heaven.  Initially I empathized with Helen's unending life of mourning as I have encountered a few characters in my everyday life that are afflicted by similar circumstances.  Then I read the end of the chapter and was so surprised by what was implied that it made me question the circumstances of the rest of the story of Helen Van Deventer.  I read it three times and then, once I decided on the chapter as my source text, read it a few more times.  

I am worried my screenplay may be over 8 minutes.  If you read it and you think it is 8minutes please tell me as I am about to hack it up.  I feel like the middle is slow so I may look to trim from the middle.  I would love to hear your feedback.



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