Vacen Taylor

Author. Storyteller

143

46

In the Mirror of Herself.

STEP 1: SELECTING THE TEXT

I've selected "The Pasters of Heaven V" for several reasons . This piece was the one I immediately received mental visuals of a possible screen adaption. Also because my mother is currently caring for my father with early onset dementia, and so a carer's perspective is clearly understood. Finally because the counsellor in me understands this subject matter having psychological, physical and emotional stresses involved.

I plan to create a modern-day adaption of the source material.

Excerpt from the source text: The Pastures of Heaven V

When Hilda was six years old, Dr Phillips, the family physician, told Mrs Van Deventer the thing she had suspected for a long time.

"You must realize it," he said. "Hilda is not completely well in her mind. I suggest that she be taken to a psychiatrist."

The dark eyes of the mother widened with pain. "You are sure, Doctor?"

"Fairly sure. I am not a specialist. You'll have to take her to someone who knows more than I do."

Helen stared away from him. "I have thought so too, doctor, but I can't take her to another man. You've always had the care of us. I know you. I shouldn't ever be sure of another man."

"What do you mean, 'sure'?" Dr Phillips exploded. "Don't you know we might cure her if we went about it right?"

Helen's hands rose a trife, and then dropped with hoplessness. "She won't ever get well, doctor. She was born at the wrong time. Her father's death - it was too much for me. I didn't have the strength to bear a perfect child, you see."

***Still working on the first draft***

STEP 2: DRAFTING THE SCREENPLAY

My Final draft is here

This is as compressed as I can develop the script for a short film.  I've tried to be mindful of production costs while keeping the electricity of the source text alive. I also wanted to remain loyal to the writer of the source.   

I could take out the reference to the mobile phone and allow the filmmaker to set this film in any timeline they wish from the late 40s to today. All he or she would need to do is place in the clothes and décor to the suit the time. That’s how relevant the source text “The Pastures of  Heaven chapter 5” is still today.  

This is a confronting topic whether it may be a child or a grown adult with varying forms of disability or mental illness.  The carers often carry huge amounts of stress and anguish, outside discrimination and misunderstanding can leak into their lives causing more stress.  Sometimes they’re not sure what’s best for their loved one.  

Some carers choose to limit medications/seditionary drugs. Some carers battle with their own internal conflicts, carrying blame and guilt.  Some carers do the very best they can.  Every now and then there are some carers who don’t want to burden society with the care of people they love, so they don’t ask for help or they fall through the system for one reason or another. 

This is the very best I could do for such a confronting but important topic from a source text that was first published in 1932. In my opinion that says something about the quality of the man, John Steinbeck.

My third draft finished here

All feedback welcome. :)

My second draft is here

I can't seem to find how to revome the page number from the first page in Google Docs. In word it's ten pages. I'd like to cut it down a little more in the third draft. All feedback welcome. :)

My first draft is here.

I’ve stayed fairly loyal to the source text itself but modernised the material. The reason behind my decision to stay loyal to the text is because the source material has real relevance still today.  I hope I 've demonstrated the physical and emotional stresses and the physical and the emotional changes in the characters. I also wanted the beginning of the film to mirror the end, like two bookends supporting the centred story.

At present it's a page too long. I'll refine wording in the second draft. Any suggestions for shortening the script will be most appreciated.

I'm trying to consider production costs which currently will have to be refined in the second draft.

Any feedback is always welcome. :)

STEP 3: WRITING YOUR LOGLINE

Logline.  : In the Mirror of Herself.

Helen Van Deventer, a woman tainted by misfortune is resolved to care for her disabled and mentally ill daughter with tragic consequences.

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