Til Death | Skillshare Projects

Til Death

Step 1: Selecting Your Text

I chose to create a modern day adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters's poem about Pauline Barrett in the Spoon River Anthology. I chose this poem for the deep internal and external struggle the character is faced with. I myself am a breast cancer survivor, so this piece touched home to me.

In the spirit of Pink-Tober (October = Breast Cancer Awareness month) I have decided to show the struggles a couple is presented with when given a cancer diagnosis. Since I was diagnosed when I was only 28, I have also taken the opportunity to make this short raise awareness to the prevalence of breast cancer in young women. The ultimate image this short is meant to express is the struggle between a young couple when one is diagnosed with a terminal illness that will leave her forever changed both physically as well as emotionally.

I hope you like it! This is my first ever script, so I would appreciate all the feedback I can get. Thanks again!

Original text:

Pauline Barrett

ALMOST the shell of a woman after the surgeon’s knife
And almost a year to creep back into strength,
Till the dawn of our wedding decennial
Found me my seeming self again.
We walked the forest together,
By a path of soundless moss and turf.
But I could not look in your eyes,
And you could not look in my eyes,
For such sorrow was ours—the beginning of gray in your
And I but a shell of myself.
And what did we talk of?— sky and water,
Anything, ‘most, to hide our thoughts.
And then your gift of wild roses,
Set on the table to grace our dinner.
Poor heart, how bravely you struggled
To imagine and live a remembered rapture!
Then my spirit drooped as the night came on,
And you left me alone in my room for a while,
As you did when I was a bride, poor heart.
And I looked in the mirror and something said:
“One should be all dead when one is half-dead—”
Nor ever mock life, nor ever cheat love.”
And I did it looking there in the mirror—
Dear, have you ever understood?

Step 2: Drafting Your Screenplay

Moodboard: Here are a couple images that helped to spark the overall feel of this script.

Breast Cancer Survivor


Surgical Drains

Musical Inspiration: These are the songs that most influenced this script.

1. The End's Not Near — Band Of Horses

2. Broadripple is Burning — Margot & The Nuclear So and So's

3. Love The Way You Lie — Skylar Grey

4. The Scientist — Coldplay

5. Pompeii — Jasmine Thompson

6. Bloodstream — Stateless

Draft 1: 

Step 3: Writing Your Logline

A young woman's effort to face a terminal diagnosis that leaves her disfigured while clutching onto a life and marriage that spirals around her in turmoil.


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