“Gills” – A Screenplay

Inspiration and Process:

I'll be outlining my writing and idea process in this section.
Scroll down if you're not bothered and just want to read the script.

I participated on a screenwriting workshop week in February of this year, hosted by the British Film Institute. The task was to develop a script to be read out by a cast at the end of the week to an audience. It had to be under 6 minutes.

The script that I produced, “Gills“, tells the story of Northern retiree, Gale, whose life is flipped upside down when her husband, Eugene, makes a drastic decision.

Even though I knew the scripts were to be read out with no visual aid, I tried to write as visually as possible, attempting to strip away dialogue in certain moments in place of things that could be shown rather than told. All the dialogue is written in a Yorkshire accent à la “Trainspotting” – we weren’t allowed to give direction to the actors so I think it was my way of sneaking in some sort of instruction into the script. I thought it might add comedy but I’m not sure if I hate it now.

The original idea for the script was far from the finished product (and far worse). I had left my idea outline to the very last day of the deadline and had no clue what to do. Then, in a sudden burst of Cronenbergian inspiration, the title “Gills” popped into my mind in a red, 80’s slasher-flick font and a weird tale of madness and violence followed.

Rather than timid and polite, the old couple were to be some sort of Northern twist on the couple from the diner in “Pulp Fiction”. It would centre on the character of Eugene rather than his wife Gale and it would feature a police-man obsessed with dogging. I thought it was super cool and funny, but when I arrived, my script mentor soon pointed out it was neither.

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The very initial notes, premise and outline of "Gills".

Anyway, after a week of: having eight completely unique drafts torn apart; perspective, motive, tone, plot, dialogue changes and continued rushed rewrites after the idea finally found it’s shape… the final draft of “Gills” was completed and performed.

There’s a lot I would still change, jokes that don’t stick and pacing that feels awkward due to the “lower than 6 minutes” requirement but it came a long way in that week and I’m fairly proud of it.

The Script:

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