The trailer script revealed


As promised, here is the actual script I wrote for the trailer. You can see the similarities and the differences.

What’s that? You missed my post last night with the full trailer embedded? You hate Vimeo? Well, here’s your chance to watch it on YouTube:

Anyway, you can see there are quite a few differences, to put it mildly. The guys at Wyrd told me straight out to write whatever I wanted–to not hold back at all–and they would figure out what they could or couldn’t do.

Well, dangling from the hole in the world wasn’t going to happen, and neither was the Molotov cocktail. There were some other things that were shot but didn’t make the final cut, like Catherine’s only line.

And there was other stuff that the guys at Wyrd just grabbed and ran with, like the floating storm, the confrontation with the guy drawing the sigil, and the final shot, which the director rightly changed from a punch to the ghost knife. Not to mention, thank god they changed the way Annalise is introduced. ::slaps forehead::

A note about formatting: This isn’t “correct” script formatting, because Christ this is a blog post and it’s 10:50 at night and I don’t want to go nuts making a fake screenplay. Also, I cheated the format for my own purposes by using two columns–why not, right? I didn’t have to follow any formatting rules! It was my money!

Plus, for those reading this on my main blog, my nifty WordPress theme puts a gray bg on part of it. Just pretend that didn’t happen and we’ll both be happier.

For folks who haven’t read a script before, character names are ALL CAPS the first time they’re introduced. The INT or EXT mark a new location in the script, and making the first few words in a line ALL CAPS also designates a new location or shot, esp in a montage like this.

Here’s the script behind the cut.


RAY approaches a chain link fence. There’s a big-ass padlock on it.

Once, I was nobody–an ex-con and car thief trying to go straight.


Hey, it’s ANNALISE, looking pissed.

Then I met her.

PAN ACROSS a sigil-filled circle on a concrete floor

She taught me that magic is real,

IN THE FOREST, the glowing FLOATING STORM moves between the trees.

IN A LIVING ROOM, a black, sucking hole appears in the floor.

IN A YARD, a BOY laughs and capers as he bursts into flame.

IN A LIVING ROOM, Ray opens a bed sheet in the empty space in front of him.  As it flutters down, it falls over a prone human form.

that strange supernatural creatures live just outside our universe, trying to find a way in so they can feed

CONTINUE PAN ACROSS CONCRETE FLOOR to show a GUY chalking sigils into the circle.

IN A CAFÉ, WALLY steps backward, passing through a wall like a ghost.

IN A BEDROOM, CHARLES exhales a jet of fire.

IN A LIVING ROOM, ARNE suddenly appears, a gun pointed straight at the camera.

That some people summon them here in exchange for power

GUY finishes the sigil and sits back satisfied. The camera follows to reveal Ray behind him, gun to his head.

AT THE PADLOCKED GATE, Ray takes a piece of paper from his pocket, unfolds it and cuts the padlock open.

RAY THROWS a Molotov cocktail.

She also taught me what to do about that.


ARNE sits on the edge of the bed. Ray stands nearby

ARNE: Do you know what turns people into monsters, Ray?


Guy kneels on the floor, weeping.

GUY: Oh God, I’m so sorry!

Ray knocks him down, yanks his jacket over his head and puts the barrel of a gun against his skull.


RAY: Yeah. I do.


WALLY stands by the door.

WALLY: I know you have this badass rep, but I’m not seeing it.


Ray tumbles into the black sucking hole in the floor.

UPWARD SHOT from the other angle

In the darkness of the void, Ray hangs from the edge of the portal, the light from our world shining down on him and the bed sheet fluttering down into the darkness.

From somewhere in the darkness comes a sound like a cross between a whale song and Godzilla’s roar.


CATHERINE turns toward RAY

CATHERINE: Can we please, please not kill just everybody?



That’s it. The script is chattier than the trailer, to the detriment of the script. It’s also more montage-y, which isn’t as strong as the handful of detailed short scenes the guys shot.

If there’s one thing I would do differently, it would be to take out the voiceover. Lots of book trailers use voiceovers, but they haven’t been in vogue in movie or TV trailers for decades. Nowadays the story is established through snippets of dialog, and I can’t help but think that’s the way I should have gone.

So, like Jacob Marley, I warn all writers to turn away from voiceovers.

Anyway, what do you think?

6 thoughts on “The trailer script revealed

  1. Carl Rigney

    I like the script, and the trailer is great (and now that it’s on Youtube I can watch it on TiVo YAY!). I would have liked to hear what the cross between whale song and godzilla would have sounded like.

    I’m glad they kept the “Do you know what turns people into monsters, Ray?” / “Yeah, I do.” exchange. The look on Jim Freivogel’s face as he answers is so good.

  2. Lauri

    This is so totally awesome!!! Now I want to see the movie. This is the 1st book trailer I have ever watched, so you’ll have to excuse my expectations. Movie. Now. Please?

    (You know how nutso book fans get when the movie doesn’t match the visions they have of the book in their heads? Well, it’s sort of like waving crack in front of addicts to show them a good, accurate visual representation of a book they love.)

    But it really captured the feeling of the books for me, which is the point, right? If so, then this is a raging success! Congrats!

  3. Steve

    That is completely awesome! The voiceover adds a lot to the scratching scene that bothered me before. Now it adds character, before it’s a guy with fleas:-p My favorite has got to be the entire scene with Analise. It seemed slightly out of character how happy he seems with the ‘yeah, I do’ comment, but what the heck, they still did an awesome job. Must have taken the effects guy forever!

  4. Thank you! I’d love to see a movie or TV series made from my books, but no one would be as accurate as the guys at Wyrd.

    Anyway, if you Google for “Moby Awards” you’ll see a couple of years’ worth of book trailers–the best and the worst. Check them out, they’re pretty entertaining.

Comments are closed.