Writing in the Dark,, an apt metaphor for anyone who has ever tried to tap out words on a  backlit screen.  This book, a collection of essays gathered by Max van Manen, shows how "different kinds of human experience may be explored, the methods for investigating phenomena contributing to human experience…the process of inquiry, reflection and writing…a valuable and rich resource".   That is to say, writing is an attempt to reflect what goes on inside us.  Inside us is where "story" occurs.Scott Popjes maintains a busy schedule, writing, producing and editing major theatrical trailers, promos and EPK's and developing and producing TV series and films, such as "The Remarkably 20th Century" and "The Long Ride Home".  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, this everyman director/editor loves making movies.Ernest Hemingway - The man who ran with the bulls.  His literary sparseness and compression, well-worn and well-earned, captured the attention of critics and public in a volatile age.  In 1952, he received the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea.   In 1954, he received the Nobel Prize for his "powerful style-making mastery of the modern art of narration."  He wrote from life.  Until his life subdued and rescued him.Will Shakespeare - Aka "The bard".  Arguably the best English writer to ever glide pen to page, populist hero as well as aristocratic raconteur, though we wish he had used all women instead of all men to populate his plays.  (Not a prejudice, just a fact.)   His sonnets remain divine.  Rare is the writer who can scribble successfully in one genre, let alone two.  Some postulate this poet and playwright was, in fact, more than one man…or woman.  What would he have done with film, we wonder?Though he produced fewer than 40 paintings, Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is one of the most respected artists of the European tradition. He is known for his serene, luminous interiors populated by one or two figures. Vermeer grew up in Delft, Holland, joined the painters' guild in 1653, and worked as an art dealer to support his wife and 11 children.  In 1672, war with France ruined Holland’s economy and Vermeer's business failed.  Soon after, he died of a stroke at age 42, leaving his family bankrupt.  Vermeer's paintings were largely forgotten for nearly 200 years, until 1858 when a French critic began to write admiringly about his work.  Interest in Vermeer surged again recently with his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Contemporary writers have also been inspired by him, including Tracy Chevalier whose novel Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines the life of the girl in Vermeer's painting of the same name. L.Ron Hubbard - Whatever you may think of his other worldly beliefs, the full body of L. Ron Hubbard's work includes more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures, spanning five, highly productive decades.  A humanitarian and adventurer, he  believes, "There are only two tests of a life well lived: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?"  We add, "And can one write about it, anyhow?"Johannes Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid" records a prior chivalrous age where class decorum reigned.  (Oh, well, you can't have everything.)   One of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, that's the 1600's, Vermeer's work was forgotten for centuries.  The most brilliant artists of any century are probably never discovered, their paintings hidden till ruin, their pages dropping to dust in unfound attics.  We find this oddly comforting.  No martyr of time, this particular masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  Definitely worth a gaze.Jules Verne - Ode to childhood and the player within us.  Verne was born, aptly, in Nates, France in 1828.  He promptly ran off to become cabin boy on a merchant ship but was caught and sent back to his parents.  Thus constrained, his imagination wandered.  He wrote story after story, became very rich, bought a yacht and resumed his initial intent - to sail around the world.  Or Europe anyhow.   Our favorite remains Twenty Thousand Leagues.
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First-Place Winner, May - October 2010
Screenplay Contest - Full-Length Series

"Uncanny"

Written by Geoff Inverarity

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

One of the original founders of the Gulf Islands Film and Television School, Screenwriter/Producer Geoff Inverarity has won awards for his work in poetry, creative non-fiction, and screenplay. He is a graduate of Aberdeen University, Queen's University in Kingston, and the University of British Columbia, where he received an M.F.A. in creative writing. He currently has a feature, "Dark Unicorn," in development with Orca Productions, (Prod. Nick Kendall, Dir Nick Willing). His short screenplay, "Move Out Clean", was the winning project pitched by Kelly-Ruth Mercier at the MPPIA Short Film Competition at the 2009 Whistler Film Festival.

Additional Writer Information:
geoffinverarity@shaw.ca

LOGLINE

Thirteen years after Dan's wife vanished in front of his eyes, she returns to reclaim her family.

SYNOPSIS 

DAN (30), his wife, Amanda (28), and their daughter, ANNIE (3), play hide-and-seek under the covers in bed. When Dan and Annie pull back the comforter, Amanda has gone. Vanished. Dan searches frantically, but he can't find her. The police are called, but Amanda has left no trace; and there is no logical explanation for what has just happened. Eventually, Amanda's declared legally dead.

Thirteen years later, Dan, now a well-respected psychiatrist, is about to get remarried to the lovely SABRINA (35). Annie, now a troubled teen, resents this addition to her family of two. A growing sense of dread begins to surround Dan, and Annie's hostility towards Sab intensifies when Sab announces that she's pregnant. When one of Dan's patients commits a shocking and very public suicide, HARDY (30's), the hard-bitten female cop who investigated the original disappearance, and who's convinced that Dan knows more than he's saying, starts to take a new interest in Dan.

And then, as mysteriously as she had disappeared, Amanda comes back. To Dan, she's a real physical manifestation. Without telling the police or his family, Dan goes looking for answers, and his investigation begins to throw a very disturbing light on these mysterious reappearances of Amanda's. But instead of answers, Dan only finds more and more questions, and the questions become stranger and stranger. Amanda's not the only person to vanish without a trace. And not the only one to come back. But what is she now? Is she a ghost? An hallucination brought into being by Annie and Dan's deepest wishes? Dan begins to question his feelings for Sab as he gets more and more enmeshed with Amanda. He begins to understand that the past has a much stronger hold over him than he can admit, even to himself. Dan finds himself completely out of his depth, caught up in a passionate triangle. But who's he being unfaithful to? Is that really Amanda who lies beside him in bed at night, and makes passionate love to him?

Dan's attempt to meet RACHEL HARRIS (40's), a woman whose husband once disappeared as mysteriously as Amanda, ends in failure. Rachel's husband "came back" she tells him, but Dan can see there is something very wrong with him. Before Dan can question her about what she means, Rachel is brutally murdered in public by her husband. And now he's nowhere to be found.

 Are all these happenings linked somehow? Is Dan the thread that connects them all? Hardy certainly seems to think so, and she believes that she's tightening the noose around Dan. But what if she's totally wrong and what is happening is something that is completely irrational? What if there is no solution to the murder mystery? Dan's in the embrace of something completely different. What happens is far stranger and more terrible than either Dan, with his belief in his own rationality, or the cop, with all her certainty that every mystery has a solution, can grasp. If Amanda can't have her family back, she's determined to destroy it, and Dan finds himself fighting for more than just his life. The world is collapsing around Dan and the people he loves while a malevolent force completely outside their control and understanding engulfs them .

LEGAL NOTICE

The UNCANNY screenplay, copyright, and story idea below is owned by Geoff Inverarity. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed, unless approved by owner.

SCRIPT FOLLOWS

EXT. COTTAGE -- DAY

Establishing.

The cottage sits on the ocean. A sandstone beach in front of the house, thick forest behind it. A well-kept lawn, green and lush.

A fenced, well-kept tennis court.

A swimming pool, two deck loungers beside a table and an umbrella.

INT. COTTAGE, MASTER BEDROOM -- DAY

A beautiful, tranquil scene. Billowing white sheers, sunlight in bars across the floor.

BLACK

SOUNDS: A SMALL GIRL GIGGLES.

                     MAN'S VOICE
I can hear her...

                     WOMAN'S VOICE
...but I can't see her. Maybe
she's... Under the bed! No. She's
not under the bed. Where could she
be?

                     MAN'S VOICE
Wait a minute. Here she is!

Light floods in to REVEAL a child's POV as the bedclothes are pulled back.

REVEAL

INT. COTTAGE, MASTER BEDROOM -- DAY

The faces of stunning AMANDA (28, with a spectacular mane of
red hair), and hunky but sensitive DAN (30) are beaming down at us. On the floor in the background, an antique doll's house, elaborate and exquisite.

LITTLE ANNIE (3), filled with joy and excitement, gazes up at her parents as they share a deep loving kiss. Look at these people! This family is almost too good to be true. Surely nobody could be happier?

                     ANNIE
Now you hide, Mummy. Hide.

Annie pulls the covers towards Amanda's face.

Smiling, Amanda lies down on her back. Little Annie pulls up the covers.

INT. UNDER THE COVERS -- DAY

Sounds are filtered as if AMANDA'S underwater. It's a very peaceful moment.

                     ANNIE (O.S.)
Right under.

Amanda lies still. The sunlight that's being filtered through the sheet begins to be blocked out by the comforter.

The shadow rolls up towards her eyes.

INT. COTTAGE: BEDROOM -- DAY

ANNIE rolls the comforter over her mother. It's bunched up, and the outline of Amanda's body is hard to make out.

INT. UNDER THE COVERS -- DAY

Darkness descends.

                     ANNIE (O.S.)
Say "Where's Mummy?"

                     DAN (O.S.)
Where's Mummy?

INT. COTTAGE: BEDROOM -- DAY

Annie and Dan take the comforter in their hands and haul it back.

                     DAN/ANNIE
Here she...

Nothing there. Annie, giggling pulls the covers back further.

Nothing there.

Dan hauls back all the covers.

                     DAN
Here she...

The bed is empty.

                     ANNIE
Mummy?

She's gone. It's completely irrational. There's the impression of her head on the pillow, but she's not there.

Little Annie treats it all as a part of the game.

Dan's baffled; he thinks somehow there's been a trick; he can't figure out the trick, but he's sure Amanda must be here somewhere. It's funny; it's infuriating. Suddenly everything he does is ineffectual.

Things sink in very slowly. There's no frame of reference for this.

                     DAN
Amanda.

No reply.

                     DAN (CONT'D)
Amanda. Come on. Where's Mummy?


Annie hesitates and looks at her father for guidance.

                     DAN (CONT'D)
    (doubtful, trying to keep it light)
Maybe she's... Under the bed!
He looks under the bed. Not there. Walks out of the room.

                     DAN (O.S.) (CONT'D)
Hey, Amanda! Christ, this is too weird.

Annie opens the closet door.

INT. CLOSET -- DAY

As Annie enters the closet, the sounds fade very quickly. She seems to be making her way through a thick forest; a jungle of fabrics.

INT. COTTAGE -- DAY

Dan ransacks the house, sweating, terrified.

INT. CLOSET -- DAY

Annie walks on and on... She's enveloped in dresses hanging from above, the arms of shirts, sweaters Dangling as Annie searches amongst them.

She stops and stares.

A glimmer of light in front of her. She walks towards it, and pushes through as white flares out around her.

INT. COTTAGE: BEDROOM -- DAY

Annie exits the closet. She's back, and nothing has changed. Dan enters, distraught. He shakes his head helplessly at Annie.

EXT. HOUSE -- DAY

Emergency vehicles. Dan and Annie sitting on the front steps. A FEMALE DETECTIVE, HARDY (30's), putting away a notebook. You can see she doesn't believe the story. Nothing more to be done.

A series of dissolves show the vehicles disappearing one by one, until the street's empty. Finally, only Dan and Annie. Dan rests his head on his knees and puts his hands over his head, defeated.

On Annie; intense.

                     TEENAGE GIRL'S VOICE (O.S.)
So where did she go?

MATCH CUT

EXT. HOUSE, GARDEN -- DAY

ON 16-YEAR OLD ANNIE'S FACE. Intense, yearning. Follow Annie's gaze to A FAMILY: MOM, DAD, BABY, sitting on a travel rug. Near silence; just the murmur of the doting parents, the gurgles of the happy baby.

Noise swamps in as we realize they're just an oasis of calm revealed in the midst of PARTY CHAOS. PEOPLE dressed for a garden party stand and chat, eat and drink.

A teenage girl, MEREDITH (16), a brainless Queen Bee drawling uptalker type, is waiting for the answer. Annie shrugs dunno.

Annie's strikingly beautiful, but she doesn't make much of it. She outclasses Meredith, but she doesn't have -- and she doesn't need -- Meredith's glamour or style. Hovering, is Meredith's boyfriend, hunky MARK (18).

Across the party is Dan, who's aged well at 43. Dan watches Annie, reading her yearning, feeling for her. A
voice breaks in on Dan's thoughts. It's a shrewd man in his sixties, MORRISS.

                     MORRISS
No regrets?

Dan takes the drink he's offered.

They're looking at SAB (35), elegant, sophisticated, a sexy and intelligent face. Sab, smiling, waves, and meets and holds Dan's gaze. They read each other's lust.

                     DAN
Of course not.

                     MORRISS
She's a knockout.

                     DAN
She is. She has a good heart,
Morriss.

Sab has reached them. Greetings, kisses.

                     MORRISS
Congratulations. Well.

He looks at his watch.

                     SAB
You're leaving already.

                     MORRISS
I apologize. Thanks for a lovely
party, and congratulations again,
both of you. Dan, see you Monday.

Handshakes, back slaps, etc. Morriss walks away. Sab takes Dan's arm; they stroll.

                     SAB
You trust him, don't you?

                     DAN
Absolutely I trust him.

                     SAB
What's it like, being hypnotized by
him?

                     DAN
It's relaxation. You learn to control
your thoughts. Totally different
from being hypnotized by your...
beauty.

                     SAB
Oh, you.

She pushes him playfully. They kiss again.

                     TEENAGE GIRL'S VOICE (O.S.)
I mean duh? She must have gone
somewhere.

Annie's been watching Dan and Sab kiss. Now she turns to go face to face with Meredith.

                     ANNIE
What? I don't know. Nobody knows.

                     MEREDITH
WhatEVER. Mark, sweetie, go get me
a diet soda?

Mark's looking at Annie, not really tracking on Meredith. Meredith doesn't catch this. Annie does, but she doesn't get it.

                     MEREDITH (CONT'D)
MARK. Yah? A sod-ah?

He snaps to, and Meredith shoos him off as her cell phone warbles. She answers.

                     MEREDITH (CONT'D)
Hey. Just hanging. Nothing. Not
much. We could chill. Whatever.
Call me in ten.

She shuts up her phone.

                     ANNIE
It's so great we have satellites.

Meredith doesn't do sarcasm.

                     MEREDITH
What kind of phone do you have?

                     ANNIE
I don't have a phone.

                     MEREDITH
Why?

Annie's losing interest in this conversation.

                     ANNIE
Because I don't want to talk to
anybody.

                     MEREDITH
You're strange. So OK, then they
declared your mother legally dead so
your dad could get married again?

                     ANNIE
Yeah.

                     MEREDITH
I wish somebody would declare my
mother legally dead. She's such a
fucking whore.

Annie's reluctantly drawn back in.

                     ANNIE
It doesn't work like that.

                     MEREDITH
Still, if she really loved you, she'd
have come back.

Annie approaches critical mass.

On Dan, just in time to see Annie pound on Meredith, who goes down wailing.

                     DAN
Oh, for crying out loud. ANNIE!
Chaos.

Sab is pulling Annie away. Annie shakes her off furiously.

                     ANNIE
DON'T TOUCH ME!

                     SAB
Annie...

                     ANNIE
YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

Dan steps in.

                     ANNIE (CONT'D)
She...

                     DAN
Inside.

Annie turns on her heel as Dan attends to Meredith.

                     MEREDITH
YOU'RE WEIRD. YOUR WHOLE FUCKING
FAMILY IS WEIRD. PSYCHO BITCH!

Mark appears with the soda. He takes in the scene and leans in to Annie.

                     MARK
So. You want to go out sometime?

                     ANNIE
What?

But Meredith's wailing swamps them.

                     MARK
Catch you later.

He winks and trots off. Annie watches him go, appalled.

                     DAN
Annie! Inside?

                     ANNIE
She said my mum didn't love me.

Dan's immediately conflicted. Deep love for Annie, guilt, so much stuff. He steels himself.

                     DAN
Go now.

She stalks away.

INT. HOUSE, SPARE BEDROOM -- DAY

Annie glowers out of the window at Sab showing off her engagement ring to a parade of ooh-ers and ah-ers. Dan is composing himself. He catches Annie's gaze. She turns away.

INT. HOUSE, ANNIE'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT

Annie is listening to her ipod.

A tap on the door.

                     DAN (O.S.)
Annie?

                     ANNIE
Yeah.

Dan enters. It's awkward. Annie takes out the ear buds.

                     DAN
Hi. Annie, I know this is hard on
you.

                     ANNIE
God! Everybody keeps saying this is
hard on me. It's not hard on me.

                     DAN
It's a big change...

                     ANNIE
Really, I'm fine.

He nods.

                     DAN
I'm the same. I miss her every day.
She's not coming back.

                     ANNIE
Yeah. Still.

They share the moment.

                     DAN
I know, I know. But life ..

                     ANNIE
Goes on. Right.

They sit in silence.

                     ANNIE (CONT'D)
Do you think I'm weird?

                     DAN
For missing her? Of course not.

                     ANNIE
No. I just mean, you know, weird.

                     DAN
I never met a teenage girl who thinks
she's normal.

                     ANNIE
Thanks.

                     DAN
Oh boy. I don't think you're weird,
OK?

                     ANNIE
Yeah right.

                     DAN
Oh, Annie. Good night, then.

                     ANNIE
Good night.

Dan hesitates. This is where they each know they're supposed to hug. Dan exits.

Annie pulls back the covers on her bed.

It's a moment; as if it's a strange echo of the past.

An ordinary empty bed. She gets in.

INT. HOUSE, MASTER BEDROOM -- NIGHT

Dan enters, troubled. Sab is waiting.

                     DAN
That's a few more grey hairs.

                     SAB
Grey suits you.

Sab pulls him towards her and kisses him, drawing him down on the bed.

                     SAB (CONT'D)
I was watching you at the party.
You looked very distinguished today.

                     DAN
Distinguished?

She strokes his hair.

                     SAB
Did I ever tell you I have this thing
for older men?

She kisses him.

                     DAN
Oh, yeah?

                     SAB
Yeah.

He kisses her.

                     SAB (CONT'D)
Mm. Can't... resist them. Oh!

Their kisses become passionate. She moans as he begins to
kiss her breasts.

CONTINUED