Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Anthology Script

            The Anthology Script

    I have heard that the Anthology film is making a comeback. The Anthology for those who don’t know is a film with multiple stories. Usually broken down into 3 to five separate tales. It is most popular in the horror film world. Think about movies such as the original Tales from the Crypt, Black Sabbath, The Creepshow, Cat’s Eyes. Mostly horror films then and mostly horror now.

    There is a lot of room to do an anthology that is not Horror. You could do comedy or action or even drama. There are no rules to writing your no budget screenplay. Not even how the stories are connected. All you really need is a theme and if you don’t have one a narrator will do.

    The last movie that could be consider anthology that played on over a thousand screens would have been Grindhouse, featuring the films Death Proof and Planet Terror.


I am bringing this up for two reasons. First there is one V.H.S that is coming to theaters soon and secondly this is a way for those of you who do not feel as if they have a feature script in them to still write a movie. If you can not travel the road of a 90 page feature how about a series of 15 to 40 page short films that combine to make a feature. The cool part of this type of feature film writing is that if you can only deliver one of the stories you could always invite a friend or two to join in. I understand that each director involved is V/H/S has written their own part of the movie that connects up to form a complete story. Did I mention that it is a found footage anthology?

    How do we do an Anthology?

    We use a central location Sin City and connect the stories through events.

    We connect the stories through a few shared characters, again Death Proof and Planet Terror are connected by the sheriff and his daughter the doctor.

    We can connect the stories through the quest for an item or the search for a person.

    You figure out what works best for you. That is part of the fun of this genre. You are the writer and as long as it at least fits a common theme you should be okay.

One of my favorite Anthologies is Trilogy of Terror. The element that connects the three great stories is the lead actress. Karen Black plays the lead in all three films and because it is always her that we meet the stories fit together. Understand to make this work you will most likely need to be the write and director of your script.

    Here is an exercise for you guys. If you have a short script laying around ask yourself is there a character or a location that you can tell a second story with. Is there something that you did not know you left behind until now? Can you add another branch to this tree? Is there a road that you can travel down with what remains of this story? Did it happen months ago or will this new story take place years in the future.

Here are trailers for a drama and a comedy to show that any and all genres can be approached using this format.

   Anything to connect the stories will do. A book, a gun, a note, a ghost, a ring, a person, a death or even a song. Anything will do and you will be well on your way to creating an anthology. If you have friends who write sit down and discuss story ideas. You never know where it might take you. And if all else fails and you need someone to join you on creating your anthology you could always contact me. If you have a great idea I might do thirty pages for the fun of it. After all the secret about writing for me is that I really like to do it. Writing is like drinking, some of us just need an excuse to get started.

    Good luck and I hope to post again soon. Remember to stumble us on stumbleupon, add us to your google plus and to tell a friend about this blog. 

One last thing, did any of you ever consider the fact that Pulp Fiction is an Anthology?


  1. Thank you so much for a very interesting article. I am in the process of writing my first portmanteau / anthology horror script and have found hardly any information on writing them, online! Thanks again :)

  2. I find this article to be right on the money. As an example, we shot a thriller anthology named locker 13. You can see more info here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brosink/locker-13

  3. THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS!! Majorly helpful!