“I See Dead People!”

M. Night  Shyamalan the Scriptwriter.

This week, Movie-makers are working on visual storyboards and scriptwriting.  Our film-makers will learn about how much detail goes into each frame of a movie and map out their own creations.  Scriptwriting will also be introduced as part of the movie-making process and participants will look at famous examples before having a go themselves.

M. Night Shyamalan is well known for his skill as a scriptwriter. He has often written and directed his own films. Shyamalan adapts each script to the big screen only after it is completed. Having had a rather erratic career, he chooses to view failure as part of the journey to success.

Here are some examples of Shyamalan’s scriptwriting at its best! Spoiler Alert!

The Sixth Sense (1999)

“What are you thinking Mama?”

This supernatural thriller, starring Bruce Willis as the ethereal Malcom Crowe, definitely made an impact on audiences and critics alike.  I still shudder to think of the opening sequence with a creepy Donnie Wahlberg laying in wait in the bathroom.  A mixture of unexpected shocks coupled with some very unnerving sub-plots leave you feeling very uneasy.  Just like a true ghost story, many questions are left unanswered and still bother me to this day.  What happens to Cole in the attic?  Who smashes the shop window?  Does Cole know that Malcolm is a ghost throughout?  Still considered one of the most famous horror films of all time- with the line, “I see dead people,” making it instantly identifiable.   The casting was brilliant on so many levels.  Toni Collette’s complex performance of vulnerability and strength and Haley Joel Osment’s troubling portrayal of Cole allow you to suspend disbelief throughout.  The breath-taking twist at the end was the icing on top of an already delicious cake.  The work as a whole, a testament to what is achieved when an artist keeps control of their vision from start to finish.

Signs (2002)

Alien Preparation

Another unusual story, mixing Extra-Terrestrials with issues of faith and kinship.  Place life-sized aliens and vulnerable children together in a cornfield and the horror is palpable.  Outstanding performances from Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin demand emotional investment from viewers and the isolated farmhouse allows you to feel a tantalising mixture of scared but safe.  The sub-plot of loss and broken faith, interwoven perfectly throughout is paid off beautifully at the end, with the double meaning of the mother’s dying words, “Swing away!” finally realised.

If your child would be interested in film-making, scriptwriting, screen-acting and performing, please click here.

Sarah Watson-Dramacube