Creating a story that isn't cliched is a hassle for a lot of writers in any industry. Many have searched for ways to avoid the cliche by inventing new ideas and ways of telling a tale through different methods, either leading to failure or complete success. My thought process when creating the story and script of "Sonitus Mortus" was to incorporate minuscule ideas of said cliches into one new idea. We have the cliche of a zombie story, the cliche of a savior/zombie killer, the cliche or handheld footage which is hot point in feature films nowadays.
These ideas, while on their own, tend to be boring and overused. Yet when combined with elements of another story and essentially "blended" at it's core, something new arises. This is the creation of the rapper making his new debut music video to pop off his new mixtape release. This invokes an entirely different niche all it's own. We've got the typical abandoned building he's chosen to shoot this video in, we've got his "posse" in the background as new elements, so on and so forth.
Combining these two different ideas into one seamlessly was the intent. I wanted to imagine somebody being able to split the completed video in half and thinking 1/2 was a zombie film and the other 1/2 was a rap music video blog.
Character development was the first objective of my the script. Who are the characters? What are their backstories and relations to each other and the world? I incorporated people i know personally as inspiration to create these characters in hopes they'd be able to add different perspectives of our story. Our characters are as follows:
Trap: The white rapper who has been making raps in his basement for a few years now in hopes for a "big break". His lyrics are the typical "bitches, drugs, money".
Tamale: Trap's right-hand girl. A pretty blonde girl. She grew up in a rich suburban neighborhood and has a split personality disorder. Whenever she's can, she acts as urbanized and "Ghetto" as possible, yet in all actuality she's as timid as a barn mouse.
Thug: ADD. Quiet. Does his own thing, yet is still a valuable member of the crew.
Homeless zombie: Has been decomposed and rotted in this abandoned warehouse trash haul for months. He's awaked by the group on filming day and is supposedly the first carrier of a disease. Slow moving.
Zombie Thug: Unlike the homeless zombie, Thug is fresh and limber. He's athletic before being bitten therefor he has intent and more spastic movement. Sprinter.
Zombie Trap: Our primary zombie. He's bitten by Zombie Thug in the second act and is less aware of his surroundings. He interacts with our cameraman Richard and as he's provoked becomes more and more angry.
Richard: Main character. He's been doing video work for quite some time but his skills are reminiscent of Trap's skills in rapping. It's one've the few times he's met Trap so he's somewhat shy about the ordeal, but does his best to direct the way Trap wants the music video to be filmed.
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
The 5 stages of Death. This is the guideline to how I wanted Richard's character to react to the occurrences around him. He begins as a clueless individual after Trap is bitten, begins to become angry at the way he's acting, asks him to calm down, is trapped and goes through depression and acceptance in the final seconds of the film in which he finally confronts the zombie.
When writing the story I had to keep in mind we didn't have a locked in location. So I kept a lot of things open in the script such as where characters would be hiding and leaving, all based on the location we chose at a latter date.
Our characters/cast are as follows:
Richard: Richard Smith
Tamale: Lauren Colbert
Thug: Ken Taylor