Writing is not easy when you care about what you’re creating. I think I’m talking about integrity.
It’s time to wrap up the story of Edinburg Falls, the mystery show Bobby and I created about a writer who feels like he’s lost his way. At the urging of his agent, Henry Crane goes to a small isolated town called Edinburg to try and recapture his passion, but what he finds there are horrors and distractions. Invisible monsters and visions of demons. Instead of facing the problem, he tries to run away, but becomes trapped when the whole town begins to sink into the earth.
We created Edinburg Falls at a time where we were feeling creatively trapped. At this point we’d come up with two television shows: The Dead Don’t Walk, which I’ve previously explained as being an inadvertent carbon-copy of The Walking Dead, and our first show, a comedy, which I’m still keeping under wraps. What I will tell you about it is that, not unlike The Dead Don’t Walk, we created our comedy show, loved it, explored the concept, and then watched as a very similar show hit prime time TV. And became huge.
With Edinburg Falls, I think Bobby and I were beginning to feel tapped out. We poured so much energy into each project. We have six full length scripts for our comedy show. We know how the show ends and what happens to our characters.
We spent hours talking about The Dead Don’t Walk, and where it should lead. How it should be shot. What the monsters do. What’s scary? What scares us? What would we do? Can we draw it ourselves? No! Let’s get an artist!
We hit Edinburg Falls at a time where we were still enthusiastic writers, but perhaps a little less optimistic.
Sure, we created something relatively unique, but we also created something so preposterous that we eventually had to face the fact that it really wasn’t very good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Edinburg Falls. Somewhere inside the pages of what we’ve written, buried underneath lengthy explanations of native American worshiping grounds and abandoned government control centers there is an honest core. Something worth exploring. But Bobby and I realized years ago that we had to put it away for a while. With that, here is the final piece of Edinburg Falls I’ll be sharing with you: the rough outline we were going to use to write a pilot episode.
I just read it to make sure I’m completely willing to post it online publicly, and while I am, I should explain to you the difference between a finished script and the outlines and notes Bobby and I write. As I said, this is an outline, so it is literally a truncated version of what we would have put in a finished script. More than that, it contains some of the goofiest shit in the world, because Bobby and I never originally intended for anyone to see it other than us. That being said, the basic ideas of what would have been in the pilot are awesome, and everything else is unbelievably fucking funny. Especially the guy that runs the hotel. I cannot urge you strong enough to read this. I had no idea:
If we entered Edinburg Falls already feeling creatively stunted, we walked away from it feeling absurd. We couldn’t believe how ridiculous the show was. Worse than that, we didn’t really know what to do next. As I’ve said, we always loved our comedy show, but always felt the need to have a second concept to round ourselves out in the eyes of potential agents or television executives.
Realizing how drained I felt after all the work we’d done on The Dead Don’t Walk and Edinburg Falls, I told Bobby that maybe we were trying too hard. There are a lot of succesful shows on TV that are clearly not passion-projects but are highly rated nontheless. I suggested that we start working on a show with a simple concept. A procedural show like CSI (or a million other shows). A crime show.
We mulled it over for a week or two, until one night I was watching Silence of the Lambs and realized that it basically functions exactly like a crime show. It’s basically just about a cop trying to catch a killer with the help of yet another killer. Backing up this idea is the fact that the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, follows that same formula. Why not just do that 13 times a year for a few seasons?
Bobby and I started working on a TV show based on Silence of the Lambs. Not unlike our approach to The Dead Don’t Walk, we knew that we had to take the original concept and make it our own. No Clarice Starling. No Hannibal Lecter. We needed to create our own cop and our own killer.
What started as a project meant to be a simple procedural, meant to be an easy cheat, became yet another ambitious project of ours. We beat ourselves coming up with a killer as horrifying as Hannibal Lecter, and we knew we needed to create a deep, believable world for our version of a Clarice. Eventually we found both. Then we struggled to name them, until we poached names from Edinburg Falls, and our show started to truly take shape.
We had originally meant to shrug off our integrity and write something simple by combining CSI and Silence of the Lambs, but eventually that simple chemical process output a complex and engrossing product:
A TV show called Dissecting Henry Crane.
We felt creatively recharged; we felt unstoppable.
About a month and a half later, it was announced that an official TV series based on Silence of the Lambs was in the works.
It had happened again.
Next month we’ll take a look at the work Bobby and I put into Dissecting Henry Crane, but for now, feel free to talk about whatever you want: the shows we’ve created, your own struggles with writing, or if you don’t consider yourself a writer, maybe just share ideas you’ve had! Everybody always has creative concepts swirling around their minds. What are yours?
And as always, feel free to email us at WillAndBobby@gmail.com
Thanks for reading.