OKAY CHLOE, YOU TALKED ABOUT A FILM, BUT WHAT THE HECK IS IT EVEN ABOUT?
As ridiculous as it sounds, the story of If There’s An Emergency originated from a dream.
I usually don’t remember my dreams. I actually don’t know if anyone does, but it feels impactful to say I don’t. Occasionally though….I wake up from something visceral, impactful, an image that I just have to write down so I don’t forget it.
It was dark. We were in the woods. (Who is we? Why, me and the random faceless people my head generates to populate my dreams of course!). There are monsters, large grotesque shapes running around. They’re dark and we’re in the dark so I never get a good look at them, but the faceless ones and I are trying to get away. We finally hide in a car and I watch through the back window as large shapes search for us in the night.
AND THEN I WAKE UP
This dream was so impactful and crazy and had such great imagery (good job brain) that I wrote it down. Then the next morning, I woke up an hour earlier than normal, pulled out my computer, and quickly wrote a script.
Nothing resembling the dream or the script are present in the film now.
In the first two drafts, I created three characters - Harper, Sarah, and Patrick. Harper is a young woman who is working as a nanny for a wealthy couple in New York. Sarah and Patrick are their kids. In these drafts, I focused on the film as a post-apocalyptic kind of scenario in which Harper was stuck with these kids as the world fell apart. The main emotional conflict was between Harper and Sarah.
After a few drafts, I felt that the conflict was not enough to carry the film, so I introduced Kendall - an old friend of the kids’ parents who Harper is trying to pass the kids on to. This led to a pretty strong version of the script - it was set in the suburbs and featured a lot of cool stuff, including two of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written. This version almost went into production, but my commitment to Lavender put it on the wayside in addition to all of the frustrations and craziness of being in the middle of lockdown.
When I finally returned to the idea, I realized that the scope was too large and I just didn’t care that much about the monsters. And if the writer doesn’t care about something, chances are nobody else will either. So I packed everyone up and moved them from the suburbs surrounding NYC to the heart of the city itself. Gone were the monsters, replaced with a new antagonist: Conley.
SO……WHAT THE HECK IS THE FILM EVEN ABOUT?
If There’s An Emergency tells the story of Harper, a young New Yorker working as a nanny for a wealthy couple and taking care of their two adopted children, Patrick and Sarah. On her most recent gig, long after her shift should have ended, the parents haven’t returned home and Harper is unable to call anyone except the parents’ unhelpful friend, Kendall. Things take a frightening turn when a mysterious man named Conley shows up at their door, here to collect on something the parents owe him…
I am so excited to make and share this film with everyone. Expect plenty of twists and turns, thrills, scares, and more in what I hope will be an awesome ride. And if you’re interested in learning more about the process of bringing Harper’s story to the screen, subscribe to blog and look out for my next post, in which I plan to talk about researching the film as well as writing the final draft. Talk to you soon!