An Open Letter to The Hadidas, Roger Avary Regarding Silent Hill 2

Gentleman. Congratulations on moving forward with a sequel to Silent Hill, a labor which produced perhaps the most faithful video game adaptation to date. I can't say that I agree with all of the creative choices made for the film, namely restricting the main character's need to kill in order to survive. But you probably don't care what I think, after all- who the hell am I? Well it doesn't matter who I am, that's argument ad hominem. We aren't talking about me, don't change the subject! We're talking about Silent Hill. Most importantly, the upcoming sequel being written by you, Roger Avary and produced by you, one or both of the Hadidas.

In 2006, immediately after seeing Silent Hill in theaters, stuck in an hallucinatory state brought on by flu, torn between what was right with the film and what was folly, I sat down and in six days produced a first draft of Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams. After a second revision it's still admittedly a bit rough around the edges. Some of the dialogue is rocky, there's far too many parentheticals and ellipses, it sometimes relies too heavily on the details of ammunition count or status... You get the picture. But it also contains some real gems- original action sequences motivated by character and location, creative use of lore to tie together films one, two, and three, and most importantly- a few really affecting scenes that are straight out of a Lynch nightmare. Of course having one of the most cinematic game stories ever told to build upon was a big help.

I contacted the CAA in 2006 to see if they would put me in touch with you. As I expected, they sent me a nice big middle finger disguised as industry lingo. I have enough experience to understand the screenwriting business, and why I'll probably never be a contributing professional on the industry's terms. That's why I'm self-employed, setting my own terms, animating my third film with my bare hands and making sure no punches are pulled. Regardless of you, your status, your skills, our industry, our economy, I am here to kick ass. I am here to produce things that push boundaries, challenge the mind, and I will no longer stand for tepid tripe stuffed with fake, forced universality.

It is evident through what you attempted with your adaptation of Konami's first Silent Hill title that you have this fire in you as well. I want the sequel to be great- hell, we all want it to be better than great, and we all want to see it smash [video game adaptation] box office records with a great opening weekend and a long, smoldering wide release that brings steady ticket sales. I don't want to hear most of the crowd booing or japing about how they want their money back as they did after the first Silent Hill at the UA Court Street Stadium 12 in downtown Brooklyn. So I want to offer some additional fuel for your fire. There is good stuff here, and it's stuff you don't have. How do I know you haven't got it? That's easily answered: because I'm currently the only person on the planet that does.

I know you don't need this per se- that's why you're here, Avary. A Hollywood staple and proven screenwriter, WGA member (presumably) and all-around industry workhorse. I don't presume to stick my foot in your door like a vacuum salesman. I certainly don't want to undermine this process or in any way replace anyone. But I do presume to know when I'm sitting on art because I'm an artist. Classically trained, time-tested, industry-approved. And, sirs! Gentlemen! There is art in this script. It's not ready for shooting. Hell, it would need another revision or two to stand on its own. I wanted to do this but in 2007 I put the spec down because there's just no way for me to get it into hands that give a shit. That is the travesty of this broken industry- collaboration is squashed, new talent is crushed, original ideas are squandered for no good reason. None of that matters for your purposes, though. I understand this.

So make your sequel! If you do it without any of the scenes or sequences in my script (US Library of Congress Copyright dated 2006,) then you are missing an opportunity to imbibe some really inspiring Silent Hill material. I daresay your film will be poorer for it, but then I don't know exactly where you're headed after the first one so don't take that as hubris.

If you are even slightly interested in these fresh ideas, I would be happy to put inexpensive exclusivity on the table. I'm not unreasonable, but I know enough about the industry to know that I shouldn't be the one offering any deals as of yet. Just know that I require hardly anything at all from you if it means making a better Silent Hill experience possible. I know something like this is outside of the industry standard but so long as it doesn't violate union rules I fail to see the harm in something unorthodox if it promises to be mutually beneficial. After all, nearly any deal can be made provided the proper documents be drawn. In any case, you've probably got paperwork or scheduling to do. I've got an original animated short to get back to. All the best.

Jeff Martell


In light of Roger Avary pleading guilty to drunken driving leading to the death of one and the severe injury of another (his wife) it looks like this will most likely suffer a delay.

I may not be in the immediate position to screw up another Silent Hill feature, but at least I'm not in jail for vehicular manslaughter.

No comments: