Collectors – The Shadows of My Mind (Commentary)

An oldie but a goodie.

‘Collectors’ was my response at my dissatisfaction with ‘The X Files’  (my favourite TV show) back in its last two seasons, especially Season 8. I challenged myself to ‘do better’.

It was initially a ‘fanfic’ of sorts. I wasn’t particularly interested in the standard ‘Mary Sue’ fanfic that permeated the X Files fan communities, and most other TV show messageboards. I wanted to do something different, something beyond my comfort zone. My writing strength is dialogue, so I chose the teleplay/screenplay format. I was quite surprised when my initial little 42 minute story idea turned in to something a bit more ambitious. The story is a stand-alone episode.

‘Collectors’ is not for everyone. The teleplay format is not really reader-friendly, but for those who will attempt it, it’s worth the read. I did make it a bit more accessible, as it was a story that never would be filmed. 

The story is a classic X File. Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate a particular painting that has resulted in the deaths of its owners. They stumble on to something far more sinister.

Some readers who did see an earlier draft will notice that the Manics song chosen (for the teaser) was switched. The initial ‘Tsunami’, from ‘This is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ (1998) became ‘Found that Soul’ from 2001’s ‘Know Your Enemy’.

The Welsh rockers have a cult following in North America. For several reasons, they did not ‘translate’ to a North American audience. Since most of my ‘readers’ would have been from the US, the choice of material would have flown past most of them. Obscure band, obscure material. Also unavailable.

‘Tsumami’ was inspired by set of twins who decided at a young age to never speak again. They became recluses by choice, eventually turning to crime in their dementia. They were committed to a psychiatric ward, where one twin (labelled by a teacher as ‘the very personification of evil’) died. Once this happened, the other twin began to speak and act normally. Not quite ‘Michael Holvey’ from The X Files’  ‘The Calusari’, but close enough.

It’s a bit of a reversal, but the story of ‘Collectors’ is also one of distortion and a skewing of ‘reality’. Mirrors – false and true. Clever readers would have recognized that the story would eventually bring up a blast from ‘The X Files’ past. False mirrors and shadows. Expressionism without using the classic and  now stereotypical tools.

‘Found that Soul’ fit better tonally and ultimately was the better choice. The sonic distortion of the song added yet another twisted layer to the story. Both songs are available on YouTube in both video and live versions.

The screenplay itself has only undergone a few minor changes since 2001.  I changed the spellings of two character names, fixed two or three lines of ‘clunky’ dialogue, and added a couple of lines of dialogue (all from previous drafts). Nothing major and nothing that affects the original tale.

References run the gamut – Lewis Carroll, Iron Maiden, ‘Psycho’, fairy tales, the Biblical Fall, Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’, Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’, Swedenborg, ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’, Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’.

Buyer beware, and then some.



3 Responses to “Collectors – The Shadows of My Mind (Commentary)”

  1. Most what i read online is trash and copy paste but your posts are not alike. Bravo.

  2. Not agree on several issues but the whole thing, so impressive. Successful year!

  3. hi this is a cool blog i wonder how you find the time to keep updating it. anyway, keep up the good work.thnx

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