The Writer's Desk: Harbor Moon (Part One)

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From Ryan Colucci—While at USC's grad school for film producing, I was determined to graduate and not have to be an assistant. So I aggressively pursued a wealth of material: books, comics, web comics, etc. I must have read over 500 scripts in two years before one caught my eye. Titled “Bloodkin,” it was an X-Men-type story about a man without a past who finds out he is from a town in Maine that the government has its eye on because the inhabitants are werewolves.

I took the script to Dikran Ornekian, my co-writer and a classmate, and we immediately sparked to the core idea (by Brian Anderson) about a man that's half werewolf coming home to his “family.” I optioned that script and Dikran and I began a long journey taking the story down many paths before we came to what is now Harbor Moon. So what started off as a military action thing with political components became a smaller, isolated horror piece.

It took me a while to find [artist Pawel Sambor], but once I did everything fell into place. He penciled, inked, painted, and lettered everything. Nikodem Cabala did six pages in the middle. But everything else was Pawel.  He and Karol Wisniewski would layout each page, then he would sketch the page and I’d follow with my notes, which were pretty extensive sometimes. Then once we locked those, Pawel would ink and paint it and I would give notes on that. I was technically the final word on each panel, but to be honest, it was more about me finding the right artist and letting him do what he does rather than trying to fit that artist into my neat little box.


I-95. The border of Maine.

A beat-up JEEP blows by a sign that reads, WELCOME TO MAINE. It’s the only car on the road.


The sun-creased face behind the wheel belongs to TIM VANCE (30). He looks exhausted.


Tim’s jeep drives deeper into a forest. Bright red leaves fall from the brilliantly colored trees that surround him.

And then we notice something odd. A BLACK, LEAFLESS TREE, split in two, as if it were struck by lightning long ago.

Atop the tree, a lone VULTURE stares at Tim. Creepy.


Tim skids the jeep to a stop.  On the side of the road is an old weathered wooden sign, half covered in foliage. It reads: HARBOR MOON.

Tim turns right, moving down an old dirt road.


Tim drives down a dirt road, which has been used so sparingly, it’s covered in wild foliage.


The jeep emerges from the dense forest, driving carefully along the cliff-side road. To the right, a twenty foot drop.
But to the left, something much more interesting...

A large DUTCH COLONIAL home ominously rests. It’s old, unattended, almost Gothic.


Tim’s jeep rounds a corner and the old dirt road is replaced by cobblestone.  Tim passes a run-down AUTO-BODY SHOP, where a few decrepit vehicles rot out front.  Several VULTURES line the roof top.

The town feels like a vestige from another era.

A small herd of cattle crosses the street in front of Tim.

He pulls the Jeep up next to the one place that looks like it might be open this early -- an old-fashioned BUTCHER SHOP.



Tim exits the jeep and pulls out his cell phone and we notice there’s NO SERVICE. Not one bar.

A shriek coming from the Butcher Shop steals the stranger’s attention.


Tim enters the dimly-lit shop. A just-slain SHEEP hangs from the ceiling, a MEAT-HOOK curves right through its abdomen.
Its intestines spill out into a crude, cement tub.

Meat-hooks impale freshly killed; sheep, deer, chicken, even squirrels. Tim has to brush them aside, fighting the urge to gag as he makes his way to the front counter, where--

GEORGE MCKINLEY (50s), the tough, broad-shouldered butcher, is so busy arguing with his awkward teenage son, KJ, that neither of them have noticed Tim.

George holds a NEWSPAPER up, for his son to see.  We can’t see the headline though.

GEORGE: Tell me you had nothing to do with this.

KJ doesn’t appreciate the interrogation. He stands his ground, looks his father in the eye.

KJ: I wasn’t there. I told you, I’m
done with them.

The butcher doesn’t buy it. He’s about to say so when he notices the stranger standing there, waiting.

TIM: Hi. Don’t mean to interrupt. You were the only place open so I just... I’m looking for a room.

GEORGE: This ain’t a bed and breakfast.

TIM: Come on. Been driving all night. Just looking for a place to wash up, get some rest.

George takes a knife from the counter and grips it tightly.

GEORGE: There’s a tavern up the road. Manager’s name is Paul, he might have something for ya.

George raises the knife... And WHACK--! Lops the head off a CHICKEN.


Read Steven Surman's Broken Frontier review of Harbor Moon.

To purchase Harbor Moon, find it on Amazon.

To learn more about Harbor Moon, visit the official website.

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