KILLER JANE, a movie in story development –

KILLER JANE by Sylvia Toy: STORYBOARD, Act One (Version 2) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

KILLER JANE is a short feature currently in story development. Jane, the protagonist, serially dreams that she has shot & killed a man. The dream always starts moments after she commits the murder. Jane never sees her victim; but she knows he was a man who was a stranger.

Currently, I am creating backstory to establish the conflicts on which the KILLER JANE and its subtexts will be built.


I create story primarily by improvising monologues on camera while in character. For 17 years as a solo stage actor, I played scenes in which two or more characters were having a conversation. When I realized that my characters told their own stories better than I could write them, my actor took over from my sadly mediocre writer. I rarely have “block,” but I do find that I have to let a character live for a while before he or she starts telling me the story. When I had to let go of my (to-date) favorite character (an actor sadly unavailable) and, so, had to create another character as Jane’s antagonist, I had to wait for a new voice to start talking to me and tell me when to turn on the camera.

Jane and I have been living together for months. She began her life inside my head and on camera as a fairly vivacious forensics specialist. As I continued to improvise her nightmare and develop the monster who shadows her after every murder, I saw more potential for conflict is her being a straight-laced, clean living Plain Jane who doesn’t even date, let alone date strangers. As of this week, she is a Trusts & Estates attorney.

Daphne, Jane’s secretary/confidante/BFF, is Jane’s antagonist. Daphne is a go-getter who thinks she’s at least as smart as any lawyer. She hates rich people, especially Cleo, Jane’s client/confidante/BFF. Cleo is a wealthy woman with whom Jane went to school, who wants to divorce her husband with the smallest payoff that’s legally possible. Cleo treats Daphne like a servant.

In every profession, there is hierarchy; and class as well as level of education differences among people in the Law can create the kind of drama, nonsense and stuff that stories and dreams are made of. If you wondered why there’s always been so many lawyer dramas – well – or is that redundant?

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