Interview with Sean Elwood, Winner Best Scene Screenplay January 2015

When I read that each script would get feedback on how to make it better, as well as the winning script getting a full reading at their event using actors really piqued my interest. It’s always great to get constructive criticism on something you’re very serious about, no matter what it is, and WILDsound definitely delivered on their critique toward my script. The other perk of entering the festival—having your script performed—seemed interesting to me as well, as I’ve never heard of that approach coming from a screenplay festival.

– Sean Elwood on the WILDsound Experience

    WATCH BEST SCENE from “I’M STILL HERE” by Sean Elwood

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
    Ryan – Vince Jerad
    Kayla – Alissa DeGrazia
    Receptionist – Danielle Nicole

Interview with Sean Elwood:

1. What is your screenplay about?

“I’m Still Here” is a dark, psychological thriller that focuses on Ryan Stovall, a young man who is involved in a car accident that nearly kills him. After he’s discharged from the hospital, he begins to experience strange occurrences throughout his home that lead him to believe that his near-death experience has opened the door between the living and the dead. As he attempts to investigate the paranormal activity, he soon begins to realize that his very own sanity may be at stake, and that it’s not just the dead that he needs to worry about.

2. Why should this script be made into a movie?

“I’m Still Here” is a fresh take on the psychological thriller genre that will keep you guessing until the very end of the story, and even by then it will continue to leave you thinking. It contains subtle horror elements that don’t include jump scares or frightening images, which today’s horror seems to solely rely on, but rather elements that affect the human psyche and make you question your sanity. Financially speaking, “I’m Still Here” can accommodate any budget, as it features two main and three minor roles, and technically includes only four small locations. There is no need for any CGI or extravagant special effects, but instead a director who possesses knowledge in holding suspense and delivering thrills.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

I have been writing stories since elementary school, starting off as shorts that involved my friends and I escaping from evil ghosts and monsters, and developing into screenplays, both shorts and features, by late middle school up until now.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Gosh, that’s a hard one. I tend to watch movies I like over and over again, but I would probably say the movie I’ve seen the most in my life would be the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, which I find to be an obscure movie I would watch frequently. It made a pretty big impact on my life since it was one of the first films that helped jumpstart the early 2000s zombie craze (plus I was only 14 when it came out, and I had a very obsessive personality at the time). It’s the movie that made me become obsessed with zombies, which I wrote a lot of stories and scripts about. Anything and everything about me was zombie.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

Steven Spielberg, George Romero, Danny Boyle, Mike Cahill, Neil Marshall, Alfonso Cuarón

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Too many to count! I would say I’ve written at least 40-50 screenplays, both shorts and features, ranging from horror to thriller to drama and comedy. I’m definitely a horror guy, though.

7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

I’m actually currently studying for a degree in mortuary science so I hope to see myself working in a mortuary in 5 years. I love screenwriting though, and I would even like to open a screenwriting class one day to anyone who is interested in the field. Plus, working around dead bodies in a morgue will give me some great ideas for my next horror script.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

Lots and lots of brainstorming. Brainstorming in the shower, brainstorming on the toilet, brainstorming at work, brainstorming everywhere! If I come up with an idea, even for a scene in a script, I write it down somewhere. But as far as routines go, I tend to write down a lot of ideas for a script and flesh out the story around them, fitting those ideas into scenes that are most appropriate for the story. It’s not traditional in anyway, but it’s what helps me write a script, and if it works, it works. I also consult my friends and get their opinions on my stories. I figure that the best opinion is from the general audience. I like to go for what they want, not what Hollywood wants.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about photography, the outdoors, and the universe. I’d love to be able to go to space one day, and I hope that we put more effort into space exploration, because it’s actually really awesome if you sit down and put in the time to read about it.

10. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

This will sound really cliché, which I try to avoid, but what the hell: don’t give up. You will get turned down. You will have people not like your script. You will have major writer’s block. But don’t let any of that get in the way if you have a passion for screenwriting. Take any criticism and use it to your advantage. That’s how I learned and it’s definitely made me a better writer.

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