Watch HAUNTED HEART TV Pilot Performance Reading:
NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
NIGEL – Robert Notman
ANNABELLE – Maya Woloszyn
LENORE – Rochelle Burke
EDGAR – Aieron Munro
WILLIAM JAMES – Charles Gordon
CORPORAL – Paul Falkowski
Get to know writer Robert Herold:
1. What is your TV PILOT screenplay about?
Haunted Heart is about Nigel Pickford, a former Confederate officer, tortured by visions, who is recruited by a group of paranormal investigators and taken deep into a world of ghosts and supernatural beings threatening the life of the woman he loves.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a television show?
Frankly, there is not enough good horror on television. Horror objectifies our nightmares and allows us to deal with them. When done right, we want to cover our eyes, but peer through our fingers. Haunted Heart is a horror television series set in the 19th Century that aims to be truly scary. It’s a very dark, edgy and sophisticated X-files meets Penny Dreadful. This episodic series explores new and classic horror motifs as a group of paranormal researchers (the “Eidola Project”) travel around North America, and later the world, solving supernatural mysteries, hauntings & murders. It also shows the characters confronting the real monsters of the day — racism, sexism, substance abuse and bigotry. The 19th Century gives the show a sense of the exotic, but really it’s a window on the fears and concerns of today.
3. This story has a lot going for it. Drama meets Supernatural meets Mystery with a bit of Romance. What motivated you to write this pilot?
Again, I think good horror should encompass all of these. I’ve always had a passion for horror and dark drama, but I generally dislike slasher films (Psycho and American Psycho being notable exceptions) and gore-fests. Given my disappointment with so much of a genre I love, I wanted to try my hand at developing the kind of series I’d like to see.
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
It’s A Wonderful Life. Most of the film is actually quite dark, and George Bailey’s journey (like Ebenezer Scrooge) is touching, scary, and ultimately heart-lifting. It’s really a ghost story, and masterfully done.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Two years. It was part of the journey of learning how to write well, and went through many drafts. As a consequence, I am able to write well and at a much faster pace today.
6. How many stories have you written?
I have completed 3 pilots, all of which have been finalists or have won contests: In addition to Haunted Heart, Rough Cut is a series about the early days of the film industry — when dying to be in pictures was literally true! Rat City is a murder mystery series set in the early days of Seattle (imagine Law & Order meets Deadwood).
I have also have had several plays published for the school-aged market: Two adaptations of Shakespeare (Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet) and an original farce, Killer Slugs from Space, or Slime Does Not Pay! (which I think would make a nifty musical, if there are any composers out there).
I am currently completing a novelized version of Haunted Heart.
7. What would you say the theme of your TV PILOT is?
The theme of Haunted Heart is finding redemption. Many of us are stuck and surround ourselves with people and media that feed our prejudices. I want to challenge us, as I challenge my characters, in the midst of a cracking good yarn.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
As I noted above, learning my craft. It takes time. You need to be patient with yourself and be resilient — learn from your mistakes and not let them debilitate you.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
In addition to my wife and kids, I love theater, reading, TV, movies and music — especially jazz (I play the flute and sax).
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I originally learned about WILDsound on Moviebytes, and liked what I read. I found the initial feedback incredibly helpful — it was honest, thoughtful and supportive. (It was clear I had more work to do.) You folks do a marvelous job nurturing artists while helping them to achieve high standards.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Surround yourself with supportive but honest people (like the folks at WILDsound) and work your butt off! Again, be resilient — learn from your mistakes and not let them debilitate you. Best wishes!
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