I’ve been submitting “Wayfarers” to a bunch of places. The notion that some of it could be performed seemed interesting – it’s a twist on the usual screenplay contest, and in some ways, it’s more valuable to me as a writer-director.
– Writer Arnon Z. Shorr. On what influenced him to submit to the WILDsound Screenplay Festival
WAYFARERS was the November 2014 co-winner for best 1st Scene Screenplay. Watch the reading now:
A sci-fi Exodus in a Mad Max setting – a post-Apocalyptic journey of physical and cultural survival.
NARRATOR – Amaka Umeh
ABE – Geoff Mays
JAKE/DRIVER – Rob Notman
MOSHE – Sean Ballantyne
WILDsound’s Matthew Toffolo chatted with Arnon Z. Shorr about his screenplay:
Matthew Toffolo: What’s your screenplay about?
“Wayfarers” is about a group of refugees in a post-Apocalyptic wasteland who are fleeing an oppressive regime that has outlawed all forms of religion.
MT: Why should this script be made into a movie?
There’s something familiar about “Wayfarers”. Refugees, victims of persecution, fleeing their oppressors to cross a sea and reach a promised land… It’s lifted from the pages of the world’s bestselling book. Cecil B. DeMille was so taken by the “Exodus” story that he brought it to the screen twice. This year, Ridley Scott tries his hand at the world’s greatest narrative of freedom. The Bible, despite our modern discomforts with religion, remains a universal narrative. But “Wayfarers” brings a new twist to the ancient tale. The setting is not long ago, nor far away. The characters are new, though their plight is well-known. Beneath it all, the themes of cultural rebirth and redemption remain powerfully present. That’s what makes “Wayfarers” a sci-fi adventure of biblical proportions.
MT: What influenced you to write this screenplay?
I’ve been working on “Wayfarers” for long enough, and with enough other projects keeping me busy as well, that I’ve forgotten entirely how the story came about, or what prompted me to write it in the first place. I do remember a friend telling me about dune buggy adventures in the Imperial Sand Dunes. Something in that sparked the idea. But how I got from there to writing a post-Apocalyptic sci-fi Bible story? I have no idea!
MT: There’s a lot going on in these first 10 pages and the actors were all excited to perform it. How would you describe your main character Abe? What makes him unique and engaging?
Abe is a man who hasn’t come to terms with who he is. He’s persecuted for following a religion that he doesn’t entirely believe in, that he doesn’t quite comprehend. He has tried to cast off the shackles of faith before, but finds they’re ever intertwined with his very identity.
MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?
I studied and taught film history, so there are many great films I’ve seen many times, but “Jurassic Park” came first, and beats them all handily. I must have spent an entire summer destroying that VHS tape two hours at a time.
MT: What artists would you love to work with?
There’s a guy named Marek Denko who builds and photographs Mad Max –style dune buggies. I’d love to see what he could do for a film like “Wayfarers”. I don’t know if he even has production design experience, but it would be neat to put him in charge of vehicles and see what happens. As for other artists, there are plenty. I’ve got another screenplay that I’d love for Michael Chabon to re-write. Lately, I’ve been really impressed by Miles Teller, too. Gosh, I could just keep listing people!
MT: What are you passionate about in life?
Movies, Religion, Family, Knowledge, Truth.
MT: Do you have a set routine when writing? Any advice you like to give to other writers?
I’ve only ever successfully written features in big gulps. I’m not good at writing a page here and a page there. The first draft of “Wayfarers” churned out in seven weeks (and it was during those seven weeks that my son was born – so it’s not like I had nothing better to keep me busy). It helps that I tend to be very technically precise, so as I’m writing, I don’t have to worry about revising things so they’re technically correct.