Interview with Winning Screenwriters Kelsey Ann Wacker and Nathan Simpson (THE DEN)

Get to know the writer:

 1. What is your screenplay about?

A struggling actress achieves the role of a lifetime under the auspices of a brilliant and mysterious actor at a legendary Off-Broadway theatre. As the play nears opening, tempers flare, boundaries are crossed and the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Thriller

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

This past year, stories of the abuse long perpetrated against women in the entertainment industry have suddenly gained widespread infamy. We’ve written a narrative that brings the audience inside this very phenomenon and allows them to feel the manipulation firsthand. Our movie is both a wakeup call and a cautionary tale.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

“American Nightmare”

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

The movies I’ve seen the most were all movies I loved in my childhood: Hocus Pocus, Center Stage, Legally Blonde… I felt a little silly saying that… until I realized that they are all original, uplifting films featuring unique and strong female characters!

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Ten months now!

7. How many stories have you written?

More than I can count. But this is my first feature screenplay.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

“A Case of You” – Joni Mitchell. Her starry, honey vocals aching with wine-soaked, reproachful longing… gets me every time. I really like John Denver too. Something about folk-singer pathos must really do it for me.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

When you’re writing about broken people, manipulators, trauma, psychological and physical violence, you have to bring yourself into some difficult places, mentally speaking. To really tell the truth of the story we had to launch ourselves into the pain, fear, lust, chaos, et cetera, that entails this sort of situation… and sometimes you’d do anything to avoid having to do that. You’d procrastinate. Write fluff. It took real focus and lots of do-overs to actually get to the beating heart of each scene, and that’s something we’ll probably continue working on until we start shooting.

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

I love baking– specifically desserts. I’m a triathlete and a tough mudder legionnaire, my boyfriend and I lift weights together… and cook together. I’m from Florida so love citrus fruits, as well as sunbathing and beach days. I miss those. New York winters don’t exactly accommodate my priorities. I’ve been a dancer since I was quite young, specializing in Balanchine ballet and Modern. Oh, and I adore my cat. We’re best friends. She sleeps on my head.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

We are quite happy with FilmFreeway. Without it we wouldn’t have found your contest, for starters, and with it we’ve been able to efficiently submit to a wide range of contests that would previously have been outside of our awareness.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The feedback we received from WILDsound was honest, constructive and, above all, practical advice. We swiftly implemented the notes we were given and our screenplay quickly grew to new heights, becomingly instantly more readable and engaging.

Genre: Drama

Based on true events.


Penny: Jennifer Vallance
Myna: Rachel Rain Packota
Narrator: Olivia Jon
Sean: Geoff Mays
Jamie: <a href="Allan Cooke
Joanne: Lesley Ballantyne


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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