Interview with Screenwriter David Luz (SHITSTORM)

1. What is your screenplay about?

This is a show about what it really means to be a teenage girl who saves the world. Yes, that’s a thing – teenage girls who save the world – it happens all the time in books and movies, and every now and again on TV. Think Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Bella Swan from Twilight. Chloë Grace Moretz from that terrible movie about the alien invasion that was actually a really fun book. But picture them living in a Beverly Hills 90210 world. With Freaks and Geeks in the high school hallways, and a bunch of Mean Girls in all the critical roles. Wrap it up with a bit of My So Called Life angst and then sell it as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Every YA Fantasy Novel Ever.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Comedy/Young Adult – yep, all of ’em.

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

This is a show that taps into the universal growing pains experienced by young adults, but because it’s framed inside a genre-bending roller coaster ride about the end of the world, it has the potential to appeal to a very wide audience. It’s popular entertainment that takes the time to be thoughtful, without ever forgetting that the best way to share “big ideas” about who we are and why we are here is by never making your audience feel like they are listening to a lecture. It’s fun, smart, mysterious and meaningful.

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

Fucking Badass

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

Such a hard question! It’s a tie: Citizen Kane/The Empire Strikes Back/The Shawshank Redemption/Galaxy Quest

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

It was a few years. I started writing it as a feature film, but got stuck about halfway through. It wasn’t working for me and I wasn’t sure why. Then I started writing it as a YA novel and only got a few chapters into it before I lost interest. Then, in 2016, I had a script that was a finalist at The Austin Film Festival and as part of the festival I sat in on a panel discussion with Marta Kaufman, the creator of friends. She mentioned that because there were so many shows on TV there was an endless amount of opportunities for writers in the TV format. I had never written a TV script, but on the plane ride home from Austin I took out my unfinished SHITSTORM feature script and hammered out a TV pilot and I knew that I had finally found the correct format for telling my story. It wasn’t working as a feature because it was too big, and it wasn’t working as a novel because I didn’t have the patience to tell the story in that format. But man I figured out that pilot really quick and then a few weeks after that I created a 20 page, illustrated series bible that fleshed out the concept and characters as well as outlining the next 9 episodes in the first season.

7. How many stories have you written?

Twenty-something? Three TV pilots and the rest feature films. But a lot of the feature films aren’t something I’d show anybody. I probably have about a dozen or so projects that I share. The rest stay in a drawer but they are definitely part of the process and helped me get to the products that are worth showing. I’ve also written a YA Fantasy Novel. That’s my pet project – would love to get that published and write the other stories that are waiting to be told in that world.

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

Another hard question! I love music and will often listen to certain albums over and over again while working on a project. I love all kinds of music, but I’d have to say that the song I’ve listened to the most is probably somewhere in Bruce Springsteen’s catalogue. I’ll go with The Promised Land.

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

The biggest obstacle was just figuring out what format was best suited to tell the story. I don’t outline much when I write so I don’t always know exactly where a story is going. And it took me a bit of starting and stopping and then stumbling across Marta Kaufman at AFF to realize that TV was the best place to tell this story.

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

My family. Healthy eating and healthy living. Politics, truth and justice, especially in such turbulent and divisive times. All kinds of professional and college sports.

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

It’s a great platform because your scripts live there and it’s easy to submit to contests. I’ve also done well with a few of my projects that are part of the Coverfly contest group so those projects are visible in their Red List because they have high scores. I’ve also met a few writers who have connected with me after seeing my stuff on the Red List. They request the script and some of them have sent their thoughts and we’ve stayed connected and continue to share projects with each other.

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

I didn’t know about your festival. I I just stumbled across it and loved the idea of having my script be part of a table read if I won. A while back we made an indy movie from one of my scripts and I just loved working with the actors. I have so much respect for what they do because I have no idea how they are able to do it – it’s like magic to me when an actor gets inside a character and becomes somebody they aren’t. So I’ve always tried to make sure my characters are somebody that actors would give their right arm to portray and the thought of seeing SHITSTORM come to life in a table read was exciting. The feedback was great and I’m happy that you selected SHITSTORM to be a winner!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

The most popular girl in school discovers that she might be the only one who can save the world from multiple impending apocalypses, but that’s just not fitting into her plans right now.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Abby (F): Hannah Ehman
Mrs. Wilcox (F): Kyana Teresa
Doctor Chillings (M): Steve Rizzo

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