Interview with Screenwriter D.G. (THEY’RE WATCHING US)

1. What is your screenplay about?

“They’re Watching Us” is about the voyeuristic experience of viewing films in the horror and exploitation genre, and the way the audience projects dark obsessions and desires onto movie stars. The plot follows Emma and Alexander, struggling actors in a rocky relationship, who pursue an opportunity to perform in a live production based on a B-Horror movie from the ’90’s. Cast opposite one another as the leads, they each begin to question whether they truly know their partner as the line between performance and real life grows blurry…and dangerous. When it comes to the scripted murders which appear all too real, you have to wonder: can you ever trust an actor?

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror, Psychological Thriller, Exploitation.

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

The script was written with an eye toward designing a cinematic experience that would engage the viewer in intrigue and stimulation. There are continuous mystery threads involving the two leads who are constantly “acting” at auditions, and even when they are around one another to maintain their dysfunctional relationship. When are they ever being their true selves? When it comes to the “horror” of the story, the brutal murders, there is a growing fear that what is happening during the immersive production may be real. The audience, just like the reader, will be enticed to participate in the narrative, by questioning what they are watching, and formulating their own conclusions up until the climax – and beyond.

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

Mind rollercoaster.

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

Donnie Darko.

6. How many stories have you written?

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

What’s My Age Again? – Blink 182

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

“They’re Watching Us” is one of the first screenplay projects I’ve worked on, so I also developed my writing craft and process along with it. There were many growing pains involved…I like to use the adage, “The hardest part of writing is writing.” The task of rewriting and revising is such an integral part of the writing process, that facing the idea of going back and starting from scratch can be daunting. Pushing through that obstacle, I’ve found, leads to the greatest growth.

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

Acting! And everything about the filmmaking process. I enjoy studying actor performances, and studying actors as people, characters in and of themselves. I work as a professional stand-in on film and TV sets, and recently started taking acting classes to learn about acting theory and process. I’ve also taught myself to edit film over the last few years, and enjoy constructing the puzzle of a story from footage…kind of like reverse screenwriting.

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

FilmFreeway is a fantastic platform. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explore opportunities for taking their script to the next level.

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

The Horror Underground Festival appealed to me because of the thorough attention every entry receives, and the video prizes awarded to the winners – something no other contest does that I am aware of. I was surprised, in the best way possible, by the detailed and thoughtful feedback on my script…it is definitely valuable. Not the norm for a contest or festival to provide such sophisticated analysis. Very grateful!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

‘They’re Watching Us’ is a psychological thriller surrounding an actor couple who agree to partake in an interactive experience acting opportunity.

Narrator: Steve Rizzo
Emma: Kyana Teresa
Lenore: Val Cole


By matthewtoffolo

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

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