Interview with Cole Dilts (DARK FOREST)

Watch the Winning Screenplay Reading.

1. What is your screenplay about?

On the surface it’s about what would happen if a group of aliens came down to earth and stumble into an 80’s slasher movie, but as it goes on I think the movie becomes about what it means to truly be human, through the lens of non-humans.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The two big ones would be Horror and Science Fiction. There’s hints of Action in it as well but it’s easily the minority of the script.

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

I think it would be an incredible genre blend that hasn’t really been seen in mainstream entertainment, at least for a long time. This script is my love letter to movies like Alien and Evil Dead, combining these two aesthetics in a way that offers many unique cinematic moments that I think people will really be drawn to. I would also like to have a career, so that’s a reason as well.

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

Humanity Uncovered.

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

Probably Zombieland. I saw that movie when I was 10 years old and I’ve probably watched it two or three times every year since. Although there’s also a movie called Hardcore Henry that came out in 2015 that is most likely in my top 5 favorite movies, even though not many people liked it. I’ve watched that movie quite a lot as well.

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

I’m still working on it. I started writing Dark Forest in late August of 2021 and finished the first draft in early January of this year. I’ve ironed out most of it, but still working. Should be done within the year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have no idea. It’s hard to tell because when I was a teenager I would write short scripts and pilots and never edit them so I probably have a dozen or so scripts from when I was 15 to about 18. Since I’ve really started focusing on the craft, I’ve finished 3 television pilots and the rough drafts of 2 feature films.

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

That’s hard. I would say it’s between Sha la la la la by Heavy Young Heathens or Bird’s Don’t Sing by TV Girl.

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

The biggest obstacle in any script is the second draft. The first draft is pretty easy so long as you don’t try to edit as you go, but the second draft is a horrifying experience because you realize just how half-baked your ideas were the first time. The second draft is where the words become real, and it’s exhausting because it seems like there’s nothing but problems and no real solutions. But once you actually get to work and power through that 2nd draft then it’s all cake.

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

I think writing is the thing I’ve been consistently passionate about, with everything else coming and going. Recently I bought one of those digital drawing pads for the computer so I’ve been trying to get back into drawing, but I’ll probably move on to something different in the future. Maybe bird watching?

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

FilmFreeway makes everything so easy that it’s sort of remarkable. I try not to have allegiance to specific brands but I have had no bad experiences with FilmFreeway,.

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

I thought the first 10 pages of my script were solid and the prices for this festival were very reasonable. The feedback on my script was very helpful and the note beforehand was incredibly flattering. It made me feel like my work was valuable and I can’t thank you guys enough for that.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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