Interview with Screenwriter Neil McNeil (KILL YOUR DARLINGS)

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

When a group of queer friends in East LA try to turn their struggling weekly party into the hottest spot in town, they seek out unconventional methods to bring success.


Narrator: Hannah Ehman
Kori: Val Cole
Tony: Allan Michael Brunet
Beth: Kyana Teresa

Get to know the screenwriter:

1. What is your screenplay about?

Kill Your Darlings follows a group of queer friends trying to reinvigorate queer nightlife in the wake of the pandemic, when so many queer spaces were forced to close down. When these friends are unable to make their weekly pop-up dance party the place to be, they resort to performing a ritual sacrifice on their most insufferable friend… and things end up going awry.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I think this script can best be described as a horror comedy, with movies such as Heathers and Jennifer’s Body serving as my initial inspiration.

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

I believe that this story is important now more than ever, with the LGBTQ+ community literally fighting for our lives to protect our safe spaces like bars and clubs and drag shows. It also explores the different “cults” we subscribe to in modern society, and how even groups with the best of intentions might end up resorting to less-than-ideal solutions to further their agenda, which happens far too often in today’s world.

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

Murder Queers

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

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I never get tired of that movie.

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

This script in particular took me about six months to crack, from the time I had the initial idea to finishing a draft I felt was in fighting shape. I also did a lot of “research” for this one, aka exploring different queer pop-up parties around Los Angeles, like Hot Dog at El Cid and Gay Asstrology.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve lost count at this point — I’ve been writing stories and scripts for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school, I wrote a serialized collection of short stories for my friend Amanda during study hall. Every day I would come in with a new “chapter” for her to read, and ever since then I’ve been collecting and cataloguing all of these different ideas and worlds in different journals, notebooks, word documents, and final draft files. My Ideas folder on my laptop is an absolute mess.

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

“Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen. It’s like an instant shot of serotonin every time I hear it.

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

My biggest obstacle with this script was that I never wanted it to end! I loved getting to live in this world and explore these characters, and by the end of my writing process I felt like I was actually friends with The Darlings, and hated to bring my time with them to an end.

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

I’m a massive comic book fan. Specifically Marvel, but I’ll read anything new and exciting that comes out, especially if there are queer characters involved.

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

FilmFreeway has been such an amazing platform for writers to get their work out there, I’m so glad my friend suggested it to me! I’ve found a number of great festivals and opportunities to submit to through this site, it’s such an invaluable tool for up-in-coming writers.

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

I loved the idea of having my work read aloud by professional actors, and they did such a wonderful job bringing my words to life. The feedback I received was beyond helpful too, and mostly it was encouraging to see how much people enjoyed my work!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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