Interview with Screenwriter Horton Emory (TRANSPARENT Spec Screenplay)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Horton Emory: My spec script ‘Transparent: Who’s Getting Ali?’ is about using the rare moments of anonymity we have to explore gender.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy Spec

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

Self exploration

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

Best in Show

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

I worked on this screenplay for about five months.

6. How many stories have you written?

In my day job I’m a journalist, so combined with narrative work it has to be at least hundreds!

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

I’m going to hold “A Father’s First Spring” by The Avett Brothers close to me even though I can’t bring myself to listen to it, because my mother sent it to me just before she died.


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

There were two big challenges in this screenplay: first of all, I had to figure out what to do with Maura, since Jeffrey Tambor is no longer with the show and the episode is set after the fourth season ends but before the fifth begins. I let Maura move away and have her own life, but after I wrote the spec Transparent revealed Maura will be dead in the newest season and I wish I had thought of that! I think I was afraid to kill off one of the most prominent transgender characters in television. But now that the show has done it, I think its a brilliant way to wrap up the series. Maura needs to leave the show in a strong, final way and there will be a lot of emotional material to work with in the rest of the characters to end on a strong emotional note, as this show is known to do. (I know that was a rant, but I want to put my respect for the direction the show took out there!)

As far as a more technical obstacle, that had to do with the timeline between writing scenes in both Los Angeles and Israel, and how those would meet up. It was very confusing and it took a while to create a sequence of events that made sense logistically.

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

Media literacy! I used to manage a newsroom and the company was taken over by a man with no media literacy, and boy is that dangerous. I’ve seen first hand that some people who control media aren’t media literate, and that’s how ignorance spreads.

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

I started using FilmFreeway as a festival I was working with was switching from Withoutabox. I had used both platforms and FilmFreeway was so much more user-friendly!

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

I entered this festival because at this stage in my career, I want all the feedback I can get.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

CAST LIST:

TSA Officer: Allan Brunet
Husband: Diego O’Brien
Len: Justin Martins
Narrator: Elizabeth Morriss
Sarah: Michele Urbano
Ali: Jessica Bowmer
Davina: Victoria Urquhart

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