Written by Greg J. St. Pierre & Paul Van Scott
After being forced to drastically downsize his lavish lifestyle, Doctor Fred Hume is making his new neighbors miserable. But this street hides a terrifying secret, and Fred had better learn to be nice.
Q&A with Greg J. St. Pierre and Paul Van Scott
Q1: Tell us a little about WILLIAM, winner of Best Short Screenplay in the festival.
Greg: I worked with a guy who’d share bizarre experiences, really paranormal sounding stuff. I suspect they were drug fueled hallucinations, but I thought, “What if any of this stuff was actually true? How would that manifest, and how would it affect the experiencer?”
Q2: Who is the central character of your script? What do you think their conscious and unconscious desires are?
Greg: That’s hard to quantify. For such a short script several characters are pretty integral. William, the titular character, is certainly the most enigmatic. He’s trapped in a neighborhood where his “problem” is being used for a terrifying purpose. He’s been plagued with this problem for most of his life and he seems only to want to get away from it. And he can’t.
Q3: What were the toughest aspects of creating your screenplay? How did you overcome them?
Greg: It was tough to keep the ending hidden and still maintain a compelling story. The ending is an awesome one-two punch. We provided foreshadowing and hints along the way, which were really misdirection to get people to infer the first part of the ending. But they probably won’t see the second part coming and we’re proud of that. There was considerable bouncing back and forth regarding how much to reveal.
Paul: I think the toughest things are keeping the viewer engaged and making them care about each character, either in a good or bad way. You just try to keep each character interesting in a variety of ways.
Q4: What inspired you to enter into the world of screenwriting?
Greg: I did some acting and voice/radio work in the 2000s, and really enjoyed both. Around that time I also read a book called Fly For Your Life, a unique and rather strange true story about a British fighter pilot with bizarre luck. I thought it would make an amazing film, so I optioned the book and decided to adapt it to screenplay form. Then I realized I had no idea how to go about that so I bought the usual books, read professional screenplays and started practicing with short scripts. Sadly the pilot project never gained traction, but my screenwriting was improving so I kept going. I invited my actor friend Paul Van Scott (who had no prior screenplay experience) to write “William” with me, which paid off because he not only has great story instincts, he was integral in creating our “killer” ending.
Paul: I've always enjoyed films and always seem to have ideas swirling around in my head.
Q5: What intrigues you the most about writing and storytelling? (Is it characterization, plot, etc?)
Greg: It’s a creative outlet. I’m a very imaginative person, so screenwriting is a fun and challenging way to get what’s inside my brain outside so others can see it. I’ve produced several award-winning short films based on my scripts, which is fun to do, but I don’t make money doing it. I just enjoy the process as well as introducing new people to filmmaking.
Paul: I like to keep people guessing. They will always be engaged if they don't know where the story is going next.
Q6: Do you have any screenwriting/film influences or people you look up to?
Greg: James Cameron writes the most articulate, beautifully crafted scripts, and produces the most intricately detailed films. I’d be thrilled to be 1/10th as smart and capable as he is. Spielberg is another huge influence. No one knows how to convey wonder and awe like Steven.
Paul: Greg St. Pierre and also the late John Hughes. He could take the simplest of plots and make something compelling out of them.
Q7: What's your process for creating script concepts?
Greg: I’ve still got plenty of inner child left, so everywhere I look I see story potential. I don’t hunt for concepts, they’re flying at me constantly. Friends have also suggested great concepts which I’ve used.
Q8: What is the single best piece of advice you can give to aspiring screenwriters?
Greg: Read professional screenplays. Everything you need to know about creating characters, building a plot, concise writing, subtext and professional formatting is in those scripts. And as an added bonus you can absorb different styles and talents!
Paul: Don't ever give up because you think you're not doing it like everyone else, that's exactly what you want to be doing.
Q9: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
Greg: I hope to produce “William” at some point, but finding a suitable location has proven difficult. I also have a funny Star Wars fan film in the works.
Paul: I've been mostly on the acting side of things the last couple of years.
Q10: Where can people find out more about your work?
Greg: I’m on IMDb, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
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