THRILLER Festival 1st Scene: AS SCARED AS YOU, by Jesse Dorian (interview)
1ST SCENE SCREENPLAY READINGS • Thriller
A twenty-something male “drifter” antihero, and a young blind woman become caged prisoners at a bed and breakfast in small-town northern California, where the drifter’s violent, malignant actions prior, push a group of malicious locals-- along with their two animalistic, basement-held zombified residents, dressed as a dog and a clown-- to seek vengeance.
Narration: Val Cole
Brad: Sean Ballantyne
Motel Desk Woman/Young Woman: Kyana Teresa
Get to know the screenwriter:
1. What is your screenplay about?
It’s about two social misfits, Brad and Alexis, who inadvertently meet and make a real connection, despite one of them being a toxic male with a fetish for violently and sexually assaulting women. Ironically, the bed and breakfast that these two social misfits are staying at contains even darker secrets than the one Brad is harboring.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Suspense/Thriller, Graphic Horror, Dark Comedy, Drama, Dark Romance
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Because there’s a mainstream audience for it.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I wrote the first draft in about a month and a half back in 2013. Then, I pretty much forgot all about it for 8 years. Eventually, I realized in 2021 that it actually had a lot of potential… and so then I heavily revised/rewrote it that same year over the span of about 2 weeks.
7. How many stories have you written?
Somewhere between 15 and 20. Maybe more.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
According to the play count on my 15 year-old iTunes account, “Various Methods Of Escape” by Nine Inch Nails
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
A satisfying ending. Usually when I’m writing a screenplay, I pretty much have the ending figured out before I get there. This time, I didn’t. And it shows. Especially, in-comparison to my other completed screenplays. But hey, it’s still an ending.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
Well, I’ve willingly spent a fortune on there in the past 6 months… I think that means they’re doing a lot of things right. I’m on there for quite a few hours, every single week. So my experiences on FilmFreeway are all mostly positive.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
[Laughs] Okay, so up until about a year ago, I was pretty ashamed of this story. And I was convinced that — EVERYBODY was going to absolutely fucking hate this screenplay, “As Scared As You.”
It wasn’t until my best friend read it about a year ago, and he was very vocal about how compelling he found it all to be, and he was genuinely enthusiastic about this script on a level that — he was noticeably more enthusiastic towards “As Scared As You,” much more than he had been with my other screenplays that he had read up to that point. And so it just made me reconsider that maybe this story has even more reach than I had originally thought it might have.
I’ve already lost track of exactly which draft the Thriller/Suspense Festival currently has. I’ve updated and corrected this script probably about two dozen times in the past 6 months, and all I know is that the most current one is not the same one that I submitted into the festival, in addition to all of the other notes I’ve received from so many other festivals.
Anyway, I went back and looked at my initial feedback for “As Scared As You,” and with the exception of a few grammatical errors/formatting issues… I generally have to shrug off a lot of the narrative criticisms from almost all judges at this point because — and with the assistance of FilmFreeway — “As Scared As You” has been officially selected 85 times, and that’s including the 31 awards that it’s already won, with results from many other festivals still pending.
I have to agree to disagree with judges a lot, regarding “As Scared As You.” There are things in the script that they want explained, that I don’t believe need to be explained, and so on and so forth. Challenging the audience isn’t necessarily on my agenda but — I’m perfectly comfortable challenging the audience.
“As Scared As You” is the kind of screenplay where — you’re on board, or you’re not.
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