When his father dies, a small-time thief returns home and learns the family business—running a funeral home—includes guarding a Gateway to Hell. He’s not a great thief or a great son, but he’ll have to step up or there’ll be Hell to pay…literally, like, the apocalypse.
Narrator: Val Cole
Bernard: Shawn Devlin
Woman's Voice: Julie Sheppard
Get to know the writer:
1. What is your screenplay about?
"At Death's Door" is about a directionless guy who goes home for a funeral and finds out the family business (running the actual funeral home) also involves guarding a gateway to Hell...
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
It's a hodgepodge of all my favorite things, but mostly falls under Horror and Comedy, which are incidentally my most favorite genres.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
The script is EXTREMELY visual - from the world below the funeral home to the demons and entities that haunt it, everything is made to be seen. And hopefully, made to be seen on the biggest screen possible someday! The purpose of this script was to take all the things I love, and that I personally want to see in a movie, and make one big love letter to all things spooky. You know how Big Trouble in Little China feels like all Carpenter's interests combined with love in one movie. This is a boy who grew up idolizing that movie and attempting to do the same thing with his own interests and passions.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Ooooo. Tough question - I used to work at a video store and obsessively watching and re-watching movies is my number 1 hobby. I think "the Goonies" may take the win tied with "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."
Although, my family always rewatched the same movies each season (does every family do this?) I continue to do that to this day. The list grows, but the classics stay the same. So, we watched JAWS, the 'burbs, The Great Out Doors, What About Bob?, Back to the Beach, Summer Rental, One Crazy Summer...every summer. And Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Scrooged, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Die Hard, Ski Patrol, etc. every winter. And every Halloween...you get the idea. So, those numbers are juiced.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Many many years. The idea has existed as a kernel for over a decade. I slowly jotted down ideas and lore and world-building. I then spent a couple of years writing it as a pilot and then as a feature and then back to a longer pilot. So, I've been toiling for a while.
7. How many stories have you written?
Lots! My background is sketch and improv. I have a large amount of sketches online. Do those count as stories? I have three Features and three pilots right now that I'm proud of and show people. You know, ones that *could* be considered done, even though nothing ever feels totally finished. But I do lots of live shows so there's always new stuff being written and performed and my short film "Spirits" is currently doing its festival run!
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
Got to break down questions like this - Best song? Under Pressure - Queen. Favorite song - Someday I Suppose by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Most listened to song of my entire life? Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins or quite possibly, if I'm being honest, "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid soundtrack. Possibly.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
When you work on things for yourself or on spec, it can be hard to stay motivated. If no one is asking for a particular script, it's hard to set deadlines and push through writer's block, self-doubt, and even laziness. But it can be done! And if you can quiet the demons for any length of time and get to "the End", it's always worth it.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Big haunted house guy over here. And I mean 'buy a ticket and go to a haunted house experience' - not traveling the world visiting actual haunted sites (which I also occasionally do). Halloween Horror Nights at Universal is my most favorite event of the year and I put on a big Halloween Comedy Show every year. So, I guess Halloween. I'm passionate about Halloween. (that answer will come as a surprise to approximately no one that knows me)
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
FilmFreeway is easy to use and wildly helpful to find festivals and submit your scripts and shorts. It's a little too easy sometimes - it's easy to drop a ton of money submitting to the thousands of festivals who have a final due date that you just *can't* miss. And not all festivals are...worth...it?
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Love this festival though! It's been extremely responsive and filmmaker/writer friendly. The table read prize is unique and fun and it's tangible which makes a huge difference. The notes on my script were spot on and the love it's been shown has been a real motivator for me personally. We all need someone to vouch for our work and when it happens, when someone reads what you wrote and *gets* it, it can make a huge difference. So...Thanks.