Logline: A young man falls in love with an ecoterrorist only to discover their pasts are entwined.
Synopsis: Basil Pepper is not ‘the man’, he’s not a doer, or a fighter…or even much of a thinker. World events pass him by, ideology makes him sleepy, and the Prime Minister’s name eludes him. Delia Dengel is determined to take a stand, to succeed where generations have failed, and be the change she wants to see, even if she’ll always be hunted. Basil is smitten. It isn’t long before he begins to see the world through Delia’s eyes…
And that’s when the storm begins.
How far would you go to save the world?
This is based on a successful play I wrote and released in 2021. I wanted to tell a sexy mystery story that would capture young people's interest in the climate emergency, and highlight the social changes needed to save the planet.
The television adaptation is significantly reimagined and rewritten, based on the work of dramatist Dennis Potter who broke the fourth wall and used popular songs to underpin his work. A more contemporary example of this writing style would be the UK series 'The Landscapers' by Ed Sinclair, starring Olivia Coleman and David Thewlis.
The story is told over a series of interrogations as characters paint different pictures of the mysterious climate activist Delia Dengel and what she may be planning. Only in the final episode are Delia's true colours revealed.
Narration: Val Cole
Delia: Kyana Teresa
Bolton: Geoff Mays
Get to know the screenwriter:
1. What is your screenplay about?
Watchlist follows a young guy called Basil Pepper (there's a reason for that embarrassing name), who falls in love with an ecoterrorist, Delia, unaware that she has big plans for saving the world. It's like Romeo and Juliet if Juliet was extremely dangerous.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
I've always pitched it as a thriller, but people tell me it's cli-fi. Is cli-fi a thing?
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It shouldn't. It should be made into a TV series to cover all the twists and turns. Watchlist hits the major issues of this decade: environmental disaster, pandemics caused by humans interfering with nature, the rise of the surveillance state...
And it's sexy.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
I'd like to say The Crow but it's probably Gremlins 2. You could hire the VHS for two bucks when I was a kid, and I was obsessed with it.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I submitted the stage play for publication just before lockdown, and then watched as...the scary parts came true. It is only recently that I decided to turn the play into a TV pilot. There is a lot more to tell with this story.
(Shameless plug: you can buy the play here and see what Delia is really planning:
7. How many stories have you written?
Ever? Probably hundreds. I started writing bad Ghostbusters and Muppets fanfic when I was seven.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)
I couldn't possibly choose a song. It would most likely be something sung by Shirley Manson.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Finishing it wasn't hard. Convincing myself to take it out of the drawer and show people is always the hard part.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
The environment. Politics. Equality. I can be seen ranting on my balcony or at:
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?
FilmFreeway is a terrific platform for getting work out there!
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings
on the initial feedback you received?
I've entered multiple festivals, and the feedback always varies. Every reader has a slightly different perspective. With Watchlist, there's always the question of how much to reveal in the pilot. Do you let the audience know what motivates Delia? Or do you hold back? Getting that balance right has been the major focus of the feedback. I actually have three versions of the final scene.