I started writing the screenplay with Michael and Bubba (co-writers) on Skype during our last year of college. We went to high school together, and we had always planned to write and shoot a feature after we graduated. There wasn’t a direct inspiration for the film, though there were many life experiences we had in high school that contributed to some of the characters and elements of the story.
The film starts out sweet and then it sorts of crazy. What challenges did you face writing the film?
We were walking a fine line – the Clinger universe is a heightened version of reality. Characters (except Fern) don’t really behave like normal people – they are caricatures. Making sure these absurdist elements were present, while still keeping the story relatable was sometimes a challenge. The comedy couldn’t come at the expense of the story.
What are some of your next projects you are working on?
We are in post-production on a second feature, The Cold Descent, starring Tony Todd, Michael Ecklund, and Lance Henricksen. I co-wrote and shot this feature in January 2015. Currently I work at Clinger Digital, our production company, where I develop and produce commercials and branded content.
Who inspires you personally and professionally?
Personally, I am inspired by my grandparents. They are always active, learning, and engaged with the world around them. Professionally, I am inspired by women in film – Julie Taymor, Reed Morano, Ellen Kuras.
Do you feel it’s difficult to write the young adult/teen Horror films with everything changing so much? Trends, styles, hair etc.
I don’t think so. First love is a universal, as are many of the teen experiences. It’s all about capturing those universal elements.
What would you like to have the viewers take away from the film?
Love is hard – especially first love. When you’re young, it’s hard to look into the future, but it’s important for people not to lose themselves in a relationship.
What is the best and worst thing about writing for you?
Best: I love the collaborative experience I have with my writing team. Bouncing ideas off each other and brainstorming is a world of fun.
Worst: Trying to get characters to say exactly what they mean, without saying what they mean. Keeping dialogue realistic, full of life, and not overly expositional – that’s always a challenge.
“Clinger” has a little bit of everything. Do you feel that is what goes on when writers collaborate?
I think so. We each bring a diverse set of life experiences to the table, and I’m sure they all emerge when we write together.
Who are some of your favorite writers/authors?
Jonathan Safran Foer, Milan Kundera, Lois Lowry.
What advice would you offer to fellow and upcoming writers?
Find a story that speaks to you. Don’t try to tell a story that you can’t get excited about.