Script : Faux Pedro
Writer : David Juarez
Tell us about the origin of your story. Did it take you a long time writing the screenplay or was it done in very little time?
– Well, I started writing this screenplay around the end of February. It all started in January. I tried to come up with a story but nothing was coming up. At first I thought I was about to get a good story coming and I was finally ready to write it down but then I started to second guess and the feeling in my gut was very doubtful. In my mind, it was like: “Is this good?” “Does this make sense?” “Am I doing this right?” etc. My writer’s block was so bad I started to drink more frequently than usual, sleeping/napping more, isolating myself a lot. I was just more depressed than I ever was. I felt like I lost my touch and all the other screenplays I wrote were based out of luck. So, I ended up scrapping the story and just gave up. I emailed my screenwriting teacher Elizabeth Aiossa about my problems and she said that I was suffering from Imposter Syndrome and I should take a break from writing. I was shocked when she told me that because I never knew that would happen. I thought it was just a bad case of writer’s block but at the same time I did self doubt myself that I don’t have it in me anymore. So, I took a break until around the third week of February. I saw the teaser from FX’s Atlanta season 3 (which I’m a big fan of the show) and this eerie song from it and it went like “It’s after the end of the world, don’t you know that yet?” is what got me motivated a little.Then I started thinking what goes well with this eerie feeling… and then BOOM! My experience with Imposter Syndrome. And that’s how Faux Pedro was made. The screenplay surprisingly didn’t take me that long to finish. It took me like three to four days to complete it, then send it to get it critiqued, and then re-polish it, then send it out. So, yeah. That’s the story.
Comment on the power of a good story. A story told impeccably with profound facets ready to be explored by curious minds.
– To have the power of a good story; What does a completed movie need? An audience. The audience are the real judges and need to know if it’s good. And who is the audience? We are. If you want to write good stories, you need to be that audience to play it out and see if it’s good. That’s how I see power of a good story
Name a few directors and movies that you’ve grown up watching and admiring over the years.
– When I was a child, I would watch Desperado, or Halloween, or Blood In, Blood Out, or like cheesy action B-movies with my dad or my brothers. It was entertaining but I never got into movies until I was like 11 or 12 years old when I first watched Saving Private Ryan and it just blew me away; it’s also one of my favorite movies too. So, I started to watch other movies like: Colors(1988), Life(1999),Pulp Fiction(1994), Platoon(1986), Scarface(1983) and so on. I have a lot of favorites too, including of course Saving Private Ryan(1998), The Warriors(1979), Twister(1996), Blood In, Blood Out (1993) and those are just a few of my favorties. Directors I admire are Robert Rodriguez, Jordan Peele, John Carpenter, John Singleton, The Coen Brothers, Martin Scorcese , Takeshi Kitano, and the director I most admire is Quentin Tarantino.
Did you draw inspiration from a classic Coen Brothers venture, Barton Fink?
– Surprisingly, no. I’ve seen the movie before but I’ve never drawn inspiration from it nor has it came to mind. I think this is my own version of Barton Fink by experience.
How important do you think is depth in a screenplay?
– I think it all depends on how the writer feels or what the writer wants you to think. I think it’s important for me. Sometimes I’ll make the depth too deep to the point that the reader has to figure it out.
How would you separate character driven plots and story driven plots? When and where (if at all) do they come together? Where would put your story?
– Well for me, I think it depends on what I would add first. I mostly would do the character plot first in order to understand where the story goes and then the story to top it off. The problem with me is that I only focus on the character plots so much that I don’t add the story plots which would throw the reader off because in my mind, characters actions are more important than stories and of course that’s not the point.
The premise would remind one of a certain atmosphere in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Double. A sense of nausea creeps in. Do you think it can seen as a realistic cul de sac? A point of no return.
– Well, I never read the novel so it’s unsure for me but I see what you’re talking about. I believe it would be because this is where the character’s life would be. A writer and always would be a writer.
How real is the occurence of an existential crisis centred perhaps around Writer’s block?
– I would say real but not as crazy as in the screenplay. When someone is trying too hard to get a good story, they start questioning everything; not only the screenplay but themselves as a writer to the point that they become depressed and isolated. I mean that’s how I felt.
How do you envisage the transition from the page to the screen? How do you see the story being told?
– Wow. Let’s see… I guess I would see the story told in a Jordan Peele type of way if you understand what I mean like Get Out or Us. Pretty much funny but also terrifying.
Would you create a certain sense of atmospheric horror around the narrative? Why or why not?
– I would say yes because in this story the main character is seeing this unusual masked man and then enters this eerie place later on. Everything he sees is unusual and it’s because of his own conscience.
You have also hinted at loneliness in the story. Do you think it is a regular occurrence for artists. Do you think it is natural for a creator to disappear into oblivion quite often forcing them to construct potent walls around people?
– I believe so. I hear stories from other writers that sometimes they have to isolate themselves to write better. I mean I isolated myself just to come up with a story. I wouldn’t say disappear here but more like go into hiding from distractions.