Screenwriter and Director of the upcoming movie HOOKED, Allen Wolf has won multiple awards for both his screenwriting and novel writing. His feature film, In My Sleep, won ten festivals awards, played theatrically, and has been seen in over 70 countries. Allen’s screenwriting has won awards from over twenty different festivals and his debut novel also garnered multiple accolades. Allen graduated from New York University’s film school. His movies and writing have been enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
Allen will be teaching a screenwriting workshop for Epicwrite on October 27.
1.What got you interested in film?
I became interested in film as a child. I loved the original Star Wars movies so I started writing my own outer space epic when I was nine years old. I started making short films shortly afterward and always loved putting together stories for the screen. When I studied film at New York University, it was a dream come true. I got to learn from fantastic filmmakers and grow as an artist. You can read my complete story on my website at https://www.allen-wolf.com/meetallenwolf/.
2.You are both a novelist and a screenwriter. How do you approach the storytelling in a screenplay differently than in a novel?
The process between writing a screenplay and a novel are extremely different. With a screenplay, you’re creating the blueprints for a story. The full house won’t be built until the movie is actually made. With a novel, you’re creating the blueprint and building the house. In a movie, the performances of the actors and the visuals bring the story alive but with a novel you only have your words to do that.
3.How long does it take you to write a screenplay?
Once I have a treatment for the story and know the beginning, middle, and end, I try to write the first screenplay as quickly as possible because the real magic happens in the rewrites. So, I typically create the first draft of the screenplay in a few weeks but the tweaking of it will take months.
4.What is your biggest recommendation for writers with existing novels, who want to adapt them into screenplays?
My biggest recommendation is to know the essence of your story and what will be most engaging to an audience. In novels you get the benefit of getting inside a character’s head but in a screenplay you have to create moments that reveal the inner life of the characters. You have to be willing to cut out moments from your novel that you love so you can highlight the story that got you passionate to tell the story to begin with.
5.What do you recommend to a writer trying to choose the best medium for their story? What are some things to consider?
If your story is very visual and you think it would appeal to a wide audience, you might want to start writing it as a screenplay. I think it’s also a helpful way to figure out the basics of your story. When you’re writing a screenplay, you have to be very economical with your scenes so it’s a great place to start.
6.Tell us about the process of writing and producing Hooked. I know it was a LOT of work, because I was there for some of the production. (It was also really exciting!) Where did the idea come from, and what gave you the passion to follow through with it? What kind of research did you have to do? Anything else you can tell us?
I wrote, directed, and produced Hooked and those are three very big hats to wear on a production. Fortunately, I have been in those roles before so I was able to bring that experience to the set. With Hooked, we were working with a very, very low budget and many volunteers. So that meant I was often wearing hats beyond my core responsibilities. I was cooking breakfast for the cast and crew, buying props, securing locations. I knew we were working with very limited resources so I was fine with taking on a lot more than someone normally would for a movie. We shot at over 20 different locations and filmed 95 scenes in 18 days. It was a lot of work!
In January, I read several articles from filmmakers who talked about how we’re in an age where it’s possible to make a movie more than ever before because the cost of technology has gone down significantly. My last film had a budget of around a million dollars and so making a movie for next to nothing was a new experience for me. In some sense, it made it easier to make some decisions because we just didn’t have the money but that meant we had to be incredibly resourceful to film the story.
One of the things I did early on was change scenes to outdoor locations because the cost to film there was significantly lower than shooting in a location that would charge us a fee. As a result, we filmed in some very beautiful locations all over Seattle. We were also fortunate that many businesses and churches gave us spaces and resources for free. It was a huge blessing.
I’ve been editing the footage for a couple weeks now and I’m very happy with how everything has turned out. You can see more about the movie at www.hookedthemovie.com.