Joseph Leone Talks To Us Again About Dire Consequences!
Joseph Leone's earlier screenplay, Coop, had won our hearts and prize for Best Screenplay in the last season. We were pleased to see him submitting again in the current season. This time, the genre is absolutely different though, a stark contrast of the heart-wrenching beautiful story he had submitted to us earlier. This shows Leone's versatility and his ability to work on different subjects. We spoke to him again on his new work, Dire Consequences.
After hour : Your two screenplays, Coop and Dire Consequences are total opposites in terms of content and feel. How do you choose subjects for your work?
Joseph : I simply write stories that move me, emotionally. I do not find myself, only writing in any particular genre. That may work fine for others, but not for me.
Short Screenplay - Dire Consequences was essentially a script about workplace violence. However, I believe that this story is much deeper than simply a tragic set of circumstances that lead to horrific ending. The attempt of the project is to understand the psychology or the events that lead up to such horrific tragedies. Not to take any responsibility away from the Assailant/Gunman, but this story also depicts how our actions can contribute to such events. Additionally, the screenplay does not take a pro-gun or anti-gun stance. It is not my goal to make that kind of statement in the piece. The Project was originally conceived as a possible TV Pilot. The short screenplay would essentially be the "Teaser" opening. The rest of the Pilot would follow the Lead Character (Greg) - two years after this shocking incident, as he tries to make sense of the tragedy, and redeem himself. Greg would partner with a Psychologist who specializes in PTSD and similar ailments. Together, they would help Survivors of related calamities, and attempt to head off disastrous events, such as this, from occurring in the first place. This may or may not have a future as a TV Pilot, but that was origin of the idea, by which the story came from.
After Hour : Dire Consequences have strong characters. You had mentioned in an earlier interview with us that you put utmost care in building strong characters. What are the aspects you pay attention to while developing a character for your script?
Joseph : It may be best to reiterate, what I previously conveyed regarding building strong character(s). Character development is #1 for me. I need to know - How they talk? Do they favor certain words or phrases? What is the sound of their voice? Is there an accent, a stutter? Are they comfortable in group settings or do they shy away from the spotlight? Do they have a limp or a nervous tick? What is their personal, family history? Where do they come from? Were they an orphan? What did the character's mother or father do for a living? What early events shaped their personality? Do they have siblings? Are they close to the family? Was the family loving, abusive or dysfunctional? What influenced the character's career decisions, romantic or love choices? What do they look like? What do they act like? Split personality? Extrovert? Introvert? What motivates your character? What are their passions, if any? Do they have long term or short term goals? Do they feel accomplished or defeated in life? Any defects (physical or mental)? Are they lazy, competitive, aggressive, carefree, reserved? Last, but not least, what is a character thinking? Does their inner voice become an exterior voice? Do they worry? Are they compulsive? Are they strict and compliant? Without character, there is no worthwhile story. What happens in the story is meaningless without an audience's connection to character.
After Hour : Name one most difficult thing and one most enjoyable thing about screenplay writing.
Joseph : Creating a solid treatment, which can truly be used as a guide, prior to writing the actual Screenplay. This was previously, very difficult for me. In the past, I would get this idea, and was so anxious to begin writing it. But, I have come to discover, that the treatment is like the Blueprints for a Builder. You can't build anything without a solid foundation. The treatment is the foundation for any great script.
After Hour : In what ways do you strengthen your writing? Do you read extensively?
Joseph : 1) I continue to write new stories. Just the mere act of writing helps me to improve as a Writer. 2) I do enjoy a good read. I find myself spending more time these days reading some of my favorite screenplays. It is a great opportunity to grow as a Filmmaker, and not just a Writer. I like to put myself in the mindset of a Director, and see how they interpret a powerful screenplay on screen. How they express what a Writer is not only showing on paper, but what the Writer was most likely feeling, emotionally
After Hour : How are you enjoying this journey as a screenplay writer?
Joseph : The journey has been great, but it is not yet over. I started writing about 2 years ago on (03/13/2018), and haven't stopped since. I tell others, that I'll keep writing, until I can write no more.