Jerry Sampson has two screenplays (Motel and The Killing Moon) as finalists for the 2018 festival season, and here she is talking about her screenplay Motel.
What was your inspiration behind the story?
I have always been driven by a little bit of darkness, I am fascinated by the shadows that we hide behind in our minds that are influenced and shaped by our past. My vision for "MOTEL" began with the image of a young girl dancing to T-Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" as her parents fought violently in the next room over. From there I really contemplated the affect of abuse on the mind, and the ways that the wiring in the brain is altered after such trauma. I also really wanted to present my female lead as real as possible in this world of uncertainties that I created. Charlie is not a hero but also not a villain. Her monsters are in her head and they force themselves out in violent ways, but it was important to me to keep the lines blurred within the story and not spell everything out too clearly for my audience. In the end I was so happy with the story as it unraveled, and I hope that readers will embrace the darkness of the world I created.
What was the deciding factor in creating Motel?
When I was 18 years old I took a road trip by myself. I had a manual typewriter and a pack of cigarettes and I wrote my first screenplay on the road. The last day of my trip I checked in to a motel in Santa Cruz, a very cheap motel with paper thin walls. In the middle of the night I was awoken by voices coming from the room next to mine, loud and violent voices that told a story that was truly terrifying. I heard things that typically remained in the shadows and darkness, but that night flooded my room and my mind. That night has never left me, and formed itself over the years into the world of "MOTEL".
What was the hardest part of your writing process?
The writing process for "MOTEL" was stretched out over 14 years, the idea slowly shaped itself but once I sat down to write it, it came quickly. Once down on paper, the rewrite was a real process, difficult and so often frustrating, but the story needed to be released from me, and I am so happy that I persisted and am proud of the finished product!
Do you have advise for penning writers?
Write. No matter what, write. When your brain feels blank, when the weight of your story's world feel too heavy to bear, when you'd rather do anything else but...simply write. At least a lil' bit, at least a paragraph, a couple of lines of dialogue, a scene, a character profile. As difficult as it is when it seems that no one will ever read your work, that no one will understand your vision or hear your voice, just write.
Any future projects you wish to share?
I am currently working on a script that revolves around a young girl in the foster care system. It is a moving drama that explores the idea of nature versus nurture, and the bonds that are formed outside of our biological families.
You can purchase the Motel screenplay via the link below.