HISCOX FILMMAKER Q&A: DELINQUENT
What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film? Why did you want to tell this story?
My home state of Connecticut is depicted in Television and Film as the land of the wealthy and privileged: country clubs, yachts, and salmon colored polo shirts galore. Although many of these elements do exist, there is another side of Connecticut that is not often seen. It features blue-collar workers, troubled youth, and families living on the fringes. I was raised in Woodbury, a small town in Litchfield County that restricted commercial businesses from operating within its borders. Woodbury had a large disparity in its resident’s household income and over one hundred antique shops that lined the town’s “Main St.” I grew up in the rural part of town where my house shared a property with my father’s plant business. My experience living here allowed me to meet people from all walks of life: ranging from the ultra-wealthy couple landscaping their mansion to the struggling contractor who bounced checks all over town. We even had our property robbed several times. Once by a family member of a kid I went to school with.
I wanted to take our audience on an emotional roller coaster where they experience what it would truly be like for a teenager to be entrenched in this tense and dire situation. I’m excited to share my vision with the world and bring this thrilling, dark coming of age story to life.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
In our film Delinquent we represent a side of New England life and the people in these communities who are often overlooked and misrepresented in Hollywood films. The characters that make up the world of Delinquent are the people who I grew up with. My deep understanding of them adds nuance and dimension to the film. We want our audiences to empathize with characters they might otherwise dismiss in their daily lives. We shot our entire film in Connecticut, using a mix of professional actors and real people to create a sense of authenticity. All of these characters are representations of people who I grew up with so I can very much relate to the struggles and life situations in which they are entrenched in.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
During writing and production we paired down the story more and more to centrally focus it on our main character Joey’s journey. We did this for both monetary and story purposes. We knew by having a singular point of view we could accomplish our film more successfully and would eliminate unnecessary scenes that we would wind up trimming or cutting in the edit anyway.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during production?
The most courageous decision we made was to film in Connecticut during the month of the December with only three weeks of shooting and no margin for error. We were very fortunate that the weather was on our side and the snow held off, although we got copious amounts of rain.
Were there any risks that you faced during production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
One of our primary risks during production was the unpredictably of both weather and locations. We were finding locations while filming and the weather was constantly changing. Sometimes we had to rewrite and re-block scenes around a new location and also justify certain weather elements as we went.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
The visual style of our film was heavily influenced by the area in Connecticut in which we filmed. The dark, cold, feel. Lots of brown, gray, and very muted greens.
What risks did you take to tell your story?
We pulled so many personal favors to make this story come to life that if we didn’t pull it off it would have been really disappointing. So many people invested time, energy, and money into this and we knew there was no turning back once we started prep.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screenwriting or film producing?
Find a story you love. Write out a bad first draft. Get notes and feedback from the smartest people you know and really let them tear it apart. Make it better and then figure out when you want to shoot. Set a date. And then go do it. You can’t take no for an answer especially from yourself. It’s so much easier to not write or produce a film. Don’t give into that.