screenwriter to watch
Scooter Corkle is a writer/director based in Vancouver whose feature film Hollow In The Land starring Dianna Agron (Glee, Novitiate) released theatrically in 2017 across Canada, the USA, and internationally. Scooter is represented by CAA and Grandview Management respectively, and it is his real name.
How did you break in?
The industry up here in Vancouver is a service industry mainly for US productions coming North, which means a ton of work for technicians (of which I was) but not so much for content creators, so you have to make your own opportunities. I got my start by getting started so to speak. I just wrote a screenplay, then threw it out, and then wrote another and another until I liked what I was saying. Eventually some insane person (not actually insane) agreed to pay me for it (which seemed insane).
Hollow In The Land, Pour Retourner, Chloe and Attie
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
I think the biggest lesson that I’m still learning is that you won’t know how to crack a story right away, or maybe even a year into it, but if you spend the time, engage with the process and listen to feedback, you will get somewhere. Our culture has become results oriented, so it’s difficult to enjoy the journey sometimes. Also that you will be wrong, that the masterpiece is a fable, and that killing your babies gets easier but will never be truly easy. #filmtermsthatsoundhorrific
What has been your hardest scene to write?
Hollow In The Land was the most difficult screenplay I’ve ever (re)written. The experience of financing the film led to heated disagreements on the story direction, and truly never relented even through production. Arguing for your work, constantly defending what you put on the page is incredibly trying as you can imagine but I was able to lean on our producing team for support with both creative solutions for rewriting, as well as defending the vision we all shared. A good support team makes all the difference, they make the experience worth it, and they give you the runway to do your best work. I am indebted to them.
What do you feel was your turning point?
I wish I had a cool story here! But I can’t say that I do. My career is built of thousands of small adjustments and challenges, building to something I’m yet to understand. I wrote and directed my first feature film, that’s a big career moment to be sure, but it’s not like it just arrives one day it’s been 4 years of work to get it to this point. I can only create opportunity and hope it sticks. My folks did name me Scooter though, that’s a pretty big turning point I guess – changing from baby to moped by the stroke of a pen.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, a screenplay I wrote called Chloe and Attie is being packaged and I’m hoping we photograph later this year. I’m really proud of that script. I’ve been with it for over 8 years now, as it’s based on my 2009 horror short of the same name. I’m also writing something new, a sort of fairytale film that leans into the horror genre, current age, dealing with our obsession with fame. Haven’t cracked it yet, but wading through the process to get there. It’s changed a lot over the last year.
What are your favorite movies?
There are so many! Punch Drunk Love is a film I obsess over but would never make; Ace In The Hole is a masterclass in character I want to sit in on; Children Of Men is an experience I want every time I’m in a cinema; Audition is a midpoint you’ll seldom get away with anymore; Dumplings is a genre bender at its most appealing; Old Boy is why you never remake radness; Let The Right One In is cinema I hope to emulate; and Ravenous is my deserted island film (to keep me from eating myself or others?). Does that punctuation work? I’m all ideas no grammar.
Who are your favorite screenwriters?
My writing style emulates the Walter Hill ‘haiku’ style, so he’s a kind of mentor I really enjoy reading – straight down the page! Shane Black’s scripts are so fun and visual, I think screenwriters sometimes forget about style when putting words on the page – which some would argue isn’t important, to which I would disagree. Sorkin is another really engaging read, the Coen’s are wow, Billy Wilder was much wow, and Charlie Kaufman runs circles around everyone. I know those are the famous names but… well I have no ‘but’ in this instance.
What is your most Memorable AFF Moment?
Similar to my own journey, my memorable moment at Austin was actually a series of moments. I can’t say that I’ve been to a more filmmaker focused festival anywhere. I met (and drank with) so many fascinating artists, was immersed in a relentless amount of interesting panel discussions – even speaking on one – and oh god the parties. For those who sat in the room and listened to Shane Black and Walter Hill discuss the community we are all a part of, the struggles and the fights we all meet together, and how none of us are alone in this, the words were quite the inspiration. And nightmarish actually, knowing the pain never stops even at their level… Come to think of it, yeah no, it was mainly fear, that feeling was fear.