TE-Zine TIME OUT with RYNE DOUGLAS PEARSON!
If there is one thing we authors love, it is gaining insight into the thought processes and procedures one must endure in order to have an article, book or film script published! When horror writer and roving reporter, Draven Ames asked TE-Zine if we’d commission an interview with the script writer of ‘Knowing’ and ‘Mercury Rising’, we naturally said ‘Go get it!’. And he did. In this TE-Zine exclusive we get the scoop on Ryne Douglas Pearson; the ‘how to’ behind the successful launch of his acclaimed film “Knowing“, the rigours and processes of film script writing, his books and his newest, most secret works in progress!
Can you describe how it felt to watch your story play out on the big screen for the first time?
“Knowing” was the second time that’s happened. “Mercury Rising” was the first, and it’s always a thrill. But I tend to get nervous seeing my name up there when others are around.
When you commenced writing Knowing, what had you previously written?
I sold Knowing as a pitch before writing it. Prior to that I’d published five novels, two of which were purchased for film. ‘Simple Simon’ was made into the Bruce Willis film ‘Mercury Rising’, and my thriller ‘Top Ten’ was purchased by Warner Brothers.
Can you tell us more about your books?
I write mainly thriller/mystery/suspense stuff, with some forays into horror and sci-fi. I’m a science fiction nut at heart.
Do you prefer to write novels or screenplays?
Novels. I’m in total control there.
How long did it take you to write “Knowing“?
My initial draft was about 8 weeks. Many drafts after that based on notes. Probably six months in all, over a two year span.
How many drafts did you have? Any content changes from up high? I think I did five or six drafts based upon notes from producers, the first director we had, etc…
How long did it take, from when you finished writing it, for them to buy the script and start filming?
It was purchased as a pitch. I then wrote the script. That was in 2000-2001. Filming was in 2008. So, a glacially fast 8 years.
What lessons can you pass down to those who are new to script writing?
It’s not magic. Sit your butt down and write. But you should also read plenty of current scripts that have been sold/produced.
What are the biggest ‘don’t do’s’ for first-time screenwriters?
Don’t fall in love with what you’ve written. If it is sold, it WILL change, either at your hand or someone else’s.
What sparked this very creative film script idea?
Not sure. It had been in my idea notebook for five years or so before I casually mentioned it to my managers.
How did you get your screenplay read by the right people?
My agents and managers handle all of that in regards to film. They know who needs/wants what at any given time.
Was the movie-making experience as much fun as you had expected?
I try to stay removed from the actual film-making process. There’s not a lot of writing going on then, that and that it tends to be frenetic.
So you didn’t go on set much?
What was the worst part of the movie making experience?
I don’t really look at it that way. It’s a process. Just like any job. Some things are unpleasant but you have to do them.
Did you and the director ever butt heads?
I never met the director, which is fairly common in a project that has a long gestation and other writers involved.
How happy were you with the casting of Knowing?
Very. I think Alex Proyas did a wonderful job all around.
Do you think that is how the world will really end?
Oddly enough, something similar is probably most likely, with sun expanding and cooking us. Hopefully we’ll be someplace far away by then.
What are your current projects? Can’t say on the screenwriting side. On the novel side, I will have three new books out this year and several short stories. One book will be under a pseudonym, so you’ll never know it was me 🙂
Ryne Douglas Pearson’s Website:
Interview content © Draven Ames and Ryne Pearson. First rights, TE-Zine, 2011.