We recently spoke with Film Connection student Arronn Lepperman, who just wrapped shooting of his full length horror film Into the Haunt, and who has not one, but two completed screenplays to his credit. During his screenwriting training with Film Connection mentor Ron Peterson (Crossroads Entertainment), he learned the process of screenwriting and the 4 Act Structure in which Ron teaches students how each successive act hinges on the one that came before it, something even advanced screenwriters lose sight of (even those with an Oscar win to their name).
What got you interested in filmmaking and writing in the first place?
“I’ve always been able to entertain myself by telling stories ever since I was really young and I just found I had a fascination with movies and wanting to offer something different, something we haven’t seen before, see if any of it would be good, you know, the stuff that scares me, the stuff that makes me laugh, the stuff that makes me cry, I wondered if that would have the same effect on other people.”
What was it like training with Ron Peterson as your screenwriting mentor?
“Ron was unbelievable. We talked for two whole sessions with him teaching me and talking to me about the approach to screenwriting, and that was amazing.
Besides Into the Haunt, the full length feature you just shot in 16 days, you also have another screenplay to your name.
“That one would have a higher budget, not extremely high but just not one I could make right now…It would have cost more than the $3,000 that I had for this film. But absolutely, that is a film that I definitely want to do. It’s one of my babies. This film, I definitely love the film I made, but it’s not an idea that I’ve had for years. So this next one I’m very excited about.”
What can you tell us about that screenplay?
“It’s kind of a mashup of drama and fantasy. It’s about a young man who’s been friends with this girl all his life. He knows she’s kind of mysterious but then he finds out that actually, she’s not real.”
Making sure that what’s in your screenplay translates to the big screen can be challenging, even for seasoned filmmakers. What’s your advice?
“Translating from what I have in my head to the scene and to the film itself, and make sure that everybody’s still on the same page, it is more of a difficult thing to do. Before you make a film, everything does kind of seem easy, like, ‘Oh yeah, you just write a script and they’ll say the lines, and then you wrote it and they’ll say it, and that’s how it’ll come to pass.’ But it’s definitely not that way. It’s definitely a process. It’s something that has to be molded and shaped into what your original vision for that scene is and for the film altogether.”
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