– Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett, writer of Denny Delivers (2008 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest finalist). Sean and Charlotte went on to write and direct the indie dramedy Virgin Alexander and are actively developing new feature films.
How long have you been writing screenplays? Did your writing start with scripts, fiction. . . ?
We started writing full length scripts in 2004 and have been writing as a team since 2005.
Were either of you “formally” trained in film and screenwriting (i.e. through a university film program, extension classes, etc.), or were you more or less self-taught?
We actually met at our first day orientation at NYU. We both transferred into the undergrad film program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and immediately began working on each other’s short films. Our senior year we wrote a short together that Charlotte directed.
What do you think is the best way to go about becoming a professional screenwriter?
Write every day. That’s what helped us the most. It can be tough to balance that with a day job, but your day job shouldn’t be taking over your life. While living in L.A. I worked in the machine room at a company that made movie trailers. Because I was behind a locked door with high tech equipment I convinced others that my job was really complicated so they left me alone. The truth is I only had to burn copies of DVDs so I had plenty of free time to write. At the same time, Charlotte was working as a dog walker so in between her appointments we would constantly be talking and emailing each other scenes. That’s how we wrote most of Denny Delivers.
Tell us about your 2009 Script Pipeline Finalist script, Denny Delivers. What did the placing in the contest do for you?
Denny Delivers is an action comedy/family drama. It’s about a 57 year old, recently fired mailman who takes an overnight delivery job from the mob when his daughter forces him to start paying rent. [The script] being a 2009 Script Pipeline Finalist was huge. After the competition we were contacted by a producer and we pitched him our script, Virgin Alexander. He read it, loved it, and we last week we wrapped principal photography.
So Virgin Alexander goes into production soon. How did that come about? Who’s directing? The cast? The story?
At the end of December 2009 we pitched Virgin Alexander to our producer, Houston Hill. He read it over New Year’s, and by January 5th we were putting together our business proposal. When Charlotte and I pitched Virgin Alexander we were always going to direct it. Luckily Houston loved our vision for the film.
The film is about Alexander, a 26 year old scrap hauler, who is about to be evicted. In a last ditch effort to save his house, he turns it into a brothel—even though he has never had sex before.
The film stars Rick Faugno (Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys), Paige Howard (Adventureland), Mika Boorem (John Carpenter’s The Ward and Blue Crush), David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight), and Bronson Pinchot (Perfect Strangers and True Romance).
How does a young filmmaker actually get their film made, from your perspective? What needs to happen? Does genre matter?
A great script. This was a very low budget film. It was made under the Screen Actor’s Guild Ultra Low Budget guidelines, so no one was doing it for money. Most of our cast and crew probably lost money making this movie, but they all loved the script and wanted to be a part of it. It was the script that opened all the doors for us. From our producer, to our investors, to our cast and crew, without a great script nothing else matters.
What’s next after Virgin Alexander?
Months of editing. But while we are editing we also have some investors interested in Denny Delivers, and we are writing a new script. Now that the shoot is over, it’s time to get back to work and write every day.