Writer Interview – Allen Ivers (Part II)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Writer Interviews | 0 comments

In the follow up to the worldwide phenomenon that was Allen Ivers interview Part I, we bring you Allen Ivers Revisited.

Or Allen Ivers Strikes Back

Or Allen Ivers with a Vengeance…

Or 2 Allen 2 Ivers.

GRANDPA HANK: Describe your favorite project.

ALLEN IVERS: My favorite project is my White Whale, a script called Possession about an ordinary guy fighting against the sarcastic, sinister demon that’s taken hold of him. I’ve been writing it for going on seven years. I’ll bury it as a dead idea, and sixteen months later, when looking for something new, a thought occurs – I should resurrect that.

It’s had many titles, and like much of my work, has suffered through a multitude of iterations. Not revisions, iterations. Sometimes, whole genre shifts. If you tracked each draft, you could see the DNA of my changes, but if you compared the ends of the chain – they are two completely different projects.

GH: Is this your most successful project?

AI: It is definitely not my most successful project, although my most successful project to date shares similar traits – namely, the variety of versions. It began as a “How I Met Your Mother” knock-off, then became my thesis, (with a more “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” flair) which turned into a webseries, and now it’s back to a half-hour show with a “Chuck”/”Burn Notice” kind of feel.

I can’t say too much about it, as it’s still an ongoing monster. I’m working with a colleague on it, and we plan to shop it in the near future. Several companies have already expressed interest, and I’ve got my fingers crossed harder than I care to think about.

GH: What was the story behind this particular project? How did it come together?

AI: The story here comes largely from my manager. I re-wrote the project and filmed it at UC-Riverside, largely to prove our writing program could in fact double as a full-blown film school. It was a statement, a flag in the ground. While I was proud of what I did, I also learned many things about my writing style during filming. In other words – it’s funny, but for the love of God, move the plot along.

It was my manager who fell in love with the raw concept, and urged me to rewrite it. She called it my “Family Guy.” That put more stress on me than I thought it would, so we set out to make it. But it was a quirky story originating from a rather dark concept with some dark content matter, so I thought it was going to need a primer – something to prove it could work. So the webseries concept was born. I wrote the script, even met with a few potential directors, all who liked the project.

It was my current collaborator, whose name I’ll keep under wraps for now, who suggested it didn’t need the primer if the half-hour show had a few minor tweaks. A few major tweaks later, and I had a draft I was very confident in. And after some slight polishes, we’re gonna fire up the rockets and see what happens here in the near future. I assume at that point, I’ll be drinking heavily and trying to control my blood pressure.

GH: And now a random prompt. Finish this sentence however you’d like.

“Holy crap, that bear is…..”

AI: Jack couldn’t even finish the sentence, but we all knew what his quiet hissing inferred. The half-ton wall of dense muscle, wiry fur, and yellowed teeth loomed over the camp, standing right on top of the dead campfire. Faint wisps of smoke caught the moonlight, a glowing backdrop against the creature’s eight-foot height. It didn’t growl, it didn’t roar, it didn’t whisper. And neither did the forest as we all held our breath, too scared to reboot our collective pulses.

“It’s just….” Jack, breathless, tried to express some part of his shock, like he could verbalize it right out of his body. The bear cocked its head, focus shifting to the one who would break this somehow solemn silence.

I swallowed, trying to wet my parched mouth. I whispered to Jack, but the words of warning couldn’t escape my throat. Don’t run.

Jack’s hands were shaking. I don’t know if he heard me or whether he was simply too scared to do anything else, but he stood his ground, eye to eye with an animal that could cleave his head from his shoulders with only a casual effort. It peered at him, two eyes flashing with reflecting light. Jack’s lips moved, but this time, not a sound. His voice stolen.

I stepped forward. Not far, maybe half a foot. But the dirt rustled at my feet.

And the bear turned, slumping down onto all fours, and sauntered off. Like it had a bad case of the Mondays and just didn’t have any more time to spare on our shit. It just left, one lumbering step after another.

We didn’t so much catch our breath, as it caught up with us.

End of interview.

Thanks again to Allen for his time and the insightful answers. And also for answering the prompt with more than “Holy crap, that bear is brown,” or “Holy crap, that bear is pooping on a wolf.”

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