Hello there everyone.
I’m extremely excited to share with you all another fantastic interview that I have conducted with a screenwriter, producer, director, actress and author tonight (she is a lady who wears many hats and she wears all of them very well indeed).
I have had the utmost pleasure of chatting with none other than Lynne Alana Delaney, whose romantic comedy film “The Remake” has received many awards and award nominations and she has kindly given us some insight into her film and her scriptwriting processes.
Enjoy folks the show folks and keep smiling 🙂
Hi there Lynne, thank you for taking the time to join us today to discuss your scriptwriting experiences and share with us your creative process as a novelist, screenwriter and film director.
Let’s start with your novel “The Remake”, a Romantic Comedy about seizing relationship opportunities again later in life, which was produced by yourself as a commercial film in 2016, marking your screenwriting and directional debut. Can you tell us more about how the plot of this novel came about, along with the premise of your film itself? Also, is the plot of the book identical to what made it on to the big screen or did you change any particular focus of the story/characters for the film?
As odd as it sounds, unlike many of the projects swirling around Hollywood, The Remake actually started out as a concept for a screenplay before it morphed almost simultaneously into both a script and a novel. To understand why, I’ll probably need to throw things in reverse and give you a little background not only on myself, but on how Independent filmmaking has changed the structure of how Hollywood movie careers are created.
As life would have it, even though I started both writing and acting young, I wasn’t able to devote myself full time to my passions until middle age. Moving in the direction of my own remake, I guess you could say the theme of second chances stuck with me and inspired this light, heartfelt, romantic comedy.
Not unlike my own story, the couple in the book attempt to re-establish their own faded Hollywood careers later in life. But a contentious past personal relationship gets in the way when they are asked to star in a remake of a film they had done together as teens. They’re not the only ones looking for a second chance, however, as the director of the film within a film has a lot riding on this. He too, is trying to re-ignite his own flagging career and will go to great lengths to make sure that happens.
Having a large gap in my own history in the industry, I felt the need to make up for lost time. With digital photography and the boom of independent filmmaking, I knew I could not only write a very human story that people might enjoy seeing, but give myself a vehicle to be seen as a writer, director and actor at the same time. Being able to comment on not missing opportunities when they come around a second time was an obvious bonus.
As the characters in my screenplay began to take shape, I found myself creating backstories for them in my head that I eventually put down on paper. Initially, all I wanted was to be able to give the actors sufficient information so that their characters could have depth. Eventually, as they came alive on the page, I found I wanted everyone to know more about them and what had inspired their lives. Hence the novel at the same time.
Except on rare occasions, filmmaking can be limited by time and budget. A romantic comedy, such as ours, is restricted to no more than a 90 minute format in order to be packaged and distributed effectively. By the time I was well into writing the screenplay, it became obvious I had way too much material for one film. It was then I began to think of writing the book at the same time and hopefully be able to release it at about the same time as the film with behind-the-scenes photos of the actual filming.
What challenges did you face in writing an adaption of your book into the film? How much rewriting was involved in the process?
I believe that the normal constraints of writing the screenplay at the same time I was penning the novel actually helped me to be more concise from the beginning. I don’t feel I required as much in the way of rewrites because I had already pared down the story to its essentials.
Were there any scenes/elements that you had to adapt significantly or drop from the book entirely to assist in the running time/budget costs of the film?
Yes, unfortunately. Due to time limitations required of the film, we weren’t able to include the early years of the lead couple except in a few flashbacks. Those scenes from the book were never included in the original screenplay and never filmed. We did, however, film additional scenes that we were forced to eliminate from the final cut due to time constraints. Some of those scenes served to develop the background of the supporting characters, but others were eventually deemed as unessential having been covered as far as plotlines elsewhere.
You star in the film alongside your husband Ruben Roberto Gomez. In what ways do you feel that this helped the film making process? Did this present any difficulties or challenges in relation to the characters and how you both related/interacted with them?
My husband and I are lucky in the fact that we have had the opportunity to work together as actors before, so we basically knew what we were getting into. We weren’t too sure how it would be with me directing him as well, but found we didn’t really have much time to dwell on it once we got on set. When you are producing a micro-budget film, everyone ends up wearing a variety of hats. He was handling payroll issues while in make-up and I was trying to track down the lighting guy for our shoot the next day between scenes. I think we were probably too busy dealing with everything else to think much about it.
Although, I have heard my husband joke with anyone who will listen, that I was tough and made him audition for the role just like everyone else!
Regarding the actors that you courted for your film, how did you go about approaching them for your project?
For our first time out producing, we really didn’t have anyone guiding us and just basically dove in. With little or no money to offer, we needed to get creative. Luckily the Film Gods seemed to be on our side and we ended up with fabulous group of actors including veterans like Larry King, June Lockhart and Sally Kellerman.
One of the cute stories of how it all came together revolves around Larry King…
I had just begun to write the screenplay with a basic story outline when we met Larry at the opening of a friend’s Brooklyn Water Bagel franchise. (Larry offers his name as a spokesperson for the franchise). I came away from that meeting with the inkling of an idea to add a celebrity interview scene ‘a la Larry King’ to the story, never dreaming that he would actually consider doing it. By the time I finished writing the script and we started thinking about casting, I joked how nice it would be to actually have Larry in the role. My husband shot back with…”Well, why don’t you ask him?” After getting my nerve up, I finally reached out to him and he graciously accepted.
Larry’s only complaint was that he always has to play himself in films and never gets to play fictional characters!
Have you any desire to direct further feature films in the future or will you continue to focus solely on scriptwriting?
I think it must be hard for screenwriters to let go of a script allowing someone else to interpret the mood and feeling behind the scenes and dialogue they have created. We conjure up such vivid images in our heads as we are writing and then run the risk of being disappointed by someone else’s visual concept by the time it reaches the screen.
Having said that…to follow a screenplay through to completion as a director involves a two to three year commitment. As an actor or screenwriter, I would be more likely to be attached to the project for three to six months.
I think we become attached on different levels to our writing. One of my newer screenplays, Losing Face, https://vimeo.com/209662228 I might just be able to let someone else direct. It’s an emotional and powerful drama about social issues that take place in China. Because it is based on a true story, I have faith that another director would be able to provide the impact it needs to resonate.
How many screenplays have you written over the course of your career? Do they all sit in the Romantic Comedy/Drama category or have you explored other thematic genres in your writing?
My ultimate goal is to create good story-telling. I currently have three screenplays completed or in the works, all in very different genres. One is the true story drama I mentioned above, Losing Face, another a political thriller loosely based on a dark time in the history of Argentina in the 1970’s, and the third a light-filled musical on the scale of La La Land with a decided Latin flavor currently titled Tango. So, as you can see, I’m not into limiting myself to one genre or another. I don’t know if I would venture into something like sci-fi or horror as I’m not as familiar with those genres, but I wouldn’t say never.
The Cast of The Remake
What is your opinion on sequels to existing movie franchises compared to developing fresh cinematic content? (Fresh content can be adaptions of books like your film of course 😊)
In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits that has come out of the independent film market has been the creativity and freedom to produce new and exciting content. Because independent filmmakers lean toward the entertainment or “show” side of “show business” and are not forced to focus solely on their bottom line, they are willing to take more risks. The studios are required to err on the side of caution and need to answer to a board of directors. They need hard evidence that the films they are producing have a built-in audience…hence the franchises. Don’t get me wrong, we all like familiar faces and the feeling that we know these characters personally. That’s why so many series on television are so successful for so many years. We allow them to come into our living rooms weekly because we are comfortable with them. The franchises allow the same possibility on the big screen.
Which films or TV shows would you turn to as excellent examples to draw inspiration or guidance from when it comes to screenwriting?
My wide range of taste in film and TV probably explains why I don’t limit myself to one genre in my writing. I would have to say, though, that I tend to watch scripted dramas more than sitcoms or reality based television. The Remake, on the other hand, was definitely inspired by my childhood and growing up with the lovely and innocent romantic comedies of the 60’s and 70’s.
How do you feel about television becoming a more popular medium and is this an area that you are going to explore yourself in the future?
The immediate access nowadays to both film and TV when and where we want it is a fabulous advantage. Having grown up with a love of the lowering lights and smell of popcorn in a real theatre, though, has stuck with me. I’m hoping we will be able to find a balance and keep both. I would miss being awed by some of the blockbuster films on huge cinema screens, yet relish being able to enjoy that perfect film or show in my cozy den in my pj’s.
So much of series TV is written by a team of writers, each taking the lead on a specific episode. Although this helps to keep things fresh and innovative, I’m not sure I would thrive in this kind of environment. I would love to try my hand at a limited series in the future, though, as it would give me as a writer so much more time to branch out and develop more of the characters in the script. I like the concept of an ensemble cast, but there is just not enough time to develop one in a feature film.
As someone who has won a plethora of film awards for your admirable efforts in the industry, do you think award contests and competitions are a decent way to break into the filmmaking business?
The number of festivals and competitions has grown in direct proportion to the number of independent films being produced and seems to be multiplying exponentially. Basically, all filmmakers want their work to be seen. One way to do that is to get your film into festivals. The connections you make at those festivals, depending on their size and prestige can definitely help you in the business. I’m not sure the awards themselves will do a lot for your film, but I do believe it validates your efforts and gives you encouragement to know you are on the right track. The audience, if they like your film, also loves to know that they are not alone in their taste of good filmmaking.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
SITTING DOWN TO WRITE! I know other writers who feel differently, but for me being able to put all the other things that life is constantly throwing at us aside and finally sit down to write is probably my single biggest hurdle. Once I’m involved and undisturbed, I’m lucky in that I find no trouble coming up with words to put on the page. On the contrary, it’s hard to stop me and I often forget to get up and stretch!
What sort of research do you do to write your screenplays?
It depends on the story and genre, of course…but I think many writers draw on their own experiences for dialogue and structure. As a true story, I did extensive research both online and in print for Losing Face to make sure I didn’t deviate from the actual events and wove the dialogue I felt appropriate into the script. In Circle of Deceit, although fictional, the story-line depended on the original happenings of the 1970’s during a military take-over. It required quite a bit of fact-finding for names and events, especially with the group of mothers and grandmothers supporting the cause of the “desaparecidos”. The Remake, on the other hand, required only fact checking on filmmaking procedures for the film within a film, just in case anyone in the industry took exception to the portrayal.
Which resources would you recommend to budding screenwriters?
Watching anything and everything they can, both good and bad, in film and TV with a critical eye. If they are like me and enjoy the film or program…I watch it once for enjoyment and a second time for camera angles, lighting, speed, etc.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
Memories of escaping into books and films as a child…a love of the nuances of language and being able to communicate…the desire to tell a story to entertain others…seeing something I created out there for others to respond to…to leave something lasting behind…so many things.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Follow your passions and you will always be happy.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Basically…just enjoying life and all things creative. Acting, writing, directing and producing do take up enormous amounts of time. I also paint between film & writing projects. Eventually, I hope to put together a show of some of my art…particularly my acrylic pop art which I have always found so fun and eclectic! I recently donated pillows with digital reproductions of some of my pieces to a charity auction and got a big kick out of thinking of them tossed on someone’s couch.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
The Remake film is released on VOD and DVD on January 30th and should be available on a wide variety of cable and online sites.
Can’t say who yet, but we have been approached to sell the rights to the theme song for The Remake to a well known pop/rock singer to be recorded on her next album.
Two production companies are currently considering Losing Face as one of their next projects.
A feature film titled “Gradation” where I had a supporting role will be released at the end of 2018.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring screenwriters?
The best advice I can give anyone who wants to write or do anything creative, for that matter, is something that someone said to me one day and that sent me on this wonderful journey…”If not now, when?”
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for spending time with us Lynne and sharing all of your romantic adventures in front of and behind the big screen with us, we can’t wait to enjoy your film and all of your future endeavours 🙂
Lynne Alana Delaney was born into an Irish-Catholic family in Southern California. She attributes both of these things with positively shaping her world and her adult life. Some would say her creative career began rather late in life, but she would beg to differ. Always interested in every aspect of the arts, her view is that she was on a continuous quest, collecting material like a squirrel collects nuts, storing them up for later use in her writing, acting, directing and producing. A long and wonderful career as a Flight Attendant provided plenty of fodder for the creative juices to flow. Whether it was the travel to exotic places, or the characters and personalities she encountered with the hundreds of thousands of passengers over the years, they have become the colorful backdrop for her writing and filmmaking.
The Remake, a lovely look at how we might be able to re-invent ourselves at any age, combines her own hope, inspiration and a belief in oneself, weaving those ambitions into her character’s lives.
You can find out more about Lynne and “The Remake” via the following Social Media channels:-
Losing Face Mood Reel:- Losing face_mood reel v5 (Lynne Alana Delaney)
The Remake Film IMDb Page:- The Remake (2016) – IMDb
Lynne Alana Delaney IMDb Page:- Actress / Writer / Producer Lynne Alana Delaney
LinkedIn:- Lynne Alana Delaney – Writer/Director/Producer/Actor
Twitter:- @LynneAlana (Twitter)
You can buy or rent The Remake here:-
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