Writing A Screenplay For The Market (And It Worked!) by Peter Dukes

Film Courage: ESCAPE ROOM is a movie you wrote? Did you also direct it?

Peter Dukes, Horror Writer/Director: I did. I had written several spec screenplays that were very ambitious, my HEREDITARY or my BABADOOK, my LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Something bold, different, atmospheric and so on.

A lot of my specs would get optioned but not financed. It always scared the financiers. They wanted something you could pitch in one line, something that could easily be marketed in one job, maybe two.

I said okay I’m getting older here, I need to write something. For the first time in my life I need to write something for them. Something that they’re looking for with all the bullet points, with all the marketing keys.

So my game will be what can I write for them that I’m still proud of that walks the line? That is something for them and something for me also. Something that has a strong hook, that is high concept, that can be produced easily (all of these things).

I had been to an escape room and saw that it was…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


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Bio [from IMDB]:

Peter Dukes is a prolific multi-award winning writer, director and producer who’s films have been distributed the world over. He founded Dream Seekers Productions in the early 2000’s and, after making a name for himself in the world of short form content with well over a dozen films such as Little Reaper, The Beast, The New World, Sweet Madness, A Goblins’s Tale and more, he rocketed into the feature world with Escape Room (2017), a horror film starring Skeet Ulrich (Scream, Riverdale) and Sean Young (Blade Runner, The Alienist), that screened theatrically across the world, opened up as the number one DVD/streamed movie in the UK and enjoyed a nationwide release in the US through Redbox and VOD. He followed that up with Portal (2018), starring Heather Langenkamp (of A Nightmare On Elm Street fame), Ryan Merriman (The Ring 2, Final Destination 3), Jamie Tisdale (The Devil’s Candy, From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), Najarra Townsend (Contracted 1 & 2) and Reinaldo Zavarce (Jane The Virgin, Don Quixote). Known for being proactive in his approach to filmmaking, Peter has several more features in development.


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