002 – WHAT REMAINS OF TROY – Interview with Steffan DelPiano

 

In this episode I got the opportunity to speak with screenwriter Steffan DelPiano (WHAT REMAINS OF TROY, INHUMAN, ROGUE).

SIDENOTE:  If you happen to be a screenwriter who is also proficient at WordPress, and would be willing to exchange notes for some website assistance, please contact me.  And when I say proficient, I mean proficient.  Not…”I dabble” or “I could probably figure it out.”  Thank you in advance.)

EMAIL: eclipsethescript@gmail.com

LINKS:

Further Analysis and Suggestions

These are some thoughts/suggestions that I feel may make this script more effective…especially from the very beginning:

-We don’t feel the weight of 10 years of battle in these characters from the opening pages. They feel almost too fresh.

-Odysseus’ disposition feels too casual regarding his current circumstances. We certainly sense that he misses his family and wants to go home, but we don’t truly see it in his actions. I don’t intend to be dismissive of the moments where you do “show” this – what I mean is that, to me, he needs to be a bit more bold in his attitude towards wanting to be home and no longer at war. Instead of dealing with it privately and more muted, that it should come through in all his actions.  Not overtly, but still there. (and it could already be there and I’m not picking up on it as I should)

-For example, maybe Odysseus could remark that a positive thing about Achilles’ death is that the war should be over (because it’s obvious they can’t win without him)

-I feel Pyrrhus needs to be at least 15/16 to buy into the premise (and I think it makes it more viable as a movie product).  Because Pyrrhus blames Odysseus for the death of Achilles, this is great character motivation and dynamic that I don’t think is set up enough for these two before they enter the horse.  They have their conflict there (and one minor moment previous), but this is where Pyrrhus outright states that Odysseus is to blame.  I feel like there needs to be more setup of their conflict sooner.  This is the core relationship in the story and I believe it needs more refining.

-I also feel like there’s an absence of emotion regarding Odysseus towards Achilles and his death. How does Od feel about the loss? Does he feel it at all? If he does, is it because he lost a friend? Or that they lost an elite soldier? Simply that they won’t win the war? That he blames Achilles for having to climb into this small horse?

-Another suggestion would be to have Pyrrhus already be crushing on Polydora before entering the horse. Have him be the one on the shore skipping stones for her. I know this creates a problem with the purpose the scene already serves with the pieces you have in play, but it could serve as an opportunity to have Od and Pyrr begin their open feud for the audience.  Just a suggestion.

-While researching, I read that the HORSE is the emblem of Troy – perhaps that should be shown as well as an argument as to “why a horse?”.

These are merely suggestions, and I admit, I’ve been removed from the script for a period of time now, so some of these things may already be in the script and I’ve simply forgotten, or they are totally off base with the intention of the script.

If others disagree, or have their own insights, please share them in the comments section.  It only benefits the writer and that is what I care about most.  What say you?

Here is the script I wrote for the fake movie trailer at the beginning of the podcast:

After nearly a decade of fighting to reclaim their abducted queen from the city of Troy – an exhausted Greek Army has suffered their most devastating loss

The death of their fiercest warrior…Achilles – with no chance of victory and a king still waging war – one soldier, Odysseus, has had enough

Inspired by a vision brought on by torment, agony, and longing for his family – he must convince his fellow soldiers that the path to triumph does not lie in the favor of the gods – but in himself, a wooden horse, and the young page of Achilles…who blames him for his death

Together they will have one night to breach the fortified city, secure the queen, and escape to their ships waiting on the shore

Odysseus’ determination to end the war and reunite with his wife and children will drive him regardless of the insurmountable odds

By ship or by spear, tonight he goes home

And when morning comes, and the sun rises in the east, we will find…

WHAT REMAINS OF TROY

Written by admin

  • grendl

    My review of your first interview.

    A little jittery but all in all a promising start, Mike. My suggestion is you tackle broader screenwriting topics either before, during or after the interview so the audience can see practical application of advice.

    Getting into the minutiae of a script is great for a one on one with the writer but won’t mean much to the audience who haven’t worked on a molecular level with it.

    Most are busy working on their own scripts, so discussing overarching principles might serve you better.

    I’ll give you a solid B minus for a first time.

    Good luck with your new venture.

    • Linkthis83

      Hey g,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to listen, review, and provide some feedback. A solid B- is higher than I thought I might get out of the gate. People have been extremely supportive thus far.

      Your note about minutiae is spot on and one I’ve received a couple times already. It was a feature that I’ve always liked when I’ve heard others have these discussions, and thought it would be something others would like as well. Looks like I may have missed the mark on that one. My hope was that they would be able to identify with the process even though they may not be familiar with this one specifically.
      But certainly something I need to pay attention to.

      Again, though, this is awesome of you to do this. Thank you.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Hey Mike, just letting you know I managed to listen to the entire podcast. Overall it was positive and Stefan was a good subject as he came to the talk with a lot of enthusiasm for what he had written and a willingness to talk about his story and character choices.

        My only real critique is the beginning stuff where you go out of your way to let us know that the podcast is a work in progress, If you’re selling me a used car tell me about that rack and pinion steering not the torn upholstery. Besides, no doubt it will get smoother over time.

        I’m curious, are you going to drop a link over at SS?

        Looking forward to the next one. Keep it up!

        • Linkthis83

          Thanks, KD. I’m just trying to stay humble and honest. I think doing so much internetting has conditioned me for that as well.

          Steffan was an amazing guest. Extremely generous of him.

          I sent an email notification to everyone I know and assumed if they were interested they’d show up.

          I don’t feel it’s my place to put a link on SS to drive people here.

          Thx for the listen and support. I need it for this stuff to work.

          • grendl

            Hey, if people do show up to comment, instead of the snow flake safe space Script Shadow has become, I suggest you let free speech be the rule, not the exception.

            Like if Scott Crawful shows up and tries to saturate the board with 80%of the comments, you allow me to respond.

            Censorship is not a way to conduct a writers blog. Writers are supposed to value freedom of expression. That’s our job.

            The tenets of our country’s founding are under attack by both the left and the right. Shutting the other side up won’t make ideas and thoughts go away.

            So my suggestion is letting people express themselves on this blog, podcast. The tendency to censor is a bad one. Out of conflict often comes truth, which is what you should be striving for.

            That is all.

          • Linkthis83

            I agree and disagree with this. Comments sections tend to be treated as places where people feel they should have freedom of speech, but with the freedom from civility and/or responsibility. For me, those two things aren’t separate. Yes we have free speech, but we should still treat each other with civility and be responsible for our words. But because this is the internet, people will do and say as they wish. I believe in being a human above being a writer. And truth for each individual isn’t the same as truth overall.

            My true resistance to your suggestion is this:

            I created this place with the intention of giving writers a space where the community is respectful of them, their work, and their pursuit. I created a place with the intention of the community treating one another as if they were all working in the same office building, but with an open debate/discussing policy.

            I loved debating craft on SS. It really helped me develop and gain different perspectives and understanding towards screenwriting.

            I don’t want this place to be a Utopia, but I don’t want people fearful of commenting because there’s a chance they may get ripped apart for it — not everybody is designed to handle it nor should they have to.

            Those who aren’t fearful of commenting simply don’t comment because of the drama that comes with a lawless comments section. They want to comment, but it’s just not worth it. I’ve had these conversations via email.

            Even in your own comment here that has a great intention, you still find it necessary to take a shot at commenter. I just don’t support that, and by allowing a free speech comments section, I would be.

            It took me a while, but I finally realized on SS that the people I’m conversing with could be the very people I’m working with in the future. People who might be willing to help me out or vice versa. I decided I wanted to conduct myself in a manner that would benefit those relationships. And all it cost me was swallowing my ego more often than not.

            I didn’t put in months of effort, energy, and money to create this place so people could treat it however they want. I’ve got an intention and I will make choices that I think build upon that intention. If it costs me listeners and community members, I can live with that, but I also believe it will open the doors for new community members.

            If this thing turns out to be what I’m hoping it can be, I will have a community of people that support these wishes and share my intention.

            I’ve said it to you privately in email and publicly on SS; I think you bring a lot of value, intelligence, insight, and passion to the screenwriting community. I love the sincerity that you want from people’s stories. I want that too. But giving you the freedom of speech you feel you should have could potentially cost me community members. But the biggest thing it could cost me is compromising my intention for this site and the podcast. And that I won’t do.

            So I have to outright ask you to respect the wishes of my house. If you are unwilling to do it, or it compromises what you believe at your core too much, then I understand. It’s unfortunate, but I understand. However, I will not compromise my intention either and will act as I feel I must. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

          • grendl

            There is a problem inherent in your argument.

            You want people to feel safe or free to comment here, but you don’t seem to acknowledge or even comprehend everyone has a different definition of civility and level of tolerance.

            So you, like Carson intend to play judge jury and executioner as to what entails civil discourse. As if that’s an objective entity, which it’s not.

            Don’t worry, I won’t bother posting on your piece of shit podcast site now because you, like so many failed screenwriting bloggers before you think that you should be able to play god.

            It made a script Shadow a lousy site. Everyone knows it. Scott Crawful, who ran me off the site by flagging my posts now thinks he runs the place and you have no problem with that. Which makes you kind of a pussy, Mike.

            BTw I would say all of this to your face, happily.

            You’re condoning censorship, which seems to be acceptable these days.

            BTW Scott could never in a million years write a script as proficiently as I did. I came to SS, was called a bully, a monster, and every other name in the book and yet made the top ten list and got a worth the read by the guy calling me the internets biggest bully.

            To what do you attribute that feat? My good looks?

            I can write, Mike. That’s the simple truth. It’s the truth that hurt Crawful and may be the truth that hurts you as well.

            And I didn’t see you running to my defense when Scott attacked me on the board. So you’re sort of a part time super hero.

            Should be one snooze of a podcast, superhero.

          • grendl

            One more thing, nice is boring.

            It is. This isn’t All Things Considered n NPR.

            Art is violent, and passionate and volatile. It isn’t for the milquetoast set.

            So don’t worry I won’t be back.

            And you will never succeed at podcasting, other than running some vanity site for mediocre writers.

            pS. and one more thing, I didn’t cost Script Shadow members, I helped increased its viewership, a helluva lot more than your sorry ass.

            See your podcast and blog will die quietly because you’re starting out trying to silence people and trying to create a safe space like Berkeley . Which means you’re a pussy and a moron.

            Goodbye moron.

          • Linkthis83

            Why not create your own site? And if I fail, I’m okay with that too.

            I didn’t think you needed defending from Scott Crawford.

            And I’ve defended you plenty of times. If you forget, go back and check out the comments section of the REAL MONSTERS review as one example.

            Yes you can write. I agree. Very much enjoyed your writing.

          • grendl

            Where have you been the last four years.

            Crawful takes shots at me and Carson removes my replies to him.

            I don’t want to start a site. I was hoping you were starting a site that wasn’t a safe space for fucking snowflakes.

            Where did this weakness come from, this need to be shielded from harsh language. Do adults really have a problem with cursing????

            Do you????

            It’s a millenial phenomenon. This Kardashian princess mentality where ones feelings trump logic, and cold hard criticism.

            Doomed, my friend. Your hard work will attract snowflakes, not real writers.

          • Linkthis83

            I don’t have a problem at all. I can handle all the stuff you’ve said to me today and in the past. But people don’t want to have to deal with that. With some they can’t deal, but with most, it’s just a preference. They prefer to discuss their passions without having to deal with these things.

            My preference is to have colorful discussions. Not directly disrespecting or disparaging actual commentors/writers/scripts/etc. This is what I asked of you. This is what you are unwilling to do. Which leads us to the obvious impasse. I don’t want what you want here.

          • grendl

            then you should have vetted your email list before sending the invite to me.

            Who invites an outspoken wolf to a sheep gathering?

            Jesus, please get smarter, Mike.

            And don’t speak for all people. It makes you sound like a fucking blowhard, like Scott Crawful.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Sorry, did I somehow trigger the poor lad? Keep doing what you’re doing, your comment section shouldn’t be about egos or head trips. But I’d consider in the future dropping a link at SS. It wouldn’t hurt just to build some traffic.

          • Linkthis83

            You didn’t cause it. He decided to jump in to advise the kind of comment section I should have. I responded politely that is not what I wanted. Then he hurled some colorful insults at me and then deleted his own comments.

            SC dropped a link on SS during Carson’s vacation. I will probably be more likely to drop it myself when I have more content for people to consume.

          • grendl

            I removed the comments out of decency.

            You kept your replies up for some reason.

            Why would you do that?

            Are you trying to make some sort of statement?

            I have news for both you and that retard Kirk.

            Conflict is what makes writing interesting and writers boards interesting.

            Any “writer” who endorses censorship isn’t a real writer.

            Kirk that means you, buddy.

            And Mike maybe that means you too.

            Snowflakes.

          • Linkthis83

            This is going to sound flippant but it’s not intended to be.

            I didn’t feel the need to remove them. I felt it was fine they were here, both mine and yours.

            By deleting them, I would be censoring. Which is why I didn’t delete your original comments nor ban you from my site.

            I don’t care about your labels. Writer isn’t the only thing I am in this life. If it’s real to me, then it’s real enough. I can’t concern myself with the opinions of people who aren’t in my life or the core of my journey. It’s not your respect I seek.

          • grendl

            So you chose not to censor despite the fact you said you would.

            That’s a step in the right direction.

            Why didn’t you start off saying you respect free speech like I asked about.

            Why was your knee jerk reaction to assume I was going to start trouble.

            I merely asked that you allow me to post if certain parties decided to target me, the way they did on Script Shadow.

            You construed that as me starting trouble. And you were wrong.

          • Linkthis83

            I didn’t say you would start trouble. I said I would moderate as needed. And that I want this space used for respectful interactions.

            I’ve witnessed, and experienced, how these conversations with you can devolve. I experienced it this week.

            I’m not censoring because it was with me and towards me. I won’t stand for it when it involves others. I’m singling you out because you are the one with which I’m having the conversation.

            I will censor/moderate whomever and whenever I deem necessary. Yes I will be the judge because this is my house and my house calls for civility – be open, be bold, and discuss, but I won’t stand for this to turn into every other comments section on the internet.

            Those are terms that I know you don’t agree with but I won’t be altering my stance on them.

          • grendl

            So you intend to decide for others what is offensive.

            Do you know the term virtue signaling?

            Or safe space.

            You’re not treating people like adults when you decide what they can and cannot read or see. You’re actually condescending to them.

            Why not let people decide for themselves .

            I know this is your house. If you set this site up in order to exercise moderation power, that’s pretty pathetic. It shows your intent isn’t to discuss screenwriting or story, but to control a tiny corner of the internet. It’s one of Carsons ugliest and pettiest traits.

            I mean have at it, I don’t care. But since you sent me an invite here, I will tell you what I think. And instead of spouting on about your hurt feelings or the imagined horror you experienced here this week (Jesus you must live a sheltered life. There are people experiencing actual horror in this world, not internet sniping), your time would be better served developing the positive aspects of your podcast. Not trying to create a safe space for snowflakes who can’t handle themselves in a debate.

            No one learns from being sheltered by yours or Carsons paternalistic hand.

            I know this is like preaching to a Trump voter. You won’t get it. Your Social Justic Warrior mentality won’t allow you to see your own hypocrisy.

            Free speech doesn’t just mean nice speech. It means speech you might find offensive.

            Our forefathers would kick your ass for your failure to understand that concept. But you could always explain to them it’s your blog. See how impressed anyone is by that meager feat.

          • Linkthis83

            I sent you and 179 other people an invite hoping that you might check out what I’m doing and see if it fits your interests. And if it didn’t, then you could continue your life as normal.

            It appears you’ve fallen into the “isn’t for me” category. Like the freedom provided by my ass kicking forefathers, you’re now free to put your time towards a site that better suits your preferences. I appreciate your time, and certainly your feedback regarding the interview (it was a common note I’ve received). I hope you find what you are looking for.

          • grendl

            You didn’t answer my question.

            Not that anyone is ever going to show up here, but if on the odd chance someone does are you going to decide for them what is and isn’t offensive.

            Like Kirk calling me a poor lad. Clearly a condescending tone from an intellectual midget like Diggler, but that’s okay, right?

            I’m not saying he should be moderated for it. It’s not respectful however, and if you’re keeping true to what you write you’ve already failed right there.

            Growing pains off course for a podcast. August and Mazin removed their comments section because they can’t handle dissent. You’re right, it’s an otherwise decent blog and podcast, but they’re pussies for removing it. Mazin ended his Artful Writer blog because he didn’t want to engage in debate with people he considers his lesser.

            This is the hack who wrote Identity Thief, and Superhero movie, and the terrible Huntsmen without Snow White.

            I’m curious as to what you hope to accomplish now. Because I was one of those 179 invites, I feel it my prerogative to know why it is you didn’t remove me from the list.

            I don’t doubt your abilities to do this thing. I’m curious because I actually think it’s a noble venture. That’s a compliment. Understand?

            Maybe not.

            You shouldn’t be discouraging anyone from showing up here. Especially people who give a shit about movies and storytelling. Anyone who has followed me on SS knows I know my shit. Despite the many squabbles I’ve had with trolls and blog fascists, they know that for a fact.

            My warning about Crawford was a sincere attempt not to run rampant over your new baby. It was to help you not make the same mistake Carson made in choosing sides with him over me, over Alison, over the Colonel.

            You see a pattern here?

            One individual trying to systematically remove voices he doesn’t like. Or people who actually have writing talent, the likes of which Crawful hasn’t show the slightest trace.

            And if you don’t find issues like this interesting, I think you lack a requisite intellectual curiosity to run a podcast. Or write a script.

            You want a blog of Dr. Jekylls, and don’t much care for the Mr. Hydes of the world? Like people like me have nothing to say, nothing to contribute?

            It’s a sincere question. This is what a snowflake mentality entails. The need to create a safe space where ones feelings are taken into consideration despite the fact that those aren’t objective things. Everyone has a different threshold for insult. But you want to play the arbiter of such offenses, on behalf of those you don’t think can handle themselves against me or anyone else you might label a troll.

            Good luck with that.

            And I have no trouble leaving. Only I saw Kirk take a shot at me and you trying to explain the situation in an alternative factual way, and decided to straighten you out.

            I have.

            Good luck again with whatever the hell this thing becomes. Like I said it was noble in theory.

  • Scott Serradell

    Well. Nice to see some familiar faces…(kind of feels like I just went from the set of “Cheers” to the set of “Frasier”. Anyway…)

    Just here to give a warm congratulations to Mike on this endeavor. A lot of potential with this, and so I can only wish him the best of luck.

    And it was great to hear from Steffan (and I liked that you “pitch” to your students. That got a laugh out of me.)

    One thing dawned on me while listening to this — and take it for what you will — but I think the real Sword of Damocles hanging over the script is Homer himself! It seemed to me that you kept referring to “The Iliad” as historical. It’s really not! Aside from maybe a few details, I doubt much of is factual at all. So (if you revisit it) your decision is either respect Homer and therefore craft a respectful adaptation — OR put everything under scrutiny and tell the tale you’re interested in (which it seems is where you were leaning…Maybe not far enough?)

    But I thought your script was very good (your dialogue especially) and am interested in what you cook up next. Best of luck to you as well!

  • kenglo

    I was gone and now have returned! Glad to see a fresh site Mike. I will definitely tune in and listen to your insight.

    ken

    • Linkthis83

      Welcome back, Ken. The support is much appreciated.