Despite being tasked with copyediting two dozen illiterates and devising approximately 400 metal puns per issue, Decibel Managing Editor Andrew Bonazelli still manages to create an incredible amount of written material on the side.
But more recently he's moved into being a screenplay juggernaut, one of his projects being Real Mature, a bracing medley of sex, jealousy and torture. And it is on its way to being completed -- they just need a couple bucks.
The film's Indiegogo page has already gained a lot of support, but since we're huge fans of the man and the movie, we did a brief interview with the scribe so you can see what makes this sick fuck tick.
Explain how you got hooked up with these people in the first place. How was this script the one that you chose to film?
A couple years ago, Decibel’s own Shawn Macomber very graciously interviewed me for Fangoria about Disposed Of, a collection of “depressive suicidal postcard fiction” I self-produced with my talented photographer friend, Coleman Yunger. Ken Whiting, an L.A.-based DP/director, sent me a complimentary Facebook DM about the book, which beat the shit out of my usual Facebook DMs (“Hi, my Swahilian porno-tech octet just sent you a CD-R, can we be on the cover of Decibel?). Ken showed me some horror shorts that he filmed with his partner D.J. Wooldridge under the Fright-O-Verse banner. I was impressed at how abstract and haunting they were, and -- thinking/hoping it might be in the same ballpark -- I sent him the script for Real Mature. He was psyched on it, and so was D.J., thank god. Which is a huge gift, since D.J. writes all of their projects, as I understand it. I am not the dude who usually gets a guy that good to hand over the narrative keys.
What inspired this particular screenplay?
I’ve farted out I guess four or five short novels at this point, but Real Mature is actually a screen adaptation of the first chapter of the first novel I wrote (and still haven’t quite finished, because I evidently think I’m Michael Douglas in Wonder Boys) upon moving to Philadelphia 10 years ago. It’s about the uneasy, unhealthy, occasionally straight-up vile eight-ball of lust and loathing that rears its head in the immediate wake of a break-up. I’ve always thought it was interesting how that state of mind is so potent and overwhelming, yet so fleeting. And, ultimately, embarrassing.
How much input did you have on the actual film itself? Did they noticeably change anything from script to screen?
D.J. and Ken did it just right. I wanted to be on set during principal photography, and they wanted me there, but everything was planned out so thoroughly and meticulously in advance, I knew from the first take of the first scene that they had shit on lock, and I’d be spending most of my time outside smoking and checking Mets scores. If you have any aspirations of being a screenwriter, unless you know how to operate a camera (I do not) and are prepared to drain your savings for that camera and a million other annoying expenditures (I am not), you gotta trust the director to do right by you. As with most art, advance planning is critical to avoid propelling a massive stream of diarrhea into the world. They gave me every opportunity to tweak shit in the pre-production process, but I fell in love with their vision pretty fast. It’s just the best when things click. Because it is rare.
You're a prolific writer and have released multiple novels, but what compelled you to start writing screenplays?
It takes like half the time and it’s not such a painfully lonely endeavor. Well, when the script actually gets made. I was about to suggest that the waiting process as a screenwriter sucks more because -- unless you’re some overachiever auteur -- you’re so reliant on other people to get shit done; but for me it beats the six months it takes for a small press to tell you that your novel isn’t right for them, if they get back to you at all.
Your books have had hyper-creative packaging or are delivered in a non-traditional way. Why has that been so important to you?
I want to say something cool and self-assured here about pushing myself creatively and striving to make the things I don’t see other people making, but you know what? It’s probably a lack of confidence in my ability to maintain a random person’s attention with 40,000+ words of narrative, sans embellishment. That said, all those books look fucking sweet, and it took talented, selfless and dedicated people to bring them to life. If the packaging is the highlight for anyone who bought them, I’m cool with that.
Looking back do you see any themes in your writing you keep returning to?
I don’t know, I just hope the characters don’t all sound exactly like me.
You also have at least one other film that has been finished. What do you want to say about that?
Decibel writers are very helpful. Nick Green, who is one of our absolute best, introduced me to his friend Nikitas Menotiades (you may have seen him in the last season of House of Cards), who directed/co-starred in a horror-comedy short I wrote called Severance Package two years ago. Its original title was Five Serial Killers on Lunch Break, which is, I know, really fucking bad and ’90s-sounding, but gives you an idea of the story without being too spoiler-y (believe it or not). It’s taken forever to finish because of Stupid Bullshit I Don’t Want to Elaborate On, but Nik has been a trooper throughout, handling all the editing, scoring, mastering, etc., in-house. He’s tackled a myriad of setbacks gracefully, and chose an outstanding cast. Each cut keeps getting better. I want it to be done-done so bad.
How many other goddamn things do we have to look forward to from you in the nearish future?
The aforementioned Shawn Macomber produced and directed another short I wrote, called Windowless, last autumn. That one’s in post-production. And if all goes well, I’ll be working on another short, And Then You Die, hopefully next year with Ryan Dickie, out of NYC (he worked on Blue Ruin and has a bunch of legit great stuff in competition). That’s four fucking shorts total. Cool stuff, but not nearly as cool as busting your ass like dB’s Sean Frasier, who sold his feature-length script, which is being shot in London. That’s what I’m aspiring to do next: make the full meal deal a reality. I love working with new creative people, so email me if you direct and want to know what makes a white heterosexual man tick. But not before surrendering your ugly child’s tuition to Real Mature.