Inside Story: Scream airs Wednesday @ 8PM on the BIO Channel. In anticipation of the documentary, Scream-Trilogy spoke to the principle creative team. In part one, we talk production processes and a certain missing screenwriter.
Our guests are – Daniel Farrands: Producer/Director, Thommy Hutson: Producer/Writer and Lito Velasco: Associate Producer/Music Supervisor. Note: special thanks to Lito for his invaluable assistance in co-ordinating this group interview.
Scream-Trilogy: What was the genesis of the project – and how did you all come to work together on it?
Dan Farrands: After our successful collaboration on Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, we subsequently sold the project to television to A&E’s sister channel, BIO, as part of their ongoing Inside Story series Through that relationship, we pitched them several other projects and Scream seemed to make the most sense in that Scream 4 had just gone into production, not to mention the fact that it made sense to continue our relationship with Wes and his production company who had been so supportive of Never Sleep Again.
Thommy Hutson: After the BIO Channel ran Never Sleep Again, there was an opportunity for another Inside Story and with Scream 4 approaching, the timing was just so right for Scream. Once the greenlight was given, it made sense to assemble many of the available people from Never Sleep Again and make it happen. As for myself, a documentary on Scream was something I was thrilled about, as it is one of my favorite genre movies and franchises. I’m also a huge fan of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s work. Things just quickly fell into place, we had a great team behind the camera, incredible cast and crew in front of the camera and I couldn’t be more thrilled with what the final product is.
S-T: From what we’ve seen the documentary focuses on the first film more than the others. What would you say is the percentage of original versus sequel coverage?
Dan: Inside Story is a BIO Channel series that focuses on films that made a huge cultural impact. Previous episodes have featured Jaws, The Silence of the Lambs and Halloween. Even through there were sequels to those films, the format of Inside Story really focuses on the power of the original movie and how the stars aligned in order to create cinematic history. Because of that mandate, and because Scream, unlike A Nightmare on Elm Street (which was remade and the “Robert Englund Years,” as I call them, had been effectively wrapped up with Freddy vs. Jason) is not yet a completed series, it made the most sense for us to focus on the first film.
Thommy: Inside Story tends to focus on iconic, well-known, respected and successful films that people know and love. They’ve taken an incredible look at movies like Animal House, Caddyshack and genre films such as Jaws, Halloween and Silence of The Lambs. Even though Scream has spawned a franchise, Inside Story takes a look at the beginning, the film that started it all and the road to getting the film made (and it wasn’t an easy one for Scream, to be sure!). So, it is probably about 95% on the first film, with a taste of the sequels and, of course, a tiny tease for the much anticipated Scream 4!
Lito Velasco: I’ll keep it brief: I’d say it’s about 97 percent original, 3 percent sequels. Our goal really was to create the definitive look at the first film, and I feel that in large part we succeeded in our goal.
S-T: How much was sketched out from the beginning – and did the project stick to that, or take on its own shape as time went on?
Dan: Documentaries tend to “show you the way,” and there are always topics and interesting anecdotes that come up during the process of conducting interviews that lead you to places that go beyond the scope of the original outline. With that said, you definitely need to go in with a vision and a gameplan, and our writer Thommy and associate producer Lito, who happen to be huge fans of the franchise, really dug deep to come up with the most interesting and compelling questions, some of which surprised – and at times even stumped – our interviewees. Fortunately, BIO Channel was also very supportive of this show and our vision, and provided us with the time, feedback and resources we needed to make it the best it could be.
Thommy: The entire show was scripted from the very beginning. It’s a different process than a typical writing assignment, where you have a script and it gets revised and then filmed. Here, much of the scripting of the initial draft is a blueprint: what reads great on the page might not be perfect on screen due to a lot of factors, like how the interviewee says something or whether they are looking into the right direction when saying it. After that cut of the script is done, it’s looked at and then the show evolves based on what’s working visually, are we getting the best, most informative and entertaining information across and is the show feeling fun. Even the clips of the films are scripted so we know they have the most impact. Adding to all of this is the network being closely involved in the process by way of their notes. Working with them has been a great experience and it was exciting to see the first version turn into the final version everyone will see. That being said, though the project does come to life in its own way, there aren’t many moments that weren’t planned.
S-T: What are your recollections of going about securing cast and crew?
Dan: Thommy Hutson (writer/producer) and our production coordinator Michael Perez really led that initial charge and to their credit, they were able to make contact with pretty much everyone from the original Scream. The challenge with shows such as this is that you’ve got a schedule that has to be adhered to and it isn’t always possible, given everyone’s busy calendars, for people to sit down for an interview. Add to that the fact that most of the actors from Scream are still working (many are and even were at the time stars in their own right), so it makes it that much more of a challenge to book them. That said, I think our team did a tremendous job securing as many familiar faces as possible during our limited timeframe. Most importantly, every person we interviewed was friendly, open, excited and ready to regale us with fantastic “inside stories” that I think fans will really enjoy!
S-T: What are each of your thoughts on the absence of Kevin Williamson?
Dan: Like everyone else from Scream, Kevin is an extremely busy, working writer/producer and our show simply didn’t coincide with his current schedule. He wished us well and hopefully he will tune in to watch the show. It’s a very respectful look at the beginning of his career, and I think it will make him, his family and even his evil former high school English teacher (who apparently inspired Teaching Mrs. Tingle) proud!
Thommy: I have to be realistic about things: he’s a star with a lot of going on, so it’s incredibly tough to pin someone down for an interview when they are that busy. As a huge fan, I am glad he’s out there writing and producing so many great things for all of us to watch!
Lito: Again, to echo Thommy and Dan, given how busy Williamson is all the time, I completely understand why he was not able to take part directly in our show. But, his presence is definitely felt in more ways than one…and you’ll be surprised to see where he turns up. And I honestly don’t think the show suffers at all even though he didn’t participate directly: we were still able to effectively tell the story of the making of this film!
Come back Wednesday morning for Part Two of the interview, where the team discusses production challenges and the importance of the fanbase, among other topics.
Several clips from the documentary have become available for viewing.