1. In your experience, what would you say it takes to be a successful screenwriter and a filmmaker?
Perseverance. Talent helps but if you can’t persist and apply it, you probably won’t get anywhere. Also have a distinct perspective - how do you see the world?
2. What is your writing habit?
Procrastination! It can take me a while to get going. I’m not good at writing at home but strangely I can write almost anywhere else and I write my first drafts by hand so I can pretty much do it wherever I want. So I normally just find somewhere comfortable where I won’t be disturbed for a while, put some music on and try to find a doorway into the world.
3. Do you recall the very first short film you ever did?
The first short film I did was an adaptation of Lord Of The Flies for a high school English assignment. I was obsessed with Twin Peaks so the pig’s head on a stick spoke backwards to Simon and then we burned it in a huge bonfire while everyone ran around in their underwear. I got an A.
4. What’s your favorite line from any movie?
I think you could drop a pin at any moment in any Billy Wilder film and you’d touch a perfect line of dialogue. He has too many to mention.
5. What is your favorite movie as a kid? What is your favorite now?
As a kid I really loved the 80’s fantasy films like The Dark Crystal, The Never-ending Story, Labyrinth, The Goonies etc. I still do. I think my favourite films now would be The Innocents from 1961 and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I always find something new in those films and they had a huge impact on me as a filmmaker.
6. What piece of advice do you have for beginning screenwriters?
My advice would be - don’t be surprised if the amazing film you have in your head doesn’t come out amazing on the page immediately. It’s strange how things can get so lost between your brain and writing it out but they do and I don’t think people talk about that enough. But just keep working on it. Keep writing. Keep rewriting. You’ll get it there. But don’t expect it to flow out perfectly immediately.
7. Do you write scripts for yourself or you have your viewers in mind?
When I’m writing the idea has to hook me first. I have to love it and want to see that film. Then I normally think about who I’d want to tell that story to. Who would love it as much as I do? Then I just focus on them. It can just be one person. But I think about what their experience would be when they watch it and how I can maximise that for them.
8. Congrats on winning Best Feature at the Austin Film Festival for Boys in the Trees, what was the most surprising thing you learned about making your debut feature film?
Thanks! I think the thing I found most surprising was how differently I’d feel afterwards. I felt like a shift happened inside me and my priorities and perspective changed ever so slightly. I think because i had exorcised something. I wasn’t expecting that.
9. What was the most difficult thing about writing Boys in the Trees?
The most difficult thing about writing BITT was always about what to put in and what to leave out. The script ultimately didn’t change that much through the development but certain things would be put in and then removed and vice versa. It was hard to keep it elegant and ultimately it isn’t particularly elegant. It rambles and meanders but it felt like that was the kind of film it was meant to be and I like that about it. It made it feel more like adolescence.
10. Congrats on directing the film adaptation to The Lairdbalor, what are you looking forward to on this project?
I’m very excited about The Lairdbalor! It’s a really great challenge because we’re world building and creating something like the films that inspired me as a kid. The book gives us a really good road map even though we’re deviating from it at times and bringing in some new elements. But it’s fun to be able to dive so deeply into imagination and make something truly enchanting.
11. Are you going to write The Lairdbalor’s screenplay?
Probably not. There was talk of it but ultimately I want to collaborate with a writer and let them bring something new to it. If I write it, I know what I’ll get whereas if I bring in a writer, they’ll bring something unexpected and increase the value of it for me. So I’m looking forward to that collaboration and the surprises it will bring.
12. Could you list Australian film/s that the United States audience, or the world for that matter, should definitely check out?
Recently The Babadook was one of my favourite Australian films - it was so well constructed and executed. A lot of the Australian films I love are from my childhood so I don’t know how well they hold up now but a few that come to mind are Careful He Might Hear You and Playing Beattie Bow. But Picnic At Hanging Rock would have to be my favourite Australian film of all time.
13. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
I’ve pretty much lived out of a suitcase for the last year so it’s become pretty stripped back. It sounds awful but I’d probably say my phone simply because it has all my music on it, I can read on it, look up things. I wish I had a better answer.
14. What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Anything but pineapple or anchovies.
15. Last question, if DJ Versey Verse were forced to listen to one music, nonstop, for a whole day in a locked room, which music would he choose?
Do you mean one song or artist or genre? I’d probably say PJ Harvey because she has a range of styles that would probably compliment whatever stage I’m in as I glide into insanity.
Wishing all the best to Mr. Nicholas Verso on his latest film project The Lairdbalor. Many thanks to him as well for answering my questions in spite of his busy schedule. You guys should definitely be on the lookout for those Australian films he mentioned. Expand your movie horizons! Also, you can watch his movie Boys in the Trees as it already been released on DVD or streaming devices. Last but not least, to everyone reading this, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have an excellent day and definitely go check out Mr. Nicholas Verso's films. Take care!