From "absolutely terrible first draft" to award winning screenplay - An interview with Con

In Connor Thorpe's short script, Audrey clears out her estranged mother's home after she passes away, but her grief for someone she never really knew begins to manifest in a mysterious, sinister form.

The Messengers

'Baby' won Sunday Shorts Script Competition in November, and has since been nominated for two Best First Time Screenwriter awards at the Los Angeles Film Awards and at Top Shorts.

Q - How long have you been doing screenwriting and how did you get into it?

A - I started with writing fiction and poetry, as well as some journalistic stuff. I've been doing that since I was in my early teens. I made a few attempts at screenwriting in the years between then and now, but never really gave it a serious shot until recently. 'Baby' is actually my first finished screenplay.

Q - What inspired the idea?

A - I initially wrote this script as a fun little horror film, but as time (and countless drafts) went on, it started to evolve into something a little different and a little more personal. As I developed 'Baby', I felt that I wanted to explore grief -- how we repress it, how we resolve it, how it shapes us. I always found it strange how the spectre of someone's absence tends to spill out into other aspects of your life the more you try to contain it. I thought it would be interesting to personify Audrey's loss as this mysterious, unruly thing that she has to struggle against.

Audrey's story isn't my own, but it certainly is drawn from personal experiences. I'm familiar with some of the feelings she's having, even some of the circumstances she's found herself in at the beginning of the story.

Q - What is your writing process? What are your first steps?

A - I'd say my first step is to write an absolutely terrible first draft just to get it out of my system. I struggled with this in my initial attempts at screenwriting. I didn't want anything to be, well, bad. It's immensely frustrating not being able to transfer the vision in your head to the page right away, but it's useful. You find out pretty quickly what works and what doesn't.

The process as a whole, however, is still something of a mystery to me. Once you get to a certain point in the development of your characters and your story, they start to take on a life of their own. That's when things become really exciting.

Q - Have you got anything planned for ‘Baby’ yet?

A - We're shooting it in Vancouver, Canada in January. I'm going to be directing, which is another first for me. My producers Aidan Kahn and Andrew Marchand-Boddy, as well as our cinematographer Bjorn Hermannes, have put in a ton of time and effort in making 'Baby' the best film it can be. They are amongst too many others to list here. I didn't start writing this thinking it would be something that would be embraced by so many people that are genuinely interested in this project and in offering what they can to make this a reality. I'm honestly pretty floored by it.