Chad Coup and Ian Davis co-write the new horror movie Blood Widow (which we’ll review on this site in the next few days) together. But just what does co-writing a movie mean? And how many arguments does it take before a writing duo finish a draft? We find out!

 

MR: Had you both written together before? How did the collaboration come about?

Chad: I had written small shorts beforehand, but I found that collaboration is something I really liked. You can have someone aware of any potential mistakes you may make before your work gets ahead of itself.

Ian: Blood Widow is the third script we wrote together. We co-wrote and shot an unreleased, micro-budget cop drama first. After that, we co-wrote a comedy script that we hope to produce one day, should the opportunity arise. When the opportunity for Blood Widow came along, it seemed natural to continue the partnership.

 

MR: Were you always on the same page, or were there some tiffs along the way?

Chad: I can’t think of any major roadblocks. My challenge was to make sure both of us understood and respected the conventions of the horror slasher sub-genre. I’ve watched a few more horror movies than Ian has, so I had to explain myself every once in a while.

Ian: We agreed most of the time, as far as I recall. The only big disagreement that sticks out to me is how to handle the cell phone situation. We brainstormed a lot of complicated scenarios in which the characters, for whatever reason, couldn’t call for help. In the end, somewhat ironically, once we were on location, cell service was practically nonexistent.

 

MR: How does co-writing work – are you working alongside each other on computers, or are you sending pages back and forth to each other from your respective homes or offices?

Chad: It was a little of everything. Ian and I are co-workers for our day jobs and we couldn’t always get to work in the same room. I prefer working in the same room, but it’s much faster, sometimes, to see a completed scene without being there for each individual stage direction and line of dialogue as it they are written.

Ian: For the first draft, it was a trade-off—I write a scene, Chad writes a scene, and then we’d meet up and discuss what was written. The second draft was very much side-by-side, line-by-line, and the third draft was more of that with the addition of Jeremiah Buckhalt (the director) sitting in on the process.

 

MR: Chad, what do you think Ian brought to the script? What was something he added to it that you give him one-hundred percent credit for?

Chad: Ian has a pretty natural ear for dialogue. I found this out during the first table read. My dialogue that ended up in the movie was pretty clunky at times, but we were already hurried during pre-production and it didn’t get totally smoothed over. During ADR and re-writes, more of Ian’s stuff came through, including the 5-minute prologue sequence, and it was then I realized that I was more suited to other strengths. The cast also improvised and paraphrased a bit, which was a good thing.

 

MR: Ian, same question for you. What did Chad bring to this script? Something he came up with that was absolutely genius?

Ian: Chad is all about the structure and pacing of a scene, as well as the movie’s vision as a whole, while I’m much more about the character side of things. While Chad might set up a really awesome action sequence, my contribution would be to figure out how to get the characters into that sequence in a way I thought was interesting and engaging.

 

MR: Did either of you spend much time on the set? How great is it seeing your words come to life?

Chad: I had to take on duties as producer early on, and that meant I was there for most all pre-production meetings, location scouting, set construction, striking sets, hauling building materials, getting snacks for the crew, cooking hot meals, and getting lighting gear—and that was just the necessities. When I was there seeing scenes being shot, it made me very self-conscious about what I could do better. The script was written months before principal photography started, and there was no time for a whole lot of changes, since we were already pressed for time, and we all had so much to do.

Ian: Since Chad and I work together, when we’re not doing movie stuff, I had to hold down the fort while he took a month off to be on set every day. I made it out evenings and weekends, and enjoyed every minute I was there. It was incredibly exciting and quite humbling to see it come to life.

 

MR: How would you sell Blood Widow – is it old school slasher fun? Something more satirical? What films would you compare it to?

Chad: I believe it’s a very old school slasher, and directly pays respect to the classics, and we just do something a little different when it comes to the masked killer. We don’t consider it satirical or self-referential, but it was important to hold to established traditions for us, but also have enough in there to make it stand out. Narrative-wise, it has the pace of the first Friday the 13th, but the Blood Widow’s backstory is delivered in a way that resembles “Billy” in the original Black Christmas.

Ian: Here’s a sample logline: It’s a modern take on the classic slasher that isn’t afraid to have a few laughs.

 

MR: Are you guys writing anything else – either together or separately?

Chad: I know there is interest in a sequel to Blood Widow, and there is a treatment. I would like to explore all kinds of stories and genres, and I’d like to collaborate as much as possible.

Ian: We’ve definitely got a good thing going with this collaboration, so whether it’s a sequel or something completely different, we’ll definitely be working together.

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.