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Writing Haunting Melissa: An Interview with Andrew Klavan
by Sean Hood
A major thesis of this blog is “Screenwriting means writing for anything with a screen.” As many of you know, Haunting Melissa is a project developed exclusively for the iPhone and iPad, and unlike a movie or television program, it has been designed specifically for the way viewers interact with these devices. Its chapters and chapter fragments are released in sporadic and unexpected ways. Episodes are not the same upon second viewing. The storytelling is so inventive that many reviewers have suggested that director Neal Eddlestein (producer of “The Ring” and “Mulholland Drive“) has “re-invented filmmaking.” (See: App-Only Horror Movie “Haunting Melissa” Challenges Traditional Storytelling)Intriguingly for both filmmakers and screenwriters, Eddlestein told Tech Crunch that his companyHooked Digital Media is funding a wide slate of these kind of projects. “We want to empower creative filmmakers to use these devices and this technology. We will help them with that and financing,” says Edelstein. “I think it’s an interesting time in Hollywood because not as many films are getting made, but people are looking for different opportunities. We’re perfectly positioned to take advantage of that.”I’m always on the lookout for ways for screenwriters to get their stories told. But how does one write the screenplay for an App?
In order to find out, I spoke to the screenwriter of Haunting Melissa,Andrew Klavan. Andrew, also known by his pen name Keith Peterson, is an writer of mystery novels, psychological thrillers, and screenplays for “tough-guy” mystery films. Two of Klavan’s books have been adapted into motion pictures: True Crime (1999) and Don’t Say A Word(2001). As readers of Genre Hacks know, I encourage writers to work their craft in a variety of mediums, whether novels or teleplays, blockbusters or webisodes. Andrew is in many ways the model of a writer successfully adapting to radical changes in the entertainment business and emerging technology, so I had A LOT of questions for him: