Midlands Movies Mike speaks to local author and playwright Dan Weatherer from North Staffordshire. This regional born and bred creative has had four books published, with three more to hit the shelves soon. Dan speaks to Midlands Movies about his three-time festival award winner The Legend of The Chained Oak and his current film project Beige, which will hit the festival circuit next year.
MMM: Hi Dan. How did you, as a writer, end up working with the film industry?
DW: Quite by chance, actually! I’d penned my first tale The Legend of the Chained Oak during the January of 2013 and had passed it to friends who had grown up with the same legend as I. Feedback was good, but at this point, I had no idea of what to do with my story. Someone suggested I pass my story to Dean Maynard, who had always wanted to make a film based on the chained oak. For those of you not in the know, the chained oak is real, lies just outside of Alton Towers, and its origin is still shrouded in secrecy!
MMM: And what happened from there?
DW: Dean was interested in my version of the legend, and after a few months’ prep, a cast and crew were assembled, and we shot in the September of 2013. The entire shoot lasted three days, and we experienced all manner of weird occurrences and mishaps. I wish we’d documented “a making of”, as it would have made fascinating viewing!
MMM: Was sort of size was the production?
DW: The entire film was made for £500, of which I am forever grateful to Dean, and many talented individuals gave their time and expertise to the project. Since that project, many of the cast and crew have gone on to achieve further in their chosen fields.
MMM: Thank you. And how did you originally become a writer?
DW: Well, I was made redundant in the December of 2012. I became a house-husband and my time was spent looking after my two-year-old daughter. It was great getting to spend time with her, but I missed being active and turned to writing as a means to keep my mind busy. I seemed to have a knack for it and decided to make a serious go of forging a career as a writer.
MMM: What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just completed the second of two novels, both of which are with my agent, meaning that my time is currently spent on a book detailing my experiences as a playwright. I’m self-taught in all aspects of my work, and felt that my experiences may be of benefit to others looking to forge a career as a playwright. The book is almost complete and ready for submission. My latest short Beige, a surreal comedy about a husband who has just murdered his wife, is complete and will be cropping up at film festivals in the new year.
MMM: Do you like to specialise in any genres or styles of work?
DW: I don’t necessarily like labels, but realise their necessity. I suppose you could classify my work as dark fiction. It’s not horror, though occasionally it contains horror elements, nor is it paranormal, though again, it’s influence can be seen/felt. My work can be gothic, dramatic, intense, surreal, even comedic -it all depends on the piece.
MMM: What has been your greatest achievement?
DW: Winning awards for LOTCO was a career highlight, and helped set me on my way as an author, and this year I managed to secure the services of two agents -which was a huge career milestone! However, my greatest achievement personally, (aside from the birth of my children, who I am rightly proud of) was returning to my primary school to host workshops on playwriting. Being able to inspire others is important in art, and I make it a point of my work to visit schools, social groups, etc. wherever possible, to share my experiences, and help encourage others to write.
MMM: And what about your favourite movies? Do you look out for any adaptations being a writer?
DW: My current favourite is The Hateful Eight – and I’ll tell you why. It appeals to me because it is almost a stage play. It could translate to stage very easily. It’s dialogue led, and that’s what I enjoy most in a piece of work.
MMM: And finally. What are your upcoming plans?
DW: I’m not actively engaged in any new film projects at present, though I intend to be in the future. Many of my readers often compliment me on my work, explaining how well it would translate to the big screen. I’m working to raise my profile so that potential film-makers take an interest in my work.
MMM: Thanks Dan. All the best and we look forward from hearing more about your work.
DW: Thank you too!
You can watch the full version of Legend of the Chained Oak and find out more information about Dan Weatherer and his work at www.fatherdarkness.com
Or follow Dan at his social media accounts: