100 Days of Death is a novel series by writer Ray Ellingsen. Due to the book’s big success, Ray along with actress Kim Poirer (Dawn of the Dead, Decoys, Mad Men) and famed artist Tommy Castillo (Batman, King Kong) will create a comic adaptation of the zombie novel as well as a film.
Interview with horror writer Ray Ellingsen.
Can you tell us about how you got started in entertainment industry?
My first job in the entertainment industry was as a writer. It was more by accident than by design. I had some experience writing articles and doing research, and a producer friend asked if I would like to rewrite a screenplay for him. That project got the attention of a production company, and I’ve been working ever since.
What was your inspiration for ‘100 Days of Death’?
The inspiration for my novel, 100 Days of Death, came from the Forest Carter novel, Vengeance trail of Josey Wales, which was made into the film, Outlaw of Josey Wales, with Clint Eastwood.
Tell us a bit more about ‘100 Days of Death’.
100 Days of Death is the story of one man’s journey through a post apocalyptic, zombie infested landscape. Told in journal format, this book chronicles a capable, yet reluctant heroes adventures as he faces the near impossible odds of survival. Although alone at first, he begins to accumulate companions along the way. He doesn’t want to take them in, and resists taking responsibility for them at first, but eventually they become family to him, teaching him humanity for the first time. Oh yeah, and there’s lot’s of shootouts, and millions of really ravenous zombies trying to eat them the whole time.
Does character come from plot, or plot from character?
Does character come from plot, or plot from character? Wow. That’s sort of a “chicken and egg” question. I had to actually think about that for a while. Being primarily a screenwriter, I’d say more often than not, characters come out of the plot. In the case of my novel though, while I had a basic plot in place, the plot came from the main character. His actions, fears, and personality traits drove where the story eventually wound up.
Which is your favorite horror movie?
I don’t know if I have “one” favorite horror film. Aliens, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon and definitely three in my top ten list.
What defines a good movie plot?
As a writer, I have no idea. But if you figure it out, could you let me know? As a movie goer though, I think the hallmark of a good plot is one where you are able to suspend your belief and completely lose yourself on a journey for two hours. The Wizard of Oz and Forest Gump are two great examples.
Which writers and producers do you admire most and why?
My favorite writers are not necessarily screenwriters, though their works have been translated to the screen. Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), H.G. Wells (The Island of Dr. Moreau), and Louis L’Amour (too many books made into movies to even mention here), are three of my favorite writers. Their works greatly inspired and influenced me growing up. If I have to mention screenwriters, Brian Helgeland’s L.A. Confidential was awesome. As far as producers, Gale Anne Hurd and Brian Grazer are two of the better producers for me. They both have the unique ability to provide all the tools and resources needed to allow filmmakers to tell their stories. I’d love the opportunity to work with either of them.
When a writer has an idea for a movie, what questions should they be asking themselves before writing?
The questions I consider before I take on any project are things like; Who is my audience, and (assuming I can identify them) why would they be interested in what I have to say? Are my characters original and unique? Is my plot well thought out? I think the most important question any writer should ask is; Why am I writing this story, and what is its message? A story doesn’t have to be Citizen Kane, or even be poignant or thought provoking. It just needs to entertain an audience. If you think you can achieve this, then by all means, write on.
Anything else you would like to say?
I really shouldn’t. Your readers probably already know way more about me than they wanted to.
This post was written by Nadia Vella