My name is Dale Zawada. I'm the screenwriter of the award-winning feature film "A BIG Love Story"
And I am the host of Sad Clown Radio, a weekly pop culture podcast.
A Big Love Story is going to be screening at the Naperville Independent Film Festival September 14th at 7:15! The film is also nominated for two awards: Best Feature and Best Actress.
I hope to see a lot of friendly faces at this local screening!
BLOODLINES: I wrote a short film that’s going to be playing at some festivals later this year. It’s a thriller with a good amount of twists and turns but the strength of the film is the acting of Jay Disney. If that guy isn’t a Hollywood powerhouse in the next five years I’ll be very disappointed with casting directors everywhere.
I’ll post festival dates and other news when it comes in!
During lunch with a friend this week we were discussing video games and I realized there’s a horror game I badly want to play but doesn’t exist. Below is the description of my dream game:
BLOODSHED – A slasher video game.
Survival games like Amnesia and Outlast pack in the scares having the player run and hide to avoid being murdered in terrifying scenarios, but Bloodshed would put us on the other side of the knife. In Bloodshed, the player controls slasher Glen Fowler.
The game would be mission based, centering around key locations, such as cabins full of horny teenagers.
Classic situations will arise for the killer to do his thing:
-Curious teens investigating noises in the basement.
-Friends playing with a Ouija board.
-Campers telling ghost stories.
-Lovers in the bedroom.
-Woman in the shower.
-Car problems (that you likely caused).
-Potheads smoking outside the cabin.
-Campers in their tents getting ready for bed.
So why isn’t there a game already like this? The argument I’ve heard for NOT making a game like this is that it would be boring, repetitive, and lose its thrill after a couple missions. This is the problem Assassin’s Creed (I) had. Bloodshed would avoid this pitfall through an engaging story, creating your own legend, unlocking abilities, and satisfying gameplay.
1. Story. Having a captivating story and creating a deep world and mythology will be key, so every mission the player learns more about Glen Fowler and why he is the way he is - And why he hates camp counselors so much! The player will encounter a variety of side characters, including relatives of victims who come into play as they seek revenge or take other issues with the things you’ve done.
The story covers three decades of destruction as players craft the legacy of the killer. There will be subtle reminders (“What kind of monster would do this?”) that this is the player committing these atrocities.
The story of Glen Fowler will take us to a number of locales, including several summer camps, an insane asylum, carnival spookhouse, trailer park, and an abandoned mall.
2. Creating A Legend. Bloodshed allows the player to decide what kind of slasher they are. Gory and Chaotic? Mysterious and Unseen? Or maybe something nobody has ever seen before?
Depending on the decisions you make in game (posing bodies, mutilating corpses, causing bloodbaths, subtle murders, deaths by fire, deaths by water, deaths by certain types of weapons, scaring a victim to death [rare], etc). The legend of the killer is in the hands of the player.
There are different legacies to build depending on the path you take. If you kill consistently without being seen, you unlock “Urban Legend.” If you kill straightforward and brutally, you unlock “Serial Killer.” If you mix it up, which will likely be the case, you unlock the “Slasher” path. Each path has its own rewards and perks. How you kill will also influence the moniker the media gives you.
3. Unlocking Abilities. Bloodshed has Legacy Points that are earned via the style used to kill victims. One of the main abilities is “Killer Vision,” which allows the killer to see through obstacles to know locations of victims, similar to Detective Mode in the Batman Arkham series. Glen Fowler will get more out of Killer Vision as his legacy grows, allowing him to not just see victims, but entrances, weapons, and interactive items that can be used to kill people.
Other abilities include “Slow Walk” and “Stalk.” Early on he will only be able to sprint short distances. The more you sprint, the longer you’ll be able to do it without needing a rest, allowing you to master the Slow Walk. The victims will think there’s no way you’ll be able to catch up to them, but they’ll be dead wrong.
Stalking is Bloodshed’s version of sneak mode. Crouch down to walk without making as much noise. The more you enter stalk, the easier it becomes and by the end of it you’ll be able to walk full speed without making a sound and alarming victims.
During certain stalking moments, the score would grow more intense as the inevitable murder takes place. Earn proficiency and legacy points for using the same weapon throughout but the player will also earn different rewards for mixing it up.
4. Gameplay. Bloodshed will have a cover system (similar to GTA5) to be able to see around corners, into rooms, and to keep out of sight of victims. The killer will be able to toss items to distract or lure victims.
Victim reactions are based on a variety of factors, including Legacy Path, fear factor, character personality, whether they’re trapped, and other circumstances. Victims will fight, beg, pass out, feign passing out, scream, go into shock, call police, flee, and more.
Grabbing a victim triggers a “mini game” to keep the victim from fighting back and escaping. The mini game consists of quick time gameplay via shoulder buttons while pushing the joysticks up and in (as if choking someone).
The killer can grab victims from behind with rarely any problems (some victims are immune to it due to backstory or abilities).
The victims will use the phones to call the police. It would be wise to cut the power\phone cords. If the police are called, uniformed police arrive and are difficult to take out. If they aren’t taken out and are allowed to call for reinforcements, the feds come. They are very difficult to take out.
The background music would include original and unused songs from Goblin (Suspiria), Graeme Revell (Idle Hands), Marco Beltrami (Scream), John Murphy (28 Days Later), Elmer Bernstein (Cape Fear), Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th), John Carpenter (Halloween), and more!
There will be homages and ways to re-live famous slasher murder scenes like Jason Voorhees slamming the sleeping bag against the tree, Michael Myer’s strangling a woman from the backseat of her car, and even running a lawn mower over a victim’s head ala Angela from Sleepaway camp, and many many more.
Time to learn how to code a video game (or team up with some game folk)!
Dread Central posted a story this week on my Friday the 13th “Camp Blood” pitch that’s been making the rounds. Who knows if anything comes of it, I just hope we get a good Friday the 13th movie when the time comes.
Thanks to Dread Central and Matt Serafini!
"Camp Blood" is a fresh, dramatic take on the Friday the 13th series that I would love to write for Paramount\Platinum Dunes. Read the full pitch at the end of the video and share this if “Camp Blood” is a movie you’d like to see!
Dale Zawada is the screenwriter of the award-winning film A Big Love Story.
One of my favorite parts of pre-writing. #scriptchat
Talking with a detective for a script I’m working on. Research is key for accuracy, logic, believability, and gaining new subplots and angles for your story you might not have previously known about. #scriptchat
Bad News: Had to remove THE FRIEND ZONE from my Available Screenplays page today.
Good News: Because I sold it to a young Canadian filmmaker who loved the script and is intent on making it the best film he can!
I wish them all the luck and hope my list of available screenplays continues to shrink. :)
June reading list. So far all of these are pretty good reads.