Writer/Director of contained thriller ‘Daughter,’ Corey Deshon, on writing only what interests him and doing it his way.
February 14, 2023
The old saying goes you can't choose your family and for one myterious young woman, only known by the name, Sister, (played by Queen Sugar’s Vivien Ngo), this will soon become a horrid reality. Written and directed by Corey Deshon, Daughter tells the story of a young woman inducted into a bizarre family as their new surrogate sibling. She has no name, no history, and no identity outside of her beige and brown clothing, provided by Father (played by Starship Trooper’s actor Casper Van Dien). What happens next is a one hour and thirty five minute journey to escape the family.
The road to daughter wasn't an easy one, in fact, it was riddled with a covid-19 plague and Northridge forest fires. While speaking with Deshon, he outlined truly how difficult it was just making the movie.
“Originally, this was going to be a twelve days shoot,” said Deshon. “Midway through day six a brush fire breaks out and we have to evacuate our set. We lose a day and a half out of the schedule. What exist in the final film now is only about eighty-five percent of what was written. There was no additional pot of money we can go back to. We had to make make it work.
And make it work he did. But to understand how the movie was made, you have to go back to the beginning – the script.
“The premise came out of necessity,” he said. I wrote this a little differently than I would something else. I wrote knowing I was going to make it. We weren't funded yet, but knowing that I was going to write something that I could make for any amount of money was our foundation for the film.”
With that in mind, Deshon has this to offer to other writers seeking to do the same.
“Write what interests you,” Deshon said pointedly. I was always a furious reader of philosophy and just like soaking things up from books and thinking of what kinds of questions I found interesting. I think when you're not trying to necessarily please someone else with your writing, when it is a little bit more about you and what you find exciting knowing, that you are ultimately going to go off and do it your own way.”
And by doing it his way, Deshon relishes in taking the time to build to his complex ending – a tip he suggests all filmmakers take heed.
He proclaims, “If you promise the audience something, then make sure you deliver on it. Structurally, the opening sequence is my way of telling the audience to hold on and sit with me for a little while. I promise you we're going to follow that up and I think that brought me to liberty. I knew I was going to withhold so much later so I thought let me let the audience know what kind of danger this Daughter is walking into that she doesn't even know yet herself.”
As an only child to a single mother, Deson drew on the status of familial birth order to craft the character of Father.
“It ties into Father's sort of warped worldview about what everyone's role is,” explains Deshon He believes to prepare his son a certain way and he believes that the women in his household should provide support to that. He wants to hold everybody to those strictly definitions of what their roles are based on that gender.”
Due to production delays, Deshon ultimately had to change the ending of the film. While he wouldn’t comment of what the original ending was, he did verify there were at least two outlined endings written.
He admits, “At the script stage, I wrote two alternate endings. Part of that was an additional safety net for the genre if the people that were going to be reading and potentially financing it we're not too on board with me going out and making weird s***.”
Now circling his ten year anniversary in Los Angeles, Deshon looks back on the past and has this to offer to his younger self.
“Be prepared to put the ball in someone else's court,” he proclaims. You want someone to ask can I read your scriptand have it for them.”
What’s next for the filmmaker is another delve into the thriller genre.
Deshon says excitedly, “I do have another feature that I wrote before Daughter actually that I'm trying to get together so hopefully it's something that will get off the ground this year.” It is another container this time going more contemporary.”
Written by: Sade' SellersSade Sellers is a screenwriter and producer based in Burbank, California. Originally from Michigan’s capital, Lansing, Sade’ has been working in the entertainment industry since 2009. In 2017, Sade’ was a finalist for Tv One’s Screenwriting competition for her teleplay The Replacement. This achievement motivated the network to hire her as a writer for their upcoming movie of the week event, Deadly Dispatch, which premiered on the platform in the summer of 2019. Through that production process, Sade’ met casting director Leah Daniels-Butler who was in the midst of staffing her production company, 1oneninety5. Sade’ then rose to the role of Vice President of Content Acquisitions and Development and spent the next year learning the ecosystem of film and television development from pitching to production. Using that experience, and bound at home due to COVID-19, Sade’ made a return to her first love, screenwriting, utilizing her free time to write new content. www.sadesellers.com
- Afro Horror