Screenwriter Scott Gore, of Scottsdale, knows how to put a fresh spin on what some may consider a “familiar story,” by adding a new layer of interesting characters, plot twists and story lines.
His first sold out movie, “Instant Karma,” premieres 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at LOOK Dine-In Cinemas in Chandler, 1 W. Chandler Blvd., with a red carpet at 6:15 p.m. for cast/crew and moviegoers. After the film there will be question and answer period with some of the cast and crew followed by an after party at LOOK Cinemas.
Sharing how he is already working on another project, in post-production, that “will hopefully come out next year,” Gore’s other screenplay is called “Woman in the Maze,” which filmed in Chandler, Prescott, Jerome, etc., he says, noting he likes using some familiar Arizona settings in movies.
Before Gore, 61, talks to the public about his movie, which involves life-changing events of a guy whose life takes a turn after he “hits rock bottom as a rideshare driver when his car breaks down,” the storyteller does a Q&A with the Independent.
• Are you nervous about how well it will do?
Of course I’m nervous. The big thing is that I hope people can see how much we did with what we had and that they enjoy the adventure and the characters. But it’s also nervous excitement too. I’ve watched the film and think it came out great. It will be so fun to watch it with friends and family and enjoy it together. It will also be cool for people to see the local places where we shot and recognize them.
• What made you want to get into film making?
I’ve watched and loved movies ever since I was a little kid. I remember seeing “The Ten Commandments” in the theater and also being traumatized when I saw “Jaws” in the theater after waiting in line four hours to see it. But I never thought I’d be a part of it other than just going to movies. Then four years ago when I was going through a hard time, I woke up with part of a dream still in my mind. I thought it would make a good movie.
I shared it with my son who said it was just a scene and not a movie, but I thought it was a great scene that I could build a movie around. My son had studied screenwriting and [Grand Canyon University] so I asked him to borrow a few of his books and I also watched a bunch of videos on YouTube about screenwriting and once I was ready, I started writing "Bring eM Back!" My only goal was to write it and I completed the first draft in 98 days and then printed it out and read it and I remember thinking that it didn’t totally suck. I was thrilled!
• What made you produce the movie premise?
Fast forward a year and a half and I’d written another feature-length screen play and did numerous edits on my first one. Then I started thinking about getting something made and thought it’d be easier to get a short screenplay made so I wrote a few of them.
One was called “Reset” about a father and daughter magically going back in time and having a chance to reset their tragic lives. It was only nine pages so it would be easier and less expensive to make than a feature. (Basically, one page of a screenplay is the equivalent of one-minute of screentime.)
Long story short, I sent the logline of “Reset” to a local director, Mitesh Patel, and he liked it and asked if I could write it as a feature in a hurry. Not knowing if I could, I said, ‘Yes!’ We met and talked about how to do it, and he gave me a contract to write it; and I did in four days.
Then a week or so later, I volunteered to work on one of his sets and did three all-nighters. After that, he asked me to write “Instant Karma.” He had an earlier version of the story, but asked me to write my take on it. So I got to work on that one and got the first draft done in a week. It was such an exciting premise I didn’t want to stop writing.
• What was involved in making the movie?
Well, in addition to writing the screenplay, there was a big local casting call where over 100 people came out and auditioned for about 8-10 major roles. Then they had to recruit extras and some of them had speaking roles too. Mitesh also got a great director of photography (DP) and the rest of the crew for costumes and make up, sound and lighting and someone to scout out all the locations which were here in the Scottsdale and Phoenix metro area. And before all that could happen, Mitesh recruited some executive producers who funded the film.
• How much did it cost?
“Instant Karma” is a micro budget independent film and our budget for the whole thing was $50,000 and I think the result was fabulous. Everyone came together and worked so hard on it that it has a lot of love in it. If you didn’t know the budget and you watched the film, you might think it was a million-dollar budget.
• What did you use to do before getting into movie production?
I’ve spend most of my adult life working in the non-profit sector helping people. After four years in the Navy right out of high school I went to James Madison University and studied accounting which helped me land a job with KPMG accounting firm in Norfolk, VA. I was doing volunteer work with Young Life at that time and then went to staff with Young Life doing outreach to inner city youth.
Then, for over 30 years, I’ve been helping people in the inner city and also around the world doing relief and development work. I’ve led 12 volunteer teams to Jordan to love, learn from and serve Syrian refugees and been to over a dozen other places to help people. In everything I’ve done I’ve been surrounded by a number of people who have supported me, encouraged me and volunteered with me to make an impact; and I’ve always felt like I’ve gotten way more than I’ve given.
• Are you an Arizona native, if not where are you originally from?
I was born and raised on the East Coast and my mom still lives in Wheaton, MD in the house I grew up in since I was 11. I’ve not lived there since I graduated high school, but I’ve always gone back to visit family and friends in the area. I moved to the Phoenix area in 2003 and lived in the East Valley until January 2021 when I moved to Scottsdale. I really love living here and it is so fun to tell others I live in a Dale named after myself.
• What does your family consist of (ie: spouse, kids, pets, etc.)?
I’m single (divorced) and I have five wonderful adult kids. My youngest son, Peter, attends Scottsdale Community College and wants to get into film making also. My oldest son, Alex, lives in Virginia and we’re talking about him helping me write my next screenplay. My local “family” is also my friends from my meetup group called The Wineopotamus Bloat and I’m so happy that so many will be at the premier with me.
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