Gunnar Orn Arnorsson was a student in Screen writing and Directing at The Film School and graduated in 2018. At the moment he is in the process of writing a screen play with Otto Geir Borg for a film Andreas Prochaska, best known for making the television show “Das Boot” (2018), has plans to shoot in Iceland, named “Dead End”. We recently had a word with Gunnar, prying a little into his process.
What is your first memory about films and their affect on you?
I had problems sleeping as a child and it was usually connected to films, if the film was a happy one I created fantasies from that where I was in the center of the adventure, and if it was frightening I was under the duvet crying from the nightmares. I started switching these “dream cassettes” (VHS was dominant at the time) when the night became unbearable and it usually worked.
Besides that, my first film memory is sitting in the living room couch with my grandfathers hand around me and watching the dystopian satire “Brazil” by Terry Gilliam. I was excited and scared at the same time and during the most disturbing parts the old man would put his hand over my eyes. I could still see through his fingers, which I did, even though I did not want to. I had to know what happened, even though it scared me.
Where did the idea for the screen play of “Dead End” come from?
The idea comes from the class act, keyboard fiend and my mentor, Otto Geir Borg. He had already made a 2 page synopsis when he recruited me to develop this further. We worked with Urdur, Verdandi and Skuld (the Norns of Norse mythology) as a backbone, with an emphasis on the demons of the past and a settling with them to ensure a greater future. We follow a mother and daughter on the run from the girls father, that seek shelter in a small village in the west fjords at the end of the world with the seafarer Urd, a seasoned strong woman. Mothers instinct is the driving force through the story.
How was the process of writing?
Together we created from the story marble a 12 thousand word treatment. We then sent that to Ingvar Thordarson and Andreas Prochaska and they wanted to take it further. After that we have been hammering out a script and are in the final stages.
You can not ask for better professionals for this assignment than Ingvar Thordarson and Julius Kemp, the producers (Kisi), and Andreas at the directors helm. Everyone is truly coordinated and we will continue our work in making this film the best it can possibly be.
Is there a difference between writing a script by yourself or with a co-writer?
It of course depends on who you are writing with because not everyone can be synchronized together. But writing with Otto has been easy. Almost embarrassingly so. We have different styles but come together well. There is always feedback between us and that is what we need while writing, leaving the ego at home and getting all the flaws of the script corrected.
Otto taught me at The Film School and always gave me the truth straight up. But he is fair and a good teacher, one of the best, an even better co-worker and it is my honor to collaborate with him.
What tone are you hoping to get with the screen play?
We are writing a western with action and a thriller element. The thread going through it is still the human aspect that connects us all. Love. What we are willing to do for it and how it changes us when we lose it. Ordinary people that have been backed into a corner, geographically and personally, and have to face horrible circumstances.
How would you describe your time at The Film School and the studies?
When I got to the school I was a dull knife in a drawer of repressed authors. I had never dared to just go for it and try to enhance my ability. But the school pulled me out of it and with tremendous teachers I was able to gain the skills and use them. You get from the studies what you put in them. With hard work and endurance you will make it, the ground work is there, it is up to you to build on it.
Learn from your teachers and fellow students. Help whenever you can and ask for help whenever you need it you need it, without fear of failure, because from the mistakes there is a vast possibility of experience. Everyone is taking this trip together, so help each other.
The school not only gave me tools for my trade but also a new family, which I love. I am not sure if I showed my appreciation after I graduated in the spring of 2018, but I will now. Thank you !