"Sunshine State: Duende"
What is your name, company name, and URL?
My name is Kai Thorup. I am a film maker and author of the horror screenplay, "Sunshine State: Duende."
Please follow me on Instagram @sunshine_state_duende or you can find me on IMDB at imdb.me/kaithorup.
What is your specialty: filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?
Film making pays the bills, but my passion is writing and I've been interested in scary stories as long as I can remember.
What are you currently working on?
I was sad to finish "Sunshine State: Duende." I was so excited by the voice and tone that emerged, I didn't want it to end.
I believe the voice is what everyone is responding to. Immediately, I shelved my next project and began developing other "Sunshine State" stories. Darkly funny, truly horrific with twists and setting uniquely Florida. Fifteen stories sprang from this bout of inspiration. I am compiling the best into an anthology movie and four are big enough to carry a feature.
I am very excited to explore this world I've created.
Who do you consider your mentor and why?
I've never had a mentor in the traditional sense, but many have offered advice and encouragement. My work as a film maker allows access to many accomplished and creative people. I just wrapped on "Coming 2 America," directed by Craig Brewer, a talented writer and director who came up through film festivals. He and the producers were aware of my success with "Sunshine State: Duende" and shared their own experiences. I am tremendously fortunate to have these opportunities.
Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
I spent my childhood on a sailboat in the Caribbean. It was a catamaran and, at the bow of the boat, a net stretched between two hulls. This was the "front yard" where I played. During rough seas, we once experienced waves reaching twenty feet in height. I "rode" on the net as the boat crested each wave, crashed down, then topped the next. It was thrilling!
One particularly large wave broke above us and the bow of the boat went through the top, not over it. When the water cleared, I had been washed half way down the boat and my father was frantically trying reach me to pull me inside. I was nine!
It was an epiphanic moment. I had no understanding of death, but I knew it was lurking beyond the breach, waiting for opportunity. There was no contemplation in that moment, no time to mull it over. Instead, I was imprinted with the understanding life is fragile and I was at the mercy of a vast and indifferent ocean. I am no adrenaline junkie, but I've chased that ever since. Being terrified in a theater is a safe way to flirt with those feelings. They're important. Like laughter, fear is true. Horror movies aren't just fun; I believe they're necessary.
What do you love most about this business?
I have been around film making all my life. I've tried working in the straight world and learned it's not for me. It's fun being around creative people. I honestly don't know what else I would do. I was bit by the bug early. Having said that, writing screenplays has allowed me to learn new things about myself. There are few things more gratifying than writing and it's still so new and exciting.
What do you dislike most about this business?
The hours. However, if you can't imagine doing anything else, it's immensely rewarding. Even on the worst days.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am uniquely thrilled my screenplay is receiving the attention it has. I am so proud of my little story. As for the rest of my career, there's no one thing. I've been a part of more than seventy projects in one capacity or another. I am now able to point to a body of work and, perhaps, that is what I am most proud of.
Any advice you'd like to give to newbies?
If you don't have to do it, run screaming from it. There are easier ways to earn a living. It's just too hard if you don't love it. It's not rocket science, but the time required of you is hard on your relationships. Friends don't relate, spouses become jealous of the time and you can miss out on life events. With that said, if it's in your blood and there's nothing else you can imagine doing, there is nothing else quite like it. It certainly checks all the boxes for those who dig it.
Direct advice? Always be working. If you write, always be writing. Supplement that writing by working on a set. Call up your film office. Ask for their crew directory. Everyone is freelance in film, their contact info is out there. Respectfully call them and let them know you want to work. Ask if you can stay in touch. It's all timing. When you get the break, be there and make their lives easier for having you. Remember, there's nothing truer than, "the show must go on." It must go on even if your car breaks down, your dog is sick, your boyfriend is mad at you, you have concert tickets or your best friend is getting married. If those are more important, go deal with them and they will find someone to replace you. But know, they won't call again.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you, Shriekfest. I get excited when someone just reads my script. I never dreamed it would receive recognized by such a cool event.
Keep reading, keep writing. Don't wait for anyone else; get your friends and go make your movie!