Interview with “Portal” Writer Peter Dukes

Portal, now available On Demand from Vertical Entertainment, hails from the pen of screenwriter Peter Dukes.

-PH: When did you decide you wanted to write movies, sir?

-Peter: I knew I wanted to make movies from a very early standpoint. I was, in my own way, doing it even when I was a kid, be writing short stories, writing comics, etc, but the decision became finalized when I committed myself to the path and went to film school.

-PH: Have a lot of support in that decision?

-Peter: I did. I was very luck. My parents, my family, my girlfriend (now my wife), have always supported me, then and now, and that’s important because it can be a tough road at times.

-PH: How does one start though? Do you enroll in film school or just go out there with your camera and shoot something – I imagine it’s different for everyone?

-Peter: It’s different for everybody. It really is. There’s no rules one must follow to become a writer, director or producer. Film schools are great for some, not so much for others. It all comes down to what works for you and your long term plans. I started out by making short homemade movies as a kid, then went to film school. After I graduated I started making as many short films as I could, each designed to challenge my abilities in a different way so I could gauge what my strengths and weaknesses were. Also so as to give me the opportunity to find my voice as a storyteller. This was all part of my long term plan of jumping into the feature world at some point, and I wanted to be fully prepared for that.

-PH: And is sci-fi or horror a genre you normally gravitate towards?

-Peter: I’m a fan of a great story more so than any specific genre, but do I have a soft spot for horror? Absolutely. Always have, always will. I have a blast with it, and it affords me a certain creative flexibility that meshes well with the way my mind works.

-PH: To the latest movie. How did you come up with the concept for this film?

-Peter: I’ve watched a lot of amateur ghost hunting teams pop up over the years, in response to the popular shows one finds on TV (ala Ghost Adventures), and too many of them, in my opinion, are into it for the wrong reasons. They’re not seeking meaningful or respectful communion or contact with the other side, they’re seeking fame and fortune. A big TV deal. If that’s one’s priorities, playing around with the paranormal is a reckless, even dangerous, thing to do. Portal was crafted as a cautionary tale in response to this.

-PH: And were any of the actors attached during the scripting process?

-Peter: No, I wrote this as a spec so it was just me, typing away on my computer until the wee hours of the morning each day.

-PH: How perfect do the actors capture the characters on the page?

-Peter: The writer creates the characters, but it’s the cast that brings them to life, and I thought our actors did an outstanding job.

-PH: What do you hope for for this movie? Any franchise plans?

-Peter: I hope people enjoy it, and continue to enjoy it in the future. I’m not aware of any franchise plans, but who knows. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and I’ll be ready should the call come.

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