DEATHSCRIBE X – A Few Words with Bill Daniel

DEATHSCRIBE X finalist Bill Daniel is an actor and playwright living in Chicago. A graduate of Illinois State University, Bill has spent several years in Chicago chasing the elusive genius. As a playwright, he has written for E.D.G.E. Theatre (Holmes vs. Holmes, What’s All This Then, La Mousquetaire, Through Black Glass), Illinois State University’s Freestage Festival (The Glass Man, Pingree Road), The Living Canvas (Rain), Nothing Special Productions (Manhunt: The Great Waldo Search), Woodstock’s TownSquare Players (Sitting at the Kid’s Table), Hobo Junction (The Great Sloppy Joe Extermination, Steeping the Tea) and Wayward Productions (Frock Club). In 2013, Bill undertook a project inspired by Suzan Lori-Parks, wherein he wrote a ten minute play every day for an entire year. He is very excited to finally be working with WildClaw with his new radio play, Cavities.

What additional projects do you have, previous or pending, that we can brag about for you?

I’m a member of the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, and we’ll be doing Twelfth Night in January. Other than that, I’m constantly doing readings of my plays at my apartment with a group of rotating friends called “Club Cold Read”. Currently looking for a home for my horror western play Hell Followed With Her.

How did you get into horror? What excites you most about writing horror, compared to other genres?

As a child, I watched far too many horror films that I probably should not have been exposed to at the time, and it may have warped my developing brain. I can explicitly remember the Puppet Master films and Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The thing that excites me most about writing horror is creating something that people watching or listening can viscerally identify with. Something that they maybe have tried to suppress that unlocks in the back of their brain and they just can’t help but react to it. They don’t know why it upsets them, but it does. I love tapping into that.

What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?

The sounds came first. The electric whine of the dentist’s drill and the sound of metal tools scraping against enamel and bone literally sends shivers up my spine. My goal was to find way to make the things that bring me discomfort exist in a way to upset everyone else that listens to it. The story told itself really. I have so many mouth related fears, that the idea of realizing something is coming out of your mouth, or teeth falling out and being damaged in general, scares the crap out of me.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Being specific. In traditional theatre, having an audience watch what is happening takes a lot of the specifics and the stage directions out of the writing. But having to specify what is making noise and where it is coming from is tricky and fun to navigate. Being only a listening medium is fun, because sometimes I’d make the sounds of everything as I was writing to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

I want to know what it sounds like to smash a person’s head with a hammer. It’s probably been done before, and it’s morbid as hell, but that wet, sloppy, crunch, would be so satisfying to me.

What scares you?

Fear of the unknown. That something could be lurking just under the surface or just out of reach of the light. Maybe a step is missing on a staircase. Maybe a hand is reaching out right behind you. But you’d never know. And cracking a tooth. That shit scares the hell out of me.

What question do you wish we’d asked, and how would you answer it?

How are you? The answer is “I’m doing great, thank you” 🙂

DEATHSCRIBE X will take place Monday, December 4th, at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. Click the link below for more information.
Bill Daniel