Theme isolation inspired to write a horror story – this is Teemu Körkkö’s Northern Script experience

Teemu Körkkö

My Northern Script experience begun when I found the competition in the summer of 2020. I had written multiple short stories and a few scripts prior to finding the competition, but I had never participated.

Overall, I was sort of surprised to find out that there was a Scandinavian screenwriting competition into which you could submit a screenplay in English. 

Theme isolation felt inspiring

The competition’s theme of the year was isolation which I found to be very inspiring. I began formulating ideas about what could be the most interesting way to express the theme. 

My personal preferred genre is horror which often deals with isolation and closed spaces. That led me to consider many different ideas ranging from a Sci-Fi flick in which a crew of a spaceship had to survive with a limited number of resources to a present-day zombie flick in which a group of people were stuck in a single location.

I also considered if I wanted to write about a global pandemic but deemed that a bit too on the nose during the time of Covid-19.

What I ended up writing was a period piece about a family trying to survive in a distant cabin during a snowstorm. 

I submitted my screenplay to the competition on the final day (of the deadline) and the waiting begun. After a few months, I got word from the organizers that I had made it to the second round of the competition. I was incredibly surprised (and admittedly happy) because no one had ever validated my writing before this.

Zoom event started with jury meetings

The competition was organized on Zoom because a physical event would have been quite unsafe (taking into account, once again, that 2020 was a year of a global pandemic).

My first zoom meeting was with two different judges of the competition. I was nervous going in because I was still under the impression that my writing must be subpar compared to everyone else. They gave me advice on how I could expand on my screenplay, which parts they liked and what I should fix.

The meeting was quite lovely and surprisingly fun. My nervousness drained within the first five minutes because the judges were so friendly and approachable. For the record, the judges stayed incredibly supportive throughout the competition, which was just wonderful.

A few days later came the workshop phase of the competition. All the participants gathered into a Zoom meeting and two instructors (the two great Artturi Rostén and Aku Salminen) gave us screenwriting advice and different tools that we could use to further flesh out our characters. The workshop was incredibly pleasant and fun. It was also very nice to hear from the other participants and read their respective screenplays.

Essentially, everyone in that meeting loved film and you could feel it from the overall vibe.

We improved upon our screenplays and submitted our final versions. Then wewaited for the final event.

The final event was extremely exciting. The jury gave their supportive notes on the different screenplays. The jury chose two different screenplays (honorary mention and the winner). My screenplay, The Dead of Night received the honorary mention, whereas the win went to Alisa Korva and her magnificent screenplay Out of Sight.

Overall, I would recommend the experience to anyone who is interested inscreenwriting as a craft.

I learned a lot from the experience and made a lot of acquaintances from the different participants. All the different participants had (and still have) a unique, and interesting take on screenwriting, which I found to be very exciting.

-Teemu Körkkö

Teemu Körkkö got honorable mention of his script The Dead of Night in Northern Script competition 2020.