Kempton Takes His Time

by Gordon Shelly

This is the first in a two-part article featuring Nick Kempton, who recently had two screenplays find their way into the “Best Screenplay Category” as finalists in the 2020 SoCal Film Awards, as part of the 12th season of the event.

The first was a feature length script entitled How I Ruined my Best Friend’s Wedding and the second, a short-form screenplay titled All the Time in the World.

All the Time in the World tells the story of Sandra Fisher, a scientist who has discovered the ability to manipulate time. Without giving too much away, the story opens with Sandra and her partner demonstrating their machine to their benefactor – it is a device that has the ability to slow time.

Award-winning writer Nick Kempton.

Of course, such power is craved by the greedy and those who would misuse it. All the Time in the World quickly turns into a struggle for control with moral and ethical decisions in the balance. Mixed into the script is an android named J-ARD, who provides a bit of the Vulcan logic of Mr. Spock and the blank humanity of HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is a tale of science fiction that asks deep questions but doesn’t necessarily provide the answers we’re looking for. As science fiction often does it presents the dilemma and leaves it up to the audience to fill in the gaps and speculate what could happen next.

Writer Nick Kempton recently took some time to sit down with INFLUX Magazine and talk about his work and his process.

INFLUX: As a writer can you tell us a bit about the inspiration and where the idea came from?
NICK: All the Time in the World came from two things; a conversation with a friend of mine, and a martial arts program I saw on TV when I was a kid. My friend was telling me about a book he’d read where magic users created small pockets of accelerated space-time, and someone’s hand slipped in and aged rapidly. The martial arts program showed how certain kicks/punches lead to various injuries on the attacker and the defender. I remembered thinking of what it would look like for a bullet to hit a person in slow motion, and that evolved into someone else watching helplessly as a bullet flies towards someone they love (I’m not normally this dark, I promise).

INFLUX:  Do you have a specific process? If yes, what can you tell us about it?
NICK: I do! I start small; usually a scenario or a theme that grabs me. I try to see if I can write a logline for it, making sure it isn’t just about world building (don’t get me wrong, that’s a lot of fun, too). If I can’t write anything for it, I let it sit (because I might be able to combine it with something else); if I have something, I create a folder and start brainstorming scenarios. I also listen to a lot of music while brainstorming (usually film scores) to help me keep focused and not get lost in the weeds.

INFLUX: How long did All the Time in the World take you to complete?
NICK: All the Time in the World was a few months; I had to do quite a bit of research, and I wasn’t exactly comfortable writing dramas at the time. I was more used to writing comedy, so I had to avoid my usual habits for dialogue (which made things harder for me).

INFLUX: All the Time in the World is a story with a lot of possibility. Where do you see this script a year from now?
NICK: I know it’s harder for a short, but I like the potential for All the Time in the World both from a visual and a written perspective. It might also give me the chance to delve into the subject matter a little more and answer some of the questions raised by this new technology.

Check back soon as we continue Part 2 of our conversation with Nick Kempton. We’ll delve deeper into his writing process and take a look at his award-winning feature film screenplay, How I ruined my Best Friend’s Wedding.

Read Part II of this Interview Here!