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WRITES.CAMERA.AX-TION!: Nanea Taylor

By Mo Moshaty  April 1, 2024

Nanea Taylor is a true artist with a passion for storytelling. Throughout her career, she has fearlessly tackled new challenges and taken on various projects that have enhanced and
advanced her writing. With a focus on strong female leads and diverse casts, Nanea's work stands out for its authenticity and relatability. She has optioned one of her projects and had a
short graphic novel developed.

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1.  Give us the best elevator pitch on your work.

As a Black female screenwriter with a passion for crafting gripping narratives that transcend genres. Horror happens to be my playground of choice, where I delve into the depths of fear and the human psyche, but I’m equally adept at weaving compelling takes across all genres. With a track record of success in prestigious screenwriting contests and having seen one of my scripts optioned, I bring both talent and tenacity to the table. Oh, and did I mention? I’ve even ventured into the world of graphic
novels with a short story brought to life on the page. Whether it’s a bone-chilling horror, a heartwarming drama, or a pulse-pounding thriller, I’m here to deliver stories that captivate
audiences and leave a lasting impression.

2. Tell us about your first brush with the horror genre. 

When I was younger me and my friends used to go to Atlanta once a month. On the way there, they would always insist I tell them a story. So, for two hours and thirty minutes, I would make up a story to tell them, which would usually be a horror story. I remember telling a horror story about a group of campers who are hunted by the elementals in the
woods. Once captured, the people took the place of the previous elementals, and the previous victim’s body was released so they could be found, called The Return. This one was special because my friend was planning on going camping with her boyfriend, and after that, she refused to go and still talks about that story to this day.

3. What about the genre pulls you to work within it? 

As weird as it sounds, the pacing. The build-up of the scare. I as the writer know what’s around that dark corner and if my characters are going to make it out alive.

4. On this horror journey have there been bumps or disappointments?

As a writer, there are many bumps and disappointments, that are a part of this life. You can’t get away from it unless you are extremely lucky and/or well-connected. I’ve learned that you must love what you do. Even if no one is cheering you on or wanting to read, buy, or promote your work. You have to love it, the joy of creating worlds, characters, and plots.
You have to believe that this gift that you have is worth the time to invest in and see where it goes.

5. What was the first horror screenplay you’ve written? Any production, publishing?

I would have to say the horror short, To the Bone, about a mythical creature terrorizing a small, segregated town in the 1980’s. Under the suspicion of the mysterious death of her husband and daughter, a housewife takes it upon herself to protect her youngest son against a creature she once thought was town folklore.

6. What’s your process when beginning a screenplay?

The outline or my version of an outline. I get an idea, and I immediately write it down and then build from there. When I feel I have enough of the story and plot fleshed out, I sit down and start typing.

7. World-building in horror can be as extensive or as contained as we wish. What comes first for you in the idea department, the plot, the character, or the atmosphere?

It’s like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg. As a writer, we can get inspiration from anything. I tend to
lean into the idea department first.  

8. Who and/or what are your horror influences?

Stephen King and Anne Rice are my true influences. Been reading them since I was eight years old.

9. Is there a story inside that you have seeds of but can't seem to connect that's dying to get out?

I have been kicking around a couple of ideas, one about a creepy doll that follows this woman. She inherited it and bad things started to happen to people in its vicinity, everyone except her, it’s almost like she has her own guardian angel, but it hurts or kills people she doesn’t need protection from so she gets rid of it. It shows back up. She gets rid of it again and
moves across the country, one day she comes home from work, and it’s sitting in her living room. The other one is based on a childhood friend’s true-life horror story of when her family moved into a house and all these crazy things started happening, she insisted that one night the devil came to visit her family. This went on for the first year of them being in this house only to find out her father was practicing black magic.

10. How do you handle extensive notes or a rejected screenplay?

I love notes, even the ones that make you feel like you are pursuing the wrong career. Why? Because notes have made me
a better writer. I had to learn early on, that you don’t have to make a move on every note given to you, but it is in your best interest to consider every note. Meaning, that if you get a note that makes you feel as though the reader has found out that you are an imposter, and have NO BUSINESS writing for a living, step away from that feedback for a few days, a few weeks if that is what it takes for you to look at the feedback with a less emotional eye. Typically, I find that within that feedback there is a nugget that is true to the story you are telling that will make the story better. With that being said, I highly suggest that writers find their support group of people who will give good and honest feedback. You don’t need folks just telling you how good your writing is, you need the folks who tell you when it stinks but they know you can do better.

11. What has been the most difficult part of your screenwriting journey?

Believing in myself as a writer. I was in my thirties before I even called myself a writer, even though I have many stories under
my belt.

12. What has been the best/most rewarding?

I would say the screenwriting community, I have been awed by the talent, commitment, and greatness of meeting so many wonderful writers.

13.  Which horror element or creature from film/lit terrifies you and why?

The Exorcist is still my top horror film. That girl's head spinning around on her neck and then vomiting all over everyone
still freaks me the hell out and then the priest falls to his death at the end.

14.  What project are you looking forward to next?

Turning the To The Bone horror short, I mentioned above, into a feature. Working on it now.

15.  Where can folks find your work?

They can find the list of my scripts on:
https://www.naneataylorscreenwriter.com

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Mo Moshaty is a horror writer, lecturer and producer. As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and life long horror fan, Mo has lectured with Prairie View A&M Film & TV Program as a Keynote, BAFSS Horror Studies Sig  and The University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Mo has partnered with horror giant, Shudder Channel, to co-produce the 13 Minutes of Horror Film Festival 2021 and 2022 with Nyx Horror Collective and her literary work "Love the Sinner" was published with Brigid's Gate Press in July of 2023 and her two volume collection, "Clairviolence: Tales of Tarot and Torment Vol. One and Two" will be published with Spooky House Press in the Spring of 2024

Mo is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of NightTide Magazine

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