Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
I live in the Madera County, California
Your script stood out among hundreds of others. What was the inspiration for your story and why did you write a script instead of a short story or a novel?
Second Set is inspired by my own time as a community college student athlete when I was 55 years old. I have so many experiences and observations to draw from that a serialized television series feels the best way to capture the story.
How long did it take you to write your script...and what is your writing process? Do you outline...use index cards...white board...or just start with FADE IN?
I spent a couple days making preliminary notes last spring, then took a writing class where another pilot idea bubbled up that I worked on for two months. I came back to Second Set in October and worked on it off and on for 19 days until early January.
I use an outline for writing pilots that consists of several segments: Introduction of world and characters, Inciting Incident, Big Event 1, Reaction/Consequences of Big Event 1, Big Event 2, Reaction/Consequences, Big Event 3, Reaction/Consequences, Climax and Cliffhanger. Roughly four Big Events for a one-hour episode, 2 for a half-hour. I then use Final drafts beat board to create a card for each scene from the outline. I then send those to the script, create the scene headings with the outline text below. I then write the scene(s) that go with those scene headings and outline notes.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My ambition is to get paid to write a script. I love collaboration and have been involved in many corporate, documentary and performance videos (produce, direct, write and edit) that were collaborative experiences. I, therefore, think I’m especially suited for the collaboration that is a key element of a TV writer’s room.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
I submitted the full script so that I could get the Executive Level Studio Notes. The notes arrived only a couple days later and were very encouraging and included excellent suggestions which I used for the next rewrite. I was on a deadline to submit the script to multiple retreats and fellowships and needed quick and useful feedback so I could rewrite in time for submitting. The timing was perfect.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
My favorite movie is The Princess Bride. I’ve owned it in every format: VHS, VHS Special Edition, DVD and streaming. I watch it at least once a year and have read the screenplay three times. William Goldman is my favorite screenwriter and his dialog is so fun, snappy, and memorable in Princess Bride. “As you wish,” “inconceivable”, “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” “sword fights are good.”
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Develop a group of writer friends at different levels of experience who will give you honest feedback. Then evaluate their feedback and act on what makes sense and ignore what doesn’t. Which leads to multiple rewrites. Then take a break and work on something else then come back and rewrite again. And early on a table read is a good idea, too.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I submitted a feature script to this month’s contest so that I can get the Executive Level Story Notes. It’s called Desert Belles and is about a cranky off-road racer and a fired sports reporter who battle ageism, each other, cheaters and the Mojave Desert when they are partnered in the Desert Belles women-only off-road 4X4 rally.