Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
I live near O’Neals, California which is on the way to Yosemite.
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?
I ran across the all-women Rebelle Rally when I was doing research on off-road racing for another script. The event is so compelling, it’s an eight-day event that covers 1500 miles in the Nevada and California desert, that I was inspired to write a feature film about older women who compete in a desert rally. The desert is such a visually striking location, think John Ford country, while also dangerous and deadly which makes there tremendous power in in telling this story via film.
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’ve been working on the ‘Desert Belles’ screenplay across the past seven months. I also wrote a TV pilot (“Second Set’) during the early months and went back and forth between the two scripts. Both of these scripts went through Wiki a couple of times to get timely feedback that really helped my rewrites.
I do create an outline in a document and then copy some of that over into the beat board feature of Final Draft. But once I get writing and over the course of multiple rewrites I’m focused on the screenplay and not the outline. However, for this latest rewrite of ‘Desert Belles’ I went back and deconstructed my major beats for act 2 and wrote them on the beat board. Then I copied the existing beats and moved them around into a new order which moved a big set piece to about the mid-point and then totally rewrote that sequence. This reordering really strengthened the story and addressed several issues.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My immediate goal is to find a manager who is interested in collaborating with a “mature” emerging writer. Like most screenwriters, my long-term goal is to sell and ultimately see a screenplay or teleplay produced.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
My entry was a full script. I wanted feedback on how the entire screenplay was working.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
I am a huge ‘The Princess Bride’ fan. I love the characters and all the quotable dialog. It is one of the extremely small number of movies I want to watch more than once. I watch at least once every year which means I’ve probably seen it over 35 times. I also have the script and have read that twice. In fact, I reference ‘The Princess Bride’ in a light moment after the lowest moment the main characters face after surviving the big flash flood set piece.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
We’ve all heard “writing is rewriting’ and that is a truism that I’ve experienced. Feedback is a crucial element of rewriting, and it is how I get better as a writer while improving my scripts. Wiki has been a key method I’ve found for getting quick feedback. The notes I’ve received are detailed and actionable plus come quickly so I can get back to work on improving my script without a delay.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I have two features in early stages of development. One, ‘Crime d’Elengance’, was a ten-page entry in April and the feedback I got is invaluable because it points out some major setup issues. In essence it’s the story of an older woman art and collectables theft investigator who’s case takes her into the world of classic cars that are used to transport stolen jewels and art. The other feature is a family Christmas drama that takes place in a Scottish castle and deals with a deeply grief-stricken laird who’s forced out of his grief when a mountain of letters to Father Christmas are dumped on his doorstep due to a postal glitch. This project is being co-written with my good friend Ellie Wallace who is Scottish and lives in the U.K. There’s definitely a trip to visit Scottish castles in my future.