Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
I live in Grapevine, TX
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?
The script actually started out as a short story. Then after I began my screenwriting journey, I turned it into a screenplay. The inspiration for this particular script came from real-life events I was a part of (names have been changed to protect the innocent as they say). Looking back I can often see the humor of certain situations, and if it makes for good theatre, I feel compelled to turn it into a screenplay rather than a short story or novel.
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?
Well, I used to start with the FADE IN to develop a first rough draft. But since taking screenwriting classes I’ve been developing the beat sheet as a first step and putting down all the major beats of the story. It helps me remember the significant plot points. When my beat sheet is pretty solid, I start writing the actual scenes. I also like to do character sketches of all main characters to remind me of their personas.
I began writing “Dangling Carat” (a short script) years ago but never finished it. When I picked it up again this year it took about 3 weeks to complete, including re-writes. But is a script really ever finished? I constantly find myself going back to refine.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My ultimate ambition is to get representation. I know I can’t get my stories out there to become movies on my own, and I’d love to find a good agent who is also an industry insider.
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 the full script. I wanted to make good use of the contest’s analysis services and the judges’ expertise to get the executive notes and scores for my screenplay. I’m very happy I did. I received a thorough analysis on all the criteria they promised to deliver on. I was also enlightened as to the shortcomings of my script, and the ways it needed to be improved for marketplace potential.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
This is always a tough question for me because I have so many favorites, and for different reasons, so I can’t pick just one. Most recently I watched Bird Box Barcelona and I was impressed by the fact that who you think is the protagonist at the beginning of the movie turns out to be the antagonist, and then he goes through a transformation to become the actual protagonist, I thought this was clever. I also enjoy all the old Hitchcock movies because I consider them to be cinematic storytelling at its best, and without the special effects and shock value that goes into a lot of modern-day movies.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
I’d say it’s important to READ screenplays and note what separates the ones that stand out from the others. You might even want to start by reading a screenplay of your favorite movie. And if you’re serious about your craft, it’s a good idea to invest in the software that does the screenplay formatting for you automatically (I use Final Draft). You also need folks who can provide constructive feedback about your script. There are many resources out there, and a contest like the Wiki competition where you can obtain studio notes and script coverage is invaluable. Be prepared to RE-WRITE.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
There are a couple of biopics I’m working on. Both take place in the 1700s and on the island of Barbados where I was born. It’s always a challenge to recreate a story from a past era because you need to stay authentic to the time period, do a lot of research on the norms of the day, and find out as much as you can about the customs of the people. And because the protagonists in my stories were actual real-life people, it’s essential that I stay true to their stories and who they were. I’ve got a ways to go before I can say they’re completed but I’m enjoying the process and workshopping them in my writing groups. And then – it’s competition time.