Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
I reside in the historic town of Willenhall, West Midlands, UK. Willenhall is situated between Walsall and Wolverhampton.
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?
My writing inspiration came after “Bones” and “Rizzoli & Isles” ended in 2017. CSI is a fantastic series, but it lacked the in-depth family component I want to see in a procedural TV drama. However, the challenge was to come up with a compelling concept.
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?
This may sound cheesy, but I didn’t choose screenwriting; it chose me. Screenwriting, for me, was not a simple process. Even after screenwriting courses, it took a long time to find my voice, which I continue to perfect.
Feedback is critical, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I get an ‘oh, yea!’ moment every time a reader points out something I didn’t see or think about.
To help put things in perspective, I used plot points and outlines in my screenwriting process. Once I have enough to tell my story, I write the treatment. I rarely write on index cards or writing pads unless an idea pops into my head and I have to jot it down quickly. I am not ashamed that I am somewhat dyslexic and would be in serious trouble without Word and spell check. Listening to people talking is a skill I used to help when writing dialog. However, not all readers like slang, so I use clean grammar where possible. I believe the Producer, or the Director should decide what phrasing or language to use depending on the story.
Final Draft is what I use for my screenwriting. I find it intimidating because it is a powerful format, but it is what the Film Industry uses. Therefore, I am compelled to use it. I try to add something new to my story every day, which may involve deleting something I wrote a day or two previously. The goal is to advance the story as cleanly and proficiently as possible. I like to think I achieve that most of the time. Writing a certain number of pages a day is not a process I use because it all depends on one’s mood. Some days are good, and others, not so much.
I have written six screenplays, and their ranges are TV dramas, action features, fantasy, and horror. Some are based on true stories and personal experiences. My fantasy pilot script ‘Dream Books’ was awarded Best International Television Screenplay by another Film Festival.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My ultimate goal is to have at least one of the TV pilot scripts produced, with me being part of the research or writing team. But alas, that decision lies with the Executive Producers.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
My entry to the Wiki Screenplay Contest was the full script. Initially, I hesitated to apply because of the status of the discerning founders. Fear aside, one has to put on the “big boy pants” and deal with whatever happens. Thankfully, I am glad I did because I received honest and detailed feedback that I can take forward and create something wonderful.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
There are so many great movies I enjoy watching, but I can’t just pick one because that’s not fair, so I have two that stand out for the adversity the protagonists had to endure, which could happen to any of us in real life: "Enemy Of The State” and “Baby Boom.”
“Enemy Of The State.” A successful attorney has his family life and career taken away by a ruthless team of NSA operatives for a videotape he doesn't know he has. It is heartbreaking. But with the help of a retired, reclusive Ex-NSA member, he comes back with such gallantry that it is awe-inspiring.
“Baby Boom.” A high-powered career woman is thrust into motherhood after inheriting her cousin’s baby via a will and must dig deep to find her maternal instinct. Then, to make things worse, her bigoted boss and snake-like colleague steal her career prospects. But this brilliant and talented woman cannot be kept down. She comes back kicking ass after creating a baby food company. That was truly heart-warming for me.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
The advice I would give a screenwriter is this. Once you have done your research and fulfilled what inspired you to write your screenplay in the first place, leave it for at least three days and start something new. Return to that initial screenplay with fresh eyes and read it again because I guarantee you will find something more compelling to add.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
Currently, I am in the process of turning a Short Script, ‘Nebulous Act’ into a feature. The initial feedback was good, but the reader did point out it could be shorter. However, they welcome reading the feature.