Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
I live just outside Philadelphia, on the Jersey side of the river.
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 inspiration was my childhood desire to be seen and to understand my feelings of separateness. Although Smudge is much braver than I was, she is my alter ego in many ways.
I wrote the script as part of a practical portfolio for a class I took. I’ve written several novel-length stories and too many short stories to count, but Smudge was my first attempt at scriptwriting.
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 finished the original version in a week, and (after feedback) rewrites were another week. The second episode took more than a month, and successive episodes have varied between those times. Other scripts that I am working on are taking longer.
I usually throw down all my ideas in a completely unstructured format - character descriptions, plot, and dialogue are just thrown into a disorganized document - and I fill in from there. If you saw the first version of anything, you’d have a good idea of where it was going, but you’d guess a sixth-grader wrote it.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
I am open to almost anything. I would just love to see some of my stories come to life.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
I was looking for professional feedback, so I submitted the whole thing.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
I have to go with two TV shows.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is so well written that it makes me feel that I should abandon writing altogether because I’ll never match its energy, wit, and humor. The acting, the sets, and the costumes are all top-notch.
Battlestar Galactica (2004 - 2009) - This show dealt with so many contemporary issues with deft and balance while still managing to be an exciting ride. It was much more than a space show with shiny robots and explosions.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Listen to the feedback that you get from services like Wiki. Don’t let your ego (or fear) get in the way of your success. Keep rewriting; your writing is never perfect - until it is.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?DD
I have a series in which the gender roles of men and women are flipped - done in a way that has never been done before. The pilot and a few episodes are done, and several seasons are outlined.
I am in the middle of a thriller story (feature) that’s an allegory of today’s American political situation. Spoiler alert, everyone is evil, but you’ll argue over who is worse. (The Revenant meets Saw.)
I just completed a broad comedy, which is an examination of a dysfunctional family and a young woman’s struggle to escape their unhealthy lifestyle while embracing the awkward, but undeniable love she still feels for them.
I have a fun technology-driven teen adventure with a novel premise and great characters. (There are never any stereotypes when I write teenagers because I’ve never met one in 23 years of teaching high school.)