Where do you live (City, State, or Country?
Santa Barbara, 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?
I did write the novel first – Matamoros. It was very well reviewed, and got several awards. A Western set on the Rio Grande during the Civil War. I’d always seen it on the screen in my mind, but there was simply too much story to try to squeeze into a feature. So I envisioned it as a television series, possibly a limited series.
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?
It took about a month to write a first draft, based on one of the many arcs in the novel – but that draft went through dozens of rewrites and iterations, which ultimately took about a year to complete. The interlacing plotlines were so intricate, it was tricky singling out a couple clear linear threads – so yes, I outlined the script as far as hitting the major plot points. But I always allow for each scene to declare itself in the writing, and follow where it leads.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
I’ve written many novels and I wrote for television for years – but my TV writing was always on other peoples’ shows. I want my own series on the air. My own “Created By” credit.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
It was the full script, which I thought was a fast read, and really encapsulated what the whole series would be about.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
I think The Sopranos really changed the game in television. The writing, the acting, the nuances and depth in character motivation – it opened up a new art form – using The Godfather as a springboard, but having the expanse of a series to really develop all those relationships.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
I used to be happy with a script after a first draft, second draft, and polish. My advice to any writer at this point – including myself – is to keep rewriting, keep getting notes from trusted readers, and then rewrite again. This one went through at least 20 drafts.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I have a couple features ready to show, a goofy comedy and a noir crime story. I’ve also been working on my Americana folk music. I released an album, Matamoros, with each track about one of the characters in the novel and script that won the Wiki contest. All are story songs – I’m a storyteller, whatever the medium is. And currently in airplay on the folk radio stations is By the Risin’ of the Sea – an album of shanties concerning contemporary existential environmental crises.