Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
Belfast, the North of Ireland - UK
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 of the screenplay is drawn from the true story of a civil rights activist in the north of Ireland who was tortured by the British Government in 1971. The script explores the relationship between the state and its citizens and how a government’s actions can affect personal relationships. The story will resonate with people across the globe who are working through their post-colonial issues. I chose a screenplay to reach the widest audience.
“After witnessing her father, a resilient civil rights activist and cherished family man endure brutal torture at the hands of the British, his daughter Mary and fellow tortured civil rights activist and Hooded Man Paddy Joe McLean take up the cause for justice. They fearlessly work to expose the truth and fight for the rights of their oppressed community.”
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?
The Last Colony is a historical drama. Research for the story took 4.5 years. I am currently writing ACT III. My writing process starts with an idea, then an initial outline. This process helps to capture the essence or spine of the story. I think spatially and from time to time, I will go old school and use a black sharpie and a flip chart to understand pace, scenes, and character development.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My ultimate ambition as a writer is twofold. First, I want to elevate the conversation on human rights and in so doing challenge state actors. Second, I want to tell the hidden story of Ireland – a country where the official narrative needs to be challenged. Ireland is a country that is emblematic of people in the world whose journey is to have human rights.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
I have few available avenues where I can go to for professional feedback on my writing. I researched the industry and evaluated many companies that provide professional services and contests. I chose the Wiki Screenplay contest because of its professionalism and the use industry professionals who have solid industry credits.
I have not finished the script - I am at the beginning of ACT III. I chose the “first ten pages” for feedback on how the scripts foundation – or set up worked or didn’t work. The resulting feedback was exactly what I was looking for. After one week of thought, I removed scenes, moved scenes, and re-wrote scenes and dialogue. I have to say, the spine of the story is clearer, the characters have solid beginings, the pace is better, and the way the audience is drawn into the story – to wanting more is much improved.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
My all-time favorite movie is The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh. The movie is a study of character development. Each character’s journey drives the plot and story. The use of black comedy and drama produced a good – balanced movie going experience. This is what I look for in movies.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Writing is one of the most difficult disciplines in the world. It is a sole adventure. You must be open to enlist and take on criticism. You must be open to removing scenes you spent hours crafting. When I entered the Wiki Screenplay contest the “first 10 pages I received a detailed professional analysis - that I acted on. After many re-writes I resubmitted the first 10 as a final product and became a finalist.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I have three other works in progress. The first juxtaposes animal rights activists in conflict with the government/establishment, the second is a court drama that explores the idea of the freedom fighter and that personal journey, and the last is a series based on The Troubles.