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?
Dark Paradise is a true story. I am always drawn to true stories. I find myself listening more intently and watching with more interest when I see”Based On A True Story” in the opening credits. The story drew me in because of the inner strength that the protagonist found to fight back and win.
How long did it take you to write your script?
I spent over 80 hours speaking with the person that the story is about. Once I had all of her information, I dramatized it; for her protection. The first draft took 10 days. There were various rewrites, as there always are.
And what is your writing process?
Because I wanted to honor the true story and protect the real victim, this was an interesting circumstance. I wanted to be loyal to the truth and follow the features of a screenplay that make the film engaging and a page turner. Once I had the information and the story in mind, I let the ideas flow. I try to stay out of the way of the creative process as much as I can. I do not self-comment. I free write and then polish. Then I enter The Wiki contest to see if I am on the right track.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
To have a large body of work in film, television and stage. And of course awards are always nice. I want to make my living as a full-time, respected writer. Writing is what makes my heart beat, I don’t see myself ever stopping or giving up.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”?
First 10 pages
Why did you make that choice?
To me, if you don’t get the first 10 pages “right” there is no reason to continue. I know that if I am not successful in grabbing my reader in the first 10, I have to keep polishing until I do. It sets the tone for the rest of the film.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
Godfather II, Coppola is an incredible storyteller. There are so many intricacies of this film. It is shot beautifully, acted impeccably, edited perfectly and written with the care and detail that makes me watch it over and over. It is the litmus test for the type of stories I strive to write.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Never give up. Enter a contest like Wiki. It is rare when a contest offers honest, constructive notes, written by working professionals that you can trust. Study the notes, make the changes and keep working on your screenplay until you are proud and ready to enter.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I have just been hired to direct and produce Dark Paradise. I have another feature that I am on co-writer on that I will be directing late 2023 or early 2024.
Currently, I am working on five series and four features. I have been fortunate to have two winning series in the Wiki contest.
I just signed a shopping deal with a very well-known producer, for one of the series that won last year in the Wiki contest.
I have a short film that is traveling the world in festivals. It has won over 36 awards and is up for many more. My plan is to write the feature and the television series in the next six to eight months.
This has been a very busy and productive time.
I just created a new series that I am pitching this week. Of course everything is frozen during the strike. But, we are getting everything lined up for when the strike ends. Hopefully, that will be soon.