Where do you live (City, State, or Country?
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 Tortoise is about a homeless gambling addict who embarks on a 30-mile trek along the interstate to cash in $1,000 worth of casino chips. In 2020, I was dealing with the same horror show as everyone else in the world. Toward the end of November, I realized I hadn’t written anything new all year. I turned to my writer’s group on Facebook and made a poll with eight different loglines. I decided that whichever logline got the most votes, I’d turn it into a full script before the end of the year. Much to my surprise, The Tortoise received the most votes, so that’s what I set out to write.
How long did it take you to write your script...and what is your writing process? Do you outline...use index cards...whiteboard...or just start with FADE IN?
I finished the first draft in just under a month. After I posted the Facebook poll, I outlined The Tortoise scene by scene. I had set a deadline for myself to finish the short before the end of the year, so I knew I had no time to waste. On December 29th, I was only halfway through the first draft, so I spent the next two days hammering out as many pages as I could. On the morning of New Year’s Eve, I posted the completed first draft of The Tortoise on Facebook. After reaching my milestone, I spent the next few weeks rewriting and polishing The Tortoise until I felt it was good enough for the competition circuit.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My ambition as a writer/producer is to be involved in the filmmaking process from development to post-production. I want to work with filmmakers who are just as driven as I am to bring my stories to life. My long-term goal is to write for television and become the showrunner of my own TV series.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
My entry was a full script. Since my screenplay was less than 30 pages, I wanted the judges to see the full scope of my story from start to finish. I didn’t want the readers to be asking, “where is this story going?” I wanted to show them where it was going.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
My favorite TV show of all time is The Twilight Zone. As a kid who grew up reading Goosebumps, I loved the show for its spooky aesthetic and brilliant twist endings. I would constantly rent the DVDs from the public library and watch the New Year’s marathons on TV. I revisited the show when I was older and realized just how smart the writing was and appreciated the deeper themes of the show. When writing The Tortoise, I wanted the story to feel like a modern version of The Twilight Zone.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Focus on writing a good story rather than trying to create an “award-winning script.” Don’t be afraid to write the script you want just because you’re worried it won’t be as good as the version in your mind. A bad script on paper is worth infinitely more than a great script in your head.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
Since entering the Wiki Screenplay Contest, I adapted The Tortoise into a feature-length screenplay, which was recently optioned by Stray Productions LTD. Stray Productions is a production company in Glasgow and was named the Best Filmmaking Production Company in Scotland at the 2022 UK Enterprise Awards.