Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
New York, New York.
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’ve won the Wiki: The World’s Fastest Screenplay Contest twice with my shorts “Pietra Fredda” and “Senior Ditch Day”. Both of these scripts were inspired by prompt-based screenwriting competitions. For “Pietra Fredda”, I was assigned horror as a genre and initially felt it was way out of my wheelhouse. I also pulled another randomly generated prompt: sculptor. In college, I spent a year in Florence, Italy where I visited the world-famous Carrara marble mines – the very place marble for Michelangelo’s David was excavated. Once I found my location, the story of a young sculptress desperate to “hear” the stone speak to her came pouring out. The elements of the horror genre really served to elevate the story. Even though I didn’t place in that contest, I continued to refine and rework that script. I was so thrilled when it took first place in the Wiki.
Similarly, “Senior Ditch Day” was inspired by a 48-hour screenwriting contest where we were limited to three pages with the prompts “sunglasses” and a theme of “now or never.” Funnily enough, I didn’t place in that contest either, but I’d created characters I just couldn’t get out of my head. Septuagenarian Gwen Wiley escapes her nursing home to spread her late husband’s ashes during a rare occurrence of the northern lights. I just had to find out what happened to Gwen after page 3! This is why I am such a massive advocate of rewriting. Sometimes the germ of an idea is there, it just needs a few more passes to perfect. Parts of the screenplay have been simmering in the back of my mind for years. My mother suffered from Huntington’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. She spent many years in a nursing home and often dreamed of escaping the bland walls and colorful characters that also resided there. “Senior Ditch Day” is dedicated to her.
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?
Initially, I only had a few days to come up with the idea for both “Pietra Fredda” and “Senior Ditch Day”, because they were conceived for timed screenwriting contests. Once those original restraints were lifted, I dove back into revisions to clean up my stories on my own timeline. “Senior Ditch Day” took about a month to finish. “Pietra Fredda” on the other hand took five years. I put that on a shelf and just mulled it over. I received some great feedback from Wiki about the motivation of my main character early this year. What would drive a sculptor to come a stone-cold killer? I recently had a flash of inspiration and took a week to rewrite the story. I’m so grateful for the Wiki contest for the feedback but also for having a place to test the temperature of my short scripts. It’s been my goal this year to write one short a month, and Wiki is the perfect sounding board and temperature check. They’re not all winners, that’s for sure. I’ve also placed in an Honorable Mention and Semi-Finalist.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
Currently, I’m looking for representation to help take my award-winning portfolio of scripts to the next level. I’m developing several television pilots and even a few feature ideas. I hope to one day get staffed in a writer’s room. My dream would be to sell one of my pilots and get the chance to bring it to audiences everywhere.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
Both “Senior Ditch Day” and “Pietra Fredda” were conceived as short scripts. After some feedback though, I have been thinking of transforming Pietra Fredda into a horror feature. Every time I go back to that script, I find more gold to mine.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
My all-time favorite is “The Magicians.” I even have TADA tattoo (inspired by one of the set pieces) on my left arm. Who wouldn’t love to discover that not only is magic real, but there’s an entire school in New York dedicated to teaching it? The fantastical stories Sera Gamble and all the writers told helped me realize that bold, weird scripts can find an audience if rooted in real emotion and compelling characters. Because of the show, I attended my first ever Comic-Con and got to meet some of the cast and creatives. It also brought me some life-long friends that have become my close circle of trusted readers who kindly read draft after draft of my projects.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Join a writers group or start one of your own. During the pandemic, I co-founded an international writing group focused on television projects. People have since branched out to books, movies, and even radio plays, but our goal remains the same: help each other build the most captivating stories possible. I have learned more in that group than I have anywhere else, particularly helping others refine their ideas in genres I never would have thought to work in. When you’re in the trenches on a project, it can be so difficult to see what the script is missing. Honest and constructive feedback can transform an OK script into an award-winning one. If you can’t find a group or take a screenwriting class, then get your hands on some of your favorite scripts and dissect them.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I am working on a one-hour fantasy television pilot called “New Olympus.” It centers around Liz Payne, the modern-day descendant of Pandora from Greek Mythology set in the fictional town of New Olympus, Connecticut. Liz vows to clean up her ancestor's mess once and for all after her mother is murdered. Can Liz claim her destiny as the new owner of Pandora's box before her hometown is overrun by evil?
It’s “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” meets “Once Upon A Time” with a mythological backdrop rather than fairytales.