Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
My current residence is Georgetown, Kentucky, but I’ve lived in numerous places throughout the US and was stationed in Europe for over a dozen years.
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 always been a student of history, politics and world affairs. With current world events, and never-ending political dramas, I wondered how far a nation would go to extract revenge and to what extremes a nation would go to prevent the death of thousands of its’ citizens. The story is far too intricate to squeeze into a short story, thus it is told through a feature script. As for writing a novel, I’ve considered converting the story and other screenplays into books, but the writing style is vastly different and for the moment want to keep my focus on one media form. In the future, however, this may change.
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 less than a month to complete the first draft of the story, but then spent several years working on the rewrites and edits while I worked on other stories. With most of my stories, I simply begin with FADE IN and a vague idea for an attention-grabbing opening scene. From there, the story just seems to unfold. Once I have a first draft, I typically set the story aside and shift my focus on another project. Later I’ll go back over the story for a fresh look and every time find areas that need rework. The hard part is knowing when the final edit is truly a final edit.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
My goal has always been to write the best stories possible and to reach a broader audience whether via the small or big screen. I hope that the stories I picture in my head are understandable and relatable to others once translated into the written word. And that my enjoyment in writing the stories is mirrored by those who read them.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
I entered the full script. Since the first ten pages may set the pace of the story and provide character introductions, I wanted the full story read and evaluated. A whole story is better than just reviewing a brief snippet.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
My favorite TV show was “24.” The fast-paced action and intrigue kept me on the edge of my seat, and the main character played by Kiefer Sutherland was very believable as he walked the walk and talked the talk. As for an all-time favorite movie, that’s a hard one since I have so many. It might be Second Hand Lions or The World’s Fastest Indian with their rich characters and storylines, or dramas based on true stories with courageous acts of sacrifice such as Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers or Hacksaw Ridge. Movies that that take you into a world few have truly experienced.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Don’t give up if all you receive is a string of Official Selections or Not Selected. Be persistent and keep on writing. Pay attention to any feedback you might receive on your script and don’t take the criticism personally. If appropriate, reassess the weak points in your story and continue to rewrite them until you’re satisfied. Then set the story aside. In a few weeks reread the story and make additional tweaks if necessary. I do this multiple times. I once started a script over a dozen years ago that I thought was well-written and it did well in contests but never won. However, after evaluating all feedback and 40+ rewrites later, it’s won 22 awards in the past year.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I have over two dozen screenplays that are complete or at various stages of development which range from drama, dark comedy, dramedy to thriller, action and fantasy-romance. The books I read and the movies I watch are varied which is evident by the various genres of my stories. While I’m well into a thriller set in the aftermath of Eastern Kentucky’s flooding, I’m also again editing a story inspired by the life of John Colter. John Colter was a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the first white man to explore the area that is now known as Yellowstone. He is considered one of the original mountain men. However, he’s mostly known for a famous incident where he and his trapping partner were captured by Blackfeet. After the death of his partner, he is subjected to a deadly game. Over a seven mile stretch of inhospitable prairie, Colter outran hundreds of Blackfeet to evade certain death. He then walked through 200 miles of hostile territory with no weapons, no clothes and no food. He only had his wits and skill to survive. It took him 11 days to eventually reach the safety of a trading post. Surprisingly, this true-life story has never reached the screen.