Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
The great and exciting city of Miami, Florida.
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 once watched a documentary on “The Great Dust Bowl” during the 1920’s to end of the 30’s, about the worst man-made disaster in US history that occurred in the great plains section of our country. And it so captured my imagination how incredibly tough minded and stubborn the people that lived through it were. I felt like there was a story I could tell set during those monstrous dust storms that had people believing it was the end of the world. The farmers were isolated not just by their farms being so far apart, and very little ability to truly communicate on a daily basis, but because of the dust storms that turned high noon to midnight they were so thick. I felt it was the perfect environment to introduce a serial killer who could go from farm to farm having his way with the unsuspecting folks and never be discovered. Until he comes across a woman fighting to keep her children alive and farm going since she lost her husband to dust pneumonia. His cunning and cold brutality versus her familiarity with dealing with the storms and that never give up, never give in attitude that was born from learning to survive year after year when all hope was lost. I just felt it would make a great viewing experience on the big screen. Wide open spaces, yet intimate, isolated homesteads with a cold blooded killer versus a true “Mama Bear”.
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?
With this kind of script set in a real place and time with a disaster such as this, I did a lot of research, reading, and watching interviews and documentaries to make it true and authentic. That took me several months in between working a real job for a living. Ha!
I try to write three to six pages a day when I am on a roll, otherwise, it’s whenever I can fit it into my uneven schedule. After the notes I make with my research, I write out a treatment of sorts to get the story down. Then I start writing my script when the first scene materializes in my thinkubater. That’s a word I coined for me just mulling over my story until I’m ready to commit it to paper or in my case, Final Draft.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
I would love to see my scripts on the Big Screen. None of my scripts are alike. I have written everything from faith-based to horror to Sci-Fi to a Biopic. I just try to think up stories I would love to see in the theater.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
When I entered the competition, I only entered my first 10 pages because I was just halfway through the script, and in fact, I am still working on it, but nearing completion. I decided to find out if the first 10 pages grabbed the reader. So I was happy it did. In fact, the reader had no critical comments and actually wished I had sent in the whole script. I also kind of got a kick out the reader thinking it was a historical drama which actually told me all of my research did make it feel authentic to that time period. Little did the reader know it was a serial killer thriller only just introducing the murderer in an unassuming way in those first ten. What a surprise he would have had if I could’ve entered a completed script.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
That’s tough because my taste is varied. I have probably forgotten some of my favorite movies as others have filled those spots. Color Purple, Fargo, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Close Encounters, ET, or any Spielberg, Tarantino, Coen Brothers, Eastwood movie. Love Aliens and Predator movies as well.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Don’t enter until you have truly gone over your latest version with a fine tooth comb, making sure it is a clean read, no spelling mistakes in particular. If you can’t bother to make sure it is a clean read, making it look sloppy, hurried, and lazy, that’s got to be a turn off to a reader. I am a stickler on going over every line and word, whether action, dialogue, or slug lines to be sure it is professionally written. By doing that it also allows me to rewrite the script to make it as tight as I can. Also, don’t repeat the same word over and over to describe something. Find different ways to say the same action. Make your script interesting and fun to read. It will stand out and should score well.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
Oh man, I have two ideas that I am currently researching and have started making notes and forming treatments for. One is a Family/SciFi dealing with the disappearance of a plane during WWII that a boy discovers sitting in his uncle’s airplane scrapyard. And the other one is based on a true story that I can’t believe no one has written a movie about. That’s all I am saying about that one. HA!