Where do you live (City, State, or Country)?
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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?
A Promise I Made to Mr. Bagels is based in part on the struggles my parents had with mental illness and Alzheimer's and what caring for someone in those states looks like. That story is combined with a children’s author who has come home to help his dysfunctional sister take care of their ailing parents and in the process develops a severe case of writer’s block. It is a drama, with genre bending aspects to it, when a fictional character (Mr. Bagels) from the writer’s books comes to life and demands the author kill him like he promised in his next book. These two elements compete with each other and drive the writer over the edge.
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?
I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas and outlining the entire script before I write one word of dialogue. That process can take a couple of months. The actual writing of the script takes about three weeks. Once I finish it, I spend time editing, re-writing, tweaking, etc… and then send it off to get coverage. I like to compare coverages so that I don’t have just one opinion. Based on the coverage, I’ll then do another pass on the script. But most of the hard work comes at the beginning when I’m brainstorming what kind of story I want to tell.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
Keep writing my stories. Keep sending scripts out. Find producers who like my kind of stories. Option my feature scripts, get hired to write a screenplay or do re-writes on someone else’s script.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
It was the full script and I made that choice because I had completed the script and was looking for feedback. Ultimately, I entered to get the feedback and see how the script would be received. In Wiki’s case, it was well received.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
Hard to nail my all-time favorite movie, but here’s a few:
Ordinary People, The Shawshank Redemption, Psycho, All About Eve
TV Shows: Friday Night Lights, The Crown, Chernobyl, This Is Us
All these movies and tv shows have things that appeal to me as a writer: human stories, dysfunctional/complicated characters, intricate plotting. The other element that they share is that they are not afraid to take their time telling a story.
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Writing is re-writing. Take the time to get some coverage. Listen to advice. Ultimately you decide what is right for your story but be open. And then start submitting to contests, querying producers and see where your script lands. If you find it is being rejected or not placing in quarters/semi’s than maybe you need to look at it again. Contests are a good barometer of where your work stands. Bottom line, keep writing and submitting. You never know what can happen.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
A Promise I Made to Mr. Bagels is my newest project, which I’m waiting to get more coverage notes on. Once I feel there is nothing more I can do with the script, I’ll be sending it out to more places. Hoping that the Wiki result is a sign of more good things to come. I’ll be starting a new script soon. I’m not sure what that will be yet so let the brainstorming begin. I have a couple other screenplays that I want to tighten up, tweak, re-write, etc… and then re-send them out.