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?
I literally thought one day that Calliope would be a great name for a precocious, energetic little girl. Because calliopes are associated with the circus, I began to think of a storyline that involved one.
I quickly sketched out a story about a newborn baby girl that was abandoned at a traveling circus show, and how that baby grew up with a personality as loud and as colorful as a circus calliope. That was all I had to start with. I wrote Calliope as a screenplay because that’s the format I’m most experienced with. In fact, I hadn’t written a screenplay since the early 1990s and I was longing for “the muse” to come back and inspire me again. A novel would’ve taken much, much longer to write than the 60 days my first draft of Calliope took and I wasn’t familiar with how to structure a novel.
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 spent about three months researching the history of the circus, and then several weeks thinking about possible storylines for this newborn infant who gets abandoned at a circus show in the antebellum south. Re-writes were the order of the day as I edited, deleted and created new scenes and dialogue. So from researching to finished screenplay took about 6 months.
What is your ultimate ambition as a writer?
I’d like to get credit as a screenwriter of a major motion picture production, and then focus my remaining years on writing more screenplays – I’ve got quite a few ideas under development.
Was your entry at The Wiki Screenplay Contest a full script or “the first ten pages”? Why did you make that choice?
It was a full script because I had completed the screenplay and wanted professional feedback on its structure, storyline, characters and marketability.
What’s your all-time favorite movie or television show...and why?
That’s a hard question because I love so many of them. Sometimes I think that Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven is the greatest western ever written/filmed. I’d argue that it is. Other times, I think Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future are the best because of their incredibly tight and well thought out storylines. I admire and love these movies for their writing and storyline structures. They make sense. They surprise and delight (or shock). Their directors and actors absolutely knock it out of the park!
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a contest or place as a finalist as you have?
Write and enter contests like Wiki. Don’t give up, but don’t pin all your hopes and dreams on winning. Keep your day job and write because you enjoy it. If you win, it’s just gravy. If you’re really good, you’ll be given the opportunity to do it for a living.
What else are you working on that the world needs to know about?
I’ve got several other ideas for screenplays that I want to write. I hope I can submit them to Wiki, too, and have them recognized. Stay tuned!