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2019’s WINNERS INTERVIEWS

FEATURE

GRAND PRIZE WINNER – BENJAMIN FEUER

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

Watching David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS when I was in high school.

 

How long have you been writing for?

Since I was nine years old.

 

Do you have a routine?

I work best in the mornings. I require complete isolation from digital and auditory distraction. I don’t write to targeted page counts and I don’t set deadlines for myself until I’m close to the finish line. I tend to gather enormous amounts of background material before I write anything (Twyla Tharp calls this ‘scratching’), and while I’m writing. This usually helps me sketch out a tentative plot outline and character biographies. Once I start to hear the characters, I begin to write bad versions of scenes, extreme, free-associational, just crap, really. Eventually, an order emerges, based around a character’s point of view – this is often the most stressful part because I have to purge a lot of things I love. Then, I go back and write the scenes properly, in no particular order, until the script is complete.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

I saw an article in a newspaper about Roy Cohn a few years ago. At the time, Trump was not yet president. I had felt for some time that the mainstream media was underestimating Trump, and misjudging the basis of his appeal. That said, Trump did not interest me as a protagonist. Roy’s sexuality, tortured psyche and insider glamour struck me as much more interesting. I also liked knowing that I could read the actual case histories online, providing additional background.

 

How long did it take to write?

The background reading and research took about six months. The first draft took four months. The rewrites took another four months.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Feeling like I have accurately caught a thought or an emotional experience or a historic event with my words. It’s always an illusion, of course, but it’s a delightful one nevertheless.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

Isolation, rejection, self-doubt, and jealousy, in no particular order.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

The industry is not a monolith – especially in this era, it’s a diverse and disconnected cluster of companies, many of which come and go faster than you can keep track of them. I believe that the film industry will always need writers, but that’s not the same thing as embracing them — for many of its more practically-minded members, the process of writing (and therefore writers) are intimidating and frustrating.

Ultimately, in this high-stakes business, everyone is looking for the ‘sure thing’, knowing full well that there is no such creature. A new writer represents an obvious risk. If we are embraced, it’s a marriage of convenience.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

As a society, we now read less often, and less carefully. This has impacted screenwriters (read: me) as much as anybody.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

Amazing!  It’s such a validating experience to hear that someone else relates to a story that has meant so much to me for the last few years.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I have known about this competition for quite some time – a colleague of mine, Claire Fowler, had some success in it a few years ago. That might have been the first time I heard about it, although perhaps it was in an email or on one of the screenwriting websites.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

I very much hope to see AMERICAN VICE on screen before the 2020 elections. I feel that it is a very timely story, and perhaps one that might change a few minds, since it places current events in a vital and necessary historical context.

My career ambition is to do important and meaningful work alongside brilliant collaborators. I love feeling like the dumbest person in the room – it’s how I grow.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Write at the top of your intelligence. Write what scares you. Be patient and loving with yourself, and with your work. Get used to referring to yourself as a writer – remember, anyone who writes is a writer. There is no other qualification.

 


2ND PLACE WINNER – JONNY KING

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

Finding a copy of the screenplay for Pulp Fiction in my secondary school library (I have no idea what it was doing in there.) At that point, I hadn’t seen the film, but reading the screenplay seized my imagination in a way reading a novel never had. (I ‘borrowed’ the book and still have it to this day.)

I didn’t immediately take up screenwriting as a result – it was several years later that I started – but that was definitely the moment where the seed was sown.

 

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing all sorts of things since childhood, initially just silly stories for my own amusement, before going on to write articles for websites and magazines and then jokes and sketches for radio. I first started experimenting with some screenplay ideas in about 2007; learning how to format, practicing the method and developing my writing style, but I didn’t start screenwriting in earnest until about 2015. Land’s End was the first idea I’ve had where I thought ‘I have to write this’ and its the first screenplay I’ve ever completed. I think taking the time to study the form and practice it actually stood me in good stead when I eventually started work on Land’s End.

 

Do you have a routine?

Not really and that’s probably something I need to address. I work quite irregular hours in my day job and that can sometimes make it difficult to find time to write. One of my goals for 2020 is to develop a regular routine and aim to write every single day.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

It partly came from watching Norwegian Wood, a film that deals with suicide, which is also something that drives the plot of Land’s End.

I was listening to one of the songs off of the soundtrack (She Brings the Rain by Can) and out of the blue it conjured up this image of a person in my mind that eventually became Ken, one of my main characters.

 

How long did it take to write?

Longer than it should have! I didn’t have a clear plot in my mind when I started writing it. I had a beginning and an end in my head, so I just sat down and plowed through until I’d connected the two dots. I ended up with a first draft that was about 140 pages long! That took me about six months, I think. I then spent another six months re-writing it and getting it down to a more respectable length. A production company I’d pitched it to then helped me develop it further and I spent about another year refining it, working on the fine details and editing it down further.

The experience certainly taught me some valuable lessons about planning that I have now taken into my next project.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I find writing incredibly relaxing and freeing, but also quite exciting. I enjoy dark comedy and I love being able to write jokes in a screenplay that I perhaps wouldn’t make out loud. I’m also not the most extroverted person, so writing allows me to express myself in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

I am a world champion procrastinator. Considering I love writing more than anything, I can be pretty rubbish at actually sitting down and doing it. I’ve had to learn to be disciplined and start treating writing as a job, rather than a hobby. I’m actually getting even more enjoyment from my writing now that it’s a lot more focused.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

To be honest, I don’t think I have enough experience of the industry to give you a qualified answer here.

It certainly isn’t easy to get a foot in the door, particularly if you don’t have representation, but thanks to Shore Scripts I’m now getting interest in Land’s End, which shows how valuable entering competitions such as Shore Scripts can be for new writers.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

Yes and no. There are opportunities out there and I’ve tried to take full advantage of them where I can, but even then you can come up against the usual barriers. You just have to persevere. It can feel a little disheartening at times, but there are always people out there who genuinely want to read your stuff.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

Making the quarter-finals caught me completely by surprise, I had no expectation of reaching that stage and quite honestly wouldn’t have even thought to check if I hadn’t received an email announcing it. Obviously after that I followed the announcements keenly but always expected my luck to run out at the next stage. Finding out I was one of the five winners was mind-blowing and even now I’m not entirely sure it’s fully sunk in.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

When I first resolved to enter Land’s End into some competitions, I did a bit of research to find out what the main/best contests were. I read numerous articles and Shore Scripts was one of a small handful of competitions that featured on pretty much every single list.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

I know it’s very difficult to get a spec script made, but I really hope I can get Land’s End produced. The thought of seeing my story brought to life onscreen is almost too exciting to think about. Thanks to Shore Scripts, it is receiving some interest and I’m hoping it’s going to be picked up by someone.

My overall goal is to be able to eventually become a full-time screenwriter, so I am now hard at work on my next project, building up my portfolio and trying to capitalize on this success and the opportunities that are coming with it.

I’m really looking forward to taking the next steps in my writing career and the confidence boost that this experience has given me has really spurred me on. I might not be able to be the best screenwriter in the world, but I can make sure I’m the hardest working!

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

This might not sound particularly helpful, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to not let rejections, disappointments, or bad feedback get me down. It’s simply an occupational hazard. Learn from it and absolutely listen to constructive criticism, but don’t let it shake your self-belief.

Don’t get too high with the successes or too low with the failures – just keep your goal firmly fixed in your mind and keep moving towards it, no matter what.

 


3RD PLACE WINNER – AMY THOMAS 

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I watched the Breakfast Club when I was thirteen and starting the “angsty teenager” point of my life. Adolescence can be a lonely time so it was surprising to watch something that was created in the 80s discuss perfectly everything I was feeling in 2009. From there I realized how special movies are and how they can make people feel a little less lonely in an often lonely world. I started devouring movies and television and after watching so much, writing my own work was too exciting an idea to ignore.

 

How long have you been writing for?

I started screenwriting about four years ago. Before that, I’ve written short stories, fanfiction, journals, and the occasional to-do list since middle school.

 

Do you have a routine?

I’ve had to find a new routine now that I’m out of college but I make sure I write every day, whether that be working on a story/screenplay or journaling. As long as there’s pen to a paper or clacking on a keyboard in some way I can keep moving forward.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

I wrote the first draft when I was coming into my own identity at 20. I wanted to write something that let me explore my Chinese heritage and express myself as a bisexual woman. And with all of this, I was discovering who I was as a writer and worried if I was a good enough one to pursue writing professionally. I was scared of being rejected for who I was and I was scared of failing at what I wanted to do. I figured since this was the biggest thing on my mind, I might as well write a screenplay about it! So I wrote about my biggest fear: being seen as a disappointment. Turns out a lot other people can relate to that. Who would have thought?

 

How long did it take to write?

The first draft took about four months. After that I rewrote it off and on for about a year.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

To me writing feels like solving a puzzle where you’re trying to make the themes, character, and plot fit cohesively with your style. It sometimes feels like your hacking at nothing but it always gets to a point where you find what fits and it’s the greatest feeling when it finally does.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

I always enjoy writing characters more than I do plot. Because of that, the original outlines and beat sheets are always a struggle to get through. I never have a clear idea of what the right next step for the character is until I’m writing their dialogue.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

It’s a good question and one I don’t really have an answer to. Like most people, the industry wants to be careful with what and who they invest in. But there has also been a lot of new artists and stories that have flourished recently, proving there’s an audience for everything. I’m just going to keep writing what I like and see what comes of it.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

It’s hard getting immediate feedback, people are busy and stressed, and reading gets put on the back burner because of it. Screenplay competitions are also a great choice to get your stuff out there but you have to wait a while to know where you stand. I’m lucky that I have a great circle of friends that loves to give notes but it can be difficult past that.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

Excited and surprised! I wrote something very specific to me so I was incredibly grateful to see it resonate with other people, let alone the judges!

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I did a lot of research on screenplay competitions and found Shore Scripts during one of my searches.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

Of course, the ultimate dream would be to have my script produced but I’d just be happy to have it as a solid writing sample for representation. As for my career, I just want to be able to do what I love and get paid for it.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

An awful first draft is much more valuable than a perfect idea in your head. Get that idea out, no matter how messy it is, and then eventually you’ll get to something that may not be perfect but is entirely yours.

 


How to be a screenwriter. Screenplay Contests.

4TH PLACE WINNER – JACOB WEHRMAN

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I began screenwriting recently as a way to cope with a family tragedy:  My dad passed away one year ago and was taken very quickly by brain cancer. Those awful months are a deep and painful emotional wound that I carry every day. Creative writing has become my self-therapy.

 

How long have you been writing for?

I began writing screenplays a year ago after my dad passed away. However, as a freelance documentary and web-video producer, I’ve been writing treatments and industrial video scripts for 12 years. Previous to that, I went to film school at Syracuse University in upstate New York, where I took courses to gain hands-on experience writing, shooting, and editing.

 

Do you have a routine?

Yes. Each morning from the moment I awake, my mind is swirling with ideas. I might be thinking about revising a current script, a totally new premise, or a snappy bit of dialog. I must get those down on paper, or into Final Draft, before I start the rest of my day and engage with the outside world.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

I wrote BAD WATER with a sense of urgency. It is a story that takes our reader into current events like immigration, the environment, the rise of alt-right hate groups, and the mysterious dark web. I gave myself a few creative guidelines: My long-time girlfriend is a biologist, and I based my protagonist on her unique occupation. I also needed to have a second hero be an undocumented migrant, someone who has no power in our current society or political system. I wanted to tell a story that empowers these two smart, young women. As they try to solve a disturbing murder, they’re pulled into a deadly trajectory and must confront evil, forging a close friendship despite cultural differences. The landscape and people of the Pacific Northwest also inspire me. But I feel compelled to highlight a troubling paradox found here: On one hand I live in a place of stunning natural beauty; on the other, it is a place founded upon some very ugly societal scars.

 

How long did it take to write?

The treatment for BAD WATER took a few weeks. Once I had the plot down, the first draft took another month of full-time writing. Then I put it on the shelf for a bit, to let ideas percolate and to soak up more knowledge. I read as many thriller screenplays as I could, and helpful books like SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder and YOUR SCREENPLAY SUCKS by William Akers. When I felt invigorated with fresh ideas I re-wrote BAD WATER from page 1 to its nail-biting finale. I added characters, cut dialog to the bone, and found a satisfying emotional catharsis while still including a nice twist at the very end.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Creative writing is a way for me to check out from reality and the unrelenting pace of life. It allows me to slow down my experience of time, or stop it entirely. To explore the darkest moments of the human condition, or create worlds a bit more just. It’s where my characters have the courage to speak up, to say things I never could—and have the will to act and fight against their own impending tragedy.

But at the very basic level, I’m simply writing the movies that I want to watch.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

Dialog. My preferred genre is thrillers, so I’ve quickly learned: The less my characters can say, the better. I try to create protagonists who don’t need to speak much, and let the reader interpret their intent through stunted bits of dialog. Balancing emotional drama with bullet-flying action, finding ways to inject moments of levity, and entertaining my reader from page 1 through 115 is extremely taxing. I try to write with dynamic movement, palpable tone, and gritty texture in my characters.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

Yes. Along with interest in BAD WATER from an established director via the Shore Scripts Industry Judges panel, I have also found potential attachments for another spec screenplay I wrote this year, CRAWLSPACE. Using another screenwriter website, I’ve also cultivated a relationship with a short-film director in LA, and recently signed a contract with him to co-write a feature project this year. I live in rural Oregon, and am now communicating with Industry Professionals who have impressive credits. Each and every IP—including those that passed on my pitches—has been gracious, complimented my ideas, and a few took extra time to provide in-depth feedback to make my writing a lot better.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

Yes, and no. The writing is difficult. It takes time. It’s not good the first couple drafts. This is just a fact that every new writer needs to accept. When I first began, I did have the typical and unfounded ideas that my work would never be discovered. But I kept at it. If you have the courage to put your work out there, if you can take creative criticism well, and if you have the emotional energy to re-write again and again– there are numerous outlets to get your work noticed.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

I’m new to the contest circuit, so it’s been an emotional roller coaster.

I felt humbled… Then nervous as hell between announcement dates… Then elated when the winners were posted. To have multiple industry folks read my work, and understand it and enjoy it– that is immensely gratifying.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I did research online and read testimonials from both writers and industry judges on the website. I was really impressed with the industry roster, and Shore Scripts does an outstanding job of promoting the actual writers and the work.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

After my 4th Place win Shore Scripts put me in touch with a well-known and established director. As a member of the Industry Judge panel, he read BAD WATER and loved it. We have emailed a few times, and the director seems interested in attaching himself and putting together a shopping agreement for my script. I’m really excited at that possibility, and I have Shore Scripts to thank for the connection.

I have another spec screenplay, CRAWLSPACE, with some pending attachments. And, I recently signed a contract to co-write a feature with a short-film director this year. I’m currently working on two more spec scripts that explore stories and themes around the environment, science, rural conflicts, and family loss. I’m also seeking open writing assignments and feature re-write gigs.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Keep writing. Develop a thick skin. Do not be discouraged by poor coverage. Remain productive despite the unknown. Being highly creative is an emotional journey– I feel wrung out every day I write. It is hard work. Another thing: I have just a few people in my life that are my Ground Crew. Their unwavering support allows me to detach from reality for hours or days at a time. Put simply, they get it. Make sure you have loved ones or close friends that fully understand your ambitions. They will be there to talk you back into the game, when you suffer inevitable defeats and crushing setbacks and are ready to quit. Because when those glimpses of success do breakthrough, they will be the ones to raise a glass– every bit as excited as you. That’s a pretty cool thing.


5TH PLACE WINNER – EVAN CUNNINGHAM

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I’ve been interested in all aspects of film from a very young age. It was only after graduating from college that I thought to try my hand at screenwriting.

 

 

How long have you been writing for?

I started writing in 2009, wrote a feature that actually got me meetings with management companies, but then work (producing in advertising) started getting in the way. It wasn’t until 2018 that I started back up again, once work demanded less of my time and I needed that creative outlet again.

 

Do you have a routine?

Nothing regimental. I just try to write as often as I can.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

I’ve always been a sucker for westerns. I would’ve been right at home working in Holly- wood in the 1950s. Once I started seeing more westerns hit the theaters by the Coen Brothers and Tarantino, it reinvigorated my love for the Wild West, and so I decided to write my own western feature.

 

How long did it take to write?

A month.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Typing FADE OUT.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

Second-guessing the choices I’ve made. ‘Should the character really say that? Is that the right kind of action to unfold?’ Etc. That and writing the dreaded second ACT of any script.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

I’m not sure yet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give everyone an update someday.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

Absolutely. Finding Bigfoot is probably easier.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

I was filled with joy every single time! It’s so hard getting your work read, let alone read and also thought of as good enough to reach the top tier of a contest. What an experience it’s been.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

Shore would pop up when researching script competitions. The Shore website is a great motivator to enter the contest (success stories, roster info, etc).

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

I’ll continue to do whatever it takes – legally – to see my words being spoken up on screen.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Watch bad films. When it comes to telling a story, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.

 


TV - 1 HOUR

GRAND PRIZE WINNER – BRIAN GOLDEN

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I’m not sure. I used to play a ton of basketball when I was a kid, and I realized many years later that whenever I was shooting baskets in the driveway, I would always be narrating a sort of story, too — how many points “my team” was behind, how much time was left in “the game”. (There was no team or game — I was always just playing by myself.) But I realized that contextualizing stakes and story was always pretty meaningful to me, even before I realized it. My father is a really great storyteller and was a journalist for a time, and I also vividly remember the unparalleled thrill of sitting at a typewriter and banging on the keys — watching a blank page fill with ink — from a really young age, 5 or so. I still have a few typewriters around the house, even though none of them work. Strictly decorative.

 

How long have you been writing for?

My whole life, I guess — haven’t we all?

 

Do you have a routine?

No, and I deeply wish I did. I’m a father now, which certainly doesn’t make normalcy or schedule any easier. I wish I could be that ‘write at dawn’ creature of habit you read about, but I’m just not and I never will be. I’m trying to accept that. I think it’s important to be generous with yourself and realize what you are and are not capable of. The routine that is more important to me is, when the time to write does exist, to carve out some private space for it and find some sort of ritual that my body associates with that particular project, whether it is where you’re sitting, or what you’re listening to, or whatever. For me, in the earlier stages of a writing project I tend to find an album, or sometimes even just one song — and then as long as I’m writing that piece, that’s the only thing I’m listening to. More than putting you in a perfect state of feels, I find for me it creates a sense of place for this thing that doesn’t exist, but I’m trying to make exist.

 

How do you find time to write?

Hah. Girl, you don’t find time. You make time. A patient wife helps.

 

How many TV pilots have you written?

I’ve written six, I think. There are three I show, and one that I think a rewrite — now that I’m a bit further along in the craft — could make very interesting, and two that are just kind of a mess and I learned from but that’s it. Pipeline — the Shore Scripts winner — is the 6th and, I think, the best by quite a margin.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this Pilot?

I have a little bit of journalism experience and I read more magazines than I do books or scripts. I’m deeply interested in the real world and non-fiction as a jumping-off point for compelling stories — much more so than I am in, like, high concept sci-fi or something. Great, just not for me.

So about a year ago, I read a mention in a magazine story of a farmer in the Central Valley whose farms use more water each year than the entire city of Los Angeles. And I started reading a lot about water, and the policies around water and, particularly, the history of water in California. It is a fascinating story — there are many fascinating stories inside the big fascinating story — but really, it is a story about capitalism, and the way capitalism is inextricably tied to exploitation and extraction. And in that story — of capitalism and profit tangling with exploitation — you do really have the story of America. (This is likely the point where my capitalist father-in-law throws up his hands and stops reading 🙂 )

Anyway, as I read about water, I became fascinated that this thing which truly unites us more than anything else — it is the majority of our bodies and our world, the one thing we truly can’t live without — could be so divisive, could be bought and stolen and sold like it was any old goods for sale and not truly the foundation of life on this planet.

So the story of water — as an instrument of both unity and division — really captivated me, and the challenge became finding a human story to put in front of that so that the people really commanded focus and the political angle existed in the background a little bit. I eventually came to think of what I wanted to write as something like THE WIRE, but instead of drugs in West Baltimore, we were going to be talking about water in California.

And as I read more and more about the Central Valley, it became clear to me that this was the place to set it. It is a place with an incredible history, that was once under the water of an inland ocean but is now, in many places, completely dry. It is a place where, in some places, so much water is being stolen from under the ground that the Valley floor is sinking by a couple of inches each year. It is a place where, for generations, immigrants have come trying to find their piece of the American Dream which is, in my view, pretty broken. It is a place with rich and poor, white folks and people of color. It is an amazing, sad place.

 

How long did it take to write?

About eighteen months. I started writing the month before my daughter was born (Feb 2018) and finally hit “Save” on the final draft in August of 2019. The thing I am most proud of with Pipeline is that I was relentless in rewriting the piece. There were drafts of it that a younger, less patient version of me would have considered “done” and submitted because I would have been craving the affirmation of finishing so badly. But I didn’t do that here, and really kept rewriting the piece — aggressively — long past that point because I felt I really had something and I needed to get it just, just, just right.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Reading a thing I’ve written to my wife, and seeing her laugh, or gasp, or find delight in it.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

I think I’m a pretty fierce re-writer, but I am super bad and very slow at first drafts. I put way, way too much pressure on myself to “get it right” out of the gate, and get frustrated not knowing how pieces fit together. I wish I could learn to be more generous with myself, and ‘free-write’ better at the beginning just to have something down on paper — because once I have something, I’m pretty good at sharpening it.

I could be better on story. I’m pretty strong with character and world — some of that comes from my background in theatre and journalism, I think. But story — a plot that churns like an engine and keeps moving — I do struggle with that sometimes.

And I’m not great at outlines. Most things I write, I know the ending first. There’s a final image that gets at something I’m trying to say, and I work backward from there. But I can only really outline an act (15 pages) or so at a time. I just feel like I don’t really know what I have until I truly write it.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

Haha, I have no idea. You’d have to ask someone who has actually been embraced by it. One can hope!

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

Yes, extremely.

I think my tastes just aren’t super commercial. I’m not particularly interested in figuring out what everyone is buying, or what big concept thriller has a shot in the market and writing that. I write because I’m interested in our world and the people who live in it — and because I feel like stories are the best tool for building empathy that we have as people. I am not so in love with this business or having people know me as a “screenwriter” that I’m too interested in making the investment in a project just to try to get a job. For me, being a husband, and a father, and just a person who cares, I guess — writing is a big, big investment. It’s a way to spend the short time I have on Earth, and it’s time away from my wife and daughter and I am just not interested in doing it if I don’t really have an investment in what I’m trying to say with the material.

That said, after getting a nice response from various coverage services and some positive contest results (thanks, Shore Scripts!) I solicited in the ballpark of 200 managers and agents. I got 30 or so willing to read, I ultimately heard back from 12-15 of those, and 2 wanted to meet. Neither has yet made an offer to represent. As mentioned above, this is my 6th script, it’s a contest winner, and I am introducing myself with backgrounds in playwriting, teaching, and journalism. So, yes — it is hard.

It would be very cool — and I am holding out hope — that there is a rep, or producer, out there who hears “THE WIRE but for water in California” and sees the timeliness and potential in the story — what it could be and the wide, human, political, generational story it could tell.

But if there isn’t, I’d quite truly rather come up short with this script than “succeed” with something I didn’t believe in.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

Really good! I was excited to tell my wife. She is so supportive of me, I just felt really lucky to be able to share the good news with her. She always reminds me to enjoy the wins — whatever they are — because the path has much more rejection than encouragement.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I truly don’t remember. But I entered on the very last day, in the last few hours before the deadline. I wasn’t going to, and the budget I had given myself to spend on contests had expired, but I just felt really good about my material and felt like if it found the right judges, it might have a shot. Happy to have made the decision!

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

It would be incredible to get this script and series in development with a producer or rep who gets it — who understands what I’m up to and isn’t interested in genre-fying it or trying to make it something bloated, stupid and commercial. I’d love to use the script to position myself for a staffing gig on a show with ambition, that wants to be political, to say something, to be about the world we live in now.

But really, what matters most to me — with this and anything I write — is to be a person and writer of integrity. To approach my work and my life in a way that my daughter will be proud of someday — with humanity, with action, with empathy, with kindness, with persistence, and with patience.

If that approach — and the work that emerges from it — finds a path in TV writing, I’ll be thrilled. If it doesn’t, I’ll manage.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Only take advice from people who share your values.

Be a real person.

Take walks.

Have a favorite song.

Care about something other than writing.

Start before you think you’re ready.

Keep going after you think you’re finished.

Love someone.

Keep writing.


2ND PLACE WINNER – GEOFF GEDROYC

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I’ve always been interested, but it was really when I started to work as a producer on commercials and I read some of the really bad writing that went into those when I thought, hey, maybe I can actually do this.

 

How long have you been writing for?

Since always really (well, since I was about 7) but I’ve been going full pelt on screenwriting since 2014. Between 2012 and 2014 I did an MA in Screenwriting whilst I was simultaneously working in advertising.

 

Do you have a routine?

No. I just write whenever I can. Having a young child and a precarious freelance work-life just blows through the routine really. These days I just roll with the uncertainty.

 

How do you find time to write?

With extreme difficulty. I used to find it easier before children came along. Honestly I just feel so shitty when I don’t write that I end up having to do it for my own sanity. That personal need to be excited by the creative process in a thrilling new story keeps me going. Ultimately if you need to write you’ll find time somewhere. If you don’t need to do it then why would you bother?

 

How many TV pilots have you written?

I spend more than half of my “writing time” not actually writing. Just reading and thinking. Even when I’m literally writing, it’s more likely that I’m working on a tv pitch than an actual script (either to pitch to prod companies cold, or when I’m in development already with them). This is the reality of life for most writers who are at the stage of trying to get something made rather than just writing a kick-ass spec (though everyone has to do that too). I’ve written 7 spec pilots, 7 features and numerous short films, a few of which have been made or are in pre-production.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this Pilot?

It evolved from a feeling when I was watching the Cinemax series, Quarry – which I loved but I’m not sure anyone else did. I thought Quarry hinted at a wonderful idea but never specifically capitalized on it much. i.e. what happens to a returning soldier who’s not so much seen bad things as done bad things. This is a psychological phenomena known as “Perpetrator Trauma” (the flip side of PTSD). How does someone like that cope with the threat of judgment from the public when they find out? How do they deal with threats of war crime investigations? What does that person prioritize when they get home. That sort of thing. From that nub of that interesting thought I built the story bit by bit.

 

How long did it take to write?

After mulling it for months, it was developed into a pitch over a few weeks – maybe 4 – first draft written in 3 weeks or so and then honed over another 4-6 weeks or so. I also received script editing help from a friend who’s a development head at a UK drama producer.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Close scene work – particularly re dialogue – once it’s all in place on the page and that first vomit draft’s out the way. Then you can really start.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

Scene outlines, especially for features are just the worst. They’re existentially terrifying. You can never escape the feeling that you have no idea what the fuck this is or what should come next. But you have to go through it to get to the other side. Honestly, though, the work is mostly joyful. The thing I think everyone struggles with most is the waiting and the hoping and the picking yourself up once your dreams for a project have been dashed. It’s soul-destroying and you do have to be quite weird to keep on trying in spite of so little in terms of recognition.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

Yes, for a teensy minority, that’s the case. But for the majority of us, no not really. It’s a precarious business that’s based on calculated gambles so being risk-averse is essential to staying afloat as a drama or film producer, especially in the UK. Well known, trusted talent is king. But even some of those trusted names can prove difficult for production companies – scripts are hard to get right after all, whomever you are – and all that means that new writers are a gigantic risk. The idea of being a young writer with only the odd spec under your belt, who then gets staffed on a show or even picked up for an original series, is a pretty remote possibility for the vast majority (in the US this is obviously a bit better because writers rooms are the norm rather than the exception). I think that in the current climate it’s expected that you’ve just got to keep on trucking, slowly but surely, if you want to get there. It’s tough, no doubt.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

Always. But my agent, Jean Kitson @ Kitson Press, is great. She’s helped open a lot of doors for me. I now have good relationships with many of the top UK drama producers so I can get stuff out there when the time’s right. Getting work over the line into actual paid development’s a whole other ball game though. Getting features into development in the UK still remains a bit of a mystery to me to be honest. In some ways the US is an easier market because you have the churn of the studio system which needs films to be made. In the UK there’s a less pressing financial imperative to get features out the door.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

Felt brilliant. Wonderful to be recognized for a script I’ve always really felt had potential.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

Have known about you guys for years. Since when I started out basically.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

I’ve got several pitches and this script, Sons and Mothers which I’m inching closer into development – several companies at different stages at the moment. I’ve also got a feature which a producer friend is shopping for me at the moment with his directing partner. We’re out to UK and US buyers at the moment. I’ll write another 1-2 spec pilots in 2020 I think, along with the usual development work I do for my other pitches and projects, inching them further along the line, bit by bit. I’d love to get staffed for a show this year, but I can only do so much re that one. If the shows I’m up for don’t go, or if the showrunner slims down the writers room or whatever then I’m in the lap of the Gods.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Advice wise, I’d just say, make sure you really enjoy it. If you enjoy it, like truly truly enjoy it, then you’ll get better and better and better and none of it will be a chore. Don’t get cynical either. Much like life, the world of professional screenwriting is horribly unfair. Deal with that by writing, watching, reading and then going out and having fun. Don’t set too many arbitrary goals for yourself. All that stuff is just noise and self-help nonsense. If you’re really enjoying it all you shouldn’t need to obsess about goals. You should be too busy losing yourself in the joy of creating.

 


3RD PLACE WINNER – CHARLOTTE CAMERON

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I was the child who was always two inches from the TV set, utterly mesmerized. Drama, especially, was a thrilling window into other worlds. And then I found myself stepping inside the box, getting my first job on a talk show that I had been a huge fan of for years. Going from gazing at the screen to standing on that stage was really formative for me: the boundary melted, and I knew I wanted to create the kind of stories I loved.

 

How long have you been writing for?

I began writing seriously in my twenties, and when there was some early interest in a novel I had written, prose fiction became my focus for a number of years. Drama was always calling me, and gradually scripts took over. I have been focused on screenwriting for about six years now.

 

Do you have a routine?

The very word routine makes my teeth hurt, but I do have a rhythm to my working days: late start, late finish, gallons of tea, hours of talking to myself. Try to end the day with a sense of significant progress. If that fails, end the day with gin.

 

How do you find time to write?

I have the luxury of writing most of the week at the moment. Previously I would write at weekends, late at night, grabbing lunch – at every opportunity, basically. One of the best things about writing is that you can still be doing it on the move, or in the shower, or while you are asleep. I am a prolific night scribbler.

 

How many TV pilots have you written?

This is either my second pilot or a radical rethink of my first. (I don’t count the leaning tower of unfinished ones.) I have also written several features, mostly thrillers.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this Pilot?

A psychotherapist friend of mine works with trauma victims, including those who have been part of major terror attacks; he often discreetly flies off to whatever world city has seen the latest horror. I became intrigued by what happens in the aftermath of trauma, after the cameras move on; by what people are left with, and the different ways they may respond. What struck me most was how courageous it is to re-live a violent trauma, as victims do within the criminal justice system, and are helped safely to do by some therapists. That was part of what inspired the central idea of this story: what if a therapist set out to uncover clues, as a sort of memory detective.

 

How long did it take to write?

There was a whole version of this that didn’t make daylight – I got some brilliantly insightful notes and decided to take a totally new approach. Then this one was about two months of planning and outlining, and a month to complete a first draft. Revisions and gnashing of teeth ran through another two to three months before I entered it into Shore Scripts.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Flow. And those moments when the story tells me where to go. Writing a perfect line. The ah-ha moments of perspective that come with walking away and reading it again. The sense of continuous improvement and learning. The chance to dance in the footsteps of the greatest writers and in moments, just moments, touch real excellence. Oh, and the best answers coming when I’m doing something else altogether.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

The planning stage, when I’m wrestling with a story and not getting to write it yet.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

It’s still early days for me: I’m looking forward to finding out…

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

So far the industry people in my network have been incredibly generous and thoughtful. I haven’t gone much beyond that yet and I’m thrilled Shore Scripts is helping me address that.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

Each step was a big validation, and for me, it came after a few body-blows, so it was wonderful timing. It was a real boost, especially as it was the first TV script I’d put out there. And to know that my work would be read by such luminaries felt like a big leap forward.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

It’s often mentioned alongside the Nicholl, Page, etc. as one of the contests that is taken seriously. I think I first heard of it from a UK agent friend talking about what they look at. The strong UK presence made it especially interesting to me.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

At this stage, my aim is that Living Memory and my other scripts will help get me in a room with potential future colleagues. I’m pretty open to where that may take me: throughout my working life, the best decisions were always backing people rather than (only) plans. So, I’m hoping to get the chance to find great collaborators and see where that may lead. 

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Someone once wisely told me to make sure to celebrate every success along the way, rather than immediately writing it off and lifting your sights to the next goal. Pause at the milestone, be proud of what you achieved already. And then, keep going.


TV - 1/2 HOUR

GRAND PRIZE WINNER – KATE SHENTONHow to be a screenwriter Screenplay Contests

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?   

I’ve always loved storytelling. When I was a child I was constantly creating stories in my head. The moment  I realized I wanted to get into the film industry was when I watched Kill Bill as a teenager. A lightbulb went off in my head. People do this for a living! After that, I knew I wanted to be involved in the film industry, but it was later on when I realized that writing was the area for me.

 

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing for a few years. When I started out I wanted to be a writer-director and therefore wrote things for myself to direct. But as I got more into writing I realize that it was my true passion and at the beginning of last year I decided to focus all my attention on it. The thing I love about writing is that no one gives you permission to do it. All you need is a laptop and a blank page and you can create absolutely anything.

 

Do you have a routine?

I write every day. I believe this is important. If you take too long a break, you become scared of the blank page. My best time for writing is in the morning, so my daily routine is to write in the morning and then do my paid work in the afternoon. 

 

How do you find time to write?

I’m very lucky because my paid job is part-time. I work at a university as an academic adviser and module leader on the Raindance MA in Filmmaking. It’s a great way to pay the bills whilst building up my own writing career.

 

How many TV pilots have you written?

This is my second TV pilot. However, with this one, I really focused on learning how a TV episode works. I read a number of books to help me get the elements right. My favorite approach was Dan Harmon Story Circles, which is a shortened hero’s journey for television. I love the Hero’s Journey, so it was nice to find a version that could be used in an episodic form.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this Pilot?

I believe female sexual dysfunction is an important topic. It affects a lot of women and yet it’s rarely been portrayed in the media. I’ve written The Big O because I want to get a discussion going. Around 20% of women are affected by it, but it’s something that is hardly ever mentioned. It’s a topic which I believe we need to speak more openly about.

 

How long did it take to write?

In total, the script took three months. One month to get the script to a state where I felt it was ready to be sent out for coverage. Then another two months to receive feedback, and rewrite, then get more feedback and rewrite, more feedback and rewrite.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

My favorite part is writing dialogue, which of course comes from developing good characters. You can’t write dialogue unless the characters work. But when they do work, I love writing through their voices and the random places their conversations can go. For me, it’s where the script comes alive.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

I’m a severely dyslexic writer. I do everything through voice dictation software and another software app that reads the text back to me. If I didn’t have the software, I wouldn’t be able to write. For me, the hardest challenge has been overcoming my dyslexia so that I can finally get the ideas in my head down on paper. It’s not been easy, but now that I have the right software it’s put me in a position where I can write confidently and quickly. It’s been incredibly liberating.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

I think it does, but I think there are so many writers trying to make it that it’s hard to get noticed. This is why competitions like Shore Scripts are so important. Shore Scripts get your work in front of key industry professionals, and this is invaluable as a new writer. At first, I was scared to submit to competitions because I didn’t think my work would get anywhere, and therefore it was just a waste of money. If anyone is reading this and has a similar feeling, I encourage you to ignore that voice and just go for it! You never know what’s going to happen, and you’re doing yourself an injustice if you don’t.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

Yes! I think every new writer does. There are so many people trying to make it as scriptwriters, so there are a lot of scripts desperate for attention. It’s hard to get your work noticed in the crowd. But it’s all about perseverance. If you have a good story and put the time in, eventually someone will read it.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

It an incredible feeling. I really did not expect to win. To be honest, I was just over the moon it made the quarter-finals! It’s really wonderful to know that such high-profile judges have seen something in my script. It’s a massive confidence boost.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I was looking at lists of top 10 screenwriting competitions and Shore Scripts kept coming up.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

The absolute dream would be for it to be developed into a full TV series. As for my career, my aim is to make a full-time living as a writer. For the next step, I hope to work as a writer on someone else’s show. Whatever happens, the most important thing to me is that I keep writing every single day. 

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Get feedback! Feedback can be terrifying at first, but it’s essential to your work. For me sending The Big O out for coverage was a huge help. Once the script had received a recommendation, I knew it was ready to send out into the industry.

 


2ND PLACE WINNER – JORDAN PROSSER

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?    

Realizing one day that all the stories and movies I loved didn’t magically pop into existence – realizing that they were written, made, and crafted by human beings – made me realize that I wanted to be doing that too.

 

How long have you been writing for?

If you count the unauthorized Wizard of Oz sequel I wrote and illustrated in the first grade, then I suppose that would make it… 26 years.

 

Do you have a routine?

I wish I had more of one, to be honest. But I always find I’m at my most productive first thing in the morning – if I can simply roll out of bed, drink some coffee, and start writing while I’m still in my robe, that seems to be when I do my best work. The moment I have a shower or brush my teeth, it’s all over.

 

How do you find time to write?

I have to make the time. It’s about saying no to fun things, turning down work, and depriving yourself sometimes. Otherwise, the days just slip away.

 

How many TV pilots have you written?

This is only the second one! I wrote the first when I was still in high school, about a teenage spy with a gun that fired Tic-Tacs.

 

What gave you the inspiration for this Pilot?

Throughout 2015/2016, I was fascinated by all the discussion around a privatized mission to settle Mars and the shady companies that seemed to be working towards it. In particular, one article by Elmo Keep for Medium really got me thinking – what kind of person would volunteer for such a quest? Is it actually a selfless act, to travel on a one-way mission to a distant planet? Or a twisted form of selfishness instead?

 

How long did it take to write?

Blue Giant was originally a feature script, which I managed to write in about three months back in 2016. I then tossed up what format would actually be best for the story, and settled on 6x half-hour episodes instead – adapting the first act of the feature script into the pilot script was surprisingly, and blessedly, easy.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Finishing the first draft.

 

What do you struggle with the most?

Starting the second draft.

 

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing talent?

I like to think that the film industry embraces good ideas, no matter who or where they come from.

 

Have you found it difficult to get your work out there and read?

So difficult. And every time you think you’re getting somewhere, you realize there’s even further to go.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, and then one of our winners?

I had the immense privilege of winning the Shore Scripts feature competition in 2018 – so the feeling this time around had a slight tinge of deja vu, but also incredulity. I was thinking, “no, surely not…!” It was such a wonderful surprise to get that email.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

Back when I finally decided it was time to find people to read the scripts I’d been working so hard on, I began researching screenwriting prizes – and Shore Scripts just kept coming up.

 

What goals do you have for this script and your future career?

I would love to see Blue Giant made in one form or another as a TV series, a web series, a feature; I believe the story’s very malleable, sort of format-agnostic. We’ll just have to see. As for me, all I can do is keep writing, and keep knocking on doors.

 

If you had any advice for upcoming screenwriters, what would it be?

Stick to it, as much as you possibly can. And just keep writing. Every word you write is a word you’ve written better than the last one.

 


3RD PLACE WINNER – MARLA CUKOR 

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

A lot of time you hear actors, entertainers and even some directors talking about what got them interested in making film or TV shows, and they’ll share stories about how they were always the ones putting on plays in their backyards and charging a quarter for admission. Well, that wasn’t me. But, when I was young, my main pastime was gathering all the neighborhood kids and putting together new episodes, rewritten and reimagined by myself, of all the TV shows and movies we loved. On any given night during the summer, there’d be a whole gang of us running wild around the neighborhood, one day we were creating storylines and new episodes for Charlie’s Angels, the next night would be Fantasy Island or Three’s Company or Happy Days – obviously, we stuck to very high brow entertainment. Even when I was a kid, there was always something magical to me about the ebb and flow of bad guys and good guys and the infinite possibility of a million storylines intersecting.

Flash forward to about two weeks out of college, I landed a job which would set the stage for the next phase of my screenwriting career, when I was hired at Soap Opera Update – at the time, the country’s most popular soap opera magazine. For those of you too young to understand, soap operas were kind of like today’s Netflix serials. Soaps started on the radio (kind of like today’s serialized podcasts), and when they’d transitioned to TV, people would watch them every day come hell or high water, totally devoted with a ferocity I don’t think any single show on TV today could hold a candle to. Part of my job as a writer for the magazines was having an intimate understanding of the stories that were playing out, plus, I had to know the characters, their backstories, current stories, and their needs, wants and goals, inside and out. Through this lens, as I watched five or six soaps at a time, both daytime and primetime, (no small feat, as this required a lot of complicated VCR recording and late-night TV viewing). Over time, I received an MFA-worthy education in the fine art and craft of scripting stories that were powerful, emotional, and compelling enough to keep people watching between commercials breaks, year after year. People give soaps a bad rap, but there is really no more perfect example of storytelling on a micro and macro level. Towards the end of my time at the daytime magazine, I started writing my own soap opera episodes, then I transitioned into screenplays. I’ll be the first to admit, those first screenplays of mine were kind of terrible. So were my query letters, but over time, my writing, and my scripts improved. and soon it became a driving force in my life and a pretty good side hustle.

 

How long have you been writing for?

Basically, forever. My mom recently ran into my third-grade teacher the other day in the supermarket, and my old teacher still had a poem I had written for her when I was, like, 8 years old, folded in the billfold her wallet. (So, that’s weird, I know). My point is that my sole goal in life has always been to be a writer. Maybe a lawyer or doctor would have made more sense, but, the heart wants what the heart wants, as they say. I worked my way through college as a newspaper reporter, and later made a living as an entertainment journalist for the next 20 years— but during all that time, I was spending my nights and weekend fiendishly writing screenplays and other projects. Along the way, I had an agent, a manager, and between all the projects I was hired to write and/or ghostwrite, projects I was optioning, and other related screenplay work I was doing, it turned out I was making if not serious bank, at least semi-serious bank, I was doing pretty good.

But here’s the sad part. Things kind of fell apart for me when I had a pretty big setback in my personal life. (read: Divorce). I kinda lost my mojo for a while and needed to jump off the never-ending hamster wheel that we screenwriters know so well. One year turned into two years, and before I knew it, six years without me so much as firing up my copy of Final Draft had flown by in a heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong, I thought about writing all the time, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get back in the game. Not to sound too dramatic, but I figured I’d be one of those writers who ends up six feet under, a lifetime of unproduced scripts stuck inside my old Macbook Pro, the whole lot of them rotting away in a giant landfill somewhere in India.

So how I came back… On the bright side, with all that free time, I was able to basically spend six years literally consuming entertainment and binging on TV shows, movies, and whatever else caught my fancy. I tried writing some novels (I sucked at that. It was all garbage). But one of the projects I was working on as a novel, really called out to me as something I thought would make a really compelling serialized story. And basically, that’s how my Shore Script-winning television pilot, “Staged” came to life…Which also happens to be the first television show pilot I’ve ever written.

 

Why this script? Why now…

Staged is about two desperate people who are uber-famous reality stars — basically they are the most famous real estate reality couple the world has ever known. Unfortunately, their once-wildly popular real estate reality show, STAGED, is tanking in the ratings and facing cancellation, and if that happens, they’ll lose everything they’ve worked their whole lives to build. So as they open up the 10th season of their show, the couple take matters into their own hands, devising a secret, desperate, twisted scheme to save their family, their TV empire and bring their show back to its original glory through any means necessary – even murder.

 

What inspired you to write this script?

As a former entertainment writer, I’ve known a lot of reality stars and superstars. They always start out as lovely people. And most of them stay that way. Most of them. Staged is about what happens when reality stars get sucked into that dark black-mirror’ ish vortex of fame and fortune, and suddenly they can’t separate the reality star persona they’ve become, from who the actual human being they once were. As the season goes on, it becomes more and more apparent that the harder this couple tries to manipulate their “reality” show, the worse off they (secretly) fare as a couple and as a family. Eventually what’s happening on-screen and off-screen are two completely different narratives – and while it all looks good – behind the scenes, everything is falling apart.

 

Do you think the film industry embraces new talent?

Yes. New talent. Old talent. And everyone in between. You just have to keep your nose to the grindstone. And never give up.

 

How did you feel when your script was shortlisted, then a finalist, then one of our winners?

A lot of screenplay competitions will tell you that if you enter and win them, they are going to change your life. The Shore Scripts contest didn’t ever promise that – but really, it did just that. Seeing my project validated and knowing that there are other people out there who share my vision and passion for this project really meant something to me. Before this contest, I was really in a state of self-imposed hibernation. After I wrote this script and it was chosen as a winner – I realized that I still had stories to share with this world and truly needed to get back to work. Owing to my Shore Scripts win, I’ve gotten such great feedback and so many requests to read the script – it’s really been a great experience all around, and I highly recommend that anyone who’s thinking of doing a contest consider submitting to Shore Scripts.

 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

Just got lucky. Very lucky.

 

What goals do you have for your future career?

For this project, I want to create a full bible and map out the episodes for the first season, sell it to a network, and be retained as the showrunner. The show is set in New Jersey, where I live, so I’d like to keep production there as well. But of course, everything in life is negotiable!

 

Advice for upcoming writers?

Writing is a lonely business and while it’s ‘easy’ to write a script – it’s really hard to get one made. You’re going to need friends, connections and a fair amount of luck to get anywhere in this town. And while I don’t believe you have to live in LA to make it or even to break in, to get to the point where your script is going to catch the eye of a producer, director or actor – you’re going to need help. I think writers are generally a bit introverted so stepping out of your comfort zone to make connections — or even put yourself out there enough to submit to contests —  can be hard – but if you want to be successful, you’ve got to figure it out and make a decision that you are going to invest in your career – and yourself.  One of the best and easiest ways is to improve your craft is to submit to contests like Shore Scripts, and opt-in for the feedback. You may not agree with the advice and feedback everyone gives you – and in the beginning, it can be crushing, but there’s no other way to get better at writing. I’m a big fan of helping writers and sharing projects, so if anyone wants to read my script, feel free to reach out, and I’ll be happy to send a pdf.  Good luck to everyone, and thanks again to the good folks at Shore Scripts for giving me this extraordinary opportunity.