2013 – Short Winners Interviews

I WISH by MARIE PARKINS

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

It was something I’d always wanted to do only I had no idea where to begin. In 2010, I did Screenwriting as a subject at TAFE which set me off in the right direction.

How long have you been writing for?

Writing has always been an important part of my life. As far back as primary school, I was making up plays and trying to rope my friends into performing them with me for the class.

Do you keep to a routine when you’re writing?

It’s funny, I’m obsessed by routine in almost every aspect of my life except for my writing. I tend to write in dribs and drabs and have a study full of manila folders with partially written stories.

How do you find time to write?

I’ve a supportive husband and adult children, so I’m now in the fortunate position of not feeling constantly rushed. The wee hours of the morning is often when I feel the most creative and sometimes I’ll write then. There are very few days in the year when I don’t write at all.

How many short screenplays have you written?

Three, ‘I Wish’ being my first. Each relate to an event in Australian history and the way it impacts on people’s lives.

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

I’d read a book about ‘the stolen children.’ It was a collection of true stories and I was deeply moved by the victims’ accounts.

How long did it take to write?

I thought about it for a couple of days, but once I started, it only took a few hours. It took quite a few more hours of editing before I was reasonably satisfied. Sometime later, I looked at it again and made some other minor changes.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

How inspiration often comes from the most unexpected places, and how random thoughts and emotions can be twisted and turned into a story.

What do you struggle with the most?

My memory. If I don’t write down an idea immediately, chances are it will be forgotten. Sometimes it re-surfaces when I’m writing, which is always a nice surprise.

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing?

My understanding of the industry is limited, but from what I’ve learnt so far, there appears to be very few opportunities for new writers to gain recognition.

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

To be honest, I’ve really only just found enough confidence to begin.

How did it feel when your script was shortlisted, then becoming a finalist, and then one of the winners?

I was probably more amazed than anything else when I saw it had been shortlisted. I never imagined it would progress further, so to reach the semi-finals and then the final three was extremely exciting. To win was unbelievable. I felt very honoured that the judges considered my script worthy of first place. It’s very encouraging indeed.

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I was looking to enter a competition when I came across the Shoreline Scripts website, and was really impressed how Shoreline seemed genuinely interested in promoting new writers. I jumped at the opportunity to enter a competition that wasn’t as much about the prizes as it was about the chance of having your script read by such highly revered judges.

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

To see it made into a film is my ultimate goal. Personal satisfaction aside, I’d like to think it could help turn the focus onto the serious issues still facing Aboriginal communities today.

The future can change in a heartbeat, so I try not to look too far ahead. For now, I’m happy to continue developing my writing, finish my first feature length script and to wait and see where it all might lead.


THE LADDER by FAISAL A. QURESHI

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I had (and still have) lots of idea for stories but celluloid is a far more expensive habit than cocaine. The cheapest aspect of filmmaking was scriptwriting, so at sixth form, I wrote a few scripts and ideas and submitted them. One of them won a Channel 4 scriptwriting competition and I kept on writing after that.

How long have you been writing for?

So long it’s embarrassing.

Do you have a routine that you stick to?

I try to write at least a page a day. I learnt to do that early on from reading Kurosawa’s biography.

How many screenplays have you written?

A lot. I have four boxes in my cupboard and my hard drive is overflowing. Not all of them are good.

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

The Ladder firs originated from an image in my head of two travellers climbing towards a destination they couldn’t quite reach. The Greek myths of Orpheus journey into Hades to reclaim Eurydice as well as the punishment of Sisyphus were a big influence. Also the works of J.G Ballard (The Concentration City), Ursula K. Le Guin (Those who walk away from Olemas) and Harlan Ellison (The Prowler in the City of the Edge of the World). The computer games Lode Runner and Bionic Commando and if there’s a film influence, it’d be Finding Nemo for the relationship. Real life inspiration came from what I saw in Dhaka in 2007 when a severe hurricane hit the country and walking past the damaged red light district when going to work. Basically it wasn’t one thing on it’s own. All of this got stuck in my brain blender which was set to mash.

How long did it take to write?

A day or two I think. I already had the major events plotted in my head. It was pretty much there. I’m not including the multiple redrafts and revisions that came out during the next few years.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Creating a solid structure that can result in a good script being put together quickly.

What do you struggle with the most?

I’m easily distracted.

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

Depends on the opportunities that happen and whether a person is able to take advantage of them quickly enough.

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

Really depends on who gets it. The advantage with scriptwriting competitions is that someone will come to read your script sooner or later.

How did it feel when your script was shortlisted, then becoming a finalist, and then one of the winners?

The script has been shortlisted in quite a lot of competitions so making it that far wasn’t surprising. Winning is always good though.

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I was exploring Withoutabox and found a listing for the competition.

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

I was hoping to direct it (I’ve directed several short films in the past on very low budgets) but the script was rejected by all the UK short film funding schemes over the years so its effectively dead now unless someone wants to invest privately in it. I’ve recently been writing a feature version which stays true to the spirit of the short script and is a heck of a lot of fun without betraying the original short’s integrity. Future career, I currently have a feature script in development with Timur Bekmambetov’s company Bazelev (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)


TRUMPET by BEN CLEARY

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

As I grew up I always seemed to have story ideas in my head and loved film so combining the two at some point seemed inevitable. And my parents were always massively supportive.

How long have you been writing for?

Since I can remember I liked coming up with stories and putting them down on paper (or scrawling them on my bedroom walls…)

Do you keep to a routine?

I work in a great shared studio space in East London. I’m at my desk, coffee in hand, at 9:30 every morning. I use a stop timer and don’t leave until I have amounted a minimum of 360 minutes writing time.

How do you find time to write?

I do all paid writing work at night and on weekends. Daytime is almost exclusively for my own screenwriting.

How many short screenplays have you written?

Four live action and three animations that I’m happy with. Many others that will never see the light of day!

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

I was sitting across from a man on the Tube. He looked incredibly lonely. He had this heartbreaking sadness in his eyes, like he was the only person on earth, utterly isolated amongst a sea of strangers. It really stayed with me. He was the inspiration for the main character and the rest followed from there.

How long did it take to write?

First draft probably a few days, but the current draft has been a work in progress for 2 years and I reckon I’ll be working on it right up to when I finally shoot it.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Undoubtedly coming up with the ideas and visuals. Putting them down on the page is the really hard part for me.

What do you struggle with the most?

I find it hard to tell a good story in a very short time. My ideas seem to quickly mushroom into something much bigger than the initial concept. I have a lot of respect for writers who can write a great story within 3 or 4 minutes. I’m looking forward to writing features.

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

Everyone says really good feature scripts are very rare so I guess in theory I’d say yes, if a new writer writes a great script, why not. But I don’t really know the ins and outs of it all.

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

I’m not great at promoting myself. I’m just concentrating on raising cash to make my first short. I’d prefer to have a film out there to be judged rather than a script.

How did it feel when your script was shortlisted, then becoming a finalist, and then one of the winners?

It was great. I was lucky enough to have another script, Un Bref Sejour, in the quarters so I was already chuffed. Then for Trumpet to go on and become one of the winners, I was over the moon. It gives you a nice confidence boost, a necessary reminder that you’re doing the right thing.

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

A filmmaker friend emailed me over a link about it a good few months back.

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

I’m saving money to make Trumpet myself and am looking into the possibility of a crowd funding scheme to raise the rest of the funds. That’s my biggest goal at the moment.