2014 – Short Winners Interviews

Shore Scripts Screenwriting Contest. Best Screenplay Contest

 

What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I had written a novel and wanted to have a go at adapting it but I soon realised it was a lot harder than I thought so I decided that I needed to take a few classes. After several screenwriting classes I then went on to do a Masters in screenwriting which I have only just graduated from a few weeks ago.

How long have you been writing for?

I have been writing as a hobby for nearly ten years however, I only thought about taking screenwriting seriously in the last year while doing my Masters. Winning this award has definitely cemented the idea that I should continue in this field.

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

I normally write between 11 and 5, Monday to Friday but when I have deadlines I write until things get done.

How do you find time to write?

As I have just graduated, writing is something I did every day for a year however, now without the Film school deadlines, I will have to learn to self impose my own deadlines and stick to them.

How many short screenplays have you written?

I have completed 3 short screenplays, 2 feature length screenplays, a TV series as well as treatments for many other ideas, including a TV drama and radio.

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

The story was told to me by Laura Siexas about something that had happened to her Grandmother just after World War II.

How long did it take to write?

It took about 2 months and in total 14 drafts.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I enjoy the beginning stages where I think and research the initial ideas and then taking it to an outline stage and off course the end stage where I have the finish script; even though I never think it’s finished.

What do you struggle with the most?

Not being my own script editor. The fact that I have to rely on outside help for script editing advice frustrates me especially as I have to trust that person to give me good notes, however a good script editor is a great asset to any screenwriter.

Do you feel that the film industry embraces new writing?

As in any industry catch -22 is always in play. Employers want experience but you can’t get experience without getting employed. The same works for screenwriters. Getting the elusive “lucky break” is what we all hope for.

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

As I have only graduated, I didn’t realise until now how hard it is to get your work out there and read. I think it’s very important to take every opportunity you can, so knowing that as part of my prize, my script gets send out to over hundred production companies and agents is a get chance for my work to get read.

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

I felt overwhelmed and speechless. At first it didn’t sink in but as I couldn’t sleep and became very emotionally, I sent a very heartfelt message thanking Laura for telling me the story at 4 o’clock in the morning.

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

One of my tutors recommended that we enter as many competitions as possible but it wasn’t until I saw a leaflet for Shore script in the school reception that I thought about entering seriously.

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

I plan to take the essence of the Belonging short which is about two children learning to communicate even though they don’t speak the same language in the back drop of a recovering Europe and write a feature length script. Laura Seixas and I plan to use a true story and loosely base the feature around it. Currently we are in the midst of researching while trying to look for a production company and investment for Belonging the feature.

I am also trying to look for investment and producers for three other projects that I am working on.  I have a finished feature thriller called Comino, apilot for a WWII TV series We Stood Alone and a British social realism short titled Home from Home.

As well as Researching for a feature version of Belonging, I’m currently starting a treatment for another feature with the working title If only which I am very excited about. I also have treatments for various other projects in my portfolio as well. I could probably see myself working in TV, Radio or Film however, Film is my main passion.

Shore Scripts Screenwriting Contest. Best Screenplay Contest

 


What first got you interested in screenwriting?

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of storytelling; telling stories with words and pictures, through characters and new settings came natural to me. 

How long have you been writing for?

13 years! It all started by imitating bits of Turkish melodramas and writing short plays in summer to perform in our background. I think our neighbour still thinks I was the one who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame – the Disney version.  

Do you have a routine that you stick to?

Every Sunday I schedule my week and find hours where I can sit down to write. Sometimes it is 5:00 am sometimes it is 3:00 pm. I only wish I was as determined to hit the gym. 

How many screenplays have you written?

I think around 13? The more I write, the more I learn. 

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

At the time I was living in an Illinois suburbia and unknowingly suffering from major depression. I started from there and blended my mood with my deepest fears, nightmares and what I know for sure, which is, you will make it through the darkness, just hang in there.

How long did it take to write?

I started in 2011. I had to do my research well. It took me many drafts to get “there.” Then I gave up. Around 2013, I saw Magnificent Obsession at Bam, Brooklyn – an amazing melodrama by Douglas Sirk. Believe it or not, while weeping over Jane Wyman’s love for Rock Hudson, I finally got what my story was really about and how it should be told. In 2014 it was completed. 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Everything. As cliché as it sounds, it is a gift and a burden; I have no other choice but to write. Finding themes that matter, creating characters and throwing problems at them to deal with is the greatest pleasure in the world. Shonda Rhimes knows what I’m talking about – do you guys know her? Would she hire me?

What do you struggle with the most?

What if I never make it as a screenwriter/director? What if this is all for nothing? Plus, English is my second language, so I have to be more careful than other native speakers out there. 

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

Ask me again in 5 years, I’ll have an answer. I’m only beginning and my determination would beat Leslie Knope!

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

It is difficult. Where do you start really? There’s no map to this. How do you find an agent? Should you send your scripts to companies without an agent? Are you loosing time? If you shoot an email to a random production company will you look amateurish? I guess, at the end of the day, we are all looking for that “one” person who is going to unlock “that door” for us. I only wish I was one of the Coppola’s – my life would have been SO MUCH different!

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

I really wasn’t expecting this. I saw the email and I went “Ah not gonna happen,” you get used to not winning somehow. Becoming a finalist was too much for my heart! I knew that it would be as far as I would get though. When it was announced that I was one of the winners, I think for a second I went to heaven, danced with Judy Garland and came back to earth. 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

It’s one of my duties to know what competitions are out there. I’m always searching/looking/asking – that’s how I came across Shore Scripts. The jury list and all those companies wowed me. This is a great competition and all the aspiring screenwriters should know Shore Scripts. I hope I can shoot “Drink Recipes For Foolish Lovers” so that, through the film I can also promote Shore Scripts. 

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

I would love to shoot this script in the near future. I love directing; it’s something that makes me feel alive and kicking! I see the colours, every single frame, the lighting and even hear the soundtrack in my head. I have also completed a play that I’m very proud of, titled “Men of Fatima.” Hopefully that will be produced in the upcoming years. Honestly, I have so many ideas and projects in my head that I better get to start writing! And the fear comes back as I type this, “What if I don’t make it?” 

Shore Scripts Screenwriting Contest. Best Screenplay Contest



What first got you interested in screenwriting?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what inspired me to pick up my first screenwriting book. I simply did it and kept learning.  

How long have you been writing for?

 I have been writing for almost 9 years. 

Do you keep to a routine?

I write every day for at least half an hour, but usually more. Routine is super important. 

How do you find time to write?

I am disciplined about my schedule and my energy management (food, exercise, sleep). 

How many short screenplays have you written?

I have written about 5 short screenplays. I have produced 3 of these.  

What gave you the inspiration for this screenplay?

The inspiration for this screenplay is reports of an entity called The Priest, who’s been sighted on trains in San Francisco. The reports were posted by Jason Offutt. The Priest is a new urban legend, and I’m keen to advance his story. 

How long did it take to write?

It took me approximately 5-6 months to write. I wrote 9 drafts in the end. 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I enjoy exploring my imagination and mining my soul. 

What do you struggle with the most?

 I struggle detaching from the work at times. Balance is very important. 

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

The film industry does embrace new talent. The industry is always seeking new voices. 

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

There are plenty of avenues to achieve reads. The challenge is writing something worth reading and producing. 

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

I’m very pleased that my script has done well. I felt confident in it from the beginning. I will definitely submit more scripts in the future. 

How did you hear about Shore Scripts?

I did a simple Google search and stumbled onto Shore Scripts. 

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

I am working on producing this script. I feel like the finished film can do some damage when it’s released.