Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Than a Screenwriter

I am more than a screenwriter.

I began writing short stories in the fourth grade. My first story (which I carefully illustrated and bound with red yarn) was about a group of shipwrecked friends trying to escape a magical world hidden inside an iceberg.

I have always been drawn to stories involving magic, mythic beings and heroes who must navigate alien worlds to survive and, once transformed by their adventures, often find the people around them have also changed.

My all-time favorite film is Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast), which was released in 1946.

It is everything I crave from film – from great storytelling.

I started screenwriting in 2001 and learned a lot online, most notably from Project Greenlight, which was a television contest with extensive online forums. It was produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Sean Bailey (a television and film producer now the President of Production at Disney) and Chris Moore (a film producer whose biggest hit to date is the Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting).

For a year or so, I spent a great deal of my spare time commiserating with other newbie screenwriters on the hardships of learning our craft. I pursued several pros I suspect PGL paid to patiently share their knowledge with even the most recalcitrant of us newbies on the forums. And I read a lot of scripts from first-time writers and compared them to those of classics like Bladerunner and Chinatown.

I learned how to write in the proper script format and, most importantly, honed my writing until my voice was my own: concise, a bit ironic and more than a little darkly comedic.

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