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Screenwriter Interviews

Writers: If you've finished first, second, or third in any screenwriting competition listed on MovieBytes, we'd like to interview you! First, make sure the contest results for the year you won are posted on MovieBytes, including your name, so we can verify your submission. Then submit our online interview form for that contest. We'll notify you via email when your interview has been posted.

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Jason Allen

An interview with screenwriter Jason Allen regarding the Tennessee Writing Competition.

Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

A: The name of the script is "Lucky Teeter."

It's the story of a lonely bait shop employee (Lucky Teeter) who lives in an abandoned caboose in the woods. Nothing seems to go right for this guy. One day Lucky is struck by lightning for the third time in this life, and a strange phenomenon occurs: Suddenly everyone he touches becomes instantly attracted to him, finding him irresistible. Once Lucky realizes what's going on, he attempts to use his new-found magnetism to attract the girl of his dreams. However, he ends up attracting everyone *but* this girl. This incredible stroke of luck becomes a curse, and it makes Lucky's life miserable.

It's a lighthearted, offbeat comedy -- unlike anything I've ever written. As for the tone of the material, I was shooting for something similar to "Raising Arizona."

Basically I wrote this particluar script to entertain myself. I wanted to write something that I would like to go see.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: I entered this contest because I'd heard some good things about this organization and the people who run it. They seem to know what they're doing, and they do a good job of promotion.

This is the first contest I've entered with this particular script.

Q: Were you satisfied with the adminstration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: Yes, I was quite satisfied with how the contest was run. They met their deadlines, and I received everything that was promised.

Q: Were you given any feedback on your script? If so, did you find the feedback helpful?

A: I haven't received any "official" feedback yet (the winners were announced only recently), but I did get some helpful and encouraging comments from board members by phone and email. I was impressed by the knowledge of the people running this organization.

Q: Has your success in this contest helped you market your script? Were you contacted by any agents, managers or producers?

A: It's still too early to tell, but the attention certainly hasn't hurt. I've received some requests from legitimate production companies in the past week; it must be due to the contest because I haven't queried anyone recently.

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

A: My background is journalism. I've done quite a bit of newspaper and magazine work as a writer, copy editor, columnist, field editor and photographer. I got my start as a sports editor at a small-town newspaper.

Yeah, I've written seven or eight feature-length screenplays. Two of them are currently under option at L.A.-based production companies. Most of my scripts are comedies, but my latest is a sci-fi/fantasy geared toward kids.

Recently I've been marketing another script of mine called "Greenville News." It too was a finalist in this year's TSA screenwriting competition. It's a fish-out-of-water comedy about a struggling Chicago waitress who gets the opportunity to run a small-town newspaper. It was inspired partly by my experiences at small-town newspapers and partly by my favorite film, Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero." A WGA-signatory agent in California agreed to represent this script, and she has done a great job of getting it into the hands of studio executives.

Not long ago, a production company in L.A. wanted to purchase "Lucky Teeter" outright and make a low-budget (250K) film. Who knows if I made the right decision, but I decided to hold onto the script. I haven't pitched the script since entering the TSA competition. Winning the contest has given me new incentive to get it out there.

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

A: I don't live in Los Angeles, and I don't have any plans to move there at this time.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

A: I just finished a sci-fi/fantasy called "The Monsters of Dent County." It's about a young boy who gets lost in the woods and discovers three powerful creatures who've been hiding in the wilderness for many years, the result of a failed experiment. It's a comic book-inspired story, but it's not dark like most of today's comic book films; it has a sense of innocence, sort of like the comic book stories I read while growing up.

Right now I'm just trying to better myself as a screenwriter. I'm reading a lot of scripts. I'm watching (and studying) a lot of films. And I've read (and re-read) Robert McKee's "Story," which was really an eye-opener for me.

I hope to begin working on a new script in January.

Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003

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