Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Kevin Brodie

An interview with screenwriter Kevin Brodie regarding the Bridge Writing Competition.

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

A: The title of my script is "Season of Mists." It's about Sevda Kemal, a 30-year-old Kurdish escapee from an honor killing attempting to rebuild her life in Boston. An accusation of violent extremism has her sent to a detention center, where she has to find the strength to resist her captors and free herself. Once free, she is forced to confront the brother that wanted her dead.

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 look for contests that are reasonably priced and offer some sort of industry access as a prize. The Bridge seemed to fit both criteria. I have sent this script to other contests, and it has been a winner in nine others, including the Big Bear Lake, Big Idea, the Golden Brad Awards, and StoryPros. It was also a semifinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship.

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

A: I was only informed a week ago--it was a bit of a happy shock to see my name listed as the winner when I opened the email link! Outside of that, they have yet to contact me directly, so I cannot speak to how well they have delivered on awards just yet. The turnaround, though was very quick--I entered the contest on December 1st, and found out I had won on January 5.

Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?

A: I have been working on this script since autumn of 2006--I initially wrote it for National Novel Writing Month. I decided after that experience that I really wanted to write it as a movie, so I got to work essentially adapting my own novel. From there, I wrote a fairly extensive outline, which changed constantly until I wrote the first draft of the screenplay. After that, I don't think I looked at the outline again. In the summer of 2007, I workshopped the script at the Pulse Ensemble Theatre's Playwrights Lab (screenwriters are usually welcome ) in New York City and then continued to revise and rework until early 2009, when I began sending it out. That summer, it won the StoryPros and was a Nicholl Quarterfinalist. That's when I really started to think I was on to something. How many drafts? I could only guess. Perhaps twenty?

Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?

A: I wrote it in Movie Magic Screenwriter. I also have Final Draft, on which I am writing a new screenplay, so I could see which one I prefer. I also just got Contour story development software, and am anxious to see how helpful that will be. By the way, I won Final Draft and Contour in screenwriting contests!

Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?

A: Yes, I write every day, at least one hour. That is my minimum. I try as much as possible to write longer periods--a lot has to do with what else is scheduled that day. I have a full time job as a high school teacher which has the virtue of allowing me some extra time throughout the year, but has the demerit of being extremely draining. I do my best to manage my time wisely, and balance writing with my marriage and my my two dogs' insistence that I feed, play, or cuddle with them immediately. I also once a year lock myself up in a Catholic retreat center on an island off the Connecticut coastline. Those might be the most productive two days of the year!

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?

A: I never get writer's block. Sometimes, I get into a jam--there's a problem in a scene or an act I can't figure out how to solve. So, I try and work on something else, or play with the dogs, or go to Starbuck's for a cup of tea. Usually that process gets my mind churning differently, and by then I have figured out how to solve the problem. I always tear through my first drafts, so I never have problems that involve staring at a blank screen. My problems are always during the revision stages.

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

A: As I mentioned above, I am a high school teacher, and for years I wrote mostly poetry. I was published in a few national journals and magazines, and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. About eight years ago, I caught the screenwriting bug, and have written four other screenplays.

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

A: I do not live in Los Angeles. I don't know if I will ever move there, but my wife and I are both from California, so I suspect we will return to the Golden State at some point--perhaps sooner rather than later.

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

A: Currently, I am revising "Season of Mists" for a director who loves the script--but would like me to change just about everything! I have also just completed a first draft on a new screenplay, and am beginning the revision phase on that one. I also go back and tinker with my other scripts, all of which I like, but I am certain are not ready to go out. I am also assembling a detailed outline for a brand new screenplay, which I will write this year.

Posted Saturday, January 15, 2011