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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 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

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