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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 Vishnu Sekar

An interview with screenwriter Vishnu Sekar regarding the Cinequest Writing Competition.

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

A: 'Shiva' is the name of my script and my protagonist -- a young man obsessed with Bollywood films in Sri Lanka during the 1980's. He's racially profiled and arrested by cops for a crime he didn't commit. They torture him to elicit a false confession. Shiva makes an elaborate prison escape that begins to unravel as a fantasy inspired by his favourite Bollywood film.

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 liked some of the former Maverick Winners like JJ Abrams and Neil Gaiman, who happens to be one of my favourite writers.

My script has been selected as a semi-finalist in the Page International Screenplay contest. I'm still waiting for the final results.

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: Yes, the awards were great for a short screenplay.

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 did write an outline, but I had most of the screenplay in my head the moment I conceived the premise. I usually follow a rough outline when I write. I seriously can't tell you how many drafts I wrote because I kept getting feedback and tweaking my script. The changes were small from one draft to another, but I think they made all the difference. It's difficult to say how long I worked on this because I write several screenplays simultaneously. When I wait for feedback on one script, I draft another, and so on.

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 used Celtx, but I have moved on to Highland, which I find easier and more intuitive to use.

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

A: I don't write every day because I have to balance writing with my day job. I write for about six to eight hours, four days a week. Sometimes, I write all day every day, even after work, if I'm nearing a contest deadline or if my creative juices are flowing. I intend to write more hours regularly in the future.

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

A: I do get writer's block. Sometimes I have to step away from the project and work on something else. Or I go for a walk. Meditation helps. I look to films, books and music for inspiration. If nothing works, I silence my inner critic and I force myself to write even if it doesn't sound good to me. I usually keep a note and come back to that point, later on, to see if it can be improved.

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

A: I've got a BA in Film and English and I've worked in the media before. I've written a number of screenplays and teleplays that have placed well in writing contests.

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

A: I live in Sydney, Australia, but I'd like to move to LA soon.

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

A: I'm currently working on a TV pilot set in Boston that I want to submit to contests and pitch. I'm going to adapt the pilot into a graphic novel and pitch to a publisher or self-publish it via Amazon.

Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2016

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