Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Jason Whiton

An interview with screenwriter Jason Whiton regarding the Script P.I.M.P. Writing Competition.

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

A: The Bonsai is a drama about an elderly Japanese man who overcomes isolation when he experiences the history of a mystical Bonsai tree. The lives of all the people that cared for the tree come to him in visions and he's changed by what he sees. He's able to start reaching out and reconnecting with family and friends before he runs out of time.

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

A: In addition to the ScriptPIMP Grand Prize, The Bonsai has won Best Feature Screenplay (Drama) at Moondance, as well as top placements at Beverly Hills, Acclaim, Cinequest, and American Zoetrope. I entered ScriptPIMP because I'm excited by the energy and support they offer to scripts, as well as offering very supportive prizes.

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: They have been fantastic! I've been in regular e-mail touch with them, particularly to work on a query strategy for The Bonsai. Other prizes (check, inkTip listing, ScriptPIMP membership) have arrived like clock-work.

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

A: The Bonsai has received a lot of praise and support, as well as requests from producers. This is very helpful. Formal critique hasn't been expected.

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 rather early to tell, though I have already received a request from an agency. Through inkTip, part of this award, I have received a lot of requests from agents and producers in the past, and more are coming in due to ScriptPIMP's support.

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

A: I began writing television scripts on spec, and selling cartoons to national magazines. But over the past few years, I've put all focus on writing feature screenplays. The Bonsai was my first! I've since written a quirky Romantic Comedy called Romancing The Dead, which won a Best Feature Screenplay at Moondance this year. It's about a divorcee in the afterlife who must leave his hipster fantasies and past behind to find love again. There's a little haunting, a little's dark fun!

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

A: I'm living in Vermont right now, which is an absolutely beautiful place to sit and focus on writing. My plan is to go anywhere I need to go in order to work as a writer. I'm willing to commute until the work demands a move. I'm driven to work, so we shall see where it leads.

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

A: I'm in the middle of writing a horror script. It's creepy, visual, and I can't wait to start sending it out! The story is something that I had originally intended for IDW (30 Days of Night), and ended up just running with it as a feature script. It has a bit of a Ringu/Juon tone to it...It's calling me...gotta go!

Posted Friday, August 12, 2005