Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Jeffrey Massie

An interview with screenwriter Jeffrey Massie regarding the Worldfest - Houston Writing Competition.

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

A: Eighty-Eight Frequencies is the true story of a movie star who set out to defeat the Nazis and ended up inventing the cellphone.

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've had several other friends who have done well at the Houston WorldFest, and they recommended it to me.

I was a finalist for the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, and I placed in the Austin Heart of Texas Festival.

The script is currently entered for the Nicholl Fellowship and I'll probably give Austin another shot. (My protagonist's fifth husband was an oilman; other than that I have no idea why my script is so well-liked in Texas.)

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: Overall I was very pleased with Houston WorldFest. I traveled to Houston for the awards weekend and I had a great time.

WorldFest is a big film festival. They honor everything from theatrical features and shorts to commercials and industrial films, and they give out a *lot* of awards (913 this year!)

I've participated in a number of festivals, and although WorldFest is well-organized for its size and scope there were still some hitches. They invite all their finalists in advance to their awards dinner and give trophies to all those who show up, so it was a *long* evening!

Their categories and award structure seems to change from year to year. For example, a friend of mine won a first-place Gold Remi in my category in 1996. This year I also won a first-place award but it was a Platinum Remi. In the past they have given out festival-wide Special Jury Prizes and a Grand Award for screenplays; this year there was a Grand Remi for Best Screenplay but no Special Jury Prizes.

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

A: No feedback. I don't recall if Houston is one of the festivals that offers written feedback for an additional fee, but I don't sign up for it when it's offered.

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

A: None yet, although in fairness it's only been a week since the awards. We'll see ...

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

A: I earned a BFA in film production at New York University’s Tisch School Of The Arts. I was in the same class as Joel Silver and Amy Heckerling, as a result of which someone once bought me a drink.

Eighty-Eight Frequencies is one of four feature-length scripts I have completed and am currently pitching. The others:

  • Equity, an historical drama set during the 1919 Actors Equity strike of Broadway actors;
  • Tabula Rasa, a comedy/fantasy about a thirteen-year-old aspiring filmmaker; and
  • Babes In Armor, an R-rated black comedy-satire-Rodgers-and-Hart musical.

All my work is available through and on my blog.

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

A: I have lived in Los Angeles for over half my life, for all the good it's done me ... ;)

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

A: I have several script ideas in the fire, but it's too soon for me to say which will be my next magnum opus.

Posted Sunday, May 6, 2007