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The Downbeach Film Festival has announced their 2008 Screenplay Competition results.
An interview with screenwriter L.E. Grabowski-Cotton regarding the Downbeach Writing Competition.Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?
A: "The UnEngagement" is the story of a marriage counselor who is terrified of marriage. After he becomes accidentally engaged to his romance-obsessed girlfriend, he decides that the only way to break-off the wedding without losing her is to secretly sabotage the wedding planning. "The UnEngagement" is similar to "Bride Wars" and "Father of the Bride" in that there is tension over the wedding planning, however, in this case the film is from the groom's perspective and there is the added threat that if the bride finds out what the groom is doing, he might lose her forever.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 thought it might be interesting to enter the screenplay in film festivals that have screenplay categories instead of just straight screenplay competitions. "The UnEngagement" has done well already and I just started sending it out.
In addition to winning first place in this contest, "The UnEngagement" won a Gold Award in the 2010 California Film Awards, was an Official Selection of the 2011 Beaufort International Film Festival, an Official Selection of the 2010 Astoria International Film Festival, a 2009 Art Within Fellowship Winner, a Finalist in the 2010 TableReadMyScreenplay Contest, a Finalist in the 2010 Creative World Awards, a Finalist in the 2009 20/20 Competition, a Semi-Finalist in the 2009 CineStory Screenwriting Competition, a Semi-Finalist in the 26th Annual WriteMovies Contest, a Quarterfinalist in the StoryPros Screenplay Contest, and a Quarterfinalist in the Fresh Voices Screenplay Contest (winners TBA).
A: I was satisfied with the administration of the contest and all the deadlines were met. My e-mail correspondence with the contest administrator was a pleasant experience and he was encouraging. I appreciated the fact that I was informed that I had won first place in the screenplay category without having to wait until the festival had taken place to find out my status. I was unable to attend the festival, but I was sent a check for $200 and a copy of the computer program, Dramatica Pro, which I haven't tried yet. I had a positive experience with this contest and I was thrilled that my screenplay had won first place!Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?
A: The initial draft took 3 months to write which is standard for me. I don't outline but I do spend a significant amount of time creating a high-concept idea. Then I write a draft and take as much time as I need to revise it. "The UnEngagement" was originally written two years ago, but I revised it last summer. I shortened it, tightened it up, and sent it out. I have a ton of drafts of it - at least fifty versions!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 Final Draft to write "The UnEngagement." It's an old version of Final Draft, but it works.
A: I write as much as I can, but I am also a teacher and writing coach so I don't always have as much time as I would like to write. Ideally, I would write 4-5 hours a day. As a writing coach, I help clients complete their own screenplays and novels, edit their work, and adapt their books into screenplays. My website is LauraWriter.Com and you can view my writing tutorials if you select "The Wonderful World of Writing."Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?
A: The best way to generate ideas is to keep challenging yourself and be willing to take creative risks. As a writing coach, I recommend that my clients keep a notebook and jot down even the most ridiculous ideas. Sometimes the most wonderful ideas start out as being something undeveloped, but writing them down immediately gives them value.Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?
A: I have an M.F.A. in Screenwriting and Playwriting from Florida State University, an M.A. in English from George Mason University, and a BA in Communication from George Mason University. I taught English at The University of Memphis, Crichton College and through the New Bilingual Institute of George Mason University. I have written 5 screenplays and they have all won awards. My website is LauraWriter.Com. As a writing coach, I mentor clients of all ages in novel writing, screenwriting, and play writing.Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?
A: I don't live in Los Angeles, but I have often dreamed about living there or in San Diego. I am not sure where I will be moving next. Hopefully, it will be someplace warm! I would love to move to L.A. if I got a job offer as a screenwriter or was contacted about writing for a television show.Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?
A: I am always working on a new script. I have more ideas than I can write! My newest screenplay, "Recalculating," just placed in several screenplay contests. I also have a play version of the screenplay that I would like to get published. My work is often compared to that of Zach Helm. It's original, funny, and full of surprises.
Also, I have reached a point in my career where I would like to find representation, preferably a manager with a proven track record. If you are interested or know someone who might be interested, feel free to contact me through LauraWriter.Com.