Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Christopher Canole

An interview with screenwriter Christopher Canole regarding the Contest of Contest Winners Writing Competition.

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

A: Felix the Flyer

Inspired by the Athenian mailman who sacrificed his life running to Sparta, which spawned the Olympic Marathon, a young Cuban mailman travels to St. Louis on foot to attempt his hero's fateful feat by competing in the 1904 Olympics, the most bizarre race in Olympic history, filled with racism, cheating, drug abuse and the heroics of great sport legends. Although the Cuban does not win, through his perseverance and charming personality, he manages to capture the hearts of everyone there, and all who have run a marathon since Felix the Flyer.

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

A: The Contest-of-Contest Winners is like the Olympics, because each entrant is a champion who ran well in a major screenwriting competition before, including: Scr(i)pt Open Door, Nicholl Fellowship, Scriptapalooza, Page International, Disney Fellowship, Acclaim Film and TV, AAA Screenwriting, Script Shark, Red Inkworks, and San Diego Film Festival, etc.. I qualified as a winner in the 2004 Screenplay Festival, and looked forward to a rematch using a newer version of Felix the Flyer against writers I won or lost to this past year. Then recently winning the Scr(i)pt Open Door contest gave me more confidence in meeting all the great winners who entered the Contest-of-Contest Winners. I also noticed most of the top ten winners are highly placed on the Moviebyte Winning Scripts web page, which affirms the scripts entered in this contest should continue to do well, and someday become great films. Maybe the ten of us will compete again with produced films at the box office in the near future, and face off again at the Academy or Emmy Awards.

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: Since this was the first year of this Olympian competition they were a bit late in reaching the results, but I figure their task was greater since no script entered could be rejected due to lack of quality. They posted a web site update saying they were taking extra time to write up at least two judge’s evaluations for every one of the more than 150 entrants. So everyone who entered in essence won something. Even though the organizers award only one cash prize, the ten finalists receive the full treatment of having their scripts sent to the 70 producers involved and the extensive press coverage in numerous publications.

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

A: Besides standing toe-to-toe with the best-of-the-best, the quality of feedback was also very much like having a team of coaches working on my game. Some loved the story of Felix and some were not so enthusiastic. Like any coaching team, their goal was to get me to write an even better script using their hard-nosed and encouraging comments.

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

A: If the organizers are as connected as they claim, I look forward to this win as another step closer to reaching my goal of seeing Felix the Flyer on the big or small screen. In addition to this Moviebytes interview, Scr(i)pt magazine, Hollywood Scriptwriter, and Inktip’s January/February issues will feature stories on Felix, so this win really gives a second wind to the long race ahead. My manager Leslie Rabb found me after my qualifying win in the Screenplay Festival, so this is a wonderful affirmation of her picking a winner who knows how to keep running to the final goal…production.

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

A: I am a union set photographer and actor who decided it was time to create my own stories. In the past three years I have written eleven screenplays: Bloodgroove (60’s fencing college/Vietnam story), Drawn Together (political thriller), DVD Day (science fiction Biblical doomsday), Spring Snow (Mishima novel adaptation for my PhD in literature), Runaway Horses (Another Mishima), Zooper Heroes (Family Zoo story), Counter-Clockwise (Science fiction romance), Felix the Flyer (sports biography), Pen Dragon (comic book fable), and The Last Limo (post 9/11 American Odyssey).

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

A: I am a caretaker, living over a garage in La Jolla, the town where the stars come to take a holiday from Hollywood. Maybe someday I will be able to buy my own home here and hire a limo to visit my new friends in Los Angeles.

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

A: With my background as a fencer, and popularity of my two female lead character scripts on the web site (2500 downloads in just six months) and 500 hits on Moviebyte Winning scripts for Felix the Flyer , I am currently writing Her Swastika Sword a sports bio-pic about Helene Mayer the Jewish-German Olympic fencer who crossed-swords with everyone from the American Olympic committee to the Nazi organizers for her own mysterious motives. And a producer asked me if I had a third Olympic story for a trilogy which got me to thinking of writing a remake of my fellow boyhood Oklahoma Indian hero Jim Thorpe. And I am always ready to write for a studio looking for someone who loves researching, writing and watching great movies.

Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005