Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Andrew B Smith

An interview with screenwriter Andrew B Smith regarding the Slamdance Writing Competition.

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

A: “Hay’s Code” is a comedy. In 1934, a gay director named Roger Hay has to shoot a movie based on a gay novel. The studio doesn’t know that, of course, so he has to make the movie without revealing its true content or, naturally, his own sexuality. Eventually he and his cast and crew must defend the film before the zealous enforcers of the Hays Code that governed the movie business then.

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

A: Slamdance is finding new voices, genuine diversity, and smaller films that might get overlooked at other places.

“Hay’s Code” won the Skyline Award, first place for Best City Story, at Slamdance.

The script also placed third in the “One in Ten” contest.

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: The folks at Slamdance and at Andrew Lauren Productions were great. Everything’s more exciting now that so many gay-themed movies were nominated for so many Oscars. There’s buzz from all directions. We’re pumped.

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

A: We had a staged reading in New York at IFM, and again at Slamdance at Park City. We’ve got another one scheduled as part of “Slamdance on Stage” at 7:30 pm, Thursday, April 13, at Renberg Theatre in The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Los Angeles.

The feedback from audiences has been, y’know, laughter. That’s why we keep bringing the story to the stage. People enjoy being immersed in another time and place that are so relevant to right now. They’re fascinated by the history. The story is screwball comedy wrapped inside the stifling, life-and-death 1930s. It’s for real, there’s a lot at stake, but it’s fun. When you make people laugh, you get them to care about your characters and what’s happening to them. Laughter is a revolutionary act.

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

A: I’ve had meetings with the big agencies and management firms, and I’ve narrowed it down to two or three. They're calling me "multi-platform" -- I write comedies and thrillers. We’re talking about an overall plan for me as well as for this story. I’ve been advised to keep it to myself, away from producers, till I sign, so we’ll see.

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

A: I received an honorary degree in theoretical mathematics from a fictional university.

The rules say a writer’s supposed to pick comedy or drama and stick with it, but the rules get written by rulebreakers.

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

A: Yes

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

A: Of course I’m working on a new script. I’m a writer.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2006