Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Joel Doty

An interview with screenwriter Joel Doty regarding the Jury of Peers Writing Competition.

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

A: My script is called Final Draft. It's the story of how far parents will go to make sure their child wins. In this case, three teenage girls are involved in a playwriting contest, and the parents become the "win at all cost" real competitors.

The story follows the three parents (2 moms; 1 dad) and the girls as they each deal with their own moral dilemmas about competition. In the end, the girls teach the parents the real meaning of success.

Strangely enough in the news this past week was the story of a real life dad on trial for drugging his children's tennis opponents!

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

A: This contest had a good reputation and has been around for several years. The prize for the top 5 winners is free advertising in Variety - this is unusual and hopefully will attract some producers to my project.

I have been a finalist in many other contests, (Screenplay Festival, Red Inkworks, Feeding Frenzy, etc) but never reached top 2 before. Perhaps I'm finally finished revising!!!

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: I was very impressed with the contest operation. Everyone was notified in a timely manner by mail and all finalists were polled about a potential contest name change. Starting with this 2005/06 contest, the name has been officially changed to Hollywood Nexus.

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

A: Yes. I was given the actual judging sheets from each round of judging. Since the judges liked my script, the comments were not as detailed as they would have been if there had been a host of suggested improvements. They did give me a few important things to think about, however.

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

A: Hopefully when the results are officially published in Variety in April or May.

I have used the "bragging rights" in several query letters that I sent out and several producers have requested my script.

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

A: I have written, directed and produced several cable documentaries - among them a piece on Lupus and a piece on The Lekotek Learning Centers. I also produced and directed a family/children's show for cable.

I've been writing for many years and typically (I think) for a woman, I have had many different careers. I'm currently a college counselor.

My daughter is a young actress and her interest in film inspired me to start writing screenplays.

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

A: I live in the Chicago area and I'm free to travel to LA as needed. No plans to move as yet.

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

A: I'm working on another family script about a boy who must do community service in a nursing home.

I also have a thriller and romantic comedy finished - but still under revision!

I'd love to try to adapt a children's book into a screenplay or accept a writing assignment for a producer with a great idea.

Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006