Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Christopher Canole

An interview with screenwriter Christopher Canole regarding the Page One Writing Competition.

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

A: Blood Groove

Will a Vietnam era college fencing captain cross swords many times during the first draft lottery week with a masked opponent who could be his dead twin brother, a WWII enemy of his father, or a ghost from Vietnam ending a family blood feud death duel, or will the swirling winds of war and protest blow him in another direction? Jarhead meets Man in the Iron Mask

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 Page One contest was a unique challenge much like my main character who loves to fence one touch duels. When talking to script writers at Film festivals and conferences many noted the Page One contest as a favorite writing exercise. I entered many first pages of my screenplays, and so I was startled when the very first page I have ever written won. The results of my other contest are: Blood Groove: Page One ( Winner - Silver ), Screenplay Festival (Semi-Finals); And my script Felix the Flyer has won Scr(i)pt Magazine: Open Door ( Winner - Gold ), Screenplay Shootout ( Winner - Gold ), ( Winner - Gold ), Screenplay Festival ( Winner - Silver ), Acclaim Film and TV ( Winner - Silver ), Contest-of-Contest ( Winner - Silver ), San Diego Film Festival ( Winner – Bronze).

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: So many contests have all types of readers handling the first round, but with Page One the final judge Dan Decker reads each and every submission, so I never felt as if my best page would be passed over in some late night burned out session of reading. Since Dan listed his deadline as Spring, I just waited for the snow to melt before expecting any results. In the past they have selected one winner, so being one of three Second place winners added to this years top prize winner I felt like the Olympic athlete who did not win the gold but was ecstatic with my silver. This contest has the most unique reward, my entire entry is posted on The Script Writers Group web site. And an unexpected bonus was meeting Dan Decker at the first annual Scr(i)pt magazine/Final Draft/Microsoft Scriptwriters Showcase where he chaired the panel “Get Your Schooling” with noted panelist including Syd Field. After listening to Dan I plan on taking some of his classes.

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

A: At the Scriptwriters Showcase Dan gave me feedback that will help me polish future first pages. Since my entry has been posted on his web site I’ve already received emails from producers and fellow writers I never knew before.

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

A: I was notified of my win the eve of the Scriptwriters Showcase, and was able to pass on my page to a dozen interested producers and agents. Thanks to the editor-in-chief of Scr(i)pt Shelly Mellott’s granting me a scholarship admission pass I had one-on-one meetings with every production company and agency in attendance including BBC, William Morris Agency, Rogue Pictures, Sixth Sense Productions, John Baldecchi Productions, Benderspink, Paradigm, Gold Pictures, and others asked for at least one copy of my eleven completed scripts. My manager Leslie Rabb and her assistant Tanna Thompson now have a whole basketful of leads on which to follow-up. Like the San Diego Film Festival, being a winner at an event amplifies the impact of winning.

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: Blood Groove (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). And I am now developing a TV series based on Counter-Clockwise.

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 (3100 downloads in just six months) and 1500 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 told in the form of a loner in a Western. I'm enjoying using my Writers Boot Camp online scholarship from the San Diego Film Festival to write this screenplay. 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 Sunday, April 16, 2006