Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Brian McDonald

An interview with screenwriter Brian McDonald 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: The script is called 'Graverobbers'. It's about a man how remembers a tragedy in a past life, becoming so obsessed with it that he nearly ruins his present life before realizing that it is the here-and-now that matters most.

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 that I had a pretty good first page.

I felt that I had a unique first page that would grab the reader and make them curious to read on. So far I’ve only entered a few, but haven’t done as well with the others. I’ve been at this a while and I think this is the best thing I’ve written, so I think I might do okay in other contests.

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: They were great.

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

A: No, I was not.

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

A: No, not really. No one has contacted me at all.

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

A: I’ve been writing for a several years. I have a few published comic books out in the world. I wrote the first Hellboy spin-off comic book. I also wrote the Tarzan strip for the paper and a few other things -- mostly for Dark Horse Comics. I won the Audience Award at Slamdance for a short film I wrote and directed called White Face and that film ran on HBO for a while. I just directed some spots for the Visa 'Life Takes' campaign. I did some of the web spots.

Over the years I have gained a reputation for being pretty good at story structure. A few years ago I started teaching a class that keeps getting more and more popular. I was recently invited to Pixar to give a seminar to the story department there. That went pretty well, in fact I was just asked by Disney to come down and teach the same class.

I have come close to big things a few times over the years. I seem to be in a limbo where filmmakers, writers and audiences like my work but I can’t get the attention of agents and managers. It’s weird.

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

A: I have lived there and one day I'm sure I will again. It's a hard town and I was much younger before and thought Hollywood was just waiting for a guy like me. That's what everybody thinks. I'm wiser now.

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

A: I’m trying to figure out my next move. I have some ideas for screenplays, but I have to pick the one that stands the best chance of selling or getting made and that limits what you can do. I’m researching a western, but no one wants to make them at this time. That will all change when somebody is brave enough to make a good one and it makes a ton of money. It’s what always happens with genres. Every studio but Fox passed on the first Star Wars film because it was sci-fi. So I may write my western and put it away until the genre comes back.

Posted Thursday, May 4, 2006