Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Colleen McQuaide

An interview with screenwriter Colleen McQuaide regarding the Moondance Writing Competition.

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

A: "A Tailgate Tale" is based on two true published stories about my collaborator, Saundra Burkett and I.

It's a romantic dramedy about two culinary challenged moms who must overcome their ineptness and enter an elite tailgate competition to save the town from a mysterious killer.

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

A: We felt that Moondance would be a good fit for our subject matter and female friendly.

We won the Moondance "GAIA Award." We were in the top 36% of screenplays in Slamdance out of several thousand submissions. We're still waiting to hear from a few other competitions.

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: We were thrilled with everyone at Moondance including its founder, Elizabeth English.

We received our awards and framed them.

We flew to LA to attend the festival at Raleigh Studios. This is the first year in LA. Everything was superb. Great time, great memories!

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

A: The feedback we received started when we were working on the story outline. We then got feedback on our rough draft and even had a staged reading of the screenplay. The feedback was extremely helpful. It was just a matter of making a few adjustments since people seemed to love the script. We didn't really have feedback from our contest entries.

We consider winning at Moondance sufficient feedback from that contest.

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

A: We were able to hand the script to a WGA agent at Moondance. Our script was requested by a production company who will be co-producing a handful of films for a well known distributor. We have the script with a management company and some other production companies.

We are trying to get an entertainment lawyer and we have the interest of another WGA agent (with East and West coast offices).

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

A: I have a Political Science Degree. Saundra has a masters in Criminology. Saundra and I are both members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). I played the mom in the cough syrup commercial in "The Sixth Sense" opposite Trevor Morgan. I recently starred in a short independent film which was broadcast on public television. Saundra and I believe that our acting background helps us with our screenwriting.

This is our first screenplay. I started to study screenwriting in 2003. My favorite course was with the late Hollywood veteran, Doran William Cannon (online). He taught me the intricacies of story structure and outlining. Sure do miss him! Saundra has a background in journalism.

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

A: We are on the East Coast with spouses/families. We don't have plans to move to LA.

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

A: I'm been accepted to UCLA's online Professional Program in Screenwriting 2006-2007. I will complete a few scripts as part of the coursework.

Saundra and I will continue writing on our own. We will continue to try to find a buyer for "A Tailgate Tale."

Thank you! Colleen McQuaide: cjmcquaide@verizon.net and Saundra Burkett: sanesandra@verizon.net

Posted Sunday, September 10, 2006