Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview: Dave Reynolds

An interview with Dave Reynolds regarding the Thin Soapy Writing Competition.

Q: Who sponsors this contest, and what is their background in the industry? When was the contest founded?

A: Thin Soapy Films is a small, independent production company. It's partners have worked on shorts and features in various roles and the company has produced three short narrative films since 1995. Our short "Still Life With Razor" premiered at the Calgary International Film Festival in 2005. This is the first year of the contest.

Q: What role do you play personally in the adminstration of the contest?

A: Co-ordinating the entry database and entry fee payments. I am also one of a team of 4 readers juding the contest; two from within the company and two freelance readers. I will also be the main contact for questions and will respond to all entries. Wherever possible I will offer constructive criticism and explanantions as to why a script was not chosen.

Q: Have any of the winning scripts from the contest been sold or produced?

A: No, but that is our intention. In fact, it's the main goal of the contest. We've produced our own scripts before but we don't want to be writers.

Q: Who judges the early rounds of the competition? What are their qualifications? Who judges the final rounds?

A: The two judges from within Thin Soapy Films are myself and my partner. Both of us have Film Diplomas (Hons) from SAIT in Calgary and both of us have worked on many projects in various capacities, including Writer, Producer, Director, DP, Continutiy, Editor, AD & PA.

One of the freelance judges is a stand-up comedian and the other is a bookseller working on an English degree. Both of them are huge film fans.

Q: Do the early-round judges read the entire script, or do they stop after a certain number of pages?

A: Since the scripts should all be under 20 pages, we'll be reading them in their entirety.

Q: Are the judges looking for any specific type of script? Are scripts of a certain genre more likely to do well?

A: We would like a great story in any genre except religious or porn. We have to be able to produce the winning script for about $3000 and though that's a big limitation, it's really the only one.

Q: What do you do promote your winning writers, and to publicize their scripts?

A: We will post the winner's name on our website, with an explanation of why it was chosen. We will also send an announcement about the winner to all entrants as well as subscribers to our webpage. In all updates at our site related to the contest and subsequent production, we will mention the winner and the contest.

Once the film is complete, we will submit it to appropriate film festivals and mention the script is by the winner of the contest. We would also like to showcase the writer and the contest somehow on the DVD release.

Q: What advice can you offer to writers entering your contest?

A: We like a good story. While we are sticklers for proper screenplay formatting ourselves, we realize that the story is most important and that the wrong font will not exclude an entry.

Locations-wise, the story should not require anything too specific - we won't be able to shoot on Mt. Rushmore, for example, or at the Eiffel tower.

Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006