Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Bill Flannigan

An interview with screenwriter Bill Flannigan regarding the Scriptshark Insider Writing Competition.

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

A: The Clear Horizon- Grand Prize Winner

A tormented defense attorney, corrupted by the criminals he represents, flees the FBI and his most notorious client, but when he washes up on the shore of a Mexican penal colony, he must trust the criminals around him if he has any hope at ever being a free man.

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 liked how they support their winners and how they stated that they are looking for the next studio writer.

In addition to winning Scriptshark, The Clear Horizon has also won the Scriptwriters Network POP contest (winning scripts must receive a "Recommend" from four readers); was a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Writers' Film Project and The Writer's Network screenplay contests, received an Honorable Mention (a finalist) in the Hollywood Symposium and was a finalist in the Ohio Film Festival and Rhode Island Film Festival screenplay contests.

Also, in the same Scriptshark Insider Contest, one of my other feature scripts, The Good Samaritan, (man is falsely charged with causing an accident and must go on the run to prove his innocence)- was selected as runner-up- (the only time in that contest that the same writer has won the Grand Prize and been a runner-up with two different scripts).

The Good Samaritan also recently won The Monterey Film Commission Contest and The Writers Network Screenplay Contest (sponsored by Fade In Magazine).

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: Yes- they have been great. Numerous companies have requested the script and I have a meeting set up with an A-list star's production company.

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

A: Feedback is not part of the package.

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

A: Numerous companies have requested the script and I have a meeting set up with an A-list star's production company.

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

A: I graduated from The George Washington University where I earned a degree in Asian Studies. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, I worked throughout Asia for several years and later graduated cum laude from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. I practiced law for two years before making the switch to screenwriting and filmmaking full-time.

My first screenplay, Echoes of Tiananmen (photographer teams up with ex-girlfriend to find a missing Chinese dissident), won the Carl Sautter Memorial Screenplay Contest sponsored by the Scriptwriters Network. It has also won the Jury of Your Peers Screenplay contest, placed second in Script Magazine's Screenplay Contest and was a finalist in the Chesterfield, Santa Fe, America's Best, American Dreamer, Hollywood Symposium, Screenwriters Utopia, CAPE and The Writers Network screenplay contests. It was also a case study in the book- “Could it be a Movie?” by Christina Hamlett.

The Clear Horizon was developed as part of the Feature Development Program at the Los Angeles Film School and based on the strength of the script, I was invited to participate in the Sundance Producers Conference and the Squaw Valley Screenwriters Conference.

Madison's Race, (a modern "Deliverance") was also a semi-finalist in Chesterfield and Writer's Network screenplay contests. Another script- ECO, deals with an undercover FBI agent assigned to infiltrate a group of radical rock climbers suspected of committing increasingly violent acts of eco-terrorism. My first short film, Jimmy Ritz, was voted Best Short at the Ohio Independent Film Festival and won a Silver Award- Original Dramatic Short at the Worldfest- Houston and has played at more the twenty festivals around the country. I was also invited to participate in the Seattle International Film Festival's Inaugural Fly Screenwriting Program (participating writers had three days to conceive and write a 25 page short screenplay). The resulting script, The Shortcut, was selected from over 3,400 entries as Best Short script in the Fade In Magazine Screenplay contest.

I've also finished several TV spec scripts: Law & Order: CI- car bomb intended for an FBI agent kills a call girl; Without a Trace- missing Chinese woman suspected of being a spy; and an episode of the new HBO hit Deadwood- young preacher tries to convert his father, the town’s evil brothel owner.

I was also selected to participate in an advanced workshop at UCLA where I developed Johnson’s Pages- a one-hour TV pilot about the lives of Congressional Pages working in Washington DC. I recently signed with Thruline Entertainment and they are currently shopping that pilot and working to get me on staff.

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

A: Currently I live in Orange County.

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

A: I'm currently working on a couple of new pilots and hope to have them ready to go by mid-summer.

I can be reached at or via my manager, Steve Kavovit at Thruline Entertainment.

Posted Thursday, March 1, 2007