An interview with screenwriter steven arvanites regarding the American Accolades Writing Competition.Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?
A: Impression is the name of the script for which I won first place (drama division) for American accolades.
It goes something like this -- In 1888 France, an asylum warden accepts Vincent Van Gogh into his care and learns, through their difficult friendship, to see beyond the confines of his own tragic life.
I was always intrigued that van Gogh produced his best work in an insane asylum. The story I uncovered was both with heart warming and terrifying.
A: I read the reviews on moviebytes.com and they were quite positive. Also, I like to enter contests that give quarter and semi finalist lists. It was nice to see your name pop up on some list, right?
Impression went on to win and place in several other competitions most notably the Nicholl fellowship which it was a semi-finalist -- top 2%.
Being of Greek heritage I took advantage of becoming a Greek citizen so now enjoy dual citizenship. It is my hope that European financing will become easier for this script with me as an official EU citizen.
A: They were A-1 in meeting deadlines, mailing out prizes and my framed first place certificate which sits next to my messy, messy desk.
However the website shut down. I believe our competition was the last for American Accolades. Peter Scott, who ran the competition, did respond to e-mail sporadically but no solid contact.
That was a bit of a disappointment but otherwise the contest was run very professionally.
A: I did get feedback. It was interesting -- yes it was interesting.
It did not move me to alter a syllable but again it was -- interesting.
A: Well, I was invited to submit it to Torque Entertainment which is Mr. Scott's company. I did get a cryptic and very brief e-mail declaring it was enjoyed by all and asked if he his been around.
Sort of like an old whore.
I responded that it was "clean" and ready to go however that was virtually last time I heard from Mr. Scott.
A: Professionally I am an actor. That is how I support myself by doing commercials etc. I feel that if you fall back on something else you will, so writing features is what I do full time.
One of my prizes from the American Accolades was a six-week online course from Writers Bootcamp. It proved very helpful and even more so was the mentor I was assigned. He was really knowledgeable, patient and smart.
As a result I finished another screenplay! Trying to write across genres, it is a thriller entitled Cadaver.
Imagine a serial killer coming back and taunting you until you reveal your deepest secret.
Also my other award-winning script Grilled Cheese Virgin was a finalist for the Sundance screenwriting Lab for 2006.
Oh, I came so close -- oh so close!
A: I recently signed with a management company. I took my first venture into the land of Hollywood. It was a great sunscreen experience. And, as a result, I am developing material with Tapestry Films, Original Films and the Comedy Fund.
Presently, I am developing another project with Oscar-winning producer Larry Maistritch. And if that's not enough -- all this fueled by caffeine -- I am co-writing an animated preschool half-hour show.
Heck, something's got a break.
A: It is my firm belief that a screenwriter should have a script ready to go in any category: comedy -- dramedy -- romantic comedy -- thriller et cetera.
I've covered all the bases -- so I ready when opportunity knocks.
I plan to write one more script this year and then take a breather.
I never was an overachiever, honestly I don't know what happened!
Also, if you are in New York screenwriter please join our bi-monthly group New York Script Club.org. We mentor, encourage and gently critique writers. And it's all free! Check us out on our website.
It's damn important that we all support and encourage one another. You can spellcheck that!