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Screenwriter Interviews

Writers: If you've finished first, second, or third in any screenwriting competition listed on MovieBytes, we'd like to interview you! First, make sure the contest results for the year you won are posted on MovieBytes, including your name, so we can verify your submission. Then submit our online interview form for that contest. We'll notify you via email when your interview has been posted.

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter George Ferris

An interview with screenwriter George Ferris regarding the Contest of Contest Winners Writing Competition.

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

A: At the time I entered the competition, it was titled "Beyond the Horizon." Since that time, I have retitled the screenplay "Skybound." It is a coming-of-age story set in the early days of aviation. In the 1920's a teenager works odd jobs at an airfield used by the early U. S. Air Mail Service with an eye toward becoming a pilot. He meets all kinds of obstacles until he receives help from an unexpected source. In the course of soloing for the first time, he learns life-changing things about himself and about the pilot who takes time out to teach him to fly.

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 am competitive by nature, and I felt that this script was one of my strongest. I have entered many screenplay competitions and have won six others and been a runner-up or finalist in a couple dozen more.

Q: Were you satisfied with the administration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: The Contest of Contest Winners is well managed. Frankly it's hard for me to complain about the management of a contest that I've won. First, it's bad manners, and second, in this situation I really have nothing to complain about. They've done everything they said they would do -- although I'm expecting any day now the final notes I was to receive from the contest director.

Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?

A: I wrote the first draft in about eight weeks. I did not use an outline -- it pretty much cascaded from the headwaters in my frontal lobes, through my keyboard-dancing fingers, onto the hard drive. The thing really wrote itself. Over the years I think I have written maybe two or three major revisions and about a couple dozen polishes.

Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?

A: The last few drafts have been written on Final Draft 6.0.

Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?

A: I am not currently writing anything. When I did write, I managed about three hours a day. Around mid-day my creative juices would dry up, and I spent the rest of the day with meetings, lunches, or marketing tasks connected to my writing.

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?

A: I do get writer's block -- mostly when I'm working on a spec script that I'm not really connecting with. I put the script aside when that happens, sometimes never to return. Consequently I have a couple dead-end projects lying around.

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

A: I was a full-time professional screenwriter for fourteen years. I have an MFA in Film Production from USC's Division of Cinema/Television. I also have an MBA in finance from the Harvard Business School. I spent many years in the securities industry. Aside from that, I must have written thirty scripts or more, five of which have been produced.

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

A: I lived in LA for fourteen years. There is a growing likelihood that I may return there if my current venture takes wing.

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

A: I am working with Jon Karas, my manager and business partner, to raise money to put Beyond the Horizon/Skybound into production next summer. To that end, we have formed Sconset Films, LLC and are busy raising funds. Once we've wrapped and finished post, I may well return to writing.

Posted Monday, December 17, 2012

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