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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 Jenn Dlugos

An interview with screenwriter Jenn Dlugos regarding the Spec Scriptacular Writing Competition.

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

A: I wrote a spec script for Once Upon a Time titled “Wool Over His Eyes.” It featured Mother Goose characters in Storybrooke.

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 have a comedy background, so I’ve never written a 60-minute drama spec script before. The idea for this script popped into my head during one of my daily morning walks. I work best with a deadline, and this contest was open for submissions.

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: Absolutely! Larry Brody and his staff had excellent communication with the writers, and they issued prizes immediately. Plus, the announcements of semi-finalists, finalists, and winners gave me good news on three different Monday mornings. This year the contest provides feedback to every writer who submits to the Spec Scriptacular and the People's Pilot contests, which is a great bonus for writers.

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

A: Once Upon a Time flips back and forth between the past and the present. I had the past part outlined, but I couldn't lock down the present until I saw how Season 1 ended. Once I had that, I wrote the script in two weeks to hit the June 1st contest deadline. I always make a detailed scene-by-scene outline before writing a script. I’d rather fight with an outline that’s not working than a script that’s not. The script I submitted was my second draft.

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

A: Movie Magic Screenwriter. I'm a screenwriting teacher, so I also have Celtx, because a lot of my students use that.

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

A: I’m a freelance writer, so I spend the majority of my time banging on my laptop keyboard. I do work on creative pursuits every day, whether it’s a film project, screenplay, novel, or blog post. Writing every day makes you a better writer, but that’s not the only benefit. A few years ago, I wrote a YA novel during my 30-minute lunch breaks. It took a year and a half before I finally typed “The End,” but that short creative detour every day put my head in a good place and revived my energy for the afternoon.

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

A: I once heard that writer’s block is just a fear of failing yourself, and there is some truth to that statement. You're not always going to know where the story is going or what a character should do, but sitting in front of a blinking cursor on your computer screen is just a recipe for frustration. Skip ahead to a different scene or go back to the outline and brainstorm the possibilities. If that doesn’t work, put it on the back burner and work on something else. It’ll still be there when you have that burst of inspiration at 2:30 in the morning.

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

A: This was my first TV drama spec script, but I‘ve been a screenwriter and an independent filmmaker for several years. I love teaching screenwriting and tutoring students individually on their projects. It makes my day when a student emails me with news that they've won a contest or had a script produced. In June, I started a blog of weekly screenwriting tips at www.thescriptscribe.com

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

A: I’m an East Coast gal, but I would definitely make the jump to LA for the right opportunity.

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

A: Currently, my film partner and I are finalists in the Lifetime Television Unscripted Development Pipeline, an opportunity sponsored by the New York Television Festival. The Script Scribe blog updates weekly, and I have a few new TV script projects. I'm also the co-editor of a humor anthology book series titled Mug of Woe. We’re currently accepting submissions for true stories of dating gone wrong at www.mugofwoe.com. The deadline for submissions (naturally) is Valentine’s Day.

Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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