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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 mathieu saliva

An interview with screenwriter mathieu saliva regarding the Hollywood Screenplay Writing Competition.

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

A: Our TV pilot screenplay is called The 5th Nation, It's an adventure-thriller story located on an oil drilling platform. It involves a lot of good things like a genius trader and a bunch of assholes trying to create a better world. Think "Lost" meets "Homeland". I co-wrote the story with Remy Parot like we did on our previous awarded screenplay THE ZONE and we won the Grand Prize of the Hollywood screenplay Contest for best TV series. A note for the readers : If you think my English is bad and I can't possibly be a writer, it's perfectly normal because I'm French. That's why I have a translator which costs me a fortune (although he is mainly paid in cheese and red wine). But he's on vacation at the time so I have to do this interview all by myself, sorry for that.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: We entered this contest because they claimed to have champagne at the awards gala ... Always a good incentive for a writer. Seriously it was one of the Moviebytes best ranked contest. We entered as many contests as our paychecks could afford and we won the 3 lines or less pitch contest. We are currently competing in other festivals.

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: Yes we were fully satisfied with the contest although Californian champagne is quite different from the one we've got here in France. But after the first glass, who cares, right? We were in L.A in November and attended the gala and we could make a speech in frenglish (a mix of french and english. We copyrighted this one so if you plan to use it please feel free to contact us). We won a certificate, music/sound softwares and a bunch of cool internet memberships. Agents or production meetings wouldn't have hurt, but the award itself has generated publicity. So as the good old Hollywood proverb says : "Get your award, then pimp yourself kid".

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

A: We start with a concept, we believe a good script has to be summarized in one word : Micronation, psychic spy, dog walker(sorry that's two words)... Then we do a lot of research (Internet tends to be a starting point, but we read a lot of books linked to the subject too). For the 5th Nation we read Philosophy like Noam Chomsky, economics (the economic anti text book), and a bunch of Thai cook books (Remy mastered the Tom Yum Goong soup by the way, which is always a plus for a writer). I'm not sure everything went into the final script but it definitely brought us lots of ideas and made us better human beings.

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

A: We work on the one and only Final Draft, that's because we've been using it for years.

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

A: I'm a director so I write whenever I don't direct. Although I sometimes write in planes and airport which is the best place for me to write. Basically I write at least two or three pages a week no matter what. I always book 3 to 4 months a year only for writing and I usually come up with an average 10 pages a day.

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

A: I don't, the outline is supposed to prevent you from this type of things. If I feel a block coming I cook a delicious Tom Yun Goong, shrimps tends to relax my mind (this recipe seems to be the more effective on writer's block :http://leitesculinaria.com/84627/recipes-tom-yum-goong-soup.html)

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

A: My grandfather was a war prisonner in Germany during WW2 so he wrote tons of books and essays. When I was a kid he gave me a typewriter and told me war stories, that's where it started. I'm also a director (www.mathieusaliva.com - check out for cool clips and french recipes - Actually the latter are not online yet, but I'm working on it), so I've always been writing scripts for commercials, Music videos, shorts. I also wrote 5 features and 2 TV series and collaborated with Barr Potter (producer for John Carpenter & Ridley Scott).

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

A: Like I said I live and work in Paris France, but I fly to Los Angeles 2 or 3 times a year and I stay in town at least two weeks. I'll probably stay longer in a near future.

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

A: I'm always working on a new script. We are very excited by our 1 word pitch : "VR"

Posted Friday, November 15, 2013

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