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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 Karen Willoughby

An interview with screenwriter Karen Willoughby regarding the Chicago Screenplay Contest Writing Competition.

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

A: 2014 Chicago Screenplay Contest FAMILY FILM Category 1st place: Godmother

A romantic fantasy.

A young and extremely dedicated, modern-day fairy godmother may be offered the career opportunity of a lifetime, if she can turn her back on a handsome, pure-hearted university student, that has brought her the happiness she usually brings others.

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've been living in Chicago for the last three years and I've fallen madly in love with the city. I enjoyed making it one of the characters in the screenplay, in the same way that Woody Allen makes New York a character in many of his works. The Chicago Screenplay Contest seemed perfect for this script.

GODMOTHER has been entered in other contests, but their deadlines haven't come yet.

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: Just received the news today--on time.

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

A: It took about a month to write, and about two months to edit and re-write. I wouldn't say there were drafts as much as scene changes and timeline corrections. For the most part the story was completed in my head before I started writing. It was just a matter of making sure the reader would care about the characters as much as I did. I needed the dialog to be believable even if it was in a fantasy sort of setting. Then there was the matter of filling in the sub-plot and sub-charachters to fill out the script.

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

A: I use Final Draft (Version 8) which saves so much time. It really allows you to concentrate on your dialog and not worry about formatting. Such a time-saver.

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

A: I don't "write" every day, but I do work out parts of the script, or a script each day. I "watch" the movie in my head, then just write it down at some point. I may work on multiple scripts at the same time, and jump around. Something may happen to me on a given day that inspires me to write scenes on one script, and leave another to sit for days.

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

A: If I get blocked on one script, I work on another. Or start a new one.

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

A: I was a journalist for many years, and editor for an international magazine while living in Europe. Prior to that I'd also written music and had some minor success with a couple songs. I've only started writing screenplays two years ago and thouroughly enjoy the medium. I feel this is where I belong.

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

A: I love Chicago and don't want to leave just yet.

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

A: I'm working on four.

Posted Friday, August 1, 2014

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