Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Patricia Fox

An interview with screenwriter Patricia Fox regarding the Divebomber Writing Competition.

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

A: Anatomy of a Town. It's about the Chief of Police in a small town who has to solve the murder of a woman who turns out to be his half-sister while he also resolves the case of a young girl who was murdered when the chief was heavily into his drinking obsession and he was unable to successfully investigate. It's a redemption story for the chief in both cases.

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

A: A writer friend of mine suggested it, Russ Meyer, who ended up coming in third in the contest. I've entered this script into a number of other contests and done okay with it. I was a finalist for the Champion screenwriting contest, the Santa Fe Writers Place contest, the IFP-MN screenwriting grant. I was a quarter finalist in the International Page Awards and the Austin Film Festival.

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 team has been absolutely fantastic. If I had a question I'd get a response within a couple of hours. They've kept me posted about all the steps along the way. It's been a terrific experience.

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 first started writing the script 7 years ago, I finished the first draft in a few weeks and became a finalist for a local screenwriting grant. I set it aside, worked on many other projects, picked it up three years ago and starting rewriting. I always work with an outline and several diagrams . As far as drafts are concerned, I would say about ten. By draft, I mean more rewriting than just spell check and tweaking a sentence here and there. I mean major story line changes, character changes, name changes etc.

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 Scriptware and Final Draft. Scriptware was the very first software I got way back in 1998 (before there was an industry-standard) and it's been hard for me to let go of because it's just what I know and what I'm comfortable working with. I used Scriptware to write Anatomy of a Town.

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

A: I write constantly as part of my day job but as far as creatively, it's about four days a week but I'm trying to put a more aggressive writing schedule together because this is what I love. I want to be writing everyday. On a day I'm writing, it's usually a three to four hour session.

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

A: Certainly, there are times when I'm trying to figure something out with the logic of the story and it's just not happening. I go for long walks and try to not think about the logic of the story and a lot of times a solution will come when I step away from it (literally) and look at it from a distance. When I think of other elements of the story: location, secondary characters, backstory etc. then a lot of times something will jump out of me and I'll think, "That's so obvious, I can't believe I didn't think to do that before."

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

A: I went to the University of Minnesota where I studied English Creative Writing, screenwriting, film history and film criticism. I have written a total of twelve screenplays so far.

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

A: I don't currently live in Los Angeles but I would move there if it would make sense for my writing career.

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

A: I am working on a new script. I just finished the second draft. It's a higher concept idea that will hopefully be of interest to people as well.

Posted Monday, February 14, 2011