Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Michael Gibrall

An interview with screenwriter Michael Gibrall regarding the Indie Gathering Writing Competition.

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

A: "Positive Variance"


An FBI agent investigates a NASA hacker, only to find himself thrown into a new reality. Part futuristic, part ancient, the world has been changed into an almost utopian reality. Yet, unexplainable events, conspiracy, and innocence threaten to dismantle all of existence.

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

A: The Indie Gathering has a reputation of being a great festival. While submitting to genre specific festivals for my science fiction screenplay, I decided to try a few festivals which accept all genres and have awards that are dedicated to each given genre.

I've entered several other festivals with this script, and have won best feature screenplay at another festival, as well as being a semifinalist, an award nominee, and an accepted screenwriter at other festivals as of this interview. The festival that I was accepted into as a screnwriter actually made a short movie with this script, where actors read the script and performed a scene to be screened at the 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: I was emailed almost two months in advance that the script had won Best Sci-Fi Screenplay.

I was extremely happy with how the festival was run. The festival producer, Kristina Michelle, and festival director, Ray Szuch, went out of their way to be helpful and answer any questions. This festival was fantastic for networking. I already have a couple of connections to try to get my screenplay noticed, thanks to Ray Szuch and a director who I networked with that noted he knew someone at the SyFy Channel, and would attempt to introduce us in the future.

To my complete surprise, the script won a second award that was announced at the awards ceremony. The script was awarded Best Overall Screenplay, which I accepted on stage, along with the Best Sci-Fi Screenplay award. I was even told what the judges scored the screenplay by the festival producer and was encouraged to attempt to get the script made into a feature film. Finally, I was told the screenplay scored so high, it was one of the highest scoring screenplays in the history of the festival.

This festival exceeded my expectations and it was an absolute pleasure to attend.

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 had worked on this script on and off for years. It was the first feature screenplay I ever wrote, and did so to teach myself how to write a script, as well as tell a story. I didn't write an outline, as I had the idea in my head for years. I revised the script twice after the original 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.

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

A: Not daily. I go through phases of writing for a while, take a break, and then write some more when I allow myself to regroup.

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

A: I don't know if I'd say that, but I do step away for a bit and do other things, maybe sleep on it, then get back to writing.

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

A: I've just finished another feature screenplay that I've just begun submitting to competitions and festivals, as well as a teleplay for a children's TV pilot that I have already produced and directed myself. I was also approached by a comedy group in Las Vegas to write a spec script for their award-winning series of shorts. The script is slated to go into production in the Fall of 2011.

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

A: I live in VA. Not against moving.

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

A: I just finished a new script and have begun submitting into festivals and competitions. The new script has already been accepted into another film festival, and had actors perform a scene from the script for the purpose of being screened at the festival.

Posted Monday, August 29, 2011