Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Andrew Garrett

An interview with screenwriter Andrew Garrett regarding the StoryPros Awards Writing Competition.

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

A: "Local Sugar". It's a loose and lively re-imagining of "Froggy Went A' Courtin'" set in a skewed version of 1970s Louisiana, with the frog as the bad guy.

Logline: Mouse mayor Mary Lou, and her beau Sly Snake, fight back when slimy frog land baron Rowley threatens to wreck their little bayou town of Sugarville--and their wedding.

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 StoryPros Awards contest was highly rated on MovieBytes and had a Family/Teen/Animation category. It takes one, the other, or both for me to enter a contest. It was also a two-category winner in the Love Unlimited Film Festival, a contest not yet listed on MovieBytes.

I have placed in other contests such as the New Media Film Festival (Finalist), and made progress in a slew of others--please check out:

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: Jeff over at StoryPros lets you know how everything's going at each stage of the contest. They are still working on getting this year's awards out to everybody but it is progressing.

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 did take my time with this script--I would say a couple of years, but always in bigger chunks when my video game day job was not in constant overtime!

I had a general outline when I began--I wanted to evoke the structure of the original folk song that inspired the story. I did very little outlining before launching straight into pages, though I have extensively outlined other stories.

Revision, and constant revision, are a part of my usual writing process. I could not point to a first draft, second draft, and so on. It's all a rolling draft until someone tells me to stop!

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 used Final Draft (will be upgrading to the newest soon). I will be giving Movie Magic Screenwriter a try soon thanks to the contest.

Beyond general word processing (all hail OpenOffice!) I don't use many software packages. I have tried some query tracking programs but they haven't been geared toward screenwriters or contests...

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

A: When I am in full-on writing mode (and not preoccupied with promotion) I write for around four hours per day, three times a week. Sometimes I get bonus time on the weekends.

Working around my daughter's school schedule and the busy house I live in, that's been my experience. I hope to have a dedicated office again soon.

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

A: Yes, I do get writer's block. I generally switch to a different form of expression or activity--read a book, play guitar, work out. But sometimes I just stare at the blank page until I get fed up with myself and peck out an attempt, no matter how poor.

When I am not fully committed to a project, I may hop between them, and tackle a different set of writing problems. Those times are rare.

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

A: "Outstanding In The Field" is a modern-day fantasy, and "A Whisker Past Midnight" is a WWII thriller--both for animation. "Only In America", my first co-written script, is a live-action Vietnam War-era drama. None have been produced yet.

I have projects in the hopper ranging from reality concepts to cookbooks, but animation always draws me back into its orbit.

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

A: I have lived in the Los Angeles area before--from 2000 to 2012. It can be expensive, but it's the place to be for work and education in the entertainment industry.

I would certainly move back for the right reasons--i.e. if writing work or other development-related opportunities require it.

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

A: My latest script is for animation (tough sell!) and is a period piece (also tough!)--set in the Napoleonic era. Like another of my previous scripts it is based on a true story, but I'll have to fictionalize this one a bit more as there are a peculiar set of gaps to fill.

After my current script, I am forcing myself to balance my live action work with animation--trying to stay flexible!

Posted Saturday, August 31, 2013