Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Pearse Lehane

An interview with screenwriter Pearse Lehane regarding the Shore Scripts Writing Competition.

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

A: "Get Me This William Shakespeare"

The year is 1944, the place: Hollywood, California.

We’re entering a secret world of cover-ups, blackmail and extortion. This is the beat of private detective (and aspiring screenwriter) Walt Werth. He works for MGM, protecting it’s stars from accusations of sexual misconduct, drug addiction, tax evasion and, worst of all: socialism.

Walt does this by any means necessary: character assassination, theft, blackmail, forgery, extortion. In a word, when millions of dollars of the studio’s money is on the line, anything goes to protect that investment. Walt’s boss is the legendary son-of-a-bitch Harvey Steinwein, head of Patriotic Productions at MGM – a man who puts Winston Churchill on hold. The man who has just fixed the Oscars.

When Walt discovers that (the culturally illiterate) Steinwein thinks William Shakespeare is still alive, he decides to run an impossible con – and bring Shakespeare to Hollywood … literally. Walt will take on the persona of William Shakespeare and pitch the Bard’s scripts to Steinwein, bagging an exclusive, million dollar contract along the way. His plan is a simple one – but not without bloody complications, and when the bodies start piling up Walt Werth finds himself in the middle of a real life, self-authored tragedy. Walt Werth is about to discover that no matter what lies you spin in Hollywood, you never really know who’s being played and who’s the player, until its game over.

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 entered because of the heavyweight judging panel.

“Get Me This William Shakespeare” was a finalist at the 2013 Sacramento International Film Festival, a semi-finalist at the 2013 VisionFest Feature Screenwriting Competition and a 2012 Nicholl Fellowship quarter-finalist.

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, yes and yes.

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

A: Approximately 5-6 months. At the centre of the story is a lie wrapped in a con buiried under a hustle. Therefore, it took a lot of outline writing before I had the confidence to embark on draft 1. Because the action had to be airtight, in the end there were probably 6-8 drafts before I sent it out to competitions, then another 5-6 more after receiving feedback from the readers.

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

A: Final Draft.

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

A: I don't write every day, but when I do I keep business hours, 9-5.

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

A: Yes. I drink.

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

A: I'm a TV producer and director, with a background in factual and entertainment. I have written two other screenplays, both of which lie on the bottom of the shredder.

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

A: No and no.

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

A: I'm working on the sequel to "Get Me This William Shakespeare", and am developing a comedy series for UK TV.

Posted Thursday, October 31, 2013