Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Stuart Land

An interview with screenwriter Stuart Land regarding the Screenplay Festival Writing Competition.

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

A: Hi there! I just won Screenplay Festival's grand prize in the action adventure category with Todd McCoy's Adventure West.

After a selfish NYC street urchin discovers his friends are to be sold into servitude, he's thrown from a train in 1872 Wyoming and suddenly is faced with rivers, trees, Indians, mountain men, and kidnappers. He finds his true self by losing everything, then puts his life on the line to save his friends.

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 liked the idea of having separate categories for screenplays, rather than all genres competing against one another. Also, that the organizers helped promote the winner long after the contest was over.

I entered this script into two other contests. It didn't make it past the first round in one, but in January 2014, won the grand prize in the family category in the Table Read My Screenplay contest.

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: They did meet their deadlines, and notified me by email the same day they announced the winners to the world. I also received all my prizes in a timely manner.

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

A: Well, I wrote an initial treatment for it almost twenty years ago, and it was shopped around with by a production company with no results. Ten years ago I was discouraged to write it from the producers in Hollywood at the screenwriting conventions I went to, although everyone liked it. Skip ahead ten years, and I decided to write it anyway. I write very strong first drafts, so maybe it went through a few high polishes after that.

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've written all my scripts in Movie Magic through all it's iterations. I've just won Final Draft from a contest, but I see no reason to change at this late date. For my novel writing, I use Word and Scrivener.

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

A: When I'm writing, as opposed to doing other things, I write every day, 6 to 15 hours, seven days a week until the first draft is done.

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

A: I don't get writer's block. I get individual word block, which annoy me to no end. For those who do get writer's block, my only suggestion is to let your characters tell their story instead of you trying to force your will upon them. I've yet to read a good writer who directs their characters' lives.

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

A: I worked in Hollywood many years as a special effects sculptor on some of the biggest movies in the 80s and 90s. I've written 18 screenplays and published 8 novels.

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

A: I've lived in LA before for many years. I'd be happy to visit, but in this day and age, I see no reason to move back there. Of course, I might be persuaded with some nice digs in Malibu.

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

A: I'm working on Indie horror script that I will produce and direct myself. I'll be shooting it in Asia with an all Asian cast. I hope it to be a cross-over film that both Asians and Westerners will love.

Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014