Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Jeffrey Russel

An interview with screenwriter Jeffrey Russel regarding the New York Screenplay Writing Competition.

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

A: The title of the screenplay is GRACE. A young Scottish woman's social consciousness compels her to join the struggle opposed to The Highland Clearances pitting her against her own family and tyrannical forces during the 1800's.

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 New York Screenplay Contest is one of the premier competitions for screenwriting in the US. We were finalists last year, but with a total rewrite under our belts the proof is in the pudding. So far we have 36 screenwriting awards for GRACE.

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 New York Screenplay Contest administration is top notch and are wonderful to work with. Many thanks to those dedicated souls who man the phones and answer questions from writers like me. Our magnificent trophy is in the mail.

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

A: Grace has taken just over two years to reach this point. We've been through several complete rewrites and hundreds of mini-edits. Getting professional feedback has been essential to our success.

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 9

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

A: I try to write every day, but sometimes I don't have the energy I need to get my head working. I never write when I'm physically exhausted or after a bad night's sleep. If, when I sit down to write, I'm not immediately inspired I do something else for a while to clear my head. For me, a bit of time on a good Flight Simulator works well.

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

A: Not so far.

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

A: Lynda has an academic literary background and I retired from the real estate industry 10 years ago. We have 3 scripts, a novel in progress and lots of ideas.

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

A: I'd love to live in L.A., but I'll commute from Toronto whenever necessary.

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

A: I'm deep into a new script. They say write what you know. This one is close to home, set in modern times and deals with with some of today's real problems.

Posted Monday, September 22, 2014