Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Gary Sherwood

An interview with screenwriter Gary Sherwood regarding the Bankable Script Writing Competition.

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

A: TEN FERRARIS follows a young insurance investigator as she attempts to find who has been responsible for the thefts of Ferraris insured by her company. When she finds the charming car thief, she ends up falling for him. It's THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR meets THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.

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 this contest because it was new and different, and I believed my script to be incredibly commercial with its mix of action, comedy and romance that would play to a large demographic. TEN FERRARIS also won Gold in the Action Adventure category of The Page and took 2nd place in the Fade In competition.

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: No! Although the contest administrator is a nice enough person, it took two full years from when I entered to being informed I won the competition. That might have been okay had I received the $10,000 award in a timely fashion. However, I was told the award would be coming via monthly installments of $500 into my PayPal account. I grudgingly accepted - what else could I do? - but after just two payments, the money stopped coming. I asked the administrator what happened, and he said they were short of funds. One more payment followed, then nothing more. They still owe me $8,500. I also won a session with a "professional" screenwriting consultant. She took almost six months to read the script, then did some notes on the pages in longhand which were sent to me as a pdf. When we spoke on the phone, she was nice at first but then became impatient as I went over her notes and she repeatedly accused me of being "unprepared" and being "disrespectful" of her time. It was a most unpleasant experience, as you might imagine. To top it all off, I have received no queries as a result of this contest. I would not recommend anyone enter this competition.

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

A: TEN FERRARIS took six months to write. I always write with an outline. The first draft is what I entered in contests and since it's been doing so well, I have not made any significant changes although I've saved every note for any future drafts.

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.

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

A: I only write on the weekends, usually 3-4 hours.

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

A: I'm not sure I get full writer's block, but I did go through a period where I started a couple of scripts that I didn't finish due to a lack of inspiration. I started writing with a partner, and that helped as we challenge one another to come up with more original ideas, fresher dialog, and be better writers overall.

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

A: I'm a graduate of NYU's Dramatic Writing Program. I've written several scripts (my personal favorite is about eight years in the life of Frank Sinatra)but none as yet have been produced.

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

A: I did for after graduating NYU, then moved to Northern California. I still come to L.A. quite often as it's where I grew up and have family.

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

A: My writing partner and I wrote a TV pilot called BOUNTIES which was a recent finalist in The Page. We're now working on an action-romance set against the Mexican drug trade. Another co-writer and I are outlining a script about film legend Marlene Dietrich, and I am also outlining a script dramatizing a crucial event from the Vietnam War.

Posted Monday, October 27, 2014