Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Jonathan LaPoma

An interview with screenwriter Jonathan LaPoma regarding the West Field Writing Competition.

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

A: A NOBLE TRUTH is a feature-length coming-of-age drama about a pair of friends who take a road trip throughout the US and into Mexico to explore what truths unite people in a nation slipping deeper into apathy and discord. It's soon clear, however, that truth is the last thing either friend seeks.

A NOBLE TRUTH is a mix between THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES and EASY RIDER, and has won 9 awards/honors in the past year, including 2 first-place finishes.

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's based in Upstate New York. I'm from Buffalo, and the first act of my script is set there, so it seemed like a great one to enter.

I have entered this script in other contests and have won the following awards: -Awareness Film Festival, 2014, 1st Place: Best Overall Script -Rated SR-Socially Relevant Film Festival, 2014, Top Four Scripts -Beverly Hills International Film Festival, 2014, Finalist -Indie Gathering Film Festival, 2013, Honorable Mention -Sacramento International Film Festival, 2014, Official Selection -WriteMovies, 2013, Quarter Finalist -Oaxaca Film Festival, 2013, Official Selection -Filmmakers International, 2013, Second-Round Qualifier

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, I am satisfied with the administration of this contest. They announced results a day earlier than scheduled, and, based on the pictures I've seen on their Facebook page, have already made my award. I hope to get it soon!

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

A: A NOBLE TRUTH was the first of my five scripts. I wrote the first draft in about six weeks, but that included the time it took me to teach myself how to write a screenplay.

It's gone through several drafts since, spanning a period of about two years.

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 see writing as more of a process than the mere act of putting words on paper. I may not write every day in the traditional sense, but I do "write" daily in that I'm always thinking about new story ideas, always running old stories through my head, always jotting down jokes or interesting bits of dialogue that I might use in a future story, always reading the work of others and gaining new tools to use with my own writing...

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

A: I usually have the opposite problem. I'd love a few months in a cabin out in the desert to clear my head of all the stories backed up inside.

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

A: I've written five award-winning feature-length screenplays, two novels, hundreds of poems, and about sixty songs.

My screenplays have won a total of 23 awards/honors in a little over the past year, including first place finishes in the 2014 Awareness Film Festival, the 2014 West Field Screenwriting Awards ("The New York Award" category), and the Grand Jury Prize in the 2014 Hollywood Screenplay Contest for best overall script out of more than one thousand submissions.

My novel, DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY, will be published by Laughing Fire Press in early 2015, and my short story, A SACRIFICE TO THE GOD OF THE BLUES, is featured in the November 2014 issue of 34thParallel Magazine.

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

A: No, but I live in San Diego, so I'm close.

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

A: I've written the outline for my next screenplay, but have put that project aside to focus on my poetry and songs. I plan to submit some of my poems to literary magazines, and I also plan to start a band soon, and I want to give these projects some momentum before I begin writing the next script.

Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2014