Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Elan Carlson

An interview with screenwriter Elan Carlson regarding the Wildsound 1st Scene Writing Competition.

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

A: CAHOOTS is the story of a couple of quirky rail hands who thrive on beans and beer and commit to the most bizarre act ever in the early West

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: WILDsound is known for its outstanding representation of film, so when I saw the 2014 opportunity to submit my screenplay, we popped right to it!

At first draft, CAHOOTS received rating of "Excellent -- Ranking 11 of 1837" with Trigger Street. 2014 LaFemme Film Festival has awarded CAHOOTS Screenplay Finalist. 2014 Women's Independent Film Festival has awarded CAHOOTS First Place Winning Script. 2014 WILDsound has chosen CAHOOTS as one of their First Scene Screenplay Winners. 2014 WLDsound has awarded CAHOOTS the November winning feature script.

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 administration of this contest is pure treasure! They take great time to provide the most expert, detailed feedback. With caring support, they honored each deadline and every award they promised, and I'm forever grateful for their insightful enhancing of my story.

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

A: CAHOOTS took about two years, outlined and with three drafts -- I was working full-time and scheduled all other chores and classes for after work days so I was free to wallow in whole weekends of writing, writing!

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 is my software for script writing. For other creative writing, I use Word Perfect.

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

A: Writings have usually been weekends, but now I have more daily time. The hours are driven by the characters' compelled weavings of their journeys and can average eight daily hours. They do tell me when it's time to eat or hit the biffy, and I must always brush my teeth before we meet to write.

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

A: Never have I experienced writer's block. The characters who grab me to be their pen are relentless, passionate and unstoppable. No, they've never hit me with one of those writer's blocks!

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

A: Started writing stories when I was in the second grade and was gifted with writing teachers all along my way. I studied at UCSD, Armstrong College (where my human interest submissions were published in the Berkeley Gazette -- joined Beta Phi Gamma, Tau Chapter Co-Ed Journalistic Fraternity), then on to screenplay studies with Richard Walter UCLA, Dov S-S Simens, Syd Field, Robert McKee, John Truby, William Goldman, David Trottier and Trigger Street.

I've written five scripts -- the early three are now at rest, and this year the fourth, a psycho-drama, has received nomination for the 2014 Screenplay Award with CAIFF.

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

A: Some time ago I lived in Hollywood and in North Hollywood, but haven't thought of returning ...

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

A: Yup -- I've a new script driving my pen, and another bunch of characters jabbing with their stories to get started on their outline -- now!

Posted Thursday, December 11, 2014