Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Stacie Shellner

An interview with screenwriter Stacie Shellner regarding the Cinequest Writing Competition.

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

A: The title is Saint Chloe. Here is the logline: "After a tragic event, a mother and her young daughter are forced to move back to her childhood home. Their frayed relationship begins to heal, along with the entire small town, when the little girl is visited by Jesus." Some have referred to it as a "faith-based" script, though I myself have never seen it that way as Jesus' presence is never truly confirmed.

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 into Cinequest on a whim, just simply because I appreciated their mission. I have submitted Saint Chloe to the Nicholl Fellowship in 2014, and it advanced all the way to Semifinals!

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 people at Cinequest are amazing! Just an incredible festival dedicated to every aspect of filmmaking. I couldn't be more satisfied with my experience.

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

A: I'm a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" kind of writer. Not so big on outlining, though I know I should be. However, I do like to do beat breakdowns. I probably wrote about three complete drafts before getting to this version, and wrote this one quickly - in a matter of about two months.

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 told a fellow writer that I don't use software and was branded a "purist." Haha! It's really just that when I first started writing, I was poor and couldn't afford software so I taught myself the margins and such. It's just what I'm used to at this point.

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

A: Absolutely. If I don't write every day, I get antsy. It's the only way you grow as a writer. Since I work a regular full-time job, I squeeze in as much time as possible during the week, and do the bulk of my writing on the weekends.

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

A: I drink a lot of wine. Seriously, though, I've found that writer's block is just a sign that you're not quite ready to tell the story yet. That's where the wine comes in!

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

A: I actually got a B.A. in theater, so I guess you could say my background is theater. I didn't go to film school - I'm completely self-taught. And I've written around six features now.

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

A: I live about an hour outside of Los Angeles.

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

A: Working on another rewrite, working on getting some representation, and submitting my scripts to all the upcoming contests!

Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2015