Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Emily Cirillo

An interview with screenwriter Emily Cirillo regarding the Wildsound/TV Writing Competition.

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

A: My Veep spec, titled “Town Hall”, is about Selina trying to connect with millennial voters after disparaging poll numbers are released. Dan and Amy, fighting for the Campaign Manager position, have different ideas on how to win them over. And Jonah makes things more difficult for Selina and the staff after he accidentally opens a virus that crashes their office server. The episode culminates at a Town Hall event Selina attends at a local university, where she realizes winning the youth vote is easier said than done.

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 the Wildsound Festival because all of the great things I read about it and the wonderful feedback provided by the fest. The reviews were very accurate; I’ve had a great experience with Wildsound. I haven't entered any other competition with this spec.

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: I was very satisfied with the administration of the contest. I first entered a few months ago and received wonderful feedback on how to improve my script. I wrote and edited a few more drafts before entering again with a much stronger script. I won and the festival performed a table read of the script. They have been great!

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 worked on this script for about three months. I wrote an extensive outline before I began to help me keep up with the show's fast pace and numerous storylines. I wrote two drafts, but I edit as I write so there were many iterations of the script before it was completed.

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 always write with Final Draft.

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

A: I try to write every day for at least two hours, but sometimes work or writer's block makes it difficult.

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

A: Of course I do. I think every writers gets it once in a while. I deal with it by listening to music, driving, or just taking a break for a bit. I find that taking a step back always helps.

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

A: I've been interested in television production since high school, where I worked for my school's news station and a local community channel. In college, I became interested in writing and taught myself how to write screenplays.

During my senior year at school, I wrote a pilot called "Townies". I entered it in the Austin Television Festival's Pitch Competition in 2014 and became a semi-finalist.

I graduated from George Washington University last May, with a degree in Political Communication. I used what I was taught in the classroom for my Veep spec.

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

A: Not yet. I'm currently in Boston, but I plan on moving to Los Angeles in May.

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

A: I am currently enrolled in Emerson College's Screenwriting Certificate program and am writing a feature film. I am also in the beginning stages of writing my second pilot.

Posted Friday, March 13, 2015