Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Luqman Raymond Whittinger

An interview with screenwriter Luqman Raymond Whittinger regarding the Wildsound Writing Competition.

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

A: Henrietta's Odyssey

This is the story of Henrietta a young girl who has to work as a skivvy. She is unjustly disciplined and learns she is a foundling and is to be sent to an orphanage. Her crying attracts a scatty alien called Eanie Meanie. Together with a dangerous trickster, they set off to find her real family across space and time. This is where Terry Gilliam meets Alice in Wonderland in a romping comedy so crazy it stands out as a first in cinema. What Henrietta does not know, is someone evil is waiting for her return...

Genre: Family, Comedy Adventure

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 had another film I was developing called Dolphin (now reworked by Nick Bain as Dolphin Song). This was initially supported by a UK film agency. It naturally adapted to Cinema.

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 have been very satisfied by the administration. Four weeks plus is about right to rest between revisions. The deadlines were satisfactory and I received the awards promised.

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

A: Henrietta's Odyssey has a long history. It started life as Henri and the Alien (2008). It was immediately recognised as a potential film by a publisher. I developed a children's TV series from it, which I had offers to broadcast, but none were the right offer for me. I decided a feature would give me a better deal.

It is difficult to estimate how long it took to convert from book to feature. It must have begun around 2012 and occupied time while working on other scripts and books I wrote. I cannot say how many drafts I made as the process of book to film is different.

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 initially wrote using script smart (a package using Microsoft Word from the BBC). I later converted it to Final Draft 8 and latterly version 9.

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

A: I work anywhere between 4 and 8 hours a day over 6 or 7 days a week. As this shares time with other duties these are rough figures.

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

A: I have a historical drama I am writing based family records and newspapers, which has given me writer's block.

Henrietta's Odyssey has not. It is more about adaption and experimentation than looking at a blank page.

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

A: I wrote at school and was acused of plagerism - that is more a comment on the education system at the time. I started writing as a press officer for a political party on a volunrary basis. I had a long lapse and then wrote and produced three short radio plays for the BBC. At the time, I worked on a book of prophesies for the Millenium. This led on to writing novels, later TV bibles and TV pilots and latterly screenplays.

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

A: I live outside London and have no intention to move to Los Angeles. The industry has moved on in the last few decades and the advent of skype. Where I live are many world famous authors and screenwriters. Almost everybody comes to the Uk to make films and entertainment these days.

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

A: I am just finishing off another prize-winning script for April 2016. On my notebook, I have two sequels to that in an advanced stage. I try to write beyond the expectations of modern audiences and try to deliver new experiences. I feel modern audiences are in a lull and the need to be reinvigorated.

Beyond that, I like to work on historical themes, as well as superheroes and comedies. There is a whole world of potential that has never been exploited. Gritty true histories are something I am particularly interested in. I expect to write more novels in the future

Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2016