Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Justin Prince

An interview with screenwriter Justin Prince regarding the Fan Fiction Writing Competition.

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

A: Vigilante: The Origins of Casey Jones.

Casey Jones is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' most popular characters, Vigilante, is the story of how Jones went from a promising hockey career to fighting street gangs in the streets of New York as a hockey mask wearing anti-hero.

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 actually wrote the script just for this contest. I have been a fan of the TMNT since I was a little kid and I always found Casey Jones as a compelling and relatable character. When I stumbled on the contest on FilmFreeway, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to write the Casey Jones I had always envisioned for the screen.

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 for the contest was fantastic. They were timely and the feedback I received on the script's first draft was incredibly detailed. It really helped me in getting the script to the much more polished final product, that ended up being one of this year's 12 winners.

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 took about five days to write the first draft and then another four or five days on rewrites. I didn't write an outline per se, like I said earlier, I have been a huge TMNT fan since childhood. So I had a pretty fleshed out Casey Jones origin story in my mind, this was just the first time, I ever tried to put that story down on paper. I wrote two drafts, but I made several small tweaks in between the two drafts.

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 used Final Final Draft to write this script, it's the first script writing software I was ever introduced to and I've just kind of stuck with it.

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

A: I write most days. Every now and then I'll take a day away from it but I write almost every day. As for hours it just varies. I know some writers who sit down and write 2-3 hours every single day no matter what. That's their process and it works for them. But, me, I just kind of write as things come to me. If nothing is coming to me that day, I won't force things. But, I maintain a blog where I write about one of my other favorite things, sports. So even on my less creative days, I usually will make an entry on my blog.

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

A: Like I said, I write as the ideas and inspiration comes. If I'm not feeling inspired that day or my mind is devoid of solid ideas that day, I'll simply not write. I find that giving my mind that break and time away from the creative process that goes into writing really helps get the batteries recharged and the juices flowing again the next time I sit down to write.

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

A: I have bachelor's degrees in Broadcast Journalism and History from Marshall University in my home state of West Virginia. After graduating school there I spent a little over a year writing for a newspaper in Ironton, Ohio. I decided as much as I loved storytelling, I didn't like not having the ultimate say in the stories I was telling. I'd long been interested in film and decided to go back to school and get an MFA in Film Production from Full Sail University. During my time in that program and since my graduation from that program I've probably written a dozen short scripts and even co-wrote a feature. Hopefully, someday soon, one of these scripts will be brought to life on camera.

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

A: I currently live in Orlando. I feel like eventually, LA is the end goal for most people who want to achieve something in this industry. But, for the time being, I'm happy to continue writing from Orlando, while also working as a videographer, director, and PA on local and indie projects. Just to continue to build my resume and gain experience. I think experience is the number one thing in this industry. So anytime you can get on a set, even as a PA, you should absolutely do it. I've learned something new every time and understanding the production process, is something I think is vital to a screenwriter.

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

A: Right, now I'm actually working with a friend and animator Charles Moore, on bringing Vigilante to life. I had thought about doing it as a live action, but, I thought I could do the script and story more justice to make it as a gritty animated film. Charles is a talented animator, and some of the concept art he's already mocked up for the project is absolutely amazing. So I'm really excited about where that's going.

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2016