Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Gustavo Freitas

An interview with screenwriter Gustavo Freitas regarding the Hollywood Moving Pictures Writing Competition.

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

A: It's called Operation Brother Sam. The story is about an intelligence agent working during the Cold War, who is haunted by a failed mission in Cuba. Now he has to stop a corrupt politician who plans to depose the president of Brazil in the name of the fight against communism. It's partly based on historical events.

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

A: As I was preparing to start on the competitions tour with this screenplay, I wanted to tested my script in a monthly contest. HIMPFF has a short span of time between sending the screenplay and the notification date, so it was perfect for a trial.

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: Everything worked as promised, specially the deadlines. There is an annual award ceremony happening next year, so I'm still waiting to see how this part of the event is organized.

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 embraced this idea for over a year before actually writing it. I've written a first draft in four weeks, and I worked on subsequencial drafts for over three months. On paper, I had 25 different drafts, most of it with minor changes. I would say it took me four big rewrites to get where this screenplay is presently.

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've used Final Draft for the finished version, but I also like to use Celtx Studio.

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

A: When I'm working on a screenplay, yes. I would say 2 to 3 hours a day. From time to time, I have some binge writing surges, which can keep me up all night long. The most difficult part is receiving coverage and doing the rewrites, which can be emotionally frustrating. Because this process is so demanding, I like taking some time between projects, maybe full weeks, during which I tend to read more than I write.

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

A: Not very often. I believe my major blocks come before I start writing. The minute I begin typing on my keyboard, it goes away. Usually, a block will happen when I start to plan too many details ahead, and I end up overwhelmed by distinct possibilities. The best way to deal with it is trying to write anything, even when I know it's purely crap. I tend to mark these scenes, review it later and try to make it better afterwards. Sometimes what seemed to be a terrible session develops into a surprising new idea that I couldn't have planned in advance.

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

A: At the moment, I'm working with an independent studio in Brazil called Doiddo Studios, as we're developing an animation series for Fox Latin America. It's called Little School of Gods ("Escolinha dos Deuses") and must enter in production in 2019. Currently, I'm in the process of reviewing the scripts for the first season. I've written pilots for other animation series and live-action TV under contract with Doiddo Studios, and we're still trying to sell those.

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

A: I currently live in Brasilia, Brazil, and work on projects in Sao Paulo. I would consider a move to LA if a worthy project shows up. Who knows?

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

A: At the moment I'm finishing a new screenplay in the Horror genre, which is called "The Chapel." It's about a Youtuber ghost hunter girl who ends up trapped inside a haunted chapel. And "Little School of Gods" should air in Nat Geo Kids in the end of 2019 or early 2020, which will also be very exciting.

Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2018