MovieBytes Interview: Writing Competition

Posted on Sep 5th, 2011 | Category: Interviews

An interview with screenwriter Teresa Lewis regarding Writing Competition.

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

A: ‘REBIRTH” is inspired by a true story, a provocative mix of lust, love, politics, war and religion; as it opens in the diffused white light of the Louvre, amid a grand library and gallery of Renaissance images.

The timeless works and heights of humanity are juxtaposed against the depravity of civil violence between religious factions and the corruption of Church and State.

In this world torn between Renaissance and genocide, a young boy loses his faith and his faith in humanity. Twelve years later, he’s grown into an amorous young man, a student at the University of Paris, who chooses to be largely oblivious to politics or the swirl of intolerance that still rushes around him. He soon finds love that changes his life, and risks it all in a fight for the civil liberties of a minority.

Ultimately, “Rebirth” reminds us of the perils of unbridled power, and inspires us to never lose sight of the true power of love and honor. I will never be the same for knowing or telling this amazing story, and will never look at our freedoms and the sacrifices for civil liberty never quite the same again. I hope one day, should the film be made, that it would also have a similar impact on the lives and legacies of others.

I tend to think that Rebirth has the passion of “Braveheart” and the promise of “Ever After.”

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 saw the Greenlight Competition posted on Moviebytes. and when I visited the webiste, I was very impressed with the content and professionalism. This is Rebirth’s Fourth FIRST PLACE WIN, and is ranked in the top five on Movie bytes/ Winning Scripts (along with many other wonderful screenplays) in Drama, Historical and Romance genres. Someone asked me recently, when are the AGENTS/PRODUCERS going to realize that winning scripts more likely will be winning films? I and a few other winning screenwriters, are anxiously awaiting their enlightenment. :)

I think with each placement or win, especially first place wins and consistency over time, gives a writer more credibility and attention. Then the query letters suddenly get more attention, or more requests are made to read your script. Actually “Rebirth” is now in the hands of a major agency, as I type. I still know the odds, but I know that it is also in good hands. Wish me well.

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: Extremely satisfied and impressed with the professionalism! Gordon Rogerson, the director, did everything promised and more. He also created a special page that highlights the top winners, their bio and showcases their scripts. If the same level of professionalism continues, this contest is destined to be one of the biggest and best.

I would highly recommend this screenwriting contests to beginning writers as well as to seasoned ones. I would advise them not to get defensive, but to keep and open mind to keep learning, improving and enjoy the process.

The feedback was a huge plus and the main reason I’ve entered this and other contests. Most writers are sensitive, their writing very personal, and sometimes criticism hurts, even when it’s constructive. But, if you listen, it can make you a stronger writer. I was a writer, not a screenwriter– I needed feedback and guidance, and I think I am finally getting the hang of screenwriting. You tell me.

The following comments are from the Greenlight judges:

“One the best scripts we have ever read! The writing is superb. The characters, locations and story are exciting, rich, and would dazzle any cinema going audience…The writer has captured the essence of a tumultuous time in world history and delivered it to the page like a newborn naked, screaming, and with a tenderness. This is a gorgeous looking script. It has what we call the holy trinity… Sex, Violence and a well crafted story. BRAVO!!!! RECOMMEND!!!”

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

A: Since ”Rebirth” is an epic, the script took approximately eight months from the beginning of research (that filled a 3-inch binder). Then about eight more rewrites. The following year was spent in tweaking as I entered contests with feedback, then another ten- twelve drafts and polishes. I still polish. But as far as outlines: the more I learned of this heart wrenching story, the less of an outline I needed, because these characters so touched my heart, that they literally came to life and they led me on this journey into their lives of honor and courage. I couldn’t stop writing– and I truly felt as if I were living in the French Renaissance for many months in these “best and worst of times.”

Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?

A: MovieMagic seems to be all I need. I’m sure Final Draft and others are great too, but I won MovieMagic a couple of years ago in the Brass Brad contest, and have happily used it since. I think I’ve read every book written on screenwriting, and am partial to Truby and Campbell and the “Hero’s Journey.”

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

A: I cannot get through a day without writing. No matter how busy I am, it is my escape, my relaxation, a true passion.

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

A: N/A. I never run out of ideas, just hours in the day– in spite of needing only an average of 5 hours per night.

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

A: Sometimes I am so driven to write I wonder if writing is part of my cellular memory, as I actually share 5th Great grandfathers’ and Grandmother’s with writers Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Alred Tennyson, Sir Walter Scott and Jacqueline Bovier Kennedy. I like to think writing is in my genes. I definitely share their love for a great story.

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

A: I lived in L.A. as a child, and always wanted to go “home” to visit. I know it would be quite emotional, as I have many fond memories. But with the advent of the Internet, and ‘ at the fingertips’ communication and transportation, it is not as critical to live there as it once was.

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

A: The REBIRTH Sequel… :) Seriously, I’m always writing and actually have several shorts complete as well as a few feature scripts in progress that I often work on simultaneously. I write daily for pleasure and in the case of “Rebirth”– for the passion to tell the story–to bring these amazing characters back to life on the big screen. I also want to congratulate the other screenwriter winners Rhys Gledhill, and Richard Sartore and wish all the other great writers that entered the contest only the best. And to all passionate writers, keep writing, not for the product but for the joy of the process. It’s quite an emotional roller coaster, but oh what a ride.

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