FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company 2003 Screenwriting Competition

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Billy Goda

Finalist

Billy Goda
of
Brooklyn, NY
Screenplay
THE CRETAN BULL
Psychological Thriller
Biography: Billy Goda is a screenwriter and a playwright who has been working in the professional community for the past twelve years. He has earned an MFA in playwrighting at Columbia University, and he studied screenwriting with the late Chris Kazan. 

His most recent screenplay, THE CRETAN BULL, has done very well in a number of competitions. This piece also lead to his receiving a very generous three years writerís grant extension from a private foundation. This writerís grant was originally a two year award for his screenplay TWO ARM BANDIT. Another screenplay, ISLAND OF ROCK, has also been successful in contests as well as landing him the Goelet Corporation Grant. 

While at Columbia, Billyís play, GEORGIA COWBOY, was selected for his graduating class production. His shortplay, NO CRIME, was published in the "Best American Short Play Series 1998-1999." Billyís play, FINAL APPEAL, was optioned by Avenue A Productions. He is currently writing, DUST, a new screenplay.

Interview

I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter ....

when I was in graduate school for playwrighting. People kept saying how my work was very cinematic, and, as a result, I wrote a screenplay and loved the freedom this medium provided; I felt like I had found my niche.

I know I've succeeded....

when a screenplay is produced and people are looking forward to more of my original work.

My inspiration to write THE CRETAN BULL.....

came from Albert Camus "Caligula." I wondered who was Caligula in todayís society and what would happen to the man who came up against him. The true character of a man comes when his back is against the wall. Is there anything more exciting than this kind of test?

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Billy Goda: Iíve written all my life. When I was young, I wrote as a creative outlet. As I got older, it became much more important. While working on a piece, I feel like Iím doing something of great value with my day, with my life, and this feeling is essential. When Iím in-between projects, depression descends upon me, and boy does it get ugly. I write because I canít not write.

FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?

Billy Goda: I read a great deal - thereís much to be learned from what others do. I also acted in a number of plays.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Billy Goda: I have written a number of scripts. The first draft of THE CRETAN BULL took about six months, and I then had a reading of it. I took about another three months on the rewrite. I then put the script aside for a few months, before doing a final draft which took about two more months.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Billy Goda:
I have breakfast, with a cup of coffee, and read the paper. I then sit down at the computer and play one game of hearts and two games of solitaire. I follow these games with a dip of Kodiak chewing tobacco, and Iím ready to go for a good four to six hours.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Billy Goda: I believe they are important. If successful, it is a way to make connections within the industry as well as creating credibility for a writer and his work.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company Screenwriting Competition?

Billy Goda: Itís a well known and respected contest, and I like the possible awards.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Billy Goda: "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" It is very entertaining, but, more importantly, it is structurally very sound. The structure is the most important part of writing, from that all else stems.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Billy Goda:
Sports. A healthy body creates a healthy mind, plus you can get out a hell of a lot of frustration. Another thing I like about sports is the "good" and "bad" are so clearly defined.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Billy Goda:
I donít really have a favorite screenwriter.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Billy Goda:
Martin Scorcese

There is always an edge to his work, always a feeling of danger and violence lurking in the shadows. These traits are inherent in what I write.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Billy Goda:
Jack Nicholson

He is charming and intelligent yet always a moment away from erupting. He would be perfect for the role of Marvin in THE CRETAN BULL.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Billy Goda:
There used to be a bookstore where I lived that I passed everyday, and, in the window, was a sign that read: "Writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration."

And structure, structure, structure...

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Billy Goda: Iím currently working on a new piece called DUST.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Billy Goda:
Hopefully, sitting at my computer writing, and making a decent living at it.

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