I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter ....
I saw Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. Up till then I had only been flirting with the idea.
After that there simply was no turning back. Though it's more of a director's film, I still couldn't help feeling THIS was what I want to do
for a living. Someday I hope I can thank him in person for the inspiration.
I know I've succeeded....
I can read the finished script and think "Wow! This is good!" without consciously knowing I wrote it.
My inspiration to write MY BROTHER'S KEEPER.....
was John Woo's Hong Kong classics Hard Boiled and
The Killer. While a lot of
movies don't let the hero meet the villain face to face till the final showdown, in
John Woo movies they usually have guns to each other's head before page 20. I
loved the extremely personal nature of those conflicts. Characters who were attempting to kill each other also had a deep respect for each other. Great
What inspired you to write?
Christian Parkes: Everyday odd events around me that made for good stories.
When I realized no one else was going to write them I began doing them myself. Now I can't
NOT do it. Once a good idea grabs hold of me, my only defense is to put pen
to paper and write the best script possible.
FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?
Christian Parkes: I read Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434 and Pulp Fiction. Then I dove in and
wrote a bulky 143 page dud that only a first time writer could like. Now I
keep it for laughs, but the experience was invaluable.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?
Christian Parkes: I WISH this was my first script. This is my eighth completed feature length
script and it took about three months from concept to completed first draft.
Followed by several months of polishing till I felt I'd gotten it right for
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
Christian Parkes: No. I'm in awe of the 9 to 5 writers. I've never been able to
block out time like that. I write every day, but never by a formal schedule. Usually
I spend the day searching for fragments of ideas in my everyday life and
once the sun goes down I settle in to write. Sometimes it's an hour or two.
Other times it's all night. Coffee is usually involved.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring
screenwriters and why?
Christian Parkes: Of course. Until a writer has had their first sale, they're essentially a
nobody. A good showing in a reputable contest can serve as a kind of stamp
of approval to help break through the dreary fog of query letter hell.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company Screenwriting Competition?
Christian Parkes: The FM/RC contest seemed genuinely interested in helping its winners get
further industry exposure and therefore further their careers. I want to be
produced and a good contest should be a means to achieving that end. Not
simply a prize and a pat on the back.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Christian Parkes: My personal favorites include Pulp Fiction, Dead Poets
Society, and The Shawshank Redemption. But really, an aspiring writer should read what turns
them on. Especially if they want to write for a specific genre. Whether
its Fargo or Happy Gilmore, get the best scripts for your needs, read them,
and find out why they work.
FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
Christian Parkes: My wife. Because she's equally passionate about me.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
Christian Parkes: I really can't say that I have a specific favorite among the many whose
works have inspired me. But I am absolutely in awe of the careers of
Robert Towne and William Goldman.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Christian Parkes: Bryan Singer. While a lot of people use creative talent as an excuse for
lack of professionalism, Bryan Singer seems blessed with both an enormous
amount of talent AND professionalism. All that and he still looks 18 years
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Christian Parkes: Paul Newman. Easy. I don't care HOW old he is. Runner-up: Benicio Del
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
Fear nothing. Being a writer will mean facing a great deal of criticism,
self doubt, and rejection. The better you are at taking these head on and
learning from them the sooner your writing will improve. If you're brave
enough to try, be brave enough to succeed.
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
Christian Parkes: More of the same. I'm working on a romantic thriller now while preparing to
start work on a comedy about mimes. A short film based on a story of mine
is also being produced this summer. After that the list is endless.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?
Christian Parkes: Hopefully with enough produced credits that when an aspiring writer is asked
whose work they admire the most the answer will be Christian Parkes.