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H. Woods McLaughlin
Eighth Place
H. Woods McLaughlin
of Los Angeles,
Fantasy Adventure

Henry grew up in Richmond, Virginia with a wide range of interests including international folk dancing, science, computers, and fantasy literature. He attended an alternative high school and then on to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. After college he took up organic hay farming which eventually gave way to computer programming. 

After years climbing the corporate ladder, he decided to become an independent consultant during the Y2K bug fixing years. With a major contract finished, he cashed out and traveled for three years in a camper van in Europe during which he and his wife Kathleen authored the travelogue website

It was while living with peasant farmers that he wrote his first screenplay, and in the Autumn of 2003, Henry began a Masters in Screenwriting program at the School of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California.


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

When I realized they get paid a lot more than short story writers.

I know I've succeeded........ 

When I'm making a living at writing.

My inspiration to write DRAGON CHILD.......

Was half ET, and half the villages of rural Transylvania where medieval ways are still alive today. 




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

H. Woods McLaughlin: Transcendent stories where the stakes are big and the transformation enduring.

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: I took a seminar at Gotham Writer's Workshop in Manhattan, then read McKee's book from cover to cover, sticking post it notes on my favorite diagrams.  

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: This is not my first script. I doodled on the first script for two years on and off.   This script was done in three months from first conception to first draft. There's another month's worth of work in the draft that advanced, and I have another month in the draft that I'm passing around now.  

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: Oh yes. During the idea development and outlining stage, I have to go to a library or a hotel lobby-bar. Wherever it's quiet. While there I use a chess clock. When I check e-mail or go to the bathroom or waste time in any other way -- that's time to the opponent. When my pencil's on the pad or my fingers running the keyboard -- that's time to me. I like to put 3 1/2 hours a day on the clock each day during the development cycle. When I'm done with my outline, then I switch to using page-count as my metric: minimum 5 pages, maximum 15.

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: Of course. Not only are they opportunities to get noticed, find representation, maybe even sell a script, but they serve as great deadlines to get new screenplays done and drafts revised. 

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: I liked the ratio of the entry fee to the prize money. It was clear from this that the Radmin Company was taking this contest seriously as a way to attract material. 

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: American Beauty is a good one. 

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: I'm a sucker for anything about science. I suppose I just like to understand the world around me.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

H. Woods McLaughlin: Lawrence Kasden. What a range. From Continental Divide to Body Heat to The Big Chill to Return of the Jedi. Wow. 

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: Spielberg because: who wouldn't? 

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: Tom Hanks because he's both an amazing actor and a grounded person. Jodi Foster for the same reasons. 

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: Don't give up.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

H. Woods McLaughlin: Graduating from USC and looking for a writing job.

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

H. Woods McLaughlin: In Los Angeles making my living at writing.

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