FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company 2004 Screenwriting Competition

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Nick Viaz
Tenth Place
 
Winner
Nick Diaz
of
Los Angeles, CA
Screenplay
THE AWAKENING
Supernatural Thriller
Biography:

Nick Diaz grew up in Chicago, and then Miami, before relocating to Los Angeles a few years ago. The only son of three children born to Cuban-immigrants, Diaz worked as a computer technician while attending the University of Miami, from which he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Film and Creative Writing. Based in Miami for several years, Diaz worked as a production manager on commercials and music videos, and has traveled around the country and as far away as the Micronesian Islands, on projects large and small.

Aside from his spec writing, Diaz was also commissioned to pen a Balkan political drama, The Red Lake, which sent him to Croatia for research. After moving to Los Angeles to commit fully to his writing career, Diaz was hired to do a rewrite of Amakusa, a historical drama set in 17th Century Japan. 

In 2001, Diazí original sci-fi/action-adventure script, Dead West, was requested by several leading production companies, and he was subsequently one of two writers considered for a Silver Picturesí graphic novel adaptation, Adrenalynn, for actress Christina Ricci. Diaz is determined to make writing his full-time career.

Interview

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

After being blown away when I first saw ďStar WarsĒ as a kid. Storytelling seemed like the best thing to do in the world.

I know I've succeeded........ 

Writing a good script when a few of my select reader friends who are especially harsh with the truth canít find anything to complain about.

My inspiration to write THE AWAKENING.......

Came from when I watched someone supposedly getting regressed to a past life. The idea of being someone totally different in another time fascinated me, and it raised the intriguing question of how much control we have over who we are and what we do. 

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Nick Diaz: The power that writers have to move people, in movies and all other forms of media, is probably one of the most important elements in society. I well-told story can stay in someoneís mind for the rest of their lives. I wanted to be a part of that.

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

Nick Diaz: I went to Film School at the University of Miami, where I also co-majored in Creative Writing. It was a good foundation for me to begin and develop my writing skills. 

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

Nick Diaz: No. About 6 months.

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

Nick Diaz:
I outline and do research until I have the story down pretty well, then I start writing and donít stop until I have a rough draft. Then itís revisions and revisions. When I write, I try not to be distracted by anything, including a pretty view. A small, closed in room with no windows works best for me.

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

Nick Diaz: Yes, because it shows that someone out there in the professional world likes your script, and a producer is not going to read your material unless heís somewhat sure youíre not a flake. An award also sets you apart from all the other scripts that are flooding a producerís desk.

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

Nick Diaz: Both FilmMakers.com and the Radmin Company have a good reputation, so I figured it would be a great opportunity to showcase my writing.

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

Nick Diaz: ďBringing Out the DeadĒ by Paul Schrader. Using very little description, Schrader was able to set the mood of a scene quickly, and delve deep into the psyche of his characters with clear and concise dialogue. The movie didnít turn out very well, but only because Scorsese didnít capture the underlying dark humor and irony.

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

Nick Diaz: I love to explore, whether itís through traveling or reading. I like trying out new things, meeting people and hearing their stories, discovering the history of a location, and figuring out how things work.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Nick Diaz: John Sayles. He creates great characters with sharp dialogue, and heís an inspiration because heís always working Ė whether itís on his own movies or script doctoring for the studios.

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

Nick Diaz: Peter Weir. A superb character director. And from what I see of his movies, we have the same tastes in stories.

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

Nick Diaz: Johnny Depp has always impressed me because he has gone out of his way to play odd and engaging characters, even though he could have easily taken the ďpretty boyĒ route and have made shallow blockbusters.

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

Nick Diaz: When starting a script, push yourself to finish it quickly. Donít allow yourself to get stuck on a scene. Throw something in there and move on. When youíre finished with the first draft, itís a mess, but at least you have something tangible on paper to work with. Somehow it makes it easier than working out complex story points in your head.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Nick Diaz: Iím working with a producer on a TV pilot involving Native Americans, as well as another spec feature screenplay.

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

Nick Diaz: Iíll be an in-demand writer with lots of projects on my plate, and Iíll start working on writing something for myself to direct.

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