FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards 2005 - Interview

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FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Richard Severy
Second Place  Winner
Richard Severy
of
Sundance, UT
Screenplay
JOURNEY TO AVALON
Drama
Biography:

Richard Severy - Raised in the UK on the Goon Show, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers etc. Law degree, Bristol University. Discovered Beckett, Pinter, Bunuel, Ray, Bergman, and then Dennis Potter and Mike Leigh. Tried to write novel. Failed. Got married. Became attorney. Had 3 beautiful daughters. Dropped out. Tried to write novel. Failed. Divorced. Became attorney again. Met present wife, American Pop Artist, Jann Haworth. Inherited 2 more beautiful daughters. Dropped out again. Tried to write novel again. Failed(again). Became teacher. Had beautiful son. Wrote kidsí book. Did self-sufficiency thing on small farm in Somerset. Wrote 8 more kidsí books ( published by Julia MacCrae, Methuen and Collins) Came to Sundance, Utah. Taught writing at local State College. Wrote several adult novels. Couldnít get them published. Mislaid agent. Went to Sundance Film Festival every year. Got inspired by independent films and Sundance Institute Lab events. Did 2 day seminar on screen-writing with Dan Decker. Bought expensive Movie Magic Screen-writer program.

Interview

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

because film is the medium of our time and there are stories and experiences which it is uniquely qualified to tell. I seem to be motivated to write about issues and film is a very powerful way of reaching a large audience.

I know I've succeeded........ 

I think I might have succeeded when the words on the page somehow (mysteriously) move me to laugh or cry.
 

My inspiration to write JOURNEY TO AVALON.......

came from a kind of anguished awareness of how it feels to be a child caught up in an adult drama that they don't understand because nobody will tell them what's really going on. Before I started writing for the screen, I published 8 books of children's and teen fiction (in the UK), and have always felt drawn to exploring intense childhood experiences.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Richard Severy: I The spark for a story I find comes when two different ideas combine unexpectedly, in this case divorce from a child's POV and the movie Invasion of The Body-snatchers. The "innocence" of the 1950's and the artificial constructs of Hollywood create a perfect backdrop.

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

Richard Severy: I prepared to write screenplays by reading scripts I admire, watching movies more critically, attending a screenwriting seminar and researching books on the subject.

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

Richard Severy: Journey to Avalon is my third script. My first, Dirty Girls (log line: Female mechanics spark gender war), won third place in your FilmMakers International Contest last year. Avalon is an adaptation of a novel I wrote some years ago. It took about 2 months to write. 

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

Richard Severy: I do not have a set routine other than to try to write every day when I am actually working on a script, but I find that a hike on the mountain before breakfast often generates fresh ideas!

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

Richard Severy: Anything which enhances a writer's confidence in him or herself has to be good and recognition does wonders for the self-esteem!

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

Richard Severy: I entered this contest because independent film is where itís at. 

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

Richard Severy: I would urge aspiring writers to read anything they admire in their chosen genre.

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

Richard Severy: Besides writing I am passionate about food, mountains, music and poetry (among other things).

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Richard Severy: I admire Gary Ross for Pleasantville, films like Memento that play with the form, anything by the Coen brothers or David Lynch.

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

Richard Severy: I'd love to work with Jon Amiel - Singing Detective(TV version), Spy Who Knew Too Little, etc.

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

Richard Severy: I think Philip Seymore Hoffman or Antonio Banderas would be great for the father in Avalon. And Valentina de Angelis would be perfect for the young girl (if she's not now too old). She was outstanding in Campbell Scott's wonderful 2003 film, Off The Map.

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

Richard Severy: My advice to aspiring writers is Never give up!

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Richard Severy: I'm currently adapting another of my novels for the screen, a satirical comedy called "The Missionary Journal of Rulon Moak".

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

Richard Severy: In 5 years I hope to have at least one film under my belt.

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