2006 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Jeffrey Seeman

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Jeffrey Seeman
Fourth Place Winner
Jeffrey Seeman
of Santa Monica, CA
Screenplay
IN YOUR DREAMS
Romantic Comedy
Biography:

In addition to having written several novels, Jeffrey Seeman is a former editor of the Cornell Lunatic (Cornell Universityís answer to the Harvard Lampoon) and has performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco. He has written three previous screenplays, one of which is currently under option.

Interview

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

when I began having story ideas that worked better as movies than as novels. If I can imagine seeing it unfold on a screen in front of me, itís a movie. If I can imagine the feel of the book in my hands, itís a novel.


I know I've succeeded........ 

in amusing my friends, entertaining my colleagues, and periodically piquing the interest of those in the movie industry. Now if I could just succeed in making a sale.
 

My inspiration to write IN YOUR DREAMS.......

was my own desire to meet my soul mate. Ever so often Iíll have a dream about a fantasy woman. And when I awake, I wonder, ďWhat if sheís out there somewhere, dreaming about me?Ē And then, you know, the alarm goes off and my upstairs neighbor starts crashing about and someone outside starts leaning on their horn and all Iím thinking then is, ďOkay, where the hell is the coffee?Ē

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Jeffrey Seeman: Thereís never been a time in my life when I havenít been inspired to write. I canít imagine not writing.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: I read a few books about screenwriting, studied a bunch of produced screenplays, and bought a copy of Final Draft.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: No, itís my fourth and it took me about two months to write.

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

Jeffrey Seeman:
I wish I had the luxury of such regularity. As I work a full-time job doing something else, I find I have to squeeze in writing whenever and wherever I can.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: Yes. When it comes to scripts by unknown writers, most people in Hollywood donít want to be the first one to say, ďI think this is a good script.Ē Everyone would rather wait until they hear what others say before forming an opinion about a new writer. But the judges of writing contests donít play that game. They consider the script and nothing but the script. And they boldly express their opinions regarding its quality with total disregard to any other factors. I think such bravery is rare in this industry.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?

Jeffrey Seeman: The contest is very well reviewed on both the Movie Bytes and Creative Screenwriting web sites.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: I think that depends on what type of movies they like and in what genre they plan to work. If they want to write a romantic comedy, Iíd recommend that, at the very least, they read IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. It established the template on which practically all subsequent romcoms have been based.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: Iím passionate about various forms of creative expression. I love writing and reading fiction. Iíve also performed stand-up comedy on-and-off over the years.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Jeffrey Seeman: Paddy Chayefsky, for his ability to mix sardonic wit with deep compassionóboth for his characters and for humanity as a whole.

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

Jeffrey Seeman:
Francis Coppola. I consider APOCALYPSE NOW one of the greatest films ever made, even more so than any of the GODFATHER movies. Think heíd ever be interested in directing a screwball comedy?

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

Jeffrey Seeman: It depends on the project Iím currently working on. I tend to start developing the character and then, sometimes, the right actor just springs to mind and I find myself writing for his or her voice. Right now Iím kicking around a project that would be perfect for Adam Sandler.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: If youíre ever having a meeting with a studio exec and they offer you a bottle of water, always accept it. Because, you know, at least then you got a free drink.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Jeffrey Seeman: I thought Iíd go into the next room and open a beer. Oh, did you mean longer term than that? Actually, Iím revising a comic novel about politics that I originally wrote several years ago. Some projects I just feel too strongly about to give up on.

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

Jeffrey Seeman: Serving a term, either in Congress or in prison. Or, given the current state of politics, both.

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