2006 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Marcus Richardson


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Marcus Richardson
11th Place Winner
Marcus Richardson
of Washington, DC

Marcus Richardson is a native of Washington D.C. and graduate of Howard University where he majored in Film and minored in English. During his four years at Howard University he wrote three feature length screenplays one of which, ĎThe Talentedí, won Best Original Screenplay in the Howard University Paul Robeson Awards. He has also written and directed six short films which have won numerous awards at Howard. In 2005, he won the Comedy Central / Chris Rock Comedy writing contest and spent a summer writing for Comedy Central. Marcus is an avid fan of movies and screenwriting who is continually working on his craft.


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

It was the summer of my sophomore year in college and I had just made the decision not to be a print journalism major. My problem was I did not know what to major in all I knew was that I wanted to write. While sitting on the couch reciting line for line the last five minutes of the movie The Devilís Advocate it hit me. ďSomeone has to write moviesĒ I said. From that point on I focused on the art of screenwriting.

I know I've succeeded........ 

I know Iíve succeeded in writing an honest script that deals with complex characters in a world that is for the most part foreign to mainstream America.

My inspiration to write THE TALENTED.......

My inspiration to write The Talented came from my experiences living in the hip-hop culture of Washington DC coupled with the deep desire to be critical of that culture.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Marcus Richardson: The love of good story telling was my first inspiration to write. My earliest childhood memories involved my mother reading novels by my bedside and my father taking me to the movies. Each story I read or watched brought me closer to the idea that I too could tell a story like the ones I read and watched with my parents.

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

Marcus Richardson: Writing my first feature length script involved a week of intense planning. While in New York City at a Comedy Central writing program I had the opportunity to give a script to a movie producer. For a whole week my mind could think of nothing but scene after scene of a comedy / drama about a depressed investment banker. By the end of the week I had the entire movie in my head, all that was left was to write it. I traveled back to Washington D.C. on the weekend to use my trustworthy demo version of Final Draft. I finished the script that Friday, reviewed it on Saturday, printed it on Sunday and went back to New York in time for work on Monday. Sadly the movie producer did not want to buy the script however he did read it and said it was entertaining and a good effort for a young writer.

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

Marcus Richardson: The Talented is my second feature length script. This script took me approximately a month from start to finish but is being revised until this very day. The Talented came to me as I sat down to write. I did not plan it out from beginning to end as I did my first and third script. I knew I had to write a second feature and I had a story to tell. All that was left was to sit down and write it.

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

Marcus Richardson:
I write whenever I feel inspired to write however when the inspiration is not there I still review my work in order to get a better understanding of my story. I write and review my work while listening to music. Music creates a mood which is very important in screenwriting. When I have a screenplay to complete I am constantly writing my script whether itís in front of my computer or mentally constructing a scene during work or class.

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

Marcus Richardson: Screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters because it gives a writer confidence to know that their script has been read and enjoyed by someone who takes the art of cinema and screenplays seriously.

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

Marcus Richardson: While searching the internet for screenwriting competitions I came across the Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards and was immediately impressed with the number of applicants in the previous years of competition. The opportunity to have your script read by an agent was very enticing as well as the general information and resources that are available on the website.

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

Marcus Richardson: Both action and dialogue are essential for a good movie therefore I would urge all screenwriters to read The Piano by Jane Campion and Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. The Piano has some of the best action writing Iíve read and Pulp Fiction has some of the best dialogue ever.

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

Marcus Richardson: Literature and English. As an English minor in college I love to read classic and modern novels and I also love to discuss topics in linguistics. Language and the way it can be manipulated are very interesting and important in literature and all forms of media.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Marcus Richardson: I am a fan of many screenwriters however since I have to choose one as a favorite it would have to be Michael Mann. Although I do have other influences in my screenwriting, Michael Mannís characters, especially those in the movies Heat and The Insider, are some of the most dynamic and well-rounded characters Iíve seen on screen. Furthermore the dialogue in these two movies, the conversations and the rants, are impeccable.

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

Marcus Richardson:
The director I would most like to work with is Michael Mann. Once again there are many directors I would love to work with however I feel that Michael Mannís movies are extremely mature and well done. He is artistic yet not overbearing with his artistic vision and does a great job of establishing a mood in his movies.

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

Marcus Richardson: If I had a chance to work with any actor or actress I would have to choose an upcoming actress named Serena Reeder who has displayed remarkable acting ability. Many of my movies have a strong female lead and she played a very strong character in Get Rich or Die Trying which was directed by Jim Sheridan.

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

Marcus Richardson:
The most important tip I have learned that I can pass on to others to is watch as many movies as possible because it is the best education you can get.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Marcus Richardson: My next plan is to graduate college and either attend graduate school in Los Angeles or New York, enter a screenwriters program in Los Angeles or take a chance and make The Talented independently.

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

Marcus Richardson: Five years from now I will be directing my first or second movie which will have an adequate budget and will not require me spending any of my personal funds to complete.

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