2006 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Neil Goodchild


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Neil Goodchild
Eighth Place Winner
Neil Goodchild
of Attleboro, MA

In addition to being the author of several screenplays, Neil Goodchild has also written the nonfiction book A Day In The Life: September 11th, 2001 an autobiographical work detailing the author's experience on 9/11/01. His sister, Lynn, was a passenger on United Flight 175.


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

when I saw Pulp Fiction in 1994.

I know I've succeeded........ 

when I can quit my day job and work consistently in the movie business.

My inspiration to write ALIVE AND WELL.......

came shortly after I saw Jerry Maguire in 1996.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Neil Goodchild: As a kid, I loved Star Wars but it wasn't until I saw Jerry Maguire in 1996 and Good Will Hunting in 1997 that I realized I wanted to try my hand at this craft.

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

Neil Goodchild: I read Syd Field's book Screenplay and went to my school library to read copies of several scripts including Reservoir Dogs, The Fisher King and The Silence Of The Lambs.

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

Neil Goodchild: 'ALIVE AND WELL' is my third screenplay and it took nine years to get it to where it is now. The first draft was finished in about three weeks back in 1997. Since then, I have done countless rewrites and I'm constantly looking for a way to make it better.

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

Neil Goodchild:
I wish! Between two jobs, I write whenever I can set aside the time.

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

Neil Goodchild: Yes, of course! They give an unknown writer a chance at feedback that they otherwise couldn't have been exposed to. Hopefully, these contests will continue to help people who otherwise would never have gotten their foot in the door get a chance to see their work out there and in the hands of the right people.

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

Neil Goodchild: I have had positive experiences with the contest in the past, receiving honorable mentions both times I entered.

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

Neil Goodchild: Without question I would recommend Million Dollar Baby because I have never been so moved by words on a page as I was by that script. I think it is the single best example of screenwriting that I have ever read.

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

Neil Goodchild: Spending time with my wife, family and friends. That's where all my best ideas have come from. Listening to people and their speech patterns, cares and concerns are where all the best material comes from. If you want to write a human interest story, you've got to know what interests humans.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Neil Goodchild: Cameron Crowe. He doesn't follow any of the strict rules and guidelines for writing screenplays and yet he writes some of the most compelling stories out there.

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

Neil Goodchild:
Gus Van Sant. He can take great material such as the Good Will Hunting screenplay or Finding Forrester and he adds subtle touches that make the final product better than the source material without straying far from the original work.

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

Neil Goodchild: Michael Rosenbaum. He is one of the most promising young actors of our time. He can be hysterically funny or frighteningly menacing without ever going the top and he makes it look easy.

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

Neil Goodchild: I've found that reading other material, be it screenplays or books is the best thing for any aspiring writer. I'd also recommend seeing as many movies as possible.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Neil Goodchild: Writing has always and will continue to be my favorite thing to do, so I'm going to keep myself planted in front of a keyboard for awhile longer. There are plenty of other stories in my head.

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

Neil Goodchild: Hopefully, I'll be standing on the set of a film I've written, watching the magic happen.

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