2006 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Wendy Allen Davies

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Wendy Allen Davies
20th Place Winner
Wendy Allen Davies
of 
Park City, UT
Screenplay
SIDEPASS
Drama
Biography:

Born and raised in a western suburb of Chicago, Wendy Davies never expected to permanently leave the Chicagoland area. During the course of a twelve year career in Marketing Research, she was transferred to Atlanta for what was supposed to be a temporary assignment. In Atlanta, Wendy met her husband, had two children and made Atlanta home for nearly eight years. At the suggestion of her husband, the family moved to Park City, Utah four years ago.

Wendy faithfully attends Sundance Film Festival movies, panel discussions and the Filmmakers Lodge. She has been consistently inspired by Sundance Q & A sessions involving writers and directors of independent film, “After listening to several writers and directors speak on the vision of their film, I’ve truly come to appreciate film and writing as an art form. Often an audience, or individual, walks out of a film with a completely different perspective than the writer intended, but to me, that’s when true art comes into play.”

Interview

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

when my short story was accepted into the Salt Lake Film Society Screenwriting Program. The program came at the perfect time; I’d been contemplating the idea of turning the short story into a screenplay but didn’t really know how to get started. Through the course of the year long program, participants were provided with screenwriting fundamentals. Additionally, we interacted with industry professionals during discussions on adaptation of previously written material, screenplay formats and differences between independent and studio film production. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we were taught the art of pitching our story.


I know I've succeeded........ 

at least on some level, in developing characters. During the screenwriting process, I would awake in the middle of the night saying out loud, “No, no, she would never say this, instead she would say…”. While I was excited by these revelations, my husband suspected I was suffering from some degree of Multiple Personality Disorder.
 

My inspiration to write SIDEPASS.......

began as a single incident over three years ago. An accident involving my old salty horse named Red, a rope and my finger propelled me to learn the psychology of horses. What began as a study of horse behavior ultimately concluded with a personal journey of dealing with my demons. Moved by my experience, I felt compelled to write a story involving unique characters who not only learn to cope with their own predicament, but also grow to appreciate each other, all as a result of their individual relationship with an intuitive horse.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Wendy Allen Davies: Inspiration to write SIDEPASS happened throughout the process, starting with an illuminating horse/human relationship, followed by a chance encounter with an extremely warm and spiritual Native American gentleman who became instrumental in assisting me develop one of my characters. Cheers and support by fellow screenwriters, along with helpful critiques, also had a tremendous impact on my inspiration to write.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: My favorite preparation tool is research. I enjoy the process of researching locations, industries, specific job positions, basically any topic I plan to incorporate in writing. I also keep a copy of David Trottier’s “The Screenwriter’s Bible” close at hand. I refer to it frequently while writing.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: SIDEPASS is the first script I’ve written, taking a full year to complete.

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

Wendy Allen Davies:
At this point I do not have a set routine; however, I found dividing the task of writing into phases helpful. For example, I prepared an outline by Act before writing the actual screenplay. Also, deadlines were established for us through the Salt Lake Film Society program. Since I tend to work well with deadlines, I can prioritize my time in order to accomplish the necessary work.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: Yes, screenplay contests are a wonderful way to have your screenplay read, sometimes critiqued and hopefully get noticed by an agent or producer.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: I entered the Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards for two reasons. First, I finished in time for the contest deadline and secondly, I was looking to enter larger contests.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: I would urge aspiring writers to read Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan. He took an interesting subject and created a moving story.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: I am passionate about my family. I spend a lot of time with our two young children and love just about every minute of it.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Wendy Allen Davies: My favorite screenwriter is Michael Arndt. After watching LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, I was quite impressed with his ability to create conflict in virtually every scene, while making me laugh until my stomach hurt throughout the entire movie.

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

Wendy Allen Davies:
I would like to meet Steven Spielberg. His talent to brilliantly direct movies across different genres amazes me.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: My most favorite actress in the entire world is Meryl Streep. Not only is she a gifted actress, but she’s also intelligent, dedicated to her husband and four children and maintains a low profile.

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

Wendy Allen Davies: Join a serious writing group. There’s nothing more helpful than troubleshooting areas where you’re stuck with other writers who truly understand where you’re coming from.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Wendy Allen Davies: I have ideas for three more screenplays; perhaps I’ll write those too.

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

Wendy Allen Davies:
In five years, I’ll be wherever I’m supposed to be.

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