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 2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Alex Williams

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2008 CONTEST
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Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Alex Williams
17th Place Winner
Alex Williams
of Mountain View, CA
Screenplay
ACES AND EIGHTS
Comedy
Biography:

I was born and raised in Indianapolis and moved to Northern California in my mid- twenties. (Thereís an old saying: a lot of smart men come out of Indiana, and the sooner they come out the smarter they are.) I started college but didnít finish, the biggest single regret of my life. Iím now living Silicon Valley, working as a sales rep for a San Francisco radio station and writing every chance I get.

Interview

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

when I realized that I was entirely too self conscious to be an actor.

 

I know I've succeeded........ 

I can see my work on the screen.

 

My inspiration to write ACES AND EIGHTS.......

was to see if I could successfully meld two of my favorite kinds of films: romantic comedies and action movies.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Alex Williams: As corny as it sounds, I think it comes from being an avid reader as a child. Iíve always loved storytelling and since I was young Iíve wanted to be a storyteller myself.

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

Alex Williams: I took some filmmaking courses at a local community college, where I wrote short scripts and worked as a crew member on several student productions. Iíve also read a mountain of film criticism and history over the years, which gave me some insight into what makes a good film.

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

Alex Williams: This is my first feature script after writing several TV pilots. Please do not embarrass me by forcing me to tell you how long Iíve been working on Aces and Eights. (Remember that famous story about Sylvester Stallone writing Rocky in three days? I donít believe that for one second.)

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

Alex Williams:
Absolutely. What better way to learn about disappointment? Just kidding. Actually, it was script notes I got from a previous contest that lead me to do a major re-write on Aces and Eights. Without that helpful critique, I doubt seriously that it would be a finalist in this competition.

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

Alex Williams: Absolutely. What better way to learn about disappointment? Just kidding. Actually, it was script notes I got from a previous contest that lead me to do a major re-write on Aces and Eights. Without that helpful critique, I doubt seriously that it would be a finalist in this competition.

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

Alex Williams: It seemed like a good idea to enter a contest sponsored by a well respected industry publication. Frankly, I donít think entering the Pillsbury Bake off was going to do me much good.

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

Alex Williams: (1) Chinatown, because itís so beautifully structured (2) His Girl Friday, because the supporting characters are as entertaining as the leads (3) Memento, because itís a stunt that perfectly executed.

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

Alex Williams: Politics, because itís fascinating and vitally important, and the NFL, because itís fascinating and completely unimportant.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Alex Williams: Just one? Are you kidding? Ben Hecht, for writing so well in so many different genres; the Coen brothers, ditto; Alexander Payne, for the warmth he feels towards his characters; Preston Sturges, ditto; Woody Allen, forÖ well, just watch Love and Death and Manhattan back to back. Aaron Sorkin, because I still enjoy listening to smart people talk.

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

Alex Williams: Ang Lee or Stephen Soderberg, because I think they can do (and want to try) just about anything.

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

Alex Williams: George Clooney. A manís man who has sense of humor about it is pretty rare. And as long as weíre on the subject, the most underrated actor in the business is Greg Kinnear. And why did Matthew Perry not become a popular leading man?

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

Alex Williams: For once, a clichť is true: good scripts arenít written, theyíre rewritten. Donít have too much reverence for your own work; it can always get better.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Alex Williams: Lunch.

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

Alex Williams: That much closer to parole.

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