2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Daniel Dorian

Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Daniel Dorian

CATEGORY 2 - (Drama)

Elite Prize Winners
Daniel Dorian
of New Hope, PA



Daniel Dorian started his own New York-based production company in 1980, producing, directing and writing more than 150 documentaries, corporate videos and travel films.

A print and broadcast journalist for more than fifteen years, Daniel came to the U.S. from his native Paris in 1963 as a foreign correspondent for major European media outfits. In 1977 he became the director of Sygma-USA, then one of the two leading photo-news agencies in the world.


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

I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter when I felt the urge to tell my own love story, which took place in the turbulent 60s, when I was a journalist. I had to overcome my doubts of being capable to write a full screenplay.

I know I've succeeded........ 

I know I’ve succeeded in learning the basics of screenwriting and in acquiring an awareness of the job’s immense complexity.

My inspiration to write CONFIDENCES OF A CHINESE DEALER.......

My inspiration to write CONFIDENCES OF A CHINESE DEALER stemmed from a real, compelling, out-of-the-ordinary true story.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Daniel Dorian: Books; great movies and their impact.

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

Daniel Dorian: I first attended the Robert McKee seminar. I then proceeded to read all the books I could lay my hands on about screenwriting (Linda Seger, Syd Field, Tom Lazarus. William Goldman, etc.)

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

Daniel Dorian: No, It was my second script that I wrote ten years ago. New circumstances in the life of the person whose story inspired me prompted me to undertake the rewrite last winter. The rewrite took six months.

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

Daniel Dorian:
I make sure that I am at my computer from 8:00am to about 3:00 to 4:00pm, every day.

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

Daniel Dorian: They offer the opportunity to be read, which is the bottom-line. Being a finalist might just be enough third-party validation for producers and development managers to take the time to read my script.

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

Daniel Dorian: ‘Moviebytes’’s rating of the contest. The prospect of being read by people in the industry. The fact that Filmmakers International offers finalists the opportunity to be read by the Radmin Co.

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

Daniel Dorian: McKee says ‘Casablanca’. Of course, but my choice is ‘Citizen Kane’, for the power and originality of the concept, for its innovative use of flashbacks, for its lyricism, for the depth and intensity of its characters, for the creation of an extra-dimensional anti-hero, for its unbelievable maturity, for its ‘vision’.

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

Daniel Dorian: Photography. I have always been a visual person and find photography the ideal way to express a feeling, to catch a mood, to encapsulate the essence of a situation such as the horror of war, the tragedy of poverty or the elation of victory.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Daniel Dorian: Jean Cocteau for his ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Orpheus’, two poetic and lyrical masterpieces taking place in imaginary worlds that connect with our inner aspirations, our hidden dreams and sometimes our deep fears.

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

Daniel Dorian:
I‘d be remiss to name Martin Scorcese without mentioning Andrew Lau, one of the two directors of ‘Internal Affairs’, the movie that inspired ‘The Departed’. Why? Simply because of the conciseness and the swiftness of the story telling.

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

Daniel Dorian: Josh Hartnett. He would be perfect for my lead.

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

Daniel Dorian: Reject complacency. Be your toughest critic. Do not hesitate to eliminate, add, rethink, reshuffle a sentence, a piece of dialogue, a scene you’re not comfortable with, you have the slightest doubt about.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Daniel Dorian: Another screenplay, but this one a more intimate and psychological story that takes place in a single location throughout the four seasons.

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

Daniel Dorian: Same place, same dreams, same aspirations.

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