I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........
when I saw the movie
Braveheart. It inspired me to tell the story of Boadicea, the
Queen of Iceni Ė and consequently, I wrote Warrior Queen, at
an AFI Screenwriting Workshop, where it won an AFI Television Movie
I know I've succeeded........
producing some of my best work
so far, but I hope to continue to produce better work every time I write.
My inspiration to write
I wanted to
demonstrate that I could write a thriller, and I wanted to do it as
a low-budget female-driven vehicle, in the same vein as
Diabolique and Rebecca;
I wanted to pay
homage to those two movies, while, hopefully, bringing something new
to the mix.
What inspired you to write?
been a writer all my life. I started out in publishing in NYC, back
in the day, writing childrenís books and teen novels. When I moved to
LA, I learned to write film scripts. I also write stage plays, and I
continue to write childrenís books. In fact, Iíve got several books
coming out this year Ė and I produced seven stage plays over the last
FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?
attended AFI Screenwriterís Workshop, Bob McKeeís Story Structure
weekend, David Freemanís Beyond Structure, and read a ton of
screenwriting books, as well as the scripts of all my favorite
movies. In addition, I joined a private writing group headed by my
former AFI instructor. I also did a ton of research on my topic,
which I almost always do for everything I write. My first script,
Warrior Queen, was based on Boadicea, Queen of Iceni Ė the
first female rebel leader to fight Rome during its occupation of
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?
Greed is not my first script. Itís actually my third. It took me
about two months to actually write it all down, but it had been
percolating within for about four months prior to my sitting down to
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
a variety of things daily, but I only write a script when I know what
Iím going to write, or I have a drop dead deadline and have absolutely
no choice but to write and finish it.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring
screenwriters and why?
know if screenplay contests are important, but I do know that they are
useful. They establish a deadline to work toward, and oftentimes
provide valuable feedback/coverage, which every aspiring writer
needs. They also provide an invaluable way of publicizing a writerís
work Ė a true service in this industry, since half the battle is
getting your work out there to producers.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?
Filmmakers has an impressive website, and it seemed like a solid
contest, with a large following, which means that producers will be
checking it to see what the Filmmakers judges have selected.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Aspiring writers should read the scripts of whatever movies appeal to
them, and whatever types of movies they want to write. They should
read everything by William Goldman, David Mamet and Aaron Sorkin, just
because. I loved Thelma and Louise and Fried Green Tomatoes, but
really, anything that moves the writer is what he or she should read.
FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
passionate about all types of storytelling. I love writing my books,
my stage plays, and I love directing plays and film. I am also a
passionate advocate of childrenís rights, and my most recent short
film, The Sacrifice, specifically addresses the issue of
child brides in the United States.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
deeply admire William Goldman, Eric Roth, Aaron Sorkin, David Mamet,
Ron Bass, Callie Khouric, Susannah Grant and Nora Ephron. I love their
storytelling styles, their wit, their economic use of language, their
ability to create sweeping visuals and/ or heartbreaking moments
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
love to work with so many directors, Iím hard pressed to name them
all: Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Sidney Lumet, Ridley Scott, Clint
Eastwood, George Clooney, Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner, Ron Howard, Sean
Penn, George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh, Jason Reitman, Jake Kasdan,
and dozens of others. I think that each of these directors have made
exceptional films. I admire their storytelling and technical
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
are so many really remarkable actors working these days that itís
almost impossible to choose just one. However, if I have to pick only
one, it would be Denzel Washington. I think heís an amazing actor
with a mesmerizing screen presence. He brings a power, intelligence
and dimension to every character he portrays.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
major thing Iíve learned along the way is that itís important to
really hear the comments that knowledgeable people make about your
work. Itís important to be open to the possibility that your work
needs revision, even after you think itís done. That itís not
necessary to take every and all suggestions, but it is necessary to
listen when a reader says an element isnít working, and fix it in your
own way, so that you improve your story, while remaining true to your
vision of it.
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
mentioned earlier, Iíve recently directed my own short film, so once
Iím done with post-production, Iím going to be marketing that to film
festivals to see what sort of reaction I get. Iím going to fundraise
for my non-profit theater company, West of Broadway, so I can continue
to produce family-oriented productions of updated adaptations of
classic literature; Iím committed to writing several childrenís books
for the coming year, and after the writerís strike, Iíll be working on
a couple of feature scripts that are in the works.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?
years I hope to be doing exactly what Iím doing now, writing and
directing plays and films, only with bigger budgets!