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 2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Diane Namm

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2008 CONTEST
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Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Diane Namm
CATEGORY 1 - (Action/Adventure; Thriller/Horror/Supernatural; Sci-Fi; Animation/Fantasy; Mystery/Suspense)
Platinum Prize Winner
Diane Namm
of
Los Angeles, CA
Screenplay
GREED
Horror / Thriller
Biography: Diane Namm ( dianenamm.com) is the author of over 50 published children's books and young adult novels;  Founder/President and Artistic Director of the non-profit theater company West of Broadway (westofbroadway.com); playwright, screenwriter, director for stage and film. Diane has recently written and directed The Sacrifice, a short film starring Chris Mulkey, Darby Stanchfield, Jon Lindstrom and Richard Riehle, produced by Eric Mofford. Diane's original feature-length screenplays have been optioned, honored and selected in a variety of competitions and festivals. Diane works with Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California , serves on the Advisory Board of the English Department of the University of Michigan and conducts writing workshops for Create Now! a mentoring organization for at-risk youth.Member of the Authors Guild, AFI, American Screenwriter's Association and Women in Film.

Interview

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 Award.

 


I know I've succeeded........ 

in 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 GREED.......

was twofold:

  1. 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;

  2. I wanted to pay homage to those two movies, while, hopefully, bringing something new to the mix.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Diane Namm:
Iíve 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 18 months.

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

Diane Namm:
I 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 Britain.

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

Diane Namm:
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 write it.

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

Diane Namm:
I write 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?

Diane Namm:
I donít 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?

Diane Namm:
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?

Diane Namm:
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?

Diane Namm:
I am 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 and Why?

Diane Namm:
I 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 between characters.

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

Diane Namm:
Iíd 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 abilities equally.

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

Diane Namm:
There 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?

Diane Namm:
The one 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?

Diane Namm:
As I 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?

Diane Namm:
In five years I hope to be doing exactly what Iím doing now, writing and directing plays and films, only with bigger budgets!

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