I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........
when I was 9 years old, sitting in a movie
theatre on the Champs-Élysées, watching Lawrence of Arabia.
I know I've succeeded........
when one of my feature screenplays gets
financed and theatrically distributed.
My inspiration to write MY THERMONUCLEAR FAMILY.......
was when I spent some time hanging out with a
corrections officer in Upstate New York. I sat up in bed one morning when I
was up there and wrote out a relatively in-depth outline of the screenplay in
a few hours.
What inspired you to write?
Doug Karr: Iım inspired to write when I can find some mental
extreme emotion (suffering, love, pain, a psychotic break). A
Iım inspired by my dreams: waking up suddenly, struck by an idea...
often years later Iım still exploring it.
FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?
Doug Karr: I read dozens of books about the first gulf war and
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Spent time hanging out with US
Marines, Veterans and folks in a
mental health center. Then I started writing... and got very lost.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?
Doug Karr: This is my third script. Itıs taken me 4 and a half
years to get it to this point.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
I try to wake up between 8-9 am and write between four and six hours a
day. I used to write at home, but now I write in my office in the
Lower East Side.
Music blaring in my ears. Sometimes the same album for months at a
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring
screenwriters and why?
Doug Karr: Yes, because theyıre a forum for the work to get out
there and thatıs the most difficult part of getting a film made.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?
Doug Karr: Randomness, frankly. A Google search.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Doug Karr: "Down by Law" by Jim Jarmusch. Why? Three guys
screaming for ice cream in a Louisiana jail cell.
FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
Doug Karr: Iım a writer and director. Having made short films,
television projects for over a decade, Iım equally passionate about
working with actors as I am developing a visual language with my
Director of Photography.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
Doug Karr: Paul Schrader. Because when I met him, he couldnıt
stop talking about his gun collection. And you canıt fuck with Taxi
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
A toss up between Spike Lee and
Sidney Lumet. I find them to be two of the most exciting directors
working in today. And because between their careers, theyıve directed
a combination of almost a hundred feature films and every single one
of those films is worth watching... and the rest are masterpieces.
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Woody Harrelson because he's an
amazing presence on screen.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
Doug Karr: I thought my first screenplay was solid and it held
me back from starting another, because I kept trying to fine-tune it
and work away at it to make
it better... But then finally I let myself start a new screenplay and
after 6 weeks I felt much better about the new one that I ever could
have about the first. So I guess if I have any advice, itıs that if
something seems precious... Move on. Try something new. Then see how
precious the first project is in retrospect.
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
Doug Karr: Iım off to Toronto in a week with my filmmaking
partner, Eddie Boyce, to make an ambitious new short film currently
titled ³Ten For Grandpa² that my production company Chop Wood Carry
Water is producing on a shoestring
budget. Weıre shooting on super 35 and building 9 sets on a
soundstage, so hopefully weıll pull it off.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?
Doug Karr: Alternating my time between sitting in front of a
computer every morning working on a screenplay, and running myself
ragged on feature film sets.