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 2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Joe Kisch

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Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Joe Kisch
CATEGORY 1 - (Action/Adventure; Thriller/Horror/Supernatural; Sci-Fi; Animation/Fantasy; Mystery/Suspense)
Diamond Prize Winner
Joe Kisch
of Tuggeranong Dc, Australia
Screenplay
SWIMMING AGAINST THE CURRENTS
Period / Historical
Biography:

Joe Kisch is a public servant in the Australian Government who has been writing feature length scripts for 4 years and short scripts for just one and a
half years. In the last twelve months Joe has achieved runner up in the Canberra 2006 short seasons script competition for his script Frustration (which was also selected for Round 2 consideration out of 1200 in the American Gem script competition) and for which he has been granted funding by the Territory's Chief Minister. He has co-written and won the Canberra 2007 autumn short seasons short script competition for Blind Love and has finished filming another elevator story called, "Blind Faith", which is in post-production.

Joe has produced, written and directed the following short films: Jenni's Torment, New World, Going Down, Blind Love and Blind Faith two of which
are in the finals of the Canberra International Film Festival Competition. One documentary, The Gill, documents the abuse children in boys homes experienced while in the care of the Salvation Army. This is in post-production.

Interview

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

after seeing so many disappointing, write-by-numbers movies and realizing I could do better. Script writing needn't be as formulaic as it currently is. With this in mind, I'm in a unique position of being able to write scripts for an American audience, but with an Australian flavor added. There is also a lot to glean from European filmmakers and films (particularly French, English, German and
Russian) that is currently missing the American movie-going public.


I know I've succeeded........ 

when I can finally see my creation on screen and in the process can change movie-goers' perceptions about that which I am writing.
 

My inspiration to write SWIMMING AGAINST THE CURRENTS.......

was fuelled by reading alternative energy magazines. Slowly, it was revealed to me that Nikola Tesla has had an enormous impact on our current lives (no pun intended) that most of the western world is either unaware of or ignorantly dismisses. Researching Tesla's and Thomas Edison's lives showed me that history could have been different if Tesla had the resources and business acumen of Edison.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Joe Kisch: The battle between Tesla and Edison is a story that needed telling. There appeared so much hyperbole around our historical icons that a story needed to be told to set the record straight..

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

Joe Kisch: I did an enormous amount of research into Tesla and Edison's lives before sitting down to write it. I ordered books on the subject and researched the internet. I talked with my muse (a very patient friend) to bounce ideas off him.

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

Joe Kisch: SWIMMING AGAINST THE CURRENTS is my second feature length script which took me 12 months to complete. I had it analyzed by a script consultant and it has gone through several drafts. There is probably still a little more to do on it (after all, when is anything perfect?).

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

Joe Kisch:
I guess I'm in an enviable position of being able to write down any story thoughts, dialogues, script ideas or whatever at any time because
I work in front of a computer crunching numbers and analyzing data. It is therapeutic for me to write, I guess you can say. This notwithstanding, I do set aside the wee small hours of the night in which to write. Being a night owl, I do my best work after everyone's gone to sleep.

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

Joe Kisch: Screenplay contests are essential for emerging writers like me because they are a vehicle for driving our ambition and determination to
succeed. Without them we'd have to contend with pitching to the large production houses that may never look at our work. With recognized and
respected screenplay contests such as the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards, we writers have a chance to be recognized.

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

Joe Kisch: Serendipity. Last year, I missed the deadline for submitting a story. I'm glad I did because it gave me more time to work on SWIMMING AGAINST
THE CURRENTS. Also, I wanted so much to contribute to what I was told was one of only a dozen respected contests in the world.

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

Joe Kisch: I don't actually have a favorite script. The important thing is to read. That's it. Read scripts of every genre... of the movies that were successful or had a high profile, A-list actor in it, that is. That's important. A-list actors are attracted to scripts because of the character they can play and the story. They wouldn't commit to the film if it weren't for those things. So, trawl through those scripts before you commit pen to paper.

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

Joe Kisch: Films, films, films. If I could, I'd go to the cinema every day to watch a film. I just love it. Apart from that, I love reading science fiction books and anything to do with martial arts (I'm a Level One in Wing Chun).

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Joe Kisch: The Wachowski Brothers for their brilliant script V for Vendetta and of course the Matrix trilogy. Didn't mind Assassins. I like the way they
twist an ending.

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

Joe Kisch:
There are so many: my favorites are Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, James Cameron. Why? Their style of directing, their
strength of vision, their achievements.

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

Joe Kisch:
Michael Caine and John Hurt - love their work and accents. They'd be ideal for my next script. Jude Law could play Caine's younger self in
the screenplay.

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

Joe Kisch: Don't be discouraged by nay-sayers; surround yourself with positivity; never, ever give up your dream; and just write, even if it turns out to
be gaffe. Oh, and read, read, read.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Joe Kisch: To finish shooting a couple more short films for my Elevator Anthology; then to settle down and finish The Hard Easy (a movie about grifters); and finally to start a new script on a famous historical figure whose life and times bears a striking resemblance to current day events and one notable, notorious figure.

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

Joe Kisch: Hopefully on the set of some movie I've been asked to direct.

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