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.
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
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
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
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
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?
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.
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
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
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