2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Richard Sartore

Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Richard Sartore
18th Place Winner
Richard Sartore
of Santa Ana, CA

Richard Sartore earned a BA and three MS degrees from the SUNY at Albany and SUC at New Paltz. He worked as a writer, and also served on different levels of education. Over a hundred of his poems and articles have been published. Nine books are available nationwide and he has completed ten screenplays.

A prior script, SOLŐS LAST TAPE, placed as a semifinalist in the worldwide BIG AUSTRALIAN: Year 2000 screenwriter's contest. The screenplay PANDAMONIUM was a top Quarter Finalist in the 2002 Hollywood's Next Success Screenwriting Contest. His screenplay, AXEL'S RIFF, placed in the top ten percent of some 4000 applicant in the 2003 Heart of Film Screenplay Competition. BILL'S THE ONE is a 2004 round one winner in the SCREENBROKERS, THE SCRIPT SURGEON, AND LET'S-DO-LUNCH 20/20 COMPETITION. It was also selected for 2005 Semifinal consideration for the International Screenwriting Awards. The screenplay THE KILLING MODE was chosen by FilmMakers.com and The Radmin Company as one of the final contenders for their 5th annual 2005 Screenwriting Contest. BILLŐS THE ONE was a quarter finalist in the 2005 10th Annual FADE IN MAGAZINE Awards screenwriting contest . SOLŐS LAST TAPE is an April 2006 third place 20/20 winner in the first page competition and received Honorable Mention. The script MOPINS was chosen as a finalist in the Fall/Winter 2006 ACCLAIM Screenwriting Competition. CHIMPFUSION is a Finalists for the 2007 Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards. A novella based on the script, SOLŐS LAST TAPE, is currently written. His screenplay, WOODLEY, was optioned by Captures Entertainment in May 2007.


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

Writing has developed into a series of projects for me. Screenwriting, even though it was a later pursuit, challenged me while being an enjoyable task.


I know I've succeeded........ 

others, including myself, feel good about what has been written.


My inspiration to write CHIMPFUSION.......

was simply generated by a conversation with a friend. The ideas for my scripts come from any and all places. I have a tendency to ask myself, "Would this topic make an appealing script?"




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Richard Sartore: My inspiration to write occurred after I completed graduate school. I submitted an article to a scholarly journal and to my amazement, it
was accepted. I ended up on the Editorial Board of that same journal several years later. Initially, my focus was on articles and poems. Later, I began writing books which led me to write screenplays.

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

Richard Sartore: My educational background was not in writing. However, a friend introduced me to the screenwriting process. I read books on developing screenplays. I watched and listened to seminars, read professional scripts and received assistance from a produced screenwriter friend. Before writing, I prepared my notes and formulated my ideas.

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

Richard Sartore: No, I had already written approximately ten scripts. Chimpfusion took me seven to eight months.

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

Richard Sartore:
From home, I spend at least eight hours each day on a particular writing project. Given the fact that I have ALS and am paralyzed
from the neck down, I utilize a program called KeyStrokes. I use a head mouse attached to my glasses and a superimposed keyboard on my computer. However, it only allows me to type one letter at a time. The writing process becomes long and tedious. Thus, the lengthy time is essential.

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

Richard Sartore: Yes. Contests can be excellent sources of exposure, networking and determining where you stand in the screenwriting community.

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

Richard Sartore:
I entered the contest previously and was impressed by the
attentiveness to each submission.

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

Richard Sartore: There is no one particular script that I would recommend. Each individual writer has their own interests. Therefore, my suggestion is that they read scripts that excite and motivate them.

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

Richard Sartore:
Since my mobility is limited, I've had to exclude certain areas of interest. Currently, I enjoy music, movies, reading, politics and discussions with a network of friends.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Richard Sartore:
Sidney Lumet. I admire his work. He has written countless
screenplays, most that I thoroughly enjoyed. By reading his credits, it is easy to see that he is a committed and talented screenwriter. Lumet encompasses the key qualities of a good screenwriter (e.g. character building, plot, story development, etc.).

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

Richard Sartore: The late Alfred Hitchcock. The stories he helped develop had
suspenseful layers and ongoing twists.

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

Richard Sartore:
Dustin Hoffman. He has an ability to convincingly transform into different characters, depending on the story. For example, from TOOTSIE to Willy Loman.

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

Richard Sartore: If you are writing for the money, change careers. If you're writing because you love to write, you have a chance to succeed as a screenwriter. One must be prepared to invest time, thought and the ability to accept criticism and rejection.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Richard Sartore:
Currently completing a short book entitled SOL'S LAST TAPE, based on my unpublished screenplay of the same name. Also, I just started a new animated screenplay entitled, BAD DOG.

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

Richard Sartore:
I expect to still be writing and improving my skills.

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