I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........
because the more I do it, the more I
enjoy it. If I could sit at my lap top and pass the days away writing great
stories, I would be a very happy man.
I know I've succeeded........
because I can read Lovelocked
and really take pleasure in it. The first 5 versions, I would cringe. The next
3 were better, but I still knew it wasn’t there. Now I can just read the damn
thing and truly enjoy it. Also, people seem to like it. The screenplay has
recently attracted the attention of a director and producer who feel the work
is worth developing.
My inspiration to write LOVELOCKED.......
was the character of Arden Nixx.
Someone so profoundly annoying and condescending, sporting the kind of
insufferable ego reserved for dictators, and yet, somehow by the last act, we
want so badly to see him get the girl, and get the point. That was the
challenge of the script and what really excited me about seeing it through.
What inspired you to write?
Wernher Ovalle: I love to explore humanity. What makes a good
person do a bad thing, what makes one so vulnerable, or so callous;
how does one deal with pain and suffering; and how is it that love
always seems to either fix or destroy things. For me, those deep
dramatic issues are the backdrop for my stories, and in the foreground
is humor. In this way, deep psychological themes are dealt with
tremendous subtlety, not contrived, keeping things off-the-nose
whenever I can, and at the same time, funny as hell.
FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?
Wernher Ovalle: I kicked around the character of Arden Nixx in
my head for about three months before I put pen to paper. His every
mannerism, back story, strength, weakness, etc. One day I finally sat
down and tapped away at my lap top until I spelled Arden out—15 pages
of descriptive exposition. Some of it stuck and a lot didn’t, but the
story seemed to write itself after that.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?
Wernher Ovalle: No. It’s my third script, and Lovelocked took
about two years of writing and re-writing.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
I write every day. On good days, I get to write a lot. Truth is,
though, I’m running ideas through my head all the time: dialogue
pieces, edits, new story lines, etc. By the time I sit down to write,
a lot is already figured out.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring
screenwriters and why?
Wernher Ovalle: Breaking into Hollywood seems like mission
impossible without having an inside connection. I feel (and hope) that
screenplay contests give quality writers the opportunity to have their
work read by decision makers. The obvious caveat, however, is that the
material needs to be exceptional. Standing out amongst hundreds of
other screenplays is not exactly easy either.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?
Wernher Ovalle: Filmmakers International is one of the larger
and well known contests. Also, the web site has been a valuable
resource for me, so it was an easy call to enter it. And now that my
script has been selected, I can safely say they know a good screenplay
when they see one.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Wernher Ovalle: The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my
favorite screenplays. It’s written without much fan fare but its
genius lies in the dialogue and rich characterizations. There are real
poignant moments in the story, but they’re interconnected by some of
the funniest scenes ever written. I would encourage people to read it
specifically to study the protagonist character arc, which is done so
masterfully with Gene Hackman’s character.
FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
Wernher Ovalle: My family. I have three boys and they inspire
me to write and keep my child-like disposition. Some of the funniest
set ups I’ve come up with have been inspired by my little guys.
Besides that, they ground me, and remind me on a daily basis about
what’s really important.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
Wernher Ovalle: Wes Anderson. His movies have such a
distinctive style that I find both hilarious and at their core,
dramatic. His characters are drawn with such bright vivid
brushstrokes, they’re all very memorable. I’m not exactly sure if he
inspired my style of writing, or if we just happen to think alike.
Either way, I think his work is brilliant.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Wernher Ovalle: Paul Haggis is among the most talented of
directors, and it would be amazing to see him in action. Although he’s
a dramatist, I really appreciate his keen understanding of human
nature as was particularly evident in “Crash.” Winning two best
pictures in a row is an amazing accomplishment, and there’s no slowing
him down. I consider him the Tiger Woods of filmmaking.
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Wernher Ovalle: I like actors that can play comedy and drama
simultaneously—and do both justice. Greg Kinnear comes to mind, as
does Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson and Luke Wilson.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
Wernher Ovalle: Characters rarely say what they really think.
I’m big on subtext and think this is really where the challenge of a
good screenplay lies. How do you tell a story without really telling
it? I think this is what separates good screenplays from great ones,
and mastering subtext is critical to developing crisp, believable
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
I’d like to see Lovelocked produced. In the meantime, I’m
working on my next screenplay, “Lucky” which is also an off-beat black
comedy with a great love story..
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?
Writing/Directing my third movie.