2008 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Sheri Davenport


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Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Sheri Davenport
CATEGORY 3 - (Comedy)
Diamond Prize Winner
Sheri Davenport
Oakland, CA

Since fifth grade all Sheri Davenport ever wanted to do is write. She graduated with a degree in English from the University of Iowa, and began her writing career at Better Homes and Gardens. After moving to San Francisco as a marketing director for Citicorp, She finally took a chance and went out on her own as a freelance writer. She spent the next decade making a living as a writer of videos/films, live event scripts, speeches and advertising for corporate America.

Along the way she also wrote two plays, wrote directed and produced a number of videos for non-profits, and co-authored a novel On The Way To Woodstock. After a good deal of experimenting she finally discovered screenwriting and it felt like coming home--the perfect fit for what she believes are her strongest skills…character development, dialogue and story.


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

after writing a novel and hating every minute that wasn’t action or dialogue.

I know I've succeeded........ 

when production begins on one of my screenplays.

My inspiration to write KISS ME LUCKY.......

My dad won the lottery once -- got his picture in the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune. It was a proud moment at the Davenport house.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Sheri Davenport: I’ve always written, it’s how I sort out life.

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

Sheri Davenport:
I read everything I could find, attended Expo, took classes, attended workshops…then just sat down and made a mess of a first draft. That’s when the real learning began.

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

Sheri Davenport:
Kiss Me Lucky is my third script. It took a little over a year.

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

Sheri Davenport:
I write every day, do my most creative work late afternoon and evening, and my best editing in the morning.

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

Sheri Davenport:
I do. I think it’s important to put it out there, see how your script fares against work others are doing. 

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

Sheri Davenport:
It seemed like one of the more established and respected contests…and the name sounds very cool and official!

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

Sheri Davenport:
Screenwriters should be reading all kinds of scripts. For romantic comedy writing I think anything by Nora Ephron is a must, especially When Harry Met Sally. Two other good scripts that helped me were Tootsie and Jerry McQuire. I’m working on a thriller now so I’ve been studying North By Northwest, an amazing script.

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

Sheri Davenport:
Hiking because it’s where I do my best thinking. Dogs because they love you even when your writing sucks. 

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Sheri Davenport:
I started writing plays so I’ve always been a Mamet fan. I think Charlie Kaufman is an incredibly creative writer, and no one writes smart dialogue like Aaron Sorkin. I was a Woody Allen fan until…well, you know. I also like Cameron Crowe, and Paul Schrader who wrote my favorite movie, Raging Bull.

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

Sheri Davenport:
Scorsese because his films have always really moved me. Mike Nichols--Angels In America….does it get any better than that? Gus Van Sant–I just saw Milk…that was inspiring work. Ridley Scott because he’s Ridley Scott. Jason Reitman, because he’s a hot up-and-comer. 

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

Sheri Davenport:
George Clooney. Come on, look at that face, that smile…he’s also a really good actor. Michael Clayton was outstanding.

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

Sheri Davenport:
It doesn’t all come together and become something unique and potentially wonderful til somewhere between draft 8 and 10. I know that’s not what most writers want to hear, but it’s true.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Sheri Davenport:
After two romantic comedies I can’t wait to get serious.

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

Sheri Davenport:
Writing. Still writing. Always writing.

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