2008 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Steven Martinez


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Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Steven Martinez
CATEGORY 1 - (Action Adventure)
Platinum Prize Winner
Steven Martinez
of Albuquerque, NM
Action Adventure

Steven Martinez was born in the small town of Las Vegas, New Mexico. His family moved throughout the state, creating for him a sense of some instability. When he was very young, he and his brother created a comic-book called “Adventures in Space,” which was probably his earliest experience with writing. Predictably, the stories were somewhat two-dimension (okay, okay, one-dimensional!), but they did provide him with a great sense of escape. He graduated from High School, and attended the University of New Mexico for two years. Lacking any sense of direction, he joined the military, and spent four years at the NORAD, in Colorado Springs. He went back to school and finished his Bachelor's Degree (in History), then abruptly moved to California.

You see he had fallen in love with writing. Nothing else seemed to matter, and he devoted the bulk of his energy to writing a novel (which he's happy to report is now finished). He met friends who enjoyed writing as well, and eventually moved with a few of them to Portland, Oregon. There he began to write a second novel, and a few short stories. A friend, who is a little older than he is, suggested he try to write a screenplay. He didn't act on the suggestion at the time, but upon returning to New Mexico he began to give it more serious consideration. He wrote “Phoenix Rising,” showed it to a few friends (who were generally encouraging) and decided to submit it to the Filmmakers International Screenwriters Awards. Whatever may come of it, he is convinced screenwriting is the medium for him. He will keep writing until that magic moment when he sees the words “written by Steven Martinez” appear somewhere on the Big Screen.


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

when I began drafting a short screenplay about two brothers who fight over a winning lottery-ticket. For whatever reason, I enjoyed constructing narrative through dialog.


I know I've succeeded........ 

when I see the words “written by Steven Martinez” on the silver-screen.


My inspiration to write PHOENIX RISING.......

came from an early infatuation with comic-books in my youth. The idea of creating a super-hero group is a kind of wish-fulfillment which allowed my imagination to run wild.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Steven Martinez: My love of literature, and a need for focused creative outlet.

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

Steven Martinez: I studied a few screenplays that I admired, and began thinking about how the written word can serve a visual medium.

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

Steven Martinez: This is actually my second script, and it took about a year to complete.

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

Steven Martinez:
I generally write after work, and on weekends. I tend to prefer writing in the morning, or at night.

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

Steven Martinez: Absolutely, because they provide a sense of professionalism that can sneak away from a writer if he's not disciplined.

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

Steven Martinez: I read a highly favorable review of the contest in an online forum.

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

Steven Martinez: Probably “Star Wars” (1976), because it seems to contain all the essential elements to telling a compelling, rewarding, story.

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

Steven Martinez: I love music, and am currently learning to play the piano (which seems much more difficult than writing, if you can believe it!).

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Steven Martinez: Probably Charlie Kauffman, because he seems to bridge that chasm between what people experience and what they imagine.

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

Steven Martinez: Paul Thomas Anderson, because he uses a great deal of symbolism in his films. I think he's the most gifted director alive, and I'm actually in the process of completing a book about his films. 

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

Steven Martinez: Matt Damon, because he possesses that rare combination of intelligence, strength, and everyday humanity. 

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

Steven Martinez: I think writers have to really reflect on why they understand the experiences that mean the most to them. If a writer can come to grips with their own particular insights (and why they possess them), they can begin to translate those experiences into a cohesive story.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Steven Martinez: I should finish my book about the films of P.T. Anderson before January (the working title of which is: “Serpent at the Door: The Films of Paul Thomas Anderson”). After that, another screenplay!

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

Steven Martinez: It's not easy to say, since much of my best writing has come from staying mobile. One thing's for sure, I'll be writing every step of the way.

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