American Gem 2003 Short Screenplay Competition - DONOR

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Benedict R. Fancy

Finalist

Benedict R. Fancy
of
Charlotte,
NC
Screenplay
DONOR
Drama / Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Biography: Originally from England, Benedict R. Fancy immigrated to the US in 2002. He is currently the Assistant Technical Director for Charlotte Repertory Theatre in North Carolina and has been a screenwriter for three years.

Two of Benedictís short film scripts have been recognized in national and international competitions over the past two years and he plans to put his first short film into pre-production later this year when he and his wife move to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Interview

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

when I realized the amount of freedom a writer has on the page when he or she is about to create a story. Your imagination is your limit.

I know I've succeeded....

when I sit back in a movie theatre house and watch a piece of cinematography that I helped create. Itís such a clichť to say but until I see my name on that screen, Iíll continue to hone my favorite craft.

My inspiration to write DONOR.......

was good old-fashioned Americana! Nowhere in the world can you find old, run down motels off the highway, beaten up Cadillacs, fascinating landscapes and an urban legend or two to help you create a story.

 

*****************************************************************

 

FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Benedict R. Fancy: Iíve drawn a lot of inspiration from traveling over the past six years. Iíve backpacked across North America and Canada and traveled to several European countries. Traveling has enabled me to see the world from differing perspectives and Iíve drawn upon these experiences in my writing.

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

Benedict R. Fancy: Iím a huge movie addict (what screenwriter isnít?) and like to watch movies with my wife whenever we have the time. Iíve always loved the thrill of going to see a movie. When it came to writing my first script, I threw myself into it head first, without knowing the rules and structure of screenwriting, and came out with a terrible piece of literature! So, after studying books and obtaining advice through websites and the local film scene, I began to understand the basics in screenwriting.

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

Benedict R. Fancy: I have written four short film scripts and three feature length scripts to date. DONOR is my fourth short script and has received some attention over the past year. The first draft took me three days to finish as I was completely engaged with the storyline. Iíd say it took two months from first draft to completed script. To tell the truth, I didnít expect a story involving a man waking up with missing body organs to be so well received!

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

Benedict R. Fancy: I think competitions are a great way to see how your talents compare to other screenwriters out there. Quality screenplay competitions judged by industry professionals offering either feedback on your writing or further opportunities within the industry are the best ones to enter. To know that your peers have read and liked your work is an accomplishment in itself. Itís also a great way to gain a writing credit to your name and to further your chances of gaining representation in the future.

FilmMakers Magazine:
What influenced you to enter the American Gem Short Script Competition?

Benedict R. Fancy: I was influenced by the fact that FOX would be reading the top twenty-five scripts to determine the winners. When I learned that the ultimate prize involved putting the winning script into pre-production, I knew that it was a great opportunity to gain experience. Of all the short script competitions out there, the American Gem competition is one of the best for having your work read by a major company in the industry.

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

Benedict R. Fancy: Theatre has always been a passion of mine ever since high school and college when I lived in England. Once I moved to the US I had the opportunity to continue in the theatre industry and jumped at the chance. Thereís nothing quite like live theatre! Iím also an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoy mountain biking, hiking and climbing in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Benedict R. Fancy: I donít really have a favorite screenwriter. There are a lot of fantastic writers producing some incredible work, and I enjoy reading all types of genres from a lot of different screenwriters. To name two writers that I have recently read and enjoyed, one would be David Koepp (Panic Room and Spiderman) who has written some great scripts and another would be Quentin Tarrantinoís ĎTrue Romanceí, which was one of the tightest scripts I think Iíve ever read. 

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

Benedict R. Fancy: I have a lot of respect for David Fincher. While people may perceive that he must hate his audience because of his darkness on screen, I think that his work is visually very stunning. ĎSe7ení ĎFight Clubí and ĎPanic Roomí are three films I can watch over and over again to gain inspiration. Iím also interested to see what Christopher Nolan does having produced ĎMomentoí and am a huge admirer of the British director Michael Winterbottom who made ĎWonderlandí and ĎWelcome to Sarajevoí. (We also share the same birth date!)

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

Benedict R. Fancy: I would love to work with Edward Norton. He was spectacular in Spike Leeís ĎAmerican History Xí, Milos Formanís ĎThe People vs. Larry Flintí and also Brett Ratnerís ĎRed Dragoní. He is a diverse actor who has proven himself in different roles time and again. He captures his characterizations every time and heís just a joy to watch on screen.

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

Benedict R. Fancy: Write, write and keep on writing. Itís the old tried and tested routine, but itís true. Keep forcing yourself to sit in front of the computer or write in your notebook at the coffee house because it is the only way youíre going to improve the quality of your writing. Study films and books and try to read as many scripts as possible. Learn the craft, write everyday and write about what you know. Writing is a constant evolution.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Benedict R. Fancy: My wife and I are moving to Wilmington, North Carolina in August. There is a great film community there based around EUE Screen Gem Studios, which is the largest studio east of Hollywood. I plan to put my first short film into pre-production there towards the end of this year and hope to have a feature length independent film completed within three years. I shall continue to write and enter competitions like the American Gem and hope to have the opportunity to gain representation to allow my movie career to grow.

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

Benedict R. Fancy: In five years time I would like to have made several short films that I wrote and hope to have directed a few of those myself. I see my wife and I (who is also a writer) possibly moving to New York City or Los Angeles to really make a go of our careers in the big league.

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