American Gem 2003 Short Screenplay Competition - A TOWN IN THE REAR WINDOW
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Greg Shih

Second Place Winner

Greg Shih
Biography: Greg Shih was born in Taiwan and raised in Delaware. The arts have always been a driving force in his life, whether its playing classical guitar or writing screenplays. He graduated with a double degree in Economics and Classical Guitar from Johns Hopkins University, where he took two very influential screenwriting courses taught by Marc Lapadula. Greg is currently a graduate student at Cornell University.


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

when I read my first ''How To'' book on screenwriting.

I know I've succeeded....

when strangers compliment my work.

My inspiration to write A TOWN IN THE REAR WINDOW .......

was borne out of trying to empathize with a life completely different than mine.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Greg Shih: It's a combination of various things. Writing can act as therapy, it can be trying to realize an imagination, it can be something that rescues you from what fate has in store for you.

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

Greg Shih: I just did it. The format was all wrong, the dialogue horrible, no plot in sight. I think the biggest challenge was sitting down and trying to do the second one right.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write A TOWN IN THE REAR WINDOW?

Greg Shih: This was my first short screenplay. I wrote it while a junior in college not too long ago. It took about a semester, but work on a screenplay is never really done.

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

Greg Shih: I believe they are an invaluable way of getting feedback from people whose job it is to read. That's always a good thing.

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

Greg Shih: I was enticed by the chance to possibly get my idea realized on screen. But also, the filmmakers website was very professional and had so many resources for writers. I thought that they would read everyone's script with due attention and sincerity. 

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

Greg Shih: Music is a large part of my life. I think it is important to me in the same ways that writing is: it allows you to be not yourself for a little while.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Greg Shih: David Mamet, because people don't really talk the way they do in his movies, but I wish they would.

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

Greg Shih: Roman Polanski, because of his sheer range.

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

Greg Shih: Daniel Day-Lewis, because I still haven't gotten over his performance in 'Gangs of New York'.

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

Greg Shih: Sometimes writer's block is just another word for laziness. Write a scene, any scene. It helps me to work out the kinks.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Greg Shih: I'll be writing and trying to get better.

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

Greg Shih: I see myself as a better writer who will be trying to get better still.

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