American Gem 2004 Short Screenplay Competition - STEPPIN' OUT
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Al Michael Farin

Fourth Place Winner

Al Michael Farin
of San Diego, CA

I was born in the Philippines, lived one third of my life in Hawaii, two thirds in San Diego, so I definitely call San Diego home. Semi average student with a lot of potential is a good way to describe my early years. It took awhile for me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Excelled in many different professions ranging from Deejaying to being an Auto Mechanic. Then, I decided to go back to school.

I attended Platt College Multimedia and Graphic Design. I always loved art and graphic design, I just drifted away from it right after high school. I was inspired to go to school for design, web and video by my younger brother, who is working in the graphic design field currently.


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

Ever since I found myself analyzing movies, whether I liked them or not. I would voice my opinion to anyone within earshot about how I thought the movie should end, or I knew that was going to happen. I was curious as to how the writer of any given movie came up with the ideas they wrote. Not that I am an extreme movie fanatic, but I do love watching movies. 

I know I've succeeded.......  

When I am sitting here answering questions for an interview I never thought I would have to give.

My inspiration to write STEPPIN' OUT.......

It's no lie, I and several people close to me have been through some hard times in our past. The story is loosely based on someone very close to me - my cousin. Life was hard, but you had to persevere, to stay strong. Eventually things worked out for him, as well as myself. Telling the stories of the struggles he and I went through may someday be an inspiration to others going through hard times.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Al Michael Farin: I always loved telling stories. I tend to write exactly what I am thinking or feeling. Then suddenly, I entered Mike Goedecke's screenwriting class at Platt College in San Diego, and he opened my eyes to a whole new world.

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

Al Michael Farin: My first script was actually a final project for my screenwriting class. I paid attention to my teacher's lectures, read some example scripts, did the character outlines for my main characters, and let loose, just started typing.

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

Al Michael Farin: Yes, this is my first script. With first draft and all the revisions after that, it took me about two and a half weeks. 

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

Al Michael Farin: At the time of writing this script? During class hours, of course. This was the only time I had access to the Final Draft software. Outside of class, I would jot some ideas down during my breaks at work, before I went to sleep, and when I woke up in the morning, just whenever ideas popped up.

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

Al Michael Farin: I believe contests are very important, not only to get noticed or for the exposure, but to motivate you and others around you to KEEP WRITING. 

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

Al Michael Farin: There were a couple of days left before our final scripts were due in class. My teacher pushed me to enter the contest. Why not? I loved the script, the few people that read it liked it, why not try to get more than just a grade for it? So I entered. 

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

Al Michael Farin: I haven't read very many scripts, just bits and pieces of various scripts, some popular, some classics.

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

Al Michael Farin: Video editing and Web Design are high on the list. Still honing my skills, still in school.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Al Michael Farin: I cannot name just one favorite - let's just say I have several.  

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

Al Michael Farin: Quentin Tarantino, hands down. The guy is a genius, among many, of course. He just seems like a guy I could really work with, and hang out with…Quentin, I hope you're reading this. 

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

Al Michael Farin: Matt Damon. He is an incredible actor - how many times have I watched Good Will Hunting, The Rainmaker, Rounders, both Bourne movies (Identity and Supremacy) and the list goes on. A different character played convincingly each time - need I say more? 

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

Al Michael Farin: You never know until you try, and if at first you don't succeed…you know.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Al Michael Farin: Turn my short screenplay into a full length, and knock on the doors of potential producers. Other than that, keep writing and go on with life.

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

Al Michael Farin:
Who knows? Designing Websites, video editing for some small production company, running my own business…we'll see.

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