I knew I
wanted to be a screenwriter.......
After writing a
treatment for my story structure class at CSUF. I finished a feature
length draft the following semester and was hooked.
I know I've
When my characters start to write the
story themselves and then finish the story as well.
Jenkins, a wonderful professor at CSUF, sent out a notification
regarding the competition via email to all the students in the
program. Second, Iíve always had interest in black and
white/interracial relations. Movies such as To Kill a Mocking Bird
or In the Heat of the Night appeal to me. And lastly, when a
hellacious hailstorm hit south-central Los Angeles in 2003, I saw the
opportunity for a story.
What inspired you to write?
Matt Tucker: I wanted to see if I could do it. I have a heavy science background,
so it was a challenge to me to see if I could do something Ďartsyí and
write scripts. What Iíve discovered is what a great feeling it is
to create something. Hopefully people like it, but writing stories
with some meaning and substance really make me happy Iím finding out.
Once I got going, my writing teachers at school, Dr. Garrick Dowhen
and Jule Selbo
were (and continue to be) a source of inspiration as well.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
structure teacher simply asked the class to write down a couple of
sentences about an idea we had for a movie. The outline followed then
the treatment, then the completed screenplay the following semester.
All the while I watched movies I like, read good screenplays and read
popular books on screenwriting.
Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write
WONDERFUL IN WATTS?
No, this was my second script. My first was the
feature length screenplay, Barracuda. The first draft of ĎWatts
was done in a couple weeks.
Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
With work and school and life in general, I just write
when I find time which is usually at night or on weekends. I have a
PC at home. I use Final Draft. I usually have some music playing
softly in the background. The music selection changes based on the
script. Music helps me get to where I want to be while writing, then
hopefully my characters follow me there as well.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
Screenwriting competitions give aspiring writers an attainable goal by
evening the playing field. Iím not saying a first time writer canít
sell a movie script to Hollywood right off the bat, but the chances of
that are extremely slim. I think writing contests pit you against
writers of a similar ilk. The net result being an attainable goal for
the new writer which carries over into motivation for the writer. The
motivation gets the writer writingÖ which is most important thingÖ to
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
Shelley Jenkins is a professor at the CSUF, TV & Film
Program. I really respect her vigor for teaching and the interest she
shows for the students. When she sent me the notification of the
competition, I was instantly motivated to enter. When I perused the
website and contest details, I saw that this was a very worth while
competition. Wonderful in Watts was written specifically for
the American Gem Short Script Competition. I owe a big thank
you to Shelley.
What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
reading As Good as it Gets by Mark Andrus and Dog Day Afternoon by Frank Pierson. Simply
stories and amazing characters (and great supporting characters) that
jump right off the page. This is how itís done.
Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
The weather Ė itís always changing. Other cultures Ė for the food,
song, dance, language, wardrobe, customs, etcÖ and to some extent
California, for its interesting history, eclectic natural beauty, and
for its cast of characters and dream seekers from all over the world.
Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
Iíve recently taken to the mind-benders of Charlie Kaufmann and the
soulful stories of Alexander Payne. And for their darkness, Iíll take
a gritty 1970ís screenplay by Francis Coppola or Paul Schrader any
Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch or Roger Avery. I wish Avery would
direct more. If I had to pick one, Avery. He has a great website,
his movies are artistic and quirky, heís a total cinephile, and he is
a man of the world with a conscience. Almodovar has these traits as
well. Lynch is a brilliant artist who happens to make movies.
Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart are amazing. He makes movies
that you can watch repeatedly and find something new it with each
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Matt Tucker: Jack Nicholson. Heís great. Period. I think I could learn a lot
from himÖ about actors, about movies, and about characters.
Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
1. Write the stories you have inside you. Whether you are getting
paid for it or notÖ youíve got to get those stories you have inside of
you out. You know the story Ė now just start writing it! 2.
Observe. 3. Try new things (anything).
What's next for you?
Matt Tucker: Find an internship in the entertainment biz, graduate, and find a jobÖ
and have fun while doing it.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from
Matt Tucker: I havenít the faintest ideaÖ but a gig as a writer would be nice!