American Gem 2005 Short Screenplay Competition - REALITY SUCKS
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Aaron Kennedy

Fifth Place Winner

Aaron Kennedy
of Bellefontaine, OH

For the past five years, I have traveled to four different colleges in three states. In the last three years I have dedicated my first priority to learning how to write and how Hollywood works. When I was not doing that I studied for classes and received my undergrad degree in sociology.

I am free from the burden of college and am ready to make a name for myself. I hope to make something happen through this contest and use the momentum to sell a feature length script. If nothing comes from this contest Ill make other contacts elsewhere. I feel the only way I wont succeed is if an earthquake takes LA and HW into the Pacific Ocean. Now that I think about it, Id probably just move to New York instead.


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

When I saw "American Beauty" and "Fight Club" as a double feature at a theater my senior year in high school. I loved movies but realized that night how special they can be. I figured writing a movie as special as those should be a life goal of mine.

I know I've succeeded.......  

when my scripts can financially support my dream of living the life of a "rockstar writer".

My inspiration to write REALITY SUCKS.......

when I was driving home hungover after a night of partying. The idea was instantly great in my mind so I wrote it down on scrap paper driving 75mph!




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Aaron Kennedy: I knew I had to make movies of my own and writing them would let me shape what happens in the story most.

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

Aaron Kennedy:  I had story ideas but I didn't write a script until I read books on how to format scripts. without knowledge of industry standards, I'd be wasting my time. 

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

Aaron Kennedy: This is my fifth short script. I wrote it sporadically for a few weeks.

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

Aaron Kennedy: I have no routine for writing. I write at all times of the day or night depending on whether I feel I'm ready for the next scene.

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

Aaron Kennedy: These contests are important for unknown writers to learn whether their scripts are good or not. Friends and family are not usually good and Hollywood people won't read your scripts just to give you feedback. Contests also sometimes get winners in touch with producers which is the whole point in writing.

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

Aaron Kennedy: Your contest was on the website and I felt that domain name was probably important enough to enter.

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

Aaron Kennedy: anything by Todd Solondz. His scripts are easy to read and are effective in allowing the reader to visualize the scenes happening. This is what you want agents and studios to be able to do when reading your scripts.

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

Aaron Kennedy: music. I get the best story ideas while daydreaming to great songs. Music is the best drug for your brain.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Aaron Kennedy:  I don't have a favorite. however, I respect Kevin Smith, Mike White, and John Hughes. These writers have multiple good works under their belt. I would be very proud if I wrote "Clerks" "The Good Girl" or "The Breakfast Club".

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

Aaron Kennedy: Alexander Payne because I feel we have similar senses
of humor and we would have similar ideas on how to produce my scripts. A large scare of mine is a director that ruins your script with bad casting or bad directing.

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

Aaron Kennedy: Christian Bale and Jason Swartzman. Bale because he is one of the best character actors and Swartzman because I love the type of desperate, loner genius that he has played in the past. 

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

Aaron Kennedy: first recognize whether you think you truly have talent for creating original stories. Then, read lots of books on how to write scripts and dramatic characters and how the movie business works. Also, watch movies and TV shows that are Hollywood satires. A lot can be learned by them about how the industry is run. They are supposed to be satires but there is underlying truth to all satires. That's why they're great. 

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Aaron Kennedy: Writing a feature length script and finding an agent to help me sell it. 

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

Aaron Kennedy: Hopefully living in Los Angeles and Ohio while taking sporatic trips all around the world.

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