American Gem 2005 Short Screenplay Competition - THE EXECUTIONER

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Bruce Smolen

Eighth Place Winner

Bruce Smolen
of Los Angeles,C
A
Screenplay
THE EXECUTIONER
Drama
Biography:

Bruce was born and raised in Southern California, enjoys outdoor activities, indoor activities, volunteering for a good cause, taking lots of pictures, reading, and wrestling with his cat, Andy.

Interview

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

When I watched a movie and thought to myself, ďWhat a great story!Ē And saw the credits and it said: Story ByÖ. That was the guy with the idea and where it all started. The beginning. Thatís where I wanted to be.

I know I've succeeded.......  

Itís very simple for me. When someone has read something Iíve written and thinks, ďHey, this is good!Ē Itís even better if they say it out loud, or to an influential friend.

My inspiration to write THE EXECUTIONER.......

came from watching television news. Almost every day there are murderers being given life sentences and the death penalty, but still, understandably, the families of the victims want more. Something that will make the pain go away. So I thought to myself, ďHmmmm Ö what if? ÖĒ

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Bruce SmolenItís very satisfying for me to know that I can start with nothing (a blank page) and end up with something (a completed story) which I hope is clever, original, entertaining, and that readers will respond to.

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

Bruce Smolen:  My first script was in college, and I was very poorly prepared. It was a long battle to try to turn a mediocre idea, poorly thought-out, into an acceptable script. It was good practice, a lot of mistakes were made, and to tell you the truth I was just happy to finish the product and put it away. Far, far away (yeah, it wasnít very good). Thatís when I realized, ďHey, this isnít going to be easy. Let me try that again.Ē

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

Bruce Smolen: My first script was in college, and I was very poorly prepared. It was a long battle to try to turn a mediocre idea, poorly thought-out, into an acceptable script. It was good practice, a lot of mistakes were made, and to tell you the truth I was just happy to finish the product and put it away. Far, far away (yeah, it wasnít very good). Thatís when I realized, ďHey, this isnít going to be easy. Let me try that again.Ē

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

Bruce Smolen: No. Sometimes I go weeks without writing, and then I have days in a row when I can write page after page. However, the days when Iím not writing I do think of story ideas, or how to fix something thatís been giving me problems in a story. Itís like a photography teacher once told me, you canít spend all your time in the darkroom (though it can be tempting). You have to get out and experience life. 

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

Bruce Smolen: Yes. I think itís a great feeling and very motivating to get a notification that youíve made it past any stage of a screenplay contest. To me, that means somebody read my work and put it in the ďI like itĒ pile. Plus when a contest offers a change for your story to be produced, or to meet with producers and/or agents, itís a great opportunity for an aspiring writer!

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

Bruce Smolen: I wanted to start entering some of my work into feature screenplay contests and started looking around the web. During my search I came upon information on The American Gem Short Screenplay Competition which had received good reviews at moviebytes.com, and which offered impressive awards to its winners. I never considered entering a short script contest before that. 

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

Bruce Smolen: I couldnít make a suggestion.

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

Bruce Smolen: I like photography, for different reasons than my writing. Photography for me is capturing real things around me, whereas my writing is making things up. However, they both involve telling a story. The personís expression, cameraís exposure to show motion, background, etc. When it comes right down to it, itís so much easier to write than to take a picture that can capture all of the same.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Bruce Smolen: Rod Sterling for The Twilight Zone series. What an imagination!

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

Bruce Smolen: Iíve never really thought about working with a particular director or actor (question below).

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

Bruce Smolen: See above.

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

Bruce Smolen: I think writing short scripts is a great idea. A lot of people (including myself) go for the feature length script, but if you write a short script you can find out in a couple of weeks if you have something worth pursuing or not. If youíre writing a feature it could take a year to realize your story isnít working. What a waste of time. Thatís just my opinion.. 

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Bruce Smolen: I keep writing and hope someone new reads and thinks, ďHey, this is good!Ē

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

Bruce Smolen: I stopped making plans. Iím just going to go with the flow.

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