I knew I
wanted to be a screenwriter.......
when I discovered
that screenplays are a helluva lot more fun to write than novels
I know I've
when I can make a living working at a
craft that I love.
to write WINGNUT.......
There is a Native
American saying that the story stalks the writer, and not the other
way around. This was certainly the case in my inspiration for WINGNUT.
The story came out incredibly fast. In just a few days…not counting
the many rewrites that came afterward. I also wanted to write a story
about a character with an extremely narrow character arc, whose
particular handicap, was diagnosed not by the writer—but by the viewer
(or in this case, the reader).
What inspired you to write?
Costa: Moliere said: Writing is like prostitution: First you do it for love,
then for a few friends and finally you do it for money. Of course, I
haven’t sold any screenplays, so I guess I’m still doing it for love.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
Joseph Costa: I
read Chinatown by Robert Towne, and about 20 other screenplays. I also
memorized the book: The Complete Guide To Standard Script Formats Part
1 by Cole/Haag.
Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write
No this it not my
first script, but it is my first short. The initial draft took a few
days, but a script is not done until it is produced.
Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
I’m a full time copywriter and producer with a wife
and kids. The only time I have is what I can steal in the middle of
the night. But when I’m into a project, a routine works best.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
Yes! Yes! Yes!
A writer always asks the question: “Am I untalented or just
undiscovered?” It is vitally important to get validation from folks in
the business. Let’s face it, there are around 70,000 scripts
registered with WGA each year and only a hand full of sales.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
Who doesn’t want their script to be called an American
What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
thing is to read scripts…all kinds of scripts and here’s why. You will
read mediocre scripts that ended up as hit movies! And you will read
beautifully written scripts that bombed. That said, here’s my short
Drama: The Godfather I and II (Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplays)
Mystery: Chinatown (Oscar Best Original Screenplay)
Comedy: The Big Lebowski (Not an Oscar winner, but one of my
Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
My family. They
provide all the inspiration necessary for a happy life.
Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
Joseph Costa: I
have too many favorites, but the movies listed above are a good
Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Martin Scorsese, a
brilliant director with an incredible well of knowledge about film and
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Costa: Robert De Niro.
Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
I have way too much to learn about the craft to start giving advice.
What's next for you?
Costa: I am writing WINGNUT as a full-length screenplay. I don’t believe the
short tells the whole story about this character. After that, I have
two other concepts that I can’t wait to work on..
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from
Costa: If I write it
down, I might jinx it.