I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter
probably at the age of 6 or 7, sitting
on my Father's lap watching Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars". I
realized that you could write stories that weren't just written down
in a book and imagined in the mind's eye. Screenplays were stories
that could actually be brought to life right in front of you.
I know I've succeeded....
when someone asks me "What do you do
for a living?" and I can say "I'm a screenwriter."
My inspiration to write
I'm a huge fan of socially charged films of the late '60s and 70s. I envy the
fact that artists of the time had the opportunity to create important stories
that helped bring about activism and that dealt with real-time issues. As an
Army vet, the plight of my brother and sister soldiers under this
administration keeps me up at night. My frustration expressed itself through
this idea. Since writing this story, the headlines day to day verify the
injustices our physically and mentally injured veterans must face when they
return home. The VA budget slashing is a punch in their guts. So many
shattered lives. I wrote The Veteran to try and produce myself because I feel
that it is an important story tat can help bring attention to some of the
problems facing our Iraq War vets.
What inspired you to write?
Ron Bramhall: The idea of being immortal - that something I've
written could be picked up and read by someone 100 years from now and
possibly inspire them.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
My minor in college was Radio/TV/Film, so I had scriptwriting classes.
I continue learning through trade magazines and web sites (Like
Filmmakers.com!), books, the Austin Screenwriting Conference,
membership in the Dallas Screenwriter's Association, and bi-weekly
meetings with two other screenwriters.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is
this your first script and how long did it take you to write THE
Not my first script, but this is my first short and the idea flowed
out in one late-night sitting. I have 3 feature screenplays completed
and they took much longer than that.
Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
I wish! Now that I'm
concentrating full-time on writing, I have created a schedule to
follow. Writing 5 pages a day is a goal, in theory producing a 120
page script in less than a month. It'll never happen.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
I do now! You just
have to be selective and research which contests have a reputation or
a track record of success for winning writers. If you place or win,
it's a needed validation of what you're trying to do.
FilmMakers Magazine: What
influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
After writing The Veteran, I had to find a home for it. Shorts are so
different from features, in many ways much more difficult. I thought I
might have something good, timely, and worthy of production. American
Gem felt right.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Well, the best are old and have a pace foreign to modern studio films.
I would have to recommend "Raiders of the Lost Ark" by Lawrence Kasdan.
It does it all. It has it all.
Beside screenwriting what are you
passionate about and why?
happiness and safety of my family - Jennifer, Ireland, and Christian;
Trees, wild animals, the great outdoors and Native American culture;
Teaching and counseling children; Underdogs winning; All forms of
music, but especially Mazzy Star; Free will, legalization, and the
Pittsburgh Steelers. Put all that together and I pretty much have my
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
I really enjoy Randall Wallace and David Franzoni. They have my dream
job as screenwriters of historical epics. All-time favorite has to be
Walter Hill for so many classic films of the late 70s - early 80s that
captured the era.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name
the director you would love to work with and why?
Terrence Malick. I believe he is one of the few true poet-directors.
His films ascend to a level of high art for me. Clint Eastwood is
another legend who seems to create a unique atmosphere within his
productions that a writer could flourish in.
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Ron Bramhall: He's passed on, but I would have loved to have
written a screenplay for Charles Bronson. He showed flashes of
brilliance during his career, but rarely had the opportunities to
deliver what he was capable of doing. The thing about Bronson; he
represented the common man, and in his best movies he made you believe
that a common man could do superhuman things and find justice on his
own. He didn't need steroid-infused muscles, computer generated
martial arts, or an arsenal of weapons. It's an on-screen trait that
can't be learned and isn't often repeated.
Any tips and things learned along
the way to pass on to others?
Plan on your screenwriting career to take at least a few years to even
show signs of developing. Research. Be persistent and thick-skinned.
Be socially gifted and make yourself known to the cadre of
screenwriting conferences and seminars. Look them in the eye and make
them want to take a chance on reading your script.
What's next for you?
Ron Bramhall: Keep writing. Keep sending emails, making phone
calls, and trying to meet people in the business. I've got to get
representation first, so that's my immediate goal.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from
Ron Bramhall: Either on Cloud 9, enjoying my life with my
family as a working screenwriter, or on Cloud 8.5, enjoying my family
and my life as a Teacher, inspiring good karma to the masses.