I knew I
wanted to be a screenwriter.......
I started studying as an actor and wanted to change the words -- then
I found the great dramatists and didn't want to change a thing, but
became inspired to try on my own.
I know I've
I finish anything
that holds a reader or audience's attention. And gets a good overnight
to write NIGHT.......
was my wife's grandmother, who is in a wonderful senior facility
in Philly. She pointed out a wing of the facility, the medical ward,
and said, "nobody comes back from there." I realized that no
matter how old you are, nobody wants to die.
What inspired you to write?
Stark: Great writers -- Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller, Neil LaBute -- and
great family and friends.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
There is no
preparation, just grueling hours and a willingness to finish. And
Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write
This is far from
my first script. And`it took countless hours to shape. I'm still
rewriting it (a friend just gave a terrific suggestion and I'd be an
idiot not to use it.)
Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
Most of the time. Even though I have kids, it's
important to have something approaching a regular schedule. Having
said that, I end up working at all hours to catch up.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
I don't think
they are the meat of a writer's character, but to get a start or to
gauge reaction, they can be helpful. The most impressive thing a
writer can have are the pages.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
I'd place highly in the feature contest last year and
had a short script that I'd slaved away on. I'm lucky it's been a
finalist in several other contests.
What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Read the scripts
of the movies you love, any of them, to see how they were constructed,
but most importantly, to tap into whatever passion went into them.
Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
My family and friends
-- it's the stuff that shapes me and my work.
Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
Too numerous to
mention, but safe to say writers who have long careers, especially the
writer/directors (Wilder, Mamet, LaBute, etc.)
Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Scorsese -- can you
imagine what an education you'd get? • Name the actor you would love
to work with and why? Hanks. I can't imagine anybody who doesn't have
a script in their drawer in which he couldn't play some character.
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Stark: Hanks. I can't imagine anybody who doesn't have a script in their
drawer in which he couldn't play some character.
Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
There are no tips. It's all hard. The work is grueling...but every
once in a while the result can be extraordinary.
What's next for you?
for "Close to Home" on CBS (Fridays at 9 pm) and working on two low
budget features with an eye to direct.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from
Stark: Doing what I'm
doing now, but hopefully on a grander level. I hope people would get
excited by something I'd written or directed.