American Gem 2006 Short Screenplay Competition - NIGHT
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Douglas Stark

Eighth Place Winner

Douglas Stark
Lake Balboa, CA

Currently writing for the Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS hit show "Close to Home, Douglas has written mostly for television one-hour dramas, including "Law & Order" for Emmy-winning producer Dick Wolf and the critically-acclaimed "Falcone" for Oscar-winner Bobby Moresco. This past year, Douglas sold a one-hour television pilot about life in a rehab center to producer Mark Canton that is currently in development. Douglas also branched into directing with "Do Not Disturb," his debut short (which he also wrote), a 26 minute thriller that premiered at last year's Los Angeles International Shorts Festival. The short went on to win multiple awards, including the Grand Prize in the American Accolades Shorts Contest. He is also wrote and developed the "Law & Order: SVU" interactive game for Universal/Legacy Interactive, a follow-up to his award-winning work writing and developing the original "Law & Order" interactive game. In addition to his credits for "Falcone" and "Law & Order" (which includes writing the highest rated premiere in the history of the 15 year old show), Douglas has written for Paramount/CBS's "JAG."

An original screenplay Douglas wrote, "Under the Lights," was selected for the FIND L.A.'s Screenwriting Workshop in 2001. Douglas was also selected for the inaugural Warner Bros. One-Hour Dramatic Writing Workshop, which included a studio contract for a year. And further, Douglas was selected for the American Film Institute's Summer Feature Writing Workshop, as well as the Sloan One-Hour Dramatic Writing Workshop.


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

When 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 succeeded.......  

I finish anything that holds a reader or audience's attention. And gets a good overnight rating.

My inspiration 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.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Douglas 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? 

Douglas Stark:  There is no preparation, just grueling hours and a willingness to finish. And endless re-writing.

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

Douglas Stark: 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.)

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

Douglas Stark: 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?

Douglas Stark: 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?

Douglas Stark: 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.

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

Douglas Stark: 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.

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

Douglas Stark: My family and friends -- it's the stuff that shapes me and my work.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Douglas Stark: Too numerous to mention, but safe to say writers who have long careers, especially the writer/directors (Wilder, Mamet, LaBute, etc.)

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

Douglas Stark: 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.

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

Douglas Stark: Hanks. I can't imagine anybody who doesn't have a script in their drawer in which he couldn't play some character.

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

Douglas Stark: There are no tips. It's all hard. The work is grueling...but every once in a while the result can be extraordinary.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Douglas Stark: I'm writing 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 now?

Douglas 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.

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