American Gem 2006 Short Screenplay Competition - TABLOID
Action Cut Home Study VHS/DVD
| American Gem Contest |  Interviews Loglines  Winners | Testimonials Press |
Jason N. Zimmatore

Third Place Winner

Jason N. Zimmatore
of Sunland, CA

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, I moved to England with my family at age ten before once again moving to Los Angeles in the early ‘90s. Though writing has always been my first love, I tried the actor route briefly but decided writing had better odds for success. (This turned out to be only partially true). I worked as a story analyst (reader) for Craig Anderson Productions before working as a freelance story analyst for Turner Network Television, where I still am today. 


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

after being moved by numerous films and when I realized that the script is the source/origination point of the film industry. Unlike acting, directing and other mediums, nothing exists before the script. I didn’t need anyone’s permission to write one and start (hopefully) the process of making a movie.

I know I've succeeded.......  

I know I’ve succeeded when I’ve had a feature film produced. ( a short would be nice too).

My inspiration to write TABLOID.......

My inspiration to write Tabloid came after I learned that in public life, once someone achieves a degree of fame they no longer enjoy the same full rights of privacy as the rest of us. They become sort of public domain and Paparazzi and others often abuse this. This bothered me so I wrote Tabloid as a piece of fictional poetic justice.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Jason N. Zimmatore: Growing up in New Zealand with two TV channels and later in England with four channels, I learned to cherish any film I could get. I liked the escapism, being transported to another world and becoming lost in the story. And I loved special movie moments: Orson Wells’ roguish glance from the alleyway in “The Third Man”, Alan Ladd facing down the gunslingers in “Shane”, Humphrey Bogart handing a drink to a burned-out gangster’s moll in “Key Largo”. I wanted to create this effect on others.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: The usual research, also I read dozens of how-to screenwriting books, read loads of scripts, and watched tons of movies. Despite all this, my first effort, a creature feature, read like a bad Scooby Do episode. I soon realized that my craft had to catch up with my imagination, so I kept at it with four of five incomplete scripts until I was at last able to complete one.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: Tabloid is my first completed short script, I’ve completed three feature scripts, two thrillers, one of which was optioned and a romantic comedy I co-wrote with my brother that is also under option.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: No. When I get an idea for a screenplay, I will try and write a detailed outline as fast as possible while it’s fresh in my mind. I get on a roll and try to spend every spare moment on it. Later, if I still think it’s a good idea I’ll start writing the script, if not then I’ll shelve it for a later date.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: Screenplay contests are important since unlike a production company or agency, someone at a contest will be reading it without the usual bias of production cost, demographic considerations etc, and will be judging it purely on merit (ideally). It’s also a great way to see how you stack up against everyone else; and of course it’s a wonderful validation if you win or place. It also helps when promoting scripts to the industry, especially if you win or place in a major competition.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: The Moviebytes review was very positive and it seemed like a solid competition.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: I can’t name a specific script; there are so many great ones. But I think it’s important to read scripts in the genre you are writing in. Either download them for free from Drew’s Script-O-Rama website or order them from Script City. In this way you can tell the level of writing to shoot for.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: I love cooking, it’s creative and you get to eat it. I also try to keep in shape (burn off those calories from the cooking). I’m also close to my family; I have two young daughters and love to be with them. And my wife is supportive.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Jason N. Zimmatore: Most of my favorite writers are novelists or short story writers: Philip K. Dick, because of the strange but authentic worlds he creates, Patricia Highsmith for her tormented characters and style and Stephen King for his imagination.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: Ridley Scott is such a master of his game, every aspect of his movies is top-notch and I love everything he’s done.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: Again there are so many great actors, at least a dozen on the top of my list, but my top four are: Tom Jane: Brilliant, best work still to come, same with Viggo Mortensen. John Travolta would be fun to work with and he has a powerful screen presence. Jennifer Jason Lee, there’s an alluring tragedy to her.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore: Yes. The name of the game (or should be in my opinion) is to get your script sold and produced. This means maximizing your chances any way you can. The 70,000 scripts registered by the WGA every year are false odds. Because a high percentage of those scripts never have a chance of getting made. I think the biggest reason they won’t get made is lack of a hook or high concept story idea. Second most important thing is execution, which is improved with reading scripts, writing scripts, getting closer to the mark. I’ve heard it said that the average screenwriter writes ten scripts before making a sale; I think this is because they get better each time. Another way to maximize your chances is to write in a salable genre. Thrillers are a much easier sell than dramas for newcomers, so is horror or comedy. Read screenwriting books, the best ones are by produced writers: “Crafty Screenwriting”. “The Secrets of Action Screenwriting” by William C. Martell, “Making a Good Script Great” by Linda Seger. List your logline and synopsis on, I got a script optioned this way and they seem genuinely interested in helping the writer. You can also list shorts for free. Join and read other people’s scripts and have them read yours. Have movie fans read your work, push them for specifics on their critique. Buy a copy of the latest Hollywood Creative Directory and start calling production companies, pitch your logline over the phone or fax (don’t mail) a brief query letter, if they ask for the script it’s because they like the hook, after that it depends on your execution. Subscribe to Variety and learn who is buying what and who the industry players are. Enter contests and keep entering until you win or place well in several. But don’t become a competition junkie, a writer’s resume with a dozen quarter finalist, semi finalist and honorable mentions but no options or sales is less impressive (I think) that a resume with a few contest credits but no options and sales. After a few contest victories, it’s best to move on and focus on the production route.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Jason N. Zimmatore: What’s next for you. I’m currently working on a rewrite of a thriller spec and will soon get to work on an idea for a horror-western.

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

Jason N. Zimmatore:
Hopefully with a feature and a short produced, but either way, I’ll still be writing.

| American Gem Contest |  Interviews Loglines  Winners | Testimonials Press |
top of page

| Home Page | Contests | Indies | Features | News | Resource Links | Advertise With Us |

Important disclaimer

Copyright © 1999-2011 by  All rights reserved. is a division of Media Pro Tech Inc.