American Gem 2006 Short Screenplay Competition - PIGEON CAMERA
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Stanley Ray

Runner Up

Stanley Ray
of Albuquerque, NM

Stanley Ray grew up moving every year or so as the son of a military father. He was able to experience both coasts of the USA and even foreign life in the Philippine Islands. Making friends is easy as a child, but the older he was, the harder it became to leave friends behind and make new ones in a strange place. He took to reading. The love of reading, and the stories and worlds he visited in those pages, led to writing. He has always made up stories, sometimes even illustrating them. The things he has written as an adult began to seem like "real" writing to him. He showed them to other people. He read books on writing and attended seminars. He started to believe he is a writer.


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

when my brain told me a movie one night.


I know I've succeeded.......  

when I sit in a theater and my ideas unfold on the screen, engaging an audience of strangers.

My inspiration to write PIGEON CAMERA.......

came from a song with ambiguous lyrics that kept evoking the story of this young boy out of me.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Stanley Ray: I've always liked hearing and telling stories.

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

Stanley Ray: Nothing, other than watch the movies I'd already watched.

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

Stanley Ray: This is my second or third short script. It was written and polished over the course of a couple weeks. I have written several feature scripts.

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

Stanley Ray: I try.

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

Stanley Ray: The right contests can be. If you win and then nothing happens other than getting your name on a website, it doesn't really further your career. But it is a way to get your work read by critical eyes even if you don't ultimately get exposure. Being culled from a thousand other writers can at least tell you your place in the herd.

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

Stanley Ray: A writer friend won last year.

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

Stanley Ray: Any and all, good or bad. The value of reading produced scripts is obvious. But poorly written scripts offer instruction of the what not to do kind.

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

Stanley Ray: Politics, because I have to live in the future.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Stanley Ray William Goldman, not so much for his succes but for the wide variety of his work. I don't like to repeat myself either. John Sayles for the same reason.

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

Stanley Ray: Michael Mann. I have a Vegas script that would shine with him.

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

Stanley Ray: John Cusack. He can do both straight and funny, and picks a variety of roles.

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

Stanley Ray: Don't write in a vacuum. I joined a writer's group last year and things have started to happen for me. Take advantage of what other people know. It will still be your words on the page.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Stanley Ray: I'm working on another feature script. I'll continue to market my body of work so far.

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

Stanley Ray: I hope to have directed two more of my short scripts and at least one of my features.

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