Because I’m doing what I love…and I’m
starting to get paid for it.
My inspiration to write THE BLACK
Came from a desire to raise awareness about Extraordinary Rendition, in
general, and the case of Khalid El-Masri, in particular. While writing I was
also extremely inspired by a remix of a song called “Tomorrow”, which was
produced by my friends Osama and Amin Hussein of NA2O (http://www.myspace.com/na2o).
It’s such a powerful track…it helped me envision the darkness of Tarif’s
What inspired you to write?
Daniel Maree: Life.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
I studied Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Good Will Hunting script and
watched a lot of Charlie Rose. Don’t ask me why Charlie Rose.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is
this your first script and how long did it take you to write THE BLACK
It’s not my first screenplay, although it is my first short script. I
wrote the first draft over the course of two weeks or so. And it took
about a month to get from first draft to final draft.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
The only time I can write is late at night, in the dark. But scenes
and dialogue will come to me at anytime and anyplace. Music is my
biggest inspiration, so I’ll play a song over and over again until a
particular scene or sequence is just right.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
Yes! And we need more of them in order to provide more opportunities
for the unrepresented talent out there. Denzel Washington once said,
“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” Many young screenwriters
are prepared to succeed, but they simply don’t have the opportunity to
FilmMakers Magazine: What
influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
Matthew McNevin, a
screenwriting professor and good friend of mine at American
University. Professor McNevin was instrumental in The Black Umbrella’s
success in that he was nice enough to read several drafts of the
screenplay and offered excellent feedback with every rewrite.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
As far as
features are concerned, read Charlie Kauffman’s Adaptation. It’s the
most authentic script I’ve ever read. When you read it, you can see
the film exactly how it appears on screen…it has this amazing aura.
Beside screenwriting what are you
passionate about and why?
politics, and music; I believe they’re all part of the same puzzle
that is life. FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
I have several
favorites: Aaron Sorkin for is political genius; Oliver Stone for is
historical genius; Charlie Kauffman for his philosophical genius; and
Woody Allen for his comedic genius.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name
the director you would love to work with and why?
director you would love to work with and why?
Oliver Stone and Raul Peck. Because of their prowess in dealing with
complicated historical and political material.
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Don Cheadle. Because
he’s an excellent character actor…and I have the perfect character for
Any tips and things learned along
the way to pass on to others?