writes drama pilots with strong, flawed, and resilient women
protagonists. Her creative
At the end of her rope, an unemployed Buffalo bookkeeper joins a powerful all-female philanthropic network to turn her life around and save her failing family. Instead, she makes a Faustian deal with a corrupt financial web that protects itself at all costs.
I knew I wanted to be screenwriter
while working in set design, I steadily wrote on the side. I
fell in love with film and TV and, over time,
Interview Part 2.
FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?
As a child,
reading saved me. Books gave me hope and showed me what
changes might be possible. My love and gratitude for
authors' relatable characters and exciting new worlds led me
to want to create my own stories.
This is my first
pilot script, after writing a spec episode and various
independent film projects. The first draft took several
months. Rewriting took many hours, on and off, over the
course of a year.
Susan Hippen: I write at home, in theaters before plays, in diners, at the airport. If an environment gets too loud, I wear headphones. I like having a block of time, but when unavailable, short bursts work, too. They add up. Time management depends on my paying job. I love to write first thing in the morning and revisit the story before bed, to activate my subconscious. When I am lucky, I wake up with a new solution.
Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are
important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the 1st TV Script Writing Contest?
sounded serious about writing and business.
Waterfront" by Budd Schulberg. Beyond the soulful content,
each time I see the film and read the script, I notice
Susan Hippen: Art, architecture, and nature. They all
factor heavily into my background, and now continue to shape
Susan Hippen: James Baldwin, for his beautiful style, poignancy, incisiveness, and humor.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Susan Hippen: Alison Maclean, based on her provocative independent films.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Walker, for her layered, mesmerizing TV and stage
your voice and trust your gut. If a piece of the story
bothers you, improve it until you believe in each page. Set
deadlines and finish. Ask questions and take risks. Keep
Susan Hippen: I will write spec pilots, observe and explore, and work toward collaborating on a TV project.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where do you see yourself in
five years from now?
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