American Gem 2007 Short Screenplay Competition - RETURNING
  American Gem Short Screenplay Competition
2007 WINNERS  

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Marianna J. Moneymaker

Runner Up

Marianna J. Moneymaker
of Astoria, NY

Born and raised in the Cuban culture of Hialeah, Florida to a Chinese Father and a Puerto Rican Mother Marianna J. Moneymaker always had plenty to draw from for her writings. Currently, she lives in New York City with her partner Ericka Clinton. She works as a production supervisor for a public access television show and a quality assurance analyst for a new video library website.

An artist at heart, her pursuits began by drawing pictures on the walls of her bedroom closet as a little girl and grew to include writing poetry and stories about friends, family and the many places she’s had the opportunity to visit. Marianna has lived in several countries, served in the Navy and been coast to coast, all the while learning as much as possible about people, places and things from which to draw from and use in her writing. She looks forward to seeing more, learning more and experiencing more with which to share with others.


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

when I had my first reading and the actors were having fun and the audience was laughing when they were supposed to.


I know I've succeeded.......  

when I am happy with my work and that’s not easy because I am truly my own worst critic.


My inspiration to write RETURNING.......

was a drunken night of hanging out with a friend who told me about his favorite childhood book and that night, alone, I couldn't sleep so I wrote, 19 pages in one night, it was 'Returning'.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Marianna J. Moneymaker: A creative spurt, it keeps me going till the sun comes up and I end up with a story just like the 19 pages about Hartley and his past.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: Write. I learned that from a great teacher and friend Marco Antonio, he told me if I was going to be a screenwriter I needed to read scripts, watch movies from a scriptwriter’s point of view and most of all, write.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: No, this was not my first script. It was pulled out of my stack of scripts finished and unfinished, but I chose this one because it is one of my favorites even though it was the only one that I wrote in a single night.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: I use to write everyday whether it was blogging, RPG, poetry or whatever else. Currently, I just haven't had much time. So, I write when I have a story to tell or if I have a deadline.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: They are very important because they give writers the motivation to finish a script, which for me is always the hardest. Starting one is easy. You have the idea, but then you realize… how do I get there? Who are the people that are going on this journey? And you can’t really figure those out without writing… but you may procrastinate or hesitate and with so much entertainment inundating us on a daily basis it is so easy to do so. With contests, your given a time line, a deadline which is a good motivation. And if your lucky enough to write something that you yourself love and others find entertaining then you get recognition and feedback about the work you’ve done.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: I hoped to get feedback for work that I had done and hopefully get to produce the script. As an independent filmmaker, that would be a great achievement for me to produce it. I would even ask my friend who inspired me to be the director.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: Read the scripts that you want to write. You want to write Quentin Tarantino type scripts read Tarantino.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: Experiencing, learning and teaching. I love being an artist and whether I express it through a drawing, a story or a movie is doesn’t matter; for me it is about the process. I also want to create in way that gets people to question, grow and share.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Marianna J. Moneymaker Joss Whedon, Pamela Wallace and Quetin Tarrantino. They are all character driven writers whose dialogue is always catchy, fun and entertaining but with an over arching deeper meaning from Kill Bill to Buffy to Witness these scripts have characters that were relatable and entertaining.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: Troy Rice, Sean Penn and Hiro Konishi. Troy Rice is a director that I went to school with and worked well with, but most of all I liked his vision, Sean Penn directs wonderful character driven films and Hiro Konishi’s attention to detail is exquisite.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: The one that fits the part.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: Write. Whether you finish a story or not or move on to the next. Write, sooner or later something will click and you’ll love it and it will pour out like water… but the only way to get there is to write. And don't stop... save the editing and rewriting for later.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Marianna J. Moneymaker: More contests. More writing. More living.

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

Marianna J. Moneymaker: I don’t know.


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