American Gem 2008 Short Screenplay Competition Winners - TIME AND TIDE
  American Gem Short Screenplay Competition
2008 WINNERS  

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Ron Podell

Seventh Place Winner

Ron Podell
of Ypsilanti, MI

An award-winning professional journalist, Ron Podell began writing screenplays in April 2007. Currently seeking literary representation, he has had early success in screenwriting contests and the festival circuit, winning awards for every script he’s written. These include his feature-length horror/sci-fi screenplay, “Pulp Science Fiction”, and short scripts, “Time and Tide,” “Silence of the Bees”, “If Brad Met Billy Bob” and “A Rain Remembered.” He recently finished his latest short, “The Wave”, and is currently writing his second feature-length script.


Pulp Science Fiction – Feature length script

Winner — (Horror Comedy) The Indie Gathering 2008
Winner — Illinois International Film Festival 2008
Winner — It Came From Lake Michigan Film Festival 2007
Honorable Mention — Screenplay Festival 2007
Finalist – Cinema City International Film Festival 2009
Finalist — Queens International Film Festival 2007
Finalist — Progress Writers 2007
Finalist — Writer’s Desk Film Project (Little Lip Productions) 2007
Semifinalist – Straight Twisted Horror Screenplay Competition 2008
Semifinalist — 2007
Quarterfinalist — StoryPros 2008
(52/60 score//winner had 57 score) — Script Savvy 2007

Time and Tide – Short script

Finalist — American Gem Literary Festival 2008 (Placed seventh out of approximately 1,300 scripts)
Second Round – Slamdance 2009
Fourth Place (Drama) — The Indie Gathering 2008
Semifinalist (Final Four) — International Family Film Festival 2008
Quarterfinalist — PAGE International Screenwriting Awards 2008
Official Selection — Action on Film Festival 2008

Silence of the Bees – Short script

Winner (Calypso Award) — Moondance Film Festival 2008
Winner (Thriller/Suspense) — The Indie Gathering 2008
Shorts Winner (Drama-Second Place) — Woods Hole Film Festival 2008
Third Place – Terror Film Festival 2008
Finalist – Gimmee Credit Screenplay Competition 2008
Official Selection — Action on Film Festival 2008

If Brad Met Billy Bob – Short script

Third Place (Comedy) — The Indie Gathering 2008

A Rain Remembered – Short script

Finalist – Queens International Film Festival 2008
Semifinalist - Gimmee Credit Screenplay Competition 2008
Semifinalist – Vines Shorts Festival 2008


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

I was getting ready to start my first job as a reporter out of college. I was sitting at the picnic table on the back porch with my Dad and I told him I wanted to
eventually become a screenwriter. I don't know if he remembers, but I do.


I know I've succeeded.......  

when a story idea I have for a screenplay makes its way from my head to completion on the computer.


My inspiration to write TIME AND TIDE.......

It was more of a challenge to myself to write a good, strong, likable female character. And an older one you don't often see on the big screen. I think it's
important for people to know that no matter how old one is, a person often still feels young inside. So, I thought, "Where is the last place an old person would want to go? A nursing home." Then, I thought, "Where could an older person be taken care of, yet still have some fun? A cruise ship." I came up with the family conflict and had my story. I see Joan Plowright or Judy Dench in the lead role. It
would be an honor to have either of those great actresses say one's




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Ron Podell: I've always been writing stories since I was a kid and started formally as a sports writer (sophomore year) on my high school paper. I've continued as a journalist by trade. I've been watching movies my whole life and had an inkling that, at some point, I would move from journalism to writing screenplays. I like the feeling of creating something tangible from my imagination.

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

Ron Podell: I read David Trottier's "The Screenwriter's Bible" and read a couple of professional screenplays. I thought up a firm beginning and an ending, and said, "Now, you have to get there from here." It was fun. I'm sure having seen thousands of movies subconsciously helped.

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

Ron Podell: It was my first short script, but second overall. As I recall, I worked off and on for about 2 1/2 weeks on "Time and Tide".

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

Ron Podell: motto is "One page each day. In 30 days, you have 30 pages." I try to stick to that. I probably should be writing at least three pages a day, but I still have a full-time job and a life. I usually type at my computer in my den late at night. Sometimes, I go to the Barnes and Noble on weekend afternoons and jot down script pages freehand.

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

Ron Podell: Yes. I think writers know how difficult it is to land an agent or manager. Many of us feel we can drive, but haven't yet been given our license. Because most readers of contests are involved in the industry in some aspect, awards from screenplay contests provide validation that one has talent and gets your name out there. It helps budding screenwriters build a resume and cement
industry contacts.

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

Ron Podell: The opportunity to have my script made into a film with professional SAG actors, receive sole writer credit and make a little money in the process. It's a great prize for a short. I also understand that American Gem typically receives more than 1,000 script entries for this competition. It helps let you gauge how you stack up among emerging screenwriters. I feel honored to have been named a finalist and finish seventh overall.

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

Ron Podell:  "Chinatown." Robert Towne's script is the blueprint for how it should be done. It's smart, witty, descriptive, has some great twists and it's written tight. He doesn't waste words. Each one has a purpose.

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

Ron Podell: Physical fitness. A sound body creates a sound and clear mind.
Exercising clears out the clutter in my head and makes my mind sharp. That's crucial for writing scripts and my day job.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Ron Podell: I don't really have one. I will say that, in the past few years, I've most enjoyed Robert Monahan's "The Departed" and Diablo Cody's "Juno." To me, those scripts sung. After I saw those films, I told anyone who would listen
that those scripts would win Academy Awards. And they did.

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

Ron Podell: Too many to count, but if I had one choice, I would say Martin Scorsese. He takes words from the page and turns scenes into poetry in motion.

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

Ron Podell:
Again, way too many to count. I'm a fan of so many. I do have a horror/sci fi script, "Pulp Science Fiction," that I wrote with Denis Leary, Ice Cube, Mickey Rourke, Richard Gere, Eva Mendes and Christopher Walken, among others, in mind.

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

Ron Podell: Focus and perseverance. Without those, talent doesn't mean much. Don't give up. Keep writing. You might be one of the last one's standing.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Ron Podell:
Keep writing. I have approximately 10 feature-length script ideas, a handful of shorts, and possibly a TV series I want to write.

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

Ron Podell:
Hopefully, I will be making a great living as a screenwriter and no longer waking up to an alarm clock. That's the worst sound in the world.




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