Your winning script stood out above several hundred others. Have you entered or won other competitions?
How awesome is that?!?!?
Yes. “The Prince of The Black Hand” Pilot script has the following accolades:
Winner of LAISA Spring 2023
NYIFA Winner 2023
Fox International Film Fest Winner 2023
Golden Giraffe International Film Fest Winner 2023
Hollywood BLVD Film Fest Winner 2023
LA Crime and Horror Fest Winner 2023
NYISA Finalist 2023
Inroads QF 2023
LA Film Awards QF 2023
27th Fade in Awards Semi-Finalist 2023
Filmmatic QF 2023
Burbank International Official Selection 2023
The Crime List Official Selection 2023
Second Rounder 9th Annual Launch Pad Pilot Comp
QF Vail Film Screenplay Comp 2022
QF Outstanding Screenplay TV Pilot Comp 2022
QF Creative Unique Voices Screenplay Comp 2023
QF SWN TV Pilot Screenplay Comp 2023
QF Scriptation Showcase Teleplay Comp 2023
Official Selection Big Apple Film Fest Fall 2022
What was the inspiration for your winning script?
This character struggles from suicidal depression by way of Bipolar disorder, severe Anxiety, and more, which is direct experience from my own life. The character puts a gun to his head many times. I did it in real life, but I put the gun down because I have a dream to be a writer, and I want to see it through. Medicine, psychiatric help, and hope for a dream saved my life, so I wrote this with people like me in mind, knowing a strong, gritty, authentic message can save their lives as well.
Describe your writing process. Do you work from an outline…or do you just start with FADE IN?
I have intense visualizations of scenes–usually myself acting in them—of various ideas for projects. I have these visions obsessively for months or even years. Once I know my big scenes or moments and my characters, I’ll eventually outline it all in a week. Once I’ve done the dreaming and the outlining, the script, no matter how large, can be written in days. I once wrote a 250,000 epic novel in three months. My biggest issue is settling on a project I care enough about to fix all the bugs and the ins and outs of it.
Was your winning script a first draft…or had you received coverage that helped improve your work as a second or third draft?
God only knows how many coverages I’ve purchased. Winning at anything in life on your first try is merely luck. Failure, persistence are the keys to success in any endeavor. I don’t give up on this. I never will. I’ve re-written it too many times to count, and I’ll do so 300 more times if that’s what it takes.
Which film or television writers have inspired your work…and how?
Those who wrote on Goodfellas and Sopranos! I’m from Youngstown, Ohio, man. I grew up hearing the old mob stories of those who ran our town, as Youngstown used to be the meeting point for all the biggest mobsters. These writers and people like Pesci, De Niro, Pacino, they’re introduced to you like Gods who can do no wrong in my hometown. To have a shot to be the next hot mob project, it’s all I’ve ever wanted; I’m just so happy it came out with a self-help messages that means so much to me as well. It’s the perfect project for me, which is why I can re-write it so much without getting annoyed.
What’s your #1 favorite movie or television series…and why?
How could a true movie/TV nerd like me answer that when there are so many? Instead, I’ll just give a cool one I always re-watch, one that I re-watched this week, and one that isn’t talked about enough. “Black Swan.” I had a crush on Natalie Portman when I was a kid. …… (I still do.) … But, uh, I totally like it because the special effects and the darkness to it, I swear.
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
Education. I’m a businessman with an MBA. I have ideas, but I had to fight, claw, and scratch for advice and information from people who didn’t want to take the time to tell me how to write correctly because I couldn’t afford to go to school twice. I’ve been a screenwriter for two years, but I’ve been an author for eight. The biggest challenge was getting people to listen to me when I say that I have potential, a purpose, and that I should be taken seriously. But don’t worry, everyone else! Keep going and, one day, they’ll have to take you seriously.
Have you made any further progress in your writing career?
Certainly. Many connections made, many pitch fests booked, many film fests booked, it’s all a matter of how much traveling and time off from work I can afford, so I have to be careful about picking the right ones instead of all, unfortunately. But I won’t stop until people don’t have to ask who I am because they all have heard how I made this work. I’ll never stop. Ever. I will find a way to make this work even if I’m told by the whole world that I’m not allowed. Half of them have said that already and I’m still here, anyway. What’s the difference?
What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a prestigious contest as you have?
Stop listening to people who tell you your script sucks and simply listen for WHY they say it sucks. Hear advice once, it’s just an opinion. Here it ten times from ten people? It’s a problem that needs changed. That’s how this script went from trash to winner.
What other writing projects are you working on that you want the world to know about?
You’re not allowed to know about my Star Wars project because people will fight me for it lol What I will say is my next eight projects are lined up. Mostly horror features will come from me. I’m staying at the hotel where “The Shining” was filmed to write one soon! Pumped!
Would you be interested in attending a live year-end online event at minimal cost to meet with senior judges, selected literary managers, and independent producers?
100%! Networking is something I’m trained for and love to do!