Thursday, March 27, 2008

From toll booth worker to Hollywood screenwriter... almost overnight

Well, if you're looking for an inspirational story to get you off your ass and start writing that script, this could be it...

Michael Martin totalled his car and ended up in physical therapy. He couldn't work his regular job as a toll booth worker with the Transit Authority in Staten Island and, well, he had no car. What to do? How about write a screenplay and enter it in a contest? Martin ended up writing a "Crash" meets "Training Day" ensemble police thriller called "Brooklyn's Finest", entered it in a screenplay competition and... he came in second. However, it managed to end up on the desk of a Warner Bros. exec, generate a bunch of interest and, now it's going into production with Antoine Fuqua set to direct and Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethen Hawke signed on to star. Check out the full Hollywood Report here - link.

To play devil's advocate, keep in mind that he studied film (or some film, it didn't really expand) and he did a brief stint as a staff writer on Showtime's "Sleeper Cell", so he's not exactly a complete novice. However, how many indie filmmakers have zero experience? Not many. So, really, your skills are probably on par with his. Not only that, all he did was enter a screenwriting competition, it's not like he used any connections, he was just trying to win enough money to buy himself a car. All said and done, everything he did, you could do. Personally, I've never actually put much thought into screenwriting competitions, but we do have a section on the site here that has links to all the competitions that accept horror scripts. So, you know what? Give it some thought, I think I might. Apparently it can work out.

There is one question, though... What's the story of how his script went from 'second place in a film competition' to 'the doorstep of Warner Bros. based Thunder Road exec Mary Viola'? It seems like something happened there that they're not really expanding on. I guess the long and short is, it really doesn't matter... because if he never entered at all, it would have gone nowhere, guaranteed. So, basically, if you want to win, you gotta play. Now get off your ass and write that script.

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