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Articles > Behind the Scenes with Evan Beier

 

 

 

Evan Beier (Providence, RI, USA) speaks about his experience in the 7th Annual Screenwriter's Challenge.  His scripts, "Modern Science" and "Love Number" helped him take home 1st place out of over 450 writers and win over $5,000 in cash and prizes.

 

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  Congratulations on winning the 7th Annual Screenwriter’s Challenge out of a very competitive field of over 450 writers. What was your primary reason for entering the Screenwriter’s Challenge 2010?

Evan:  Like most young writers, I would venture to guess, I was looking for an opportunity to challenge myself. I really enjoy the format of the NYC Midnight challenges and how they limit your focus and test your creativity.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  How did you get started as a writer?  Where are you now in your writing career and what are your goals?

Evan:  I went to college for a completely unrelated, albeit creative field, and after graduation was lucky enough to start working in the film industry. After growing up as a lover of film, I’ve always had “ideas” for my own projects, but it really took me working in the industry and reading some of the screenplays for shows I was working on to realize that maybe it was possible for me to start elaborating on my own concepts. I’ve started very slowly and am still at the very beginning of what I hope to be a possible career in the future, but I’m gaining confidence as a writer and am enjoying diving in headfirst.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  Do you write on a regular basis?  What is your general approach for writing a script, from idea to final draft?

Evan:   I am always brainstorming. I tend to have five or six ideas surfacing at once and it takes a lot of work to sit down and focus on just one. However, I think that way of thinking actually helps me be a better writer; it allows me to keep an open mind and not have too narrow a focus on just one idea. My approach to writing my first feature was very loose. I actually love to start writing and allow the story to develop on its own, going back throughout and rewriting as I go. However, while I do enjoy that style of writing, I am realizing that it is not the most efficient way to approach a project and am now enjoying learning the more structured approach to brainstorming.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  In the 1st Round, you received the assignment of Sci-Fi, Screenwriting and really seemed to dive into creating new technologies that would be part of every day life in the future in “Modern Science”  [Logline:  A successful screenwriter struggles to find inspiration as the world around him catches up to his imagination.]  Did you enjoy the assignment and are you a fan of the Sci-Fi genre?  If so, what are some of your favorite Sci-Fi scripts/films?

Evan:  I can say with confidence that I was completely relieved when I saw the genre assignment. After receiving historical fiction on a past challenge, I felt that this was much more in my comfort zone. I’ve always been a fan of science fiction from old Ridley Scott (Alien) and James Cameron (Abyss), to newer favorites like Luc Besson (5th Element). I thought it would be interesting to see a character who, despite enjoying a few of the modern conveniences the world of the future had to offer, was generally just annoyed and fed up with the direction the world was heading. Considering myself a fairly imaginative person, I was intrigued by the idea of someone feeling as if the world had caught up to his/her dreams, and where he or she would go from there.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  In the final round your assignment was Romantic Comedy, Retirement and you won the finals with your script “Love Number” [Logline:  A phone sex operator facing retirement comes to terms with her loveless life and struggles to fulfill it.]  How was the experience of writing a script in just 24 hours and were you happy or disappointed with your assignment?  What genre(s) do most prefer when writing your own material?

Evan:  I’ve always worked better under a deadline, and while 24 hours is pushing the limits slightly, I really enjoyed the experience. Despite having a week to write the previous round’s submission, I actually crammed most of the work into the last 48 hours. While I think there is always room for improvement when you are strapped for time, I think it can also inspire you to push yourself creatively. For Love Number I saw the assignment, brainstormed for a few hours, committed to my idea about the phone sex operator and got a few hours of sleep before waking up and questioning everything I committed to the night before. I was honestly writing until 11:57PM before rushing to submit it before the deadline. While I revised as I wrote, I had no time to go back and do a revision or even a proper proof read. As soon as I emailed off the finished screenplay I was convinced that I was doomed. I shut off my computer without re-reading the screenplay and felt pretty disappointed after what I thought I had written. I was actually so distraught that I didn’t read it again until after I received the final standings. Needless to say, I was completely surprised by the announcement and quickly re-read my submission. After re-entering Evelyn’s world I laughed at the parts I intended to be funny and finished it wanting to find out (and write) more. In the end, I wish I had gone back immediately and re-read it instead of lamenting over the fantasy that I submitted rubbish. I like to try and write across all genres, especially since I’m still new to the game, but if I had to choose a favorite it would have to be drama/thriller. My current ideas fall into that realm and they happen to be the movies I enjoy watching the most.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  Have you done any rewrites on your first and final round entries since the competition ended and do you have any plans for the screenplays?

Evan:  Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to explore the entries any further since the competition ended. I’m definitely not counting it out, feeling as if both characters, but Evelyn from Love Number especially, have some room to grow.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  This was our fifth year with our dedicated review forum where writers could share their scripts from the competition with each other and provide/receive feedback.  Did you participate in the forums and/or get a chance to check out some of the stories that were posted?  If so, what were some of your favorites?

Evan:  I actually did not take part in the forums, but really wish I had. Since the competition ended I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a few writers also involved in the competition and we have shared feedback. I think one of the best parts of this competition is the opportunity to share and speak with other talented people about areas of improvement or your struggles, etc. When I do this competition again, I definitely plan on taking part in the forums.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT: Do you have any full length scripts completed or in progress? If so, feel free to share details.

Evan:  I currently have a full-length feature first draft completed and even though it is only my first screenplay and still needs some work, I am extremely proud of it. It is a live action adaptation of a popular children’s book that I think has some real commercial viability. A business partner and I are currently working on expanding the idea and we are hoping to make significant progress with it over the next year.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT: Do you have any ongoing projects that you are currently working on?

Evan:  Since starting Writer’s Boot Camp I have been diligently working on a new feature that is still slowly making its way through the development phases. I am trying to focus most of my attention on that and really take advantage of all that Writer’s Boot Camp has to offer. My business partner and I have, however, started our own production/development company that we’re hoping to use as a vehicle for producing some great projects in the near future, (www.lionsshareentertainment.com) and while we are focusing on developing our own projects at the moment, we hope to expand into accepting outside screenplays and working with independent writers and producers soon.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  What would be your single most important piece of advice to give someone looking to improve their screenwriting?

Evan:  While I do not consider myself an expert by any means, the one thing I’ve learned from working in the film industry and reading as many screenplays as I can get my hands on is that the best writers really focus on character development. A great plot idea counts for nothing if the characters supporting it aren’t worth their weight in printer ink. As soon as you have an idea for a story, leave the plot behind for a while and focus on the main characters that are going to drive it forward. It may be difficult, as it is for me, but I think you will quickly find that if you get to know your characters well enough, they will start telling the story for you.

 

NYC MIDNIGHT:  Will you be back to defend your title in 2011?

Evan:  Without a doubt.

 

 

----------- Winning Scripts by Evan Beier -----------

 

Modern Science by Evan Beier

GENRE: Sci-Fi   PAGES: 13

LOGLINE - A successful screenwriter struggles to find inspiration as the world around him catches up to his imagination.

 

Love Number by Evan Beier

GENRE: Romantic Comedy   PAGES: 14

LOGLINE - A phone sex operator facing retirement comes to terms with her loveless life and struggles to fulfill it.

 

 

 

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