The following feature on Mr. Trevor Wright was conducted by the MC7C crew and formatted for this page. Don't copy+paste this elsewhere! Direct link to it!
Why film compared to all other mediums of expression?
I've always loved film and can never remember a time when I haven't felt a connection with it. I never wanted to do anything else but be in film in some capacity.
Did you start in film or did you merge into film?
I actually started in Journalism. In high school I wrote for The Virginian Pilot, doing stories on teens and the community. For a long time I thought I would end up as a reporter because I had no idea in hell how I was ever going
to start a film career.
However, the reporter career was cut short when I dropped out of college. Some people just aren't college material and I was definitely one of them.
I then got an intern position working at New Dominion Pictures for about a year doing post production work. But that job wasn't paying the bills so I started working at Stihl making power tools. With the money I made doing that I
was able to talk my way into an online screenwriting course through UCLA called The Professional Program.
Do you have a favorite film you created and why is it your
My favorite film, ironically, is the one that has yet to be produced. It's called SICK PUPPIES and it's a horror/comedy about a transsexual serial killer stalking a retired serial killer. Even though it's never been made, it was the script
that got me recognized and finally got the ball rolling on my screenwriting opportunities. So I'm very proud of that.
What about film captivated your interest?
I really don't know exactly what about it I love so much. I
just know I don't want to do anything but film.
What advice would you give to a person interested in becoming a professional screenwriter?
Take some classes, get a screenwriting program and never give up. There will be a lot of rejection before you finally get any kind of acceptance, but once you do it's the best feeling in the world.
Also, the most important thing to know is that if you want to make money -- do something else! Sure, the money is there once you go Hollywood but more than likely you'll start in the indies first -- and in the independent world almost
everyone from writers to actors to directors have other jobs to pay the bills.
Tell us about your experiences getting started as a professional screenwriter?
Once I completed the UCLA program I got a call from a producer in Hollywood who had read one of the scripts I had written and thought he could sell it to one of the big studios for an obscene amount of money. Needless to say, that never panned out and afterwards I stopped writing for about four years. That was probably the worst thing I could have done. I was at the lowest point in my life where I thought that being a writer would never ever happen. Looking back on
that time I can't remember much. It's as if I was dead to the world. Then one day I started writing again and just never stopped.
Do you prefer working with digital or film cameras? Why?
From what I hear, digital is so much easier to work with. But
personally, everything looks better on film.
Can you tell us about your technical process (writing
I'm currently using a screenwriting program called FINAL DRAFT. This is not the only one on the market, but if you want to be a screenwriter you need to have one. No one will read your stuff otherwise. Having WORD or some other program just doesn't look the same, especially if you're unsure of the correct format.
And format is everything.
I can't tell you how many scripts people have given to me, that I wanted to stop reading on page 1 because it was so poorly formatted.
A writing program runs around $200 give or take, but is the best investment a screenwriter can make.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
I think of an idea, write it down then usually just start writing the script. I'm not an outline type of person. I make notes as I go. Also, I make sure to have plenty of Skittles, Pringles and cream soda on hand.
What are predominating concerns as an artist, and how do
you express them?
I have concerns about whether I'm wasting my time writing a story that may be similar to something else coming out that I may not know about. So I try to throw enough weirdness into my script, so that even if my story is something that's been
done before, the execution and characters will be unique.
What screenwriter made you want to become one yourself?
I'm a big fan of writers like Richard Matheson, David Goyer and even Rob Zombie (probably because I'm still holding out hope that one day he'll make a good movie -- but you can't deny his passion)
I know there are many others but I can't think of anyone at the moment.
What's your favorite film?
ED WOOD and the excellent documentary AMERICAN MOVIE.
What is the worst film you've ever watched?
There are so many to choose from! I work predominately in the horror genre so there is no shortage of crap floating around out there.
Off the top of my head: FEAR.COM, BATMAN AND ROBIN, anything
by M. Night Shyamalan, the list goes on...
What do you want to film that you've not yet shot?
I still want to film my movie SICK PUPPIES. But as far as genre goes ... I would love to do a remake of something just because I don't think most people understand how to make a successful remake. The trick is NOT to remake the great movies (Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.) The trick
is to remake the films that were crap to begin with.
A director and writer I admire, Alan Rowe Kelly, is doing a remake of a little 70's flick called DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, which was an awful film originally. But since everyone knows that, the only place he can go with his remake is up. He is free to add his own unique spin to it. If you can't make something your own then why bother.
Can you think of a particularly fun project that you've
I had a lot of fun writing SANTA'S LIST 2, the sequel to a little short that Screamkings Productions produced last Christmas.
There wasn't a whole lot to the first one and not a lot of time to do it in (entire project from production to post was around 7 days). Some thieves break into a house and the guy who owns the place dresses up like Santa and picks them off
one by one. The sequel is bigger and better. More kills. More gore. More
laughs. And an interesting story with some cool characters.
What about a really boring project that you did just to
pay the rent?
I pay the rent from the money I earn working in a factory so I've had the luxury of writing pretty much what I want to write.
There have been assignments I've been given which I've been less than enthusiastic about, but I try to see each one as a new challenge. If I'm not interested in a particular story from the start, then I make it so I am.
If I'm having a good time with what I write then I'm hoping my audience will to.
What are your present works about? How would you describe
Presently, almost all of my works would be classified as horror. But I feel that I have a style that is all my own. I try to add humor to my characters, a compelling story and dialogue that sounds natural. I also like for things to remain grounded in some sort of reality even if the circumstances the characters find themselves in border on supernatural.
What other interests do you have?
I'm an avid reader, I like spending time with my wife, and I'm starting to enjoy traveling a lot more than I used to.
What artists have influenced you and how?
I'm influenced by various directors, writers, producers. I actually think the people who influence me the most are the people on the indie scene who I actually know. They have undeniable passion which in turn gets me even more excited
about the work I do.
Do you have any local artists or bands that we should
Sadly, no. I really hate to admit that too. This is one area that I really need to explore. There is a lot of great music out there in Hampton Roads, now I need to find it.
What advice would you give other artists just starting
To never quit. I know that sounds cliche but it's the truth.
Dreams are never easy to come by, that's why they're called dreams. But like they always say, "the cream rises to the top" and if you've got the talent and desire to succeed, then that's exactly what will happen.
What's the most played song on your iPod in the past
I just got a new iPod. I'm still setting it up. I know that's a cop out answer, but better that than having to admit that my iPod is filled up with Kenny Loggins.
What came first, the art or the misery? Explain.
The art definitely! I don't see how you can agonize over something until you can define what it is that you're agonizing over.
What do you think of what MC7C does? How would you make
it better? Have you been to any of our events?
I think what MC7C does is awesome! I love that there is a site that focuses on talent from our area -- and there's a hell of a lot of it! -- from musicians to artists to film makers and everyone in between. Hampton Roads has a lot to
offer! I would like to see MC7C profile more film makers in the area. I've never been to any MC7C events but I have a feeling I will be in the very near future.
Trevor Wright's myspace page
The Green Monster