MARIA HAMMARBLAD - 10 Questions
10 Questions from the July 2014 1st Scene Screenplay Winner. Go to her website: http://www.hammarblad.com
1. What is your SCREENPLAY about?
My screenplay is about Alexei Roshenko, a Russian agent trying to free himself from his sordid past to live a normal life with the love of his life: all-American girl Jenny Moore. That's easier said than done of course, and they soon find themselves on the run from intelligence agencies on both sides. Alex is good at his job, but keeping them both alive will be a challenge.
2. Why should your script be made into a film?
Because it would make me happy? Jokes aside, I think it would be an exciting movie with a satisfying love-conquers-all message.
3. How long have you been writing screenplays?
Since.... That's a good question. I think I wrote my first in 2011, and I've re-written it a few times since. Give me a couple more years and it will probably be presentable.
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Ooh, you're sure lining up difficult questions. I have no idea. I had one period when I just wanted to watch Asian horror movies, like the original versions of The Ring and The Grudge. I have seen The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis many, many times. Star Trek movies, Lord of the Rings, Kill Bill, Blues Brothers....
5. What artists would you love to work with?
There are so many talented artists. Ian McKellen, J.J. Abrams, Sam Neill, Patrick Stewart, Cate Blanchett, Steve Bacic, Sharon Stone, Hiroyuki Sanada, Bill Murray, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Angela Bassett... I'd better stop or this list will be too long and bore the readers.
6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?
I have quite a few novels and novellas published. Fourteen, I think, and they're mostly science fiction. Undercover is my third feature-length screenplay and I'm thrilled to see it performed by the Wild Sound festival actors. I've dabbled with writing a children's show and a science fiction TV series, but thus far those projects haven't made their way out of my computer.life.
7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
I would love to make enough money on writing fiction - novels and screenplays - to focus on doing only that. I work as copywriter and it's difficult to balance the writing I need to do with writing I want to do. A lot can happen in five years. The dream might come true.
8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
It depends on what I'm writing. When I'm working on novels I usually start with the end or in the middle, and I end up with many little pieces that hopefully fit together. Sometimes they don't, or the story doesn't flow right, and I end up taking thousands of words out. There are probably more efficient ways to go about it, but this works for me.
I'm much more structured when working on screenplays. I start with making notecards with the most important events, and the cards help me get the timing right. I also write a thorough description about each main character. I make up their childhood, best friends in school, likes, dislikes, heartbreaks, everything you can think of. Most of that information never makes it to the script, but it's easier for me to write the person if I know him or her.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I play the bass and used to play in several rock bands, but I don't have the time to keep it up anymore. It's fun, but I don't know if I'd call it a passion. I am passionate about the pet rescue movement in the USA. Millions of healthy and friendly cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year, and that's not acceptable. It's generally not the shelters' fault, they're overwhelmed and do what they can, but pet owners need to take responsibility. Cats, dogs, hamsters, whatever it might be aren't toys.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?
One of my friends on LinkedIn invited me to a group for screenwriters and I saw a post about the contest. The opportunity to hear my script read by professional actors was too good to pass up on. There are many contests, but this is unique.
11. Any advice or tips you'd like to pass on to other writers?
Don't give up. There will be days when you feel you're on top of the world, and others when every word you write looks wrong. Keep at it. Even if your writing one day is less than satisfactory, it's better to have something and be able to edit it than to have nothing. If writing is your calling, you have to write.