TRAVIS HODGKINS - 10 Questions
10 Questions from the August 2014 TV PILOT Screenplay Winner.
1. What is your TV PILOT SCRIPT about?
POUND FOR POUND is a drama television series about three teenage boxers in Los Angeles who train together and eventually compete in the 1924 Olympics. It begins in 1922 as ROBERT TAYLOR (40s), the boxing coach at the Griffon Athletic Club, begins recruiting amateur boxers to train for the Olympic tryouts. CESAR LACOSTA (16), a handsome Italian-American, is his first recruit. Cesar's father is a failed pro-boxer and now drunkard trying to fulfill his dreams of boxing glory through Cesar. Although Cesar is undeniably a very gifted boxer, he secretly wants to give it up to go to college, but when Coach Taylor offers to train him, he begins to realize that boxing has more to offer than what his father envisioned. ABE SALAZAR (16), a tall and lanky Mexican-American, is a "real puncher" with a heavy right hand. Despite being viciously violent in the ring, he comes from a large, supportive family and is the peace-keeper amongst his friends. JOHNNY BARNES (14) is determined to be the best boxer and will do anything to win even if it means fighting dirty. He is both ashamed and proud of being Jewish-a struggle that isn't helped by his parents prohibiting him from boxing.
The series centers around the relationships between the boxers and Coach Taylor, a positive male role model, who teaches them to be men through the lessons of boxing as they struggle to define their identities. The series is set against the backdrop of Los Angeles in the early 1920s as it was beginning to boom with movie stars, as well as the racial and religious bigotry that permeated the era.
2. Why should your script be made into a TV SERIES?
Pound for Pound has all of the crazy family drama of The Fighter, the underdog story of Rocky, and the social issues of Mad Men all rolled into one TV show, and it taps into the huge fan base of fighting (think UFC and boxing generally) that has yet to be tapped into by a serious TV drama.
3. How long have you been writing screenplays?
I started publishing fiction and working as a journalist when I was in my late teens. A few years ago it occurred to me to meld my two favorite activities: writing and watching TV. Pound for Pound is one of the products of that melding.
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
These days I watch far more TV than movies. I've watched Six Feet Under, Lost, and Breaking Bad-in their entirety-more than once. My favorite shows of this year are The Killing, True Detective, The Returned, and Ray Donovan.
5. What artists would you love to work with?
Vince Gilligan, Kurt Sutter, David Milch, Veena Sud, Shawn Ryan, David Simon, Terence Winter, Nic Pizzolatto, Ann Biderman, Shonda Rhimes, Alan Ball... Pretty much any showrunner of any show I really like... And Brit Marling.
6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?
Dozens of stories. Several screenplays.
7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
The showrunner of my own show.
8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
Generally, I get an idea and play with it in my mind. If it survives that process, I'll research the idea and start jotting down notes. When it's ready--when I can't keep it inside any longer--I write obsessively until it's done, and then I come back later--sometimes an hour, sometimes a year--and edit and rewrite.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Traveling, philosophy, transhumanism, neophilia, and "living large" as taught by Gargantua.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?
The affordable and quick feedback. Not only do I get an unbiased, honest opinion about my work from WILDsound, but it's always clear that the reader actually read my script and understands what I'm trying to do. The combination of the two is rare and well worth the price. After my first submission, I've continued to use WILDsound for not just scripts but other writings too.
11. Any advice or tips you'd like to pass on to other writers?
I defer to the poem "so you want to be a writer" by Charles Bukowski.