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Brian Wallace, Screenplay Semi-Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020

- When did you start writing? How often do you write? 

Anyone who ever had grandparents probably remembers visiting them as a child and, at least on occasion, feeling very bored. When I grew restless, my grandmother would sit me down in front of several sheets of paper. If she gave me crayons, I would draw. If she gave me pencils I would draw and then ultimately write (she never gave me pens because she did not want me to mark up her tablecloth). Eventually I would always ask for a pencil, because no drawing was complete without writing something about it.  Now I write something almost every day, and feel bad when I don't. I've been much more productive writing-wise since moving to Los Angeles--mainly because I live in the remotest and least fashionable part of the Valley, and socializing might as well require hitching up a conestoga wagon. So there are fewer distractions now than when I was back East. Still, I think the Covid-19 lockdown is calling my bluff a little. Like a lot of scribblers, I've spent a whole career's worth of time procrastinating.  So if I don't come out of this with something significant to show, then maybe I've just been a poseur all this while. 

-  How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected screenplay? The coronavirus pandemic did most of the heavy lifting for inspiration. As the news developed, several plots and scenarios began to enter my head, taking this historic event (or something like it) as a backdrop. Meanwhile, an old friend of mine, Rachel Burttram Powers and her husband Brendan, two professional actors in residence at a theatre in Florida,  had begun hosting what they call "Tiny Theatre" out of a closet in their home. Three times a week they perform script readings via Facebook Live. They were among the first performing artists to start doing this, and are still at it. So I started to write something with them in mind, taking into account their space and circumstances. I was very lucky to have such gifted performers as muses.

-Do you recommend the short story and Flash Fiction writers to give it a go on screenplay writing and LISP? Without question. A lot of the prose I enjoy reading contains a lot of dialogue, and I doubt I'm alone in that. I have always enjoyed reading Robertson Davies, and I recall that he recommended in one of his books reading your work aloud. If it sounds natural, then it will probably read well. If it's a little stilted or clumsy coming out of the mouth, then you may not be done with it. Most of us learn to read by first being read to, and the earliest stories ever written began as recited literature intended for a listener. I suspect that we are a very aural species, and plays and screenplays just jump head first into that. 



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