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Dr Alex Vickery-Howe, LISP Film Festival 2023 Finalist by Witching Hour

Dr Alex Vickery-Howe, LISP Film Festival 2023 Finalist by Witching Hour


- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I work at a university so I'm generally drowning in papers, or attending meetings. I'm very lucky, however, as I get to write as part of my role. I switch between academic journal articles and crazy creative bits and pieces.

- When and how did you get into writing?

My first short story was called Goblins Galore when I was about seven. I think it was about me and the creepy old man from Poltergeist II fighting gremlins together, as in the gremlins from the movie Gremlins. For some reason I changed the title. I actually sent it out to a publisher and received a lovely "not quite yet" reply, which I still have somewhere.

Since then, I've published a few plays and written a Japanese/Australian horror rock musical. I've also written some award-winning screenplays and TV pilots that might see the light of day -- eventually. 


- How often do you write? Do you have a working routine? And what inspires you to create?

I find the time every week. Sometimes it's late nights with lots of coffee, or in-between classes. I'm happiest when there are a few things cooking away. Right now I'm working on two plays, two novels and another musical. When I'm not doing that, I'm hiking or pretending to lift very light weights.


- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

When you're writing alone, you have to convince yourself that you're not mad...you have to believe it'll be a hit. When a work is published or produced, you know you've convinced others that you're not mad, or possibly they've gone mad with you. Either is an improvement. I really love watching actors rehearse, or seeing costume sketches, or cover art...suddenly this crazy thing you once only imagined starts to feel real.


- What's the best and most challenging thing about writing a screenplay?

Probably convincing yourself that you're not mad.


- How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected script? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

Witching Hour was shortlisted for a major award a while ago, but I completely misread the competition details. I thought the competition was "write ten pages and if we like it, we will develop the rest" but actually it was "write ten pages and if it's short-listed, send the rest immediately"...so, when I made the short-list, I shovelled coffee into my mouth and stayed up all night writing the complete screenplay. Obviously it didn't win, but it made the top ten, I think... 

More recently, I pulled it out of the drawer and rewrote it extensively. The original ending was even weirder. This version comes full circle in a way that makes much more sense...or as much sense as a screenplay about time travelling witches can ever make.


- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Screenplay?

Know when to listen and when to stop listening. If you never listen, you'll never grow. If you always listen, you'll never grow into you.


- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions and festivals?

I've won quite a few, but been a finalist soooo maaaaany times. The challenging thing is never knowing how close you were to the gold.


- Lastly, do you recommend that writers submit to LISP?

Well, of course! But I shouldn't say that because I might want to enter again and I don't want the competition! 


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