Julian Chomet, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Screenplay
LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection Short Screenplay 'Just One Jump' by Julian Chomet
Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I've been a professional writer for over 30 years, initially as a medical journalist and subsequently as a documentary writer/director on broadcast, Government, charity and corporate films, winning 14 awards in the UK and overseas. Also written books on drug abuse, cancer and child development. Currently working part-time, writing science reports for a medical charity, and part-time as a professional tennis coach.
When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I write most days for the medical charity I work for. I tend to do drama writing in a huge burst of energy spanning days to weeks where I hardly move from the keyboard for hours on end. Not the sort of person who likes to do bitesize chunks of work. I've only been writing drama for a couple of years after completing a full time MA in Screenwriting at the University of the Arts, London (35 years after a research MSc in genetics!). After graduating, the high concept biopic feature screenplay I wrote for my final project was optioned by the legendary producer, Nik Powell. Sadly, he died before we could get it made. I have a new producer on board and she's working hard to get a director and cast attached.
I've won or been a finalist 15 times in a variety of small and large screenwriting competitions across a range of genres: drama, thriller and sitcom. The LISP finalist award, plus those I have already won, has given me the confidence to persevere in what is a very competitive industry.
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It's great to have my scripts recognised as it's so easy to lose confidence as a scriptwriter. We all need continuous validation to get past that creative hump of thinking what we are doing is a total waste of time.
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
The best thing is that once you start writing, ideas start to flow. The hardest thing is getting the structure right, keeping the pace and tension going and having a great finale which huge emotional payoff.
How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected screenplay? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
The idea for Just One Jump came to me around 20 years ago when I was making up bedtime stories for my young daughter. It was inspired by Bob Beamon's long jump in the 1968 Mexico Olympics when he smashed the world record by nearly two feet. It showed that nobody knows what they are capable of until pushed to the limit. I wrote it as a short film script for part of my MA degree. Probably spent around a week on it, plus peer reviews at uni and subsequent re-writes. One very short thriller script I wrote took 3 hours to write and won a short film competition for which the prize was to have the film made! On the flip side, my feature screenplay took around a year to write and had stacks of re-writes!
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
Every scene should move the story forward and have relevance to all the characters within it. Avoid too much exposition and on-the-nose dialogue. The more subtext the better! Make sure there is enough conflict and emotion to make the script engaging. Try to make each character have a distinctive voice so every bit of dialogue is unique to that character. When you've written a scene, see how much you can lose from the start and the end of the scene without destroying it.
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about festivals/competitions?
Best thing is having the opportunity to see how your script matches up to your peers. The hardest thing? To win! Some competitions I have entered have had well over a thousand entries.
Lastly, do you recommend writers to give it a go LISP?
The LISP is good value compared to many other competitions out there, particularly if you win or are a finalist!