LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection Short Screenplay, 'In the Line' by Stephen L Wright
Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I'm known as Steve but write under Stephen L. I'm married with three daughters and three grandsons and I'm retired from a career largely spent in teaching in secondary schools. I support Birmingham City Women in the Women's Premier League and spent a couple of seasons writing for a supporters' blog. I enjoy a good ramble (it helps with planning). I really need to get on top of my banjo practice and I'd like to be a more accomplished cook.
When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I've always enjoyed writing as long as I can remember. I loved writing stories and being descriptive with my writing. Combined with that is a similar love for history. I started writing in earnest in the 90s when I co-authored my first book, now in second edition as 'Operation Tonga: The Glider Assault 6th June 1944'. There then followed related articles before my second book in 2008, 'The Last Drop: Operation Varsity 24-25 March 1945'. The scriptwriting began when I was working for Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service as its Lead on Children & Young People. The service had just ventured into community films and I had the opportunity to write and produce a couple of shorts - 'Ice Breaker' and 'Chequered Flag'. Since then I have gone on to write more shorts, one which I also produced, and a number of, as yet, unproduced feature scripts. On the whole, I have written adaptations from books; something I have found a bit of a knack for.
The honest answer to your second question is 'Too infrequently.' But as I don't write to earn a living I am happy with what I have achieved so far. I do have another book in the pipeline, but the current situation has meant I'm unable to visit an archive for research.
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It's great, of course. Writers hope for recognition; so any form in which it appears is grist to their mill. Of course that recognition started with my first book. Actually, it started with the acceptance letter from the publisher. 'In The Line' has won three awards and been a finalist in four out of five entries, so I'm very happy with its recognition.
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
Finishing it! But, seriously, I suppose the best thing is having someone read it and say 'Wow!' That's really good.'; or an actor saying 'I'd love to be in the film.' One of the hardest things is getting started; getting started; finding the 'hook' and then keeping your reader reading.And then there's just keeping writing.
How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected screenplay?
'In The Line' is based on events surrounding the fatal shooting of Metropolitan PC Nathanael Edgar in February 1948. I can't remember how I came across the story but it was one I wanted to tell, particularly because of the twist at the end. To say any more would be classed as a Spoiler. I've been working on and off with it over the last three years.
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
Like a feature script there has to be a beginning, a middle and an end, but one of the challenges I've found with a short script is getting those in without having the audience feel it's been rushed or that they feel cheated because there's no proper ending. So it takes a few goes to get the right balance, but keep at it and the right 'feel' will come. And don't be afraid to let it be read and commented on.
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about festivals/competitions?
I guess that they are there to be entered, and there's always that buzz when you press the submit button. From my experience I would say one of the hardest things is deciding which to enter. I've tried to do a mix of new and established.
Lastly, do you recommend writers to give it a go LISP?