Stuart Creque, Screenplay Finalist, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
In my daily life, I work as a marketing communications manager for an online education company. I write for my employer at work and write for myself in my off-hours, so I must like writing.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I had an idea for a story that would have made a great episode of The Outer Limits, but that show went off the air in 1965. Then Showtime, the cable network, rebooted the show, so I taught myself teleplay format and wrote the episode teleplay. The production company read it and passed, but by then it was too late – I was hooked. Since then, I have written more than a dozen spec screenplays for features and scores of spec short scripts.
Besides winning various screenwriting contests, several of my short scripts have been produced, including one that I directed, and one of my feature scripts has been produced. That feature, The Last Earth Girl, is an adaptation of a short story my eldest daughter wrote for a college assignment. It’s in its festival run in the 2019-2020 season.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
I am very proud to have my work selected as a finalist by LISP. I always believe that the scripts I write would make good movies, and winning writing awards shows that other people believe in them too.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
The best thing about writing a screenplay is seeing the screenplay inspire a group of people to work together to make a film, and seeing that incarnation of your words on the screen. If the screenplay has emotional resonance for you as the writer, the finished film both amplifies and changes that emotion to reflect the contributions of all of the filmmaking team.
The hardest thing about writing a screenplay is creating a slice of a world that seems real, with people and events in it that truly cause the reader to suspend disbelief and feel the emotional pulse of the story. For me, another difficult aspect is remembering always that films are a visual medium and that the words of the screenplay must convey images along with ideas.
- 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?
One Child Born came out of a writing competition that gave a certain set of prompts. For some reason, those prompts made me think of the Rwandan genocide as a setting and survival and sacrifice as the theme. The title comes from a song lyric by Laura Nyro: “And when I die, and when I’m dead and gone/There’ll be one child born to carry on”. I have been reworking the script over a number of years. I hope someday to be able to get it made.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
A short screenplay ideally tells a complete story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is often best implied: we generally join the story in progress, but in such a way that the audience instantly understands how we got there. The middle and end are generally like the set-up and punchline of a joke: the middle creates and heightens emotional tension, and the ending provides a release. The release may give the audience joy, or laughter, or sadness, or horror, but in every case it lets the emotional tension resolve into an emotional reaction.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about competitions?
The best thing about competitions is the recognition and validation they offer to let you know that other people believe in your work. The hardest thing is the subjectivity of screenwriting and competitions: different people react differently to your work, and the same script can win a grand prize in one competition and fail to make the first cut at another. You have to accept disappointing results, see if they give you indications of how you can improve your script, and move on.
-Lastly, do you recommend writers to give it a go LISP?
Of course! It’s a great opportunity to make connections through exposing your work to a wide audience.