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February 2014
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About Don

I’m a semi-retired aerospace worker with a doctorate in Engineering. I still consult part time for the government on special projects. I’ve finished my ninth screenplay, and I have a writing procedure that seems to work for me. I start with an idea, usually a science-based one pushed a bit, make a detailed outline, then start to write. The outline continues to evolve as the play is written. After my editor (my wife Phyllis) weeds outs the typos and grammatical errors, I register a first draft with the Writers Guild of America, West (WGA). I then send that version to a website like triggerstreet for peer review. After I recover from the written feedback from that source, I do a rewrite and submit the result to contests that provide written feedback (most contests don’t – if you don’t make it through the first few rounds, you don’t get jack). I do another rewrite based on the contests reviews, then go out to other contests. I’m at a point in my career where I can plan on making it through at least the first few cuts in a contest, but so far have not made the finals. I’m also in a screenwriting critique group through the Palm Springs Writers Guild.

Everything I read about film or TV writing tells me it’s all about character. My lead character(s) must be compelling, nuanced, unusual, but someone with which we can have empathy, and they must have an arc. My problem is that I usually start from plot, not character – a “what would happen if” scenario, then find characters to fit the story.

My career goal is simple: to sell a spec script. My plan is to place well enough in a contest so that those in a position to help me will notice. I may try so-called Pitch Fests, where you give a verbal pitch about your story to low level readers in the film and TV industry. I send out query letters on occasion, but this has not been fruitful so far. I’ve also listed summaries of my stories on my Facebook page, but I’m not sure yet how to use social media as a marketing vehicle. I've been told I need to start networking - to develop potential useful contacts in the business.

Unique traits: Technical background, persistence

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  • The Choice

    The Choice Budget: $0 - $100K | Horror A cleric has to choose between his religion and the woman he loves.

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