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Write On

Kraig Wenman, Screenwriter

by Justin Samuels

Today’s interview is with screenwriter Kraig Wenman, who has been a prolific screenwriter since 2006.

Justin Samuels: Do you think the Internet has made it a lot easier for screenwriters to break in and find work?

Kraig Wenman: Absolutely, without the Internet, I wouldn’t’ve been able to make so many inroads in the industry. But like anything, it’s a tool within a larger toolbox.

JS: What’s your opinion on online services like Inktip?

KG: Da’ best. Almost every job I’ve had has come from a connection I made on/through Inktip.com. There’s other services out there, but it’s the only one I use.

JS: What roles do social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail play in networking? Have they replaced the Rolodex?

KG: It’s helpful to an extent, but at the end of the day, people want to work with people they know they can interact and hang out with. Going into a film is a lot like a relationship. So a blind date via Twitter or LinkedIn hasn’t replaced face-to-face meetings, lunches, dinners and the inevitable conception and birth of project.

JS: How did you learn screenwriting?

KG: The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier was where it was at for me when I started. Had been to film school before that.  But I hadn’t focused particularly on screenwriting, so Trottier’s book saved me. It’s great because it’s an actual working textbook that you can write in. Had read the usual books by the usual gurus, but I’d rather write than talk about writing any day.

By this, I mean that the best way to learn screenwriting is to do it. Don’t wait for inspiration.  Force it or you’ll be waiting a long time. You can always press delete, and no one’s going to read it but you. There is no such thing as writer’s block, only fear of failure. Fail, try again, and then say, “Tomorrow I will make better mistakes.” You’ll learn more from your mistakes than from your triumphs.

JS: Is Absolute Deception, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., your first film to star an A-list actor?  Absolute Deception is distributed by Sony, isn’t it? How did it feel to get such a big deal?

KG: I originally wrote Absolute Deception at the end of 2008 as an assignment, and it was originally meant as an MOW. I didn’t even know it was getting made until the first-day-of-principle-photography check showed up. It was written in Canada, shot in Australia and bought at Cannes, so it’s made its journey around the sun and many other creatives’ hands. I haven’t seen it yet, but looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with it.

JS: How did you feel when you got accepted by the WGA?   How do you think the Guild is supportive to writers?

KG: Being Canadian, I’m currently in the WGC and transferring over to the WGA in the next month, so I’ll keep you posted on my experiences. But the WGA is cool because it’s a great proverbial crucifix that helps protects you from the demons of the Hollywood.

JS: The Body Farm is the first feature film that you’re both writing and directing, right?  How does it feel to step into the director’s chair?

KG: Haven’t stepped yet, but making steps toward it. Currently in development and financing so unfortunately not much to report. What is exciting, though, is a new project called Creation of the Gods that I’m co-writing with Transformers/X-Men producer Tom Desanto. Tom’s a solid guy with a lot of passion for the project, so things are heating up substantially. Gods is like an X-Men meets Lord of the Rings. It’s an epic tale that you’ll see out in theaters soon.

JS: Can you say who will star in The Body Farm?

KG: Still in development, so nope.

JS: Do you have any advice for other writers out there that you’d care to share?

KG: When you first start out, everyone will tell that, in Hollywood, everyone has a script. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good or filmable (that’s not a word is it?) script. Millions of people have cars too, but how many good drivers do you know? Don’t be discouraged, as there’s a way into the industry or no one would already be there. It really just takes persistence and then more persistence. It’s not in how many times you fall, but how many times you get up.

However, a good way to see it is that Hollywood is a party you haven’t been invited to yet. No one owes you anything, or needs to hold open a door to let you in. So you need to earn that invite past the Doorman (who also has a script) by hustling and writing every day. It’s like lifting weights: the more you do it, the stronger you’ll get. The more you sweat in training, the less you’ll bleed in battle. Damn, can you tell I’ve been researching war movies for the last couple of months?

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