11 QUESTIONS with Bradd Hopkins - Feature Screenplay Finalist
1. What is your screenplay about?
Annabelle and Me
Love transcends time when a ghost returns to rescue her love’s reincarnation as an aging screenwriter. A Geechee witch’s bargain with Dr. Buzzard reunites the lovers across an age.
The Ludlow Massacre
The government turns machine guns on its people in 1914 in Southern Colorado when a miner’s strike against powerful coalmining companies erupts in open warfare. This is a true story.
2. Why should your script be made into a film?
Annabelle and Me
There are a number of reasons I think Annabelle and Me should be filmed. It veers into the little-known, but still vital, Geechee and Gullah cultures in this country; it provides a comforting take on the inevitability of death; it won't require a huge budget; it will attract to a demographic that is underrepresented in contemporary films at the box office (the 45+ set has stopped going to films where the story is measured in bullet-casings-per-minute), and it avails itself of a trend first evidenced by The King's Speech.
The Ludlow Massacre
A stone memorial rises out of the stark prairie west of Interstate 25 seventeen miles north of Trinidad, Colorado. It is a lonely place today, but in 1913-1914, 1200 striking coal miners and their families overwintered in tents here. On April 20, 1914, after a day-long hail of machine gun fire, the tent colony was burned to the ground by mine guards and the Colorado National Guard militia in a violent alliance to protect the Rockefeller mining interests. Twelve children died in that battle for collective bargaining rights, and for recognition of the United Mine Workers union.
I believe the world needs to remember this true story, especially in light of present attempts to errode the rights of workers. A similar massacre occurred only last year at platinum mines in South Africa; 39 miners died. The problem is still with us.
3. How long have you been writing screenplays?
I started writing screenplays in 2002 after working as a publisher/editor in a small press. The first script I wrote, fraught with errors as it was, was optioned by LB Films...I think because the concept was fresh and the story was sound.
4. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Casablanca, without a doubt.
5. What artists in the film industry would you love to work with?
James Cameron, for the experience and the fascinating projects. Actor Kevin Spacey, for his keen sense of character dramatization, many others.
6. How many screenplays have you written?
Four as sole author (, Ludlow, Willowbees, and Riders of the Haute Couture; two with screenwriter Barry Nickelsberg (Blowtorch, Navassa); and three short film scripts: Debt to Society (directed this in 2011), Taco Valley (with Valerie Moore), and Fade Away. Others in progress.
7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
Making feature films. My work produced by others, as well. Producers waiting to see what comes next. Cast and crew wanting to work on my films.
8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
I try to write something daily. My best writing occurs between 4:00 A.M. and noon, when I'm fresh and the world is quiet. I spend several hours a week studying the craft of screenwriting. I attend regular meetings of a screenwriting workshop sponsored by New Mexico Women in Film, of which I am a member. I spend a lot of time "grooming" a script. I think the Annabelle and Me script is actually the eight significant revision.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Learning. Teaching. Ideas. And I love producing and directing films, or working on a film crew in any capacity and I do it whenever I can (ten independent films since 2006). Actually, I moved to New Mexico and started working on films because I was convinced that the experiences would help me write a better script.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?
The script evaluations, above all things. Writers of spec scripts tend to work in an intellectual vacuum where constructive criticism is a precious comodity. An impartial critique is incredibly helpful, because we don't see our own mistakes as readily as do others. And the approachability of the staffers at WILDsound is amazing.
11. Any advice or tips you'd like to pass on to other writers?
There's always, ALWAYS something you can do to make a script better. Keep doing it. And, very important, try to know where your market is and write toward it.