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GARY WHEELER

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GARY WHEELER

1. What is your screenplay about?

SYNOPSIS: Being the smartest guy in class is no picnic for Algernon "The Spaz" Perlman. But thinking he can win everyone's respect with a science project worthy of a Nobel Prize, Algernon creates a synthetic neurotransmitter which he believes will raise the IQ of Fluffy, the lab mouse. Things go awry when the compound doesn't make the mouse smarter -- just faster and more agile, enabling him to escape. Left with no test subject, Algernon decides to test the compound on himself. Overnight, Algernon "The Spaz" becomes a super-co-ordinated jock with the potential to lead his high school basketball team to its first post-season in fifteen years. This brings jock buddies and a hot girlfriend, and he leaves behind the old, uncool pals who stood by him in the past. But when the compound wears off, Algernon learns who his REAL friends are, and sees that the respect he sought was in them all along.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a film?

OVERNIGHT HERO is a funny, intelligent script. It is aimed at a teen audience, but like teen films ranging from THE BREAKFAST CLUB to EASY A, it will also appeal to adults. It has an interesting, likable lead character. And I have written it in such a way that below-the-line budget will be quite reasonable.

3. How long have you been writing screenplays?

Since I was in high school.

4. What film have you seen the most in your life?

American Graffiti, Casablanca, It's A Wonderful Life, Notting Hill, Rocky, Titanic

5. What artist in the film industry would you love to work with?

Clint Eastwood is high on my list because of his reputation as a director who treats his writers with respect. Tom Hanks goes up there because he is so versatile, like a modern-day Jimmy Stewart.

6. Who was your hero growing up?

There were a variety of fictional characters that I looked up to.

7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

Writing and producing full time, with no further need for a civilian job.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

I usually begin with a "What If?" of some kind. And then I begin fleshing it out, developing the characters and plot. For the latter, I lay out the beats of the main story, making sure that I have a beginning, middle and end. Then I do the same for the subplots, using different colors of text on my computer screen in the same way that old school writers used index cards. Then I cut and paste the multicolored beats into a single document, moving them around until I am happy with the result. And once all that is done, I can write pages pretty quickly, because I've already got the plot, character and structure in place, I know the purpose of each scene, and I know where I'm going.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love TV and movies. I'm a boxing fan. I enjoy boats and the beach when I can get to them. I eat simply, but I do enjoy a good meal.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?

I had a great experience with WILDsound in winning the One-Page Screenplay Contest in 2009, so I wanted to try again with a feature project. WILDsound provides a great opportunity for exposure, and that is exactly what OVERNIGHT HERO needs at this point.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

1) Read "Writing Screenplays That Sell" by Michael Hauge (the best screenwriiting book I ever read) and "Making A Good Script Great" by Linda Seger.

2) Get some scripts and DVDs of movies you liked and treat them like UFOs that have crashed in your backyard. That means taking them apart to see how they were put together in the first place.

3) Network. This whole industry runs on connections. You can't do it by yourself.

4) Write. That should be self-evident, but I have met far too many people who seem to think they can be a writer without actually doing any writing. As Mr. Hauge says, "Seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."

5) Be persistent. I read that the script for CASABLANCA went out 217 times before it sold.




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