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Grete Heinemann
Writing Festival Finalist

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11 QUESTIONS with Grete Heinemann - TV Screenplay Finalist

1. What is your screenplay about?

In my TV spec for Sons of Anarchy Jax, blackmailed by Romeo and the CIA, agrees to mule female sex-workers inlands; a set up that causes the sons to lose faith in his leadership.

2. Why should your script be made into a film?

Fortunately it already is, unfortunately I'm not writing for it (yet) ;)

3. How long have you been writing screenplays?

I've been writing screenplays since over 6 years. Being originally from Germany I wrote a couple of features and an interactive pilot in German before I moved to the US and started writing in English. The last 2 years I've been focusing fully on TV and I love it!

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

Die Hard, at least every Christmas and probably many more times through-out the year.

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

There are too many to narrow it down. I'd love to get the opportunity to work with/learn from show runners like Glen Mazzara, Kurt Sutter, Shawn Ryan, Josh Friedman, Alan Ball and Matt Nix.

I'd love to chat with Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Danny Boyle and David Fincher and if I start listing actors that I'd love to work with, I'll still sit here tomorrow. I am particularly excited about Christoph Walz' success though (two Oscars!) since I've been following his career way before Inglorious Bastards and I think he's quite amazing.

6. How many screenplays have you written?

Last year I wrote two original pilots and three spec scripts that I'm extremely proud of. Aside from that I have four completed features and am constantly working on more material (right now a Southland spec for Fellowship season)

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

Working as a writer on a cool TV show while developing my own material as well. (So I can be a show-runner in 7 years ;) )

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

I like TV because the writing process is more like a jigsaw puzzle than anything.

If I'm writing a spec of an existing show I usually re-watch a bunch of episodes and study them (note down how many scenes do characters get, how many storylines how does the show move from scene to scene, who are the characters, common themes etc.) then I usually think about a 'theme' that I'd like to spin my story around. In Sons of Anarchy my theme was 'anything for the family' and in a sense, Jax as well as Gemma and Tara all play along with that. From there I start to plot out the storylines with simple Beginning/Middle and Ends (one sentence each) and, based on them, write a beatsheet that gets me from A - to B - to C with detailed plot points. After I have the beatsheet ready I go to outline, which means I'm basically writing a paragraph about each scene that points out which marks the script will have to hit later. In this process I also intertwine the different storylines and act breaks. Once that outline is solid I go to script. While in script I usually re-read and revise what I wrote the day before to get back in the groove and then tuck on a new chunk, that I'll revise the day after.

For pilots it's kind of the same, only that I do much more research ahead of time and flesh out the characters much more (because for existing shows somebody else already did that for me).

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

I'm passionate about seeing things that are kind of off the beaten path (and usually very American), think old Motels, weird highways, trailerparks, ghost towns and random subcultures, think motorcycle gangs. Oh, and I like anything with an engine, motorcycles, classic cars etc. - go figure why I wrote for Sons of Anarchy.

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

I did some research and found a lot of positive feedback about this contest - aside from that you get unbiased, professional coverage which is always good to keep yourself in check.

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

Writers write.

Oh and: There is no bad notes. If you get a note that doesn't make sense or feels like the reader 'doesn't get it' you usually need to do a better job explaining.

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Grete Heinemann