My screenplay is an episode of the show “Chuck” entitled Chuck versus Counseling. In it, our main hero Chuck, an accidental super spy for the US government, takes his fake girlfriend/CIA partner (whom he desperately wants to be his real girlfriend/CIA partner) to a weekend couples retreat in the woods so that they can intercept some enemy agents. Chuck inadvertently encourages his sister and brother-in-law and best friend and best friend’s girlfriend to come along for the espionage filled ride.
2. Why did you decide to write this screenplay?
I had one idea for one scene – in the teaser I have Casey do an impression of Devon. That was basically the seed for the whole episode. I don’t know why that stuck with me but it did. I couldn’t get Adam Baldwin’s voice (he plays John Casey on the show) doing a mocking impersonation of Ryan McPartlin (who plays Devon with a stunning amount of frat boy) out of my head. The idea of it kept making me giggle. And when I was trying to figure out why Casey would be doing that – I stumbled onto the Devon/Ellie constant bickering seed – and that led to the entire couples counseling plot.
3. How long have you been writing screenplays?
I started taking courses at UCLA about three years ago now – this was my first attempt at writing a television script; I started it about last March.
4. What is your favorite TV show of all-time?
Mean question! Cruel! It’s like picking your favorite child – you can do it but you feel awful about it, and you’ll probably change you mind the next time it comes up anyway. If I have to pick I would say “The Fugitive” from 1963-1967. Not because the show itself – (no offense David Janssen!) but because when it originally aired my mom never saw the last episode and she and I spent hours of my childhood watching reruns on cable waiting for the last one to air so she could finally see what happened. In addition to being a fun, albeit somewhat random mother-daughter bonding activity, it was amazing to see how even thirty years later my mother would still care how it all ended.
5. What artist in the film industry would you love to work with?
ANYONE! CALL ME!
6. Who was your hero growing up?
My grandmother - Joyce Varney Thompson. Everything this woman does is phenomenal. She grew up in coal mining country in Wales and was labeled “mentally deficient” by the school system when she was 14. She later became a nurse during the war, crossed the Atlantic to America with her young son, wrote four novels, and graduated from Harvard (take that Welsh public school system!) When I was about 8 years old she plunked me down in front of a typewriter. She made being a writer be a real thing for me; I’d be lost in the woods without her.
7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
I’d love to be writing for a TV series. Having twenty-hours to explore the journey of a character over the course of year – I can’t believe there’s a career that permits that type of self-indulgence, but since there is – I want in.
8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
I have a terrible process. Seriously – under the “don’t” category there’s a picture of me and a picture of all those drugs from the DARE classes we took when we were kids. I always mean to outline, but I get seduced into writing too early and lose my way on plot. I then get totally lost and wind up rewriting and writing unnecessary scenes, and even worse – fantastic scenes that I have to cut because they don’t fit by the end. I also pace a lot when I’m working out what comes next. The downstairs neighbors have actually come to my apartment to complain. And they’re nurses – it’s possible I’ve caused sleep deprivation related medical errors. Don’t be like me. Lives are in the balance.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Wow. I’m from New Hampshire – we tend to be reserved folks. I feel like you just asked me what color underwear I’m wearing. I guess I’d say fairness and self-reliance. If there was little bit more of both, the world would be much better. Or at least a little less whiny.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?
Honestly – you just seemed really fun.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Be kind to your loved ones. They pretend not to notice when your eyes glaze over when they’re in mid conversation and you’re “secretly” working out a plot point, but they do. They deserve better than you and your addiction – never forget that.