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Tim and Martin Marks

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11 Questions with 2010 Screenplay Finalist

Tim and Martin Marks

1. What is your screenplay about?

MARTIN: Trogs is a drama series about six American intelligence agents who have been blackmailed into working for a clandestine organization that specializes in handling threats too delicate for the official intelligence agencies.

2. Why did you decide to write this screenplay?

TIM: I wanted to do a piece where technology was a character, but a low-rent character. Where the "spies" couldn't just call for a satellite flyover when they were in trouble. All the tech on Trogs is consumer-grade stuff, researched by Martin and readily available on the net. I wanted the grit of British TV shows from the 70s and characters who stood alone, but worked as a team, albeit grudgingly.

3. How long have you been writing screenplays?

TIM: I've been doing screenplays about 5 years, after about 12 years of play-writing and four off-Broadway productions.

MARTIN: I've been writing novels for about seven years, and while I've toyed with the screenplay format off and on, Trogs is the first project in this format that I've really focused on.

4. What is your favorite TV show of all-time?

MARTIN: I believe that The Wire is probably the best television show ever made. The fact that it's set in Baltimore is just a plus.

TIM: I grew up on British TV, so shows like Callan do it for me - but I'm also exceedingly partial to Britcoms with Judi Dench.

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

TIM: Kenneth Branagh. I wrote my first play after watching Henry V.

MARTIN: I'd have to say Joss Whedon, because when you get right down to it, I am a huge nerd..

6. Who was your hero growing up?

TIM: Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, and Martin Peters, the West Ham trio who helped England win the World Cup in 1966.

MARTIN: I read constantly growing up, so my heroes were always fictional characters. Arthur Dent, from the Hitchhiker's Guide series, was definitely a favorite.

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

TIM: Working in an industry that allows a mind to wander.

MARTIN: I'd love to have a show on the air and a novel on the shelves, but the important thing is just to be writing.

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

MARTIN: For Trogs we've been using a collaborative system. One of us writes a complete first draft, then sends it over to the other, who essentially rewrites it. It keeps bouncing back and forth until we've got something we both like. We have pretty different tastes and styles, so there's a lot of compromises made and occasionally some heated discussion, but in the end we have a polished version that merges the best of both of us.

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

TIM: West Ham United, although it's frequently unrequited.

MARTIN: I'm working for a small start-up company right now, and being passionate about it is the only thing that keeps me going in every morning.

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

TIM: We wanted to put Trogs out there, and used the competition deadline to push us to finish the final draft.

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

MARTIN: Don't rule out collaboration. If you'd asked either of us a year ago, we would both have said that we were too obstinate and controlling to ever work with a writing partner. But this idea of working together has turned out to be one of the best things we've done for our writing in a long time. If you treat writing as a purely solitary activity, you tend to miss the problems everyone else sees while getting bogged down in the problems no one else even notices. Even if you don't collaborate, it's vital to at least find someone who'll serve as a sounding board and a critic - and you have to listen to what they say, even if you don't want to hear it!

TIM: It's trite, but keep on going, even if the only ones who think you can write are your 6 month old baby and your dog.



Tim and Martin Marks


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