Recent CSSC finalist and alum, Mark Witteveen (who wrote the script Publish and Perish), is fourth in our list of nine… about his life, his stories and his experience submitting a short film script with the CSSC.
CSSC: What is your day job?
MW: Currently, I work as a litigation paralegal in a law firm.
CSSC: Do you have literary representation?
CSSC: What made you apply to the CSSC?
MW: I wrote a short script and looked around for places to submit it. To get filmmakers interested in the story.
CSSC: Is there a theme to your screenplays/writing(s)?
MW: I have no idea.
CSSC: What made you write the screenplay that you submitted? What was your
inspiration for writing it?
MW: A story idea grabbed me but it wouldn’t fit on the stage, so I tried it as a film.
CSSC: What is your screenplay about?
MW: It’s about the lengths an imaginative individual will go to get what he desperately wants.
CSSC: What was writing it like?
MW: The character’s journey came with the initial idea. I fleshed the story out fairly quickly on paper in a couple of sittings, and then tweaked it while working on another project.
CSSC: What has happened for you professionally, if anything, since applying to the CSSC and making it amongst the finalists?
MW: I hope that being a finalist generates interest from filmmakers for this project and/or some other future work.
CSSC: What is next for you?
MW: Finish a couple of theater projects, and then write another (spec) full-length film script.
CSSC: Would you enter the CSSC again?
MW: Yes, of course. Professional colleagues receptive to my work, script promotion, a film festival, exposure to first-rate talent. Need I go on?
CSSC: What advice do you have for other writers?
MW: Be bold. Keep learning. Develop your tastes. A rush to judgment serves no purpose. Future competitors? Write a good story.
CSSC: What is your favorite short film? This past year? And of all time?
MW: I’m woefully ignorant of what’s out there. I found a DVD of Spike Jonze short stuff I loved. Some Rod Serling, especially for learning film craft, the Twilight Zone stories. Of all time? Chekhov short stories. I’ve seen a few in Russian. Old timey film productions, not so great. Hundreds of his stories can to be adapted into modern short films. The Chorus Girl, Agafya, The Huntsman, Verochka.
CSSC: What is a quote that inspires you?
MW: Many. Here is one:
“Neglect nothing that can make you great.”
MARK WITTEVEEN, started writing for film in 2008. His first full-length film script THE SOLDIERS OF BREAKFAST was a quarterfinalist (top 321 of 6,380 entries) in the 2009 Nicholls Competition. PUBLISH AND PERISH is his first short film script. Another short, THE KEEPER, is set in a post apocalyptic future, where a wandering man (or woman) holds the key to peaceful co-existence for emerging centers of civilization. Witteveen is also a playwright, with works presented at theaters across the United States. Several plays are finalists or winners in festivals and competitions. Witteveen lives in Rochester, NY.