B.D. Flory is one of 13 nominees for this year’s Canadian Short Screenplay Competition’s Top Prize: The Writers Block Crystal.
CSSC Founder, David Cormican, had a chance to catch up with B.D. before the big night and ask him about the experience, his script and what’s up next.
Q: What is the name of your nominated screenplay?
Q: Can you tell people in 50 words or less what it is all about?
A: It’s about obsession — you can overcome it, but the damage may already be done. Here’s the fun version: A scholar obsessed with an obscure femme fatale uncovers her fate and the horrific secret history of Hollywood, but his search endangers his marriage, his career, and his life.
Q: Do you remember where you were when you first got the strike of genius/flash of inspiration to write it? Where was that? And could you write it immediately, or did it take a long time?
A: As is often the case, I was brainstorming a solution to a story problem on another project. The elements that make up Cells didn’t turn out to be that solution, but there was enough there for a short, and maybe more someday. As soon as I finished the other project, I wrote Cells in day, let it rest for a week, then revised it in another day.
Q: How did you find out about the CSSC? And what made you decide to enter?
A: It was recommended to me by a mentor, but at the time, I only had full length material — TV specs and a feature. It wasn’t until the next year that I first submitted, and it wasn’t until the year after that I made a showing — Cells is a finalist, and Belly Roll made it as far as the “Top 50′ish.” I’m either getting better or getting luckier. I suppose both is too much to hope for.
Q: Has your script (or any other scripts of yours), placed in any other festivals or competitions? (please list)
A: My first feature-length screenplay, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” placed as a semi-finalist in both the Slamdance Screenplay Competition and Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s AAA Screenplay Competition.
Q: What does it mean for you and your career to be a Top 13 Finalist in the CSSC?
A: Another stack of chips on the roulette board. The entertainment industry is a numbers game, and when that wheel spins, the more chips you have spread out on the board, the better the odds your number comes up. On a personal note, 13 is kind of a lucky number — my first date with my wife was on Friday the 13th!
Q: Has any of your work ever been produced? (please list)
A: Another of my short scripts, “Dog-Eared,” was produced at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, thanks to a generous grant from the program. Josh Tate, the film’s director, put a great cast and crew together, and we were fortunate enough to screen it at the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago.
Q: What is your favourite short film of all time?
A: Duck Amuck, one of the greats to emerge from the Chuck Jones years at Warner Brothers Cartoons. Daffy Duck is tormented by an unseen force, eventually revealed to be a sadistic animator. Even though I saw it at a very young age, it taught me one of the first lessons I learned about storytelling: put your characters through as much hell as you can in the time you have.
Q: Who is your favourite (screen)writer or author? Why?
A: William Gibson, author of the seminal Neuromancer, a foundational book in the cyberpunk movement. He’s become less and less of a science fiction author over the years, as reality draws nearer and nearer to the future he imagined.
Q: What is your favourite word in the English language?
Q: What is your favourite word in any language?
A: Aletheia — Heidigger complicates it quite a bit, but the original meaning, from the Greek, is disclosure, truth. A coming forth of the essence of a thing. Heidigger’s take is that it’s a beginning, but not yet truth — a process. As a writer, I generally think of myself as a craftsman, but when I’m feeling artistic, this hits home.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers who may be considering entering the CSSC next year?
A: You don’t have many pages to work with, so boil it down to essential elements. Develop interesting characters in a unique setting — imagined or real. Story flows naturally from the characters’ collisions with each other and their world.