Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Q&A: Gordy Hoffman

You may have seen a few Q&As with Gordy Hoffman around the scribosphere recently. It's a pretty smart move to target screenwriting blogs to promote the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition, which Gordy founded in 1999.

For those who might raise a cynical eyebrow or scoff at the free-promotion for the contest, BlueCat does seem like a genuine opportunity to kick start your career. It's got a cool cash prize, $10,000 (US), plus all entrants get feedback, and the last couple of winners have gone on to get their scripts into production.

It's definitely worth checking it out as it might be the contest, and opportunity, for you. Also, Gordy is a writer/director in his own right, and this is what he had to say when I threw him a few qs, UK style-ee.



How did your love affair with writing begin?

I wrote a very tiny story when I was seven. It was an assignment from a teacher. She was a great influence on my life, simply by asking us children to do a creative writing assignment. I still remember that discovery the morning of nothing short of the human imagination.

After you graduated, and you wrote your first staged play in 1990, what was it like in those early years of trying to find your voice, keep writing scripts, and earn a crust at the same time?

There was nothing else I wanted to do, so that was a blessing. It took me a long time to figure out what I needed to do to allow myself to even produce. We ourselves create all the obstacles to our success. To this day, I try to stay out of my way.

A background in theatre such as yours would suggest a passion for character and emotion rather than any kind of rigid storytelling technique: do you think this kind of approach is more beneficial than what is recommended by the story gurus of the modern screenwriting market (which isn’t to say that they don’t have useful advice)?

The benefit of the theatre background is the patience you have for developing a piece through readings. You remember actors will eventually be reading the lines of dialogue you’re writing. I don’t think playwrights have a monopoly on character or emotion. But they are aware of the audience perhaps. Reading a script aloud for the purposes of development is automatic in the theatre. It seldom happens in screenwriting.

What was your first break in screenwriting - how did you segue from theatre to the screen?

I nearly completed a screenplay before I set out to write LOVE LIZA. It took me 18 days to write the rough draft. I knew something drastic had to happen, so I forced the change, and stayed in the chair. I think about writing plays all the time. Shortly, I will again.

It must have been a real buzz to have your brother star in a movie that you’d written. What was it like when you were kids - was Philip always the acting type, were you the shyer guy?

We are both very proud of LOVE LIZA. It was a special experience. We both learned so much. Who would’ve thought we could pull that off? It will be fun to work with him again someday.

Give us the pitch for Coat of Snow, your writing/directorial debut.

A girl takes her video camera to her cousin’s bachelorette party.

Is it getting a UK release?

Not at this time! :{

Why did you set up the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition when you had not yet established yourself as a screenwriter?

I had experiences with screenplay contests, and I was inspired to start my own. I wanted to have a competition that served writers. This is our focus today at BlueCat. What a ride! I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t started it. I’m so happy I did.

What’s next for Gordy Hoffman?

I’m working on a spec comedy script and my next directing project, which has a war theme. It will be shot on digital video.


Thanks, Gordy.


Lucy V said...


James Henry said...

The name has to go.

Enzio Pesta said...

Man, this guy doesn't let up! He's asked me for an interview too and I HATE screenwriters.

Vic Trundles said...

would anypersons like to interview I? I, Olaf could provider much insight into how to unsuccess in art of screenscripting.