Saturday, January 20, 2007

My Interview With Gordy Hoffman

As many of you know, there are a lot of screenplay competitions out in screenwriterland. But only some of them are worth their salt, and one competition that I'd put at the top of the list is BlueCat. It's one of a few that I would highly recommended entering.

The following is an interview I did last week with Gordy Hoffman, the founder of BlueCat. Heck of a nice guy! Check it out.......

ME: Why did you start BlueCat? And what is "BlueCat?"

GORDY: As a writer who had submitted to screenplay contests in the past, I wanted to start one from the perspective of a writer. I had a tomcat named Blue, and he died shortly before I founded the competition.

ME: Typically, how many scripts are entered into BlueCat?

GORDY: We had over 1800 screenplays last year, and we expect over 3000 this year.

ME: What's the most popular genre that you see entered into BlueCat? Does genre matter? (Could a slasher script win?) Do you find dramas winning more so than comedies?

GORDY: We find every genre is submitted, with comedies winning one year and a drama the next. I would love a horror film to win. Send them in!

ME: Do your readers read an entire screenplay entry? Just the 1st 30?

GORDY: Every entrant to BlueCat receives written analysis on their screenplay. This means our readers read the entire screenplay. Most competitions do not do this.

ME: What bugs your readers when reading an entry? Typos? Poor Structure? What bugs you? And what are some common mistakes that might get a particular script tossed aside? What kills a script?

GORDY: Misspellings. Describing the thoughts of a characters.

ME: Describe the stages a script might go through when moving forward in your competition. Is it a points system?

GORDY: I personally review what the readers have said, and then I start cracking the scripts, reading until I am in awe.

ME: Have any of the past finalists/winners been produced?

GORDY: Our 2005 winner, GARY THE TENNIS COACH, recently wrapped shooting in Austin, directed by Gary Leiner and starring Seann William Scott. It will be in theaters this year. Two years ago, it was file sitting in a hard drive in Nebraska. Then they submitted it to BlueCat. Now, our 2006 winner, HYUNG’S OVERTURE, is in pre-production.

ME: How long do you see BlueCat lasting?

GORDY: Unless I die, BlueCat will be around a very long time.

ME: There's a boatload of screenplay competitions/contests now. Why enter BlueCat?

GORDY: We have the largest cash prize and greatest access to the industry for a competition that offers analysis to every entrant. When you enter BlueCat, you receive support and prestige that is unmatched.

ME: What does the winner receive?

GORDY: $10,000.

ME: How did you become involved with the High Falls Film Festival?

GORDY: I was born in Rochester, New York, and I am involved in the film community there. High Falls is a great film festival.

ME: Once a winner is announced, does BlueCat help the writer get an agent or interest from a studio or production company?

GORDY: I personally handed GARY THE TENNIS COACH to a producer I knew, and that man was Peter Morgan.

ME: Let's say a writer lives outside of California or NY, how the hell does he/she market themselves? If a screenwriter is serious about making it, do they need to be in California?

GORDY: In general, yes. But if you want to make it work from Atlanta, give it a shot. If you’re writing independent movies, i.e.material the studios don’t make, then have at it regionally. But if you’re writing studio movies, where do you live? You walk to the market and sell your bananas, or you can ship them.

ME: Do you have a writing process, such as notecards, outlines, etc?

GORDY: I recently started writing in a non linear way, simply writing whatever scene I wanted to. I feel grateful to have broken a rigid way.

ME: How do you think the possible WGA strike in the Fall might effect aspiring screenwriters?

GORDY: It won’t. Keep writing. Writers are always looking for ways to avoid the work.

ME: Are there any screenwriting books you would recommended to aspiring screenwriters?

GORDY: Read interviews with the master directors. Fellini, Renoir, Welles.

ME: In your opinion, what is your favorite film of 2006? Of all-time? Best written script of 2006? Of all-time?

GORDY: The best movie of 2006 was United 93. The best screenplay was Hyung’s Overture. All time favorite: The Third Man. It’s not my fav, but I would maybe take it to a desert island. Or Once Upon A Time In The West. Or…..

ME: Tell us about A Coat Of Snow. Where did the story come from?

GORDY: I saw a limo of girls at a Burger King and thought that would be a good idea for a digital movie.

ME: Is it beneficial for a writer to direct their screenplay?

GORDY: If you know how to direct. It’s a different thing you know.

ME: How do you feel about the digital filmmaking revolution?

GORDY: I have never shot on film and probably never will. Film is over.

ME: Are you currently working on any other projects?

GORDY: I am writing a digital movie about war.

ME: If you weren't a screenwriter/director/producer/competition kingpin, what would you be doing?

GORDY: I would be an economist.

For more information about the BlueCat Screenplay competition, or to enter, click here.


Moviequill said...

great stuff... his answers come across as a bit cold and blunt though, was yours the 100th interview he did heh.. I need to get The Third Man script to read

hobbes21 said...

I've read a few interviews with Gordy and he seems professional and direct.

Thanks for more insight into BlueCat. I'll enter this year; my first such contest.

I appreciate that they offer feedback. It should give me some good traction for a screenplay that I love, yet might be too close to to be objective anymore.