Interview: Matthew Bozin
– Matthew Bozin, writer of Granite Falls (2011 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner; 2012 Screenwriting finalist)
What was one of the main motivations to become a screenwriter?
I remember watching movies at a very young age and just thinking to myself that I wanted to be a part of that in some way. I wasn’t really sure how, and I think that stayed in the back of my mind over the years until I got to high school and took an interest in writing. I’m not sure when I put the two together, but I do recall reading an article about Fight Club, where Brad Pitt said how he met the writer and told him it was the best damn script he’d ever read, and thinking, I want to do that.
Early on, what was one of the more challenging aspects of writing? Coming up with a concept? The execution itself. . . ?
Early on, I read as many scripts and books as I could get my hands on, and structure and dialogue came fairly naturally to me. I guess the most difficult thing, personally, was finding compelling stories and characters that would keep people turning the pages. That’s actually gotten harder over the years as well, trying to find a story or concept that the industry wants. I find myself trying to write something I think the industry will buy instead of something I want to write. Also, I’m a really bad speller. . . so that’s always a challenge.
How long had you been writing screenplays prior to entering the contest?
I attempted my first screenplay my junior year in college, so I’ve been writing for a little over 12 years.
Had you circulated the script to anyone? If so, was the process difficult? Any bites?
I’ve had the benefit of working in this industry for a little while, and had also been a semi-finalist in another contest, so I had relationships and contacts to send the script to. That being said, I think the process is fairly difficult for the most part. But I’ve always believed, once you write something everyone wants, everyone will call. The most typical response for Granite Falls is, “Love the writing, not sure the concept is for me. What else you got?”
The recognition of winning Script Pipeline has been a great avenue for the script as well. I’ve caught the attention of some creative executives and have had a couple meetings out of it, which leads to more relationships and more people I can send my next script to.
Granite Falls is an action/thriller with a younger cast—what were some of the influences in coming up with the premise? Had you written similar scripts before?
I would consider myself more of a character-drama writer. I’ve written a couple supernatural thrillers, an action adventure, 2 book adaptations (both dramas), and a couple character-dramas before writing Granite Falls.
But to be completely honest, Granite Falls was written after reading an action thriller, with a young cast, that sold for a million, and getting so mad because I thought the script was horrible! I kept thinking, if this is what sells, I can do it a hell of a lot better! I won’t reveal the name of that script, but it was made. . . and it bombed! Am I allowed to say, “I told you so?”
What’s next on the screenwriting front?
I have a couple features in the early outline stage and have a few first acts written, but my focus is a new feature that’s also my first attempt at a comedy. So far it’s going pretty well. . . until I get stuck, at which point I will consider it to have gone horribly wrong.