BLADE screenwriter David S. Goyer
March 11th, 2004
Just write 10 pages of scenes or dialogue and enter to win weekly prizes and the Grand Prize: a laptop computer to write the next great American screenplay. The final SCI-FI/FANTASY script will be evaluated by industry professionals and could be made into a feature film with your onscreen credit.
David S. Goyer Interview
by: Kenna McHughA New Trend is On the Internet for Screenwriters! Cooperative Screenwriting!
BLADE (New Line) screenwriter David S. Goyer (THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS) will post the first five pages of an original science-fiction thriller exclusive to TNT Rough Cut Web site. These first pages will introduce the characters and their world, and set a startling direction for the story. Aspiring screenwriters will be encouraged to continue the story by submitting their own ten pages as the possible next chapter. The World Wide Web offers a unique opportunity to share in the creative process
Each week (currently on it's sixth week), a panel of judges will select the best submission and post those ten new pages on the site. In addition to the opportunity to collaborate with Goyer and publish online, the winners will be awarded a prize.
At the end of the contest, Goyer will read the published script and write the final five pages.
Goyer started his career after he wrote his second script, which was purchased and made into an action flick, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme (DEATH WARRANT). He's since churned out several scripts that have become popular science fiction and horror movies. Goyer's a rabid fan of sci-fi literature, comic books and movies. His latest film and box office hit, BLADE, is based on the Marvel comic book and stars Wesley Snipes as a vampire.
The movie is about Blade who became bent on killing the immortal villains who slaughtered his mother and left him to a life of bloodshed and misery. Armed with an amazing array of very hi-tech armaments, he must stop the young vampire 'Deacon Frost' who has set his sights on assuming the Overlord position at the head of the House of Arabis. But time is running out as the 'blood-substitute' serum Blade's been feeding off begins to have less effect, and a young female hematologist must help him before he succumbs to the 'undying thirst'. BLADE was first introduced to comic book fans in 1973 as a supporting character in Marvel Comic's Tomb of Dracula. Over the years, the character has been built into a franchise, culminating with the its theatrical release.
I got my cyber-foot in David Goyer's office when he had just finished his first draft to his next screenplay. Although he couldn't talk about his next screenplay (which is not the TNT Rough Cut script), he was open to discussing screenwriting in general, so away I went with my questions.
Kenna: Were there any movies, TV shows or books that first got you interested in writing?
David: Believe it or not, the first show that inspired me to start writing was DARK SHADOWS, a cheesy but wonderful horror soap-opera that was on in the late 60s and early 70s. I got hooked on it when I was in kindergarten. I used to come home from school and watch it with my babysitter. After that, I'd have to cite the TWILIGHT ZONE and NIGHT STALKER.
David: I find that I have to keep myself very disciplined when I'm writing. I work every weekday, from 10 AM until 4 PM. After four, I make business calls, etc. I can't have any music playing and my desk faces a blank wall (that way, I can minimize distractions).
Kenna: Are you a good procrastinator?
David: Every writer is a good procrastinator. I took all of the games like Solitaire off my computer a long time ago.
Kenna: What sort of characters interest you? What sort of stories?
David: I am generally drawn to dark stories. Tortured characters. I tend to like stories where average people are thrown into surreal experiences. Of late, though, I've been getting increasingly disenchanted with action movies.
Kenna: How do you work through parts of a script where you hit a roadblock in the story? Do you have any specific tricks to help, or just tough it out?
David: I work from very extensive outlines. Whenever I do hit a roadblock, it's because I've rushed ahead and started the script improperly before I filled all the plot holes in the outline stage. I tend to write the script in chronological order -- however, if I do get bogged down in a particular scene, I try not to worry about it and just jump ahead to the next scene that I think I can handle. In the project I'm currently writing I have finished the entire first draft with the exception of one vexing scene around the mid- point.
Kenna: What were the hardest things about "Blade" to write?
David: Blade was a very easy script for me. The rough draft only took about three weeks. I didn't have to do a significant amount of research for it -- just a few conversations with some hematologists, etc.
Kenna: What was it like writing about comic book characters?
David: Comics can be difficult because it's hard to nail the right tone. In the case of BLADE, the film clearly called for an "R" rating, which was something I fought for since the beginning. I think the fans appreciated that we didn't pull any punches with the movie (as opposed to some of the later BATMAN films, for instance). When you're dealing with a comic book character you are dealing with someone who is much bigger than life, more iconic than even your standing film star. You just have to be mindful of that.
Kenna: What is your best experience as a writer?
David: My best experience writing was probably on DARK CITY. Alex Proyas was a joy to work with -- very collaborative. Aside from DARK CITY, I would have to say my TV work has been the most enjoyable -- simply because, in television, the writer is king and has the final word.
Kenna: Was there any particular writer who acted as a sort of mentor to you? If so, what things did you learn?
David: Nelson Gidding, who wrote the screenplays for THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN and THE HAUNTING was a mentor of sorts for me. I met him when I was in film school and ended up being a teaching assistant for him. The best advice he gave me was to be mindful of "over-writing". Beginning writers tend to be too descriptive. Nelson would go through my work and help me trim things down, making everything as crisp and simple as possible. I also read a lot of Walter Hill's early scripts and admired his economy of word.
Kenna: Why do you write?
David: I write because I enjoy having an outlet for my fantasies. Also, because I suppose I have a desire to entertain people. It's very gratifying to be sitting in a movie theater and watch an audience respond favorably to your film. It's the best thing in the world.
Kenna: How do you think the Internet with assist writers of film and TV?
David: The Internet is quite helpful in terms of research. I'm always on the WWW, checking sites for various information, making contact with specialists and asking them questions, etc. It's also a nice way to interact with the fans -- there's a certain immediacy about it that's very seductive.
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