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 2008 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Kent Wong

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FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Kent Wong

CATEGORY 2 - (Drama)

Elite Prize Winner
Kent Wong
of Bonny Lake, WA
Screenplay
Screenplay
THE ESCAPE
Drama
Biography:

Kent Wong was born in China and the script is based on his personal story of how he escaped the Chinese Cultural Revolution and came to the United States.

Presently he is a retired licensed physician in Washington State. He is also the manager of a land development and homebuilding company.

Interview

I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........

the moment I saw an American movie in a cheap second-run theater in Hong Kong many years ago. At the time, I didn’t really know anything about how movies were made, but I was deeply moved by films, and have always wanted to be involved in their creation in some way or another.



I know I've succeeded........ 

I know I've succeeded – to be honest, I’m not sure. My goal is simply to tell my story and to relate the events of the Cultural Revolution as seen through my eyes and truthfully and faithfully as possible, so that others may learn from my experience.

 

My inspiration to write THE ESCAPE.......

My inspiration to write The Escape is to desire to tell my story to the world, which I believe is a story that sheds light on aspects of the Cultural Revolution that have never been seen before.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Kent Wong:
I believe “The Escape”, if made into a movie, will tell a story set in the midst of a great human tragedy that has never been seen before. I hope the story will inspire people to pursue their goals, no matter how difficult they are. At a time when China is rapidly becoming a world power, I hope my story will remind the Chinese baby boomers about who they are and what they have been through, so they will play a positive role for the world.

FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?

Kent Wong:
It was a difficult emotional journey for me to go back to such a difficult time in my life, but I felt that my story needed to be told. It was a challenge to recall, assemble, and condense the extraordinary amount of detail and events before writing.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Kent Wong
This is my first script, and it took 9 months from conception to the second draft that was sent to Filmmakers INTL Screenplay Awards. Since submission in the summer of 2008, the rewriting process has been ongoing.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Kent Wong:
I don’t have a routine, since my other business (in real estate) has been facing a tremendous downturn since I started writing. I compensate for this by writing during what free time I can find, and by going over the story in my mind constantly, whether it’s behind the wheel, before I fall asleep, or whenever.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Kent Wong:
  I am a believer that a well-run competition will offer newcomers who have no representation an opportunity to have their work critically examined and compared with others. Writing a good script is an extremely difficult process, and competitions provide a valuable learning opportunity.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?

Kent Wong
I searched the internet for competitions to enter and came across the Filmmakers INTL Screenwriting Awards. I liked what I saw based on the website.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Kent Wong:
Any Oscar-winning or nominated screenplays. If a screenplay won an Oscar, it should have at least something in it that can be learned from.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Kent Wong:
Architecture design and photography - both are challenging and stimulating.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Kent Wong:
Robert Bolt. When I was in Hong Kong, I would watch Hollywood movies subtitled in a cheap, dingy second-run theater. Dr. Zhivago was one of my favorite movies. The scale and scope of the story has always inspired me.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Kent Wong:
Clint Eastwood. He has always struck me as a very down-to-earth, direct, no-nonsense director who isn’t afraid to make bold movies.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Kent Wong:
Al Pacino, because I admire the dedication he gives to his characters.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Kent Wong:
Keep rewriting. Personally, I’ve learned a lot like “Making A Good Script Great” by Linda Seger, “The Art of Dramatic Writing” by Lajos Egri, “The Screenwriter’s Bible” (for formatting) by David Trottier, and for a non-three act structure approach, John Truby’s works.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Kent Wong:
Finishing the 4th draft of “The Escape”, and continuing the first drafts of two other screenplays.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Kent Wong:
Hopefully, somewhere relating to the movie business.

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