HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Stuart Creque, author of Autonomy and The Last Earth Girl Went to Space to Find God

This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.
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Next up: an interview with Stuart Creque, author of Autonomy and The Last Earth Girl Went to Space to Find God
Stuart Creque has written nine feature screenplays and numerous short scripts. His screenplays have won various screenwriting competitions including The Indie Gathering, Gloria Film Festival, Bare Bones Independent Film Festival, and Cinema City International Film Festival. His short script AUTONOMY was produced by Silver Penny Productions as a result of his win at An Abbreviated Screenplay Contest.  His feature script The Last Earth Girl Went To Space To Find God is in post-production with Cellardoor Productions.
  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced?
My first screenplay that was produced was Autonomy (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1482382/), a short.  My first feature screenplay that was produced is The Last Earth Girl Went To Space To Find God (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3403700/).
  1. Can you tell us a bit about the journey as to how it came about?

autonomyAutonomy is a short script I wrote as part of a writing challenge.  The prompt was: an argument that never gets resolved.  I immediately thought of an argument over abortion, an issue where strongly held beliefs are very resistant to argument.  I won the writing challenge and decided to enter the short script into screenplay contests.  It won An Abbreviated Screenplay Contest, and the first prize was production of the short.

The Last Earth Girl… is an adaptation of a short story my oldest daughter wrote for a college course.  Her assignment was to write a story about her relationship to faith, and she wrote a fable about a girl seeking to meet God face-to-face to ask Him why He decided to obliterate the Solar System and cause the extinction of life on Earth.  I entered the screenplay into contests, and it won the Cellardoor Cinema contest – again, the prize was production of the feature.

  1. Tell me a little bit about the experience of having the project come to completion.

last earth girlI was able to watch Autonomy being filmed over the course of one weekend in Southern California.  The director, Biff Yeager, did a wonderful job.  He added some additional material to bookend the story and heighten the conflict in the story.  I observed the process and the roles of all of the production crew: it was very instructive.

On The Last Earth Girl…, I worked with the director Jim Weter and his writing partner to prepare the screenplay for production.  They consulted me to determine where they could cut or restructure material to make it easier to produce without losing any of the story’s impact.

  1. What was the hardest obstacle to overcome in achieving that first project?

On both Autonomy and The Last Earth Girl…, the hardest obstacle was putting the material in the hands of a producer/director who loved it so much they were willing to invest their time and money to produce the movie.

  1. What have you learned about the industry when it comes to being a writer?

I’ve learned that the writer never drives the production unless he’s also the producer or director.  On several subsequent paid writing assignments, I kept that in mind: it’s the vision of the director (and the producer) that will end up on the screen, and the writer is only a contributor to that vision.

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m making short films in collaboration with the Scary Cow Film Collective in San Francisco.  I’m also writing spec features, mainly in the horror and sci-fi genres.

  1. What is your favorite movie or TV series?

My favorite TV series is the original The Twilight Zone.  My favorite current TV series is The Big Bang Theory.  My favorite movie is Shane.

  1. Where do you think the movie and television industry is heading? What do you think its future is?

I think TV will continue in the direction of telling long-form stories that require many hours to tell, while movies for theatrical release will focus on spectacle, like the current fad of comic book movies.  The question is what happens to the movies that tell stories in the space of two hours without needing big-screen spectacle: will people still want to see them in theaters or will they prefer to stream them at home?

  1. What parting advice do you have for writers?

I’d advise writers to find a filmmaking collective or group of collaborators and take charge of producing their own material.  As a practical matter, that probably is limited to shorts.

  1. What do you do when you’re not writing? What do you do to get away from the industry?

My day job is in tech.  Outside of that, I enjoy cooking and travel.

  1. Tell us something about yourself that many people may not know.

I once made a presentation to the Food and Drug Administration regarding bar coding drugs to reduce medication errors in hospitals.

P.J. McIlvaine, http://ow.ly/NIE74

Ken Lemm http://ow.ly/NoT9c

Jane Rosemont http://ow.ly/N6epJ

Todd Niemi http://ow.ly/MOfFq

Louis Pappas, http://ow.ly/LxRji

Allan Brocka, http://ow.ly/LfQNy

Gregory Blair http://ow.ly/KZj9s

Josh Kim http://ow.ly/K7obx

Jim Thalman http://ow.ly/JQ8YT

David Au http://ow.ly/JwM0A

Dwayne Alexander Smith http://ow.ly/J8GJI

Haifaa Al-Mansour http://ow.ly/ITabq

Chad Crawford Kinkle http://ow.ly/HXLq0

Mikey Levy http://ow.ly/HA9Xm

Hilliard Guess http://ow.ly/HcOmr

Amir Ohebsion http://ow.ly/H8aPq

Donald McKinney http://ow.ly/GvPfn

Michelle Ehlen http://ow.ly/GvPr1

So tell me what you think.

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