MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Marc DeLamater

An interview with screenwriter Marc DeLamater regarding the Screenwriter Takes All Writing Competition.

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Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

A: Imagine going around the world under the sea onboard the world's most advanced submarine. TRITON is the dramatic true story of that incredible voyage set during the troubled, turbulent times of the Cold War. It is 20,000 Leagues under the Sea meets The Hunt for Red October.

What began as a simple shakedown cruise for the nuclear submarine USS Triton was transformed into an unprecedented, highly hazardous, top-secret mission, code-named Operation Sandblast, the first submerged around-the-world voyage. For Captain Edward L. Beach and his new, untried crew, they faced illness, infighting, isolation, mechanical failures, uncharted waters, and the many hazards of the sea that will test them throughout their voyage. The price of failure is high, but if they succeed, Captain Beach and his crew will make history.

What fascinates me about the Triton circumnavigation are its participants, the Triton's officers and crew; their wives, family, and loved ones; and particularly Triton's skipper, Captain Edward L. Beach, who serves as the main character and protagonist. Ned Beach was such a well-rounded and accomplished man trying to find the balance between his family life and his professional naval career. Of particular note is the high regard that Beach had for his late father, a naval officer himself, and his desire to do honor to his memory.

Underlying the events and aftermath of the Triton circumnavigation of 1960 are themes that fascinate me, that great events and men often go unrecognized and unheralded, but by attempting important and worthwhile goals, unexpected accomplishments are achieved that far exceed the original objectives of any undertaking. For the men of Triton, it is doing their duty, coming home, and showing that American nuclear-powered submarines can go anywhere and meet any challenge to support American national security throughout the Cold War.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: I received an e-mail notice on February 28th about that month's contest for Screenwriter Takes All Writing Competition and with a leap of faith, I entered it. I have entered a number of contests during the last two years, and I have done well. However, winning the February 2011 Screenwriter Takes All Writing contest has been my break-through event.

Q: Were you satisfied with the administration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: The contest staff ran a tight ship and executed a flawless operation. Kudos for an outstanding effort by all concerned. I am grateful for the opportunities that this will offer.

Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?

A: I began researching the 1960 submerged around-the-world voyage of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Triton in 2000. After corresponding with many of the Triton's crew, including the late Captain Edward L. Beach, I began writing the screenplay in 2002. Since it is a true story, the chronology of the event provided a rough outline. I went through three major drafts that were reviewed the late Captain Tom Thamm, who was my technical advisor, and I subsequently executed seven significant re-writes based various reader notes from contests that I entered.

Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?

A: I use Microsoft Word. It is old school, but it allows me to be hands-on in my writing and re-writing.

Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?

A: By profession, I am a technical writer, so I write all the time, and I do manage to get some creative time, too.

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?

A: I never have had writer's block per se. I have gotten side-tracked because of illness or work. When I have a writing issue, I just work the problem until I can come up with a solution. During my last re-write, I was able in enhance the story arc for a number of secondary characters that enhanced the overall quality of my screenplay.

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

A: As I mentioned, I am a technical writer by profession, but my avocation is to become a screenwriter.

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

A: I have made two business-related trips to Los Angeles, as well as two weekend trips there. If things develop, living in a dry climate would be great.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

A: I have a couple of screenplays that I have previously written which I want to revisit. One is about the Barbary pirates, which is timely, and another is about the movie serials. I'd love to work on a screenplay about Tarzan and that great pulp hero, Doc Savage. I'd like to do a screenplay on the American Revolution and the allied air raids against the oil fields in Ploie_ti, Romania, during World War Two. A former boss has gotten me interested in events in Rwanda, and a person who goes to my church has talked to me about his cousin's story of jumping ship while going from East Germany to Cuba and defecting to the United States. So I have a lot of stories to share.

Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011