Screenwriter Spotlight:
Finalist Brian Wapole




  1. What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?

Brian Wapole from Chicago, here, riding the pocket of the new wave.

  1. Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

After years of working as a teacher with members of LGBTQ and the diverse learners comunities, I felt there was a need not necessarily to “tell their story,” but to present a coming of age story where a non-conforming character would carry the narrative. So, Ainslie’s non-binary identity informs his decisions but is not solely who he is. I was hoping to write a coming of age story about a compelling, flawed, kinetic personality, who learns the hard way that he is not as cool/smart as he thinks he is

  1. From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

Have you read Dante’s Inferno? Paradise Lost? Descent into the Maelstrom? Been stuck on the Dan Ryan at 5:15pm?

  1. When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

Rather late. After I was told by more than one reputable source that my fiction manuscripts were more cinematic than novelistic.

  1. Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?

I’m not particularly unique here: Paddy Chayefsky, The Coen Brothers, Charlie Kaufman, Spike Lee, James Brooks, Kurosawa, Coppola. I don’t know which elements I consciously borrow, except that all of them mix bitterness and loss with empathy. I think I’m happiest with my efforts when I can pull that off.

  1. Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?

The Man in the Moon with Reese Witherspoon. The kind of movie I would not like, yet I watched it over and over, doing whatever I could to break it down. I think it’s exceptional acting for a 14-year-old. And the direction is so understated and perfect. Reese has fourteen different ways of smiling in that film. And every last one of her body movements is for a purpose. Probably most people think of it as “an okay movie.” I think it’s a gem.

  1. What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?


This is a trap question! There are hundreds. It’s hard to top that moment in Das Boot when the U-Boat finally rises off the bottom of the sea. Pure catharsis.


  1. Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?

    OMG! The previous question was less-loaded! Dani (Man in the Moon), Juno (Juno), Christine (Lady Bird), Tom Regan (Miller’s Crossing), Gust (Charlie Wilson’s War)… basically any character Hoffman played. I think I gravitate to characters who make me daydream about talking with them in real life. Take them out of their film and put them in my life.

  2. If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?

That person circa 3000 BC who figured out the logistics of how to organize labor in and around a large agriculture community into a highly stratified metropolis with a centralized religion, government, military, etc… You know, all of this. And I’d ask ‘em, “Wanna a moment to think this through?”


                                   BY CHICAGO SCREENPLAY AWARDS DEPT. 

Spread the word