Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Csaba Mera

Chicago Screenplay Awards Questionnaire

By Chicago Screenplay Awards Dept.


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

Csaba Mera, born in Szeged, Hungary and currently living in Aliso Viejo, California.  Hobbies: writing scripts and poetry; art – graphite, colored pencil, watercolor.

  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?  

As a pediatrician and pediatric hematologist/oncologist, I had the privilege of taking care of so many amazing children.  Helping certain middle schoolers with special needs and understanding what they were going through with leukemia and other cancers were two key inspirational elements.  It took me 14 days to write the screenplay.  I have made only a few minor edits since I wrote it.

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

Most of it happens in my head as I imagine the characters and key interactions among them as they progress along the key elements of the story line.  Then, I hammer away and get a rough draft done in 5-6 days.  After that it’s about re-reading, moving stuff around, editing bits and pieces the next week or so.  

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

In the late 1980s I took screenwriting classes from Terry Black and a couple of sessions from his brother Shane Black.  Since then, I have been slogging along.  Most recently, I wrote, and executive produced a movie, Here Awhile, with three stars who joined our low budget effort because they loved the script. The movie stars were Anna Camp, Steven Strait and Joe Lo Truglio.

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

Having grown up in the UK, I gravitate to the British style of storytelling and have several writers whose style I appreciate.

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

One of my favorite movies is Love Actually.  TV shows: Vera, Father Brown, The Blacklist.  Why? – character development and dialogue.

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

Two favorites, watching the movie 1984 and Soylent Green.  Getting to the real issues.

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

Anthony Hopkins.  Genius. 

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

Benedict Cumberbatch – how he engaged in his role as Sherlock Holmes.

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