Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Melissa White

Chicago Screenplay Awards Questionnaire

By Chicago Screenplay Awards Dept.

Who are you and where are you from? 

I am a screenwriter, novelist and short story writer from a small town in Texas, called Friendswood. I now live in Los Angeles.

Where and when did you come up with the idea for your screenplay?

I started working on My Georgia O’Keefe screenplay in 1994 when I was very young, doing intensive research and gathering notes. I finished it in 1995 and put aside for 25 years. In May of 2020, I pulled it out, polished it, and now it is placing in contests.

Can you take us through your screenwriting process? 

I find a story I am passionate about telling and then the words/writing just flows.

I start with Character Bios, Character development, Then a Plot outline, then a rough draft, then many, many polish/revised drafts

What made you want to become a screenwriter?

I have always loved to tell stories, since a very young age. I love to watch movies. It was inevitable.

Who are your biggest filmmaking influences? 

Francis Ford Coppola, and Nora Ephron.

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

No. I’m not obsessive.

What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? 

I love so many films from many different eras. My favorite types of films are epic love stories, like Dr. Zhivago, Legends of the Fall, The English Patient. I love all types of love stories. I do not have a favorite moment.

Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? 

Laura, from Dr. Zhivago.

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


I would love to speak with Francis Coppola and pick his brain about writing. He is such a phenomenal writer. I would love to ask him how he picks his projects, and where he gets his inspiration. He is my writing hero. I would love to meet him, buy him a glass of wine, and have an extended conversation with him, learning first hand from the voice of the Master.

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