Screenwriter Spotlight: Winner Sean Slater

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

Sean Slater. London, England. Southern California. I’m a voice actor and documentary filmmaker.

Where did you come up with the concept that just won the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

The concept for the script outline originated out of research for a documentary film I made in 2019. It was called “Target: Philadelphia”, part of a series on different aspects of institutional racism in American history. I started writing the screenplay structure in January 2021.

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

I sketched out the structure based on my research. Made certain decisions about the unknown aspects of the main character’s development and filled it in with dialogue and description.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer but began as an actor. I received a California young playwrights award as a teenager and I suppose that made me think of it seriously but I’m still studying.

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

I love Richard Price’s dialogue and Lee Daniels films touch me deeply.

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

Yellowstone. It’s like The Sopranos in Montana.

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

The last moment in “I am a fugitive from a chain gang” with Paul Muni.

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

Fast Eddie Felson. The Hustler and Color of Money encompass a life.

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

Elia Kazan. I would ask to watch one of his rehearsals.