Screenwriter Spotlight: Winner Questionnaire: Nate Wilcoxen

Having troubles finding something to write about? Not satisfied with the content of your screenplay? Feel like you are out of screenplay ideas

By Chicago Screenplay Awards Dept.

Nate Wilcoxen

What’s your name and where are you from?

Nate Wilcoxen from Gurnee, IL.

What’s the title of your screenplay?


What’s the logline and how did you come up with the concept for your screenplay?

Logline: A border patrol agent is forced into a violent battle for survival when he secretly takes in the asylum-seeking young son of a cartel drug lord who possesses evidence of a murderous conspiracy between the cartel and the border patrol agent’s boss.

I developed the concept not long after the child separation policy was instituted on the southern border. Reading about this incredibly cruel and inhumane policy shook me to my core. So, I decided to approach the subject from the perspective of a border patrol agent at a crossroads in his life who was clearly at odds with the policy and the story took off running from that point.   

Tell us about your history as a screenwriter. Where did your journey begin?

I’ve been a storyteller and writer from an early age but my real journey into screenwriting began about ten years ago when my brother-in-law asked me to co-write his USC Film School thesis project with him. After that, I was hooked. I devoured every book on screenwriting I could get my hands on and began my journey. I slowly began to place in screenwriting contests and made some invaluable contacts that helped me hone my craft along the way.     

What motivates you to be a screenwriter or filmmaker?

I love telling stories and I love to entertain. But at the same time, I want my audience to walk away from one of scripts having felt that they just read something that moved them emotionally; something that they will carry with them beyond the final credits. Screenwriting is my way of making a positive impact on the world, one story at a time.

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered as a screenwriter and filmmaker?

“Breaking in” has always been the major challenge but I embrace it because it makes me work harder and smarter with each project I undertake.

What’s the most important thing you want audiences to take away when watching your films or reading your screenplays.

You can always make a positive difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.

Ideally, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Ideally, I see myself in five years as an established screenwriter who is sought out by the industry. 

What’s your favorite film of all time? If you can’t single out a film, give us your top 3.

That’s a tough one but I’m a huge Stephen King fan so I’d have to say my all-time favorite film is The Shawshank Redemption. The screenwriter, Frank Darabont, teaches an absolute master class on character development and character arc for two and a half hours straight in that film.

What’s your earliest favorite childhood movie?

The Lion King.  

Who’s your favorite cinema hero?

Indiana Jones.

Who’s your personal hero?

There are many but if I had to pick one in relation to my chosen career, I’d say Stephen King. His first book was rejected by 30 publishers but he kept on writing. He could have easily given up and moved on to something else but he refused to give up on his true passion in life. Over the ups and down in my career, I’ve often used this lesson in perseverance to drive me forward and never look back.           



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