The Last Skywriter in the Universe
Written by Steven Keith Bogart
Triggered by her son's illness, a determined mother journeys through fantasy, dreams, and reality as she tries to save his young life.
Q&A with Steven Bogart
Q1: Tell us a little about The Last Skywriter in the Universe. Where did the idea come from?
The Last Skywriter in the Universe came to me when I lost two close friends to cancer. One friend died from liver cancer six months after being diagnosed, and the other died from Leukemia after a three-year struggle. I didn't know what to do with my grief then, so I wrote this story to honor them. However, I needed distance from them and their specific situations, so I came up with a mother and her young son.
Q2: Who is the central character of your script? What do you think their conscious and unconscious desires are?
The central character is Mia Townsend. Her son, Benny, has Leukemia, and she is doing everything she can to help him stay positive and fight for his life. Mia's conscious desire is to help her son survive the daily struggles of his illness and to try and bring a sense of normalcy to his life. Her unconscious desire is to heal a childhood soul wound when, as an eight-year-old, she witnessed a plane crash at an aerial show.
Q3: What were the toughest aspects of creating your screenplay? How did you overcome them?
Giving clarity to the multiple fantasy sequences in the script was challenging. At a critical point in the story, the mother and son share a fantasy sequence; I attempted to create a collective unconscious connection between them at a time in the boy's illness when death seemed inevitable.
Q4: What inspired you to enter into the world of screenwriting?
I was a playwright first, but many years ago, I was hanging out with a friend, and we were riffing on a movie idea. I decided to try and write the screenplay and never looked back.
Q5: What intrigues you the most about writing and storytelling? (Is it characterization, plot, etc?)
I love the power and emotions of visuals when they are captured effectively on the page. I also love writing myself into a corner and giving over to the characters' immediate wants.
Q6: Do you have any screenwriting/film influences or people you look up to?
Alejandro Jodorowsky films because of his stunning, visceral imagery and surreal storytelling. Guillermo del Toro's movies because of his visual storytelling and emotional, magical realism. And I found reading the script for Alien (the first movie) elucidating for its beautiful haiku-like action lines.
Q7: What's your process for creating script concepts?
When an image, emotion, or thought hits me, I pay attention to what that moment is about, and if it stays with me and I can't get it out of my head, I start doing some free-writing around the idea which may or may not lead to the story right away.
Q8: What is the single best piece of advice you can give to aspiring screenwriters?
Don't be afraid of revision. Approach it like entering a dream, rather than feel it is tedious work.
Q9: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
I'm writing a gritty drama with moments of magical realism about a boy trying to survive a toxic world created by his mother's boyfriend. I'm also writing a limited TV horror series.
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