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Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Questionnaire (David McPete)

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

My name is David McPete. I was born in Oakland, California. However, now I am currently living in Portland, Oregon. My main hobby is writing but I also collect chicken memorabilia. Even though I believe that the most “fowl” odor comes from a chicken coop.

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed you as a Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

I am inflicted with the Peter Pan syndrome. So basically I have never wanted to grow old. I continue to joke and play as an adult. One of my favorite games as a youth was Capture the Flag. Moreover, one of my favorite games as an “older youth” is paintball. The combination, and a love for Canada, added up to the script outline.

I initially wrote Capture the Flag, Eh? In one month’s time. It has drastically improved with the help of screen coverage services (now ranked in the top 2% of screenplays).

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

Once I think of an idea for a story, I pounce on it. I begin by jotting down ideas for scenes, character development, and humor on any random piece of paper I can find. I sleep with a blank sheet of paper by my bed so that I can write down random thoughts. Once I feel good about the flow of a story, I begin to tell the story on my First Draft program. I am constantly open to new additions and needed edits. So after I feel good about a screenplay structure, I send it to a screenplay coverage company. This way they can see if they feel the story is worthwhile along with some great insight. In addition, I have made changes to Capture the Flag, Eh? for the past 3 years.

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

I have always been told that I should make a career out of humor and writing but I didn’t think it was a good way to make money. While working as a pest inspector for Orkin Pest Control, I mentioned a few things to my friends. One of those things was that the pest industry would make a good premise for a comedy. Before I knew it, I was writing my first screenplay.

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

There are two genres of movies that I have LOVED since I was a child: comedy and westerns. For Capture the Flag, Eh? I look to underdog stories. The Karate Kid and Breaking Away were two movies that had me literally standing up cheering at the climax. Also, I see the same kind of reaction at the end of Capture the Flag, Eh? Turning a loveable loser into a winner…

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

The Karate Kid for the above reasons. I love seeing people rise from the dust. In Capture the Flag, Eh? there are TWO underdogs that rise from the dust: Bobby and the entire Grebe community.

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

It would have to be JAWS. It was the first blockbuster. I remember racing to my TV whenever a preview of this highly anticipated movie came on. I must have seen it four times during the first week of release and STILL be terrified of that damn shark. My shark phobia has continued to this day…

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

John McClane (Bruce Willis) in Die Hard. Every day Superman could overcome ALL obstacles and threats (and even throw in some humor as he did it).

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

Robin Williams. I would ask him why his gift of humor and love throughout his career was not enough. (And I would thank him.)