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Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Questionnaire (Scott Beynon)

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

Scott Beynon, born in a small country town in Australia. Currently living in Tenterfield (another small country town in Australia). My hobbies are writing script formats and creating 3D assets for video games.

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?

My favorite TV show is Firefly, and I have fond childhood memories of old science fiction stories. These are of people like John Wyndham, Leigh Brackett and Edgar Rice Burroughs of ancient Martian civilizations. I always thought a children’s Firefly with elements of old sci fi would make for a great story.

So, it took about a year to develop the pilot, script outline and half a dozen other episodes.

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

My main focus is on the screenplay beat sheet. Therefore, I write out the key beats on cards and lay them out on the floor. Then expand each beat into a scene and then link the scenes together. And sometimes I just write. My process is a bit of a mess, to be honest.

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

When I turned fifty and was made redundant from my (completely unrelated) job.

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

Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Buffy/Angel, Jason Katim’s Roswell, Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars. These shows seamlessly blend drama, humor, and mystery/sci-fi/fantasy and avoid clunky transitions in tone. Moreover, they never insult or patronize the audience. Also, the character development is spot on.

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

I wouldn’t say obsessed. I’ve watched some episodes of Firefly about ten times. Is that obsessed? So what’s the threshold?

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

I find it hard to explain why exactly, but there is a moment in the film Fantastic Mr. Fox where the main characters (semi-domesticated anthropomorphized animals) give the Black Panther salute to a truly wild wolf they encounter. It’s a moment of solidarity and defiance against a human world that is trying to kill them. (Although there are other interpretations.)

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

Spike in Buffy. Over seven seasons he goes from being the ultimate evil bass-ass to a hero that sacrifices himself to save the world and the woman he loves – and he never once stops being Spike. That’s a character arc.

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

My great, great … more greats than I can remember … grandfather was sent to Australia in chains as a convict on the first fleet in 1788 for stealing a book from his employer. He was eventually released, married, had children, became a policeman, survived a spear in the leg by aborigines, and drowned while chasing another convict crossing Botany Bay. So, I always thought he’d be a great guy to have a drink with.