Exclusive Interview with Glenn Acosta – Screenwriter
Southern California screenwriter Glenn Acosta starts his mornings with a familiar routine – nestled by the window with a cup of coffee nearby and an open laptop. As the night sky gives way to dawn, he is already deep into a story. He finds himself writing and rewriting the words on the page.
“I’m constantly driving for the sweet spot,” Glenn says. “Where you have a great concept, compelling characters working their way out of a situation, and fresh, believable dialogue.” He has hit that sweet spot a few times, amassing over 20 screenwriting awards, including Page, Austin, Screencraft, BlueCat and Shore Scripts. Glenn has also had his scripts optioned and shopped around.
“Winning contests does open doors,” he adds. “I get requests for my scripts out of the blue and chances to pitch my projects.” In 2018, Glenn and his production team pitched his original TV series ‘The Blanked’ to blackpills and came close to having it produced. The story is about a criminal and a woman he abducted that have their memories erased in the aftermath of their horrific incident so that they can resume their lives with fresh starts, but through the perfect storm of events life brings them back together.
In 2017, Glenn co-produced ‘Nobodies,’ a short film starring Keith Harris that won several film festival awards.
What projects are you currently working on?
This year, I’m developing three TV series – MadamJustice, Binary SkyandWalker. Madam Justice is very topical with what is happening today. The series revolves around a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who is trying to keep her Alzheimer’s a secret, so she doesn’t get removed from the court by the dark political forces in Congress. She also happens to be lesbian, though that is not the focus of the story.
Binary Sky takes place when two planets share the same sky for a brief period when their orbits bring them very close together. The story revolves around guy trying to rescue his little sister from the extraplanetary species who abducted her.
Walker is about a man who becomes paralyzed from a car accident but acquires the ability to connect with unconscious crime victims and meets them in a place in between life and death.
I’m still chomping at the bit to work on my feature script Hereafter, which is aboutan FBI-profiler trying to hunt down a serial killer in Matrix-like cyberworld before his daughter gets killed.
What makes a great film for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
I love films with fresh concepts that have a deep emotional thread woven into the story and have characters that are memorable. Somewhere in Time and Inception are movies that successfully mashed a cool sci-fi concept with a compelling romance. Arrival and Ad Astra are recent examples of similar skillful screenwriting in sci-fi with emotional subtext.
It’s hard to beat great concepts that deliver on the premise, such as Three Days of Condor, Memento, Matrix, Gladiator, The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption, The Six Sense and Unforgiven.
In the end, however, it’s the acting that propels a film into the Oscar stratosphere, like Shirley MacLaine in ‘Terms of Endearment,’ Adrien Brody in ‘The Pianist,’ Murray Abraham in ‘Amadeus,’ and Meryl Streep in almost any movie she’s in.
As a screenwriter, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
I think flawed, likeable characters with very specific personality traits make them memorable and relatable. When you see protagonists trying to overcome their flaws to achieve their goals and fail, it makes us cheer for them.
Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
Three years ago, I partnered with a brilliant screenwriter to co-write the feature script ‘Glimpse.” The story revolves around a female District Attorney, who after experiencing a vision of a future murder, tries to stop it from happening. I learned a lot about character development from this collaboration. The script subsequently won or placed in several contests and garnered interest by a Chinese production company.
Last year, I was asked to adapt a novel into a screenplay. A great opportunity, right? Yes, but I passed. I learned adaptations are not my thing.
Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
When I was kid growing up in the Bronx, I found drawing portraits to be an incredible escape from the harsh reality of living in the projects. After a while, my art teacher took notice and encouraged me to continue. I often visualized a life as a painter and art gallery owner in midtown Manhattan. Nowadays, I just admire other people’s work.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
I’d get a degree from a top film school where graduates are recruited by the big movie studios. You’ll get the opportunity to network directly with emerging directors, producers and actors. However, set a 5-year plan. If it doesn’t work out by then, move onto another career and downgrade filmmaking to a hobby.
What can we expect from you in 2020?
My goal is to take one project across the finish line. Stay tuned.
Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more?
Please follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/glenn-acosta-618504117/