BlueCat: Why did you start writing screenplays?
Caryn McCann: I started writing screenplays in Hong Kong because I didn’t feel there was enough strong female roles in Hong Kong action movies.
BlueCat: What is your highest screenwriting goal for yourself?
CM: To get my film distributed in China.
BlueCat: What aspects of the writing process do you struggle with the most?
CM: The outline.
BlueCat: What movies do you watch to remind yourself that you love screenwriting?
BlueCat: What do you feel you do well as a screenwriter?
CM: Create stories that appeal to audiences in the East and West.
BlueCat: Do you feel that screenwriting is different in your country than it is in Hollywood? If so, how?
CM: I can mention three ways that screenwriting is different in Hong Kong and China from Hollywood.
1. Script Development:
Great scripts are rare anywhere. But Hollywood has the infrastructure to develop scripts. Although we call it “development hell” in the U.S. – the system works. Hong Kong and China see that Hollywood films are globally appealing. In order to tap in to this expertise the Chinese are now investing in U.S. talent agencies and studios.
Conversely, Hollywood is keen to tap into China’s exploding market. But in order to tap into the Chinese market – Hollywood screenwriters need to respect China’s rules: Nothing politically sensitive, no explicit sex or violence. China doesn’t have a film rating system (yet).
3. Intellectual Property rights:
U.S. writers can protect their screenplays through the Writers Guild or U.S. Copyright Office. Protecting intellectual property is still a challenge in Asia.
BlueCat: What screenplay have you written which you feel most proud of and why?
CM: The Kung Fu Rock Chick. I shot this short film in Indonesia. It’s based on the feature film script. I hope to use my short to attract financiers to the feature film. I’m proud that I wrote, produced and starred in it.