BlueCat: Why did you start writing screenplays?
David Marantz: I had to, it was the only way to get the stories out of my head. Of course, I could be writing novels but I find that the screenwriting form frees you from style upon which novels often rely heavily, allowing you more focus on plot and characters.
BlueCat: What is your highest screenwriting goal for yourself?
DM: To come up with a story that makes people go: “why didn’t anybody think of that before?”
BlueCat: What aspects of the writing process do you struggle with the most?
DM: Probably the middle of the first draft. Beginnings are easy, filled with optimism and new-found energy. And endings, when done well, are natural, flowing clearly from everything that came before. But the second act, the longest, meatiest part of the script is the one that takes time and stamina to shape correctly and efficiently.
BlueCat: What movies do you watch to remind yourself that you love screenwriting?
DM: Again and again, I find myself returning to one of my favorite comedies, The Big Lebowski. The film seems to defy a lot of writing conventions: the plot is fuzzy, the protagonist not particularly positive. Yet the film works for me every time. Also, Some Like It Hot for its power and intensity, there is not a wasted moment in there. And finally, Fight Club. Many films work because of their final twist, but Fincher’s film is mesmerizing on its own before it and the ending just brings everything to eleven.
BlueCat: What do you feel you do well as a screenwriter?
DM: Structure is my main strength. I think I have a good grasp of it by now which means I can also handle more elaborate alternate structures. Now if only I could write dialogue just as well.
BlueCat: Do you feel that screenwriting is different in your country than it is in Hollywood? If so, how?
DM: It definitely is in the sense that screenwriting is an acknowledged profession. But whereas a majority of Hollywood films are written by professional writers, films in France are almost always exclusively written by their directors. The French film industry has put the director on a pedestal. He’s the artist, the author. And as such he’s expected to also be the writer of his film. This leaves very little place and even less opportunities for dedicated writers.
BlueCat: What screenplay have you written which you feel most proud of and why?
DM: Last year’s entry to the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, The Killer’s Legacy. The plot had a lot of twists and reveals in its final moments and I think the complex structure showcased them in an interesting fashion.