Matt Lewis is a screenwriter from London. He has a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the London College of Communication. Matt also works in education and is currently a Deputy Head at a primary school. This year, Matt intends to make the transition to become a full-time writer. He mainly writes feature film screenplays and was recently a winner of the Big Apple Film Festival for his sci-fi feature Prodomica. You can follow him on his twitter @mattlewiswriter.
NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?
Matt Lewis: Thank you! It’s recognition – which is very important at any level, so it’s fantastic. It really is a boost and fueled motivation to keep on going.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?
Matt Lewis: Sure, it’s a drama feature called Somewhere, Sometime in America. It’s all set in the one location which is a coffee shop. The story is about these four characters that all intersect at this coffee shop. It’s one location, small cast. It really could be a play and actually, that’s in the back of mind, to turn it into a play. It all came from me sitting in coffee shops early in the morning to write before I went to work and you see the most interesting people at that time. I mean, really interesting! You just kinda wonder what happens in their lives after you leave.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about yourself and your artistic talents?
Matt Lewis: I’ve been writing screenplays and studying screenwriting for over ten years now. I work really hard at it, like everyone else. It’s my passion and I try to write every chance I get. Over the years I’ve developed my knowledge and understanding of structure and story so the writing process is slower. Y’know, at the start it was just about speed-writing and getting something written. Now, it’s about research first and taking that time to add weight to the project. It took me two years, research included, to complete my last project.
NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?
Matt Lewis: I’ve focused on writing feature scripts so far. I’ve got a number that I’m really proud of. Certainly the projects I’ve completed over the last three years, I think, show me at my best as a writer. I think they show my maturity as a writer, my understanding of structure, implementing research and developing characters.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
Matt Lewis: Mavenmoon, which was my last feature screenplay project. I loved writing that one. It’s a drama about meme stocks and it’s set in the financial world. Before that, I wrote a sci-fi called Prodomica. It had a strong female lead and that character in particular was great to write. That project has hit a nerve somewhat with the feedback I get from it. The story is set in a futuristic hospital and there are themes that relate to Covid-19 and hospitals during this strange time we’re living in. The weird thing is, that was totally unintentional, I wrote this way before Covid-19 was even a thing! Somewhere, Sometime in America as well, that has a lot of me in it. I’m glad people are liking it, as it is something that could easily be made on a low budget.
NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?
Matt Lewis: My next feature screenplay is a drama and I like that genre. I like writing smart characters in tough spots who don’t agree with one another. I have an idea for a TV show as well which I’m developing. I’m just going to keep on writing and hopefully, get some opportunities. The best you can do is try your best and hope for the best. It’s awful tough to get opportunities. ISC is great and you get these interviews and publicity out of it. Hopefully someone is reading that is interested and can give an opportunity!
NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Matt Lewis: For me, it’s about you knowing what each character’s goal is. What do they want? And also the barriers they will face getting what they want. So, it’s intent and obstacle. How can I, as a writer, make these two aspects as believable and high-stakes and interesting as they can possibly be? That’s where the research comes in. That’s where the structure comes in and the planning.
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Matt Lewis: It’s a drama set in and around American politics. Not being American means I have to do my research. That’s where I’m at now. I have the TV show idea and recently, I’ve come up with this idea for a Pulp-Fiction-esque dance movie. I don’t know if that has legs yet.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Matt Lewis: I also work in education and I’ve always looked for creative solutions to inspire the children I teach. That also takes planning and having knowledge of structure.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?
Don’t give up, ever. Rebound after defeats and stay calm and considered after victories! Basically, stick with it!