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American Gem Short Screenplay & Literary Festival
2011 Screenplay Contest

Enter your Short Screenplay, Short Story, Treatment in American Gem Short Screenplay Contest / Literary Festival. 

Winning Screenplay in the American Gem Short Screenplay Contest will be Produced.

Grand Prize Winner / Short Screenplay Gets to Pitch Screenplay to Producers, Studio Executives and Agents. Certificate of achievement awards to the Top 25 scripts and top 3 in each of the other categories.

from script to screen


FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards
Screenplay Contest Interview

| Winners | Bio | Synopsis | Script Excerpt |



HIDDEN - Shivakumar Ramanathan


Shivakumar Ramanathan
of Irvine, CA



Shivakumar Ramanathan

Shiva Ramanathan has been an engineer, an unemployed dreamer and a software architect. But, what gives him real joy is writing. It's because every story he pursues reveals something wonderful about life that he's seen but never noticed.

Shiva started writing/directing plays and short films during his engineering degree. His efforts revived theater in the local community after 15 years. He continued his education in Communication in graduate school in Pennsylvania. During this time, he worked with local / international cable providers, non-profit organizations and the university to write, shoot, edit, and direct commercials. After graduation, Shiva worked as a freelance editor with Cedars Sinai Medical Center and also pursued theater in Golden West community. He toured Southern California as a part of "The Radio Players” theater group and also directed two short films The Portent and Break In At Sam Palmer’s House. His screenplays including Hidden have been an IFP/Panasonic Emerging Narrative winner and recognized in more than 50 screenplay competitions including Filmmakers, Nicholl, Page, Austin, Scriptapalooza, Cinestory and Project Greenlight 3. Besides Hidden, he is also developing several narratives including, The Money Tree (Family/Fantasy), The Sighting (Sci-Fi) and The Unseen (Supernatural Thriller).


A troubled teenager, haunted by apparitions of his past life, must solve his murder from the past before his family now becomes the killer's next victim.


Part 1.


I knew I wanted to be screenwriter........

after I did my first play. The play wasn’t received well. Tomatoes and eggs were hurled at us but the experience satisfied me like nothing else before..

I know I've succeeded when........ 

I finish the first draft of each script. It means I have wrestled with my inner critic and survived.

My inspiration to write HIDDEN.....

I wanted to explore the nightmare of never being able to forget traumatic incidents from the past. If memories make you relive the horrible moments forever, healing and growth could become impossible.

Part 2.


FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Piotr Ryczko: I got into writing by accident. I got involved in theater to fill in for a friend. But, the experience was unlike anything I felt before and I couldn’t stop after that. Writing makes me curious and enthusiastic about anything and everything. Now, writing inspires me to write.

FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to write your first script?

Piotr Ryczko:

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: This was my first screenplay. I started on it several years ago but didn’t like where I was going. I kept the script aside, worked on other projects and started on the re-writes a year ago.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Shivakumar Ramanathan:
I write during the weekends and an hour a day during the weekdays. There is no set place. I have written in parking lots, coffee shops and home. I strive to be organized but unfortunately sometimes days pass when nothing worthwhile is written. Then, there is that one day when everything falls into place. I am trying to figure out how to have more of that “one day”.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Shivakumar Ramanathan:
Yes. Reputed contests provide credibility to the project in the eyes of professionals. I write because I have to. But, when a script is recognized by a contest it is an energy shot to work harder.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards / Screenplay Contest?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Filmmakers has a great reputation and provides the opportunity for management and production companies to view our work. The script has a much better chance when recommended by a contest like Filmmakers.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Any script in genres and themes that interests the writers. I love Seven and Signs. The first 30 pages of The Disciple Program was a lesson in how to open a thriller.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Cameras. I am amazed by how these devices capture moments – real and made up. I gush every time a new camera comes to market or when I look at my 14-year-old PD150.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Christopher Nolan. He executes complex and sometimes offbeat ideas in a way that intrigues people across cultures, ages and gender.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Steven Spielberg. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My movie experience is defined by how I felt when I watched Jurassic Park.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Denzel Washington. The scene in Flight where he breaks down in the end was amazing.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Several professionals have said this - the craft of writing is honed with practice. Very true. I can see it in every new script and every draft of my scripts. It is a continuous learning experience with every project. It also helps to film your script. When actors say the lines, it makes me see what works and what doesn’t. And this helps me with writing.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: I am in post production on a short thriller. I start a new script after that and hopefully find sparks that make my current projects better.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Shivakumar Ramanathan: Hidden will come alive on screen and I would have filmed another passion project, The Unseen. I will also be exploring, living and writing new stories.



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