I knew I wanted to be screenwriter........
after I spent my second year at University directing short
films. I had so much material within me that was bursting
out and decided there and then to dedicate the following
years to get it all onto the page.
I know I've succeeded when........
I’ve optioned my first feature length screenplay. I am soon
to begin writing spec features number 7 and 8 so the journey
inspiration to write STEPPING STONES.....
came from firsthand experiences in directing documentary
film at University. It is an ethical minefield with so many
boundaries being blurred. After a particularly vivid
nightmare while I was in a motel on holiday in West
Virginia, USA, my mind began to work tirelessly on this
story. I wrote my dissertation on the overlooked ethical
responsibilities of a director and this creative project
felt like a natural progression from that.
inspired you to write?
I am lucky to come from a very creative family so have been
encouraged to write and create by my loved ones from an
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script
and how long did it take you to complete?
Tadhg Culley: ‘Stepping Stones’ was my third feature
length screenplay. I had to wait 2 years before I could
actually work properly on it as I was in a very stressful
full-time job at the time. When I began writing, it probably
took around a year to complete. I think the time it had
spent in my mind while at work really helped solidify the
story before I even began to write it.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set
routine, place and time management for writing?
is to write two feature length screenplays at one time. I
work for one whole week on the first project and then
alternate to the second for the following week. This process
keeps my mind fresh and engaged. I am an extremely organised
person when it comes to writing so have a diary that
outlines the hours I can assign to each task.
Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are
important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
Screenwriting contests have been invaluable to the
developments I am making in my career. They enable the
writer to have a guaranteed read by an industry gatekeeper,
to be on the receiving end of professional feedback and also
gauge where they might stand in a sea of other talented
writers all fighting for a chance to be heard.
Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers
International Screenwriting Awards
/ Screenplay Contest?
Tadhg Culley: I believe this has been my second year
of trying with this competition so I’d urge writers to never
give up! It’s always worth getting your work out there and
read. I’ve never been afraid to show people my work and
simply want it out there instead of hidden away in a drawer
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you
urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Tadhg Culley: I’d urge aspiring writers to read any
script that they can get their hands on! It’s useful to see
how the pros do it but just as helpful to see how your
colleagues or screenwriter friends are developing too.
Giving and receiving feedback of your own and others work is
always beneficial to get a firmer grasp on the craft.
Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate
about and why?
Tadhg Culley: I’m also extremely passionate about
writing poetry. I’ve compiled my first collection of 50
poems over the years into a small book that I would like to
keep building on and one day hope to publish.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite
Screenwriter and Why?
I am a
huge fan of Derek Cianfrance. I found his use of structure
to be very innovative in ‘Blue Valentine’ and ‘Place Beyond
the Pines’ and his story content to be particularly
engaging. I realize he is a writer/director but it all
begins on the page.
Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with
Tadhg Culley: Michael Mann has always been one of my
favourite directors since an early age. Everything from
‘Last of the Mohicans’ to ‘Public Enemies’, ‘Collateral’ and
‘Miami Vice’, speaks volumes to me and are masterfully
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and
Tadhg Culley: There is so much talent out there it
would be hard to narrow it down to one actor. Michael
Fassbender is at the top of the pile of an endless list of
raw talent. However, I’d much prefer to discover an actor or
actress who is yet to become the star they were born to be.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things
learned along the way to pass on to others?
your own best critic. Always trust your gut instinct and
follow your heart. You’ll know when you’ve been led astray
and your soul will guide you back on the right path.
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
Tadhg Culley: In the next five months I will begin
and hopefully come close to finishing my seventh and eighth
screenplays as I eagerly await contest results on my fifth
and sixth endeavors.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five
years from now?
Tadhg Culley: In 2016 I will begin a two-year MA
Screenwriting course at the National Film & Television
School in Buckinghamshire, England, supported by a BAFTA
scholarship to continue my studies. After that, I hope to
acquire an agent, option a screenplay and begin my journey
into the professional world as a working industry