DG: What is your name and company URL?
MR: Michael Raymond – screenwriter
DG: What is your specialty...filmmaking or screenwriting?
DG: What are you currently working on?
MR: A sci-fi action thriller that I refer to as “The Dirty Dozen” meets “Mad Max Fury Road”… it’s right on the heels of a little sci-fi drama that I pitch as “Stand By Me” meets “The Road.”
DG: Oooh, sounds fun! Who do you consider your mentor and why?
MR: I don’t have what I would call a “go-to” person for creative deep dives, but I certainly have some locally based writers and filmmakers that I consider dear friends and value their friendship because we’re like a jazz band where we all get together and jam creatively. It helps me realize everyone else is just as neurotic as me, which is incredibly reassuring. My influences (different than mentors I guess) are varied, but I’ve always been smitten with the work of Australian filmmaker Peter Weir and a more contemporary influence is Jeff Nichols, whose minimalist writing style I greatly admire and wish I could emulate more often with my own work.
DG: Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
MR: It offers unique and clever ways to express (creatively) things that are happening in society or with current events, but in a completely different context… without being overly heavy-handed about it. From a popcorn movie perspective, the other reason is we simply love being scared in the dark by our own very primal fears or just awestruck by other worlds and visions.
DG: Very true! What do you love most about this business?
MR: No matter how down I sometimes get about work, someone always comes along and does something incredible that inspires me and pulls me out of it. Either that, or they make me think to myself, “Gee, I wish I had thought of that.”
DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?
MR: People making too many decisions based on the fear of losing their job or giving more weight to commerce. Also, decision-makers sometimes use silence as a form of communicating. I would rather someone told me my baby was ugly or simply give things proper closure.
DG: I hear ya! It is frustrating. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
MR: My Nicholl Fellowship Finalist placement for a script I was told, “Don’t waste your time writing something like that.” Honorable mention for winning Shriekfest and Austin.
DG: Woo hoo! congrats! Any advice you'd like to give newbies?
MR: Always write. Every day. It’s probably the one (and only) thing you can really control in this business so always be working on something. Stop making excuses and get your butt in the chair every day as part of a regular routine.
DG: Great advice! Anything else you'd like to say?
MR: Relationships are important. And that concept (to me) is a different animal than the concept of “networking.” Maybe you worked on a project with someone that never quite got traction or someone read a script of yours they really liked… they will remember. Be decent and honest with people even if it’s not always reciprocated in this business. You just never know how something might circle back around (in a good way) somewhere down the road.
DG: Well said Michael! Thank you! It was great chatting!