Cult Critic – What is the message you’re hoping your readers will get from the pilot?
Michael – In my experience it is in story that we are all connected. Our contentedness, one human to another, is inalienable. Relationships are the adhesive. There is more to being a law enforcement oﬃcer than appears on the surface. They have one of the highest divorce rates. Many retire with unbearable emotional baggage. Too many die by suicide. Bad cops get the media press. Good cops are invisible. We forget cops are human beings. Where they should be respected we treat them with contempt.. What it distills down to is that we don’t vet the bad cops well enough and we blame their sins on the good cops.This is a story of hope and a promise and a Rogue cop who goes to war to answer the promise.
Cult Critic – Can you tell us about your writing process, and what advice can you give young writers?
Michael – I am unorganized to a fault. I play around with characters until I write one good scene that gives me the characters voice then I’m oﬀ and running. I work in the mornings mostly. A ﬁrst draN is torture. All the fun is in revision. When I feel stalled on a project I repeat my mantra, “Words can kill. Go hunting. Draw blood. Find your thing. Stand up for it. Screw fear. Write your damn heart out.” Best advice. Write what enlivens and makes more of you.
Cult Critic – What other ﬁlmmakers inspire you and which ﬁlms do you recommend? What do you think is the best part of “Honor Bound”?
Michael – As to authors, Aaron Sorkin is an inspiration. Films I like: Molly’s Game, The Accountant, Shakespeare in Love are excellent ﬁlms. The Movie, Lincoln, Spielberg directed, is great theater. It rolls up into one righteous nugget of reality from three elements, history, education, and entertainment. Theater like that is a prayer for a more enlightened future.The best part of “Honor Bound” happened when Gina, my sweetheart, got angry at me one day and said, “Why are you not writing the Sean Riley story? This story deserves you and it needs to be told and you’re not writing it.”
Cult Critic – Tell me about eﬀective project arrangements or outlines which you planned. Share an experience you had in dealing with a diﬃcult character in this script and how you handled the situation.
Michael – Honor Bound, was a hard movie to write in one respect. The man the story is about is a good guy with good intentions who wanted to help other policeman. The boring quotient, therefore was a challenge. While the story is taken from true events I embellished my protagonist with characteristics and events not quite his. I trust he will forgive me. His determination against all odds was my intended focus.
Cult Critic – Tell us how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work. Do you have a genre that you prefer to write in? Can you speak about the diﬀerences between the genres?
Michael – Writing a movie script is an exercise in condensed story telling. Dialogue is by character agenda. Plot must be character driven. In the beginning I have to push myself. I have to plod. I try to outline. It only bores me, but I have to do it. When I do eventually the happy part begins to happen. The trick then is to know when to follow without geZng in the way. If the characters don’t tell the story it’s all bullshit. Every story is diﬀerent. Every story demands relearning the whole process from scratch. I don’t tell genres. I tell stories.
Cult Critic – Your most recent screenplay, “Honor Bound”, is beautifully explained with the shots and transition eﬀects. Can you talk about how you plan each of the scenes?
Michael –This is more like a confession. I’m always looking for the scene that is missing. A9er that the smallest detail is vital. Other than that it is revision, revision, revision. Change one thing in one scene and it moves twelve pieces in other scenes. Until then every distraction is welcome. Eventually I get pissed at my digressions and turn my cell phone oﬀ and bring out the cat of eight tails. Self ﬂagellation cannot be overrated.
Cult Critic – Share an example of a time you had to gather information from multiple sources. How did you determine which information was relevant?
Michael – I am not afraid to call people. Stay ahead of the curve. Read, write. Read, write. Google, google and trust your instincts.
Cult Critic – What we can expect from you next?
Michael – God, I wish I knew.