Kit Wilson ~ Falls City
I’m excited to share my interview with Kit Wilson. He’s super-knowledgeable about script writing and distribution, which makes this piece a great addition to both our Featured Artist and Filmmaker Series.
Kit Wilson recently released a new screenplay-to-novel called Falls City, the true story of a Braniff Airways stewardess and her best friend, both who perished in the Braniff Flight 250 tragedy of 1966. He chose to write about the tragedy for three reasons: 1) his uncle was a Braniff pilot, 2) he went to college near Dallas around the time when Mary Wells rebranded the airline with Emilio Pucci uniforms and brightly colored planes, and 3) he knew both of the girls killed on the flight.
The 60s were a tumultuous period. Kit feels “there’s a lot of smoothing over of that period and I want to make sure that history isn’t totally rewritten for a generation that has no clue what it was like. For over a decade, the generation of that time had to deal with not only the Vietnam War, but the anti-race marches, assassinations of leaders and distrust of the government.”
“All this was happening while these two girls were going to stewardess school and learning to be an effective ambassador to Braniff and the flying public. These girls were trying to live out a lifestyle that hadn’t been available to young women. Rather than go and become a teacher or a wife or a secretary, they had an opportunity to travel and experience something new.” At that time, being a stewardess was considered a glamorous position, quite different from what the position is considered to be today.
“Most of the flying public today has no idea what it meant to fly back then. Men wore coats and ties when they boarded an aircraft and women wore dresses and heels. It was an experience, because it was much more costly to fly, so it was an adventure as well as an opportunity to travel. There was a mystique to flying. These girls were part of a show to entertain.”
Kit Wilson has been writing for over three decades. He’s written for advertising agencies, and he has written four other novels.
When Kit went into advertising in the late 60s, he worked with agencies in Dallas, Seattle and Los Angeles. He worked on big accounts, such as A&M Records, Crystal Cruises, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. To avoid getting stuck in a niche, Kit started writing, in addition to art directing and creative directing. He wrote entire campaigns, television spots and radio spots.
“This fueled my inspiration for writing after I left the business. It also taught me there’s a process for writing. You don’t walk away from it after your first draft or your second draft. There’s a lot of work to be done, editing and polishing. You’ve got to be patient with the process.”
Kit Wilson also writes scripts based on his short stories. When I asked how he markets those scripts, Kit responded, “Each one is a different product. So, take for example Falls City. I did some marketing research and realized the market for that script was 72% women ages 25-55. Actually, 54% of the movie-going public in America are women. When I marketed the script, I wanted to be sure that audience was addressed.”
So, when he finished the script, Kit sent it to female lead production companies owned by Hillary Swank, Drew Barrymore, Charlize Theron. Kit also approached Mad Men art directors, production designers and costume designers who would be interested in that period of time. “You have to be really focused and targeted in terms of how you approach your script.”
“Before you package that product and get it out to those targeted markets, you have it thoroughly edited and proof read by a professional. Then, I would recommend getting at least 2-3 Hollywood readers to read the script first. For everyone who doesn’t have a connection to a Hollywood reader, Hollywood readers are available for hire, and (of course) you have to do some research about that as well. I highly recommend getting at least one professional reader to go through your script, so you’re aware of what the script is doing to someone who is used to reading them and critiquing them. Otherwise, you’re coming from a humongous blind spot.”
When Kit Wilson was in high school and college, he read a lot of English literature. His major influencers include Ernest Hemingway, John O’Hara and John Steinbeck. Those classic writers “tried to pick and choose their words for their stories with as little flowery language as possible. I tend to write like that as well. I voraciously edit my own words, to strip it down to the real nitty gritty.”
Kit has Facebook pages for all his books, he has a LinkedIn account and he’s on Google+. He also has a website for his script: fallcitymovie.com. His books are available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Etsy and TheBookPatch.
As for social media, Kit finds that Facebook and LinkedIn work best. He just started using Google+. “The old traditional way of sending out press releases to magazines and newspapers and news media outlets just isn’t quite the same. It isn’t instantaneous, so consequently, the social media route is the way to go.”
What’s Kit’s advice for new writers? “The important thing about writing is that you do it every day. Set aside 1-2 hours a day and make it a habitual ritual. Don’t be concerned about changing it and editing it and cleaning it up, just write. At the end of the week, go back and clean it up. Two other things: I highly recommend linking up with an editor to work with you when you are ready to present your project to the public and, in terms of screen writing, you have to have a professional reader, who can spot the weaknesses immediately, so you can address them and clean it up. Screen writing is basically rewriting.”
Wow! What a great interview! Thank you, Kit. I learned so many new things about screen writing and script marketing.
Watch our interview on the Amused Now YouTube channel: http://youtu.be/P2-f2kVx9Es
To buy your very own copy of Kit Wilson’s books, click on the cover art below:
Click on the cover art to buy books by the authors that influenced Kit Wilson:
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