Writer Spotlight; Brett Martin | Script Revolution

Writer Spotlight; Brett Martin


It's time for another one of Shawn Davis' insightful interviews. This time Shawn poses various screenwriting questions to Brett Martin (aka Electric Dreamer) a longtime and valuable contributor on Simply Scripts. Brett is a great example of a writer raised on movies who didn't believe in themselves at first but has since built a productive and optimistic writing routine. Brett also has a lovely quote to share about being an artist and seeking validation. There's a lot to be learnt from writers like him - CJ

Look up the word “optimism”. Chances are, you’ll see Brett Martin in there. Not in the literal sense of the word but in his passion for overcoming odds and showing up on the other side a better person for it. Go on…look it up. You’ll find words like “goodness”… “Idealism” … “favorable” and “encouragement”.  All describing optimism. They also describe Brett.

In the various forums where is well respected, Brett is known as Electric Dreamer. Even his online name is optimistic. However, life has been tough. Like it has been for so many of us. So what is it that makes Brett tick? How does he land on his feet time after time? Let’s find out.

You and I met years ago in another forum. It was immediate you were passionate about writing. What’s keeping you going today…8 years later?

My mother was divorced and working nights, so I was a latchkey kid growing up, raised on movies in a house by myself most days. I learned a lot from a thorough education in classic movies from my mother. Our house was filled with towers of VHS tapes, thousands of movies she'd recorded from TV. Over time, the need to contribute stories that would hopefully help someone feel better about themselves consumed me.

What got you started in screenplay writing?

My boyfriend. He believed in my writing skills long before I did. I moved out here to be with him in 2009 and have been pursuing a career in screenwriting since 2011. 

I mentioned you are a very optimistic person. What keeps that optimism alive?

There's nothing quite so beautiful for an artist than to be understood. Or so the quote basically goes.

When a story I wrote connects with a reader, I'm electrified. It's like we're speaking our own super-secret language. It gets me all giddy inside.

And what snuffs it out? The optimism, that is?

Breaking the routine. I have buckets of rituals designed to keep me focused to varying degrees depending on where I am in a project and how many plates I'm spinning at once. A pile of rejections hitting at once isn't fun, but that's only a product of doing everything I can to attain the screenwriting career I desire. 

Moving on to your works. I remember your work, Clone Wife very well. In your opinion, is that your best work, or do you have something else to point to that rises above?

CLONE WIFE is drippy love letter to nostalgic rom/coms that I adore to this day, but I feel I've done more daring and emotionally truthful tales. GOLDIE is a sadistic take on the classic fairy tale that's also a cautionary tale about artists getting too close to their muses. THE COMEBACK is based on a true story about high school quarterback driven to return to the playing field and rise above his limitations, both physical and psychological, after a tragedy takes away his throwing arm.

What is the best line you have ever written?

In THE COMEBACK, a worried mother confronts her son about his obsession with gaining his father's approval and pain killer addiction...

I think you love your Father more.
You stayed on your feet long enough
to give him that ring. And then you
just went limp, like an old dog
dying in his owner’s arms.

I wrote that line the day before I had to say goodbye to my best furry friend who'd been at my side for 14 years.

And what is the worst line you’ve ever written? I mean cringe worthy…

I'm always worried it'll be the very next one, but they're seemingly hardest to avoid in action flicks. This one from THY ENEMY grinds my gears...

"You don't have to do this alone." 

You see the direction of screenplay writing with all the new outlets for our work to be seen. Is all of the writers who are throwing their work into these outlets helping or hurting the serious screenplay writer’s chances?

I think the film industry is always hungry for new voices they can mine for riches, so the more ways amateurs can meaningfully connect with them the better.

Any sites you would stay away from?

Any site that charges to circulate your content around the industry. If it's good, reps will share your script for free because they believe in the pages, not your bank account.

I know part of your story and there have been some real highs and lows on your journey. What advice would you give someone who’s hit the wall? Be it a newbie or 10 year vet?

I use development to stave off the blues. It's hard for me to dwell on a specific failure/rejection if I'm always generating a slate of new projects. I tend to not get down on myself so much if I'm thinking three scripts ahead. Always gives me something to look forward to. That process starts with training yourself to write down every idea you have that could be a story you want to create. 

What are your thoughts on screenplay contest? Are they worth it or money down the drain?

I've been a recent Finalist in three very well-known screenwriting contests, but I've never gotten a single nibble from all the effort.  However, making lists operated by known entities within the industry, like the BloodList, was a huge help for me.

Thanks to Kailey Marsh, there's lots of reps that want to read my work now because someone they know believes I'm worth a look. 

If you sold the million-dollar script…what would you do? 

Pay off my debt and keep refining my craft in every way I can to maximize my chances of making another sale.

And lastly…What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

Find creatives around your level that are excited about your work and make as much content with them as you can. 

About The Author

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Shawn began writing in 2008 as a means to overcome a lifelong reading disorder. After several short scripts, he took on writing his first feature screenplay in 2009. Six years and several screenplays later, Shawn's highly acclaimed script Equal Retribution was reviewed and given one of the highest screenplay ratings ever handed out by Carson Reeves of Scriptshadow.com View full review here -...Read more