Courtesy of the Shriekfest Film Festival, we thought you might enjoy this brief interview with Ryan Gilmore, an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker who specializes in the horror genre.

SF: What is your name and company URL?

RG: My name is Ryan Gilmore.

SF: What is your specialty … filmmaking or screenwriting?

RG: I’m a screenwriter but I’d like to get more involved in filmmaking in the future.

SF: What are you currently working on?

RG: I’m working on a horror story that is set in the Old West. It’s fun to write about a period when people can’t just call for help on their cell phones.

SF: LOL, I love Western Horror films. Have you been a finalist or winner in any festivals or competitions?

RG: I won the UCLA Professional Program Screenwriting Competition and the Paranoia Horror Film Festival. I was also a finalist at Shriekfest and Screamfest.

SF: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

RG: People love the thrill of being scared and they love to see an underdog triumph over evil. Everyone feels like an underdog (especially screenwriters). So when you see an unlikely hero overcome a horde of zombies or a demented serial killer, it gives you hope that you can overcome the obstacles and personal demons that you have in your own life.

SF: Ah, I like the underdog idea! What do you love most about this business?

RG: I love to simultaneously frighten and entertain people. My favorite compliment is when someone tells me that my work gave them nightmares for weeks but they say it with a smile on their face.

SF: That’s funny and sick at the same time! What do you dislike most about this business?

RG: I dislike how hard it is to break into and maintain a career in the business. Then again, if it were easy, there’d be no glory in it. Sheesh, I better get back to writing.

SF: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

RG: You need three things to become a successful screenwriter – skill, talent, and luck. Since you can’t control the other two, you’ve got to put all of your energy into developing your skills as a writer. That means logging in thousands of hours with your butt in a chair and your fingers on a keyboard. It’s also vital to get feedback on your work so you’re not just spinning your wheels. Whether it is from a trusted writing group or a workshop or both, it’s important to know if you’re on the right track. If you’re looking to hone your craft, I can’t say enough about the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program. It’s taught by professional screenwriters, many of whom are also professors in UCLA’s graduate screenwriting program. They offer workshops in a classroom setting as well as online. Check it out!

SF: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

RG: I just want to thank you and everyone at Shriekfest. You are so supportive of emerging talent- true champions of the underdog!

SF: Ah, Thank you Ryan, that is very sweet! It was great having you!

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