Q & A interview with Hollywood screenwriter Jim Vines…

June 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

You’ve been a working screenwriter for a number of years. What inspired you to write your novel, Luigi’s Chinese Delicatessen? How did you come up with the premise?

LCD cover picI had become pretty burned out on the whole screenwriting thing. Not just the writing of scripts, but all the wheeling and dealing with filmmakers, agents, and managers. I was just worn out. As much as I really enjoy writing screenplays, I needed another creative writing outlet. I had written all sorts of things—a play, a web series, a non-fiction book, blogs—but I had yet to tackle a novel. It would have to be about something I knew well. So I came up with a story about a young guy who goes to L.A. to become a screenwriter. Once I started writing, the story just poured out of me. Many have asked, “Is the novel autobiographical?” I always say, “Ninety-seven percent of it is a work of fiction—and no, I’m not telling you which 3% is truth.” But Luigi’s is a real Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through Hollywood, and readers seem to be enjoying it.

How was writing a novel different from your experiences as a screenwriter—and did you enjoy the experience?

When you write a screenplay, you have to stay within certain parameters, and it all tends to be fairly rigid. It can also be difficult exploring a character’s inner feelings and inner thoughts. As I wrote Luigi’s, I felt free to go anywhere I wanted. I could really delve into Trent’s emotions and I could explore moments in his existence that I would never be able to do in a screenplay. I loved every bit of writing that book, I really did.

Do you plan to turn your novel into a screenplay—and have you ever adapted a book before?

I’ve had a few people tell me it would make a cool cable or web series. I did have a producer contact me about a year ago, expressing an interest in adapting the novel into some sort of series, but I never heard back from him after that initial contact. Well, as they say, that’s show biz! As for adapting books: Yup, I’ve adapted four novels into screenplays. One was an early experiment, just to see if I could do it, and the other three were paid assignments. It’s a real challenge boiling a 350-page novel into a 110-page screenplay. It’s fun, but definitely a challenge.

Do you plan to write more novels in the future?

Yup, I sure do! In fact, right now I have three novels in various stages of development, including a sequel to Luigi’s Chinese Delicatessen, which is presently about one-fourth of the way completed.

Do you have other books available?

jim book cover


In 2006 I published a book entitled Q & A: The Working Screenwriter – An In-the-Trenches Perspective of Writing Movies in Today’s Film Industry. It’s a compilation of interviews I did with 16 working screenwriters, including David J. Schow (The Crow), Stephen Susco (The Grudge) John Rogers (The Core) and Brent Maddock (Tremors and Short Circuit). It’s available as a paperback and e-book on Amazon, The Writer’s Store…all the usual places.


Do you have advice for other screenwriters who are considering writing a novel?

Just keep in mind that you’re doing an awful lot of writing. A screenplay is typically in the 17- to 18,000-word range, give or take. A novel is a minimum of 60,000 words; and depending on the genre you’re writing, you could easily surpass 100,000 words. But if you love what you’re writing—as I did—word count isn’t a huge problem. So if you feel you have a novel in you, you should definitely go for it!


Vines, pub picJim Vines has been a professional screenwriter and script consultant since the early 1990s. He has optioned and sold several of his screenplays and has been commissioned to pen and rewrite scripts for numerous U.S. and Canadian producers. His thriller The Perfect Tenant has aired regularly on American and foreign cable television since its release in 2000.  In 2006 he published Q & A: The Working Screenwriter, a book of interviews with 16 professional screenwriters. Jim is the author of The Working Screenwriter and Jim Vines Presents, two popular writing blogs. His comedic 2-act play Downwind of the Cannery has been staged by three separate theater companies. He also created and wrote a Web series, was a guest speaker at the Scriptwriters Network in Los Angeles, and won the Best Writer award at the 2014 Shockfest Film Festival. Also in 2014: a movie produced from his horror screenplay House at the End of the Drive was completed and currently awaits distribution. In 2015, he published his first novel, Luigi’s Chinese Delicatessen, which is the saga of a young man trying to make his mark in Hollywood. He presently has three other book projects in development and occasionally takes on screenwriting assignments.



November 4, 2012 Comments Off on PRESS & BUZZ


Check out my interview on Script Magazine with the Story Broads: “Screenwriter Safari – Hunting the Working Writer.”  Click on the icon for the link to the article.

script mag

Check out my new interview series about surviving as a Hollywood screenwriter on FILM COURAGE. Keep checking back as there will be twenty videos in the series. Click on the photo below for the link.

film courage

The fantastic new screenwriting podcast “Eclipse the Script” interviewed me about my new book and surviving as a screenwriter in Hollywood’s trenches. Click on the icon below for the link and listen to the two part podcast.



Fellow veteran screenwriter Jim Vines interviews me for his blog “The Working Screenwriter.” Click on the icon below for the link to the website…

working screenwriter web site logo


My new book “A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success” is available on Amazon.

Click on icon below for the link.Master CoverR2-4-REV2

Now available my COFFEE RING CARTOONS merchandise for screenwriters at my online store. Click on the photo below for the link to purchase mugs, T-shirts, notebooks, note cards, pint glasses, drink coasters, and mouse pads.


Check out the interview with me about screenwriting by Ruth Hill on her website

“My Devotional Thoughts.”

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Read the new interview with me in the UK online magazine CROOKES.

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magazine cover

A nice surprise to be mentioned in the December/January 2015/16 Esquire Magazine article about JJ Abrams and the film festival we entered as teenage filmmakers.

Esquire mention with JJ

My new interview on Stylamerican with Thitia where we talk about my new movies and upcoming screenwriting book release. Click on the icon below for the link to the interview.


Check out screenwriter Paul Ziedman’s interview with me about screenwriting on his great website “Maximum Z
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Check out my interview to SPEED SCREENWRITING as part of their “Tell it like it is” series with professional screenwriters.

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I share some of the “Un-rules of Screenwriting on LA Screenwriter’s Website:

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The London Screenwriters’ Festival asked Mark:

“What one piece of screenwriting advice has been the most useful in your career?”
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I share an excerpt from my upcoming book

ScreenCraft’s blog.

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“Interview with LA working screenwriter Mark Sanderson”

My in-depth interview to Michelle Goode on her great UK based website
Write so Fluid
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My video interview to Thitia on her fantastic website STYLAMERICAN

“America’s newest WebTV Channel”

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“Meet Mark Sanderson—Hollywood screenwriter and consultant”

Britta Reque-Dragicevic interviews me on her fantastic website CREATIVE INSIDE OUT about screenwriting in Hollywood, my advice for aspiring writers, and my new workshop.
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Mark Dark Story’s Quick Fire interview with Scriptcat

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“The Real Kids of Super 8”

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Entertainment journalist Todd Longwell’s article and interview with me about my start as a preteen filmmaker.

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“Gerard Ravel and the Super 8 Festival that launched JJ Abrams”

Nice mention in Filmmaker Magazine’s Web Exclusive article by Todd Longwell.

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“Tides Picks Up The Pace”

The Honolulu Advertiser’s reporting from the set as we were filming “Tides of War” on location in Hawaii.

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The AFM premiere screening of  “I’ll Remember April


“Fantastic advice on surviving Hollywood as a working writer.”Script Magazine, “My Blank Page” was chosen as Website of the Week (May 2012)

“So you want to be a scriptwriter? Here’s your blog baby!”—actor/producer Greg Grunberg (The Client List, Big Ass Spider, Heroes, Alias, Felicity) (@greggrunberg)

“Thanks for all the valuable information. You are a wellspring of Hollywood knowledge.”—actor/standup comedian/director Rawle D. Lewis (K-Pax, Malcom & Eddie, Cool Runnings) (@rawletv)

Scriptcat —No ego, no flagrant self-promotion; but heart and soul and a genuine commitment to helping other writers.”—author, screenwriter, filmmaker @LaFamiliaFilm.

“If you write scripts or want to learn and following the business, you MUST follow @Scriptcat—a knowledgeable screenwriting guru with great website content, webinars and frequent tweets.”—ScreenCraft website

“The Scriptcat really knows his stuff.”—actor Brad Grunberg (Grown Ups 2, Sons of Anarchy, That’s My Boy) (@bradgrunberg)

Shout out to Scriptcat for the loads of great advice for screenwriters. You should be following him.“—screenwriter/producer Christine Conradt  (@Cconradt)

My Blank Page—one of the top 25 screenwriting blogs to follow.“—Jason McKinnon, Screenwriting Spark (@writingspark)

“Thanks, Mark! I think we filmmakers can agree that My Blank Page is a vault full of gold for filmmaking.”—director/writer Edwin Adrian Nieves (@eanieves)

“If you’re a screenwriter and you’re not following Scriptcat you are missing out on some pretty great stuff.”—screenwriter/director Douglas Eboch (@dougeboch)

“We are big Mark Sanderson fans at G2 and love your articles.“—Goody 2 Productions (@goody2prod)

Always enjoy reading and sharing your articles. You have wonderful insight for all writers.”—screenwriter/ filmmaker David Spies (@DavidSpies)

“Keep reading and follow Scriptcat—consistently good pragmatic stuff screenwriters can actually use.”—screenwriter Daniel Eckhart (@dmeckhart)

“Huge shout out to Scriptcat, a great source of screenwriting advice and insight! Make sure to follow!”—screenwriter/director Edwin Adrian Nieves (@eanives)

You’re putting out great stuff on your feed and thanks for all the links.” —Shaula Evans (@TheBlackBoard)

“Want to read a terrific screenwriting blog? Scriptcat has the best posts!”—author/screenwriter/co-founder of #scriptchat  Jamie Lee Scott (@AuthorJamie)

“Scriptcat has great tips about the business of screenwriting.“—@Hollywood_Tweet

“Mark, I want you to know how much I’ve learned since I started following you. The info/advice on your blog is awesome. Thanks!—writer Kristen Skeet (@castawayKristen)

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