Suz FM Carr, Bela Wolf

Thank you Bela for taking the time to answer all of our questions. We are grateful for everything you have shared with us. At Oxford Script Awards we are wishing you a huge success with your next projects. Keep up the amazing work!

Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in screenwriting?

I am a single mother living in NYC with my son Bobby and our rescue cat Clyde. I got involved and interested in screenwriting after writing my first book. A PR woman in NYC read my book and told me to adapt it to screenplay and submit it to film festivals – to give my story exposure. I did just that and 3 months later ISA named me “Screenwriter of the Month”. I was hooked. I was also incredulous as I was just a quiet mom living on Long Island. I met Suz (SFM) Carr soon after, we became friends and wrote a dark comedy, titled “Pill”. It’s hysterical. Suz is a seasoned author and screenwriter who has written many books and scripts. She’s a beautiful, fun, interesting person and has been a writer long enough to know what writing/screenwriting is all about. She has depth and foundation. I love and admire that about her, and we write together very well. We both like to laugh -a lot. Suz wrote the script for “Pill”, and she did quite well. We actually received 7-8 awards and nominations for “Pill” in several countries and that was fun!

This year I saw talent in my nephew’s songwriting, combined with his new bride’s filmmaking talent, so I decided to produce their micro musical doc (I created my own category) “Honeymoon USA”. When I won Best Musical, Best Short Musical, and awards started coming in with the first 7-8 FilmFests, I decided to enter my 2 scripts with Suz Carr along with the musical production, and we are now winning “Best Script”, “Best Feature Screenplay”, “Best Drama Screenplay”, in NYC, Hollywood, Florence, Barcelona, Paris – and hopefully many more to come as we are waiting for more Winner decisions coming up this season. Actually, I am thrilled to be an Official Selection, we are globally recognized now, we’re both so grateful and honored by the way we are accepted and recognized by the entire film community!

What's your writing process like? How do you go about creating characters and developing a story?

Suz has written a series of books, Maggie’s Sweet Bliss, Sanctuary, and many others, so this question would be more interesting for her to answer. I have only written true stories or stories based on true situations. I can skip right through the invention part and get right into telling a story.

Can you talk about a recent project you've worked on and the challenges you faced while writing it?

This was more comical than challenging, but we did have a small quandary deciding how to end Pill. It’s a story that can continue, develop and go on in a comical fashion so we decided to put a temporary ending to it – and it still garnered awards and recognitions everywhere. I actually wrote Pill under a man’s name because I felt Bela Wolf was way too dignified to produce such a nasty story! Well, that was then….Suz is fearless and free so she can get right into it, no problem!

What do you think is the most important element of a great screenplay?

This is a great question! I believe, because Suz and I write with a lot of emotion (and I’ve read many scripts that don’t offer much in the way of emotions), that judges find our work moving, whether we draw out many laughs or a few tears. Apparently judges love that. Awesome! We are hoping that Oxford Script Awards agrees and feels the same!! This competition is very important to us…..

How do you handle feedback and criticism?

Feedback and criticism? LOL, we haven’t faced any criticism yet – but I imagine if we do, we will accept, learn from it and move on. Our feedback has been happily incredible, wonderful and inspiring! Yes! We both are so grateful. I do have 3 Literary Agents reading my manuscript for my book right now so I’m positive I’ll be receiving a ton of criticism with that….yay. I don’t care, I’m thrilled that 3 very reputable Literary Agents want to publish my memoir! Bring on the criticism!!

Can you talk about any upcoming projects or collaborations you're excited about?

We are currently developing a comedy script – we’re having a lot of fun with that! We’ve been contacted by up-and-coming, interesting, talented Directors in different countries who are interested in filming our first script. It’s amazing to feel like we’re at the point where we can feel picky about who directs and produces us. Luckily Suz and I have the same goals.

What advice would you give to aspiring screenwriters?

Screenwriting – any writing, is an artform to be interpreted and enjoyed by the reader. I have nothing really incredible to say to new writers except the old adage holds true: write about what you know, or you’ll be lost and frustrated. I personally feel that if you don’t love your stories than no one else will either-most likely. That holds true for all forms of art. I knew my micro musical Honeymoon USA was fun, light-hearted and entertaining. During Covid it was the happiest work out there which is why, I believe, it is winning and being screened in several countries, including here in NYC, and also out west in Hollywood. I never imagined the success Honeymoon USA would garner. It makes people smile, laugh, feel good. I’ve watched it myself several times because it makes me happy. The music our Director chose is great too. My Director is Tania Schipper, wife of my nephew, Musical Director/Songwriter Jonathan Schipper.

Thankfully, they haven’t faced any criticism (yet) either. I have wonderful friends making serious, beautiful films like Joyce and Clive Grey Carter and their film “Shielding Sheila”. I love the film and the strong connection you feel between the actors and the cameraman-it’s great and winning in significant FilmFests. Comfort Ndzinisa, another new friend of mine in the film community has made a very serious, thought-provoking film “The Unthinkable”, aptly titled. Comfort Ndzinisa is also an amazing human being, writer and filmmaker. His films are incredible and getting recognition everywhere also.

It’s a great experience to start writing, then adapting to screenplay what I love. I’ve made the best friends in my writing career, if I could I’d continue writing endlessly. All of my judges have been so kind and understanding of my work. I love them all. My cowriter Suz Carr and I create very well together. Peace and love to all of you!