Nancee LaFayette-Pang

Thank you Nancee 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!

Hello Nancee, can you tell us about your background and how you got started in screenwriting?

I’m fortunate that I’ve worked with many Hollywood greatest actors, directors and producers; considering my mother told me I was too stupid to do anything but act and sing. I didn’t start writing until well into my forties.

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

Most of my stories come from my life’s experience, two projects deal with the martial arts which I’ve studied, Kung fu, aikido and kendo. One story is based on my first marriage.

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

Meeting Director Sam Peckinpah is based working on The Ballad of Cable Hogue. It was a story I couldn’t write for many years as it was very personal and he was my first love, don’t ask me why… you love who you love and I didn’t have any choice of how I felt, only control of how I acted.

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

The audience must identify with your characters, even the villain, don’t forget the villain thinks he’s A-OK, you’re the one with the problem. The hero must suffer and overcome obstacles, personal or events.

How do you feel about the current state of the film industry and the role of screenwriters in it?

Hollywood keeps remaking old stories using different genres… or they keep making the same story using the same events, e.g. Jurassic Park. Hollywood should try new screenwriters and new actors. Great films have come out of Independent filmmakers. “COSMOS” By ZANDER AND ELLIOT WEAVER. They made this film over five years with hardly any money and it is a great film!

How do you approach writing for different genres and audiences?

I have the ability to put myself into various characters, like an FBI profiler. I have done research with the FBI, Law Enforcement in various states gone on rides with officers… I find out what I need to know in order to write believable characters. I’ve written animation stories for a Japanese company. So far I have not been able to get it produced in America. Puddletown Kids is a story about children who worry about their parent’s losing work and having to move, the kids do not want to lose friends and they try to find out what is going on in the town.

How do you handle feedback and criticism?

Feedback and criticism must come from someone I respect, you have to be careful who reads your work. I know many people who have no business reading anybody’s work as they had scripts passed to them by a friend who was too busy. Most readers are afraid to say this script is OK, because if it’s not they get fired.

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

I’m very excited about The Samurai Ghost & Ms. Jones, it takes place in Japan and I’ve been lucky to spend time in Japan to research several projects, also Valentine St. Claire Mysteries, Rising from the Deep… a one hour TV pilot detective series. They are on my website… I’m still writing these two stories. Hopefully I’ll be finished by the end of the Summer.

How do you see the role of screenwriting evolving in the future?

In the old days one company could produce a film, one writer had enough pull to gather people together to make his film. Today it takes many companies to get a film made, even the biggest stars, directors, producers have to dance the Hollywood shuffle. I believe Independent films will be the ones to take the lead as Hollywood is getting stale. Greed of how much you gonna pay me, has ruined many dreams of some very talented people.

What advice would you give to aspiring screenwriters?

Attention young screenwriters, read, read, read great screenplays, books and plays. Line of Duty TV show out of the UK, you can download their screenplays, a great series, one of the best I’ve seen in my seventy six years on the planet. Join Masterclass and study with professionals e.g. Steve Martin and many others.