After two live readings of Caught In The Web, at both LA and Pasadena Libraries, we were honored with an interview with the Screenwriters, Shirley Napoleon – winner for Best Script at FanFilm Awards 2017:
1) How does it feel to win Best Script at the age of fifteen?
I cannot begin to describe the feeling I’ve had since I heard that I won. I’m a fangirl, writing a fanscript, and usually fanfiction doesn’t get that much recognition. So to be able to have people see who I am through an established fandom and with established characters, but still say my writing is good enough to be on the screen, insites this intense amount of excitement within me, so much so that I feel like I will explode.
2) Why did you choose to write a Spiderman script?
Spider-Man and Peter Parker have long been one of my favorite Marvel characters, not only because I lived his story growing up not exactly popular (save the radioactive spider and powers, but I can wait a little longer for those), but because Peter has this sense of humility, and this sense of just wanting to take one the world and protect everyone he can. And I can really relate to that. So after seeing Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man, and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, and not quite feeling like those renditions were the Peter I knew, and then seeing Captain America: Civil War and finally seeing the new Peter and feeling like this was the Peter I was waiting for, the fangirl inside me started to squeal, and an idea began forming. I had just finished reading the Spider-Verse event in the comics, and I noticed that while there were a few spider-women, I hadn’t seen one exactly Peter’s age, going through exactly what Peter was going through, at the same time, all while wanting to protect everyone. SO that’s how Alex/Arachnid was born, from that want of a young spider-girl who can hold her own, but still needs freinds and family to deal with teenager problems. And I wanted the script to be more focused on the human side of the characters, and not wanting to have to do this, but needing to, because no one else can.
3) How long did it take you finish your script?
I started the first draft of the script in June of last year, and was constantly working on it and revising it and typing it up until last year’s late deadline of Oct. 25th.
4) Your full script was read live twice in LA Libraries. How was the experience?
There’s this place ou go when you’re writing and creating the characters, the story, the plot, and it’s a place where you know exactly how they sound, how they act, everything. But hearing my script read aloud, by different people, and seeing my characters come alive in different ways that I couldn’t have seen before is so gratifying. It’s like a feeling of “I did this. This is my work.” And it’s so amazing. And it helps with future revisions as well.
5) As an awarded female teen screenwriter, what encouragement can you give?
Don’t give up. Yes, it’s cheesy, and it’s been said before, but before this acception, I had been rejected 16 times from various magazines, and 7 times after I got that acception email from FanFilm Awards. Out of the 32 different journals and magazines I have submitted to, I have only been accepted to 2 of them, and haven’t even heard back from some of them. Which is a little disappointing, because it makes you think that you’re not good enough. But you have to keep trying. You can’t get inside you’re head like that, or you’re going to hinder yourself from doing something amazing. So you can’t give up, you have to keep pushing, keep moving past your limits or what you think you can do. I submitted to FanFilms because I thought it would be fun. It’s a fanfiction festival, and I never thought I would be where I am right now. Yes, you’re going to get rejections, but after a while, you don’t even notice it any more, and that makes being accepted that much more great. Don’t give up.