Screenwriter Spotlight: Michael Elliott

What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?

Michael Elliott. Georgia. Maryland. Music


Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest?

1983, after the dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.


How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

On and off over the past 40 years. Mostly since 2019.


From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

Wrote it spontaneously without a draft or outline. Shopped around Hollywood in the mid-80s by William Morris. Lack of success was discouraging so I abandoned the project. Resurrected it in 2019 as I began connecting with online screenwriter sites. Submitted it to contests for feedback which led to 7 rewrites that resulted in the current award-winning version.


When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?



Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?

William Goldman. Impressive resume plus he could write anything.


Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?

Movie: The Magnificent 7 (original version) because it’s a perfect morality play. Where 7 men who spent a lifetime killing redeem their wasted lives…with 4 dying…by saving a poor village without pay.


What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?

The chariot race in Ben-Hur. The shot of those 2 teams of horses racing neck and neck always thrills me no matter how many times I watch it.

Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?

Cary Grant. Because it’s Cary Grant.


If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them? 

Steven Spielberg. Just because it’s Steven Spielberg.