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2011 CSN Contest Winner Ade Akisanya

Inside the Writer’s Room with Denise

Denise went into the Writer’s Room with the 2011 Chicago Screenwriters Network Screenplay Contest winner Adedapo Akisanya.

Denise O'Neal

Denise O’Neal

DO:     What age did you get the writing bug?
JB:     At a very young age.  In 6th grade I was a finalist in a writing competition and knew that writing came easy for me.

DO:     Did you have any formal training?
JB:     I attended Columbia University in New York where I took some creative writing classes and took a UCLA summer school screenwriting class but I didn’t like it.  I didn’t like the rules.  So I studied movies and read books and went to see lots of movies with my family while growing up.

Adedapo Akinsanya

Adedapo Akisanya

DO:   What an unusual name.  Where are you from?
AA:   Lagos, Nigeria.

DO:   Is this the first time you’ve entered CSN screenplay contest?
AA:   Yes.

DO:   Describe to us what you felt when you were announced as the grand prize winner?
AA:   I heard my name but didn’t recognize it as my own.   I sat there and was waiting for the winner to walk to the podium when my friends told me to rise.   It was then that it registered; it was my name they called.   I really didn’t imagine that I would win.   I panicked.   It shook me to my core.    Words really can’t explain how overwhelming the experience was for me.    I jog three miles on a daily basis, well almost every day, and I’ve never perspired as much as I did on that night.   I just couldn’t stop sweating.    I’ve never experienced that before.   Anyhow, I am very grateful and thank you very much.

DO:   How long have you been attending CSN monthly meetings?
AA:   For about a year now.

DO:   How long have you been writing screenplays?
AA:   Twelve years.

DO:   Any formal training?
AA:   I attended Columbia College Adult Continuing Education Program for Screenwriting.   I also attended Dan Decker’s Rewrite and Developmental writing courses.

DO:   What is the name of the award-winning screenplay?
AA:   Beneath The Rock.

DO:   Where did the story idea come from?
AA:   It is a story I learned while living in Nigeria.

DO:   How long did it take you to write the first draft?
AA:   Eight weeks.

DO:   How many rewrites did it take to polish the script?
AA:   Uncountable!  I actually have four different versions; each with multiple endings and openings.

DO:   Are you working on anything new?
AA:   No.   I normally like to wait and let an idea sink in before I begin writing again.   Right now I’m just toiling over a few ideas.

DO:   What advice can you give to the many aspiring screenwriters out there?
AA:   Idle not your pen.

DO:   Can you update us on the progress of your script as far as a sale or option?
AA:   So far, It has gone out to a couple of production companies but I will keep you posted.