In the Spotlight: Michael Colucci
Michael has the clarity, focus, and drive to pursue his dreams. Once he discovered screenwriting he leaned in and hasn’t taken his foot off the gas since. He knows what he wants to do and has proven that he has the skills to succeed. Nothing will stop this young man from creating an engaging and unique screenplay to please a film-goer. This is why I am eager to introduce you to him.
This is Michael Colucci…
I was born into a big Italian family. My father is a lawyer; my uncle is a lawyer; my aunt is lawyer; my brother wants to be a lawyer. You can always tell how good a lawyer is by the length of their trench coat.
I, on the other hand, have always had a knack for creativity. I was writing (poorly) even when I was a little kid. A ‘story’ was just a fifteen page run-on sentence about a boy and his snowboard. But the techniques evolved, and the teachers introduced me to punctuation. Soon I was writing (better) much longer pieces. I was filling up notebooks in middle school. I was burning away study hall in high school. I was piecing together the chapters of my first novel while my college roommates studied for their exams. I didn’t do too hot on those exams. 🤷
I’ve always loved Action/Drama and Comedy. However, I’ve recently had an itch to write a horror movie. figure if I can freak myself out, other people will be terrified.
When I’m not writing, I’m playing a music. I’ve played drums in my band, Wax On, for eight years now. We’ve been called a theatrical punk band by our peers. I don’t really know what that means, but I like it.
In 2017 I graduated from The University of Rhode Island with degrees in Writing, English and Communications. My grandmother would like to know when I’ll be getting a real job. Please send help.🙏
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
Every writing professor I’ve ever had has told me that I have a grasp on dialogue unlike anything they’ve ever seen. My characters always popped off the page. My exposition lacked, though. I could never bring myself, in prose, to explain all the little things that people wanted to read. I guess my opinion was always, “The sky’s blue, there’s nothing special about it. Now shut up and pay attention to the story.”
That’s what spearheaded me into screenwriting. I like the idea of a laying the foundation. This is the story, these are the characters, this is what they’re saying and this is why they’re saying it. Collaboration is key. Actors bring life; directors bring structure; writers bring story.
Anthony, my cousin and writing partner, was a film major at The University of Rhode Island. He knew I was a writer, and he knew I had pieces that I was working on.
Fun fact: We had already been making movies together. When we were kids we used my father’s camera to film our own Resident Evil 4 (our favorite game) spoof video. Yours truly played the lead role of Leon Kennedy. Anthony supplied me with screenwriting software his professor had given him. I was hooked from day one.
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Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
Books were never my forte. I know that sounds absurd, but there’s just something about movies and television that has always gelled with my creative side. “Your work reads more like a movie than a book” - Every creative writing teacher I’ve ever had.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you:
I found most of my support in college. While my family has been encouraging, I always took it with a grain of salt. I’m the kind of person that would much rather know what a complete stranger thinks of his work. Review sessions in my creative writing classes certainly strengthened my shield of confidence. We’d always go way over my ten minute slot. The constant was always, ‘Give us more! We want to know more!”
One quick story: I took a Greek History class my junior year of college. The final group project was a twenty-five minute digital presentation. Knowing my “page-per-minute” rule, I suggested we make a short film. My group looked at me like I was crazy. I assured them that I knew what I was doing. I wrote the script and they loved it. Making a film was the last thing any of those people would ever do for fun. I could see it in their eyes, they were truly enjoying themselves as we practiced lines and shot the scenes.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. It was the moment my cousin sent me that Celtx link that I knew I had found my passion. The stories were coming easily to me. I was no longer bogged by down by the idea of writing a novel. I could see the movie in my head. Turning it into a screenplay felt natural.
When I’m not writing screenplays, I’m making music with my band. Something people tend to ask us in regards to our writing process is, “What inspires the music you write?” The answer is simple, we write the music we want to listen to. The same can be said for why I write screenplays. I write the movies/TV I’d want to watch.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
Smiles. All I want to do is make people smile. If I can entertain you, if I can make you want more, than I’ve done my job. With that said, if making you want more is financially supporting me enough to put a roof over my head and food on my table, then I call it success. People think money is the root of all evil. Nah, greed is the root of all evil. Work as hard as you can; earn as much as you can. But always remember the number one rule, ‘Don’t be greedy.’
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? If you’re up until 4am, is that considered early bird or night owl?
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Make coffee. I haven’t even opened my eyes yet; I’m already making coffee.
What do you do during the day? I like to write. If I can squeeze two hours in between band practice and bartending I’m happy.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual? I’m a big nighttime shower guy. I find that all my best ideas come to me in the shower. I often go as far as to take what I call a ‘Thought provoking shower’ when I get stuck on a story.
How do you define a successful day? Improvement or progress on anything I’m currently working on, be it a screenplay or music. If not, I feel as if another ‘cog in the system’ kind of day has passed me by.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
I often suffered from having far too many unnecessary scenes in my screenplays. While I enjoyed writing them, and while I think they were really good, they didn’t fit, and they didn’t move the story forward. Learning to rework those moments as to build character and propel the story has been a huge help. If both aren’t being accomplished, 86 it.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
I find Act II to be a struggle. I know my story, I know how I want to introduce everything and I know, ultimately, where I want the story to go. It’s that middle chuck that often gets to me. But isn’t that the fun of it? Playing detective in your own head, trying to solve problems for people you made up? It’s times like that when I turn to ole’ reliable… a thought provoking shower.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
It’s incredibly rewarding when my friends become engaged in the stories I’m trying to tell. I can tell they’re excited when they begin to come up with plotlines of their own. They say, “Oh! You should totally do this!”