Collaborating can be an incredibly difficult process as a screenwriter. You have to find someone whose strengths covers your weaknesses but also is willing to put the story first above all else. This means when cowriting you have to find someone who is selfless and checks their ego at the door. A rare individual indeed. Thomas and Markus have found that unique writing partner and I am pleased to introduce you to them.
This is Thomas Kowa and Markus Reinhardt...
Markus: I am a successful musician. I won several gold and platinum records with Wolfsheim and the German Grammy called Echo award. Now I'm more into screenwriting and live in Hamburg (Germany) and Athens (Greece).
Thomas: I'm living in Switzerland and I'm a novelist, screenwriter, and poetry slammer. I have published over a dozen books with several publishers, ranging from thriller to comedy.
Together we have developed various series and feature films, including RED RAVEN, which was translated to English.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
Thomas: Markus and I worked together as musicians ages ago. We’d lost touch but a couple of years ago Markus contacted me again. He knew that I had become a novelist and he wanted to tell me about his RED RAVEN idea. Long story short: We developed the series, then we wrote the novel - always with the movie in mind - and afterward we wrote the screenplay. It was our first screenplay - an amazing experience.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
Markus: I guess I realized soon that I'm not the right guy for a 9 to 5 job. My head is full of ideas and they need to be expressed and screenwriting is a great way to turn these ideas into something worthy.
Thomas: Markus inspired me since I loved his ideas and so we just did it.
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Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
Markus: It was Ralf Zimmermann of Perathon Film. I knew him from a Wolfsheim video shot for the title song of the German movie Erbsen auf halb sechs. Since Red Raven was our first concept we were a bit worried about how professionals would perceive it. We sent it to Ralf and he gave us great feedback. That was a really uplifting experience and we felt confirmed in our doing.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
Thomas: Directly when we wrote the first scenes in final draft I felt, that it is so much easier than writing a novel because you can concentrate on pictures, dialogue, and action. No need to write a one-page exposition like in a novel.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
Markus: Success is definitely not connected to money or fame. I’d rather be unsuccessful in something I love to do than being successful in something I hate to do. I.e. I'd rather sell no books or scripts than a million weapons.
Thomas: Well, if the weapons don't work, I would also sell them J. And then make a movie out of it.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
Thomas: I wake up at around 7 in the morning, shower, make a healthy fruit bowl for myself and a not so healthy breakfast for my two daughters. When they are in the kindergarten I start working in the office. Twice a week I go jogging in the forests around my town and at around 2 pm I start writing by reworking, what I've written on the day before. Then I continue with new scenes until the kids come home.
I'm a Night Owl, but life forces me to get up early. My creative time is in the afternoons. Since I don't drink coffee, I often drink a coke light, together with some Swiss chocolate. I invented the rule, that I have to make push-ups for every snack I take, which prevents my belly from growing too much. I also strongly believe, that a day without ice cream is a lost day, so it might be, that I have to do push-ups more than once during the day.
After dinner, I'm spending time with my family and when the kids are in bed I'm watching a movie or series or continue writing my own one.
Markus: I usually get up around 9 am. After 2 cups of filter coffee, I eat a banana almost every day. Afterward, I put on my jogging shoes and go out for a run. If I’m running in Hamburg I’m usually followed by some crows (great birds! I raised a baby crow a couple of years ago).
They know me well since I’m feeding them with some dried cat food. In Athens, I’m feeding cats (not with bird food though) while I’m out for a run. After a shower, I usually take care of the chores that need to be done and in the afternoon the fun starts!
It may sound like a cliché, but when I’m in Athens I usually go to a café to write. There I enjoy a nice coffee (an americano, that’s how they call an espresso with hot water added in Greece). I’m still puzzled why I’m able to concentrate in a noisy café, even better than at home. If I’m not in a café I skype with Thomas to discuss, what we've written or developed new scenes.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Thomas: Telling, what's the story with as few words as possible.
Markus: It’s almost scary but when I’m watching a movie a part of my brain is translating it simultaneously into a script. It’s commenting on scenes like “A man is entering a room”.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Thomas: Our greatest challenge is to sell the spec scripts we've made. We’ve developed 2 feature films and 5 series, but since we're writing in German only RED RAVEN is translated in to English so far.
Markus: An agent representing us would also be nice, but it's hard to find one.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
Markus: So far I don’t regret anything. It seems I made the right choices and that’s a really great reward I think.
Thomas: I started with writing thrillers, but someday I decided, I didn't want to hide my funny side in my texts anymore. That has changed my writing style a lot, because humor helps in most situations.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
Markus: We love to be in touch with other writers. There’s nothing particular we want to learn, but it’s fun to share experiences and knowledge. It’s a give and take, isn’t it? Thomas: Everyday I like to learn something new, so I'm open to basically everything.
The Successful Screenwriter Podcast - (Episodes)
We Fix Your Script - (Free Consultation)
InkTip - (List your script)
International Screenwriting Association - (ISA Connect)
WriterDuet - (Screenwriting Software)
Bulletproof Screenwriting - (Script Coverage)
Indie Film Hustle Academy - (Screenwriting Courses)
Krista Keller Talent - (Management)
The Robb Company - (Management)