Meet Matt

In high school, if God himself would have come up to Matt and said, "Matt, you're going to be a writer," Matt would have had the laugh of his life, but here he is, nearly thirty years later, a writer.

Matt discovered writing attending Butler County Community College, and it changed his life—it may have even saved it from a career in physics he wasn’t meant for. He gladly traded his scientific calculator in for a manual typewriter and hasn’t stopped writing since.

After a brief period writing poetry inspired by the Romantic Period, Matt focused on writing the Great American Novel and failed miserably, having to settle for a novella—Jamaican Moon.

He wrote two more novellas—Bad Blood and Condo Joe, which he published in a collection formerly called Three by the Sea now Jamaican Moon and Other Stories through a Print-on-Demand publisher. Not exactly what he had hoped for in a publisher—he preferred a traditional publisher.

Rita, a dear friend of his from Trinidad, had read Three by the Sea and wrote an Amazon review that any aspiring writer could only hope for:

I couldn’t wait any longer, so I bought the book off the Internet—cost me a big $18, shipping, etc., but it was worth every penny. A good book, kept my interest to the end.

Rita thought he ought to be writing for television shows like CSI.

But Matt was still dead set on writing the Great American Novel.

He didn’t know where the inspiration had come from—it happened very spontaneously—but next he wrote a children’s book called Finny the Friendly Shark then the children's book Timmy the Timid Dolphin followed. He applied to the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut—not because he wanted to become a children’s book author or broaden his book-writing horizons but thought it might be a way he could break in as an author through a traditional publisher. He studied under the children’s book author Stephen Roos and graduated with a certificate.

He spent the next couple of years trying to write the Great American Novel until one morning he sat down and discovered screenwriting, which finally put him on the right course for a career as a fiction writer. Screenwriting, he felt, was his true north.

He completed his first feature spec script Forbidden then went straight into writing his second feature spec This Ain’t No Vacation, Sweetheart, and this would be the script he would get officially acquainted with the Three-act Structure.

He wanted to go to a proper film school to study screenwriting, but financially film school just wasn’t in the picture, so he went another route, poor man’s film school, courtesy of Karl Kurlander co-writer the film St. Elmo’s Fire: Kurlander suggested that Matt send a script in to Asher Garfinkle, who performed script coverage and then, just before he and Kurlander parted, Kurlander said to Matt point blank, “It [the script] better be great.”

He sent This Ain’t No Vacation, Sweetheart to Asher and even though he got a Pass, somewhere in the pages of a bad first draft was a story worth telling.

He bought the book Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field and Final Draft and dove head first into the rewrites from the bitter-sweet notes of the coverage report. After several rewrites the script earned a Consider from Screenplay Readers.

He wrote his next feature spec script, an animated adaptation of Finny the Friendly Shark, and after several drafts Finny got a Consider from Screenplay Readers.

Since 2008, Matt has written over thirty-five feature spec scripts, and through it all, it has been humbling. He is grateful for each one that he has written, believing each one is a gift, God choosing him to write them down.

Matt has adapted several of his novellas like Jamaican Moon, Dose of Her Own Medicine/Her Last Shot, and Most Likely to Succeed as a Supermodel/The Castaway/Hurricane Jane into feature scripts.

Although he would like to believe as a fiction writer he is almost in auto-pilot when it comes to structure, each story, each script seems to present its own set of problems and surprises. He writes across genres. What he thought would be a career writing in the genres of romance comedy shifts from time to time to suspense. The genres seem to choose him.

Matt lives in New Castle, a small city in PA, which just happens to be the fireworks capital of the world.

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