Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Michael Cole

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

  • My name is Michael Torrence Cole. I was born in Newark, New Jersey. My hobbies include, creative writing, physical fitness and playing chess.

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now? 

  • I came up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest from two desires: one, to create my own superhero story, and two, create a superhero story that revolutionizes the genre. It took me about one year to develop it into the screenplay it is now.

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

  • To begin with my screenwriting process, I chose what personally appealed to me the most. In this case, it’s superheroes. Next, I looked at past superhero stories, regardless if they’re being told through comics, television, or film and analyze what’s needed, what’s not needed, what’s been done and what hasn’t been done. I then created the world, the characters, and the story that showcases both. When writing the story, I established the end first and then simply went backwards in writing the events that would lead to the outcome I started with.  

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

  • I realized I wanted to become a screenwriter some point after I written my second novel. I discovered that screenwriting is a more fun and engaging way at telling a story. It’s also more challenging than writing a novel and I enjoy a thrilling challenge.

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

  • My biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences are George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Francis Ford Coppola, Sam Raimi, Chris Columbus, Alfred Hitchcock, and Tim Burton. As for their styles that I liked and/or borrowed, I liked and borrowed Lucas’ method of worldbuilding, Spielberg’s ability to create a family-friendly, hopeful tone, Tarantino and Ford Coppola’s talent for building tension and high stakes and Tim Burton’s signature uncanniness.  

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

  • The original Spider-Man trilogy starring Toney Maguire was a movie (series) that I was hopelessly obsessed with, then and now. I love all three equally and still watch them to this day. I chose these films because not only is Spider-Man my all-time favorite superhero, quite possibly my all-time favorite fictional character, but I also believe that it’s the ultimate success of the original Spider-Man trilogy that paved the way for superhero films to be the cinematic juggernauts they are today. So I believe this three-film franchise is owed a lot of thanks. 

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

  • I’m afraid I don’t have a favorite moment in cinema history. I have multiple favorites. The most noteworthy include, Luke discovering Vader is his father and Vader sacrificing himself to save Luke in the original Star Wars trilogy, Superman’s first flight in Superman (1978), the boat execution scene from The Godfather, Marty McFly meeting his own father in Back to the Future, Batman fighting the Joker in both Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight, the final swing in Spider-Man (2002), Miles Morales’ own swing scene in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the Avengers Assemble scene from Avengers: Endgame. These moments are my favorite because they’re all built up perfectly with interesting, humane characters in engaging scenarios that you can’t help but wish to be a part of.   

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

  • Very much like moments in cinema history, I’m afraid I don’t have one favorite cinema character, but several. The highlights are Darth Vader for his calm, yet intimidating and ruthless demeanor, Jack Sparrow for his wily tricks, Indiana Jones for living through intense situations and Beetlejuice because he’s far too much fun to simply ignore.  

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

  • If I could talk to anyone from any era, it would have to be the late Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man and some of Marvel’s most popular heroes. I would simply ask him, “What drove you to create such inspiring heroes that teach good morals despite living in a cruel world that at time seems to only exist for the sole purpose of crushing those with good morals”? 

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