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A Conversation With Frank Mancuso

Please tell us about yourself. How did you start your career, and how did you get into the world of cinema, especially writing scripts?

First, thank you for having me. I graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in 1979. And I received my bachelor's degree from The College of St Rose in communications. I moved to NYC to become an actor. I starting working like everyone else as background and then got my first speaking role in a film called Apology with Peter Weller. After retiring from 2 fulltime jobs, I returned to acting, but felt I needed to change directions and I started writing screenplays. My first screenplay was called S.T.A.N.E. It won several film festivals as an award winner. Well, I guess I figured this was may way into the arts.

As a writer, who or what are your influences?

It wasn’t really who inspired me, it was me challenging myself to see if this was a fluke and could I write more screenplays. I challenged myself to see if I really could become a writer. Like most of us, I was nervous and apprehensive whether I could produce something again. With time my confidence was getting stronger.

What is your vision as an artist?

What types of stories you endeavor to tell through your scripts? For me, I see stories in my head and run with it. It is as if I can see the movie playing and I am just the transcriber of what I see. The stories I like to tell sometimes come thru life experience or maybe the underlying message about the movie.

What are the themes you try to incorporate into your works?

Do you draw inspiration from your own experiences or do you try to simply show a glimpse of hope to others, like what you have done in ANEMONE? I always try to have an underlying message in my story, especially like ANEMONE, which is never judge a book by its cover. There’s always layers underneath which cannot be seen because of the thick exterior. You need to look beyond and into a person’s soul to really know who he/she is.

What is your creative process?

What advice would you give to those who want to build a career as a screenwriter? When I write, I get zoned in. I could be writing for hours at a time and then sometimes get a block. I walk away and go back to it later. Then bam, when I am sleeping, I see the scene play out in my head and I get up in the middle of the night and finish that scene. I only made that mistake once not getting up, I figured I would do it in the morning. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember and only had bits and pieces. Get up and do it while it is fresh in your head.

You have co-written several scripts. How is writing with others different from writing solo? How do you and your co-writer(s) decide on the plot, characters, and their traits together?

Yes, this is my 2nd collaboration on a screenplay. I enjoyed the challenge. On both occasions it worked out because ANEMONE won as a Finalist and THE PROMISE won BEST HORROR SCREENPLAY at THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. It challenged me to see a different point of view of how the characters developed and which direction they were going. I have written 6 solo screenplays. I found as a writer I can write either way. I just enjoyed being challenged which will make me a better writer.

How do you think building a career as a screenwriter is different today?

Has it become easier or more difficult to have one’s scripts made into films? What are some of the major challenges within the industry? In some respects, it may be easier because back then you didn’t have social media or things like INKTIP to get your screenplays noticed. Back then it was who you knew. Either way it is still difficult. Actually, ANEMONE is currently in production and being made into a film now being produced by my co-writer Bobby Ciasulli.

How were your scripts received at festivals/competitions around the world?

Please tell us about your festival run. Overall, I have done very well at the film festivals with the 8 screenplays. I have won 62 awards and over 50 Finalist at festivals like the New York International Film Festival, Vegas Movie Awards, Rome International Movie Awards, Hollywood Blood horror festival, New Jersey Film Festival. I have won in the UK, Rome, Germany, Tokyo and Paris. I have been truly blessed. I and my co-writers are honored and humbled by our wins.

What projects will you be working on next?

I am currently in post-production of a sci-fi horror film called SHIFT, that I produced with my partner Chris J. Adams. We are in early development stages of producing another short horror film called The Devil’s playground which was written by Paul Pinsdorf which I bought the rights to. As to writing another screenplay, I am doing some research on a story about WWII that sounds challenging. Being retired as giving me more time to focus on my new career. I am definitely enjoying life. Thank you again for the opportunity to be interviewed here at NY Glamour.


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