Tom Rico is an accomplished screenwriter, whose post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller “The God Particle – Resurrection” has garnered numerous accolades on the screenwriting competition circuit, including a win for best Science Fiction work in our own Filmmatic Screenplay Awards (screenplayawards.org).
We caught up with Tom after his win and asked him to share some of his thoughts and insights with our readers…
1) How long have you been writing Tom?
Rico: Only about 6 years, I always wanted to write, but for many years was too busy raising a family. I didn’t think It was a real possibility to be taken seriously until I wrote my first Novel: ‘NORTHERN LIGHTS,’ and It started winning awards. When the screenplay won its first award at the Galactic film festival in Hollywood I was completely shocked, but the feeling of accomplishment you get from something like that, is crazy! For the first time I really felt that it wasn’t such a long-shot dream to have it made into a movie. Now ‘NORTHERN LIGHTS’ has 40 Nominations at various film festivals around the world with 18 wins to date. That success inspired me to write the sequel ‘THE GOD PARTICLE – RESURRECTION’ which took first place in the science fiction category of your competition! My feeling now is: I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.
2) What screenwriting training have you received, are you self-taught?
Rico: Self-taught, A friend of mine in the business convinced me that I should turn Northern Lights into a screenplay and submit it to the festivals. I knew nothing about writing a screenplay, but studied hard using You Tube tutorials, and reading many award-winning screenplays to learn how to do it right. Then eventually taking some webinars online and paying extra for Judges feedback in various competitions.
3) What writing habits work for you? Do you write in short or long shifts, in the mornings mainly, late at night…?
Rico: Usually the premise cooks in my head for awhile, I start to map it out act by act, getting a rhythm down. Once I have the basic frame-work developed, it’s like white heat. I will start in the morning and go for 14 hours a day until I hit a snag, then I’ll take a break until the snags are worked out, then it’s back to it. I even leave a note pad on my end-table at night and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and jot down ideas for the next day.
4) What genres do you lean towards? Are all of your works science fiction?
Rico: Mostly Science Fiction, but I recently completed a dark horror ghost story entitled ‘HELL IS FOR CHILDREN-DEAD-SOULS’ the project was bouncing around in my head for sometime based on an interactive phone application game called ‘Night Fright’ that evokes infamous serial killers to life and a group of unlikely friends that use the ghostly killers to overcome the child abuse they’ve all endured. It’s just been released and has already attained 4 top festival awards. I am also considering an idea currently cooking in my head called ‘REFUGEE’ based on our current political environment, but in general, Science Fiction is what fascinates me the most.
5) Our judges loved “The God Particle – Resurrection”, how would you describe it to our readers?
Rico: During a Solar apocalypse, a resourceful physicist and his unstable military wife escape underground at the Large Hadron Collider. Survivors at odds expose a deadly truth kept by government forces in alliance with aliens. Now they must prevent a rip in time, from destroying their hopes of escape. Set in Geneva Switzerland at the ‘CERN’ government facility particle accelerator. Lars Hoffman, a leading physicist, his wife and a small group of survivors are faced with one objective: To follow the peaceful aliens to New Earth during a post-apocalyptic war against a ruthless secret government space program. Time is precious as botched time travel experiments have created multidimensional universes, while the Earth undergoes genetic modification. The survivors discover their group includes a double agent hell-bent on preventing them from succeeding; and a clairvoyant determined to defeat their obstacles.
6) How did you get the idea for the sci-fi elements of “The God Particle – Resurrection”?
Rico: From the very real possibilities of the particle acceleration technology going on in Geneva Switzerland at The Large Hadron Collider as we speak. Many scientists, including Stephen Hawking, have speculated that some of the testing into black hole technology and multi-dimensional universes could be quite dangerous if successful. The threats to our planet are very real with regard to the government testing being conducted. Being fascinated by the possibilities, I spun a tale of planetary disaster, of epic proportions. It was a great deal of fun to write.
7) What are you working on now? What do you plan on writing in the near future?
Rico: Well, as I mentioned I just finished ‘HELL IS FOR CHILDREN-DEAD-SOULS.’ I’m currently in contract negotiations for a full feature for THE GOD PARTICLE, so with NORTHERN LIGHTS already done as a prequel to THE GOD PARTICLE, I have sequel trilogy in mind based on hollow moon theories. I’m also currently working on an independent film festival not for profit called the I.C.F. (Independent Cinema Foundation.) I’m a founding member, along with L.j Rivera, and together, we have 5 long running film festivals based in Hollywood and developed to support the indie filmmaker. We’re having our annual awards ceremony June 19th 2017 at Project X on the Hollywood walk of fame, and winners can expect many awards including grants to further their projects. So needless to say, busy times ahead, but it’s all good and I feel very blessed. Here is a link for anyone interested: https://www.facebook.com/ICFawards/
8) Any advice for those about to dive into their first feature-length screenplay?
Rico: (Pictured left with wife) Read what worked in the past. I found that the best tool for being self-taught is to read blockbuster screenplays and learn why they were such a big hit. Then adapt the technical format, to your own original story-telling. I would also say that equally important to that; is to do what you LOVE. Stick to the genre that you’re good at, enjoy what you’re writing, because if you LOVE it, it won’t seem like a task. What’s the saying? “Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your Life.”
Congrats once again to Tom on all his success thus far, and many thanks for the time he spent answering our questions. Filmmatic will forward any and all producer requests for Tom Rico’s “God Particle – Resurrection”, or any for any other Filmatic contestant’s script for which there is interest ????