Geoff, who is active on Twitter as @DrGMLaTulippe, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the project - and offer some writing advice!
How did you get the idea for this St. Patrick's Day Movie?
I've always kind of known that I wanted to do something surrounding the Holiday. It's my Xmas. I love it more than any other day of the year, even though I've forgotten more about it than most people will ever remember (thanks Jameson!). As far as this project specifically, I had been kicking around the SPD idea more and more last year; at the time, I was working on a TV project with the ladies at Grady Twins (writer Marti Noxon's production company) and, coincidentally, they ALSO wanted to do a SPD movie. So we put our heads together and came up with something that worked. We hope. We pray.
What do you think is the most important thing in a mainstream comedy feature?
Tough question - totally depends on the type of comedy you're going after. For me, so far, the most important thing has been realism and a universality to the story that stays far away from being overly broad. I think real life is funny as hell, so I try to reflect that in what I write. I think an audience relates to an observational comedy far more if they feel they've gone through something similar; you feel good knowing you're not the only one who's thought that thought or had that argument. That means pulling no punches, which often means I write about my own faults and shortcomings. Of which there are billions. So maybe honesty is the most important thing? I'm still figuring this out. I think we all are.
What's one piece of advice you would give young writers?
Read all the scripts you can get your hands on. Produced scripts, unproduced scripts, good scripts, bad scripts. Pay attention to the differences between the good scripts and the bad scripts, the produced scripts and the unproduced. And always always always write first what YOU'D want to see. Something you're passionate about. Something you love. Because you'll always write that to the best of your ability.
What would you consider your first success in screenwriting?
GOING THE DISTANCE was not the first thing I'd ever written - I'd made a few aborted attempts prior - but it was the first thing I'd ever "put out there". I developed it with New Line exec Dave Neustadter, whose long-distance relationship the script is based on. When we finally submitted it to New Line, it kind of took off unexpectedly. I didn't have an agent OR a manager, and my lawyer had been my lawyer for literally four minutes when the script was sold. It was all pretty ridiculous. Still is. I have no clue what I'm doing. But now I have a bunch of smart, talented people surrounding me. Which is never a bad thing.