John Kerner on Character Development in Script Writing

John Kerner, Screenwriter

NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?

John Kerner: I am truly honored. It is a bit surreal knowing the number of people that submitted their work and being selected as a finalist.

NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?

John Kerner: Jersey Don is the story of Johnny Alymo, the Godson of the most notorious mob boss in NJ. As the Don’s health fades, he appoints Johnny to take over the family business, but Johnny envisions a different career path for himself…to be the next song parody king.  To make matters worse for Johnny, the Don calls upon his two underbosses, Vinny the Placenta and Jimmy Peanuts to mentor Johnny. Vinny feels betrayed by the Don and is determined to sabotage Johnny.  In the midst of this chaos, Johnny stumbles upon the girl of his dreams. Keeping his family’s business a secret conflicts with his desire to be truthful and he risks losing his one chance at true love.

NY Elite: Can you tell us yourself and your artistic talents?

John Kerner: I started writing in my late teens.  Writing provided joy knowing I could create any character or world I wanted to.

NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?

John Kerner: I have written about a dozen short scripts. Jersey Don is my first feature script.

NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?

John Kerner: Jersey Don (my first feature script), Rewired (short film I wrote and just completed filming) and my latest feature script I am currently writing now.

NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?

John Kerner: I really enjoy writing comedies, making people laugh gives me so much joy.

NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?

John Kerner: I think the main character(s) needs to likeable from the onset.  The audience must have a reason to root for them. Characters also need to transform throughout the movie. They can’t remain one dimensional.

NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?

John Kerner: I am currently working on another feature script as well as preparing to film a few more of my short scripts.

NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

John Kerner: Yes, I enjoy writing songs and sketch comedy as well as screenplays.

NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?

John Kerner: Just keep writing. 

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