Watch Mark Melara’s winning TV Spec Screenplay of Curb Your Enthusiasm “The Transplant”
NARRATOR – Frances Townend
Larry – Charles Gordon
Jeff – Neil Kulin
Leon – Kaleb Alexander
Jason Alexander – Rob Salerno
Paula – Alicia Payne
Waitress – Julia Vally
Susie – Jacqueline Brown
Matthew Toffolo interviews Mark Melara:
Matthew: What is your “CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM” TV Screenplay about?
Mark: When Jason Alexander gets a hair transplant, Larry calls him out as a traitor to the bald community. After some strange occurrences Larry begins to suspect there’s some kind of bald club that is conspiring against him. Meanwhile Jeff agrees to represent Jason while Leon becomes Larry’s assistant.
Matthew: Why does this episode script fit into the guidelines of the show?
Mark: From the outset Larry has several motivations and in time they all become entangled: His interest in Paula, shaming Jason Alexander for getting a hair transplant, and ultimately unraveling the truth about this possible bald society.
Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?
Mark: I’ve been writing stories since I built a wrestling ring in my garage in seventh grade and put on shows for my friends. I continued to write in high school and eventually took on screenwriting as a major in college where I churned out a few specs and an original before discovering these were all terrible and I had a lot to learn.
Matthew: What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Mark: I would say a definitive tie between Uncle Buck and The Godfather.
Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?
Mark: Norm Macdonald, the Workaholics guys, Larry Charles, Louis C.K., Richard Ayoade, Matthew Holness, Jermaine Clement, Terry Gilliam, and of course Abe Vigoda.
Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?
Mark: About 18. (Including specs, original pilots, and shorts)
Matthew: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
Mark: Running my own show (or via a collaborative effort).
Matthew: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
Mark: I tend to be motivated by what immediately triggers a moment of hyper awareness. If an idea crystallizes in my mind and I begin to see the vision play out, even if it’s just a few images, I try to run with that and see if it maintains my interest for a few days. I’d rather pull from the ether than actively set out to meet some kind of network need.
As far as a routine goes I have an initial document meant for the smattering of ideas and concepts, then use that to develop a broad outline while I begin to flesh out bios for each character. Then when the scaffolding of the plot is constructed and a story has presented itself, I set out on the writing.
Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Mark: The natural world, philosophy, science, novels, and animal welfare.
Matthew: What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?
Mark: A friend sent me the information and I decided to enter some of my work.
Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Mark: Write, take breaks, write some more, go for a walk, talk it out with someone who won’t try to change your story with their visions, be open to new experiences, read, and lastly, I’ll echo what a TV business professor once told me about the industry, “Remember, no one knows anything.”