Grad Takes Top Honor in National Screenwriting Contest

Wesley Moots

Wesley Moots

San Jose state alumnus Wesley Moots received first place honors in the Broadcast Education Association (BEA)’s Festival of Media Arts 2016 Student Scriptwriting Competition Gallery Category Feature Film for his script “Hunter of the Vale.” Winners were announced in mid-February with prizes given out in Las Vegas April 17-20. Moots, ’15 TV, Radio, Television and Film, with a minor in journalism, entered the competition during his last semester at SJSU, in December.

His screenplay is a modern fantasy story of a woman who protects humanity from the supernatural predators that would threaten them and the supernatural entities whom humanity would destroy if they knew the creatures existed. It incorporates mythical creatures from German, French and Celtic folklore.

“I was raised on an imaginative literary diet of fantasy stories and comic books, and while I love both, I have always found that fantasy, like science fiction, allows us to tell stories with important commentary, which is more easily taken in and accepted through the use of larger-than-life examples,” he said.

Moots includes Jessica L. Price, Crystal Fraiser, Jim Butcher and Neil Gaiman on the list of writers who have inspired him along with filmmakers Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith. He is also inspired by Lionsgate Productions, which has produced films such as “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” series.

He said Professor Scott Sublett, the associate chair of Radio, Television and Film, was especially supportive of his entry into the competition. Sublett even helped him to determine that he had, indeed, won the screenwriting competition since Moots was initially a bit skeptical that he had won.

“I also believe the School of Journalism and Mass Communications pushed me to seek out sources of information and learn about the workings of the world around me, which enabled me to become a better and more believable writer,” he said. “Getting the realistic parts figured out is essential to making a fantastical story believable to the audience, so my education at SJSU has uniquely prepared me to write the types of stories I love to write.”

SJSU students have performed well in the national BEA competition for years. In 2013, Liam Goulding won best of festival for his feature film script “Rasputin’s Resurrection,” Joshua Klein and Dan Koskie won second and third place, respectively, for feature film while Darren H. Rae received honorable mention for a short subject script. In 2014, Michael Quintana received second place for short subject while Kamran Shorabi and Jarred Hodgdon took second and third, respectively, for feature scripts. In 2015, Lauren Serpa took second place in feature film, while Rachel Compton and Kevin Briot received honorable mention for short subject scripts. This year, Rachel Wilson also received honorable mention for her feature family drama script, “Simon.”