An Interview with 2021 TITAN Awards Winner James Foye

About The TITAN Awards

The TITAN Awards is a global, prestigious screenwriting contest whereby material competes against its own kind for as long as possible over the course of a contest cycle.

Horror feature vs Horror feature, Series Bible vs Series Bible, Sci-Fi vs Sci-Fi, 1 Page Pitch vs 1 Page Pitch etc.

Even in the contest’s inaugural year (2021), the situation was ferociously competitive and there were a great many writers and projects that impressed.

The annual awards are rare in talent discovery terms in that they are judged by genuinely heavyweight industry figures, with appropriately high-level credits on major movies and TV shows.

The three winning writers received….

SILVER Winner 🥈

Our silver prize winner across all categories, decided by The Titans

  • All 3 Titans read their work personally
  • 3 x private virtual lunches with “The Titans”
  • 12 months of bespoke, daily script marketing via their own personal IS script marketer*
  • 12 months of IS career coaching via regular 7hr one-on-one sessions*
  • Script distribution to the IS industry roster
  • Headline mention in official IS winners press release
  • Lifetime access to all IS online courses
  • Unlimited 75% off IS script coverage services for 12 months
  • $2,000.00 cash

GOLD Winner 🥇

Our gold prize winner across all categories, decided by The Titans.

  • All 3 Titans read their work personally
  • 3 x private virtual lunches with “The Titans”
  • 12 months of bespoke, daily script marketing via their own personal IS script marketer*
  • 12 months of IS career coaching via regular 7hr one-on-one sessions*
  • Script distribution to the IS industry roster
  • Headline mention in official IS winners industry press release
  • Lifetime access to all IS online courses
  • Unlimited 75% off IS script coverage services for 12 months
  • $5,000.00 cash

BRONZE Winner 🥉

Our bronze prize winner across all categories, decided by The Titans

  • All 3 Titans read their work personally
  • 3 x private virtual lunches with “The Titans”
  • 12 months of bespoke, daily script marketing via their own personal IS script marketer*
  • 12 months of IS pro career coaching via regular 7hr one-on-one sessions*
  • Script distribution to the IS industry roster
  • Headline mention in official IS winners industry press release
  • Lifetime access to all IS online courses
  • Unlimited 75% off IS script coverage services for 12 months
  • $1,000.00 cash

TITAN Awards Winner – James Foye

In an extremely close final vote, our three “titans” of industry – producers Karen Moore, Patrick Crowley and Ed McDonnell – all voted, independent of one another, for the contest’s Gold-Silver-Bronze order.

And winning the 1st place Gold award, the overall winner of our 2021 TITAN Awards, was James Foye for his feature film screenplay, REVOLUTIONARY SPY:

A character-rich, action-packed, epic true story adventure about a slave who goes undercover to spy against the British in the Revolutionary War.

So after James’ amazing victory, we sat down with him to ask him a few questions about how he feels after being crowned the TITAN Awards winner, his inspirations and his path to becoming a screenwriter.

Interview with TITAN Awards Winner James Foye

Firstly, Tell us About You: Where Are You From, What’s Your Background in the Business?


“I currently live in Southern California with my wonderful family. We moved to California just over ten years ago from Connecticut after I optioned a small-budget neo-noir script, did well in a few contests, attended many meetings – and also my wife had a career opportunity here in California.

I was lucky enough to have scripts read while I lived in Connecticut and had travelled to Los Angeles for multiple writing meetings. I also had the opportunity to write a script based on a true-story book for a friend who had optioned the piece. It was a great experience and I met with some wonderful folks at different production companies. That script was well-received and bounced around town, but unfortunately ended up not being picked up by anyone.

I have done well in multiple contests with many different feature scripts.”

How Long Have You Been Seriously Writing For?


“I have been writing screenplays for over 30 years, since I took a screenwriting course at the Creative Arts Workshop, an arts school in New Haven, Connecticut, when I was still in high school. I have always loved movies and took to it right away. This passion led to film school at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where I earned a BFA in Cinematic Arts from the UMBC School of Visual Arts.

I really enjoy writing feature scripts – even when the process is difficult, which happens. If it wasn’t difficult everyone would do it!”

How Does it Feel to Have Won The TITAN?


“It’s truly an honor and I’m very proud to be the 1st Place Gold Award Overall Winner in the TITAN. Screenwriters and creatives should celebrate their victories – so thank you for my TITAN Award! I am excited to work with Industrial Scripts in 2022.”

The TITAN Screenwriting Contest banner

Can You Tell Us More About the Project You Won With?


“My feature script REVOLUTIONARY SPY is a character-rich, action-packed, epic true adventure story about American Hero James Armistead, a slave who went undercover to spy against the British for the Americans and Lafayette in the Revolutionary War.

This is a story of family, faith, country, and freedom – a story that many don’t know about.”

Where Did the Idea for This Project First Come From?


“I love history and follow a few different history-based social media accounts. One of these accounts highlighted what may have been James Armistead’s birthday (the exact date isn’t known).

I didn’t know who James Armistead was prior to seeing this social media listing that said he was a slave who had been a spy. I decided to read as much as I could about him. And in the middle of reading this (very limited) information about him, Lafayette and the Revolutionary War, I thought his story might be the basis of a solid adventure movie.”

What Would You Say the Key Cinematic Touchstones Are, For It?


“This story is a mix of Last of the Mohicans adventure, Glory’s noble fight for freedom, and Hacksaw Ridge’s faithful hero.”

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Official Trailer – “Believe” - Andrew Garfield

What Scene in the Script Are You Most Fond Of?


“Since the story of REVOLUTIONARY SPY revolves around the Revolutionary War, there was always going to be larger battle scenes or scenes with military planning. I knew there had to be smaller, more personal scenes.

My favorite scene is between James and his upset wife Sarai, also a slave, after James is ordered by his master to be Lafayette’s spy.

It’s a scene about slaves not being in control of their own destiny, but still retaining the faith and the belief that they – James and Sarai – will always be together no matter what and that this steadfast belief in their eventual freedom will overcome all. Fear doesn’t get the best of them.”

Why Did You Choose to Enter The TITAN and What’s Been Your Experience with Other Contests?


“Contests give writers a great opportunity to have their work read and discussed – that’s always terrific for writers. The TITAN was so intriguing to me to enter because of the wide array of people that would read your script during the judging process (with the TITANS reading the final scripts!)

AND the fact that Industrial Scripts will help get the word out about the scripts that did well in the TITAN. More eyes on your work is always a good thing.”

The TITAN Screenwriting Contest - Judge Patrick Crowley ($5bn Box Office Producer)

In Terms of the Winner’s Benefits, Which Run Over the Whole Course of a Year, Which One Are You Most Excited About?


“I am really looking forward to working with Industrial Scripts and that includes discounts on their script coverage services, possible script distribution and development help. I’m writing a new screenplay and I know I will be taking advantage of all the help and guidance Industrial Scripts provides.”

What Are You Working on Next?


“I’m writing a feature script that revolves around a search for lost film history, how feature films are much more than just “content,” that movie theaters are places where communities of all different backgrounds come together to engage in a shared experience, and that movies and theaters are a vibrant part of our culture.

All this is wrapped up in an exciting action-adventure story. I look forward to having some input, coverage and help from Industrial Scripts on this screenplay. I’ll need all the help I can get!”

Where Do You Hope to Be in 5, and 10 Years?


“When it comes to my writing career, I tend not to plan about where I will “be” in five or ten years. All I can do is work on being creative and telling stories. And – this is important for me – sitting down and actually writing! I work best when I focus on what I’m writing (or what I’m going to write) and once that’s done, how to get eyes on what I have written.

I believe if I continue to focus on being creative and actually sitting down and writing, everything else will work out… even if in the end a film isn’t made, etc. Creating, writing, and getting others to read it. That’s as much as I can plan and hopefully, in five or ten years, I’ll still be able to maintain that practice.”

What Advice Would You Give to Writers Entering Competitions in Terms of Honing Their Screenplays?


“The advice I would give to writers about entering contests is to find contests where the best “eyes” will read your scripts. There are a lot of contests – many more than say 20 years ago – and it is sometimes difficult to know which ones will help you to become a better writer.

I tend to look for ones that will give solid feedback (which you should always take seriously) AND that have readers who will not only help you with good feedback, but might be “Titan”-like. People that are actively involved in the business.

The TITAN Screenwriting Contest - Judge Ed McDonnell ($1bn Box Office Producer)

With the TITAN, it seemed to have a lot more up-side with who was reading the scripts or who would read the scripts in the later rounds. Getting a script out there AND read is tough, maybe even more so if you only write features like me.

Do your best to find contests that may help you not only better your writing (feedback) but also provide a possible rung up the ladder. Also – something I always tell my kids – trust your gut.

If you’re considering a contest and you have a pang of doubt it might not be so great or that it might not help you enough if you do well, then put it on the back burner and research another contest. And then enter the TITAN!”

What’s the Biggest Thing You’ve Learnt in Your Career as a Writer So Far?


“The biggest thing I’ve learned – and this might just be the advantage of life experience (being older!) – always be yourself. By that I mean don’t create anything that you’re not invested or interested in.

The old adage “write what you know” doesn’t mean you can only write a story about a baseball player if you’ve played baseball. It means, in my opinion, write about what you’re interested in because there may be someone else out there with a “p.g.a.” after their name who also finds that particular subject interesting.

Plus, if you write about something you’re interested in, you’re more apt to shine talent-wise, actually finish the script and tell a great story that can’t be ignored.”

What’s The Most Useful Piece of Advice You’ve Found From a Craft Perspective? Something That Was a Fundamental Shift in Your Writing Process


“The best bit of advice I think I’ve ever heard is “change the weather” from screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13). If you’re stuck in a scene – change the weather.

This is good advice that can be expanded – if you’re stuck in a scene or a part of the script, change the location or change where the characters just came from. Or even swap some dialogue in a scene. Give a character something to hold or to do (prepare and cook a meal or make a martini, etc.). Change the perspective of a scene. But keep moving forward.

Writing to me is really sitting down (or standing) and doing it. That’s really the only rule. You have to carve out time to do it and that time is precious and can’t be infringed – and it will be. There’s nothing you can do to stop life – family responsibilities, doctor’s appointments, jury duty, etc. But you must do your best to write every day.

That means you must limit your time on social media and the internet (unless doing research), stop watching The Price is Right, and go write! And limit the reading “about” writing. You’ve seen and loved movies and TV shows or you wouldn’t want to write a script. Read scripts a lot. Watch movies. Watch TV shows. Read more scripts. Then write!

Writing at Typewriter

You want to glance at Save the Cat! or how William Goldman hated adapting All The President’s Men, fine. But I’ve spoken to a lot of fellow writers who want to improve their writing, who talk about the writing process or tweet about writing or recommend and discuss lots of books “about” the process of writing … and they do very little writing.

The only way, I believe, to become a solid screenwriter or TV writer is to watch films and TV shows, read scripts (Industrial Scripts has you covered there) and then GO WRITE.

A hitter in baseball becomes better by hitting. A musician improves by practicing. Same goes for writing. And when I say “write,” I mean everything that surrounds that process of writing. This includes research and/or outlining, brainstorming and spitballing.”

What Does Your Writing Routine Look Like?


“I do my best to write every day. Even if it’s just organizing initial thoughts, scribbling down ideas, brainstorming or background research.

For projects, I usually create a very loose outline, usually on note cards for each scene. I like to hand-write the cards as opposed to using the computer. And I use many different color Sharpies to write with. The colors don’t mean anything – I just like the way they look on the cards. This card outline can be more extensive or very sparse.

I’ve written a couple of neo-noir mystery scripts where I wanted to discover and solve some of the mystery while moving forward with the script, so I used fewer cards. That process worked well for those scripts.

But for my TITAN script REVOLUTIONARY SPY, it required more research and a more solid outline, which meant more, specific cards.

For REVOLUTIONARY SPY I created what I call my “Spy Story Notebook” in a binder. Not dissimilar to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Notebook.

It was chock-full of gathered information about the people (James, Lafayette, the American military leaders, the British military leaders, etc), the clothing, the weapons, the war maps, the food, the drink, etc. – everything about this Revolutionary War time. Photos, background notes, printed info sheets, the works filled this binder.

My outline was on cards, but I punched holes in the cards and inserted them in the binder notebook along with the gathered research pieces which fit and matched with a particular outline card/scene. It worked well and made the script “easier” to write because I didn’t have to concentrate on structure as much in the initial draft. And I didn’t have to stop to look up any information.”

Quick- Fire Round

Favorite Movie/TV Show Made By the Judges:

Ed McDonnell – Under Siege 2: Dark Territory – great action film – made better because it takes place on a train. And Eric Bogosian and Everrett McGill as bad guys! Perfect.

Patrick Crowley – tie between The Bourne Identity and Sleepless in Seattle. “Bourne” because I love spy adventure-thrillers and the action is amazing. I never read Ludlum’s novel, but I bet it wasn’t easy to adapt.

I love “Sleepless” because my mother passed away when I was seven. Before “Sleepless,” I never fully understood how alone my father was from her death until he married my terrific stepmom years later – and my father had three young sons to take care of!

Also, there are few scenes in moviedom that describe how men and women “see” movies like the “I cried at the end of The Dirty Dozen” scene. Terrific.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Karen Moore – Breaking Bad – the writing is unbelievable. And seeing (Bryan) Cranston after Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle turn into Walter White … just amazing.”

Top 10 Films of All Time (in No Particular Order)

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark

“A movie about long-lost lovers who are re-united thanks to particular circumstances. That’s what it’s “about”. What “happens” surrounds the Ark of the Covenant.

Also, it has the best expository scene ever written, shot, acted, blocked – when Indy explains about the Ark to the Army Intelligence guys. And it’s totally re-watchable – not a bad trait for a movie.”

2. Tootsie

“It’s a serious film wrapped up in a comedy. It’s about the dynamics between women and men, and how a selfish, know-it-all asshole actor/guy learns to be a better man … by acting as a woman. And it’s FUNNY. “You were a tomato!””

3. The Sea Hawk (1940)

“The perfect example of a studio-system lavish adventure from Warner Bros. Massive water-tank sets with two, full-sized sailing ships inside a soundstage. Swordplay! Cannons firing! Errol Flynn! Claude Rains! Flora Robson! Erich Korngold’s stirring music! Michael Curtiz’s direction! And it rallied cinema-goers (especially the British), inspiring them against the rising tide of war in Europe.”

4. Jaws

“It’s a drama, a horror film, a rousing adventure. It’s nearly everything you’d want in a movie, including a sports coat designed with little anchors. Watching seemingly simple scenes that were blocked by Spielberg – his “oners” – are just a joy. Jaws should be on everyone’s top ten list, shouldn’t it?”

Jaws (1975) - Get out of the Water Scene (2/10) | Movieclips

5. The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974)

“So well-written by Peter Stone, based on John Godey’s novel. It’s wise, smart-ass, down-to-earth and serious, all in one movie. It’s a script I read a lot. A snapshot of New York City of the 1970s. It’s a thriller with very little action, with scenes between great actors who, most of the time, are not in the same room together. Great soundtrack, too.”

6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

“One of the best 007 films. It’s so good, they reference it a lot in 2021’s No Time to Die. Derided (unfairly) for being the only Bond film to star the unknown George Lazenby, this film has grown in stature over the years.

It has lavish cinematography, perhaps the best score in the series, smashing editing, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas as the best Blofeld, and a solid job by Lazenby. The action is amazing. And Maibaum’s script stays as close to Fleming’s novel as perhaps any film in the series. And a woman – Tracy – who was saved by 007 early in the film, saves him right back later in the film.

Bond even decides to give up his unfulfilling life of martinis, many ladies, bad guys and guns for Tracy who saved him (again?) – a woman who is his equal. He tries to leave that life, anyway. It’s all terrific.”

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) - Official Trailer - George Lazenby Bond Movie HD

7. The Day of the Jackal (1973)

“Another screenplay I read a lot, masterfully adapted by Ross from Forsyth’s equally top-notch novel.

We follow the antagonist, an assassin codenamed “the Jackal,” through his plan and the plot of the film. You know what he’s trying to do and how he’s going to accomplish the feat. And the men who are on his trail are always many steps behind – the assassin and his plan are that good!

But what I love most about the story, is that we, the audience, NEVER learn anything about the Jackal, even at the end of the film. He has no background or backstory outside of he’s an assassin for hire. He is only what you see. And what you see might not be the total truth.”

8. The Godfather

“Outside of how well it is acted, directed and filmed, (and I’m not breaking new ground here) Michael Corleone’s character arc – the spine of the story – is rock solid. “That’s my family, Kay, it’s not me” from Michael early to “Never go against the family” from Michael later – perfect.

Michael is also, while being very brutal, the most clear-headed about what needs to be done to protect the Corleone Family and its power. He always knows what to do when others are either being too emotional (Sonny) or too expert and analytical (Tom Hagan). Like a lot of films on my list, The Godfather is immensely re-watchable.”

Don't Ever Take Sides Against the Family - The Godfather (7/9) Movie CLIP (1972) HD

9. Goldfinger

“The quintessential 007 film, from the height of the James Bond frenzy of the mid-1960s. Connery’s best, most confident and smoothest portrayal of 007.

Goldfinger has the music, the sets (Fort Knox!), Odd Job and his hat, Goldfinger, Pussy Galore, the laser beam with Bond strapped to the table, and the first film with Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 “with modifications”.

Maibaum, with an assist from Dehn, culled Fleming’s novel to its essential bits and made a major change to Goldfinger’s plan that makes the film story even better.

The film also has the best suit in the series – the glen- checked grey number designed by Anthony Sinclair worn by Connery. Leo DiCaprio has a copy made in Catch Me If You Can.”

10. The French Connection

“Another film that is a snapshot of 1970s New York. I love the raw, grittiness of the film, and that extends to the two cops played by Gene Hackman and Roy Schieder. Hackman’s Popeye Doyle is an example of a character I rather enjoy – the steadfast character. He’s going to do what he wants, what he thinks is right, and he’s not going to be swayed either way.

The steadfast Popeye will not grow or change or come to some epiphany and that’s okay. He has no character arc and it doesn’t mean he’s right or that he’s likable – but he is a very solid character. Characters don’t have to change, necessarily, to be successful.”

The French Connection (1971) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Top 10 TV Series of All Time (in No Particular Order)

1. Seinfeld

“Very funny and, yes, truly about nothing. The “go-to” when I need something on in the background or if we, as a family, can’t find something to watch. And I’m a New York Mets’ fan. So Keith Hernandez is a stand-out!”

2. Law and Order (the original series)

“Consistently good over many seasons, with multiple cast changes. I’m a sucker for good police investigation stories AND courtroom stories. The original Law and Order had both. Great watching re-runs and seeing the many guest-star actors who went on to terrific careers.”

3. Cheers

“A wonderful premise – create a neighborhood bar for the viewer. Come hang out. Have fun. Laugh! Another show that survived cast changes and still maintained quality. Just an easy-going, welcoming show – like a friendly neighborhood pub!”

4. Bosch

“Love cop shows. And the character of Bosch is that tried-and-true character that will do what he believes is right – and deal with the consequences later.

I like that everything isn’t so clear-cut right and wrong on the show. It harks back to a very Hollywood noir-type detective sensibility that is so much a part of Los Angeles’ and Hollywood’s history. And Bosch optioned a story of his experiences to a film production company – that’s why he has such a beautiful house. What’s more Hollywood than that!?”

Bosch - Launch Trailer | Prime Video

5. The Office (U.S.)

“It’s simple – the show is belly-laugh, tears-in-your eyes funny. I can’t think of a better review than that. Like Seinfeld, it’s a great show to put on in the background or if there’s nothing else on. There’s really only one test for movies and TV shows – the test of time. The Office, Seinfeld, Cheers – all still funny.”

6. The Rockford Files

“My father enjoyed this show in the late 70s and, even though I was too young to “get it” on its initial run, I loved Rockford’s copper Firebird! Years later, I would catch The Rockford Files on re-runs.

Like with other shows on this list, I was hooked by the Los Angeles detective mystique of the show – but with a pardoned ex-con detective who lived in mobile home on a Malibu beach, had an answering machine (great, funny opening), did his best to avoid scrapes, was rarely armed, and whose father worried about him.

And James Garner was always so watchable and so damn cool. A relaxed actor who made it all look very easy.”

7. M*A*S*H*

“The first three seasons of M*A*S*H* are great. This is not to put down the rest of the seasons, but Hawkeye, Trapper and Henry together are the heartbeat of the show. Always funny, very daring, poignant, and dramatic, it is a show that is also highly re-watchable.”

8. Friends

Friends is on my list because I started watching it with my (future) wife in college, it’s generally funny, I (still) have a crush on Jennifer Aniston, and because my kids – especially my daughter – have discovered the show, so we watch it together.

Also, I believe Joey Tribbiani is one of the greatest TV characters of all time. Not always that bright, he loves the ladies (and they love him), and enjoys foosball and video games. AND he is the most loyal of all the characters and protective of his friends in all things. Not bad character traits. Except he doesn’t share food.”

The Ultimate Friends Recap | All Seasons | Netflix India

9. Homicide: Life on the Street (*Season 6, Episode 7 “The Subway”, written by James Yoshimura is one of the finest TV episodes of ANY show, in my opinion)

“A police show. Love them. This was one of the best, even though I don’t believe many people watched it. They should have. I did. It was solid for its seven seasons and it has ranked on different lists as one of the best shows of all time.

Great writing combined with great acting – Yaphet Kotto and Andre Braugher are terrific. I went to film school outside of Baltimore, MD (where the show took place and was filmed) and crew members (especially camera people) came into our classes many times to speak to us.”

10. Batman (1966)

“Watched Batman in syndication when I was a kid every day after school. Iconic – it’s on my list of top ten because it was a childhood favorite. Of course, even today, if there’s an episode on when flipping around channels, I’ll watch. It’s Batman!”

If You Could Emulate Anyone’s Career, Whose Would it Be?

“Never thought about it because I believe every writer should strive to be themselves and let their own personality shine. But if I was to emulate someone’s career, it would have to be the late writer Richard Maibaum.

Maibaum started writing plays in his early 20s in the 1930s with plays like THE TREE (an anti-lynching play) and BIRTHRIGHT (an anti-Nazi play).

His play SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE would become a successful film in 1936, Gold Diggers of 1937. He moved to Hollywood and was under contract with MGM and wrote many screenplays. After serving in World War II, Maibaum continued writing screenplays, including the original Ransom!, later re-made by Ron Howard with Mel Gibson.

Maibaum is most famous, however, for writing or co-writing 13 James Bond films between 1962 and 1989. He’s a vital part of the foundation of the longest-running series in film history.”

Thanks James!

Learn more about The TITAN Screenwriting Contest.

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2 thoughts on “An Interview with 2021 TITAN Awards Winner James Foye”

  1. Change the Weather! Love it. A lesson shared like that is like a whole lifetime as a gift. “Save the Cat” is a read I do before EVERY movie I write. Always a nugget to find, like a well tended garden. Organization, yeah I am Oscar Madison Jack Klugmann “ODD COUPLE” when it comes to writing.

  2. Excellent informative group that I hope to be a part of someday. The many resources available have peeked my interest in becoming a better writer. Being new to the business i seek any information that will increase my knowledge and help to me to understand the structure to writing.


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