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The "Dirty Bird" Catches the Worm

Arland DiGirolamo & Alana Wexler are both attorneys, both highly talented scribes, and together the Winners of Season 4 of our Pitch Now Screenplay competition for their dramatic period episodic "Dirty Bird". Since winning our competition they have had another one of their works, a one-location horror feature, accepted into development with Bold Soul Studios (congrats!). Some insight into the workings of a very prolific and talented writing team below...

1) How long have you both been writing?

Arland: I was an international trade attorney at a big law firm in Washington DC and a friend came to me with an entertainment contract. I was automatically drawn to it and started transitioning from trade to entertainment law. Suddenly I was not just negotiating and reviewing contracts but also consulting on the creative side. I must have read over a hundred scripts before I decided to give screenwriting a go about 10 years ago.

Alana: I’m fairly new to screenwriting. Working remotely from home during the pandemic gave me a chance to really sink my teeth in.

2) What screenwriting training have you each received?

Arland: As lawyers, we’re both trained to structure our thoughts and present information through that filter. We’ve deeply studied all the screenwriting classics and often refer back to our favorites like “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder, Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey,” and “Psychology for Screenwriters” by William Indick.

Alana: We’ve taken classes/webinars and spend hours debating the virtues of different plot twists. But we’ve learned the most by reading tons of screenplays and shooting scripts and critically analyzing them for pacing, tone, conflict, voice, and structure.

3) How long have you been writing together as a team? Is this your only co-authored work?

Alana: Sort of since our first date, but Dirty Bird is the first thing we worked on together as a writing team…and now we have drafts for two additional projects, so it seems like a good idea.

Arland: This is our first official collab, but I had a pilot for a kids’ show that was produced and aired on Amazon and Alana gave notes that made it into the shooting script. She was even an actor and did second unit camera work for the first short I co-wrote and directed for Sketchy, Yahoo’s comedy series.