Shane McCabe was born in Dublin and graduated with an honours degree in economics from Trinity College. He is also a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting, and has been involved in the industry for a number of years. His short film Lucky Escape screened at numerous Academy Award® accredited festivals worldwide and sold to NBC Universal, (Italy), HBO, (Central and Eastern Europe), top comedy website Atom.com, UK Broadcaster Channel 4, NBC Pan Asia, Shorts TV in the United States, and all of Latin America and the Caribbean via the Latin American Discovery Channel. Lucky Escape has over 2.3 million views on YouTube and Shane has just signed a deal which will see both Lucky Escape and his most recent short The Prescription hosted on Amazon, Amazon Prime and Hulu. The Prescription, his three-minute comedy, set in Dublin, had its World Premiere at the 2014 Edmonton International Film Festival and recently sold to HBO and his feature, Kopkiller, a supernatural thriller, won Best Crime/Mystery category at the 6th Annual GSIFF Screenplay Competition 2012. Shane’s Latino-themed thriller, Next of Kin, was a Quarter Finalist at the 2014 AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, and has recently attracted the attention of Colombian actress Sofia Vergara. His latest script, Money Talks, has just received development funding from the Irish Film Board.
How long have you been writing, Shane, and when did you get your first break into film?
In and around 2000/2001 and the first breakthrough came in 2005 when the Irish Film Board produced my short film, Never Judge a Book under their Short Cuts Scheme.
Do you write everyday?
No. But I will try to sometime. I don’t structure my day when writing. I write when I feel the time is right.
Is there a genre that you prefer to work in?
I write in many genres, from comedy to dark thriller, but I do tend to favour supernatural thrillers.
And how long does it take you to finish a script?
It depends on the project. I wrote my last script in eight days, but I did have a well fleshed-out treatment to work off. I am currently working on a project I started three years ago. The lead-in time is always different. But the average time from Fade in to Fade out is three to four weeks.
On negative reviews – ever had any?
Luckily I haven’t been too often in that position. My short film Lucky Escape has over two million views on YouTube and there are negative and positive comments so I just take the rough with the smooth.
Do you have an agent, Shane – or think it necessary to have one?
No and Yeah, I am currently talking to various reps in the US and UK.
Do you engage in your own PR?
One hundred per cent yes. I do all my own marketing and spend as much time as possible on it. Social media is a good tool if it is used wisely.
Did anyone, famous or not, inspire you to write?
Yes. Quentin Tarantino. I loved his structure in Pulp Fiction and in Reservoir Dogs.
What’s your opinion of the film industry right now?
It seems all the good writing is gravitating to television now. Film is more and more about the franchise or super hero/comic book genre.
And on competitions and awards?
I rate competitions highly. The reason is twofold. Winning or being placed is a great shot in the arm and winning or placing in the big ones opens doors to getting your script read and/or representation. I was an Austin FF finalist in 2010 and a Nicholl Awards quarter finalist for the last two years.
What about Indie Film and publishing?
Indie is tough. You need a knockout hook and/or a name to get the finance. Also, I have considered crowdsourcing for film and I have self-published one of my scripts, Breakthrough, as a book.
Any advice you can offer to emerging talent, Shane?
Never give up. Write, then rewrite, then write again. Personally I like to have two projects going at once. Time spent away from a script is as valuable as time spent writing it.
Write what you know – agree or disagree?
Yes and No. Write what you’d love to see on the screen.
Is there a script by another writer that you would have liked to have written?
Yes, LA Confidential. This is beautifully structured, plotted, and executed.
Want to share what you are working on now?
Yes. It is a film called Money Talks a thriller with some very dark humour.
And finally, Shane, anyone, famous or not, you would like to share your favourite beverage with?
Only one name comes to mind: Nelson Mandela. He is one of the greatest leaders of all time. His ability to leave his twenty-seven years of captivity behind him and embrace those who imprisoned him is a lesson for all human beings.
Check in with Shane on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shane.mccabe.75
Caroline Farrell has written several feature and short scripts. Most recently, In Ribbons, which she wrote and co-produced, screened at the 2015 Belfast Film Festival and the Corona Fastnet Film Festival. Caroline blogs… on writing and film… and on a few of her favourite things.