VIP Interview with Paul G. Andrews, co-writer of the Award Winning Feature Script ‘On Par’

Paul G. Andrews, a multi-award-winning film producer and writer, is CEO of GlobalWatch Films, an independent production company based in London. He is the screenwriter of the feature film “On Par”. In this interview we talk about his background and the future of cinema, but especially he reveals the real and “close to home” inspiration behind the script. As Scorsese (of whom Andrews is also a great fan) would say: “The most personal is the most creative”.

The writer Paul G. Andrews and the poster of ‘On Par’

Hi Paul, when and why did you decide to become a screenwriter?

I guess it was the escapism and the romanticism of losing myself in the great stories of yesteryear. It wasn’t until 2013 that I found myself being asked to produce a screenplay that had been written by one of the people working for my television production company. Screenwriting followed on from that as I discovered I had an innate talent for storytelling and realized that the only way of creating projects that I really wanted to produce was to commission my own ideas or write them myself or in partnership with a co-writer.

Can you tell us more about your media sales company ‘Global Watch’?

From 1998 to 2011 I ran a media company that specialized in producing Business TV Profiles for broadcast on international news and business channels such as CNBC Europe, BBC Worldwide, CNN International and Euro news. Filmed in the style of a news report and featuring the CEO and other senior executives these were hugely successful and included many of the Fortune 500 companies. We were also frontrunners on Internet TV.

You co-wrote the feature script ‘On Par’ alongside Beth Kates. How was this experience for you?

Amazing! And sometimes emotional as it touched on subjects close to home. Beth was a fabulous spur for my ideas, and we worked together really well. It’s also really useful to have a story in your head and characters that need developing and to have somebody to bounce ideas around inspired me more.

The writer and producer Paul G. Andrews with the actor Samuel L. Jackson

Where does the inspiration of ‘On Par’ comes from?

From the suffering of my son Lucas who aged 19 made an apologetic announcement on his social media that he suffered for severe anxiety and depression and that he was not allowing him to be himself. It was very sad but brave but important he let others know as it’s an ‘invisible illness’. I wanted to then build a character around some of his smothered interests and talent, one of which is his musical ability and rapping genius.

Considering the recent events, what do you think is the role of cinema in a world post-pandemic?

In my opinion the marketplace has definitely shifted towards online distribution with companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu amongst others providing more alternatives and yielding more power. The theatrical audiences will still co-exist and find new ways to entice people to the cinematic experience. I believe that apart from the obvious Marvel success and franchise movies there is a gap for the epics of old and what I call the ‘legacy movies’, ones that people will watch over and over again and love to share. Braveheart, Gladiator, Schindler’s List, The Pianist, Jaws, Fatal Attraction etc. Where is this great type of movies now? I think studios need to move towards these types of films which should be seen on a giant screen with an electric atmosphere to entice people back.

Do you ever include anything autobiographical when you write your scripts?

Yes, sometimes characters I’ve written have been loosely based on real life experiences and situations.

The character of Luke struggles with dyslexia, depressions and mental health, conditions that are often underdiagnosed and overlooked. What is the message you hope to communicate to the audience?

That you are not alone. There is help out there. You need to speak out and to make others aware of the problems that teenagers suffer from that are not always abundantly clear to each other and the world at large. We also are raising monies for some Mental Health charities and hope to support Prince William’s Heads Together initiative.

Do you plan on producing and filming your feature script? What’s the next step for ‘On Par’?

Yes of course. We are in fund raising mode right now, have a great Director and some very talented cast lined up including some A list stars. Once we have the budget in place, we plan to film late 2022/early 2023.

Your previous script ‘The Great Hunger’ was extremely successful and gained numerous awards in several festivals around the world. We know that you are going to produce the movie adaptation. Can you tell us more about the production?

It’s an amazing screenplay and my co writers include legendary author of Schindler’s List, Thomas Keneally, his daughter Meg Keneally and Roland Joffe, twice nominated for best Directing Oscar and directing this movie. It’s going to be a 2-hour 30-minute epic triangular love story full of emotion, twists, despair, and action amongst the backdrop of the brave struggle of the Irish people during the Great Famine in the mid 19th century. Following on from the success of Belfast in this year’s Oscars I am confident this production can be even more successful.

What screenwriter and/or filmmaker inspire you the most?

I love Quentin Tarantino’s unique style. Robert Bolt wrote some masterpieces. Now, Steve Zallian and Randall Wallace as writers and Martin Scorsese, Mel Gibson, and Clint Eastwood as filmmakers.

Paul, you also are a producer. What are the aspects you love the most and what you find more challenging when producing a film?

That would be having control over the projects I choose to work on and the creative side. Also having an element of control over casting choices so you can see your vision through without too much impediment.

What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Following on from production of the two films already mentioned, our next project would be to see our film To Asmara fully developed. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name written by Thomas Keneally, it is another powerful film set in 1985 Eritrea Africa and the live Aid concert during the infamous famine and unreported war. It sheds light on the struggle of a group of Westerners brought to see the use of chemical weapons on an innocent people and has comparisons to the atrocities in Ukraine right now.