Neil Harvey, courts reporter for The Roanoke Times, has for a second time won the Virginia Screenwriting Competition.
Harvey, 43, was one of three winners who received $1,000 prizes at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville earlier this month.
The first time he claimed the award, in 2011, it was for a script called “Hazel Hollow,” which is based on a real murder case and was written in collaboration with his sister, Richmond attorney Heather Harvey.
This year, he won with a screenplay for a comedy called “Kangaroo.” Here’s Harvey’s elevator pitch: “It’s about a frustrated artist who has to go back and live with his eccentric parents for a week.” He added, “It’s actually the plot of ‘Hope Floats,’ but with Jackson Pollock instead of Sandra Bullock.”
A number of wide-release comedies hinge on male characters who haven’t grown up, but “this kind of tries to go against the conventions of the man-child going back home,” Harvey said.
Only two of the winning scripts in the 25-year history of the competition have actually been made into finished movies. The competition’s star alumnus is Richmond native Vince Gilligan, who went on to write for “The X-Files” and created the immensely popular “Breaking Bad.”
Harvey’s hopeful that his new script will find traction.
“This one’s a little more commercial, a lot more fun.”