Paul Jury was the winner of the Web-Series category of Diverse Voices with his funny and heart warming show, 48 States of Grandpa. The story is about a recent high school graduate who, after his beloved grandfather leaves him a deathbed wish to have his ashes scattered in all 48 contiguous United States, sets out with two friends to fulfill Granddpa’s wish and find their direction. Here's a little from Paul on what inspired the story and how small successes can turn big.
What's the most important or unique part of your writing process?
MOST IMPORTANT: Just doing it, right when I get out of bed, instead of screwing around on Email/Facebook/life. MOST UNIQUE: My favorite writing position is laying flat on my back on a couch. Sloth body = active mind (hopefully).
How do you pick the stories that you ultimately write?
If it makes me laugh or tear up, I’ll write it for a day. If both, I’ll write it ‘til it’s done.
Why did you choose to enter Diverse Voices? Where were you when you found out that you had won?
Found it online; it looked like a great contest. When I found out I’d just gotten home from a stressful day of not enough writing, and it made it all worth it.
Why do you feel that diversity in entertainment is important?
Because good art has to tell all kinds of stories, and stories are easier to tell when you’ve been there. Thus, we need all kinds of writers. Rare is the artist who could write Seven Samurai and Unforgiven and Boys in the Hood, but I want to watch all those movies, so we’re going to need people from all backgrounds to pitch in and tell their different stories.
Who inspires your writing? Who inspires you?
For unique and epic storytelling: the Nolan brothers. For laughter: Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
If you ever have a choice between an Adventure, and Not-An-Adventure, your choice is already made.
What's your favorite movie or TV show? What about the writing of that show makes it stand out? What can writers learn from it?
I was raised on the Simpsons, and admire it still, even in its later years – if brevity is the soul of wit, what geniuses does it take to keep producing laughs for 30 years? The writing is brilliant in its simple yet hilarious takes on real life… jokes that are so easy and amazing that you kick yourself wishing you would have thought of it first… “I have three kids and no money! Why can’t I have no kids and three money?”
What other successes have you had as a writer – big or small?
Seemed big, turned out smaller: Sold a book, found out that advances for first time authors are not huge. Seemed small, turned out bigger: Made a viral video trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h68UJaHvG_c) for said book which got 5 million YouTube videos and various radio/TV interviews, and made more money than the book did.
What did your writing look like 5 years ago and what will your writing look like 5 years from now?
5 years ago: Original ideas, too much dialogue. 5 years from now: Hopefully less dialogue, hopefully still original ideas.