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Nazareth English Lecturer Turns Award Winning Screenwriter

Published October 02, 2018

“As a female screenwriter, I love action films, science fiction, film noir, and psychological thrillers - new and vintage. I incorporate much of these inspirational elements into my work.Years ago, women were cast and characterized in many films in unflattering and uninspiring ways. So, my goal is to feature and characterize strong female characters in my screenplays. -Bridgette Yaxley

Nazareth English and Communication Lecturer Bridgette Yaxley isn’t the only one who appreciates strong female roles in film.

Her edgy, suspenseful screenplay about a female attorney has received significant national and international recognition, including the Best Original Screenplay award at the Burbank International Film Festival in September 2018, continues to be nominated for honors at other film festivals, and now she’s turning it into a novel.

Yaxley developed a love for film and screenwriting during her time as an English major at SUNY Brockport. Yaxley’s advisor encouraged her to take film classes. “I took a handful of film classes as elective courses, and that was a very inspirational experience for me,” says Yaxley.

After earning her degrees and realizing her passion for screenplay writing, Yaxley kept several ideas of plots, characters, and themes with her. About a year ago, she decided to bring one to life. Her original screenplay Perjury has proven to be a huge success globally.

Perjury is a fictional story about a young, rising attorney, and the challenges she faces within both her work life, and also her personal life. Conflict starts to arise when she is forced to face old ghosts of her past. “Perjury is a legal drama, and family drama. It’s pretty fascinating, and it’s quite an emotional rollercoaster,” says Yaxley. “I have never enjoyed romantic comedy because it isn't realistic. I enjoy that I am challenging the stereotype of what some may expect me to write by creating thrilling, suspenseful drama that's edgy and full of action, in addition to themes a wide scale audience can relate to.”

The writing and editing process only took Yaxley six to eight weeks. For four to five hours a day, she isolated herself to write her script. The writing process took about six weeks, and once she was done, she walked away from it. After about a month, Yaxley went back to her work and read her entire script aloud.  

Yaxley sent her work to American screenwriter and director Gordy Hoffman and his team for constructive criticism — and took to heart the feedback.  She spent a month revising. “Their feedback ended up being exactly what I needed,” said Yaxley. She went on to copyright her work.

After competing against numerous screenplays all over the world, Perjury has been a raging success. In addition to the  Burbank honor, it also was nominated for the upcoming Orlando Film Festival. The original screenplay also made an appearance in the quarter finals of the Richmond International Film Festival.

Entering her screenplay in different festivals has helped her network with producers and directors all over the world, and she’s confident for the future of Perjury. She also has a wealth of script and screenplay ideas, and would love to continue on her path of writing screenplays. Bridgette Yaxley has demonstrated how dreams can become a reality with a vision, and ambition.

About Yaxley

Yaxley teaches first-year writing classes at Nazareth every semester, including courses that focus on expository writing, and on developing argument and research-based writing skills. She teaches an online English literature course during the summer on Identity & the Self that requires a close reading and literary analysis of at least three literary genres — such as novel, play, short story, musical lyrics, poetry — by examining examples of self-awareness and socially constructed conceptions of identity such as gender, feminist, biographical, and archetypal.

For More Information

See interview with Yaxley about her screenplay

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.

Nazareth professor Bridgette Yaxley on the red carpet after winning The Best Original Screenplay Award at The Burbank International Film Festival