Carole Whang Schutter

July 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Interviews

carole schutter

By Donald James Parker  

Carole is a great inspiration to me.  She is living proof that dreams do come true–if we don't abandon them and if we are called according to God's purpose.  Here's her bio from the September Dawn movie website:  Carole Whang Schutter was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Hawaii. A widow, Carole has been a motivational speaker to live audiences as well as appearing on TV and radio shows. She now occupies her time writing novels, screenplays and inspirational books. “September Dawn,” which was written in collaboration with director/producer Christopher Cain, is her first screenplay. She has had an enduring interest in religion and has researched most of the major world religions. A skier and a hiker, she has found Aspen to be the perfect place for her interests and a wonderful place to write. Carole has just completed the novel based on the movie “September Dawn.” Currently, she is working on several screenplays and an historical novel about her home state Hawaii.

TCP: How did you get into writing movie screenplays and what prompted you to write about the Mountain Meadow Massacre?  
Carole: I always wanted to write novels. But life got in the way. In any case, I never imagined writing screenplays. Then one day, I felt the Lord told me to write a screenplay about a girl going to the California Gold Rush. I imagined a band of Mormons, dressed as Indians, attacking the wagon train and killing almost everyone. The girl was the daughter of a pastor who fell in love with the son of a Mormon Bishop. The idea wouldn’t leave me. Finally, I did research on the Internet and found the story of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. I was astounded. I told the Lord I didn’t know how to write a screenplay, I preferred writing a book. How many of you know that when God wants you to do something, He opens the doors? Not knowing how to write a screenplay was a technicality. Years before, the Lord made sure I became friends with Christopher Cain. He was a movie producer/director and screenwriter. And in a flash, my dream of becoming a writer was restored. “September Dawn” is the Lord’s movie, and His book. In a world where only 1.1% of all screenwriters ever get a movie made, Jesus gave me a miracle.
TCP: What is your next script about (if it’s not secret)?
Carole: My next screenplay which I have been told will probably be in production next year, is based on a real life character. It is family-oriented, romantic historical fiction. I'm very excited about it. It is completely different from the heavy drama of September Dawn. I needed to write something light after that. My third screenplay, which I am currently working on, is from a book in the Bible. I asked the Lord what story in the Bible He wanted me to write. All I can say is that His answer was a total surprise. But it has turned into a delightful adventure, the story in the Bible is far different from what I originally thought. I never delved into it before and am amazed at the slant a number of theologians have on it. Hollywood is more open to Christian themed movies than it has been in a long time. Remember the days when Hollywood did a lot of Bible movies? Let's pray it comes back even stronger.
TCP: I understand that you wrote a book also, but in this case the movie preceded the book?   What’s up with that?
Carole: The cast and crew of September Dawn was so interested in all facets of the Massacre that I knew I had to write the book. Besides, Chris and I had done so much research and I had formulated my own ideas of what the characters were like and what motivated them that I wanted to write about it. I wanted people to know that the main theme was not bashing Mormons, but forgiveness. Forgiveness is what makes us different from other religions. Other religions may teach forgiveness but I don't think anyone teaches that we obtain complete forgiveness through the blood of Christ and not through works. That is grace. So many religions teach that in order to receive forgiveness, man must perform certain acts ordered by their religious leaders. The theme of September Dawn is that we are forgiven by the grace of God and in the same way, we must offer the same forgiveness.
TCP: What is your motivation/goal for writing?
Carole: God inspires me to write. Life inspires me to write. Injustice inspires me to write. The desire to inspire others and to cause people to think inspires me to write. If anyone finds enjoyment in what I write, or finds something profound that will change or better their life, or finds comfort, inspiration, or a kernel of knowledge that affects their thinking and/or world of feelings, then I have done what I was supposed to do.
TCP: How do prayer and faith fit into your everyday routine of producing a script?
Carole: I pray over every script. When I get one of my many story ideas, I ask the Lord if it is inspired by Him, then which one I should work on first. I see the movie in my head and have faith that it will become a movie. I am determined to do only movies God wants me to do. Many screenplays are cooperative efforts. Other screenwriters have asked me to work on projects with them. But so far, I have not been led to do it. Not that I wouldn't. Writing with Chris Cain was delightful because not only was I learning how to write a screenplay, but it added a masculine perspective. I want to only do projects God wants me to do. My second screenplay, is not Christian although it doesn't have anything in there that would be against Christian teachings. Still, God inspired me to do it, and that is why it sold.
TCP: What tips would you share with others for breaking into the screenplay writing business?
Carole: I went to one seminar and got sick after one day and couldn't attend the rest. But I learned that networking is the most important thing to getting a screenplay made. I was blessed, God brought movie people my way.
Then I would suggest you get a good program like Final Draft, something Chris Cain had to tell me about. Watch movies. Attend seminars if you can and network. Get a good editor like Skip Press or Pilar Alessandro. Read Skip's book, try to attend classes with either of them. But most of all, listen to God. It is most important that you stay in His will. If it is His will, no matter how long it takes, don't give up because it will come to past. I wrote my first story when I was five. I always wanted to write. I was in my fifties when it became a reality.
I am trying to find out how I can offer a free eBook on September Dawn the screenplay to everyone who buys my book. It will give people an idea of how a screenplay differs from a book. Of course, in my case, since the screenplay came first, the book and script are very consistent. But it would give an aspiring screenwriter, especially one who is an author, an idea of the beat, the tempo, the heart of writing a movie. And, if you believe you have a great idea even though your book wasn't a best seller, I would encourage you. The story is everything. There are writers who couldn't get their book published who turned it into screenplays that were very successful. Then their book began selling well. It takes so much publicity to get a book sold by an unknown. With a screenplay, you only have to convince the right handful of people that it is a story worth telling.

To learn more about Carole, visit her website at:

About the interviewer:  Donald James Parker is a novelist and computer programmer who resides in Puyallup, Washington.  You can check out his website at


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