Podcast: How Did I Learn to Write (a film script)?

http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/2030253/height/325/width/325/autoplay/no/autonext/no/direction/forward/thumbnail/yes

Working from notes I’m going to use for a panel at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, during this podcast I talk about how I learned to write, how I try to teach writing, and how a person might be able to get something going when it comes to the business of writing, screenplays, and film.

In the podcast, I expand on the following notes.

First, how did I learn to write?

  • I learned to read like a writer in an MFA program focusing on fiction.  Texts can be your best teachers.
  • I read and write a lot.
  • I finish stuff and I send it out.
  • The lessons in the stack. For example, I’ve read a lot of literary journal submissions,  lit agency submissions, and stacks of student writing.  The stacks show me what’s being done and what I might do that’s interesting with those stacks of ideas.  The opening films of the festival are another kind of stack.

 How do I try to help students write?

  • by creating writing territories
  • through experiencing an audience of each other
  • by providing examples of many writers have a different process for how they finish their work

Some Favorite scripts:

  • Diablo Cody’s Juno: her transitions
  • Tarantino’s InGlorious Basterds:  there is the fact that he is writing for himself, but I could see that you can just do it like you want.  I can envision something on the screen and just write it so that it makes sense to the reader. Doesn’t matter if it’s unconventional. That, in fact, might be a strength.
What was the result of winning the festival prize?
  • a bit of credibility at the festival, lots of little bits can add up to something substantial
  • the lesson of the films I wouldn’t have seen (back to the lessons of the stack)
  • the impulse to make my own short film which then accidentally became a feature documentary that will screen at the Phenom Film Festival in Louisiana
  • Good talks with Elfar Adalsteins who did the short film Sailcloth
  • That I won the film festival and was trying to make a film meant that I met more “like” minded people who may eventually be a part of future projects that we do together.
  • Last week I met William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg from Moonbot. Their Lessmore won an Academy Award. Their company is in Shreveport.  I first became acquainted with their film because I was in Rhode Island connected to the prize.  So my script Love on the Big Screen isn’t a film, but a lot else has happened that’s been fun and intellectually stimulating.

Some Books that helped me write or think about filmmaking:

  • Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 (practical how to that got me started)
  • How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets of a Sundance Programmer by Roberta Munroe
  • The Hollywood Economist by Edward Epstein
  • The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide: A Down & Dirty DV Production, by Anthony Artis
  • Stephen King’s On Writing
  • Donald Murray’s Write to Learn

Two Podcasts I like:

  • KCRW, The Business. Filmmakers are common guests and they explain how they get their work done.
  • “Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin. Guests include Lorne Michaels, Michael Douglass, and Jon Luvitz
  • The Creative Penn: just got turned on to this one. Some interesting stories from writers and how they’ve marketed their books.
Torgerson film festival cusack hornby say anything john hughes sixteen candles

 

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