Many writers often mistake writing as a source of personal identity, instead of a job, a business or a product.
The original Greek dramatists celebrated the gods in their work, but they had no issue claiming ownership as authors. They were successfully self-promoting to the extent their work is still performed and still attracting profitable enterprise. If the Greeks are too distant a reference, let’s take a look at the king of all the writing gods: Bill Shakespeare.
He is unmistakably the consummate businessman who founded a repertory company, secured patrons, erected a theatre, and promoted its product while writing some of the world’s greatest plays as a line item alongside all the rest. He is the credited writer of over 1,000 screenplays. At this very moment films based on his work are being prepped, while countless theatrical productions of his work are being performed all over the world.
This is an inquiry-based course about how to effectively enter the screenwriting profession by understanding what an agent’s rubric is. This is a rubric that gives insight into how to attract an agent. If you can attract an agent’s attention, you will understand how insiders think. This class will provide a step-by-step guide in ‘How To’ identify the established community of artistic and executive entertainment industry collaborators, as well as how to become visible to them. Understanding exactly what an agent does exposes you to how the entertainment business actually works. You complete the course with your mental state re-wired about Hollywood and your own work, and your chances of success greatly enhanced.
As head of the Literary Department at The Gersh Agency and team member of both the Literary and Talent departments at Innovative Artists, I not only had an eye for talent, but also the ability to develop it.
Every so often, a rare individual would come from “nowhere” with a level of raw talent who exuded the promise to become a dream player.
A producer I knew and trusted referred a writer named Stuart Beattie. He was from Australia, and totally unknown – at the time working as a waiter. But, I saw superstar potential, and signed him. I asked Stuart to furnish two ‘spec’ scripts. The first, Lords of The Sea, was an international thriller about contemporary high seas piracy, chockfull of technically detailed action. My marketing strategy for the script attracted the attention of major producers and studios, and resulted in my pitching Stuart to Disney to write a film script based on the theme park ride, Pirates of The Caribbean. At the time, the idea of turning the ride into a film franchise was only a notion, no more than a glimmer in the studio chief’s eye. Stuart’s draft was able to get the project out of the station and onto a fast track. The other spec, Collateral, I sold to Dreamworks. It became the Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx film directed by Michael Mann. For his role in Collateral, Jamie Foxx was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, while the year before, Johnny Depp received a Best Actor nomination for his role in Pirates, which by that time had become a mega hit.
Friday, April 1, 2016
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Room 515 A, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
What kinds of narrative fiction and nonfiction publications best lend themselves to filmed adaptation?
Billy Mernit (moderator) screenwriter, author and story analyst for Universal Pictures.
Chris Balis, screenwriter whose credits include Asylum, the film adaption from the Patrick McGrath novel.
Nancy Nigrosh has represented many award winning writers, directors and actors, including Academy Award–winner Kathryn Bigelow, as well as brokering film and television rights for authors; among them, Amanda Brown (“Legally Blonde”) and Jodi Picoult.
Michael Weiss is a screenwriter, and former VP of production for Miramax Films whose screenplays include Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Scorpion King.