The movie Changeling was nominated for three Oscars last week. It’s success has made the writer, J. Michael Stracyznski, an A-list writer in Hollywood. And though he had been writing for TV for 20 years before Changeling sold he recently wrote in Script magazine,”Nobody in features knew me from Adam.”
They didn’t know about his Emmy winning work on Babylon 5, his novels, short stories, or comic book writing. What got him attention in the feature film world was a script that he spent a year researching going through 6,000 pages of documents. Now he’s been attached to projects with Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Paul Greengrass and Brad Pitt to follow his Changeling story that attracted Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie.
Because he saw first hand how one script can change people’s perception he wrote the following:
“It doesn’t matter if you didn’t go to the best schools, if you’re a kid or in your 50s. It doesn’t matter if, like me, when I moved to Los Angeles in 1981, you come at the business without friends or relatives in the business. It doesn’t even matter if you spent formative years digging carpet scraps out of dumpsters instead of going to film school. The only thing that matters is the quality of the storytelling. More than hearing about techniques, more than discussing the construction of dialogue, I think that’s the important message; that it’s possible.”
J. Michael Straczynski
Volume 15/ Number 1
And though he was born in Newark and graduated from high school in the San Diego area he did live for a time in Kankakee, Illinois.Which is perhaps why he mentions Kankakee in the video below. And he was an early adopter (going back to the 80s) of using the computers to Interact with audiences.
Straczynski also wrote The Complete Book of Scriptwriting.