There’s been a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinning on me
Written by Larry Weiss and performed by Glen Campbell
“All the stuff all your writing teachers and all the books say about ‘it’s the journey that matters’ is totally true. Disregard that bon mot at your peril. Writing is so painful and so heartbreaking and takes so long, that if you aren’t having a wonderful time while you’re a failure, you won’t have any fun when you’re a success.”
Your Screenplay Sucks!
While Nashville is known as being the county music capital, it’s also long been quite a production hub. Granted like the tv show Nashville (created by Oscar winning screenwriter Callie Khouri) and the Robert Altman film Nashville much of the production there centers around the music industry.
I took the above photo while passing through Nashville is a little pedestrian but it does show the layers of clubs you find in the Music Row area on any given night. The clip below is a great example of music and film blending together brilliantly. Keith Carradine won an Oscar for Best Original Song for I’m Easy which he wrote and performed in the 1975 Altman film.
But there are other stories to tell in Nashville and the surrounding areas of Tennessee and screenwriter & professor Will Akers is staring a new venture in Nashville to help train up and coming filmmakers. Akers wrote the book Your Screenplay Sucks! which I’ve pulled a few quotes from over the years, and for 19 years taught screenwriting a Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He is now the dean of the new film program at Belmont University.
I had lunch will Akers yesterday across the street from the Nashville campus and had a fun conversation talking about film and screenwriting. In a short time we cover the gamma from Peter Bogdanovich and John Ford to Pieces of April and Winter’s Bone. I had read Aker’s book and his blog, but had never met him before. But we have a shared loved for movies and screenwriting so it was a fast paced conversation that personally felt like talking to an long time friend. Found out we even had a connection in that we both studied under Bruce Block.
It also turns out that Tennessee native Akers’ has a connection to Tennessee Williams. When I mentioned to Akers about visiting The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee earlier in the week he told me that once received a Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fellowship which is part of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. In my post Postcard #66 (Sewanee) I mentioned that the literary Tennessee Williams willed his literary rights to The University of the South in memory of his grandfather who attended the school of seminary at Sewanee. His grandfather’s name was Walter E. Dakin.
Akers has high hopes for the program at Belmont and it will be exciting to watch it develop. Nashville may not qualify as an “unlikely place” to be making films because of its production history, but it’s another example of the pulse of what’s going on outside of Los Angeles.
P.S. As you wander the streets of Nashville and watch the many young (and some not so young) people carrying around their guitars it’s not hard to realize that Nashville and Los Angeles are cousins. They’re hotspots of the world where creative people take their talent and dreams in hopes that they will flourish.
“Your Screenplay Sucks!”
Screenwriting Quote #158 (William M. Akers)
John Ford’s Advice to Spielberg Touches on a helpful book by Bruce Block.
Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik)
“Goal. Stakes. Urgency.” (Tip #60) A post that touches on both Winter’s Bone and Pieces of April.
No Emotions? “Your Screenplay Sucks!”