Today I made a subtle change in the subtitle of Screenwriting from Iowa. The change came out of working on a potential panel talk for the 2011 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference. Figuring that the title Screenwriting from Iowa…or Wherever You Live Outside L.A. might not be attractive to potential voters since many would be coming from L.A. I realized that could be true of blog readers as well. (I’ve always said an unlikely place for screenwriters to be is not only West Des Moines, but West Covina in L.A. County.)
So as of today the title of this blog is now Screenwriting from Iowa…and Other Unlikely Places. Same name as the potential talk in Austin that you can help get selected for the SXSW Film Conference next March by voting for it at the SXSW online Panel Picker. Here is a description of the panel:
Every year there is a screenwriter like Diablo Cody who beats the odds by seemingly coming from nowhere to write a film like “Juno” that becomes a financial success and catapults the writer into a Hollywood career. How does this really happen? Is there a pattern? And is this lottery-like jackpot the only option for writers outside L.A.?
We take a sweeping look at how writers from all over the United States have brought a unique flavor to films of the past and how they will have even greater opportunities for films of the future. We’ll glance at some creative parallels of how in the past musicians—like Bob Dylan (Duluth) and Elvis Presley (Tupelo)— were able to rise up from small places to become international stars and how that translates to a new breed of writers who cling to a sense of place that brings a uniqueness to their work.
We’ll also address how the downturn in the economy has also helped open the door for writers today. How first time feature film writer Nick Schenk from Minneapolis took advantage of the changing face of America and wrote a script that Clint Eastwood made in Detroit because it not only fit the metaphor of the film, but because Michigan has one of the most aggressive tax incentives for filmmakers.
And lastly we’ll look at the changing face of the film business and how new filming and distribution channels will provide screenwriters opportunities to stay home if they choose. And just for the record, Diablo Cody did go to college in Iowa.
On the Interactive side I also have a panel up for voting as well called In the Future, Everyone Will Be a Filmmaker. Here’s the description:
Andy Warhol’s most famous quote was, “In the Future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Warhol said that back in 1968 and when he died in 1987 we didn’t have any solid clues on how this would be possible. But these days things are looking a little clearer. In the future, everyone will be a filmmaker. And the future is here.
I always thought that the future would look like the Jetsons with people flying around in space mobiles, now I know it’s more likely to be people with cell phones that can shoot, edit, and upload videos to You Tube.
Back in ancient times, around the year 2000 (five years before You Tube) I began to look for a new job in production. It had been several years since I had looked for a job, and though I was a film school grad with many years of production experience behind me, I was surprised at the kind of jobs that were being advertised. They generally were in line with: “We’re looking for a producer/director/camera person who can edit on AVID/FCP, knows their way around Photoshop & After Effects, web compression, and ideally can speak Spanish—and perform open heart surgery as needed. Who does all of that I thought.”
In school I was taught, “You don’t want to be a jack-of-all and a master-of-none.” I can throw those notes away. The creative landscape today is full of multi-taskers, so the big question is what skills transfer and what tools are out there to help non-filmmakers begin to think and work like a filmmaker?
Voting ends August 27, 2010 and I appreciate those of you who take the time to vote for one of both of these panels.