Our screenwriting quote of the day comes from Skip Press on the benefits of gathering actors together to do a reading of your script:
“If you live in Keokuk, Iowa, and write a screenplay, you might find that actors will flock to you for the chance to participate in a reading. I don’t know much about the actors in Iowa, but I do know the Iowa Writers Program is one of the best in the world. And if the movie About Schmidt is any indication of what you can do in Iowa, there’s great work to be done there.”
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting
Chapter 19 What a Reading Can Show You
Notice how Iowa always gets picked on as the last place you’d expect anything to be happening in the film world? Hence, that’s why I chose the name Screenwriting from Iowa.
Now I have been to Keokuk in the southeast corner of Iowa (on the Mississippi River) and they actually have a film festival there called the Keokuk Independent Film Festival so, yes, my guess is you can find actors to read your script in a remote place like Keokuk. (And just for the record Keokuk is about two hours from Marceline, MO where Walt Disney spent time part of his childhood and about an hour away from Hannibal, MO where Mark Twain was raised.)
But I do have to correct Skip on one thing and that is the script for About Schmidt was written by Nebraska native Alexander Payne and filmed in Omaha, Nebraska. Granted just over the Missouri River from Iowa, but I wanted to make that clarification. (It’s kind of like that distinction that folks in Southern California like to make between LA County and Orange County. Or 213 and 818 area codes. Similar, yet different.) But he is correct when he says that there is great work to be done here in Iowa. And I’m guessing wherever you live and write.
To learn more about the Iowa Writers’ Workshop that Skip said “is one of the best in the world” read my post The Juno-Iowa Connection.
And I am planning on following Skip’s advice by doing a reading of a new script I hope to complete this month, so if there are any actors interested in the Cedar Valley please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (I could arrange something in Minneapolis, Des Moines, Chicago, or even Keokuk if there is a group of actors interested.)
And for the record, Alexander Payne who won an Academy Award for best adapted script for Sideways (written with Jim Taylor) shows that you can come from Omaha and do well in Hollywood. And I don’t know how many actors there are in Omaha now, but that’s where Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando came from so they have a good heritage. (To read more about Nebraska please read Screenwriting from Nebraska.)
Speaking of Nebraska, if anyone knows where I can get a copy of Robert Duvall’s 1977 directorial debut We’re Not the Jet Set please let me know. (It’s a documentary about a rodeo family in Ogallala, Nebraska.) And speaking of We’re Not the Jet Set, here’s a song by that title recorded by Tammy Wynette & George Jones that I’m guessing you’ve probably never seen or heard. (I hadn’t until yesterday.)
7:36 PM Update: I just came back from seeing Jim Carrey in Yes Man where even he had a blast in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Text Copyright ©2009 Scott W. Smith