One of the enjoyable things about writing this blog is being able to look at films and filmmakers of the past who have achieved great success. Of course, the great hope is that it will help the filmmakers of the future—or even the present. This week I’ll be posting two interviews I did with first time feature filmmakers who happen to be long time readers of this blog.
A few days ago Scott Myers at Go Into The Story had a sobering post titled The Business of Screenwriting where he relayed some numbers about the odds of a screenwriter selling a screenplay being in the 5,000 to 1 range.
“So yes, the odds are against you. Really against you. Way the hell against you.”
And those odds are are just for selling your screenplay. It says nothing of the odds of that script actually getting made. Or if it got made, what the odds are of it being any good and/or finding an audience.
But here’s the good news, there are people writing scripts and getting their feature films made. And they’re doing it without having gone to film school (one stat I’ve heard is only 4% of film school grads ever make a feature). And in the cases of Edd Blott and Cindy Gustafson they’re doing it living outside of New York or Los Angeles.
I’ll start today with a Q&A with Edd who lives in Portland, Oregon, and by the end of the week post the interview I did with Cindy who lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Scott W. Smith: How long have you been reading the Screenwriting from Iowa blog and is there anything in general or specifically that has helped you in your screenwriting journey?
Edd Blott: I’ve known you, personally, somewhere in the vicinity of 8 years now. I remember three impressions from our first meeting together in Greenville. The first was your collection of incredible stories. The second was your depth of knowledge and foresight. The third was how much you wanted to see people thrive. That last one, especially, stuck out to me. At that time, few people were willing to take on a mentor-like role for fear of it just being a form of career suicide. You refused to believe that and because of your leadership, I became a better storyteller. You were willing to share your knowledge and experience to this kid long before it became the hot thing to do.
Fast forward a couple years later, I remember clearly when you first mentioned the idea of Screenwriting from Iowa. I totally geeked out. Finally, there’s one place where now anyone can benefits from seeing these elements merge into what I think is one of the most unique blogs on screenwriting that is out there today. I read the blog every day and feel like I am always either learning something new or finding encouragement to keep fighting to get my story told. You even were gracious enough to take a look at an early draft of my script and give me the honest critiques that I needed to hear to make it what it is now. Anything that comes from “A Tale of Delight” only happens because of how much I am indebted to you and your blog.
SWS: So before we get to your film A Tale of Delight first tell us how you ended up in Portland.
EB: I grew up in Spokane, which is about 6 hours northeast of Portland, but for roughly a decade I lived in the midwest in both Minneapolis and Chicago. One of the main reasons we relocated to Portland was the creativity out here. We really feel like what’s happening is kind of a modern day mirror image of what happened in San Francisco in the ‘70’s.
SWS: What’s going on in Portland film-wise?
SWS: What filmmakers have been an inspiration to you?