Episode four of Page Ten, the Hollins University Screenwriting Podcast, is up and running, just click on the link below, or if you’d rather, it’s also available to download on iTunes. Head over and take a listen to the interview with guest Lawrence Ross, and if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and catch future episodes.
Episode three of Page Ten is up and running, just click on the link below, or if you’d rather, it’s also available to download on iTunes. Head over and take a listen to the interview with guest Barbara Curry, and if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and catch future episodes.
HU: What brought you to screenwriting? How did your interest develop?
DD: I grew up cracking jokes, telling stories, and acting out skits in the family kitchen. Whether you’re editing, acting, writing or directing, storytelling comes from the same core concepts and that was developed early on for me as well as a vivid imagination.
HU: What were a few of the highlights of your experience at Hollins?
DD: Playing in a band – The Rewrites! Geoff Geib introduced me to Ryan Adams (we played “New York New York”) and I’ve never been the same! Ilan on Keys, Matt on lead guitar, Joe on base, and Geoff on rhythm guitar. That was pretty sweet!
Being able to just get away from the normal world for 6 weeks and focus (mostly) on the craft of screenwriting and the Hollins community. Tim’s guest speakers were amazing. Taking notes from them and networking was great! Hollywoods. Ping Pong!!!
HU: Tell us a little about your professional life to this point – how did you land the jobs and were they positive experiences?
DD: When people ask me what I do, I tell them, “I split my time between being a University Film professor and a filmmaker.”
I am currently the Chair of Cinematic Arts at Lipscomb University, where I lead a grad program for Film MFA’s and an undergrad BFA in Film Production. Like all jobs in academia, there are good parts and bad parts. Since this is going online, I think I’ll shy away from listing the bad parts, but one of the amazing parts is – I take a group of my MFA’s to Cannes every year. That means, I get an all-expenses paid trip to the Cannes Film Festival every year! The food, the networking, the red carpets…the food! There are worse fates.
I stay quite active in production.
I am the showrunner for a reality TV show called, “Soccer Moms” and am in post-production on the season, running a team of about a half dozen editors.
I’ve also been hired to write and produce a romantic comedy for a group out of London and Russia and this is a deal that sprouted out of meetings I had in Cannes over a year ago, which certainly speaks to the importance of being in the room with the right people. I’m planning on flying to Moscow and St. Petersburg within the month, to do location scouting, and yes, I’ve already started getting paid.
HU: What was the experience like making Old Fashioned? How has it changed your professional life?
DD: It took 12 years to put Old Fashioned out into theaters, which felt like it would NEVER happen! It was a total rollercoaster ride, which left some scars, and changed some relationships for both good and bad. This industry is tough, man!
Being a producer on a theatrically released feature has certainly changed my trajectory and the scope of what I get considered for and paid to do. For instance, this British/Russian film that I’ve been hired to write and produce, the conversation started because they were speaking to a friend of mine at Cannes and mentioned they were looking for an American producer who had a theatrical release under his belt. BINGO! I was immediately allowed in the pool of candidates because of the OF producing credit.
HU: Tell us about the next film you’re working on.
DD: I’m in the middle of working on the Russian/British Rom-com. It’s currently an independent film, but folks at Lionsgate are interested in seeing how it develops with an eye toward getting involved.
I am developing a feature with an exec at Lionsgate, which is a crossover Latino Rom-Com. Cool thing is, I developed this script while I was at Hollins.
I am in development on a TV show to be shot in Australia and the main showrunner is from Battle Star Gallactica. Two other key players are a seasoned line producer and a former Paramount VP. It’s really exciting to be a part of for a few reasons: it’s historical fiction, the overall size of the budget, subject matter and, of course, some free trips to Oz!!! Would it be gauche to ask for a bloomin’ onion upon arriving in Sydney?
I’ve got some other things in the works as well that I might be able to talk about in a month or so, but I have to keep things quiet for the moment.
HU: What is your life like now after graduation?
DD: Super busy, but the level of my career both academically and production-wise, continue to rise. Also, I get to spend summers with my family now as opposed to being gone for 6 weeks for school!
I’m on the board of the Sunscreen Film Festival, which is a bi-coastal film fest and one of only 23 in the world with an Oscar sponsorship. We are known for our emphasis on Film education and were named one of the top 25 coolest film fests in the world by Moviemaker Magazine because of this emphasis. I am blessed to be the Education Director, so as a university Film prof, it’s a perfect fit for Sunscreen and me.
We have a robust offering of panels and workshops, which have included major players in the industry (Mitch Bell, VP Marvel Studios, Victor Hsu, Producer of Transparent and Arrested Development, Ed Asner (UP), Patrick Warburton (Emperor’s New Groove), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), etc.). Coincidentally, last year, one of our screenwriting panels included Hollin’s profs: Goeff Geib, Kelly Fullerton and program director, Tim Albaugh.
HU: Who was your favorite guest at Hollins? Or favorite screening.
DD: Fave guest was Sean Sorenson, who works with Tim in production. Fave screening might have been Friends with Benefits – that was just a fun night and I think I won candy or something from the hat raffle thing. A Girl Walks Alone at Night, is up there as well.
HU: Is there a class you wish you would have taken while you were at Hollins?
DD: I would’ve liked to have taken a sitcom writing course. Also, writing for animation could’ve been cool.
HU: Do you have any advice for the current Hollins students?
DD: If your plan is to teach and stay where you are, then do that. However, if your plan is to actually work in the industry as a professional screenwriter and/or filmmaker, then move to LA and start networking. You can begin by attending Sunscreen LA. I might know someone who can help with comp tickets…
Dave DeBorde is an award-winning filmmaker whose experience in the industry is long and varied. Dave has worked as a producer with legendary Hollywood producer William Gilmore (A Few Good Men), helped produce the award-winning short film The Least of These. In June of 2012, Dave directed the feature film romantic comedy Marriage Material. Dave was later hired the showrunner for the brand new reality TV show Soccer Moms, which is slated to broadcast regionally on network affiliates during primetime on Saturdays and is in negotiations for international distribution.
Alongside his various directing and producing credits, Dave is also heavily involved in performing arts education, creating the wildly successful educational tracks for the Sunscreen Film Festival, which was rated by MovieMaker magazine as one of the world’s Top 25 Most Attractive Film Festivals as a result of the educational tracks. Dave was likewise instrumental in bringing notable attendees and track participants, such as actors John Travolta (Pulp Fiction, Grease), Bill Cobb (Night at the Museum) and other contributors like screenwriter Tim Sexton (Children of Men), casting director John Jackson (Sideways, About Schmidt, The Descendants), producers Sean Covel (Napoleon Dynamite), Ralph Winter (Wolverine), and Dean Batali (That 70’s Show). Dave is also the department chair of the Cinematic Arts at Lipscomb University and recently worked as producer of the successful independent romantic comedy Old Fashioned. Dave serves as the President of Soverignty Pictures and is the chief creative conduit responsible for the artistic direction of the company.
Episode two of Page Ten is up and running, just click on the link below, or if you’d rather, it’s also available to download on iTunes. Head over and take a listen to the second half of the interview with guest Kelly Fullerton, and if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and catch future episodes.
Page Ten is now available to download on iTunes. Head over and take a listen to the inaugural episode with guest Kelly Fullerton, and if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and catch future episodes.
The brand new podcast Page Ten is the place to hear new and exclusive interviews with the best screenwriters in the business. Tune in every month for insights into the craft along with revelations and stories from the trenches of Hollywood with host Geoff Geib.
Check out the preview below – a quick promo and an excerpt from the first episode with guest Kelly Fullerton (The Fosters, Awkward) and the second episode with Barbara Curry (The Boy Next Door, Anything for Love). The full interviews with Kelly and Barbara will be posted on this site soon (so check back often!) and will also be available for download on iTunes beginning on August 1st.
Screenwriter Barbara Curry and producer Jessica Yingling visited Hollins University over the weekend to screen and discuss their film Anything for Love.
The movie premiered earlier this year on Valentines Day and was a ratings smash for Hallmark. Jessica and Barbara discussed how they brought the script to the screen, along with the challenges of a tight schedule, shooting in an active hospital and living in a British Columbia Best Western for two weeks.
1. What brought you to screenwriting? How did your interest develop?
Star Trek: The Next Generation was cancelled when I was thirteen. I thought it was because the writers were out of ideas. I knew the producers accepted freelance scripts, so I wrote one and sent it to them with a note that I’d happily help with future ideas and scripts if they’d bring the show back. However, (spoiler alert!) my brilliant plan didn’t work. I wrote several young adult, then adult novels after that, until an agent suggested that my laziness regarding descriptions, interior monologues and complete sentences might actually be an advantage in screenwriting.
2. What was your first script about?
My cousin put me in touch with an indie producer with a grade eight education who made movies in his parents’ garage. I pitched him several ideas, and his favourite was about a teenaged girl who babysits a boy who needs a heart transplant in order to pay for breast implants. We went into production but had to stop due to lack of funds, and by the time we’d raised more cash, the actors looked too old to be the same characters. But the craziness of the cinema hooked me, and I’ve been writing scripts ever since.
3. What were one or two of the highlights of your experience at Hollins?
In my first year, I was in the video production class. I wrote a five-page script and made a short film. It was a small class, so I had lots of one-on-one help from my instructor for editing, and my classmates pitched in on everyone’s projects, so it was lots of fun. It was also a great learning experience to see the production and post-production side of filmmaking. Another highlight were social activities with instructors and students (waffle days, karaoke, ping pong matches, etc.). Hollins is unique among schools, in my experience, with its faculty-student interactions. The instructors are truly available for their students, professionally and personally.
4. How did the MFA program help you in your growth as a writer?
Firstly, consistency. I knew a lot about feature film writing from the various courses I’d taken previously (including the UCLA professional program online), so I knew how to write a good script, I just didn’t know how to do it quickly, efficiently and consistently. I got lots of practice and feedback at Hollins. Secondly, TV. I took two TV classes and wrote two pilots for my thesis. If I’d had this experience when I was thirteen, Star Trek: The Next Generation would still be on the air. Thirdly, professionalism. Nothing says you’re committed to being a writer like an intensive graduate degree. For someone who doesn’t live in LA (or even the US), this was a way to prove my dedication to myself and to the industry.
5. Tell us a little about your professional life to this point – how did you land the jobs and were they positive experiences?
I landed a writing assignment with a company based on a contest I’d won. They read the script I submitted and wanted something with a similar tone for an idea they had. I loved the concept and really enjoyed the experience. They commissioned a second project, which we ended up shelving because the idea they had just wasn’t feasible the way they envisioned it, and they didn’t love my take on it. We’re working on a third project now, and the idea and the script are developing nicely now. My agent in LA heard of a French producer looking for an American-educated, bilingual (English and French), Canadian screenwriter to develop some projects for French public television, and I was pretty much the entire short list. I pitched a bunch of ideas, one of which the producer half-liked. I refined the idea through various iterations and notes. The broadcaster eventually rejected our pitch, but the producer was encouraging, so it was ultimately a positive experience. I got mountains of feedback because the producer was very particular, but it felt really rewarding to be collaborating with someone who pushed me to my creative best.
6. Where would you like to see your career go from this point?
I’d eventually like to create and run my own TV show. Until then, I just want to write as much as possible and have a variety of professional writing experiences.
7. What is your life like now after graduation – where are you working, balancing writing and family, etc.
My husband and I just had a baby, so my daily writing now consists of everything I can type with one hand through a fog of sleep deprivation. I still have my day job, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be a full-time writer within a few years. To any students with families and gainful employment that gets in the way of writing time: remember that life is just fodder for fiction. My best scripts come out of my real life experiences, so I try not to get discouraged when my career doesn’t seem to be taking off as quickly as I’d like.
8. What is the best movie you’ve seen in the last year or so? Why?
Whiplash. It’s brilliant, deeply engaging and gets under your skin. Kudos also to The Lego Movie for awesomeness within its genre.
9. Who is your favorite screenwriter?
Old school: Billy Wilder Current: Aaron Sorkin
10. Do you have any advice for the current Hollins MFA students?
It’s easy to write a lot during the summer term, but you need to keep it up during the rest of the year. I challenged myself to write for at least an hour a day, twenty-five days a month. This is doable even with a family and a day job. I urge current and future students to do the same. Good luck with your studies and achieving your dreams!